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Engaging the Word: July 27, 2014

King Solomon is the Old Testament figure most known for wisdom. As a young king instead of asking for wealth, health, or power King Solomon prayed for an even more precious gift—wisdom. What is wisdom? Wisdom is different than IQ. Wisdom does not mean knowing lots of facts or getting a good SAT score. Even uneducated people can be wise because wisdom means having the right priorities in life. If we have the right priorities, we will make wise choices.

Jesus is very clear about what our number one priority must be: our relationship with God. Our relationship with God is so important that it is worth giving up absolutely everything else in life in order to remain faithful. We cannot allow anything else in life to draw us away from the Lord, not even good things like family members and friends. God must be Number One.

Of course, if we get our number one priority right, other priorities will follow. A strong relationship with God will lead to better decisions all around. God, after all, has taught us how to live a good life by giving us his commandments. Wisdom will help us to follow these commandments with joy.


Engaging the Word: July 20, 2014

Jesus offers several images that give us insight into the difficulties faced by the Church. Some of these images, such as the images of the tiny mustard seed or the yeast, remind us that at times the Church will be a small minority. A small but faithful group, however, is better than a lukewarm crowd. It is more important to be faithful than to be popular!

Another image Jesus offers deals with a problem the Church has always faced: evil among the Church’s members. Jesus uses the image of the devil spreading weeds in a wheat field. But Jesus tells us that we shouldn’t tear up the whole field just because of the weeds. We can probably think of times when other Christians have hurt us in some way; we can even think of examples through-out history of priests and bishops who have com-mitted serious sins. But Jesus warns us not to let the sins of others draw us away from the Church. At the end of time, God will judge those who have done wrong. But if we focus on other people’s sins, we risk becoming weeds ourselves! Instead, we should focus ever more on following Christ, and pray that the Spirit comes to the aid of us all in our weakness.

Lakota Summer Camp

immersion camp 2For three weeks this July, 3rd and 4th grade students (including those from Sapa Un Academy) are experiencing Lakota Cultural & Language exposure activities in our Lakota Immersion Summer Camp. The goal of the camp is to give the students as much variety in Lakota cultural activities and use the Lakota language in those activities, to help foster use and understanding of the Lakota language and traditions.

During the three-week immersion camp, students are learning many aspects of the Lakota culture and using as much of the Lakota language as possible. Students are engaged in the following types of activities:

  • Learning about Lakota Songs & Dances (including learning how to sing the songs & do the dances)
  • Learning about different communities on the Rosebud, such as the Spring Creek Community, and learn community history
  • Learn how to build a tipi
  • Visit a sweat lodge and understand the sweat lodge cermony
  • Learn about honoring songs – learn to sing and say them
  • Participate in traditional Lakota arts & crafts including small items that can be beaded, quilled or painted
  • Take nature hikes, and learn the Lakota names for plants, trees and natural surroundings

These are just a few of the activities that our third and fourth graders are participating in. Stay tuned for more updates from the Immersion program as we finish off the month!

Family Recovery Program Times for July

In July, the 12-Hour Family Recovery program will be held from Monday, July 28th through Thursday, July 31st, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the Icimani Ya Waste’ Recovery Center in St. Francis.

The 12-Hour Family program is facilitated by local native people who live on the reservation, the program is structured to meet the needs of those family members who are living on the reservation.

Family Members will learn:

  • The side effects that drugs and alcohol have on the body and emotions.
  • The process of addiction and relapse.
  • Will learn about twelve step programs and other healthy ways designed for those who are affected by drugs and alcohol.
  • Learn different ways that will help you cope and maintain a less stressful life while coping with a person who is using drugs or alcohol.
  • The how and why alcoholism or drug addiction is a family disease.
  • About Co-dependency and have a greater understanding about the issues that surround the Co-dependent family member.
  • How to overcome these family roles and dynamics in a healthy way in order to bring about a healthier family structure.
  • Effective communication, listening and observing skills
  • Co-dependency and enabling conduct and its role in the addiction cycle and in family structure.

Administrative Leave will be granted to any Tribal Employee who wishes to attend, and there is no cost to attend.

For applications or questions you can contact: Geraldine at 747-5547 or Jim at (605)259-3365 or email:

Engaging the Word: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah compares the word of God to rain which changes dry land into fertile soil. God’s word brings change. Encountering God means not being satisfied with where we are but, instead, passionately desiring deeper conversion to a more God-like life. There is no standing still in the spiritual life; as Pope St. Gregory the Great wrote, when it come to our life of faith, “one who does not advance, retreats.”

Of course, meaningful change never comes easy. In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul compares the process of redemption to “groaning in labor pains.” The birth of a child is one of life’s most joyful moments—but it is also a difficult, even painful moment. Growth in the spiritual life also involves struggle and sacrifice.

In the Gospel Jesus warns that many people will turn away from the sacrifices involved in conversion: some will refuse to listen to the Gospel; others will hear but drift away or become distracted with other things. Only a minority will allow the word of God to take root in their hearts. But the life in store for those who remain faithful to God’s word will be far richer (a hundred times better!) than what we can imagine.

