St. Katharine Drexel — June 2016

St Katharine(Mother M. Francis Xavier McCann and St. Katharine Drexel with Navajo men and two Franciscans near St. Michaels, Ariz, where the Sister of the Blessed Sacrament teach at St. Michael Indian School. Photo courtesy of the Archives of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.)

Katharine Drexel was born in Philadelphia into a wealthy family in 1858. Her mother died when she was only five-weeks old, and her father remarried a kind woman who became a devoted mother. Her parents taught her from an early age that their wealth was not their own and should be shared with others. Katherine received a private education at home and traveled widely throughout the United States and Europe. Her parents distributed food, clothing, and rent assistance to the poor from their home.

When they heard of someone too ashamed to come for help, they assisted them quietly, as their stepmother taught them, “Kindness may be unkind if it leaves a sting behind.”

In Katharine’s travels, she saw first-hand the difficult situation of African Americans and Native Americans and was determined to use her wealth for good to assist them. At about age 27, when her parents died, Katharine inherited a vast fortune. She immediately began to contribute money for schools and missions, establishing a school for Native Americans in Sante Fe, N.M., for African Americans in New Orleans, La., and to assist the mission at St. Francis on the Rosebud Reservation, and many other places.

Although she had received several marriage proposals, Katherine determined to give her whole life and fortune to God for the good of others. She spoke to her spiritual director, Bishop James O’Connor of Omaha, Neb., about her desire to join a contemplative religious community, but he directed her to spend more time in prayer about this.

While in Europe, Katharine and her sisters had an opportunity for an audience with Pope Leo XIII. She asked him to recommend a religious community who could serve in the missions she was supporting financially. The pope recommended that Katharine become a missionary herself. Despite the objections of family members, Katharine entered the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburgh, Pa. Soon after, with thirteen other women, she founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who were dedicated to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and to serving African and Native Americans.

Mother Katherine suffered a heart attack in her late 70s, and as she became more infirm, she dedicated her remaining years to prayer and adoration of the Eucharist. She died in 1955 at the age of 96 and was canonized by Pope St. John Paul II in 2000. Although harassed for years by segregationists, at the time of her death, St. Katharine’s community had more than 500 sisters serving in more than 60 schools and missions around the country. Her life was a testimony to mercy.

Prayer to St. Katharine
God of love, you called Saint Katharine Drexel to teach the message of the Gospel and to bring the life of the Eucharist to the Native American and African American peoples; by her prayers and example, enable us to work for justice among the poor and the oppressed, and keep us undivided in love in the Eucharistic community of your Church. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Speaker to address porn addiction

By Chancery Staff

One of the most harmful problems and grave issues in our culture today is pornography. Addiction to pornography is a serious problem in epidemic proportions. The rapid growth to this addiction has grown exponentially in the Internet age.

Pornography is addictive in any medium, but because the Internet is at our fingertips on many different types of devices, it is much easier for people to view pornography at any time and any place. This multi-billion dollar industry corrupts the minds of its viewers, exploits people of all ages including children, creates a sex-crazed culture, and destroy lives and families.

Some estimates put pornography use among churchgoing men at 50 percent, a figure that differs little from use among the adult male population at large. Studies also show that 90 percent of children ages 8 through 16 have viewed pornography online and children ages 12 through 17 are the largest single group of users of Internet porn. The average age when a child first encounters hard-core pornography is 11. Eighty percent of 15-17 year olds have had multiple exposures to hard-core pornography. Studies also reveal that 89 percent of all solicitations of youth in chat rooms are of a sexual nature and 29 percent of 7-17 year olds would freely give out their addresses online. These statistics are startling and speak of the seriousness of this issue in our society and culture today.

Because it is important that the church address this issue, at the November 2015 General Assembly, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the formal statement “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography” as a response to this great problem in our society today. It can be found on the USCCB website: http://www.usccb. org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/pornography/index.cfm.

There is a great pastoral need in our local church to address this issue as well. It will be the main topic for the clergy of the diocese this year at their annual Clergy Days on May 25.

Peter C. Kleponis, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Therapist and Assistant Director of Comprehensive Counseling Services in Conshohocken, Pa. will be making four presentations to the priests on fighting pornography in our culture, protecting families and helping those in recovery.

