March for Life Pilgrimage

March for Life Pilgrimage

By the time you receive this bulletin, I should be returning from Washington, D.C. with our diocese March for Life pilgrimage. We leave D.C. Saturday evening and return to Sioux Falls Sunday evening. I plan on staying overnight to run errands and attend appointments. I will probably return Monday evening. Pope Francis started a two-year process in the universal Church he calls Synod on Synodality. Synods are a process going back to New Testament times for representative bishops and other leaders in local Churches to consult together to discern a common path forward. It’s a way to provide input to the Church universal.

For our part, our diocese has developed a survey to gain input on how to implement Bishop DeGrood’s vision for our diocese Lifelong Catholic Missionary Discipleship Through God’s Love. Bishop DeGrood encourages our participation by going online to complete the survey that will be available online February 1 - 28, 2022. Go to sfcatholic.org/synod to download the survey. I will also have it available in our church gathering spaces.

I added my sister Lynette Singleton’s name to our Prayers of the Faithful since her husband and I admitted her into Avera Oahe Manor in Gettysburg room 16 on January 13, 2022 and started hospice care. She was diagnosed in May 2015 with Anaplastic oligodendroglioma, IDH mutant and 1p/19q-codeleted. It is a rare malignant glioblastoma brain cancer that is Grade 3. She was first diagnosed with having a Grade 4 cancer with the prognosis being a few months to live. Lynette is the daughter of Steve Jr. and Alice Simon from Hoven with four older brothers. (She says her name is “And Lynette,” because the names of the five children are Craig, Gerard, Steve, Fr. Brian, and Lynette.) She is married to John Singleton from Ft. Pierre and has one nineteen-year-old son Alex. She was the Branch Manager of AAA Travel Agency in Pierre, SD. Her prognosis now is indefinite. (That is my word choice.) The oncologistsaid there is no way of knowing her prognosis. Hospice care can be for a long time or this could get worse fast if her cancer becomes Grade 4. There is no hope for her health getting better other than a miracle! Please pray for her. I hope Lynette can be with us for quite some time without significant pain for God to bless us with her presence. Those who know her, know what I mean. St. Peregrine the Cancer Saint, Pray for us! For more information on her, to read my journals, and to provide support, go to https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lynette singleton.

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

This Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Liturgically, it is a very unusual one. It marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of Ordinary Time. It is both, at the same time, a Christmas event being a revelation of God as the promised Messiah and Savior to come into the midst of His people in a most humble way and the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus which we celebrate in Ordinary Time where Jesus associates Himself with sinners who are willing to repent.

John baptizing in the Jordan River is the scene with crowds responding to his call to repentance to prepare for the coming of the Anointed One (the Christ) of God. They are longing for their salvation necessary due to their sins and to begin new life as adopted children of God.

When I was on a Holy Land Pilgrimage during the Jubilee Year 2000, I couldn’t wait to go to the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized. I envisioned it to be a grand, majestic river, fitting for the Baptism of Jesus, our Lord and our God. Like many people, I was very disappointed that we did not go to the probable location, and the river was very dirty. I hesitated to take any water with me so that I could do baptisms with it after I returned to my parish. It would be embarrassing to have this dirty water in the Baptismal Font!

I decided to take dirty Jordan River water home with me anyway. Isn’t that the point? Jesus stepped into that mucky water to be united with us. This is where He found sinners willing to repent, in the midst of our mucky lives and souls. The Good News is that Jesus associates Himself with we sinners anyway! He came not to cleanse our outer self but our inner self through the physical sign of the ordinary water of this earth. This cleansing is necessary so that we can live the new life of God’s grace that flows like the grand, majestic river that we do envision and that St. John envisioned in the Book of Revelation.

May we all respond to God’s call of repentance out of our mucky lives of sin, not only to be washed clean but to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire!

Happy New Year 2022

Celebrating the Solemnity of the Epiphany grabs our attention and focuses us on the kingship and divinity of the Christ Child. The Magi from the East, who are not believers like the Israelites, come to not just “pay their respects” to a neighboring “newborn king of the Jews” but to even “do him homage.” They have more respect to offer than King Herod and the Jewish elites. They even offer gifts of not just respect for a king such as gold, but also, frankincense and myrrh to, in part, symbolize worshiping with a sacrificial offering, now that’s homage! St. John Chrysostom suggested they even worshiped Jesus as God!

The Magi, as “outsiders,” provide an incredible witness of duty, honor, respect, adoration, and worship for the sacred newborn King! This should cause us to take pause and reflect on whether we are doing at least the same for Jesus in the midst of our lives and in our sacred spaces such as our churches and most importantly, in oursanctuaries where Jesus comes to us through Sacred Liturgy and gives Himself to us in the Most Holy Eucharist and is reserved for us in our tabernacles.

For this reason and many others, Sacred Liturgy is extremely important to me, Bishop DeGrood, and the Church. It is strictly regulated by the Church and overseen by our bishop. Bishop DeGrood is calling on our clergy to review how we celebrate the Sacred Liturgy in our diocese, bring more uniformity to it, and improve upon it.

When I arrived, I took the time necessary to learn how the liturgical norms are practiced in our parishes, reviewed them, and formulated the changes necessary while trying to respect certain customs and traditions where I can. Since Altarservers are intimately involved in Sacred Liturgy, I began with training present and new Altar servers and will retrain them during Youth Faith Formation (YFF) to help them get used to the changes. I really appreciate their openness to change and their efforts to adopt them. Also, we are adding interested adults to supplement and provide for serving roles as needed, such as serving funerals when school is in session. Please contact me to volunteer.

May we make it our personal priority and commitment to give the Christ Child the homage due Him with respect, praise, adoration and worship! We need to make a firm resolution for ourselves individually and to support one another in this lofty endeavor and journey of Faith in our parishes and in our Church.

Liturgical Correction: As I announced last Sunday at Masses, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is a Holy Day, but not a Holy Day of Obligation this year. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) specifies this on their website www.usccb.org. I made a mistake in following my planner instead of checking official sources. 

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Published on  July 6th, 2022

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