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.

Easter Triduum 2019

How to Talk to a Friend Who’s Had an Abortion

Your heart goes out to your friend. You may or may not agree with her decision to have an abortion, but clearly she is hurting. And reassuring her that she made the right choice, or the only choice, doesn’t seem to be helping. The last thing you want to do is judge her, but how can you help?

Listen with your heart. Offer her love and support. But don’t try to minimize her pain. And lastly, help her to find the right kind of help.

Click here to read an article with lots of practical tips on helping your friend to find the healing and support she needs. Let her know about Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats for healing. Encourage her to call Carol at 605-374-5639 or email

Hope and Healing After Abortion

Why abortion is so painful:

If you’ve experienced abortion, you are not alone. About one in four women will have an abortion during their lifetime.      Many people who have experienced abortion have negative emotional and psychological symptoms that can affect them for years. If you feel guilt or shame after an abortion, know that hope and healing are available for you. To understand why abortion can be so hurtful, check out the following links.

For local information, contact Carol at 605-374-5639 or email at

Testimonials about Rachel’s Vineyard

I hesitated to come (to the retreat) because I knew it was going to be intense and I wasn’t 100 percent committed to the religious concepts (or I was leery of them).  The retreat far surpassed all my expectations.  I have never witnessed so much healing and relief from anything else I have observed or experienced.”

The most profound impact of my second abortion was what it did to my relationship with my husband and children.  I withdrew, participated way less in family activities, and found it hard to be emotionally connected to them.  My husband seemed to have something gnawing at him, and I was afraid it was hatred for me.  We went to the retreat three years ago.  It’s amazing to look back at where we were then and where we are now.  We are a healthy, thriving family with much love freely shared all around.”

For 18 years, I have been haunted with heavy guilt that no one could take away, tormented by thoughts of what my child would have been like.  Through participating in Rachel’s Vineyard, I was finally able to forgive myself.  I know that God has given me a peaceful mind, cleansed my heart, and has washed away my guilt.”

I experienced a great inner healing.  I would highly recommend this retreat to anyone who has felt the void and shame of the abortion experience.  It is a wonderful way to forgive yourself, find the completely unconditional love of Christ, and grieve your loss.”

No words can explain the healing that I experienced on this weekend retreat.  It was conducted with love and gentleness in an area of my life that was war-torn, raw, and bleeding.  God’s mercy and love was behind this retreat.  It was so important for me to dig deep and release the pain of the past.  I believe this made room and God, then, filled that room with genuine love for lost children, family, friends, and especially ourselves.”

It was the best weekend of my life.  I was able to share my grief, my guilt, my anger.  I was able to mourn the loss of my baby.  But most important, I was able to believe that she now lives with Jesus.  For a short time I could almost touch her and hold her and see her.  For this, I will always be grateful.”

Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats for Healing after Abortion

Abortion hurts. And regardless of your belief about whether an abortion is the right choice, it is always a painful choice. Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreats offer a beautiful opportunity for healing anyone who has struggled with the emotional or spiritual pain of an abortion. Through a supportive and non-judgmental process, the retreat offers a safe place to find hope and to find healing.

Sometimes, we need to get away from the pressures of daily life to really discover the source of our pain. And once discovered and exposed to the light of Christ, that pain can be transformed. The mercy of Christ can penetrate even the deepest wounds, wounds which we might have thought were unforgiveable.

A Rachel’s Vineyard retreat consists of Spiritual exercises focusing on God’s forgiveness, compassion, and mercy. These spiritual exercises work on our hearts, while psychological exercises help us work through repressed grief and anger that may exist. Many preconceived fears of condemnation are transformed into blessings. Memories of abandonment, pain, and confusion are replaced by peace and reconciliation.

Rachel’s Vineyard retreat focuses on God’s love and forgiveness in a nonjudgmental environment.  Based in Catholicism, the retreat is open to and welcomes individuals of all denominations.

For more information, visit or contact Carol at 605-374-5639 or email her at

Rachel’s Vineyard, a safe place to find help

Rachel’s Vineyard is a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. Weekend retreats offer you a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing.

Rachel’s Vineyard can help you find your inner voice. It can help you experience God’s love and compassion on a profound level. It creates a place where men and women can share, often for the first time, their deepest feelings about abortion. You are allowed to dismantle troubling secrets in an environment of emotional and spiritual safety.

Rachel’s Vineyard is therapy for the soul. Participants, who have been trapped in anger toward themselves or others, experience forgiveness. Peace is found. Lives are restored. A sense of hope and meaning for the future is finally re-discovered.

What is Rachel’s Vineyard?

Rachel’s Vineyard weekends for healing after abortion are offered throughout the year in locations across the United States and Canada, with additional sites around the world. Rachel’s Vineyard is a ministry of Priests for Life. 

The program is an opportunity to examine your abortion experience, identify the ways that the loss has impacted you in the past and present, and helps to acknowledge any unresolved feelings that many individuals struggle with after abortion. Because of the emotional numbness and secrecy that often surrounds an abortion experience, conflicting emotions both during and after the event may remain unresolved. These buried feelings can surface later and may be symptoms of post abortion trauma.

Married couples, mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings of aborted children, as well as persons who have been involved in the abortion industry have come to Rachel’s Vineyard in search of peace and inner healing. The weekend is a lot of work but yields a fruitful harvest for all who are willing to labor there.

For more information on the history of Rachel’s Vineyard, the purpose of the weekend retreats and how they can help you, visit:

Contact information:
Carol Kling – coordinator for Western Dakota retreats
(605) 431-5486 or 


Allegations List

Ash Wednesday