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How Do We Know Mary?  
Friday, December 12, 2014  9:55 AM
Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

It is Sunday morning, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Marion. One of the parishioners is leading others in the praying of the rosary. It’s been part of the Sunday parish activity for quite a while in Marion.

It is one of the ways the people of the parish know Mary, the mother of God, the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Perpetual Help or one of the other names or titles we use to refer to our Blessed Mother.

“Even though not many are present for the start of the rosary, those that come in later are somewhat inspired and encouraged to say the rosary at home,” said Father Hal Barber, pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Praying the rosary, though, is not the only way people of the Marion parish come to know Mary. Father Barber brings Mary to the people often. “Of course whenever there is an opportunity to honor our Blessed Mother, I have done so in the homily at Sunday Mass,” he said. “There is something of a sacred trust living in a parish with Mary as our patron.”

Presenting Mary to his parishioners in his homilies is an approach Father David Axtmann often takes as well. But, it is far from his only approach to bring Mary to the people of Immaculate Conception Parish, Waubay and Christ the King Parish, Webster.

The Memorare is a sixteenth-century version of a fifteenth-century prayer that began “Ad sanctitatis tuae pedes, dulcissima Virgo Maria.” Claude Bernard (1588-1641) popularized the idea that the Memorare was written by St. Bernard.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help,
or sought thine intercession
was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence,
I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of virgins, my mother;
to thee do I come,
before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.

O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy
hear and answer me.

Mary is the patroness of the Americas and the patroness of many dioceses across the country. She is known in many ways and by many names in the Church but Mary is the same throughout, the Blessed Mother of God, a patroness worth knowing and connecting with by each of us.
Many in the Church believe and advocate we should communicate with Mary through prayer seeking to know her better and to seek her intercession for us with Jesus, her son.

At the northern edge of the diocese, Father Axtmann uses many ways to keep his parishioners connected to and aware of Mary and all she does for the Church and its people. “Mary is also presented in RCIA classes, our CCD program and in parish bulletins,” said Father Axtmann. “In addition to speaking about Mary on her feast days, I almost always speak about her at wake services which include praying of the rosary.”

“Jesus gives us his mother to comfort us. She knew sorrow well,” Father Axtmann shared in a homily to his parishioners. “As Catholics we do not worship Mary. Worship is proper only to the three persons of the Trinity. The Church, however, rightly encourages us to venerate Mary, to imitate her, to pray to her for intercession and to foster devotion to her that will lead us closer to God.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church articulates how pivotal Mary was, is and shall be to the Church and her members, “The Virgin Mary...is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer....She is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ’...since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head.” (502)

The Catechism continues “Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. ‘This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to his death.’” (504)

For Father Axtmann, he likes to focus on proper devotion to Mary and how it points us and his parishioners to Jesus. “Mary through apparitions and through devotions to her has brought untold number of people to her son,” he said. “The impact on faith due to apparitions such as Fatima, Lourdes and Guadalupe is truly immeasurable. Mary always leads us to Jesus.”

Many of the faithful across the diocese find their way to Mary or to a greater awareness and contact with the Blessed Mother through their pastor. But they also find their way to knowing Mary better through other methods and through connections to their background, their heritage and their ethnicity.

Our Lady of Guadalupe
In the dioceses of the United States of America, Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12.

O God, Father of mercies,
who places your people under the singular protection of your Son’s most holy Mother,
grant that all who invoke the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe,
may seek with ever more lively faith the progress of peoples in the ways of justice and of peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

In Sioux Falls, parishioners of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish regular seek to connect with the patroness of the parish. “The parishioners regularly make visits to the church to pray before the image of Our Lady,” said Father Justin Wachs, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Moderator of the Curia for the diocese. “They light candles and often leave bouquets of flowers. They also have images of Our Lady in their homes and even have ‘altars’ for private devotion as a family.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe parishioners also gather for nine nights to pray the rosary for the repose of the soul of a departed loved one and to implore the intercession and consolation of Our Lady during the time of sorrow.

Many of the parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sioux Falls, come from small towns in Central America where their churches are dedicated to Our Lady. “They often have special devotions to Our Lady around particular feast days which we try to enable at the parish here in Sioux Falls,” said Father Wachs. “Most especially, though, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is important for the Hispanic people.”

