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Mission News

Engaging the Word: 10/19/2014

In the reading this week from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah we hear how King Cyrus, a king who does not know God, is anointed by God to do God’s work. Taken together with the other readings assigned for this week, perhaps the message is to   remember that there is in truth just one reality, one universe. The believer cannot put on his or her  Christian hat in one moment and live in God’s reality only to take it off in the next to put on a secular hat and live in a world in which God is absent. The counsel is not to abandon the secular reality for God’s reality, but rather to see God present and working in all things.

In Jesus’ counsel to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, Jesus is reminding us that we must acquit ourselves to our times. The world and all that is in it has been given to us that we might know God. As Paul explains, this knowing is not merely intellectual or even spiritual but experiential. Living in this world of materiality and immateriality, we are made to experience the love of God and share it with all creation. To paraphrase Pierre      Teilhard de Chardin, nothing is profane for those with eyes to see. Indeed we meet God in the every day, in the mundane, in the washing of the feet, in the fruit of the field and work of human hands. With the eyes of faith we can meet God in the every day. May we find the grace to seek the love of God in the every day and share it with our brothers and sisters.


1st Reading: Isaiah 45: 1, 4-6 ~ Responsorial: Psalm 96: 1, 3-5, 7-10

2nd Reading:1 Thessalonians 1: 1-5 , 19-20~ Gospel: Matthew 22: 15-21


Pumpkin Carving & Game Night with SFM Youth Group!

The SFM Youth Group in collaboration with the St. Francis Community will be having a Pumpkin Carving/Game Night at the Digmann Hall in St. Francis on Monday, October 20th from 6-8 p.m. All youth ages 10 – 18 years are invited to attend.  If you have any questions or want to sign your youth up for the youth group, please call Jenny at 747-2436 or 828-1082.  The SFM Youth Group will not be responsible for accidents, thefts or injuries.


October 12-Hour Family Recovery Program Dates & Times

The October 12-Hour Family Recovery Program will take place on Monday, October 20th through Thursday October 23rd, 2014 from 10:00am to 1:00pm at Icimani Ya Waste’ Recovery Center, St. Francis, South Dakota.


Icimani Ya Waste’ Recovery Center is hosting the 12-Hour Family Recovery Program this month

The 12-Hour Family program is facilitated by local native people who live on the reservation. The program includes video clips and live role plays and 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.
  • Including more information related to families and their well –


Administrative Leave will be granted to any Tribal Employee who wishes to attend. The cost to attend the program is $50.00 per person, and must be paid in advance.

For applications or questions, contact:

Geraldine Provencial at (605)747-5547 or Jim at (605)259-3365 or email us at

Engaging the Word: 10/12/14

What if you decided to accept an invitation to a sporting event or a concert or a play and decided to sit backward in your seat or to put on headphones or even go to sleep?  What would  happen is that you would miss the game or the show.  One can bodily show up for a party and still not be there.  If you do not join in with what is happening you miss out.  That is just the way it is.

From the perspective of those who want to watch or participate in the game or put on or see the show or host or enjoy the party, the person who does not join in is wasting an  opportunity.  From the perspective of those who want to join in, the one who excludes himself or herself is throwing himself or herself outside to wail and grind his or her teeth.

God has made a wonderful world to live in and enjoy.  It is a party born out of pure love and the rule of the party is love.  Now, love needs to be free.  So we free creatures who have been invited to the party that is the Kingdom of Heaven can either join in or stand to the side and selfishly call the whole thing stupid.   When one chooses not to join in he or she can ruin the party a bit, but only in time.  When the temporal party is over, when life in time comes to end and one enters into eternity, he or she will live with the eternal fact that he or she has written in time, either one chose love or one rejected love.  Living with that fact in eternity will either be eternally hellish or eternally blissful.

The good news, of course, is that as long as the game or show is still going on we can turn around in our seats, we can take off the headphones, we can wake up.  As long as the party in time is still going on we can choose to join in for now and into eternity.   Our all good Creator continues to offer us the gift of love and invites us to respond to the invitation in love and freely share it with one another.  We can either enter into the party or even in our bodily presence throw ourselves outside.  Let us pray for the grace to receive and share all that our loving God has to offer.

1st Reading:  Isaiah 25: 6-10 ~ Responsorial: Psalm 23: 1-6

2nd Reading:  Philippians 4: 12-14, 19-20~ Gospel: Matthew 22: 1-14



SFM Youth Group Game Nights!

The SFM Youth Group has continued to grow!  For two weeks in a row, we have held Game Nights with our growing Youth Group.  The youth played basketball & volleyball, got snacks and had a lot of fun.

We will be having another Game Night on Monday, October 13th at the Digmann Hall in St. Francis from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.  All youth ages 10-18 are welcome!  For more information, contact Jenny Black Bear at 605-747-2436.

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Engaging the Word: 10/05/2014

If God did such a good job creating things, why is the world such a mess?  If we are made for peace and unity with God and one another, why is there so much violence and division?  Some might say, “What a waste!”

