Carol Kling and Susan Gunn, walking around Shadehill in Lemmon. The women who walked on behalf of Rachel’s Vineyard ranked first in the BH Pregnancy Center fundraiser. (Courtesy photo)
By Family Life Ministries Staff
“It broke our hearts to cancel our Rachel’s Vineyard retreat this year,” says Carol Kling, Team Leader of the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, “so finding another way to help other moms in crisis seemed to be a good way to keep our team united to our mission of caring for women in need.”
The Black Hills Pregnancy Center held their annual Walk for Life on Saturday, May 9, but unlike any other year, 2020 was a “virtual” walk. Participants still registered and pledged to raise donations, but they could walk wherever they wanted.
In a Facebook video to kick off the virtual walk, Fr. Adam Hofer of Blessed Sacrament Church, Rapid City, offered the opening prayer, asking that “we may perceive more and more the profound dignity and right to life of every human person from the moment of conception.”
Travis Lasseter, the executive director of the BHPC also shared the story of Baby Alaine, the daughter of a client who has been helped by BHPC. From pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, to prenatal vitamins, diapers and parenting classes, the BHPC assists pregnant and parenting moms by providing appropriate resources and support for all impacted by an unplanned pregnancy.
Rachel’s Vineyard is a ministry which brings hope and healing to the women and men who suffer from having made the choice of abortion when faced with a crisis pregnancy. Kling remarked, “Our hope is that women who are fearful or anxious about their pregnancies would find the courage to seek out Black Hills Pregnancy Center. If they could find those services in time, they would not need our ministry to heal their wounds of heartbreak and regret.”
Amy Julian, the director of Family Life Ministries for the Diocese of Rapid City, asked the Rachel’s Vineyard Team to consider participating in the Walk for Life as part of the USCCB initiative, “Walking With Moms in Need: A Year of Service.” “We hoped that we could remind women of the hope and healing that Rachel’s Vineyard offers, while we raised money for the moms who are currently in need,” Julian said.
The whole team agreed that asking for money was the most difficult part of the walk. But Kling recalled advice from Rachels Vineyard’s first chaplain, the late Fr. Will Prospero, SJ,over 20 years ago.
“I will never forget the lesson that he taught me when I was trying to raise the first monies for Rachel’s Vineyard. He said that by not asking for donations, it was on my soul that I was not offering the opportunity to people to receive graces from God by giving to his work. Wow! It was a lot easier to ask for financial support after that lecture!”
Father Will’s pep talk from two decades ago worked. As of the writing of this article, the Rachel’s Vineyard team of seven had raised over $1,200, ranking as the 1st place fundraising team for the Walk for Life, which inspired Kling to reflect “God is so good!”
Last fall, I would often find on the GroupMe App for the Newman Rocksquad, “I am praying night prayer at 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.; would anyone like to join me?” I would always try to say yes to this and join the students for night prayer. These invitations led us to begin offering a communal half-hour of Adoration followed by Night Prayer at the Newman Center each evening. With the suspension of public Masses in mid-March, we, like many other communities, began streaming this public prayer along with Mass via Facebook Live.
Night Prayer includes an examination of conscience. I have chosen to lead the community in an Examen during this time. In the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, he describes the daily prayer of the Examen in five simple successive steps: gratitude, petition, review, forgiveness and renewal.
In these Covid-19, days I have been trying to focus more on the first step of the Examen, the prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving. I realize that, “as we praise God, our spirits become awakened and alive to his love. Our minds become aligned with His purposes, and we began to be aware of all that is possible and available to us from his throne of grace … Our natural tendency is to praise God only when things are going well. But Scriptures tells us, rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (Dr. Mary Healy, Magnificat 3/26/20)
LuAnn Lindskov, a parishioner at St. Mary’s in Isabel, sent me this email after encountering our nightly prayer on Facebook. “For several years, I have heard the Lord call me to pray the Ignatian practice of the Examen at the end of my day. I really struggled with completing night prayer with consistency. One of the many blessings during this time is the many opportunities for participation in an online community. Praying night prayer, including an examination of conscience, with Fr. Mark and the young people at the Newman Center is inspiring and helping me build this discipline. The church is alive and well and I am thankful for the beautiful witness of young people. During this time of separation, we are not alone, Jesus is walking with us. Our Lord answers our prayers by whatever means He desires and for me, 7:30 p.m. Night Prayer on Facebook with the Rapid City Catholic Newman Center is what my heart and soul are longing for.”