That feast is celebrated on December 12 and is preceded by a novena and then on the actual feast, the parish gathers at 6 a.m. to greet Our Lady in song and to pray the rosary. “Later in the evening, we have a solemn celebration of Holy Mass,” shared Father Wachs. “Depending upon when December 12 falls, there is a food sale on the nearest Sunday whereby we celebrate the best of Hispanic food and parish family life as well as the presence of Our Lady as our Mother.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe also has processions in May with the image of Our Lady and the parish crowns her as the parish’s Queen as part of the end of the parish’s religious education classes.

The key to knowing Mary more, better and deeper, according to every priest we spoke to about this topic is prayer. “We need to spend time with her in prayer”, said Father Wachs.

But he also says there is more too. “We need to reflect upon her life and her example of faith, hope and love. She is the most blessed of all women and she is so near to us. By reflecting upon her receptivity of God’s love and his will, we can grow in our own receptivity of his love and will. In this way, we, like Mary, will magnify the Lord in our own day.”

Prayer for Catholics can take many forms and come at different times. When it comes to knowing Mary better and more deeply, the rosary, while not an exclusive way to pray or to include Mary in our prayer life, does play a significant role in how we should and can encounter Mary each day. “We can only get to know someone if we spend time with them,” Father Wachs said. “The daily Rosary is the best way to spend time with Our Lady, to get to know her and to meditate with her on the life of her Son.”

Father Axtmann concurs. “My general perception is that Marian devotion centered on the rosary is strong in the parishes especially among the older generation,” he said.

This wonderful prayer evolved from a recitation of three Hail Mary’s following an evening bell around the 12th century to its present form (with morning and midday recitations) in the 16th century.

Leader: The angel of the Lord declared to Mary:

All: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

L: Hail Mary, Full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
A: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

L: Behold the handmaid of the Lord:

A: Be it done unto me according to Thy word,

Hail Mary...

L: And the Word was made Flesh:

A: And Dwelt among us.

Hail Mary...

L: Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,

A: that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

L: Let us pray:

A: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

L: Amen.

Monsignor Charles Mangan, in his role as director of the Marian Apostolate for the diocese, also takes a variety of approaches to presenting Mary to the people of the diocese and assisting them in knowing Mary better and more closely. “I use various methods, especially homilies during Masses and Holy Hours, the public recitation of the Most Holy Rosary, our diocesan Marian Conference, talks, days of recollection, classes, films, books, articles, arranging for guest speakers and the radio program, ‘Morning Star’ on the Lamb Catholic Radio Network along with its blog, Jmjmorningstar.blogspot.com,” said Msgr. Mangan.

The Marian Apostolate was established in the Diocese of Sioux Falls by Bishop Paul J. Swain in 2009. Bishop Swain “decreed that its purpose is ‘to increase awareness of and appreciation and love for the presence of Mary the Mother of God in the Diocese of Sioux Falls’,” said Msgr. Mangan. “Our Lady is already present...she is known and loved. Now, we must do all that we can to increase our awareness of her presence and our understanding of her person and mission.”

In addition to all the methods and approaches taken by priests of the diocese to bring the people closer to Mary and to promote a better knowledge of the Blessed Mother, Msgr. Mangan points out that many people remain connected to Our Lady through the appearances she has made through history to people in different parts of the world. “Yes, there is much interest in the apparitions of Our Lady…” he said. “Those whom I encounter are fascinated by Our Lady’s messages during the various apparitions, especially those that occurred in Guadalupe, Mexico in 1531, in Lourdes, France in 1858 and in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. Additionally, the first approved Marian apparition in the United States of America, namely near Champion, Wisconsin in 1859 and under the title, ‘Our Lady of Good Help,’ has garnered significant attention.”
Back in the southern part of the diocese, you can often find members of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Dante and St. John the Baptist Parish, Wagner along South Dakota Highway 46. They are either processing to or already praying at the Knights of Columbus “Pray for Peace” Shrine.

The shrine highlights Our Lady of Fatima.

Father Richard Baumberger, pastor of the two parishes, gladly shares how parishioners utilize the shrine to better know Mary and to make a difference. “Among other prayer gatherings, since Mary appeared on the 13th of six consecutive months in 1917, we gather on the 13th of each month May through October to pray the rosary and learn about Mary’s apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917”, he said.

In his parishes, Father Baumberger also points out that parishioners utilize the rosary in other ways too. As in other parishes, the religious education classes begin with praying of a decade of the rosary, Eucharistic processions include praying of the rosary and one parishioner goes an extra step. “Mary Cotton makes and distributes rosaries,” said Father Baumberger. “She has also taught two high school students to make rosaries as well.” Cotton has been instrumental in introducing the parish to “The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary.”

