Bishop-elect Steve Biegler

May the Lord be at your side as you shepherd the faithful in the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming
Bishop Robert D. Gruss, the Clergy and People of the Diocese of Rapid City

 

It’s such a great life of journeying with people in their faith

By Laurie Hallstrom
When a diocese becomes vacant because the bishop has been moved, retired or deceased, the Holy See looks for a man whose gifts and experiences are best suited to serve the particular needs of that local church. In the case of the neighboring state of Wyoming, the priest selected grew up on a farm-ranch, has driven many rural highways, lived in a very similar climate, served on a Native American reservation, and worked in a post energy boom town where the mines were closed.

March 16, news spread quickly — Pope Francis named Fr. Steve Biegler, 58, Rapid City, as the ninth Bishop of Cheyenne, Wyoming. The diocese encompasses the entire state.

Fr. Steve Biegler was born on March 22, 1959, in Mobridge. His family owns a farm-ranch operation near Timber Lake. His parents are Alfred (deceased) and Mary Biegler. He has six brothers and six sisters, including Rhonda Nickerson, who passed away July 9, 2010.

Growing up in Timber Lake, he attended Holy Cross Catholic School. He recalls that vocations were discussed at home. “My parents were always supportive if one of us were to have a religious vocation. I had a good family of prayer and faith and I see that as central to my vocation,” he said. “Fr. Jerry Scherer is my mother’s first cousin and he was close to our family. He stopped by a lot. With the school we had the Presentation Sisters out all the time and we would invite the parish priest, too.”

He graduated from Timber Lake High School in 1977. He attended the S.D. School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City for one year, 1977-78. “I took a day to think about life and seminary came to mind. I said, ‘Not right now, I’ll have to think about that.’ I was also considering ranching and having a family and those thoughts were part of considering the priesthood and celibacy,” said Bishop-elect Biegler.

Most of the next eight years, he worked on the family farm. “We had radios in the tractor, but I would often just turn the radio off. That was a really powerful place of meeting God in the beauty and quiet of nature,” he said, adding, “It was wonderful time for prayer and discernment.”

When he felt he needed a change, “I left for a little bit and went to Wyoming and worked with a construction crew filling in old underground coal mines around Glenrock near Casper. They had slurry of gravel and a compound similar to concrete. They were trying to stabilize those mines because they were caving in under the town.

“The priest in the town was the vocation director for the diocese, so I did end up talking to him a little bit,” said Bishop-elect Biegler.

He attended Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary and St. Mary College in Winona, Minn., from 1986-89 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. From 1989-1993, he attended the North American College in Rome where he received an STB or Bachelor of Sacred Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Rapid City at Holy Cross Church in Timber Lake on July 9, 1993.

“I went back to NAC as a faculty member from 2003 to 2006, and stayed another year, 2007, and finished a biblical theology degree,” he said. From the University of St. Thomas in Rome he received an STL (License in Biblical Theology).

In 2010-11, he served as Diocesan Administrator following the departure of then-Bishop Blase Cupich for his appointment as Bishop of Spokane, Wash., until the ordination of the current ordinary, Bishop Robert Gruss. “I had some experience of overseeing the diocese during that year, going out and doing confirmations — which a DA does, and I learned about the workings of the diocesan staff,” he said.

Bishop-elect Biegler said he will miss this diocese, family members, friends he has made at parishes where he served, and what he describes as “a great fraternity of priests.”

“For me, I’ve come to know that priesthood is where I belong and obviously it’s demanding but it’s so fulfilling, such a great life of journeying with people in their faith. So I’m excited to continue that journey. I’ll continue it there. I am looking forward to getting to know the people and priests as a bishop,” he said.

He already knows a few people in the diocese; his brother Royce Biegler and his wife, Kim, live in Gillette, and several nieces and nephews are in Wyoming. Fr. Steve Titus, the vocation director for the Diocese of Cheyenne was in Rome as a seminarian when Bishop-elect Biegler was a faculty member. Also, Fr. Andrew Kinstetter was a student at the School of Mines when Bishop-elect Biegler was the Newman Center Chaplain.

