Who is My Neighbor?

“But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?'”

Luke 10:29

This Sunday’s Gospel we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan.  It begins with the question of a scholar of the law, “Teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus answered his question with another question, “What is written in the law?”  The scholar answers by quoting the two great commandments:  to love God with your whole heart and to love your neighbor as yourself.  Jesus confirms his answer and says, “You have answered correctly.”  But because he wants to justify himself, he asks a further question.  

My first reaction to the word justify in this verse is to think that the scholar is trying to give himself some “wiggle room” — perhaps knowing how hard it can be to fulfill these commands, he seeks to avoid the demands of “loving my neighbor as myself” by limiting who he considers a neighbor. But in the spirit of the Catechism, which challenges us to presume the best intention of another unless we have clear evidence otherwise (para. 2478), I took a deeper look at the question.  Perhaps the scholar is not attempting to minimize his response, but is genuinely desiring a greater clarity about what this command means practically speaking.  His question may be, “Just what does fulfilling this command look like in my daily life?”  I know this is a question which arises often in my life and in my prayer. When this happens, I find myself saying:  

“Yes, Lord I want to follow you.  Yes, Lord I want to do your will.  But today, or in this situation, just what does that look like?”

I have shared before that I have found Pope St. John XXIII’s Decalogue a helpful tool in answering this question.  Today, I was reminded of another gem I keep tucked in my prayer journal.  This comes from Servant of God Elizabeth LaSeur.  Elizabeth was a married french lay woman who had a deep and profound love both for God and for her husband who was well-known for his atheism and anti-clerical writing.  She prayed fervently for reconciliation between these two whom she loved and, as she was suffering from terminal cancer, offered her life for the conversion of her husband. After her death, her husband discovered her journals and correspondence, read them while in Lourdes, and experienced a profound conversion.  He returned to Catholicism and eventually became a Dominican priest.  Elizabeth offers us this advice:

  • Pray fervently for those you love.
  • Do all the good that can be done humbly each day.
  • Relieve misery when you see it.
  • Cultivate a lively affection for everyone. 
  • Do all for the Glory of God.
  • Show that christian life is great and beautiful and full of joy.
  • Cultivate your mind to show God’s intelligence.
  • Know that in order to give, one must first receive.

 

Both of these resources are helpful to me as I strive to imitate Christ. They are helpful tools which offer concrete things that Jesus’ disciples do, but, on their own, they aren’t enough. I have several friends whom I admire for their ability to see God’s will with clarity and a common attribute I see with each one of the them is fervent, consistent and lengthy time in quiet prayer. The witness of these friends remind me that, ultimately, the closer we follow in the footsteps of the Master, the more the “dust from His sandals” lands on our own feet, the more confident we will feel that we truly are doing His will. For the steward, for the dedicated disciple, examples of concrete actions are helpful, but intentional, planned, consistent and honest prayer is essential.

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Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

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VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

Jesus, hidden, but present

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”
John 14:27

On Monday, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist.  St. John the Baptist has been given a high honor in the Church by the fact that he has two feast days in the Liturgical Calendar.  The company he keeps is small–to my knowledge only Mary, Joseph, Jesus and John the Baptist have more than one feast day in the calendar.

As I was in front of Jesus, present in the Eucharist, I pondered the story of St. John’s birth and circumcision. It occurred to me for the first time that Mary was likely present as Elizabeth and Zechariah’s neighbors and relatives gathered to celebrate the birth and circumcise and name the child.  And therefore, Jesus was there as well, although in a hidden way.  And I have no reason to doubt, given that we know how the presence of Jesus and Mary had affected Elizabeth and the unborn John when they arrived,  that their presence had an effect here as well (see Luke 2:39-45).  I imagine it was a bit contentious — the crowd stating that his name would be Zechariah and Elizabeth boldly stating that his name would be John.  From where did she draw the courage to speak to the crowd? Clearly, they didn’t accept her proclamation, courageous as it might have been, as they first questioned her and then turned to Zechariah for confirmation.  And when he confirmed her witness, his mouth was opened and “he spoke, blessing God.” (Luke 1:66)

I would like to think that Jesus and Mary, by their very presence, brought peace and banished fear in this situation; that they inspired Zechariah in his praise of God and His goodness.  At least this is the impression I was given as I stared at the Monstrance, where Jesus is also present in a hidden way.  Because these are certainly the gifts I receive most often in Eucharistic Adoration: a peace which the world cannot give, a calming of my fears, courage to follow more closely as His disciple and a desire to offer praise and thanksgiving for His Love and His goodness to us.

During this Year of the Eucharist, may we all find our way to Him, truly present and yet hidden, but waiting to share His love and His peace with each one of us.  

