Enjoy the January edition of the West River Catholic
Enjoy the January edition of the West River Catholic
The Diocese of Rapid City is working on creating a new pastoral center in the Black Hills Federal Credit Union building on Main Street in Rapid City. The credit union is selling this building and will move into a new facility across the street in a couple months. (WRC photo)
The Living the Mission Campaign is moving into full swing. The pilot phase has been successfully completed and the parishes in block one are fully engaged in the process. I am not only pleased, but deeply grateful for the generosity that I have seen thus far in the campaign. It speaks of peoples’ holy desire to live the mission of Jesus Christ, helping the diocese to move forward with what has been laid out in the Diocesan Priority Plan beginning in 2015. It is my hope that we are well on our way to a very successful campaign.
I would like to take the opportunity to update you on a very important priority for the Diocese of Rapid City. It too, was a key priority outlined in the Diocesan Priority Plan — a new pastoral center to include not only the chancery (offices of the bishop, diocesan administration and the archives) but also the offices of the personnel who provide pastoral ministry throughout the diocese. Before I do so, let’s look back for a moment.
As we recall, phase two of the We Walk By Faith appeal had originally planned for the renovation of space at Terra Sancta to be used for all of our diocesan offices. Due to lack of space at the main chancery located next to the cathedral, several departments were moved to the Terra Sancta Retreat Center on the northwest side of Rapid City — not the most ideal situation. The archives and the offices of our ministries including Faith Formation, Family Life Ministries, Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Stewardship, Vocations, the Marriage Tribunal, and Native American Ministry, are all currently located at Terra Sancta. Because of the overwhelming success of the Terra Sancta Retreat Center and the increase in diocesan staff, the retreat center is no longer a viable option as a new home for our diocesan offices. Our staff has almost doubled in the seven and a half years that I have been here.
Currently, my staff is spread across three buildings in two locations. At the main Chancery located near the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, we have some staff using space that was originally intended as a closet and file room. We also have staff who work different days each week in order to share a desk and shelf space. We have a very limited number of conference rooms which must be shared by many departments and 40 staff people. The longer these types of issues persist, the more difficult and costly it will be to address.
It has always been my desire to have a new pastoral center that will meet current and future needs more centrally located in Rapid City as a matter of convenience for the people we serve, at least locally. We have been quietly looking for a building that would provide adequate space for a couple of years. When we completed the facility master plan for the Terra Sancta campus a year and a half ago, we included a new pastoral center to be built there because we
already owned the land.
Last February, we became aware that the Black Hills Federal Credit Union building at 225 Main Street was coming on the market in the near future. We toured the building and began a conversation with the owners about the possibility of purchasing it. At the same time we had our architect look at it to determine if the facility had adequate space based on our initial plan for a new pastoral center on the Terra Sancta campus. We also had an appraisal and
inspection completed to assist us in determining if this could be a possibility for a new pastoral center.
My own excitement grew as I thought of the possibility of having the presence of the Catholic Church in downtown Rapid City. What a blessing that would be!
Over the course of the past ten months, we have been in negotiations with Black Hills Federal Credit Union to purchase this building. After a renovation process, it would provide enough office space to meet our current and future needs, allowing all of our staff to be together under one roof as well as ample parking for chancery staff and visitors — not to mention that the downtown location will give the diocese a very public face in our community.
I am very happy to say that we have recently signed a purchase agreement to acquire the building and the parking lots surrounding the Credit Union. We have agreed upon a four million dollar purchase price and could take possession in late February or March,
depending upon how soon Black Hills Federal Credit Union is able to vacate the building and move into their new building across the street. With the remodeling necessary to accommodate the unique features and space requirements of a pastoral center, we believe that this option will cost $1-1.5 million less than a new building. The renovation process could take ten to twelve months.
We have been in our current location since 1975, serving the needs of the diocese from there for approximately 44 years. Like most families, most companies move multiple times in a 44 year history. I believe this new pastoral center will serve the needs of the Diocese of Rapid City for many, many years to come and also allow us to be the face of Christ to those we serve in the heart of Rapid City! That is the true blessing!
