A Jesus Por Maria — A collection for our diocesan archives

Prayer cards and novenas were also part of the box that included a statue of the Virgin of Charity, patroness of Cuba. (Courtesy photos)

By Kathy Cordes 
Diocesan Archivist

This story begins in La Havana, Cuba, with a wooden crate marked ‘fragil’ and an artifact inside, laying on wood straw with authentic, possibly human hair. I had never seen anything like this. It looked to be the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus, standing on top of ocean waves, three men in a boat with several angels. Intriguing! In the same box, was an enormous amount of prayer cards and novenas. Fascinating!

Sr. Christina Hernandez, SCTJM, chancellor immediately recognized and began to read — Una hermosa imagen de la Madre de Cristo apareció flotando sobre las aguas de la bahia de Nipe en los primeros aňos del siglo XVII. Yo Soy La Virgen De La Caridad!

This is the Virgin of Charity from Cuba. Wow! My research reveals this ‘Maria’ holds a beautiful story. Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre is the patroness of Cuba and one of the most important symbols in Cuban culture and the Roman Catholic Church. Amazing!

But why is it in the diocesan archives? How do we determine what should be in the archives? What happens when we decide to keep an item?

Determining if a collection belongs in our diocesan archives requires many accession or inventory steps. After the initial research of an object, the following is a short synopsis of the process and is an inventory of and for history:  Research to determine the provenance of an artifact. What is the history behind it? Where did it come from? Who owns it? What will be the goal of owning this artifact? Does it belong in a parish or on display in our archives? Is it important to our diocese and/or the history of our church?

Is this object authentic? This statue did not come with a certificate of authentication but the history and names associated with the date.

Catalog the object. Typically, archives use a trinomial numbering system.  The number assigned Our Lady ‘Maria’ is 2021.16.1 — the year the artifact is collected, the grouping I assign to statues, and the succession number. In this case, the first item of group 16 in the year 2021.

Photograph and enter all historical and documented history in our computer system which is museum/archival software called Past Perfect. Retains all history, itemizes artifacts and objects.

The goal: clean, restore and paint. Our chancellor, Sr. Christine would like to display this in her office.

Coming full circle, from Cuba to Rapid City: if only Maria could tell us of her voyage and all those who have prayed over her in the last century. One of those prayers is from Sister Gabrielle (St. John the Evangelist, Rapid City, 1975): I beg your intercession so that we may be granted the joy of being together in Heaven! Amén.

‘The Last Four Things’ and Thanksgiving

We are once again moving through the month of November, when temperatures drop and the natural world around us undergoes a kind of dying and dormancy. The scripture readings at this time of year focus on the “last four things”: death, judgment, heaven and hell — as one liturgical year ends and a new one […]

Bishop Muhich to consecrate diocese to St. Joseph

By Amy Julian 
Director of Family Life Ministries

“I did not understand St. Joseph well enough, but that will change.”— St. John of the Cross

One hundred fifty-years after Blessed Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis authored an Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart) and declared Dec. 8, 2020 – Dec. 8, 2021, to be a Year of St. Joseph. Seven years earlier, Pope Francis had added the name of St. Joseph to several of the Eucharistic Prayers, after the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Clearly, our Holy Father is calling his flock to embrace the witness, prayers and protection of the man who was the foster father of Jesus.

On Dec. 8, during the Mass of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bishop Peter Muhich, in union with the priests and faithful of the Diocese of Rapid City, will answer that call by closing the Year of St. Joseph with a consecration of the Diocese of Rapid City to St. Joseph.

What is a consecration, and what does this mean for our diocese? To consecrate means “to set apart”— such as a chalice or an altar are consecrated, set apart exclusively for use within the Holy Mass. Thus, a consecration to St. Joseph is the short way of saying the complete reality: that our bishop, with his spiritual authority over our diocese entrusted to him by the Lord, will be consecrating, setting apart, our diocese for Our Lord and his kingdom through the paternal intercession and care of St. Joseph. It is almost like setting a spiritual seal on our diocese — and thus, upon each one of us and our families — setting us apart from the power of the enemy and sealed by and for the goodness, truth, beauty, and life that flows from the heart of God; the same goodness, truth, beauty, and life that St. Joseph knew, experienced, and allowed to transform his masculine and paternal heart during his years of earthly pilgrimage at the side of Our Lady and Our Lord. This is an immense grace!