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr
(605) 209-3418

Summit 2019. Our Story. Created. Captured. Rescued

2019 Summit. Our Story. Created. Captured. Rescued.

I know that we are just beginning to enjoy the summer, but I wanted to take a minute to encourage you to look toward the fall for a minute.  I wanted to share with you my excitement about this year’s Summit which will be held on Saturday, September 28, 2019 at Terra Sancta.  As I work on the promotional materials and each time I listen to our speaker, Fr. Riccardo, I am more excited than ever that he is coming to be with us.  He truly has a gift for sharing the Good News of Jesus in a way that touches people’s hearts.

This year, we will once again have a Youth Track so that this day can be an enriching day for the whole family.  We will offer childcare for 1-3 year olds.  Our PreK-5th grade guests will be treated to a day to experience Jesus in the Eucharist through lessons and activities drawn from Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.  Lastly, our Middle Schoolers will have a program designed just for them but exploring the themes of Fr. Riccardo’s talks given to high school students and adults.  Once again, we will be utilizing a wonderful team of trained catechists for the program.

Last year, we drew 525 people to this event.  I truly believe that is due to two things:

1.  Many people were fervently praying for the success of the Summit and asking Mary’s intercession on our behalf.  I would once again encourage everyone to pray for the success of this event.  We have created a prayer card that allows you to track how many Memorares you have offered for this effort.  If you would like one, please stop by our office to pick one up or scroll down to send us an email and share your address and we will gladly mail you one.

2.  Over 100 people from all over the Diocese attended an Ambassador’s Training last summer.  They had an opportunity to come to a much deeper understanding of our role in spreading the Gospel and they were inspired to begin practicing their newfound skills by inviting other parishioners to the Summit.  In May, the Office of Stewardship invited over 150 people from almost every parish in our Diocese to attend.  We have 29 people registered from 16 parishes.  Would you prayerfully consider coming to one of the three trainings being offered?  Would you invite others from your parish to come with you? 

Our goals for this half-day training are:  to deepen our understanding of the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus, to help participants embrace the idea that inviting others into that relationship is an essential part of being a disciple and lastly to give participants all that they need to spread the word about the Summit in their parish.  To learn more or to register, click here.

Would you like to have an idea of the talks Fr. Riccardo will present? Below are a few short clips that give you a sense of Fr. Riccardo’s style and content.  Lastly, if you would like to know more about the Summit, please visit our registration page at:  www.CatholicWayOfLife.org/events.

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

Stewardship in the Year of the Eucharist

“I have called a Holy Year of the Eucharist in the Diocese of Rapid City.”

Bishop Robert Gruss, Proclamation of the Year of the Eucharist

In a little over a week, we will enter into the Year of the Eucharist.  It is an exciting time for the Diocese, an opportunity to foster a greater love for Jesus and His gift of Himself in the Eucharist.  The many activities encouraged for the Year of the Eucharist are great ways to foster Lively Faith in a parish committed to living the pillars of our Stewardship initiative.  Many of them are found in the Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish.  For instance:  

  • Our parish fosters regular devotions outside of Mass.  How about Exposition and Adoration for the Year of the Eucharist?
  • Our parishioners participate in the larger diocesan community events.  Like the Year of the Eucharist? 
  • Our parish leaders and parishioners regularly discuss virtue, set forth examples of heroic virtue, and evaluate programs and policies in light of how they foster virtue.  How about the Eucharistic Saints suggested in the Year of the Eucharist materials?
  • Our parish has a vibrant, planned, inter-generational and well-communicated formation program.  The many resources available to parishes can help!
  • Our parish fosters a thirst for life-long learning.  Check out all of the Adult Education options suggested for the Year of the Eucharist!
  • Our parish fosters increasing attendance at both daily and Sunday Mass consistent with the demographics of the community we serve. What a great goal for the Year of the Eucharist!
  • Our pastor leads people to a deep intimacy with the Trinity, parishioners pray daily for at least fifteen minutes and faithfully participate in the sacraments, and where parents teach their children how to pray. Another great goal for this year.

The success of your parish’s efforts to draw people into a deeper love of Jesus and His presence in the Eucharist can also be helped by close attention to Generous Hospitality.  How might your parish employ the many facets of Generous Hospitality to welcome and invite people to participate in this year?

The Office of Stewardship would like to assist in any way we can in helping to make this a wonderful year in your parish.  What a gift it will be for all of us!

 

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr
(605) 209-3418

A Unique Stewardship for a Unique Place

A Unique Stewardship for a Unique Place

 For many years, stewardship in the Catholic Church was often distilled into three words: time, talent and treasure. It was a catchy alliteration and it had value. It very concisely categorized the many good gifts given to us by God. It allowed us to look at three distinct areas of our lives and ask, “When I look at how I spend my money, my time and what I do with my talent, what does it say about what I believe? What does it say about what I value most?”