Dr. Kleponis has over 18 years of professional experience working with individuals, couples, families and organizations. He specializes in marriage and family therapy, pastoral counseling, resolving anger, men’s issues and pornography addiction recovery and is certified in the diagnosis and treatment of sexual addictions. Dr. Kleponis travels throughout the country educating people on how to win the battle against pornography through his program, “Fighting Porn in Our Culture … and Winning!” He has also been a guest on EWTN television programs such as “Women of Grace,” “Franciscan University Presents,” and “Crossing the Goal.” He is a regular guest on Relevant Radio’s program, “On Call.” Dr. Kleponis resides in Phoenixville, Pa.,with his wife, Maria, and their sons, John and Matthew.

Dr. Kleponis recently published the book, “Integrity Restored: Helping Catholic Families Win the Battle Against Pornography.” For more information go to:

He has agreed to give a free evening presentation to the public on the effects of pornography in our culture and what we can do to fight it. It will take place on Wednesday, May 25, 7 p.m. in Holy Cross Chapel at the Terra Sancta Retreat Center. All are invited to attend. Come and learn how you can help in this fight to win the battles against this epidemic!


St. Margaret Mary Alacoque — May 2016

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque grew up in seventeenth-century France during a time of rebellion against the church and a turning away from her teachings. Margaret’s father died when she was about eight years old, and so she was sent to live and go to school with the Urbanist Sisters. She grew in devotion and loved the life of the convent, but had to be sent home when a paralyzing illness kept her bedridden for four years. She made a vow to the Blessed Mother to give herself to religious life and recovered, but, following her father’s death, the family farm had been taken over by relatives until her brother came of age and took possession of the property. The relatives were unkind to her mother and controlling of Margaret’s every move, and she was often not even permitted to attend church. Once the farm reverted to her brother, their situation improved, and Margaret’s mother encouraged her daughter to marry. Out of love for her mother, Margaret spent time in discernment about this, and began to enter into worldly activities. One night, upon returning from a ball, she had a vision of the scourged Jesus who called her away from the world and back to himself, having given her so many signs of his love, and at age 20, she made the decision to enter a convent.

During the time between her application and admission to the convent, Margaret dedicated herself to helping and teaching some of the neglected children in her village. Eventually she made her profession with the nuns of the Order of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial, a community founded by St. Francis de Sales and known for humility and selflessness. The name of Mary was added to her name, and she was assigned to the infirmary. She struggled with her tasks bu
t grew in love and virtue.

Margaret Mary then began to have mystical experiences in which the Lord invited her to take the place of St. John at the Last Supper and revealed to her that he wished the love of his heart to be made known and spread to all people. He showed her how much he desired to be loved by all and to pour out his love and mercy upon them, to reveal all of the treasures of his heart. He appointed the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi as the solemnity of the Sacred Heart. Jesus desired that the graces of his Sacred Heart be made known through her, but when Margaret Mary approached her superior with this, she did not believe her. Margaret Mary fell seriously ill and was dying when the mother superior began to think perhaps her story were true, and told the Lord that if Margaret Mary recovered, she would take it as a sign that her visions were authentic. Margaret Mary did recover and the mother superior invited some theologians to hear her story, but they determined the visions to be delusions. Eventually, a Jesuit priest, Fr. Claude de la Columbiere, believed in her revelations and set out to promote devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and put the life and visions of St. Margaret Mary in writing, and so the Jesuits to this day continue his work. St. Margaret Mary died at the age of 43, saying at the end of her life, “I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus.” Devotion to the Sacred Heart grew through the work of St. Claude de la Columbiere and St. John Eudus. In Margaret Mary’s vision, the Lord spoke: “Look at this heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love me in return. Through you my divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth.”

The Twelve Promises of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary for those devoted to his Sacred Heart:

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
  2. I will establish peace in their families.
  3. I will console them in all their troubles.
  4. They shall find in my heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.
  5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
  6. Sinners shall find in my heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
  9. I will bless the homes where an image of my heart shall be exposed and honored.
  10. I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
  11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in my heart, never to be effaced.
  12. The all-powerful love of my heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the first Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; my heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

Prayer to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (in old English)
Saint Margaret Mary, thou who wast made a partaker of the divine treasures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, obtain for us, we beseech thee, from this adorable Heart, the graces we need so sorely. We ask these favors of thee with unbounded confidence. May the divine Heart of Jesus be pleased to bestow them upon us through thy intercession, so that once again He may be loved and glorified through thee. Amen.