Indeed, in a way it is a waste, but in another way creation might be seen to be a waste if there were no one to freely appreciate it.  Planets revolving around the sun, trees growing, birds singing, and human beings automatically doing everything well and rightly would all be lovely, but it would be a bit like a train set with God at the controls and no one else to watch.

Now, we understand that God in the dance of the Trinity is as happy as can be and has no need of creation to magnify that happiness, but for whatever reason, presumably to share happiness, God freely   creates, sustains, and transforms.  The most interesting feature of God’s train set is that placed in it are creatures that can either play along or complain, can either cooperate or do their own thing, can either say, “Hey God, nice creation; it’s great to be alive,” or outright lie and grumble “This creation isn’t so great; I could have done    better.”

So, the Lord has planted a wonderful garden and given it all that it needs, but the Lord has also placed in it free creatures who can play along or not.  If they all did, their souls would magnify the greatness of the Lord.  As they all do not, they testify to the greatness of God’s love for us but make the world a mess.

So how do we find peace in a world in which free creatures by their selfish choices have let loose evil?  Well, as the psalmist suggests, call on the Lord.  Turning to our loving God is the first step in     coming to act with justice and make the Kingdom of God at least a bit more real.  Another step is to take the advice of St. Paul, who  suggests that in this world so infected with what is evil we need to focus on the good things, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,” and whatever is excellent and worthy of praise.  If we do and continue to act on what we have learned and received and heard and seen in faith, then the God of peace will be with us.


1st Reading:  Isaiah 5: 1-7 ~ Responsorial: Psalm 80: 9, 12-16, 19-20

2nd Reading:  Philippians 4: 6-9~ Gospel: Matthew 21: 33-43


Sapa Un Academy: September Update!

School started for the Sapa Un Academy in September, and our students, teachers & staff have been busy working on projects and learning!  We’ve collected some highlights from the first month to share!

Dental Health

Marty Jones from the St. Francis Mission Dental Clinic presented information on dental health to the students. We started a brushing program where the students brush after meals here at the school. The dental clinic provided the materials for us!  Here are some pictures of the students learning to brush correctly!

Dental 1 Dental 2

Art & Painting

Our first art unit was watercolors. As we go through the year, students are submitting choice artwork from each unit to be part of an art show and auction later in the year designed to provide an authentic art experience for students. Funds raised will be donated to a charity of the students’ choice to support art education in underprivileged areas.

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Hands on Science!

This project was from our science unit in the first week of school. We are trying to incorporate writing and interactive notebooks with hands on science activities to help with critical thinking skills and to teach students the way real scientists work in the world.  This activity was called, “Save Fred” and students used gummy worms, gummy lifesavers, paper clips and cups…they were to get the lifesaver from under the “boat” (cup) and place it on Fred, the gummy worm without using their hands. They then took notes and discussed their strategies.

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Engaging the Word: 09/28/14

In the version of the our father given in Luke’s Gospel, it seems that Jesus gives a simple and straightforward definition of the Kingdom of God. In giving the prayer Jesus says, “thy Kingdom come,” and then goes on to describe the Kingdom as that circumstance in which God’s will is done “on earth as it is in heaven.”  Heaven is that place where God’s will is perfectly known and done. The Kingdom or the Reign of God, is       realized when God’s will is known and done on earth just as it is in heaven.  One of the big differences between heaven and earth is that heaven is eternal, existing outside of time and space, and earth is temporal, a place where things can change for better or for worse.

The reading this Sunday from the profit Ezekiel hints at the good news that Jesus will share in his preaching, the good news that the Kingdom of God is at hand and that it any      moment in time we can stop, take stock of our situation, and step into the Kingdom by coming to know and do God’s will.  Ezekiel points to the fact that in time we have the chance to turn around and head in the right direction. The direction in which we are headed really does matter, does have eternal  consequences.

The Psalm selected for this Sunday is a prayer for guidance, that we may know the good way, and the selection from Paul’s letter to the Philippians encourages us to, like Jesus, follow the good way no matter the cost.

In the selection for Matthew’s Gospel this week, we hear Jesus remind us that good intentions are not enough. Although the invitation to life in the Kingdom comes without a cost, life in the Kingdom is about action, about love.  If one is not actively receiving and sharing the love of God, one has abandoned the free invitation of eternal life with God.

May we receive the grace to genuinely enter into the Kingdom, to come to know God’s will and let it no matter the cost.


1st Reading:  Ezekiel 18: 25-28 ~ Responsorial: Psalm 25: 4-5, 6–9

2nd Reading:  Philippians 2: 1-11~ Gospel: Matthew 21:28-32


St. Francis Mission Clinic Seeing Success

In the latest issue of the South Dakota Dental Association news magazine, there was an article on the St. Francis Mission Dental Clinic. We’ve transcribed it for you here! The article is a great look at what the clinic is doing, the experience of our volunteers and how volunteers can help!

