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Benedictines Sisters of Mother of God Monastery hosting events  
Tuesday, April 10, 2012  1:07 PM
The Benedictine Sisters of Mother of God Monastery, Watertown, will host a number of events.

On April 1, they will host an event entitled "Gifts of the Holy Spirit."

Then on April 18 the event topic will be "the Beatitudes."

Those two events run from 9:15-10:15 a.m., followed by an hour of yoga if you wish.

The Watercolor Series II is scheduled for April 14 from 9:15-11:30 a.m.

Participants do not have to be artists to be part of the day nor is it necessary that participants have attended previous sessions.

What our hope for these sessions is that participants allow reflection on Scripture to be enhanced through creativity and the love of color.

On April 21 from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., the sisters will have a workshop which Sister Jan LaPlante has agreed to lead based on the insights she gained from Mercy Center in Colorado Springs.

The focus will be using a holistic approach to healing the four basic emotions of anger, grief, fear and anxiety.

Sister Jan will lead participants in experiential ways of bringing a spiritual resolution of mind-body-spirit to these emotions.

Each of the particuipants can gain insights and healing at this workshop.

Please mark the date on your calendar.!

Contact Sister Emily Meisel, OSB for more information at the:

Spirituality Center Director, 110 28th Ave SE #317, Watertown, SD 57201 or 605.886.4181 ext 1 or at

The Church holds a particular obligation for assisting those who have been harmed  
Tuesday, April 10, 2012  11:28 AM
Since 1983, the US Department of Health and Human Services and by Presidential proclamation has recognized April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Diocese of Sioux Falls takes this opportunity to join in this national effort to again raise awareness that, despite all of the accomplishments of our developed society, this grave reality continues to exist in our day.

The Catechism teaches us that “(h)uman life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end (CCC 2258).” The innate dignity found in every life, then, is precisely what compels us to do all that we can to nurture and sustain it while also seeking to demonstrate how we are called to be obedient to the will of the Father (CCC 2222).

Sadly and despite the efforts of many, abuse remains a societal problem in the United States, taking many different forms. Abuse of a child is an example of disregard for the dignity found within a still vulnerable life.

Through its Safe Environment Program, all adults in parish or Catholic school ministries in the Diocese of Sioux Falls who are entrusted with the care and supervision of youth are required to complete annual training that provides useful information about the many ways by which abuse can occur and objective ways for identifying possible signs of abuse and appropriate responses to take when encountering suspected abuse. Per the policies of the diocese, notification of and cooperation with local authorities in such situations is required of persons in supervisory roles in parishes and schools.

Because of its violation of a most powerful component of our gift of life, our human sexuality, child sexual abuse demands our acute attention. Circumstances of rampant pornography consumption and widespread exploitation of women in our society today, for example, seemingly enable if not erroneously encourage predatory actions taken by adults against children who are both innocent and naïve to the intent of the adult otherwise presumed to be trustworthy. Annual training offered to the youth entrusted to ministries of parishes and schools in the diocese attempt to empower the children with an ability to recognize potentially harmful situations and impart in them skills for avoiding them.

The Church holds a particular obligation for assisting those who have been harmed by abuse, regardless of who committed the abuse. The dioceses in the United States have adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, an open pledge that outlines how the Diocesan Church will respond to issues of sexual abuse and deal with those who have been credibly accused of committing abuse.

On behalf of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, I again invite those individuals who have been hurt through abuse to come forward to the Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator. Concerns will be listened to in a confidential way with the hope of identifying an appropriate form of assistance.

Let us all do what we are able to prevent child abuse from occurring and to point those who have been harmed by abuse to the Divine Physician who alone makes all things new.

A Question of Faith: How do we actually know that Jesus rose from the dead?  
Tuesday, April 10, 2012  11:22 AM
This is a fitting question for this time of the year as Lent concludes and as we celebrate Easter and then the entire Easter season. This question—the question of the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ—goes to the very heart of our faith.

In certain scholarly circles over the last few decades it’s become fashionable to question or even deny the fact of the Resurrection, and so in the mass media we read or hear the theories of various theologians claiming that the “true” meaning of the Resurrection is that after Jesus died, the Apostles “realized” the full meaning of Jesus’ teaching on the importance of loving and forgiving, or that the “true” meaning of the Resurrection is that Jesus is alive in the hearts of those who followed Him. But the idea that He actually rose from the dead in a glorified body? Myth, fable, fairy tales according to these theories.

In his first letter to the Catholics of Corinth, St. Paul wrote this: “if Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14). If Jesus is not alive, if He was not raised from the dead, then our Christian faith is empty, according to the great Apostle.

