News Articles (Local & Universal)
John XXIII and John Paul II: Canonization is April 27, 2014 for the two  
Thursday, April 10, 2014  3:33 PM
Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli came from a farming family in Northern Italy. He was almost 77 years old when he was elected Pope John XXIII.

Karol Jozef Wojtyla lived through the horrors of the Nazi destruction and persecution in Poland. He attended an underground seminary during World War II. He was a poet and an actor and a scholar. He was 58 when he was elected Pope John Paul II.

When they were young, the idea that either man would become pope seemed unlikely. But that they would become saints was something each strived for early in life.

“God desires us to follow the examples of the saints by absorbing the vital sap of their virtues and turning it into our own life-blood, adapting it to our own individual capacities and particular circumstances,” wrote young Roncalli in his spiritual journal in 1903, a year before he was ordained a priest.

Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II will be canonized April 27 at the Vatican.

Many in the Diocese of Sioux Falls had the chance for personal encounters with Pope John Paul II. For example, many South Dakotans made the trip to Des Moines for an outdoor Mass during his 1979 visit there, and nearly a thousand encountered him in Denver for his 1993 World Youth Day visit.

By contrast, few had that opportunity with Pope John XXIII, who served until his death in 1963, long before popes travelled extensively or mass and social media were everywhere.

The Catholic schools in Aberdeen are known as Roncalli, in honor of Pope John XXIII and Mitchell’s Catholic school is known as John Paul II School.

Roncalli schools are celebrating the canonization and at the same time the 50th anniversary of the opening of Roncalli High School.

“The name (was) chosen by Roncalli students during the first year it was open,” said Pat Gallagher, Development Officer for the Aberdeen schools.

In Mitchell, there is much pride in its patron, Pope John Paul II.

“His picture is everywhere, showing him as pope but also as a young man before he was a priest. We even have a school song which celebrates the life of John Paul II,” said Father Larry Regynski, pastor of Holy Family parish.

John Paul II principal Robin Cahoy said the canonization is important to the whole Mitchell community and heightens awareness of Pope John Paul II’s holiness. “The fact that he will become a saint is intriguing to the older students and possibly an overwhelming fact to our younger students. This will be a very surreal event to know that our namesake is a saint.”

Father Andrew Swietochowski, pastor in Kimball and White Lake, is a native of Warsaw, Poland and first met the future Pope John Paul II in 1971.

“My good friend belonged to the Archdiocese (of Krakow) and was closely associated with Archbishop Karol Wojtyla … he made a great impression on me and my vocation,” said Father Swietochowski, who is also the former pastor of Holy Spirit, Mitchell where John Paul II school is located.
“Through the years I was blessed to participate in a number of liturgical celebrations presided by Cardinal Wojtyla as a guest of Cardinal Wyszynski in the Warsaw Archdiocese (at that time I was master of cermemonies or assistant of the master of ceremonies). The way he prepared for Mass made you realize that he was getting ready to be in the presence of God,” Father Swietochowski said.

“It is easy for students to relate to Blessed John XXIII,” said former Roncalli teacher and administrator Stacy Levsen.

“His wonderful sense of humor and his eternal optimism are inspiring. His writings are still relevant. He understood youth so well. I often reminded students that Blessed John said ‘Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.’”

“His words inspired me to try to be a better educational leader in many ways. When working directly with students, I thought of his admonition to, ‘See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little’,” Levsen said.

“In life, Pope John strove to be a good priest before God and before men,” wrote Bishop Lambert Hoch in his July 1963 Bishop’s Bulletin column. Pope John XXIII had died in June.

“Surely he was singularly successful in presenting to the world a clearer image and a more vivid appreciation of the loving face of God. Pope John was so human and happy, so humble and holy that he radiated at once an optimism and an idealism that captured men of good will everywhere,” wrote Bishop Hoch, who had personally met Pope John more than once.

Perhaps foreshadowing Pope John being canonized, Bishop Hoch wrote further, “Like that of His Master, Pope John’s death was a culmination of his life. Surely he has given the world an example of how to live and how to die. Offering his life and his death for the Church – Christ’s Mystical Body – for the Council and for Peace, Pope John through God’s goodness, will continue to project a powerful image for all to imitate until Christ’s prayer be fulfilled: ‘that they all may be one’ and His peace shall fill the earth.”

