We are fortunate to have a young priest . Fr. Jacob Boddicker - as part of our pastoral team. Fr. Jacob, who was ordained in 2017, grew up in rural Iowa and feels very much at home on the prairie. He serves two parishes - St. Thomas in Mission and Sacred Heart in White River which recently celebrated its centennial. In his homily at the celebration Fr. Jacob said: "Jesus came to White River not because He was tired of Heaven. He came here that He might have dinner with us, here, in the house many of our ancestors built for Him; at this table He feeds us His Body and Blood. Yet He does not want it to stop here: He wants to go home with you. He wants to stay in the house of each one of us; more than our house, but our hearts first and foremost."
Much of Fr. Jacob's work involves a ministry of the heart - the works of mercy, especially consoling the sorrowful and burying the dead. Funerals on the Rosebud often involve all-night wake services for two successive days with families and friends working together to feed the mourners and comfort them. Fr. Jacob is there with the hope of the Gospel.
Besides serving the sacramental needs of his two parishes, Fr. Jacob also reaches out to the wider community with two other works of mercy. On Thursdays he celebrates Mass with the elders at the White River Health Care Center. On Mondays he visits the tribal jails where he leads Bible study for the inmates. He told me that after one session, a young woman with tears in her eyes told him that it seemed like the Scripture passage was written just for her and came to her just when she needed it.
Fr. Jacob is also on call at the alcohol and meth treatment centers where he is available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and 5th Steps in the 12 Step program of recovery. With his busy black beard, Fr. Jacob looks like one of the "Black Robes" who first came to the Rosebud in the late 1800's!
Watch our Sapa Un students honoring the dental volunteers from around S.D. who came to give them their annual check-up.
With the help of many supporters who sent us donations of winter gear, we were able to distribute 3,000 lbs. of clothing in one hour!
Because of generous support from the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, our youth group was able to join 20,000 other high schoolers at the annual National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis. They met Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., were asked to lead prayer, and participated in a forum on diversity.
Our winter continues to be a challenge, with two more blizzards rolling across the prairie last month after two in October. As we reflect on how the Holy Family could find no place to stay in Bethlehem, I'm grateful that St. Francis Mission has found a place in your hearts. Your spiritual and material support brings warmth and light to us during this difficult time of year. Thank you!