Engaging the Word: Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel would be remarkably egotistical if they were not true! Jesus claims power over “all things” and says that he himself gives us the only way to truly know the Father. In our quest to know God, there is no substitute for Jesus. If we reject Jesus, we cannot know God.

What about the Old Testament, we might ask, which was written centuries before Jesus was born? As we see in today’s first reading, even the Old Testament points the way to Jesus. The prophet Zechariah predicts the coming of a “just savior” who will proclaim peace “to the ends of the earth.” In all cultures and in all times, in fact, we can see hints of the Gospel, signs that point the way to Jesus.

Sometimes we will even be drawn to God by a feeling of incompleteness without him. The great convert St. Augustine experimented with different religions and tried to find meaning in career and sexual promiscuity, but he was never satisfied until he converted to Catholicism. “Our hearts are restless, until they rest in you,” he prayed to God. As Jesus promises at the end of today’s Gospel, he alone can give us the peace our hearts desire.

Engaging the Word: Solemnity of the Saint Peter and Paul, Apostles!

Today’s feast of St. Peter and St. Paul celebrates two great figures in the early history of the Church. These two apostles followed very different paths to Jesus, but the Church would not have survived and grown without their unique contribution. These two apostles are considered the founders of the Church of Rome, and St. Peter is counted as the first pope. Peter’s successor Pope Francis recently taught about the importance of the Church:

We are not isolated and we are not Christians on an individual basis, each to his or her own! We are Christians because we belong to the Church.

The Christian belongs to a people called the Church and this Church is what makes him or her Christian, on the day of Baptism, and then in the course of catechesis, and so on. But no one, no one becomes Christian on his or her own. This is the Church: one great family, where we are welcomed and learn to live as believers and disciples of the Lord Jesus.

In the Church there is no “do it yourself”, there are no “free agents”. At times one hears someone say: “I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, but I don’t care about the Church…” How many times have we heard this? And this is wrong. There are those who believe they can maintain a personal, direct and immediate relationship with Jesus Christ outside the communion and the mediation of the Church. These are dangerous and harmful temptations. It’s true that walking together is challenging, and at times can be tiring. But the Lord entrusted his message of salvation to a few human beings, with all their gifts and limitations. And this is what it means to belong to the Church. Remember this well: to be Christian means belonging to the Church.

You cannot love God without loving your brothers, you cannot love God outside of the Church; you cannot be in communion with God without being so in the Church, and we cannot be good Christians if we are not together with those who seek to follow the Lord Jesus, as one single people, one single body, and this is the Church. 

Support a Sapa Un Academy Student

In SeptembSchooler of 2013, St. Francis Mission established the Sapa Un Catholic Academy to provide bilingual and bicultural education for the students. The Academy requires strong family involvement and the staff works not only with the children but with their parents as well. We are proud to call the Academy by the name Sapa Un (which is the Lakota word for Catholic, as well as Jesuit or “Black Robe”).

We have recently started an Indie GoGo fundraiser to support a Sapa Un Academy student.  To support ONE student for ONE year, the cost is $10,000.  Our campaign is designed to cover the cost of one student.  Our Cost of a student covers two nutritious meals and one snack each day, supplies and materials for daily lessons, school equipment, and all other needs to allow a student to succeed during a school year.

If we do not reach our goal, the money will still be able to help offset the cost of sending a student to school for the year…every little bit helps!  If we reach our goal, the money will allow for one child from the Rosebud Reservation to attend school for a full year. If we exceed our goal, more than one child will benefit from a Sapa Un Academy education, one more child will help give the Lakota people hope that the future of their people is in good hands.

To learn more, or to contribute, head on over to Indie GoGo!




Body, Mind & Soul in Spring Creek!

BMS Graphic

Body, Mind & Soul Day Camp will be at Spring Creek next week at the blue religious education building from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. If you would like to attend, or have any questions, please call Jennifer Black Bear at 747-2436 and 828-1082.

Engaging the Word: Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Today we give special emphasis to the sacrament at the heart of our Catholic faith, the Eucharist. In the Gospel of John, Jesus expresses the Catholic teaching about Holy Communion: the “bread” and “wine” we receive at Mass are not bread and wine any longer, but become Jesus’ Body and Blood.  Jesus contrasts the “bread of life” (his body) with the “manna” eaten by the Jews’ ancestors. We hear about manna in the first reading from Exodus: when the Israelites were wandering in the desert under the direction of Moses, every morning God sent them a mysterious bread called “manna”. This manna saved them from starvation.

Even though the manna was miraculous, it only kept the Israelites alive in this world. The manna did not help the Israelites gain eternal life. Only the Body and Blood of Jesus can give us eternal life. Sometimes our relationship with God can focus too much on getting things we want in this world. But even the good things of this life—health, family, friends—only do us good in this life. Our relationship with God is the only thing we have that can survive the grave. And at the heart of this relationship with God is Holy Communion—when we become one with Jesus and becomes one with us.


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