I have long said that celebrating Mass, and for that matter, all the sacraments, is a believing person’s activity. It is essential that those who celebrate the Eucharist believe in what they are doing. That may be simply stated. Sometimes the simple truth eludes us. The grounding of our participation in the Mass is faith in what Jesus came to earth to do.
Jesus sacrificed his life to God the Father on the cross. That was a historic moment which revealed the deeper mystery of the relationship of the Father and Son. The Son eternally gives himself to the Father and the Father eternally receives and gives life back to his Son. This exchange of love is animated by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus came not only to reveal this truth to us but to invite us to share in that exchange of love who is God. Jesus gave us baptism that we might receive the Holy Spirit. He gave us confirmation to strength that Holy Spirit within us. Then, Jesus gave us the Eucharist as the means whereby we come to share the very life of God. At the Last Supper he gave us this ritual and told us to “do this …” We remember Jesus’ sacrificial death AND we join in that sacrifice. As we enter the sacrifice of Jesus to God the Father, we receive back through, with and in Jesus, his life. We are united to God by sharing in the body and blood of Jesus. We receive his life into our life, and we are transformed by this heavenly food. In short, as the bishop often says, at Mass we truly encounter Jesus. This is essential and first.
Too often, we become consumed with the form and the matter of the celebration. We focus on the signs and symbols. Are they done well, and right? Do I like them or not? Is it beautiful, and theologically accurate? How long did it take and why are people participating or not participating in the way they should? I am guilty of asking all these questions. Sometimes we (I) make of supreme importance what we like and do not like. Please don’t misunderstand. The form and matter of the celebration of the Mass are important. We should not make Mass ordinary and mundane. The beauty and the gloriousness of the Mass really do make a difference.
Yet if we do not believe in the deep mystery we are participating in, all the external expressions of this mystery we are entering into, no matter how well they are executed, will not make a difference. Catholics have walked away from the most glorious and mysterious of liturgies as easily as they have from the folksy and sloppy liturgies not because they were one way or the other. Rather it was because they did not believe. Likewise, Catholic have through the centuries stayed in the pews because underneath the form and matter however it was dressed up or stripped down, they believed that being there and participating in this action of Christ really lead them to encounter Jesus and brought them into the heart of divine love.
When we believe what happens in the Mass, we will strive to the best of our ability to celebrate this holy moment with all due reverence and enthusiastic participation and it will transform us. However, when we truly believe, how Mass is celebrated will be important, but it will not distract us from the essence of its reality.
I had a blessed surprise right before Christmas. I was celebrating Mass at St. Thomas More Middle/High School and three young adults, STM alumni home from college, came to Mass several days in a row at 7:15 a.m.
I was not expecting this, especially given the recent crisis in our church. The constant barrage of news stories about sexual abuse by even high-ranking clergy, and how some bishops have mishandled the repeated allegations of abuse, have caused many to question both the church and her leaders’ ability to shepherd and lead.
To see three young college students home for Christmas break and at daily Mass roused in my heart a sense of hope and joy. I shared with them what seeing them at daily Mass did for my heart.
I asked them what it is like to be a believing, practicing young adult Catholic at this challenging moment in the church. All three shared that this has been a difficult time for them. Madison Feist said it has been hard to accept but, at the same time, she is grateful that the church is accepting the reality of the past and wants to make things better.
Corbin Olson has found his own faith being tested and Dillon Johnson continues to pray for clarity in the church. He added, “The Eucharist gives me the strength to continue defending our Catholic faith, even in times of trial.”
In fact, all three shared with me that it is their love of the Eucharist that brings them to Mass.
“In the Eucharist, I am united with Jesus who brings me eternal joy. The Eucharist unites the world together, and when I receive the Eucharist, I think of family members, friends, faculty and all the people who have impacted my faith journey. Mass unites me to my foundation in Christ,” Madison said.
Corbin added, “Christ’s light will always shine. I find myself looking for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour to spend with our Savior in adoration, and I push myself to attend daily Mass because, in all of this, I am searching for his light. God is ever-present, but he is waiting for us to accept him into our lives. I have realized in the past couple of months that I have to make an effort to call on him in the easiest and most difficult of times. We must be willing to put absolute faith and trust in him.”
