Preserving a Catholic Community
By Kathy Cordes, Diocesan Archivist
Has your prayer life strengthened? Has your family bonded like never before? Have you watched Mass at your parish on social media? A few of our greatest blessings during our quarantine time — priests on social media, Mass and being able to watch multiple homilies on any given day, talks concerning discernment and other areas of prayer-life, the Quarantine Quiz by the Office of Faith Formation, walking with the saints, learning how Star Wars relates to my faith and watching a priest humbly ironing altar linens!
These memories we create now in this 2020 pandemic are of great significance for our future history and for our archives.
The diocesan archives move has been completed and renamed the St. Anthony of Padua diocesan archives. St. Anthony is an archival patron saint, definitely mine! For example, while trying to locate a letter from the era of the 1960’s, I often say the little prayer my grandmother taught me …. “Tony, Tony come around, somethings lost and can’t be found.” Do you do this, too? St. Anthony does come around, many times. This quarantine has been a boon to the archives as I am able to put, dare I say organize, the archives in working order after the Chancery merge and move.
Did you see the recently released “Walking the Good Red Road: Nicholas Black Elk’s Journey to Sainthood?” This docu-drama has been very well received. I have had many, many calls from all over the United States and Canada.
After talking with these Black Elk enthusiasts from all over the country, it has really come to light how blessed we are during this pandemic time to have internet and social media to connect with each other. While we pray daily for those suffering or those who have lost a loved one, we must remember past pandemics, when people were without the privileges of modern technology. The influenza pandemic in 1918 or the polio epidemic in which schools closed in South Dakota circa late 1940s … we must preserve the history that belongs with these events.
We must write our stories, photograph and share our stories so that future generations will be able to garner knowledge and valuable information. Future archivists and genealogists will be able to research and find answers to their questions, because of us.
Our parishes were recently asked to send in their pandemic plans to promote the gospel during these trying times. So, please, send YOUR story along with your parish story to the archives. Preserve your family and our church history. The archives are the foundation of our Catholic Church history. Just like 1948, 2020 will be a year to remember.