The Church’s diversity of saints shows us there is more than one way to be a saint said Father Regynski.

“All of us are called to be a saint in the concrete circumstances of our daily lives, with the challenges, hopes and fears of our day,” he said.

As an example, he said “Pope John XXIII had a great faith and trust in Divine Providence. That allowed him the freedom to press forward with the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) with a spirit of serenity and openness to the Holy Spirit. He didn’t allow negativity to infect his soul because he trusted in God’s care and promise to the Church.”

“Pope John Paul II had a great faith in God’s Mercy, which was for him a special devotion. He lived through the destruction of war and knew it as the ultimate human failure. If only people could recognize that we are all children of God and that each one of us, from conception until natural death, is made in the image of God, then we would know true human dignity and put behind us all injustices to it,” said Father Regynski.

He said the saints point to God and tell us, “God made us saints. He can make you one, too!”

“(The) last time I was blessed to concelebrate Mass with His Holiness John Paul II on June 28, 1998 was in his chapel in the Vatican. His blessings, his interest in me and in every human being, his sense of humor continue to keep me going,” said Father Swietochowski.

“He is God’s gift and intercessor for all of us. His canonization will give opportunity for the Church to give thanks to God for the gift of John Paul II,” he said.

“We are attached to some saints because of what they stand for, or we gravitate toward them because we can identify with their own lives and struggles. We also realize that they were human beings, too,” Father Regynski said.

“Even great saints had their personality flaws and idiosyncrasies. Canonization does not mean that everything the saint did was perfect, but that they became holy in spite of their imperfections. That should encourage us all,” he said.

Sister Paulette Garry, PBVM, a former teacher and administrator at Roncalli echoes that thought.

“The lesson I learn from St. John XXIII is to be who I am. With the gifts and limitations that are mine I can serve God and others. Other saints, I am sure, have given me this lesson, but to have St. John XXIII’s life in my lifetime, it speaks louder,” she said.

Photos at right:

Top: Pope John Paul II with Bishop Robert Carlson and then seminarians (now priests) David Stevens, James Mason, Scott Traynor and James Morgan.

Second from top: In the Holy Father’s chapel, Father Andrew Swietochowski is on the far left.

Third from the top: Bishop Paul Dudley presents the diocesan centennial history to Pope John
 Paul II.

Fourth from the top: Pope John Paul II greets Mary Elizabeth Wachs from Aberdeen.

Fifth from the top: Bishop Lambert Hoch with Pope John XXIII.

Bottom photo: Bishop Paul Dudley and Msgrs. John McEneaney and (now bishop) Donald Kettler during the 1988 Ad Limina visit.

Pertinent life information for Pope Saint John XXIII and Pope Saint John Paul II  
Thursday, April 10, 2014  3:01 PM
Pope Saint John XXIII
Born November 25, 1881, Sotto il Monte,
Bergamo, Italy
Ordained a priest August 10, 1904
Ordained a bishop March 19, 1925
Elected pope October 28, 1958
Died June 3, 1963
Canonized April 27, 2014 

Pope Saint John Paul II
Born May 18, 1920, Wadowice, Poland
Ordained a priest November 1, 1946
Ordained a bishop September 28, 1958
Elected pope October 6, 1978
Died April 2, 2005
Canonized April 27, 2014

Events in the diocese to honor two new saints  
Thursday, April 10, 2014  2:49 PM
Aberdeen Roncalli events to honor Pope John XXIII

April 13 (Palm Sunday) - 6:30 p.m.
Video presentation on the life of Angelo Roncalli, RHS Gym
Discussion led by Father Joseph Holzhauser prior to the video showing

April 21-26
Pope Roncalli Trivia; Discussions in classes; RES Mass Celebrated at
Sacred Heart, April 23, 8:15 a.m.