V. Pray for us, O blessed Margaret;
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst wondrously open the unsearchable riches of Thy Heart to blessed Margaret Mary, the virgin: grant unto us, by her merits and our imitation of her, that we may love Thee in all things and above all things, and may be worthy to have our everlasting dwelling in the same Sacred Heart: who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.

Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials, and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to thee, and to do all for thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease thee.

I take thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life, and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my justification before God thy Father, and screen me from His anger which I have so justly merited. I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in thee, O Heart of Love, I hope all from thine infinite Goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist thee. Imprint thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget thee or be separated from thee.

I beseech thee, through thine infinite goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon thy heart, for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of thy devoted servants. Amen.

Petition to open the cause for Black Elk canonization

black elk family

George Looks Twice, center, and the grandchildren of Nicholas Black Elk stand before Bishop Robert Gruss and Deacon Marlon Leneaugh, director of Native Ministries, after presenting a petition requesting the diocese to nominate Black Elk for the cause for canonization.

(WRC photo)






Bishop Gruss,

  Hehani waste’, Cante wasteya nape ciuzapelo. Good morning, I greet you with a good heart and a warm handshake in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

My name is George Looks Twice, I am an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation and a member of Our Lady of the Sioux Parish in Oglala, South Dakota, where I was commissioned a Lay Minister for the Rapid City Diocese in 2009. I am the eldest of three grandsons and two granddaughters of the Oglala Holy Man, Chief, and Catechist Nicholas Black Elk.

It is with great honor and privilege to be present on this historical day with my relatives, fellow tribal members, other native people, priests and lay ministers from across the diocese to present you with this petition. The petition contains over 1600 signatures from people of goodwill across the United States and Canada. The petition requests that the Diocese of Rapid City proceed as the petitioner to nominate Nicholas Black Elk, Sr. for the cause for canonization.

Our grandfather, Nicholas, was born in 1866 into a lineage of great medicine men; and atop Hinhan Kaga, “The Making of Owls” (Harney Peak) Tunkasila (God) blessed him with a great vision, and his gifts were affirmed as he went on to became a recognized healer and respected medicine man at a very young age.

Curious about Christianity, he began to watch and study. In 1885, he learned about Kateri Tekakwitha and signed the petition supporting the cause for her canonization. In 1904, he met a Jesuit priest who invited him to study Christianity at Holy Rosary Mission, near Pine Ridge, S.D. He did so, and on the feast of St. Nicholas, December 6, he was baptized Nicholas William. Saint Nicholas, appealed to him because he exhibited a model of Christian charity that resonated with grandpa’s role as a traditional spiritual leader and his own generosity in service to the Native People.

Believing that Wakantanka, the Great Spirit, called him to greater service, he became a Christian and practiced his Lakota ways as well as the Catholic religion. He was comfortable praying with his pipe and his rosary and participated in Mass and Lakota ceremonies on a regular basis.

In 1907 the Jesuits appointed him a catechist because of his love of Christ, his enthusiasm and excellent memory for learning scripture and Church teachings. Like St. Paul, he traveled widely to various reservations; preaching, sharing stories and teaching the Catholic faith with his “Two Roads Model” of catechism. He is attributed to having over 400 native people baptized, and since then his books and model lifestyle have inspired countless others in their spiritual journeys.

He died in 1950 having lived an exemplary life of being faithful to Tunkasila and always wanting to serve the native people.

There are many who are waiting to share the joy of the day when Nicholas Black Elk, Sr., will be counted among the company of saints by Holy Mother Church.

We thank you bishop for this opportunity to make this presentation to you on behalf of the Black Elk family, our grandfather Nicholas and all the people of God who support this cause.

  God Bless you! 
 Mitakuye Oyasin,

George Looks Twice, Virginia Black Elk (Iyotte), Nicholas (Patrick) Black Elk,  Gerald Black Elk, Caroline Black Elk, Matthew Black Elk