To prepare the faithful to fully engage in the Consecration, the diocese is sponsoring an Advent Mission, “Go to Joseph,” on Wednesday, December 1, 8, and 15. Building on previous recent “hybrid” events, the diocese will host mission events at parishes in the Black Hills that will be livestreamed on the diocesan website, to allow for the participation of as many parishes and faithful as possible. In addition, portions of those mission nights will be pre-recorded, so that parishes throughout the diocese will be able incorporate those elements of the mission into their local celebrations.

Dec.1 — Blessed Sacrament Church, Rapid City, 6 – 7:30 p.m. “The Beauty of the Heart of St. Joseph,” Deacon Josh Lee

Dec. 8 — Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help: 5 – 6:30 p.m. “The Power of Consecration to St. Joseph/St. Joseph, Defender of the Eucharist” Homily & Consecration, Bishop Peter Muhich

Dec. 15 — Our Lady of the Black Hills: 6 – 7:30 p.m. “Pillar of Families, Glory of Home Life,” Fr. Mark McCormick.

The Mission on Dec. 8 at Cathedral will include adoration and Josephite devotions from 5 – 5:30 p.m., followed by the Mass of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The Mission nights on Dec. 1 and 15 will include music, testimonies, reflections as well as adoration and Josephite Devotions. For any questions on how you might fully engage in the consecration, please contact any member of the Pastoral Ministries team at the Chancery, 605-343-3541.


‘Our faith is a wonderful thing’

Bishop Steven Biegler, Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming

By Laurie Hallstrom

The Catholic Social Services Annual Gathering honored Bishop Steven Biegler from the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyo., with the Founder’s Award, Oct. 22 in Rapid City. He is a former priest of the Diocese of Rapid City. The award is in remembrance of the late Msgr. William O’Connell who was instrumental in founding CSS.

Three people gave testimonials on Bishop Biegler’s behalf. His mother, Mary Biegler of Mobridge, recalled a car-horse accident that her son Steven was injured in, when he was 11 years old. As the horse and car collided, he was thrown up on the car roof and into the ditch. The horse went through the windshield and was killed. He was taken by ambulance to Mobridge where he was diagnosed with a broken collar bone and the skin had been scraped off his right elbow. Mary said an old army doctor pulled out glass shards and scrubbed gravel from his scalp. “Through this whole time, I was comforted with hope that nothing really bad had happened. I had faith that was given to me by parents and my grandfather. … Our faith is a wonderful thing; we all belong to the family of God,” she said.

His brother, Marty Biegler, of Timber Lake, explained the importance of family, “You have generations, Steve, of good family. The family worked hard, and they worked together.”

Fr. Brian Christensen, pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City recalled shenanigans that went on between their brother priests and then-Father Biegler was in the thick of the pranks. Father Christensen pointed out that as priest, Father Biegler and Msgr. William O’Connell were the first diocesan priests to minister on a reservation following the Sacred Heart Fathers leaving the Cheyenne River Reservation. “Over and over again you have been a model to us of commitment, work and dedication,” said Father Christensen.

Bishop Biegler was also the keynote speaker for the event. He began his speech recalling his relationship with Msgr. O’Connell. In 1990, Bishop Biegler was a seminarian studying in Rome and Msgr. O’Connell took a sabbatical there. “I really got to know him for the first time,” said Bishop Biegler. He went on to recall the number of times their paths crisscrossed and how Msgr. O’Connell was a mentor to him. “In God’s providence we walked together, and I cherish those years,” said Bishop Biegler.

He said Pope Francis chose the parable of the Good Samaritan, for the center of his encyclical, Fratelli tutti (All brothers), answering the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Bishop Biegler said we have become accustomed to looking the other way when we see the poor and vulnerable in the world. He said Pope Francis has warned us repeatedly about indifference and he invites us to learn from Jesus’ compassionate gut reaction and tender mercy toward marginalized people.

Following Bishop Biegler’s speech, CSS Executive Director Jim Kinyon explained the organization’s ministry during the difficult days of the pandemic. He thanked the audience for their continued support.

West River Catholic November 2021 News

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