Father Baumberger promotes Mary and getting to know her as well as we can every chance he gets.

Devotions such as the brown scapular, the angelus, the miraculous medal, the litany, the memorare and statues of Mary in private yards are not as evident across the diocese as much as they once were. So pastors like Father Axtmann continue to promote praying of the rosary before each weekend Mass and before the celebration of Mass at the area nursing home. Father Axtmann looks to bring people to better know Mary one person at a time and one opportunity at a time, whether at Mass, afterward or even one on one with people he encounters.

In Waubay and Webster, the Catholic Daughters of the Americas lead the rosary at every wake. They pray the rosary before their meetings. The Knights of Columbus have promoted Marian devotion through the use of traveling icons and paintings in the northern reaches of the diocese.

The apparitions of Mary at Lourdes, Fatima and Guadalupe are well known and the miracles surrounding those apparitions give strong support to devotion to Mary. Some of Father Axtmann’s parishioners have visited the sites and shared their experiences, another way of promoting and introducing Mary to others. “Personally I had the opportunity to be at the celebration of our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, 2013 in Mexico City,” said Father Axtmann. “It was a joy to share this powerful experience with the parish and to attempt to convey how strong and deep the devotion to Mary is and has been in the Catholic Church in Mexico.”

Efforts to help people of the parish and the diocese know Mary better and more deeply is regular and ongoing for many pastors. “Marian devotion should lead us to a deeper personal relationship with her son, Jesus. By imitating her virtues we can grow in holiness,” said Father Axtmann. “And fostering true devotion to Mary is an important part of helping Catholics to have a vibrant faith. The lives and testimony of many of our greatest saints attest to the importance of this aspect of our faith.”

Yet he also recognizes and realizes that Catholics, including those of our diocese, differ widely in their devotion to Mary. “Some have been persuaded to accept the argument that they should go directly to Jesus. St. Simon de Montfort’s response is that offering our petitions through Mary can be likened to offering them on a silver platter rather than on our own soiled and broken plates,” Father Axtmann pointed out.

Others have developed a deep trust in Mary, because of prayers answered. Faith formation has a great influence in this area.

“The ultimate goal is salvation of souls,” said Father Axtmann. “Mary is a sure and safe way to accomplish this. This is her principal role as our spiritual mother.”

Msgr. Mangan suggests a number of things people can do and be open to in fostering a better understanding of Mary, the Blessed Mother. “Receptivity to the Holy Spirit, daily prayer, frequent and worthy reception of the sacraments, especially confession and the Most Blessed Eucharist, regular acts of charity and penance, use of the Marian sacramentals (for example, the Most Holy Rosary, the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Miraculous Medal) and a deeper understanding of the Church’s teaching in general with a particular emphasis on her Marian dogmas and doctrines, he said.”

He comes back to praying of the rosary as key. “It is a time-honored devotion that may be prayed by all persons in diverse circumstances,” Msgr. Mangan said. “Even when we are tired, upset or distracted, the ‘telling of the beads’ is noble and effective. During the most famous apparition of the last one hundred years, Our Lady asked the three devout but illiterate children of Fatima to pray the Most Holy Rosary daily. By extension, she asks the same of us.”

Msgr. Mangan points out that Mary is more relevant, more important and worth forging a greater and closer relationship with now more than ever. “She is the star of the new evangelization,” he said. “She is not optional, not an add-on. She remains an integral part of the Depositum Fidei, also known as Divine Revelation. We must plead with the Holy Spirit for renewed love of Our Blessed Mother not only for ourselves but also for all peoples.”

“As someone has put it, ‘Know Mary, know Jesus. No Mary, no Jesus,’” Msgr. Mangan said.

Father Wachs believes that we can never be too close to Mary, “the closer we are to her, the closer we come to her Son.”

Praying for Mary's Intercession  
Thursday, December 11, 2014  10:45 AM
The Perpetual Adoration Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in prayer before the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima when the statue was in the diocese.

Knowing Mary in the Diocese of Sioux Falls  
Thursday, December 11, 2014  10:41 AM
The procession during one of the Marian Congresses held in the diocese at St. Mary of Mercy Parish, Alexandria.