April 27, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Special events at RHS, including Family Carnival, 4:00-7:00 p.m. at RHS Gymansium; Displays at all schools and St. Mary and Sacred Heart Parishes

September (Date TBD)
Rededication and blessing of Roncalli High School (50th Anniversary)

John Paul II school events in Mitchell
Guest speaker, dedication and placement of a bronze bust of John Paul II
Prayer cards will be distributed
Celebration will include signing the John Paul II school song

April 28 - 12:00 p.m.
Bishop Paul J. Swain will preside at a Mass of Thanksgiving for the canonizations at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph

Implementing a Pastoral Plan  
Thursday, April 10, 2014  10:13 AM
From Bishop Paul J. Swain:

To the Faithful of the Diocese of Sioux Falls,

In the January edition of The Bishop’s Bulletin, the changing realities for our diocesan Church were outlined. In raising your attention to pressing needs that have been brought about, in part, by the announcement of religious orders that they will no longer be able to provide priests to serve as pastors in our diocese, I announced that, through the Pastoral Planning process, changes in parish and diocesan structure would need to be implemented in order to adjust to these realities. Those critical considerations I outlined in the same Bulletin issue have been utilized as we, as a diocese, have conducted this intense evaluation while discerning the most prudent plan for achieving the goals established for the Pastoral Planning process.
Therefore, building on the information gathered through the consultative process begun in 2008, and after consultation with the clergy in each of the deaneries, sending letters by deanery which described proposed changes in parish structure to all registered households, holding 8 public listening sessions across the diocese, reading all written responses and comments submitted to my office for consideration, and consulting with the Council of Priests as required by Church law, I have decided that the following changes in parish and diocesan structure will be decreed effective July 1, 2014 unless otherwise indicated:

Aberdeen-Mobridge Deanery
The following parishes are to be merged:
Holy Trinity, Hosmer and St. Augustine, Bowdle
St. Boniface, Seneca, St. Joseph, Orient and St. Thomas the Apostle, Faulkton
St. John the Baptist, Onaka and St. Anthony of Padua, Hoven

The following changes in pastoral linkages between parishes will result:
the (merged) parish in the Onaka/Hoven area and the (merged) parish in the Hosmer/Bowdle area
Our Lady of Good Counsel, Leola; St. Thomas the Apostle, Roscoe; and Holy Cross, Ipswich
St. Liborius, Polo and the (merged) parish in the Orient/Seneca/Faulkton area

The following ministries will be evaluated further with the Priest Personnel Committee as the Bishop discerns priest assignments:
Campus ministry in the City of Aberdeen
Hospital ministry
The pastoral linkage involving Sacred Heart, Westport
Associates assignments in the City of Aberdeen

Brookings-Madison Deanery
The following parishes are to be merged:

St. William Abbott, Aurora and Our Lady of Good Counsel, Elkton
St. Paul, Iroquois and St. Thomas Aquinas, De Smet
St. John Neumann, Farmer/Spencer and Epiphany, Canova/Epiphany

The following changes in pastoral linkages between parishes will result:
St. Peter, Colman; the (merged) parish in the Aurora/Elkton area; and Sts. Simon & Jude, Flandreau
St. John the Evangelist, Arlington; St. Mary, Bryant; and the (merged) parish in the Iroquois/De Smet area
St. William of Vercelli, Ramona; the (merged) parish in the Farmer-Spencer/Canova-Epiphany area; and St. Agatha, Howard

Upon the expected retirement of a current pastor, the following pastoral linkages will result:  +
St. Patrick, Montrose and St. Mary, Salem
St. Ann, Humboldt and St. George, Hartford

Mitchell Deanery
The following parishes are to be merged:
Holy Rosary, Tripp and Sacred Heart, Parkston
Holy Trinity, Ethan and Sts. Peter & Paul, Dimock
St. Michael, Mt. Vernon and St. John, Plankinton

The following changes in pastoral linkages between parishes will result:
St. Stephen, Bridgewater; St. Martin, Emery; and St. Mary of Mercy, Alexandria
the (merged) parish in the Ethan/Dimock area and the (merged) parish in the Tripp/Parkston area
St. Peter, White Lake; St. Mary, Stickney; and the (merged) parish in the Mt. Vernon/Plankinton area
St. Paul the Apostle, Armour and St. Mark, Lake Andes

Pierre-Huron Deanery
The following parishes are to be merged:

St. Anthony, Pukwana and St. James, Chamberlain
St. John the Evangelist, Harrold and St. Mary, Highmore
St. Joseph, Wessington and St. Ann, Miller
St. Placidus, Duncan and St. Joseph, Wessington Springs

The following changes in pastoral linkages between parishes will result:
the (merged) parish in the Harrold/Highmore area and the (merged) parish in the Wessington/Miller area
St. Margaret, Kimball and the (merged) parish in the Pukwana/Chamberlain area
St. Charles, Artesian; the (merged) parish in the Duncan/Wessington Springs area; and St. Wilfrid, Woonsocket