Deacon ordinations held




Bishop Robert Gruss ordained three men to the permanent diaconate on March 31 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City. A member of the Ministry Formation Program team, Deacon Pat Coy, Hill City, looks on during the traditional laying on of hands, as Andy Clark, Gregory, is ordained a deacon. Altar servers Mary Kinyon and Joseph Hill and Fr. Michel Mulloy, cathedral rector, are in the background. Those ordained were Deacons Lloyd Frein, Philip; Andy Clark, Gregory; and Craig Pearson, Hot Springs. (WRC photo by Becky Berreth)




ord group

(Left to right) Fr. Ron Seminara, SJ, Howes; Margie Pearson and Deacon Craig Pearson, Hot Springs; Deacon Llyod Frein and Marianne Frein, Philip; Deacon Andy Clark and Patty Clark, Gregory; Deacon Pat Coy and Fran Coy, Hill City; Fr. Peter Etzel, SJ, Howes; and Bishop Robert Gruss, Rapid City. After the ordinations, the new deacons and their wives are shown with the Ministry Formation team. The team includes Fathers Etzel and Seminara and the Coys. (WRC photo by Becky Berreth)








Deacon ordinations held




Bishop Robert Gruss ordained three men to the permanent diaconate on March 31 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City. A member of the Ministry Formation Program team, Deacon Pat Coy, Hill City, looks on during the traditional laying on of hands, as Andy Clark, Gregory, is ordained a deacon. Altar servers Mary Kinyon and Joseph Hill and Fr. Michel Mulloy, cathedral rector, are in the background. Those ordained were Deacons Lloyd Frein, Philip; Andy Clark, Gregory; and Craig Pearson, Hot Springs. (WRC photo by Becky Berreth)




ord group

(Left to right) Fr. Ron Seminara, SJ, Howes; Margie Pearson and Deacon Craig Pearson, Hot Springs; Deacon Llyod Frein and Marianne Frein, Philip; Deacon Andy Clark and Patty Clark, Gregory; Deacon Pat Coy and Fran Coy, Hill City; Fr. Peter Etzel, SJ, Howes; and Bishop Robert Gruss, Rapid City. After the ordinations, the new deacons and their wives are shown with the Ministry Formation team. The team includes Fathers Etzel and Seminara and the Coys. (WRC photo by Becky Berreth)








Niobrara Young Adult Retreat/Canoe Trip

Held at  Smith Falls campground May 20-22, 2016. It will be a weekend of camping, canoeing, fellowship, and prayer. Limited space, first come first serve. Applications can be found online or obtained from Randy Vette – for more information contact rvette@diorce or 716-5214 ext 228.

Click here for a registration form!

Vote Now: Fr. Hatcher, SJ, Lumen Christi Award Nominee

Vote now!

Father John Hatcher, SJ, has been nominated for Catholic Extensions Lune Christi Award.

Jesuit Portraits,

Fr. John Hatcher, SJ

Diocese of Rapid City

After entering the Jesuits in 1961, Fr. John Hatcher quickly found himself working with Native people. Since 1975 he has dedicated himself to the Lakota people by founding, building and running the Sioux Spiritual Center. Since 2003 Hatcher has been president of St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Hatcher’s goals are to provide the native population with leadership skills and spiritual growth, to address issues of poverty and to help the community become self-sufficient through education. His unyielding support of the Lakota is having a profound effect on the growth of the Catholic Church in the community, as younger Lakota learn they don’t have to choose between their religion and their heritage. Ultimately, Hatcher’s aim is that he’ll no longer have a job — the Lakota will take over the mission. (From the Catholic Extension website:

Click here to vote now!

Video: three new deacons ordained

On March 31, Andy Clark, Lloyd Frein, and Craig Peterson were ordained permanent deacons at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City, by Bishop Robert Gruss. Did you miss the ordination? Click here or on a photo to see the Ordination Mass!

Andy Clark

Home Parish: St. Joseph, Gregory

Laying on of Hands

Work: Family Practice Physician

Family: Wife Patty; three children — Rachel (Dan), Caitlin (Jean-Baptiste), and Michael

Hobbies: Grow grapes and make wine, visit kids, fishing and exercise

Church Involvement: Mostly educational — taught RCIA and confirmation; lector,

Eucharistic minister, usher, and has served on the parish council

Why did you decide to become a deacon? I became Catholic when I was 26 years old. The church has given me a lot over my lifetime, and I’ve felt the need for several decades to serve the church. I felt the tug for the first time when I chaperoned the trip to World Youth Day in Denver in 1993, but it wasn’t a good time then to start anything. I started the lay ministry program seven years ago and I realized this was something I could do. I felt called to do this, the doors opened and I went through them.

What are you most excited about? People will know I’m a deacon and I hope they will come to me. I want to help people understand the church, why it does what it does. I am excited to be more involved with the church and talking to people about their faith and helping them through things.