Over the past two years 25 SDDA member dentists, and many of their staff, have provided care to patients of the St. Francis Mission Dental Clinic on the Rosebud Reservation.  Included among them are general dentists and specialists, dental students and retired dentists.  Several members have made repeated trips to the Mission.  Most recently, the SDDA hosted dentists during events in June and September.  Another event is scheduled for January 12-16 2015.  “It’s a unique experience,” said Dr. Ed Lynch, of Rapid City, who was just recently at the clinic.  “You’re working in an undeserved area, treating patients with great needs, yet you’re working in a fully-functioning dental clinic with access to everything you need to provide quality care,” he added.

Dentists and staff who volunteer at the clinic not only have a great environment to work in, they are also guests of the Mission which provides meals and housing.  Dr. Leslie Heinemann, of Flandreau, along with his wife Libby and members of his staff, have been to the Mission twice.  “It’s very nice to have accommodations right on site. We stay at the Mission’s guest house and can walk from there to the clinic each morning. At the end of a long day, it’s nice to have dinner at the Mission and then go back and relax at the guest house,” said Heinemann. “They take good care of us,” he added.

The focus for the Mission Clinic is to improve the oral and general health of Native Americans living on the Rosebud Reservation by having volunteers provide care on the reservation.  Rapid City dentist Dr. Jeff Olson was one of the dentists that established the clinic. Dr. Olson was impressed by the amount of volunteers who were willing to lend a helping hand during recent events at the clinic. “It’s so great working with people that care like we do. All the patients are so grateful to receive care that they hadn’t had the opportunity to receive before and most important, we’re saving teeth,” says Dr. Olson.  “This event addresses the backlog of restorative care needs while educating local residents on the benefits of preventing cavities and other oral health conditions.”

Volunteers are welcomed for any length of time. A typical week-long event at the clinic will include two or more shifts of dentists and staff each typically working two or two-and-half days.  Some dentst are there for only a day, while others stay for the full week.  The dentist is most efficient when they bring their own assistant with them. Hygienists are also needed at the clinic.

At a typical event, dentists will treat many patients that are making their first visit to the dentist and will need significant restorative needs.  Although, after two years of operation, the clinic now has its own base of patients who return regularly for preventative maintenance.

The Mission will host SDDA volunteers every two months.  The next event is scheduled for January 12-16, 2015.  Another event is being planned for March, Dentists, and/or staff, who want to volunteer should contact Paul Knecht or Brenda Goeden at the SDDA office by calling 605-224-9133 or email to or


Looking back on Summer: Body, Mind & Soul camp!

The 2014 Body, Mind, and Soul Program was a huge success! Our Jesuit Volunteers – Mike Prate and Mike O’Neill, Betty, Beth, our cook and Jenny Black Bear were the staff for the Body, Mind & Soul summer camp, which were held in five communities this summer. The theme for the camps this year was “Weird animals, Where Jesus’ love is one of a kind.” Each day the team reinforced one simple Bible point, which made it easy for kids to remember and apply to real life. There were Bible memory buddies that the kids could wear, share, read, and take home, as well as rotation stations to help scripture stick.

Each day, kids moved throughout activity stations in groups. Every station was designed to reinforce the daily bible point in a hands-on, interactive way. There were KidVid Cinema where real kids shared real stories of how God is working in their lives. These powerful videos connect the Scriptures to modern life like never before. There was a Critter Cafe, where the kids were able to prepare yummy snacks each day and talk to one another about the daily bible verse. There were also games games, arts & crafts and lunch!

The first camp was held in Parmelee, which was our biggest camp, with between 40-50 kids attending each day. The second week, the camp was held in St. Francis, and we were able to give the kids a tour of the Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum. Tony Lusvardi, SJ gave the kids a tour of the St. Charles Catholic church and answered any questions they had about the Church and about the statues! We also had a bulling prevention class with Arlie Eastman, a school counselor at St. Francis Indian School. We were able to go to radio station KINI and record bully prevention messages that are played on the radio. Our camp in Rosebud was another one of our bigger camps, which we held at the CYO building. We had the Mission Body, Mind & Soul camp going on at the same time. We finished the series with our last camp in Spring Creek.

Bags decorated by the children!

Bags decorated by the children!


Children at the St. Francis Camp


High School Students helping out!

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Campers at KINI

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Campers at St. Charles


Anti-Bullying Program

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Signs for Camp

We were blessed this year with two Jesuit high schools who came to help with our camps. St. Xavier school from Cincinnati, Ohio, came the 2nd week of June and stayed for 2 weeks, helping with the St. Francis and Rosebud camps. The Tampa Jesuit school, from Tampa, FL came the 3rd week of June, stayed for one week and helped with the Mission Camp. We were fortunate to have two schools here the same week, so we did two camps at once. We had Rosebud/Mission in the same week.

We are grateful and thankful for the two Jesuit schools for being able to come and help us make this years Body, Mind & Soul a huge success! Thank you to the staff and Jesuit Volunteers in Religious Education and all volunteers! We hope to go to more communities with our Body, Mind, and Soul Camps in the future!



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