Finding Your Sand Dollars

Finding Your Sand Dollars

Finding Your Sand Dollar

“The river over which every soul must pass to reach the kingdom of heaven is suffering, the boat which carries souls across the river is loveand humility is the virtue that gets us on the boat. ”

Fr. Scott Woods, drawing from the wisdom of the Carmelite Doctors

 

This week a friend shared a very inspirational story with me that I wanted to pass on to you. She is a member of a support group for both those suffering from a fatal disease which over a period of time causes the progressive deterioration of both physical and mental ability and their families/caregivers.

A fellow member had shared earlier this summer that the progression of the disease had necessitated her entrance into a nursing home. This was quite a blow to her and she found herself discouraged and depressed. She no longer wanted to get out of bed in the morning because she felt there was no point in doing so. She felt as if she spent her time just waiting. But then things changed dramatically for her. She writes, “I no longer spend my time waiting. I now use any spare time I have to reflect on how I can make this nursing home better for the residents and staff. I feel a sense of community here than I haven’t felt in a long time. I spend more of my days with people than I do watching them from my bed.”

What brought about such a dramatic change?

“A pastor stopped by last week. He knows of my love for seashells. He asked me what a day would be like if I found a sand dollar on the beach. I said that would be a perfect moment! He then told me, ‘This home is your beach. Go find the sand dollars.'”

This comment struck a deep chord in the woman’s heart. She recognized the truth of the Pastor’s words and she acted upon them. “Now I go to the dining hall as early as I can just to hold residents’ hands or tell them how much they are loved. People’s hearts are much more precious than all of the world’s seashells.

The Christian steward recognizes that every good thing in their lives is a gift from God and they are grateful for the many blessings they receive and return them with increase to God. But it is only the very mature Christian who is able to experience great suffering and still find some goodness, who can muster the courage and strength to fight the temptation to turn inward and who can forget themselves and continue to reach out to others with love. But as her example shows, doing so, has brought her both wisdom and joy. Her generosity is heroic, God’s even more so.

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
Summer Hospitality Tips

Summer Hospitality Tips

Summer Hospitality Tips

 

It seems that summer is finally making its way to Western South Dakota. For many in our Diocese, summer means the arrival of out-of-town guests and tourists to our homes and churches.  I was reminded of the young woman from Bismarck who came to Girls Totus Tuus Camp last year because of the warm welcome she and her family received at Blessed Sacrament in Rapid City while here visiting.  And I also remember the story told by Ruth Durst of St. Ambrose’s in Deadwood.  As part of their efforts to increase hospitality, they decided to have hospitality ministers stand outside on the steps of the church when the weather was good.  This proved to be very enlightening.  Parishioners watched as tourists drove around and around trying to find parking near the church. As it turns out, most visitors had no idea the church has a parking lot.  It seemed clear that better signage was needed.

 

Interested in taking a quick pulse of hospitality in your parish?

As you might remember, the Office of Stewardship is working to update our web pages.  In the course of looking over all that had been previously uploaded to our page, I found notes from a workshop at the 2016 International Stewardship Conference titled, “Parish Hospitality:  Much More Than Greeters At the Church Door”.  It is full of suggestions including:

  • Tips for the Front Office
  • Ways of Welcoming New Parishioners
  • Ways of Building a Sense of Belonging
  • 15-Point Checklist for Hospitality
  • Rewards of Generous Hospitality

If you would like to use this resource, you may download it here.

If you are interested in pursuing Generous Hospitality in a more intentional way, consider entering the Stewardship Parish process.  The Office of Stewardship is happy to guide you and provide support at each stage.  Please give us a call if you would like to learn more.

 

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
Practical Ways to Live out Stewardship

Practical Ways to Live out Stewardship

Practical Ways to Live out Stewardship

A Christian Steward commits to developing certain attitudes and has a particular way of looking at the world. For instance, a steward recognizes that God is the owner of all things, they practice gratitude and generosity. The are growing in trust in God and committed to deepening their relationship with him. But what are some practical things stewards do as a consequence of their beliefs? Here are just a few:

  • Stewards own things. Things don’t own them. They take care of the wealth God has entrusted them with and put them at God’s disposal. They are detached enough to receive and give freely. They do not hoard. They do not put their security in the accumulation of wealth, but trust in God. They have clarity about what are needs and what are wants. They are thoughtful and intentional in managing their gifts. They give to God and others, not just what is “left over”, but measure their own needs and the needs of others together.
  • Stewards aren’t swept away in a current of “busyness”. They are the owners of their time and make intentional choices about how to spend their time.
  • Stewards make intentional choices to “keep the main thing the main thing.” And for stewards the main things are people and relationships; giving time and resources to God, family and other people God has put into their lives.
  • Stewards are people of prayer; regular, planned and consistent time given to God.
  • Stewards are people of generous hospitality, welcoming and inviting, giving generously of themselves to others.
  • Stewards know that their natural talents and gifts have been given to them, not just for themselves, but to be used for the benefit of others. They are generous in sharing these gifts. They also desire to know and use the supernatural charisms given to them by the Holy Spirit to help build His kingdom.

 

We’re here to help

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

 

12 + 14 =

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
True Fellowship: Generous and Sacrificial

True Fellowship: Generous and Sacrificial

True Fellowship: Generous and Sacrificial

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Luke 6:38

This is the end of this Sunday’s Gospel and whenever I hear it, it always touches a deep place in my heart.  There was a time in my life where this reading would call forth a much different image than it does today. 

Once, I believe I would imagine a little finger shaking along with this statement, kind of like, “Watch out! What you dish out will be dished back to you.”  It was an admonition, a warning.  Received in the negative sense.