As St. Paul testifies, the truth of the Resurrection is at the heart of our faith as Christians, and it has been since the beginning. Just a few sentences earlier St. Paul sets forth the heart of the Gospel, that which is of “first importance”: “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas [Peter], then to the Twelve” (1 Cor 15:3-5).

Consider the sermon which St. Peter preached on Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles, in which he proclaims that God raised Jesus up after His crucifixion (cf. Acts 2:24).

We also see in the New Testament, and in other early Christian writings, that the Apostles claimed that they had seen, talked and ate with the Risen Lord, and that they were to suffer torture and ultimately even death rather than deny this claim.

Think about that: the Apostles said that Jesus rose from the dead, and they maintained that even when threatened with death themselves. Their actions alone are incomprehensible if the Resurrection did not occur: who, after all, would willingly undergo ridicule, torture and death for a fable?

As we celebrate the Resurrection on Easter and throughout the Easter season, let us repeat the ancient paschal greeting: Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Mount Marty College Students offering free tax prep help  
Tuesday, April 10, 2012  11:18 AM
Mount Marty College students will assist members of the community with preparing their individual tax returns without charge.

Students enrolled in the tax clinic course will help prepare required federal and state tax returns for low income clients.

The students will meet with each client for an initial interview then prepare the necessary tax returns.

A second, short appointment will be conducted with each client to go over the results of the tax returns before filing. If a client is determined to require more advanced tax services, they will be asked to seek a professional tax preparer.

Each tax return will go through a verification process to ensure accuracy before being returned to the client for filing.

Those interested in taking advantage of this free service should e-mail
to indicate their interest and schedule an appointment or they can call Mount Marty College at 605-668-1011.

Appointments will be scheduled on Mondays from 3-6 p.m., Tuesdays from 6-9 p.m., and Fridays from 12-4 p.m.

Our diocese has been blessed with many good deacons  
Thursday, April 05, 2012  12:02 PM
This past February I had the privilege of directing a five day preordination retreat for the five men preparing for the permanent diaconate. God-willing, in May these men will be ordained to serve the diocese on behalf of Bishop Swain.

Our diocese has been blessed by the service of many good, holy deacons throughout the years, and these men will add to that list.

The vocation of the permanent diaconate is often misunderstood. Because a majority of the deacons are married, some think it is a way for a man to live the best of both worlds; to have a family and serve the church in a formal capacity. Others are not quite sure what a deacon is supposed to do but know they are sort of like a priest but not quite.

The word deacon comes from the Greek word diakonia, which mean service. At the heart of the diaconate is the call to service with charity, using Jesus Christ as their model of one who has “come not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mt 20:28) A deacon aids the bishop in his role of making sure the needs of the people are being met.
From the earliest days of the Church the Apostles realized that the task handed on to them by Christ could not be done without aid. The Acts of the Apostles relates to us how the needs of the Hellenist widows were not being met due to the overwhelming responsibilities placed on the Apostles. It was at this time that they called forth “seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom,” (Acts 6:3) whom they ordained to the service of the Church.

Another way to look at the diaconate is to see this vocation as a bridge between the laity and the Church, making sure that the needs of the people are known to the Church and in turn that those needs are being met. A deacon is typically married with children and thus is fully aware of the daily challenges facing the lay faithful in the role of living out their vocation in the world.
As a cleric he is also aware of the many gifts and graces the Church has to bestow upon the people and thus strives to serve the people faithfully by his word and example; in the work place, at home and in the church. While we are all called to be witnesses to the world; a deacon does so in a unique way by virtue of his service of God’s people in communion with the bishop and his priests.

One of the challenges that many face when pondering the possibility of a vocation to the diaconate is the fact that there is no one role for a deacon.

Unlike the priesthood, which a man can often see lived out in a similar way across the church, the diaconate is really lived out in service to the bishop through various ministries in the diocese.

We have deacons who teach in our schools, are administrators in parishes, actively involved in parish life, serve the sick in the hospitals, visit those in prison, and the list goes on. Some have another job where they work outside of the church as well. For those serving a parish you may have noticed that they preach at Mass, baptize babies; preside over weddings and funerals where there is no Mass, and help out with Eucharistic adoration.

ith most of the deacons being married their wives are also part of the discernment and formation process. Both the Church and the wife must agree that this man is called to serve the church as a deacon. She is to be involved in the formation process as well and will sit in on many of the classes he is taking, and be encouraged to have a spiritual director.

Let us pray for these men, our brothers, who, God-willing, will be ordained in May to serve the Church in charity. Let us also pray that other “reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3) will hear and heed the call to serve the Church through this beautiful vocation.

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