As I visited with these three young adults who are practicing their faith in these trying times in our church, my heart was drawn to our seminarians: What is it like to be in the seminary at this moment in time?
Max Vetch, a sophomore at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, shared, “It is a strange thing to hear about these cases on the news or from other seminarians from their diocese, but it all kind of changes when it is from your own diocese. I am just as confused and angry as everyone else is. What is most frustrating is that these things happen in almost every diocese.
“At the seminary, we are very aware of everything going on, even if we turn off the news and don’t look at social media. The faculty at IHM is very focused on making good, holy men, and this can only be done through a good awareness of self and the world around us.
“So we visit about these things — both my brother seminarians and the faculty. We discuss it so that we can grow in holiness. Many people would think that these cases are a deterrent from the seminary, but for the men at IHM, I haven’t seen that at all. The seminarians at IHM are there to discern a vocation given them by God, and no problem or scandal can take that calling away.”
Robert Kinyon, a first-year theologian at the Pontifical North American College in Rome told me, “The recent sexual abuse crisis has been deeply saddening. On a number of different occasions, it has shaken my trust in the church, especially those who are in particularly authoritative positions.
“Despite all the disheartening and frustrating news, Jesus Christ remains the same. He is still laboring to love me during every moment of every day. Jesus, the head, has not and will not abandon his body, the church.
“I am continuing my formation for priesthood because Jesus Christ continues to lavish his love upon me and his entire church, as broken and wounded as we may be. Before all else, we must tear open our hearts to receive an outpouring of his personal love.”
Father Paul Hoesing, dean of seminarians and director of human formation at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, shared with me his perception of the climate of seminary life at this time.
“I believe a very healthy, righteous anger has been awakened in these scandals. As a result, there has been no better time to address the tough issues of mental health, chastity and psycho-sexual development.
“The scandals reveal what is at stake. Only a truly healthy priest can serve the people of God. The people of God are weary. They deserve good shepherds.
“The scandals reveal the need for a truly spousal life on the part of the priest — priests who are willing to lay down their lives for their bride, the church. Otherwise, the priesthood is seen as a strange or dangerous bachelorhood.
“I see our young men eager to move into a new and vigorous courage in this regard. For the sake of the victims and the bride, the church, the men are responding with a new level of honesty and generosity in answering the question, ‘Where is your heart?’
“It’s been a privilege to witness the Spirit at work in this opportune moment for young men to respond more clearly and maturely.”
Despite the difficulties in our Catholic Church today, the faith is alive in the hearts of our young people and in young men studying for the priesthood, which should renew all of our hearts.
I am grateful for this early Christmas gift I received in the witness of Madison, Dillon and Corbin, our seminarians, Max and Robert, and the hopeful and challenging words of Father Hoesing.
Enjoy the December edition of the West River Catholic
By Becky Berreth
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20).
“Everything we do is to make disciples of all nations,” explained third year FOCUS missionary Ben Acosta. “We teach students to have a sacramental life, to rely on prayer and the sacraments, to live an authentic friendship and to go out and teach others to do the same.”
Acosta, Sarah Knopik, Kim Herdering, and Andrew Noah will be helping the students at Black Hills State University, Spearfish, find that authentic friendship with Jesus as missionaries from the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.
FOCUS is a Catholic outreach organization whose mission is to share the Gospel with university students. Missionaries are trained in church teaching, prayer, Scripture, evangelization and discipleship, inviting students to have a personal relationship with Jesus, and accompanying them along the way. BHSU is one of 19 new FOCUS campuses this academic year. They are working from the new Newman Center which was dedicated in September.
“We have real conversations with the students,” said FOCUS team leader and third year missionary Sarah Knopik. “We are being taught how to rely on God for all things and in turn do the same for the students.”
One of the first things the missionaries do on campus is begin leading Bible studies. Then, eventually, begin training students to organize and lead their own. The goal is to bring students closer to Christ and to help students establish and/or deepen their relationship with Christ.