His episcopal ordination will be June 5. The West River Catholic will carry more details in the April issue.

(Editor’s note: Fr. Biegler is the second diocesan priest to be named a bishop. In 1978, Fr. Lawrence Welsh was named Bishop of Spokane. He later served as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis.)

 

 

Cheyenne’s Gain

By Bishop Robert D. Gruss 
Diocese of Rapid City

Bishop Robert Gruss was a seminarian at North American College in Rome with Fr. Steve Biegler. As diocesan administrator he was the first from the Diocese of Rapid City to greet Bishop-elect Gruss when he arrived in Rapid City.

Fr. Steve was the only person I knew in the diocese when I came here. He was very helpful in being the history of the diocese for me. Being the administrator, Fr. Steve could fill in the missing links in my very limited understanding of the history of the diocese as well as the current challenges that I would be facing as I began my new ministry .

Fr. Steve is a very competent and gifted pastor. He has the many gifts necessary to shepherd the people entrusted to his care. I have always found him to be very wise and discerning. He has a good mind which allows him to look at a situation, dissect what needs to happen, and provide great insight into the solutions. He may not enjoy administration (many of us don’t, myself included), but I think he is good at it. He has many gifts which will be an asset as he begins this new assignment in his life.

The people of the Diocese of Cheyenne are getting an exceptional priest and pastor. Bishop-elect Biegler is grounded in a relationship with Christ which guides and directs his life and ministry as a shepherd. The folks in the Diocese of Cheyenne are getting one of the best! He will be a great blessing to his new diocese.

While I hate to see him leave the Diocese of Rapid City, I am honored and grateful to have Bishop-elect Biegler as a fellow bishop and a part of the Episcopacy. The church is enriched as a result of this assignment for him. I look forward to sharing this ministry of the wider church with him.

Anytime you lose a priest of his caliber, it is a great loss. He will be deeply missed in the Diocese of Rapid City, both as my vicar general and as a great pastor. And given the shortage of priests that we are currently facing, it makes this loss even greater. But just as the Holy Spirit led him to this new ministry in the Church, the Spirit will continue to provide for the Diocese of Rapid City. Of this I am certain.

I wish Bishop-elect Biegler only the very best in his new assignment and ministry. He will touch the lives of many people in the Diocese of Cheyenne just as he has touched the lives of many people here in the Diocese of Rapid City. He is such a gifted man and his deep love for the Lord and for the poor and less fortunate will envelop his life and ministry there as well. He can be assured of my prayers as he transitions to this new phase of his life and priesthood.
  

 

 

 

Fr. Mark’s Musings

Lent Group Reconciliation Schedule

Fairfax, St. Anthony, Wednesday, Mar. 22—6:30 p.m. CT
Keystone, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Thursday, Mar. 23—4 p.m.
Sturgis, St. Francis, Thursday, Mar. 23—5 p.m., Reconciliation Open House
Hill City, St. Rose, Thursday, Mar. 23—7 p.m
Wall, St. Patrick, Sunday, Mar. 26—4 p.m. 
Colome, St. Isidore, Sunday, Mar. 26—6 p.m. CT
Timber Lake, Holy Cross, Sunday, Mar. 26—7 p.m.
Isabel, St. Mary, Monday, Mar. 27—6 p.m.
Rapid City, Blessed Sacrament, Monday, Mar. 27—7 p.m.
Buffalo, St. Anthony, Monday, Mar. 27—7 p.m.
McLaughlin, St. Bernard, Tuesday, Mar. 28—7 p.m.
Gregory, St. Joseph, Wednesday, Mar. 29—6:30 p.m. CT
Martin, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Wednesday, Mar. 29—7 p.m.
McIntosh, St. Bonaventure, Thursday, Mar. 30—6 p.m.
Newell, St. Mary, Thursday, Mar. 30—6 p.m., Reconciliation Open House
Ft Pierre, St. John, Thursday, Mar. 30—6:30 p.m. CT
Rapid City, St. Isaac Jogues, Thursday, Mar. 30—7 p.m.
Belle Fourche, St. Paul, Saturday, Apr. 1—1 p.m., Reconciliation Open House
Murdo, St. Martin, Thursday, Apr. 6—6 p.m. CT
Spearfish, St. Joseph, Saturday, Apr. 8—1 p.m., Reconciliation Open House
Dupree, Sacred Heart, Palm Sunday, Apr. 9—4 p.m.
Eagle Butte, All Saints, Palm Sunday, Apr. 9—4 p.m.  
Faith, St. Joseph, Palm Sunday, Apr. 9—7 p.m.