But these three words don’t give us too much help when we are striving to be parishes that are vibrant, growing and inspirational and are truly places where people come to know Jesus in a deeply personal way and are formed into mature disciples of Jesus Christ. I believe Bishop Gruss’ deepest desire is for the people of South Dakota to encounter the Lord and this is at the heart of why he has given us a vision of Stewardship that is uniquely our own.

In the Diocese of Rapid City, stewardship is defined as Living a Catholic Way of Life through Generous Hospitality, Lively Faith and Dedicated Discipleship.

We live Generous Hospitality through:

  • Welcome: welcoming both visitors and parishioners as if they were Christ
  • Invitation: developing a spirituality of invitation where one begins to practice regularly and consistently inviting others into closer union with Jesus and to journey with you in life and in faith.
  • Fellowship: valuing time spent with Jesus and others above other interests and providing space and opportunity for people to develop friendships and foster a sense of belonging.

We live Lively Faith through:

  • Prayer: being communities of prayer and being people of prayer. Prayer is our first and most important priority both as individuals, as families and as parishes.
  • Study: Being life-long learners. We commit to participating in ongoing study of scripture, the teachings of the church and the lives of the saints.
  • Formation: Being people of virtue. We strive for excellence in all areas of life. We commit to helping each other grow in holiness and in wholeness through human, spiritual, pastoral and intellectual formation.

We live Dedicated Discipleship through:

  • Intentional Love of God: Loving God above all things, to serve Him unreservedly and to desire to do His will in all things.
  • Intentional Love of Neighbor: Loving others as we love ourselves. To lay down our lives for others in imitation of Jesus. To see Christ in others and to love them as He loves.

In all times and in all places Jesus is inviting us into His life and love. He is inviting us to be holy. He is inviting us to participate in His mission to bring salvation to all humankind. In this time and in this place, he is inviting us to do so through these lenses.

 

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr
(605) 209-3418

So Many Choices

So Many Choices!

Modern American culture offers us more choices on how to spend our time than in any time in the history of humankind.  In many ways, these opportunities are  blessings; but the sheer number of opportunities also poses challenges.

As the school year wraps up for families and they move into a “summer” schedule, this reality comes into focus for many parents.  But even for those who don’t have the responsibility of planning a summer’s worth of activities for their children, this time of year offers an opportunity to be more intentional.

Intentional is a big word in the world of stewardship and evangelization. We are being first called to be and then to formintentional disciples”.  In our stewardship pillar, Dedicated Discipleship, we are invited to practice intentional love of God and neighbor.  Clearly, in the midst of this milieu of choices, Catholic stewards are being invited to do more than just drift through our days wandering from one activity to another aimlessly.

There are many ways we can be more intentional, but today I would like to offer just one useful tool for sifting through the many choices we face.  It has clarified my options and has assisted me in understanding my underlying motivations and desires.  And it is simply this: the difference between a value and an ideal:

  • A Value is something I believe is good and also is something I am willing to sacrifice something else for to have in my life now.
  • An Ideal is also something I believe is good, but it is not something I am willing to sacrifice something else to have in my life now.

This knowledge has been a great tool for slicing through the myriad of good things there are to choose from in our culture.  In striving to be intentional, it is also a helpful tool in sorting the good from the best.  Because as Andrew Pudewa has said, “The challenge is not to let good things get in the way of the best things.”

So here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • If I look at the way I spend my time now, what do my choices reveal about what I consider a value and what I consider an ideal?
  • As I plan for the summer, how would I categorize possible activities for myself or for my children as “values” or as “ideals”?
  • Most importantly, for the dedicated disciple, what would Jesus put under the “value” column?  Does my list correspond to his? Am I willing to sacrifice to put those things He values most into my life today?

This last question is important as we strive to live this Catholic Way of Life.  In our Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish, it states some of the ideals we are striving for as:

  • “The majority of our parishioners put fellowship with Jesus Christ and His Church above their participation in sports, media or other leisure activities encouraged by our culture.”
  • And, “Many parishioners practice intentional generosity . . . generously give themselves in service inside and outside the church . . . practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy . . . . and are intentional and active in caring for the poor and marginalized.”

Certainly anyone reading this, and perhaps the vast majority of those who come to church on Sunday would see the activities outlined above as good.  The important question is, though, are they a value or are they an ideal?  As stewards, we are invited to continue to encourage and inspire each other to intentionally choose the living out of our faith in concrete ways and perhaps more importantly, to be willing to sacrifice other things in order to do so. Distinguishing our values from our ideals assists us in doing just that.

 

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr
(605) 209-3418