Lloyd Frein

Home Parish: Sacred Heart, Philip

Work: Rancher

Promise of the Elect

Family: Wife Marianne; seven children: Laura, Tadd, Vance, Jacob, Patrick, Mikal, and Iane; 10 grandchildren

Church Involvement: Has taught RCIA and CCD; trains Eucharistic ministers and lectors; Chairman of the Stewardship Committee,

Eucharistic Minister, lector, acolyte, and has served on the parish council.

Why did you decide to become a deacon? I feel called to a ministry being involved with the priests and the need there. Being called by God’s gift and grace. We are always called to more.

What are you most excited about? Being involved with the church and my faith — we both lost our spouses and blended two families together. I really feel called to help with the grief process and families, to be there for the people and being able to pass on the gift of faith and the love of God that is so prevalent. I want to help share what the faith is and be with people on their journey.

Craig Pearson

Home Parish: St. Anthony, Hot Springs

Work: Retired

Handing on the Book of Gospels

Family: Wife Margie; two children, Amy and Cody

Hobbies: Fishing, four wheeling

Church Involvement: Both he and his wife teach RCIA. He is an Eucharistic Minister,

lector, sacristan, and in Knights of Columbus.

Why did you decide to become a deacon: I don’t know that it was a decision to say yes, but I decided not to say no. I spent five years of silent prayer and discernment, and I finally went and found people who could help me discern it. I said, if this is what you want then I won’t say no. I left it in the hands of the many people who have prayed for me and God.

What are you the most excited about? Doing whatever God wants me to do. I’ve always been someone who likes to serve. For many years I felt that was my excuse for not being that great at prayer. I am looking forward to more ministry to the homebound and the sick. It’s not my comfort zone. Margie and I have started doing some visits already. Father Kerry Prendiville has asked us to minister to a woman who recently passed away, and it wasn’t as scary as I thought. We found it to be rewarding.

St. Faustina — April 2016

“Be always merciful as I am merciful. Love everyone out of love for me, even your greatest enemies, so that My mercy may be fully reflected in your heart.” — Jesus to St. Faustina

St. Faustina Kowalska is often called the Apostle of Mercy. The Lord Jesus chose Sr. Mary Faustina as the secretary of his mercy, so that she could tell the world about his great desire to pour his mercy upon the world. However, if you found yourself walking the streets of Krakow, Plock or Vilnius, Poland, where she lived and served as a sister and encountered her, you probably would have never guessed she had been given this great task by God.

Sr. Faustina was born the third of ten children into a poor peasant family in Glogowiec, Poland. She received little education, only attending school for three years. By the age of 16 she had left home and was working as a housekeeper to help support herself and her family. From a young age, she had a desire to enter religious life, and at the age of 20 she was able to enter The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. She worked as a cook, gardener and porter, performing her tasks faithfully and was obedient to the rule of religious life. She seemed cheerful and full of kindness to those she worked with, but her life also seemed ordinary and insignificant. Hidden within herself was an extraordinary faith and union with God.

In the 1930’s, she received a message from the Lord inviting her to become the apostle of Divine Mercy, a model of how to be merciful to others and an instrument for reemphasizing God’s plan of mercy for the world. She lived her whole life, in imitation of Christ, as a sacrifice for others, willingly offering her personal sufferings in union with Christ to atone for the sins of others and sought to bring joy and mercy to all she encountered. She continued to receive revelations and visions and many extraordinary gifts which she recorded in her diary, but remained hidden to all but her Spiritual Director.

“These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God” (Diary 1107).

Saint Faustina died on October 5, 1938, at the age of 33, consumed by tuberculosis. After her death, her closest associates were amazed as they began to discover what great sufferings and deep mystical experiences had been given to this simple, uneducated sister of theirs. Pope St. John Paul II beatified Sr. Faustina in 1993 and declared her a saint in the year 2000. Jesus’ great message of mercy is now being spread to the whole world through her diary and the image of Divine Mercy which she was given. Both her writings and the example of her life give us a blueprint for how we can fulfill Jesus’ invitation to “be merciful just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).

Prayer to St. Faustina

O Jesus, You inspired Saint Faustina with profound veneration for your boundless Mercy, deign, if it be your holy will, to grant me, through her intercession, the grace for which I fervently pray … My sins render me unworthy of your Mercy, but be mindful of Saint Faustina’s spirit of sacrifice and self-denial, and reward her virtue by granting the petition, with childlike confidence, I present to you through her intercession.