West River Catholic: February 2017

Enjoy the February edition of the West River Catholic

Download the PDF

Introducing the South Dakota Catholic Conference

Statement from the Roman Catholic Bishops of South Dakota

Click here to see the full statement

The Most Reverend Robert D. Gruss, Bishop of Rapid City, and the Most Reverend Paul J. Swain, Bishop of Sioux Falls, announce their intention to establish the South Dakota Catholic Conference (SDCC). The Conference will serve as the official voice of the bishops of South Dakota on issues of public policy, providing explanations of Church teaching and their practical application.

A state Catholic conference, which most states have established including those in our neighboring states of North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Montana, monitors, responds to and educates Catholics about proposed public policies that impact life and the dignity of the human persons, religious liberty and other issues which affect the rights of Catholics to practice their faith both personally and in the public square.

The South Dakota Catholic Conference will follow the development of public policies and communicate with public officials in all branches and at all levels of governments not only during a legislative session but throughout the year. Among the tasks of the Conference will be to focus on issues that are of common concern among Catholic organizations, other faith-based communities, and secular agencies to promote the common good.

“Through advocacy and education based on Catholic moral and social teachings, the Conference will allow Catholics to become better informed about and comment on the public policy issues of the day not only before the legislature but in all of government”, said Bishop Paul Swain.

“It is our hope that the South Dakota Catholic Conference will help all Catholics in our state to become better informed on public policy matters and thereby be able to respond as faithful Catholics and faithful citizens,” said Bishop Robert Gruss.

Those interested in the position for the Executive Director are encouraged to contact the Office of Human Resources of the Diocese of Sioux Falls.

The Diocesan Priority Plan — February 2017

Foundational Ministry: Social Services & Outreach

GOAL: Establish a task force to assess the needs of the Hispanic community and make recommendations to the Bishop by January 1, 2017.
While the predominant non-European ethnic group in our diocese is Lakota, the Diocese of Rapid City also includes a Hispanic/Latino Community that comprises about 5-10 percent of our Catholics. Many of these Spanish speaking parishioners have some English language capability but do not speak or read English well enough to fully participate in programs such as Veritatis Splendor Institute, Pastoral Ministry Days or other diocesan programs. In addition, very few others in western South Dakota speak enough Spanish to help facilitate better communications with Spanish-speaking Catholics.

The diocese has no office for Hispanic ministry. Father Janusz Korban serves as a chaplain for the Spanish Masses in Hill City and at Blessed Sacrament in Rapid City. Father Korban is originally from Poland. He received four months of Spanish language training in Mexico prior to taking on this ministry.

As a first step in establishing a Hispanic Ministry Task Force, Bishop Robert Gruss met with a group of interested individuals on December, 13, 2016. The group included Fr. Janusz Korban, Barbara Linares, Maria Munoz, Mary Ireland, Dr. Romeo Vivit and Jaime Munoz. They discussed the goal for Hispanic Ministry in the diocese and the possibility of bringing in a team to help start a program called V Encuentro*, which would provide education and support for local Catholics in Hispanic ministry. Bishop Gruss tasked the group with assessing the needs of the Hispanic Catholics in our diocese and creating a plan to implement V Encuentro in the Diocese of Rapid City.

Father Korban had already put together a group to look at ways to form and strengthen Hispanic leaders in our diocese through V Encuentro. The V Encuentro Committee met on January 29 to begin work on the needs assessment. M. Delores Munoz, Mary Ireland, Chava Correa and Cristina Cruz have joined several committee members working on this project. In addition to the experiences and familiarity that each member brings to this discussion, they decided to survey the Hispanics/ Latinos about the needs to make sure that everyone has a chance to be part of the process.