How do we know Mary?  
Thursday, December 11, 2014  10:34 AM
Pictured at right: In the southern part of the diocese, you can often find members of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Dante and St. John the Baptist Parish, Wagner along South Dakota Highway 46.

They are either processing to or already praying at the Knights of Columbus “Pray for Peace” Shrine.

“This year of Consecrated Life is a reminder to the Church to call forth more generous persons to religious consecration”  
Thursday, December 11, 2014  10:29 AM
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has proclaimed 2015 the “Year of Consecrated Life” beginning the weekend of November 29, 2014, and ending on February 2, 2016, Consecrated Life Sunday.

He intends this to be a special yearlong focus on consecrated life, asking that the Church’s religious sisters, brothers and priests “wake up the world” with their testimony of “faith, holiness and hope.”

Communities of consecrated religious are a gift of the Holy Spirit given to the Church. The Bishops in Vatican Council II declared religious life to be an essential part of the Church’s holiness. While all the baptized are called to holiness of life and share in Jesus’ mission to forward the reign of God on this earth, consecrated religious design their entire lives to this pursuit.

Religious live in community, and much of their time is given to prayer, study of Scripture and other means of encountering God and God’s Word. This prayer and listening clarifies and energizes their ministry to the world. The peculiar shape or character of how each community lives community and forwards Jesus’ mission is called a charism. The distinctive charism of each religious community was born out of a special calling given to its founder/foundress for a timely purpose. Charisms are at the initiative of the Holy Spirit and are given, not for the enhancement of the religious group, but for the public good of the Church and the world.

Because of differing charisms religious life has taken various forms throughout the ages. Monastic communities have a long history in the Church. Monastics live in a monastery, sharing a structured, communal life of prayer, work, and lectio, out of which they serve God and God’s people in their particular locale. We are blessed to have Benedictine Monasteries in our diocese, Sacred Heart in Yankton and Mother of God in Watertown, and until recently, Blue Cloud Abbey. Their charism was given to St. Benedict and St. Scholastica in the sixth century and has thrived to this day.

In more recent centuries many Apostolic communities were born, since destitution, disease and slavery demanded a response for which no programs nor institutions existed. The Holy Spirit inspired women and men to establish communities with charisms dedicated to relieving oppression through works of charity, education, health care and justice-making, out of which many Catholic institutions were born. The Presentation Sisters, founded by Nano Nagle in 1775, are an example of Apostolic religious, as are the Oblate Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament at Marty, the Franciscan Sisters in Mitchell and the Daughters of our Lady of Providence in Milbank.

Other religious live in what is called the enclosure. These are Contemplative communities of women and men who withdraw from the commotion of the world and dedicate their entire lives to prayer and contemplation, offered for the needs of the Church and people of the world. Our Diocese is privileged to have the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Alexandria and the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in Sioux Falls.

All forms of religious life are prophetic. In Pope Francis’ words, religious are “agents of the gospel,” called to embody the embrace of God, the Good News, especially to the suffering and oppressed. Religious express the mind of Christ by deed and word, especially where God’s design for the human family is being usurped by greed, injustice and violence. Pope Francis says, “Religious need to be men and women capable of awakening the world,” men and women “who live a joyful Yes” to the Gospel.

The three vows taken by religious create a lifestyle at odds with consumerism and power-driven values. By their vow of poverty religious live simply and share their goods in common, forgoing the human propensity to accrue excessive wealth and pleasure. This pooling of their resources also forwards their works of charity. By their vow of obedience religious discern together how they will integrate their personal gifts in fidelity to the charism given them by the Holy Spirit. Thus they forego an independent lifestyle and careerism. In their vow of chastity (celibacy) religious dedicate themselves to an undivided, self-sacrificing love for Jesus, who inflames them with an inclusive love for all God’s people.

The Church encourages all the baptized to forward the reign of God in their own vocation, time and place. Religious, through their vows, are consecrated; that is, religious are designated, set apart, as a radical, prophetic expression of the gospel. They are also a sign which should inspire all Christians. This year of Consecrated Life is a reminder to the Church to call forth more generous persons to religious consecration.

Annual Report for the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls  
Wednesday, December 10, 2014  9:55 AM
Summary of the financial state of the Catholic Chancery Office

The Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls completed its most recent fiscal year financially solid, with an increase in net revenue of $418,690. This follows net revenue of $446,438 for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013.