All four missionaries first experienced FOCUS through a Bible study. As an undergraduate at North Dakota State University, Knopik became involved with a FOCUS Bible study her freshman year. From there she was invited into discipleship (one-on-one mentoring program) with another student.
“As I got more involved in my faith, I started leading my own Bible study, experiencing discipleship with other women, and going on missions’ trips,” she explained. “I felt that God was calling me to be his missionary, so I took the opportunity and ran with it.”
First year missionary Andrew Noah, joined a Bible study his freshman year at St. John University, Collegeville, Minn. By his sophomore year he was leading a men’s group in his dorm. After attending a leadership conference, he began to think about becoming a missionary.
“Being a theology major, I knew I wanted to do something with the church. Halfway through my sophomore year I thought maybe I should check this missionary thing out,” he said. “By my senior year it was apply to be a FOCUS missionary or go on with graduate work in theology. Here I am.”
It was through a Bible study that Kim Herdering, a first-year missionary who also attended North Dakota State University, was invited to attend a SEEK conference. At that yearly national conference — presented by FOCUS — she encountered the Lord in a new way and carried that through her college experience. Majoring in biology, with the intent to continue on with a career in medicine, she always felt called to care and serve people.
“I really love healing and maybe the Lord wanted to satisfy that desire not through physical healing but through spiritual healing,” she said. “Now I’m working with people’s spiritual needs which is really cool too.”
Ben Acosta was leading a Bible study on his own, not knowing that the University of Northern Colorado had a Newman Center. “I went to a pro-life event and met a FOCUS missionary and was plugged into and started doing things with the Catholics on campus,” he said.
However, he still was not sure if being a FOCUS missionary was in his future. “My senior year I had a few offers to teach and I turned down FOCUS initially,” he explained. “That is until Jesus intervened, and I said ‘yes.’”
All four are excited about the new Newman Center and being part of an expansion campus. The group attended Mass at both St. Paul Church, Belle Fourche, and St. Joseph Parish, Spearfish, when they first arrived in S.D. and have been welcomed by parishioners at both parishes.
“People are eager to learn more about us and who we are,” said Acosta. “I know Jesus was preparing the way, going before us. In a very real sense we are building a culture here — a culture of missionary disciples. A culture of love that is contagious, meant to conquer all and set the world on fire.”
By Fr. Michel Mulloy
At the heart of the celebration of the Mass is the kerygma. Say what? Kerygma?
Kerygma is a Greek word that means proclamation or preaching. It was the word used in the early Christian times to describe the first message of the fledgling community. Jesus, who suffered and died, rose again! It was the core teaching of the new church and remains so for us today. As such, it is at the heart of the celebration of the Mass. Okay, better back up.
During Mass, we are offering thanks to God the Father for what he has done for us. We thank him for the gift of his Son, Jesus, who died on the cross and rose triumphantly to free us from our sins. We commemorate (remember with) Jesus sacrificing his life to God the Father. We join in Jesus’ sacrifice by our attention, our participation in the acclamations and our interior offering of our lives along with Jesus. This is what Jesus asked us to do. “Do this in memory of me,” Jesus said, and “I will be with you always.” His Word tells us that we will share in his victory over sin and death. That is the kerygma, the proclamation of this good news of salvation
Father John Riccardo, who is coming to lead us in the Summit next fall, takes the proclamation of the kerygma seriously. He teaches that there are four points to consider.
First, God created the world and all that is in it. God created you and me and God did so out of pure love. There was no need for God to do this. God simply loves, and his love is manifested in the creation of the whole world, including and especially human beings. We gather at Mass as his loved creatures.
Second, we sinned. The story of the fall reveals the great loss of God’s love. It reveals the reality of evil in our world, and Lucifer who is the king of this world. Lucifer and the fallen angels lost paradise in their rebellion. His only purpose in life is to steal from God what God loves more than anything. Lucifer seeks to steal us from God by tempting us to doubt God’s love. At Mass we are reminded of this in the Penitential Rite and the Lamb of God.