Watertown-Milbank Deanery
The following parishes are to be merged:
St. Anthony of Padua, Hecla and St. John de Britto, Britton
St. Joseph, Lake City and Sacred Heart, Eden
St. Peter, Grover and St. Henry, Henry
St. Joseph, Waverly and Holy Rosary, Kranzburg
St. Mary, Wilmot and St. Lawrence, Milbank
Sacred Heart, New Effington and St. John the Baptist, Rosholt
St. John Nepomucene, Veblen and St. Peter, Sisseton

The following changes in pastoral linkages between parishes will result:
Annunciation, Revillo and St. Charles, Big Stone City
the (merged) parish in the Hecla/Britton area (resident pastor) +
the (merged) parish in the Grover/Henry area; Blessed Sacrament, Florence; and St. Michael, Clark
St. Joseph, Grenville and the (merged) parish in the Lake City/Eden area +
the (merged) parish in the Wilmot/Milbank area (resident pastor)
St. Catherine, Sisseton; the (merged) parish in the New Effington/Rosholt area; and the (merged) parish in the Veblen/Sisseton area
St. John, Castlewood and the (merged) parish in the Waverly/Kranzburg area +
Upon the expected retirement of current pastors, the following parishes will be merged:
St. Peter, Gary and St. Mary, Clear Lake +
St. John, Castlewood and St. Francis de Sales, Estelline +

Sioux Falls Deanery
The following parishes are to be merged:
St. Edward, Worthing and St. Magdalen, Lennox

Upon the expected retirement of the current pastor, the following parishes will be merged:
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Marion and St. Christina, Parker

The following ministries will be evaluated further with the Priest Personnel Committee as the Bishop discerns priest assignments:
Associate assignments in the City of Sioux Falls
Campus ministry in the City of Sioux Falls
Hospital Chaplaincies
The erection of a new parish dedicated to St. John Paul II that would be located in the Sioux Falls-Harrisburg area

Yankton Deanery
The following parishes are to be merged:
St. Columba, Mayfield and St. Boniface, Idylwilde
St. Agnes, Sigel and St. John the Baptist, Lesterville

The following changes in pastoral linkages between parishes will result:
St. Patrick, Wakonda; Good Shepherd, Centerville; and St. Teresa of Avila, Beresford
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Dakota Dunes; St. Joseph, Elk Point; and St. Peter, Jefferson *
the (merged) parish in the Mayfield/Idylwilde area and St. George, Scotland
the (merged) parish in the Lesterville/Sigel area and St. Wenceslaus, Tabor
St. Paul, Marty; Assumption, Dante; and St. John the Baptist, Wagner

+ - Pastoral linkages to be avaluated upon the anticipated retirement of current pastors

* - The priest director of the St. Thomas More Newman Center at USD will be assigned to provide Sacramental Ministry in this linkage.

Popes really do matter to each of us  
Thursday, April 10, 2014  9:02 AM
As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis’ election and prepare for the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, some might ask, “That’s all well and good, but do the popes really matter to me? How does the pope matter in my life in South Dakota?”

As with all truths taught by the Church, the truth about the pope is ultimately about Jesus.

Jesus came to save us -- all of us, all men, women and children -- from our sins, and to provide us with both the knowledge and means by which we might receive and live out the salvation which He won for us.

Since the earliest days of the Church, however, there have been those who have promoted false teachings about Jesus and how we receive His gift of salvation. The challenge facing Christians is a real one: how are we, who live thousands of years after Jesus, thousands of miles away from where He lived and taught, how are we to know the truth? How are we to receive Jesus’ gift of salvation?

Fortunately, Jesus provided the answer: it was to His Apostles that He gave His authority and the responsibility to teach His truths. And it was to His Apostles that Jesus gave the responsibility for the sacraments, the means by which we receive His saving grace.

We see this at the very end of St. Matthew’s Gospel. After Jesus rose from the dead, He said to the Apostles, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20). Go, make disciples, teach and baptize… these are Jesus’ final words to the Apostles, and that is precisely what they did. Not only that, but they in turn handed on the authority which they received from Jesus to other men, and those men have done likewise throughout the centuries; these men are the bishops of the Church.