Parishioners continued their steady support through the Catholic Family Sharing Appeal, resulting in a slight increase in CFSA revenue. This, along with strong investment returns, provided for stable revenue growth and an increase in endowment revenue from the Catholic Community Foundation for Eastern South Dakota. Non-operating revenue included a gain on disposal of diocesan owned property.

While the self-funded health insurance fund experienced a significant increase in costs, overall operating expenses remained steady. Funds to support diocesan ministries, as well as seminarian education remain the largest segment of the operating budget. This includes the Y-Disciple program, chaplain ministry, marriage and family programs, and other ministries.

Total assets of the Chancery increased by $2.9 million primarily due to deposit growth in the parish deposit and loan program. Much of this growth by the parishes anticipates future construction and maintenance projects. At the same time, loans outstanding have decreased as parishes reduce their outstanding debt.

A copy of the audited financial statements is available through the Financial Administration Office of the Catholic Chancery.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014  9:42 AM
In the November edition of The Bishop’s Bulletin, there were a number of corrections and omitted listings from the Necrology that need to be corrected.

We regret the errors and omissions.

Alexandria, St. Mary of Mercy
Adrian Adam Degen-July 20; Michael Schleich-Aug. 9 (originally not submitted and thus not listed)

Marty, St. Paul
George Schunk-July 8 (corrected date of death); Larry McCoy-July 15 (corrected date of death)

Marty, St. Paul
Beth Zephier-Oct. 3; Diana Roubideaux-Zephier-Nov. 18; Hoksila Waste Joseph Jr.-Jan. 10; Tressa Holiday-Mar. 18; Benedict Lee-Apr. 28 (originally not submitted and thus not listed)

New Effington, Sacred Heart
Blain Brandenburger-June 7 (originally listed under Rosholt, St. John the Baptist)

Sioux Falls, St. Michael

Jeanda Batoon-Aug. 28; Melva Glodt-Aug. 30 (originally not submitted and thus not listed)

Wagner, St. John
Richard Podzimek-Feb. 21 (originally not submitted and thus not listed)

St. Joseph Catholic Housing adds units to Brandon  
Wednesday, December 10, 2014  9:39 AM
Bishop Paul J. Swain, St. Joseph Catholic Housing and Citi recently held a blessing and ribbon cutting for Brandon Heights Apartments (at right, top) which features 32 units of comfortable and affordable housing as St. Joseph Catholic Housing and its partners work to expand affordable housing options in the diocese.

The 32-unit building is a $4.2 million project built by Costello Construction and will provide housing for residents with rents based on income.

“St. Joseph Catholic Housing is pleased to be a participant and blessed to have such good partners in this project,” said Bishop Swain.

Costello Property Management will manage the complex.

The building consists of 6 one bedroom units, 18 two bedroom units, and 8 three bedroom units.

Three units are designed to accommodate tenants with disabilities.

There is also a community room with a full kitchen and a children’s playground and picnic area. Bishop Swain blessing the property (at right, bottom).

Confirmation celebrated in Selby  
Wednesday, December 10, 2014  9:25 AM
Bishop Paul J. Swain was recently in Selby to confirm students from St. Anthony Parish, Selby, St. Joseph Parish, Eureka, and St. Michael Parish, Herreid.

Pictured are (at right, back row, left to right): Ben VonWald, Blaine Grage, Dylan Brandner, Nickolas Burns, Cole Pudwill and John Kolar; (middle row, left to right): Chantel Mehlhaff, Charlie Tisdall, Michaela Kappes, Elizabeth Serr and Callie Mickelson; and (front row, left to right): Cody Imberi, Dylan Zabel, Bishop Swain, Morgan Dienert, Hannah Feist and Father Tom Clement, pastor of the three parishes.

Brandon parishioners contribute Christmas tree to state  
Tuesday, December 09, 2014  9:12 AM
A Brandon family, members of Risen Savior Parish, Brandon, were selected to have their 35 foot spruce to be the 125th anniversary state Christmas Tree in Pierre.

Gus Rysavy (pictured with the tree) is 81 years old and he planted the spruce (along with two others) after they moved to their acreage south of Brandon back in 1973.

The blue spruce needed to go one way or the other relatively soon as Highway 11 was set to be widened.

A team of people from the state came to measure the tree and judge its suitability for the Capitol before ultimately deciding it was the tree they wanted.

It was cut down in mid-November and then transported to Pierre to serve as the centerpiece in the annual Christmas at the Capitol display.

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