Publication of names of priests found to have sexually abused minors

Publication of names of priests found to have sexually abused minors

April 2019, Bishop Swain's Column
Letter to Clergy, Consecrated & Laity of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, Today I am releasing the names of those priests of the Diocese of Sioux Falls who have had substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse made against them. It is my prayer that this will encourage any victim harmed by any on this list or any other person serving in ministry in the Church to come forward to law enforcement or to the diocese so that appropriate assistance might be offered and justice accomplished. To all who choose to come forward, please be assured that your confidentiality will be respected. Our diocese has been blessed by the presence of priests from many religious orders over the years. Any allegations against any of them must be forwarded to their superiors…
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Lent is a time for honest reflection

Lent is a time for honest reflection

Bishop Swain's Column, March 2019
The penitential season of Lent is upon us. Below are excerpts from my past columns in The Bishop’s Bulletin encouraging taking full advantage of this special time in the Church calendar. From March 2010: When I was growing up I was not a Catholic and attended public schools. In my mind, there was something intriguing and mysterious about the Catholics in my class. They were special. It was especially apparent when the kids would come to school on Ash Wednesday with smudges on their foreheads. The ashes we understood, but the thought that they would go to church before school was impressive. They already had been tagged lucky because of released time. Once a week they would leave school early to go to the Catholic Church for religious education while…
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Trust in Jesus Christ and the power of prayer

Trust in Jesus Christ and the power of prayer

Bishop Swain's Column, February 2019
When we face significant transitions in life we often look back with wistful memories. As I near retirement as your bishop, I have started looking back with wistful memories of all that has transpired over these twelve plus years. They include many blessings including so many of you and your generosity in so many ways, decisions I should have considered more carefully, and so many examples of God’s love and mercy and God’s surprises. Allow me to share with you excerpts from my Bishop’s Bulletin columns which capture some of the themes that have guided me over these years and guide me still: trust in Jesus Christ and the power of prayer. From February 2009: “One topic that brings us together in our diversity is the weather. And we have…
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In the New Year, See Jesus in Everyone

In the New Year, See Jesus in Everyone

Bishop Swain's Column, January 2019
“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her... And in response, they went away one by one...” John 8:7 The start of a new year is an opportunity for reflecting on the year past and making resolutions for amendment. I am not sure many of us do so in part because owning up to the past can be painful and even well-intended amendments are difficult to keep. Among the new year’s resolutions I pray for is a restoration of civility in all areas of life for the common good. As we begin this new calendar year, having looked back and looking forward, I would encourage us all to make a greater commitment to be respectful to one another even those…
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May we use these days of Advent to see more clearly

May we use these days of Advent to see more clearly

Bishop Swain's Column, December 2018
For unto us a child is born... Christmas is a day and season for rejoicing. We celebrate with gifts and music, flowers and lights, family meals and gathering with friends and their friends. However it is easy to get caught up in the secular swirl of the season and neglect its source and meaning. Doing some last minute shopping a mother suddenly realized that her three year old son had disappeared. In panic she retraced her steps and found him standing with his nose pressed against a frosty window, looking at the manger scene. Hearing his mother’s hysterical call, he turned and shouted with glee, ‘Look Mommy, its Jesus. Baby Jesus in the hay’. His mother jerked him away saying, ‘we don’t have time for that.” We need to take…
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In Christ is our hope. With Him at our side we never fear.

In Christ is our hope. With Him at our side we never fear.

Bishop Swain's Column, November 2018
As these words are written I along with fifty other hardy souls have just returned from a pilgrimage to Poland to recall and honor the life and legacy of Saint John Paul II on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his election as Pope. This privilege immediately followed the annual Clergy Days at which priests and deacons gather for prayer, continuing education and social time together, perhaps my last as the local bishop. There were many special moments at each which have raised up much for reflection and prayer, too much to be included in this brief writing. Certainly hovering over Clergy Days were the renewed charges of clergy child abuse by some priests and the failure of some bishops to deal with them appropriately. This has been compounded…
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Many long for the promise of Christ to be fulfilled

Many long for the promise of Christ to be fulfilled

Bishop Swain's Column, October 2018
The theme for this issue of The Bishop’s Bulletin is the influence for good or ill of “screens” which is a sound bite for the technical reality of the dominance of the communication vehicles of our day – cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, the web and so much more. There is value in all of them and the possibility of evil, often unknowing and addictive. This focus on “Screen Time: Finding the balance and enjoying the best of it” encouraged me to reflect on my screen time. Do I have that balance? Not always. We live in an age of brevity – headlines with only a few words, breaking news with only an alarming alert, comments about others with only a simplistic judgment. In the midst of all this, many long…
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Jesus is the salve for hurt and the instrument of healing

Jesus is the salve for hurt and the instrument of healing

Bishop Swain's Column, September 2018
The tragedy of child sexual abuse by clergy has sadly been raised up again with the release of a report from the the Attorney General of Pennsylvania made worse by documented lack of attention or intentional cover-up by some bishops. This is compounded by the revelation that former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick violated children and abused his power over young adult seminarians placed under his pastoral care. As I wrote in my statement sent by e-mail to some 19,000 Catholic households registered in our parishes, I am horrified, angry, and embarrassed by these tragic facts. Portions of my statement are repeated below. There are several thoughts I would offer to you in addition. First, given the violation of trust by some bishops over many years, I believe there needs to be…
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They have witnessed the faith in our state for 100 years

They have witnessed the faith in our state for 100 years

August 2018, Bishop Swain's Column
A few weeks ago it was our pleasure for our diocese to host the national convention of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas. Over 1,200 dedicated Catholic women from all over the country attended. The theme for the convention was ‘Serve the Lord with Gladness.’ I was privileged to pray the Welcoming Mass. Below is an edited version of my homily on that wonderful occasion. It is my pleasure to welcome you to South Dakota and the Diocese of Sioux Falls. I pray that your stay with us is one of joy, spiritual enrichment and fun. The beauty of the falls, the enormity of the wide open spaces, the legacy of Native Americans and immigrants who built and sustained South Dakota and the Church over the years is inspiring. It…
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We need God who is all loving and all merciful

We need God who is all loving and all merciful

Bishop Swain's Column, July 2018
Recently we experienced a startling thunder and heavy rain storm in Sioux Falls. When I left the Bishop’s House for an early morning walk after it had passed, the flowering plants and shrubs were hanging low, burdened by the impact of the storm. When I returned not too long later they were showing resilience and raising their shoots toward the sun. Later in the day they were back to their previous uplifting stature and beauty. I have often marveled at the resilience of God’s creation, observing trees bending in the very strong South Dakota winds and the burdens of ice and snow. There was an ice storm a few years ago which resulted in the loss of power for nearly three days. One seeming casualty was a large tree near…
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