Curia Corner — Archives awareness and beyond, a year of #tbt

Staying focused while working on an archival project? Not one of my strong suits. Most of the time, that is how “Throwback Thursday” (#tbt) on social media comes into fruition — a photo here, a random photo there.

For those of you who don’t have Facebook or aren’t on social media, the diocesan archives have published a “Throwback Thursday” photo every week for the past year. Here are some highlights:

Your favorites (or most likes on Facebook) — the pics of Fr. Gerald Scherer and his mining photos with his father looking at ‘Jerry’ from the foot of the Scherer Coal Mine in Firesteel; Fr. Scherer’s column; building pics of cathedral in the 1960s; the picture of nativity scene with an added shepherd and a young Fr. Bryan Sorenson. Lisa going through her mother’s attic and donating the First Holy Communion class photos; St. Bart Church in Glad Valley sparked interest …

(Right) A #tbt post from July 2018. Watch for a new post every Thursday on social media. Find the diocese at:
@rapidcitydiorc (Instagram and Twitter)

There was also interest in the relics, published in March West River Catholic, ranging from 1st class to 3rd class of the archives, amidst the celebration of the heart of St. John Vianney. A small prayer group from one of the Rapid City parishes would like to venerate these relics. Project challenge accepted. Stay tuned for the details!

Any historical stories and photos are also well liked — like the priceless Timber Lake photo trading the plow for the bow and arrow (circa unknown).

Unidentified photos — I have posted and asked for your help in identifying pictures, and an original aerial shot of St. Martins Monastery and the ‘circle track’ that was in question was indeed a track used by the schools for sporting events of St. Martin school in the early 1970s.

My favorites — The Advent, Christmas photo of the adorable girl in her native regalia, yet to be identified; ‘running’ into Archbishop Cupich in Chicago at a conference; construction pics of cathedral; a picture of nativity scene with an added shepherd; artifacts such as St. Brigid’s cross, the surprise donation of the stained glass work of art prairie church and other artifacts that find their way to the diocesan archives. How cute was the photo of a 1920s married couple published in February? Who could forget the memory of driving by the bishop’s house on West Blvd and seeing his gigantic (in the eyes of a 7-year-old) nativity scene!

We Remember — Photos of Fr. Gerald Sherer and his 100th heavenly birthday, Msgr. W. O’Connell, Fr. Cower; Msgr. Walsh; those who perished in the 1972 Rapid City flood including Fr. Francis Collins, SJ; Fr. Bob Baden and our clergy and staff whom we thanked for service in our military; Fr. John Francis McKearney and his great-nephew’s visit to our archives for genealogical research.
But what about upcoming posts, you ask? I’ve got them ready. They will be featuring Servant of God Nicholas Black Elk, the Wall parish window that has traveled the world, oldest recordist voice on YouTube, a curly haired priest birthday photo and much more.

I am on to new discoveries, unexpected archival finds, mystery photos, more pics of our clergy in their younger days, more accounts of original church photos. Want more preservation tips? What is your favorite part of our diocesan history? What would you like to see published? Email your thoughts, ideas, and comments to

Presenter shares wisdom from ministry experience

The daily challenges of ministry in the church were brought to life with humorous anecdotes and sobering facts by the keynote speaker Fr. Charles Lachowitzer at the annual Pastoral Ministry Days, April 8-9 at Terra Sancta Retreat Center, Rapid City. He is the Vicar General for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“One Spirit — Priests and Laity Working Together to Form the Mystical Body of Christ” was the theme for the conference created by Director of Faith Formation Susan Safford and the PMD Committee. It included keynote addresses, adoration, the Divine Office, discussion time, and Mass. Various ministries and businesses were available to participants during breaks in the vendor’s area.

Father Lachowitzer said the archdiocese is just emerging from bankruptcy proceedings to settle sexual abuse lawsuits. He said the priest abusers have humiliated the church in a tsunami of scandal. While the archdiocese begins to recover, he commented, he envied the Diocese of Rapid City moving forward with a pastoral plan, Through Him, With Him, and In Him.

According to Father Lachowitzer, pastors want to be involved in more than by-lays, bulletins, buildings and boilers. In his presentation, the “Seven ‘C’s” he gave the following pointers:

  • Conversation — computers are windows to the world, but he recommended any email message longer than one paragraph should be delivered face-to-face. “It is in conversation we hear the hearts and minds of the people,” he said.
  • Conflict — resolution requires dialogue and acceptance. More often than not miscommunication is the source of conflict.
  • Communication — we are drowning in information, but how do we get people’s attention? He said talk to them, and added “imagine the problems if a crew on a ship didn’t talk to each other.”
  • Consultation — make certain the pastor and staff are on the same page. Boards and councils are to assist and bring resources to the administration.
  • Control — one person does not need to do everything. Invite more people to participate, Jesus called forth the 12 and scattered the seeds of truth. Father Lachowitzer said there still needs to be a chain of command to garner the gifts of baptized.
  • Collaboration — bigger than nicely working together, the mission of the church transcends local parishes calling all to become part of the global church. Sharing resources is part of collaboration; competition is for sports teams.
  • Compassion — is at the heart of all the church leaders and parish bodies. It is stirred by listening to those who no one listens to. “To imitate the heart of Christ we recognize we are all sinners and we all need the same graces,” he said.

Photo and article appeared in the April 2019 West River Catholic. Photo and text by Laurie Hallstrom.