Today, though, I have a completely different reaction.  Rather than seeing it in the negative, I see it as an affirmation of generosity, a beautiful image of how we have the choice to enlarge our capacity to receive goodness from God and from others. 

The literal image that comes to my mind when I hear this gospel will probably make you smile:  it is paper products.  A room full of paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, cups and napkins.  I have that image because of the great blessing of good friends who are generous and kind and who have sacrificed time and shared themselves with us over the course of twenty-five years.  This friendship is true fellowship.  And it is the kind of fellowship which our Stewardship Initiative encourages under the pillar of Generous Hospitality. 

Our friendship was forged when we both decided to help with a church ministry which serves engaged couples.  It was strengthened when we made time over the years for campouts, meetings, dinners, picnics and parties with all those who helped in the ministry.  And the fruits it bore over the years came home to me two summers ago. 

My friends were in the midst of great suffering.  Their young adult son was dying of liver cancer.  He had come home to be cared for by his family.  They welcomed us into this difficult time just as generously as they had welcomed us to all the joyous occasions of their family life.  So we were present to watch the many, many people who came by to support them, to visit with them, to drop off food and to drop off paper products.  I was overwhelmed at how many people came and brought something. 

And what came to my heart so clearly standing among so much abundance was, “the measure with which you measure will be measured to you.”  This family’s generosity and kindness poured out to so many over many years was now being measured back to them.  In both the giving and the receiving, their capacity to receive was made larger. 

This is the beauty in living a Catholic Way of Life.  The good measure is pressed down, shaken together and running over.  And sometimes it comes to us in very concrete ways, like a year’s supply of paper towels. Sometimes the fruits are less tangible but no less real, like the confirmation and deepening of my knowledge of the truth that no matter how difficult or sad a situation is, God is ALWAYS good and His mercy and his love is always present, and being poured into laps ready to receive.  A commitment to fostering genuine fellowship helps us enter that stream.  

We’re here to help

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

 

15 + 13 =

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

Living a Life of Detachment

Living a Life of Detachment

“In the town of Pontchateau, St. Louis DeMontfort inspired the peasants to build a huge monument to the Passion of Christ on a neighboring hill.  For 15 months, hundreds of peasants volunteered their skills and labor to build it.  When completed, it stood as a massive structure, a real labor of love, and on the day before it was supposed to be dedicated by the bishop, word got back to St. Louis that his enemies had convinced the government to destroy it. (They had lied to the authorities, saying that the structure was actually meant to be a fortress against the government.)  When Louis received this disappointing news, he told the thousands of people who had gathered for the blessing ceremony, ‘We had hoped to build a Calvary here.  Let us build it in our hearts.  Blessed be God.’” And the monument was leveled.

Taken from 33 Days to Morning Glory by Michael Gaitley, MIC, p. 35   

I was reminded of this story this week as I pondered and studied the Scripture readings which will be proclaimed at Mass this coming Sunday.  In both the Old Testament reading (1 Kings 17:10-16) and the Gospel (Mark 12:38-44) we are presented with a story of a widow who lives in great poverty and need and nevertheless shows great generosity.  In 1 Kings, the widow, despite the fact that she is near starvation and almost out of flour and oil, trusts Elijah’s word and feeds him before feeding herself and her son.  In return her jars of flour and oil miraculously do not go empty for a year.  In the Gospel, Jesus, watching those who are making contributions to the Temple treasury, witnesses a widow giving two small coins worth only a few cents.  He comments, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.”  Both of these stories share the witness of one who shows such complete detachment to material things and such great trust in God’s providence that they are able to give away their “whole livelihood.”

All three of these stories highlight an essential characteristic of the Catholic Steward – detachment; detachment in many areas of life.  I am struck by the strength shown by St. Louis in the meekness he displayed.  Knowing of his reputation as being a man with a temper, I did not expect the story to end this way when I began it.  I thought he would probably fiercely defend the work of the peasants against this unjust treatment.  Instead, he thanks God for the misfortune and offers no resistance to the destruction of his plans and their hard work.  Many times our work does not go as planned.  Sometimes we work hard on a project, putting into it tremendous resources, time and energy, only to have it crumble before us.  At the very least, we feel terribly discouraged if not outraged and angry.  Can you imagine having the trust in St. Paul’s words that St. Louis must have had, “All things work for good for those who love God.” (Romans 8:28) To be able to offer both our successes and our apparent failures equally to God and trust that He will bring good out of both takes great humility, meekness and detachment but also brings great peace and freedom. Similarly, the complete trust in God’s providence shown by both widows is extraordinary and points again to this virtue of meekness, and the great strength that lies behind it. 

Living the Catholic Way of Life means living a life of detachment, detachment from our wealth, our success, our expected outcomes.  It means acknowledging that all things in the end are God’s and accepting His invitation into the trust of the widows.  Like them, he asks us to have the courage to trust in His providence.  Like St. Louis, when we grow in the ability to acknowledge and act out of the truth that God brings good out of all things, we are free to live lives of generous service to Him without counting the cost and requiring a successful outcome. 

In the coming week, we all have the opportunity to exercise a similar commitment to detachment and generosity in our prayerful response to the Diocesan Annual Appeal.   In discussing this with a local parishioner this past week, she shared with me that whenever she writes a check to the church or other charity, she writes in the memo line GPR (God’s Prosperity Returned).  This is the action of a steward who “receives God’s gifts gratefully, shares them lovingly, and returns them generously to the Lord.”   

I hope you choose to Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight … “and honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce” not because the Church needs your support for its many programs (which we do), but because, more importantly, we need to give generously and sacrificially for our own sanctification. 

We’re here to help

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

 

3 + 9 =

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