Bishop Peter Muhich counts three permanent deacon ordinations and one transitional deacon ordination as highlights during his first year as Bishop of Rapid City. On June 29, he presented Deacon Joshua Lee a book of Gospels after Lee’s ordination as a transitional deacon. (L-R) Dcn. Bill White, Dcn. Rich Olsen, Bishop Muhich, Dcn. Greg Sass, Dcn. Joshua Lee, Master of Ceremonies Ken Orrock and Fr. Brian Chistensen, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral. (WRC photo by Laurie Hallstrom)
On July 9, I celebrated my first anniversary as a bishop. Even with the challenges of the pandemic and the various problems we have faced as a diocese I can honestly say that I am grateful for everything we have been through together.
Being a new bishop means learning many new things, from when to wear my mitre and when to hold my crosier to how to navigate through personnel matters. It has been a busy year. I have particularly enjoyed getting out to most of our parishes and look forward to visiting the rest soon. My guardian angel has kept me safe on long drives on the prairie and has helped me find things when my Google navigation has failed me in the Black Hills.
My first Christmas and Holy Week as a bishop at the Cathedral, my first ordination of three permanent deacons and one transitional deacon were highlights, as were my first round of confirmations across the diocese.
I have enjoyed getting to know my priests and deacons. They have all welcomed me warmly and I am impressed with the generosity of their service. I am grateful for the dedicated religious who serve our local church, from the Benedictine Sisters at St. Martin Monastery to the Jesuits Fathers and Brothers at Pine Ridge, Rosebud and St. Isaac Jogues, to the Ursuline Sisters at Pine Ridge, to the Franciscan Sisters at Standing Rock, to the Sacred Heart Fathers in Lower Brule, to our Hermit in Piedmont and the Fraternal Society of Saint Peter at Immaculate Conception Church in Rapid City.
The staff at our chancery have given me able assistance during a time of budget cuts and the need to do more with less. We said farewell to Susan Safford, who left us after years of effective ministry to care for her ill father, and recently celebrated Margaret
Simonson’s retirement after almost 23 years in the important role of chancellor.
An unexpected blessing has been the opportunity as bishop to welcome a new religious community to the diocese. The Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary have agreed to send sisters here to assist in important roles at the chancery (chancellor and director of pastoral ministries/faith formation) and at St. Thomas More Middle School and High School directing campus ministry and teaching theology.
I want to thank those of you who have sent donations to help us welcome these new sisters to the diocese, get them established in a new convent and provide for their needs. We have received a good number of donations for which I am most grateful. If you would like to help, donations large and small are still needed.
Looking back over my first year as your bishop, I clearly see the hand of God at work in our midst. He has seen me through challenges and given me many blessings. Western South Dakota is now my home, and I am honored to be the bishop of a local church that has such a rich history and such good people. Thank you for your prayers and support. I look forward to the things God will do in us and through us to build up the church in this beautiful place.