The third aspect of the kerygma is Jesus. God sent his Son to become one with us. Jesus came to wage war against Lucifer and his kingdom of death. Jesus was more than a moral teacher, more than a nice guy. He was the one who put on the armor of God’s love and went out to defeat the strong man and steal his possessions. Jesus came to fight for us. He did that by entering the very realm of the devil, death itself. He rose victorious and promised us that we would, too. The evil one cannot win if we are attached to Jesus. We thank God for his Son and his victory in the Eucharistic Prayer.
The fourth part of the kerygma is our response. What are you going to do in light of the proclamation of this good news? At Mass we are invited to “go forth …” The answer to that question is to have faith and to trust in God’s eternal and merciful love. The answer is the celebration of the Mass itself. We come up alongside Jesus, we put on the armor of his Spirit and we offer ourselves with Jesus to God the Father knowing — knowing — that we will triumph. Like I said, at the heart of the celebration of the Mass is the kerygma.
“All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth, just my two front teeth. Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth, then I could wish you Merry Christmas.”
I would suspect that this little catchy tune would be familiar, at least to people my age. I clearly remember singing this as a little boy. Perhaps it may have been because I didn’t have two front teeth at the time. I don’t recall for sure.
This time of the year, as kids, we would also scour the JCPenney and Sears catalogs for what we really wanted for Christmas — making a list, checking it twice and then turning it over to our parents with the hopes that some of these dreams might come true. This was the season of Advent for us — preparing for the celebration of Christmas. I would suspect that it is what most children have done, at least back then.
We are only about a week from Christmas. How have we spent this season getting in touch with our true hopes, our dreams and desires that only the Lord can fulfill? What have we been letting the Lord do with us during this Advent season? Now that we are this close, what do we really want for Christmas? For most of us, we don’t need more material things. They just become luxuries — things that possess us — not to mention obstacles to a deeper faith and freedom. We don’t need things that bolster the consumeristic and materialistic culture. It is a shallow life!
My Christmas gift list is long. I want a deeper life in Christ. In other words, the “more” that he desires to give me. For Christmas I want Jesus to always be my deepest desire. I want a faith that can move mountains, literally. I want Christ’s message of love and peace, mercy and hope to penetrate my own heart and the hearts of all the people across the diocese entrusted to my care.
For Christmas, I want a new and purified church — one of openness, honesty, accountability and transparency. I want deep healing for all victims of sexual abuse, especially those harmed by clergy, that they will experience the healing love of Christ.
I want our young people to seek and discover the Lord’s vocation for their lives, leading to more priests and women religious in our diocese, but ultimately, leading to true happiness.
I want the Father to give this diocese a new Pentecost where the Holy Spirit enkindles the fire of his love anew in the hearts of all people of faith.
I want the New Evangelization to come alive so that our efforts will attract and form intentional disciples who joyfully, boldly and lovingly proclaim and live the mission of Jesus Christ, leading to eternal life.
For Christmas, I want the many, many Catholics who have left the church to return and be welcomed into the Father’s arms of mercy and love.
I desire a world filled with peace, where all strangers are welcomed and the life of each person is not only valued, but treasured; where respect and civility in our public and private discourse is the rule of the day; where religious freedom is completely restored as God meant it to be.
What a Christmas list! There’s more! The list could easily go on. People of faith know in the depth of their hearts that, in the end, the first Christmas has become the answer.
Christmas is the celebration of God coming into the world in his incarnate Son so that we no longer have to let the things of this world possess us. Christmas is God’s entrance into human history in a tangible way so that we can be possessed by him. When we fully embrace the meaning of Christmas, God becoming man restores the proper order of our human desires, and the world is transformed back into its original condition. The world becomes as it was meant to be. We become as we have been created to be. Our eyes are opened to God’s view of reality. What a gift for which to pray!
When this happens, we will love like Christ; we will bring peace to the world like Christ; differences will be reconciled; the suffering and lowly will be raised up; and a world divided by sin and death will be restored by hope and resurrection. What a gift for which to pray!
In the words of Pope Benedict, “Christmas has become the feast of gifts in imitation of God who has given himself to us. Let us allow our heart, our soul, and our mind to be touched by this fact!”