Along with LuAnn, several of our seminarians have also shared with me the encouragement they are experiencing because of their practice of the Examen. Max Vetch, a junior at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, shares, “I think one of the biggest graces of this time is realizing how helpless we really are. Everyone seems to be using the words ‘uncertain times’, but as Christians we have been living in the end times since Jesus first came. This is not to say that we should be frightened at the possibilities of danger. We have the greatest certainty of all in the victory of the resurrection. This is what we especially celebrate during the Easter season.”
Robert Kinyon, second year of theology, notes “This difficult time has provided me an occasion to recognize more deeply that everything I have is a gift from God — even my very existence. By virtue of His sheer gratitude, I have life. Sometimes my life is riddled with frustration and stress, but such emotions only become more taxing when I strain to control and manipulate circumstances that are outside my sphere of influence. God is good. He governs the world by his wisdom. I need only to cooperate with Him.”
VanderMay shared this beautiful grace, “When I serve Mass, the priest has me ring the big church bell so that all in the neighborhood would still know that even if they cannot be in the church, Jesus still comes and is searching for us all. He too, is waiting for us to be able to come together again.”
You can hear the gratitude and blessing in these words. Fr. Timothy Gallagher, says the key to the Examen prayer is gratitude. In fact, to be able to name God’s concrete gifts during the day, lies at the very heart of our entire relationship with God (The Examen Prayer: Ignatius wisdom for our Lives Today).
In these challenging and constantly changing times, in which we live, it is easy to see and focus on the negative rather than the positive and on the abundant graces that God continues to bestow on us. But as these witnesses attest, it is possible, even in the midst of a pandemic, to “rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances” remembering that “this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1Thes 5:16-17).
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named Father Peter M. Muhich, a priest of the Diocese of Duluth as the Bishop of Rapid City.
The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on May 12, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Diocese of Rapid City has been a vacant see since July 2019.
“I am so grateful to the Holy Father for having confidence in me,” Bishop-elect Muhich said.
Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago called before a Zoom media conference held for Rapid City journalists. “He was very happy for you and for me,” he said
Father Muhich (pronounced Mew-ich) was born on May 13, 1961, in Eveleth, Minnesota, to Louis and Sally Muhich. The second of seven children he grew up in a devout Catholic family on the Iron Range of Northern Minnesota where mining is the main industry.
He phoned his parents early May 12. “My parents were very, very excited. They’re in their mid-eighties and of course they understand this means moving away. That’s difficult, but they are remarkable people of faith,” he said.
He was ordained to the priesthood on September 29, 1989, for the Diocese of Duluth. Father Muhich attended Eveleth High School and University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minn. He studied theology at the American College of Louvain in Belgium.
He has served the Duluth Diocese in many capacities. He was an associate pastor and pastor in parishes across the diocese, most recently as rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary for the last 11 years as well as Pastor of St. Mary Star of the Sea parish in Duluth for the last six years.
The bishop-elect has served on the Presbyteral Council, the Diocesan Personnel Board, and as a Dean and Consultor. Over his 30 years of priestly ministry he has also worked with the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program and the Diocesan Finance Office. In 2012 he led a Strategic Planning Process for the diocese.
He is a friend of Bishop Donald DeGrood who was ordained in February for the Diocese of Sioux Falls. Bishop DeGrood is also from Minnesota.
“I look forward to this adventure in faith together,” he said about coming to South Dakota. Although he has never been here before, he has been studying the area and is hoping the winters will be milder than in Duluth.
The corona virus is delaying many events and the Diocesan Ordination Planning Committee will have to wait for an exact date to firm up plans.
“In talking to the papal nuncio on the phone, he said there are several priests who have been selected as bishops in other places in our country that are still awaiting ordination to become bishops as well. We are all going to wait until the nuncio can travel safely and we can gather safely,” said Bishop-elect Muhich.
(Taken from USCCB and WRC reports)