Office of Native Ministry
The Diocese of Rapid City established the Office of Native Ministry to serve as a liaison between the Native community and the diocese. This ministry is significant because Native Americans comprise 27% of the Catholic population in the diocese.
In an effort to include and support Native ministry across the diocese, the Director of the Office of Native Ministry works in collaboration with the staff at the Sioux Spiritual Center to develop and promote programs relevant to the spiritual needs of Native People. The Sioux Spiritual Center, is a retreat center and house of prayer established specifically for Native People. It serves as a catalyst for:
- Retreat and spiritual development utilizing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius,
- The formation of Lakota catechists, lay ministers, deacons and priests,
- The preparation of missionary personnel assigned to minister in Native Communities across the United States and Canada,
- The development of inculturated liturgy and theology.
Please contact Sr. Sara Kowal, email@example.com or 605-343-3541, for more information or registration.
As a result of inculturation and the concerted efforts of Native people, priests and Native deacons, an indigenous retreat was developed named Canku Wakan (Holy Road). This is a four day spiritual journey utilizing an inculturated form of prayer inclusive of Lakota and Catholic rituals, traditions and ceremonies designed to bring participants to a closer relationship with Tunkasila (God the Father). During this prayer experience, Native Catholic leaders give presentations and share personal testimonies of faith.
A sweat lodge ceremony (Inipi ceremony) and morning prayer with the sacred pipe, sweet grass and sage blessings, the Eucharist, talking circle and a healing service are some of the common prayer forms associated with this retreat. Participants come away validated in their faith expression and filled with Woniya Wakan (the Holy Spirit).
Nicholas Black Elk
Highlights from the Holiness of Nicholas William Black Elk, Sr., 1858 – 1950
As a youth, Black Elk received a great vision to serve Wakantanka, the Great Spirit, and he became a great healer among the Lakota people. But called to serve more, he embraced baptism and Jesus as his savior, which he saw as fulfilling their way of life. Thereafter, over 400 native people heeded his call and we’re baptized as well.
The Life & Holiness of Nicholas Black Elk, Our Brother in Jesus Christ
By Mark G. Thiel, Marquette University Archives, with narration by Ben Black Bear, Jr.
Why canonize him? Why now?
Pastoral Letter by Black Elk in Sinasapa Wocekine
Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Records, Series 13-1 Collected Publications
Letter written on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation at Manderson, south Dakota, January 6, 1914, published in Sinasapa Wocekine Taeyanapaha on the Fort Totten Indain Reservation at St. Michael’s Mission, Fort Totten, North Dakota, Vol. 18, no. 7 (February 15, 1914): Verso of supplement without pagination.
“We have a very fine church indeed: First of all we had a big Thanks, so that is what I shall say, the way: Our church is very large and tall, inside a very large yellow lamp shines, and each day a bell is run. Yes, my Relatives, it is where you go to and come from. It is right to examine this house. Though it be dark, it is alright to see with this lamp. And though it be disagreeably hot, it is proper for you to listen for the bell. Since the Catholic Church alone is very large within, there are Lord’s Word resides. There is a light, this bell, or the priest that show up, so it is appropriate for us to go there and listen to them.”