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78th Annual Tekakwitha Conference in Rapid City

The SFM youth group attended the 78th Annual Tekakwitha Conference in Rapid City, SD. The Conference started on July 19-23rd, the theme was “Loving one another through the spirit of St. Kateri.” The vision of the Tekakwitha Conference: The Tekakwitha Conference is the Voice, Presence, and Identity of Indigenous Catholics of North America under the protection and inspiration of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. South Dakota hosted the Conference this year with the Planning Committee members from Pine Ridge, Rapid City, and Ben and Jenny from Rosebud.

Ben and Jenny Black Bear, III were asked to present workshops for youth 13-17 years for the Conference. There were over 50 youth registered. Our opening workshop on Thursday we presented about St. Kateri, prayed together and did ice breaker games with the youth. Deacon Ben also talked to the youth about St. Kateri and how her life was as a Native American. Our second workshop we started beading St. Kateri Pins with all the youth. Our third workshop on Friday morning, we continued our beading of the St. Kateri Pins. We then had a cultural day at Crazy Horse in the afternoon on Friday. On Saturday our final workshop, we did a living rosary with all the youth. We used glow sticks for this activity and all the youth prayed together. The rest of our day we toured the Museum of Geology, the Journey Museum and we had lunch at Canyon Lake Park. The youth were able to relax and play games with Jacque and Annie Daniels from Rapid City, leading the games!

During the opening address, the Oglala Chairman, Troy Scott Weston addressed the Conference attendees, including our youth. He recognized our youth as being the next generation and said he was honored and pleased that they were a part of the Conference! They were sitting front and center! We received compliments all weekend about how well mannered and respectful the SFM youth group members were. We are very proud of all of the youth and for their participation in the Conference. Our youth were asked a couple times during the weekend to participate in the liturgy as gift bearers. They did not hesitate and jumped up each time!

There were so many people at the Tekakwitha Conference and we were very happy to have the chance to see Father Tony Lusvardi, SJ and Father Chris Johnson, SJ. We were greatly honored to visit with Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap and Father Henry Sands, Executive Director of Black And Indian Missions.

We were very honored and thankful to spend the weekend with Deacon Ben Black Bear, Jr., who has been a Deacon for over 4o years. Next years Tekakwitha Conference will be held in Tacoma, WA.. Our youth are excited about next years Conference and have asked if it would be possible to participate and even talked about making their own regalia and starting our own Youth Kateri Circle. Big thank you to our Chaperones Darice, Shania and Wicahpi!

It was a great honor to attend this Conference with the youth group. Thank you to everyone who made it possible for our youth to attend this Conference!

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