Let us all put this on our Christmas gift list this year and pray that our hearts will be open to receive it. Be assured of my prayers for you and your families. May your Christmas be filled with every grace and blessing!
Enjoy the November 2018 edition of the West River Catholic
By Becky Berreth
According to a combined study, from St. Mary’s Press with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, approximately 13 percent of young adults between ages 18 and 25 are former Catholics. It also states that they desire a spiritual connection even though they do not consider themselves affiliated with the church. One way of encouraging a connection is to reach out to students on college campuses.
Enter Megan Henle, Avery Hembrook, Michael Newsham, and Joey Fritz. The four campus missionaries are part of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, better known as FOCUS, on the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology campus, Rapid City. They are tasked with helping engineering, geology, math, and computer science students navigate college faith life through friendship, Bible studies, and mentorship. SDSM&T is one of 19 new FOCUS campuses this academic year.
FOCUS is a Catholic outreach organization whose mission is to share the Gospel with college and university students. Missionaries are trained in church teaching, prayer, Scripture, evangelization and discipleship — inviting students to have a personal relationship with Jesus and accompanying them along the way. On the SDSM&T campus, it’s also about taking the analytical thought process of many of the students and connecting it to a relationship.
“It’s connecting the head and the heart,” explained Megan Henle, FOCUS team director in her fourth year of campus work. “Yes, it’s the analytical part, but then teaching them to live out the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Everything about us should be living out the intellectual and allowing the Holy Spirit to do what it wants with us.”
“I had to go through the process of connecting of my mind and my heart in my relationship with God and I knew that would be a big thing here,” agreed Joey Fritz, a third-year missionary.
Fritz majored in computer science at North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D., and encountered FOCUS at a SEEK2015. He explained that faith was something he did out of habit until he heard a talk from Father Mike Schmitz at the yearly national conference presented by FOCUS.
“He said we were made not just for a relationship with God but added we are made for a deep intimacy with him,” he said. “My analytical side told me if the Eucharist is really Jesus then that’s the greatest source of grace on earth (going to receive him) so there should be nothing in my day that should stop me from that.”
“The girls I have been working with have so many questions. I have been focusing on trying to introduce them to a relationship with Jesus before answering the questions,” said first-year missionary Avery Hembrook, admitting that she does not think as analytically as the students — she majored in therapeutic recreation at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse — but she is happy to learn alongside the students. “I am not engineer minded so we challenge each other.”
When the missionaries first arrived on campus, they helped students move in and attended campus events, Newman Center Masses and other happenings. After this initial outreach, missionaries begin to organize, facilitate, and train students to lead small group Bible studies. The goal is to bring students closer to Christ and to help students establish and/or deepen their relationships with Christ.
“Through the Bible studies I was able to take an extra step and go a little deeper on a regular basis. I didn’t have anyone challenging me until that moment,” said first- year missionary Michael Newsham.
He was active at his Newman Center at Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., but it was with the FOCUS missionaries who started on campus his third year that he began to understand his relationship with Jesus.
“I had weekly accountability. I had to make time to read scripture and get to know Christ better to build a relationship with him. I didn’t really understand that part of my faith life up until that point.”
Within those Bible studies, FOCUS missionaries welcome students into a discipleship program teaching them how to take the faith out to their friends, lead their own Bible studies, and teach others how to pray.
It was in Henle’s fourth year at Winona State University in Minn., when she began to realize what kind of an effect this had on her faith life and her future. “My senior year I was leading a few girls, who were leading a few girls, who were leading a few girls, and I was able to see this beautiful reproduction of a life of prayer, virtue, and evangelization,” she said. “I was able to see that this might be something God might be calling me to do in the future — teach the faith.”
Fellowship is also an important part of the missionary’s time on campus. Events have included formations nights, men’s and women’s nights, camping, and coffee with the students.
“Events outside the Bible study with students is key to what we do. It allows us to get to know them outside the religious environment and build a relationship with them, so we can help build that relationship with Christ,” explained Newsham. “We make an invitation and have the patience to bear the fruit that only Christ can.”
606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702