Since the beginning, then, it has been the successors of Peter and the other Apostles -- that is, the pope and those bishops who are in union with him -- who proclaimed Jesus’ teachings and administered His sacraments.

However, the unique role of the pope in this regard cannot be ignored. Also since the earliest days of the Church, even some bishops have taught false teachings, but the pope has always taught only the authentic saving truths of Jesus. Why? Because of the unique role of Peter and his successors in the Church.

Jesus taught that He would build His Church on the Apostles, as we have already seen. But His also taught that He would build it in a particular way on Simon Peter. Also in Saint Matthew’s Gospel, we read these words of Jesus to Simon Peter: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:17-19).

In this passage, Jesus promises two things: first, that His Church will always teach His truths -- that is the meaning of the statement that the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against the Church -- and second, that His Church will be built in a special way on Simon Peter, and by extension on Peter’s spiritual successors, the popes. The Church established by Jesus, then, is built on Peter and the popes. In short, if we want to find the Church founded by Christ, the Church that teaches His teachings fully and without error, the Church that provides the channels of His saving love, mercy and grace -- the sacraments -- then we look to the Church of the popes.

What, then, does the pope matter to my life in South Dakota? He matters because I can have confidence that it is in the Church that he shepherds that I will find the teachings and sacraments of Jesus Christ, and even more, find Jesus Himself.

Confirmation Season across the diocese  
Wednesday, April 09, 2014  11:25 AM
Bishop Paul Swain has been celebrating the sacrament of confirmation in many parishes across the diocese.

Included recently was the confirmation liturgy at Sacred Heart Parish, Yankton (pictured at right, top) where students from St. Patrick Parish, Wakonda, also received confirmation (pictured at right, middle).

There were 28 young people from Sacred Heart Parish that received confirmation and seven from St. Patrick Parish.

Pictured at right, bottom: St. Mary Parish, Dell Rapids, also celebrated confirmation.

Pictured are the St. Mary Parish confirmation students and pastor Father John Lantsberger.

Knights of Columbus marking exemplifications  
Wednesday, April 09, 2014  10:44 AM
The Knights of Columbus marked first, second and third degree exemplifications recently in Yankton.

Pictured at right, top are those who experienced second and third degree exemplification; (front row, left to right): Josh Kass, Kade Rexwinkel, J.T. Kass, Damon Alvey, George Mudder, Rob Schmitz, Kevin Buhl, and Tim Souhrada; (back row, left to right): Lyle Ireland, Seth Ireland, Mike Plooster, Nathan Hinker, Kevin Stepka, Jeremy Soukup, William Minow, Ethan Kniffen and F. Jared Kloucek.

Pictured at right, bottom are those who underwent first degree exemplification (left to right): Ethan Kniffen, Kevin Buhl, Damon Alvey, Rob Schmitz, J.T. Kass, F. Jarod Kloucek, Josh Kass, Seth Ireland, Kade Rexwinkle, and William Minow.

“Senior Prom” takes on a whole new meaning for students  
Wednesday, April 09, 2014  10:17 AM
While it is the season of formals and proms for many high school students, students from O’Gorman High School, Sioux Falls, put their fancy clothes back on recently for a special “Senior Prom.”

This prom was held at Avera Prince of Peace nursing home and retirement community.

The staff decorated for the evening and the O’Gorman students came all dressed up to dance and party with the residents there.

The students have done this before and the event is a treat for residents, students and staff.

Before start of Lent, Groton students celebrate Mardi Gras  
Wednesday, April 09, 2014  10:09 AM
Five Groton junior high girls enjoyed the food, masks, and entertainment before the start of Lent at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish for the first ever Mardi Gras celebration.

Pictured are Megan Fliehs, Ann Marie Smith, Ashley Fliehs, Nicole Marzahn, and Alexis Hanten. 

Benedictine sisters visits students in Wateertown  
Tuesday, April 08, 2014  9:28 AM
Sisters of Mother of God Monastery, Watertown, recently paid a visit to Immaculate Conception School, Watertown, to share details about religious life with the students during National Catholic Sisters Week.

In addition to visiting with the students, the sisters attended Mass with them and shared the history of Catholic sisters in Watertown.

The sisters pictured (at right) are (from left to right) Sister Clarice Schmidt and Sister Veronica Haag.

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