The survey is available in both Spanish and English, in paper form and online. The survey will be available through March 5. Online surveys can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HispanaFeb2017 (Spanish language) or https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Hispanic2017 (English language) The committee will review the survey data and use it to prepare a prioritized list of needs along with suggestions and comments about how those needs might best be served. They will then present these findings and recommendations to Bishop Gruss by April 1.

* V Encuentro is an organization dedicated to supporting and educating leaders for Hispanic/Latino Catholics. It began under the USCCB to help bishops and communities work together in this ministry. In the context of this dialogue among the bishops and the community, we live a spirit of pastoral ministry illuminated by an ecclesiological communion and missionary vocation that seeks to reach out to those who find themselves estranged from the life and vision of the church. The main objective of the process of the Encuentro is to discern the way in which Hispanics/Latinos respond as church. Web address: http://vencuentro.org/.

Diocesan Pastoral Priorities: Funding the Mission

GOAL: Develop a Diocesan Facility Master Plan by March 1, 2017 to include:
• Plans for a new chancery building
• Plans for the Terra Sancta campus

The Priority Plan continues to unfold. Bishop Robert Gruss is moving forward to re-envision and if necessary realign the diocesan structure. He has contracted with the Catholic Leadership Institute of Wayne, Pennsylvania, to assist him with an assessment of chancery ministries.

Bishop Gruss said, “It is important that the diocese is able to do ministry as we want it done, as well as asking, ‘Do we have the staff to do it?’’

The assessment will begin by examining information on the roles, budgets and processes of diocesan ministries. A consultant from the Catholic Leadership Institute has already begun interviewing department heads via phone regarding strengths and needs of each ministry and office.

Once this is completed, Bishop Gruss will work with diocesan leadership to review the assessment along with the Priority Plan vision, mission and goals for the diocese to develop a plan for the chancery. This is similar to the Envisioning process that the diocese and many of the parishes have been working on since the Catholic Leadership Institute first began consultation with the diocese for the Good Leaders, Good Shepherds Program in 2013.

“By the end of May we should have a clearer vision of who we are, what we want to become and how to make any necessary changes,” said Bishop Gruss.

 

Attention Musicians: Join the Diocesan Choir for the Chrism Mass

Hello everyone!

I would like to personally invite you to join our Diocesan Choir for the Chrism Mass April 2,  7pm, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City.

In  following our Bishop’s call to be “good stewards” for our diocese I strongly encourage you to prayerfully consider joining us for this very special Mass and be a good steward of the gifts God has given you. The Chrism Mass is a blend of music, holy oils being blessed, and a time for laity to support their priests. I have listed the dates and times of our choir rehearsals, all of which are held at the Cathedral. I would ask that if you live near Rapid City, you attend at least two of these rehearsals. If you are not able to attend these rehearsals but would still like to share your musical talents, please contact me at thyschroeder@vastbb.net or by calling 605-341-1143. If you have any questions please contact me and I will be happy to help you as I am able.

Rehearsal dates at the Cathedral (choir loft) are as follows:
Saturday, March 25 – 10am-noon
Sunday, April 2 – 1-2:30pm

Please prayerfully consider joining us for the Chrism Mass — even if you decide not to sing in the choir — so that we can show our support to our priests as they renew their commitment to the ministry to which they were ordained.

Thank you and may God’s grace be upon you! 

—Terry Schroeder
605-341-1143
thyshroeder@vastbb.net

S.D. Bishops Joint Statement

Statement Regarding Senate Bill 149
A bill to uphold religious freedoms afforded to adoption agencies and child placement services
On February 14, Bishop Robert D. Gruss, Diocese of Rapid City, and Bishop Paul J. Swain, Diocese of Sioux Falls, issued a statement supporting S.D. Senate Bill 149. SB 149 would help assure the legal protections of religious freedom so that our faith-based adoption and child placement service providers might continue their important works in accord with their missions. SB 149 would also preserve the diversity in child placement that exists today and ensure that the well-being of children remains the first and foremost concern when being placed with families. Click here for a the full statement.