Homegrown saints: Holy men and women abound in America’s own backyard

Homegrown saints: Holy men and women abound in America’s own backyard

Featured, November 2019
By Renae Kranz Have you ever had a really good friend who was with you through a difficult time? They comforted your sorrow. They held your hand when you hurt. They prayed with you and prayed for you. In today’s scattered world, we all need these good friends in our lives. Did you know you have thousands of these friends waiting to accompany you through life’s challenges? They lived similar lives in many cases. They came from similar places. They felt many of the same sorrows. All you have to do is call their name. And each name starts with one word: saint. Saints in our American backyard This month we celebrate and honor our friends in heaven with All Saints Day on November 1 and all the faithful departed…
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Human Dignity: The ultimate gift from God

Human Dignity: The ultimate gift from God

Featured, October 2019
By Renae Kranz [caption id="attachment_4411" align="alignright" width="300"] Fr. Ed Anderson, priest at Avera Prince of Peace, greets Pat Gustaf and his sister Jean Gustaf after Mass in the chapel at Prince of Peace. (Photo by Renae Kranz)[/caption] When you see someone you perceive as different from you, maybe a homeless person or someone who is disabled, what pops into your mind? If we’re honest with ourselves, we probably wouldn’t want anyone to know what we’re thinking. It might go something like this: That person makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like to be uncomfortable. If I pretend I don’t see them, they’ll probably leave me alone, and I won’t have to deal with them. I’m glad that’s not me. Sound even a little familiar? It sounds familiar because many of us…
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It’s a beautiful time to be a priest: Discerning a vocation in a time of crisis

It’s a beautiful time to be a priest: Discerning a vocation in a time of crisis

Featured, September 2019
By Father Michael Griffin In March 1992, Pope John Paul II presented to the Church the apostolic exhortation “Pastores Dabo Vobis (I Shall Give You Shepherds)” on the formation of priests. In this document, the mystery of vocations was presented as “an inexpressible dialogue between God and human beings, between the love of God who calls and the freedom of individuals who respond lovingly to him.” (PDV, 36) This dialogue was present at the beginning when God entered into a relationship with human beings, continued through the call of prophets and apostles, and endures to this day as God calls the baptized to their vocation in life; God calls in love and we respond in love. Since the beginning of the Church, God has called men to the vocation of…
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Recovery & Faith: Intertwined by God’s grace

Recovery & Faith: Intertwined by God’s grace

August 2019, Featured
By Renae Kranz A new acquaintance recently told me about a prayer she says to herself each morning. “Dear God, get in my head before I do.” You see, this acquaintance is a recovering alcoholic. She uses this prayer to hand the wheel of her day over to God instead of over to the temptation to drink. If God is driving, she has hope. Those struggling with addiction and those in recovery face a battle that’s hard for the rest of us to understand. But God and faith can be their hope, too. Faith, whether from childhood or yet to be discovered, has a crucial role to play in recovery from addiction. And faith appears to be the key to staying clean and sober for a lifetime. Addiction is on…
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Chastity, It’s for Everyone!

Chastity, It’s for Everyone!

Featured, July 2019
by Renae Kranz Try this experiment. If you have an iPhone, try typing “chastity” in a text message. As you type, watch the autocomplete feature. On my phone and others I tested, the iPhone didn’t know the word “chastity” at all. How is this possible? It’s possible because in a fallen world, we can’t expect our phones to know a word we barely understand ourselves. We may think chastity doesn’t apply to us, so we remove it from our thoughts entirely. But chastity is part of God’s plan for all of us. We are living examples of our faith and its teachings on chastity. If we don’t understand and embrace them, how can we expect the world to see God in us or our Church? What is chastity? We usually…
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Enriched by the variety of newer cultures in our diocese

Enriched by the variety of newer cultures in our diocese

Featured, June 2019
The universality of the Catholic faith on display The more than 35,000 square miles east of the Missouri River in South Dakota have been inhabited by human beings for several thousand years. There was a long tradition of the Dakota people and their culture on these prairies. And in the last 150 years, cultures from various backgrounds, primarily European, came seeking opportunity, work and livelihood. The same motive – seeking opportunity, work and livelihood - applies to a broad range of cultures newer to what is now the Diocese of Sioux Falls and they come from all parts of the world. “We came to work,” said Xochitl Valencia, who with husband Victor have been here since the early 1980s. “We were young and saw opportunities,” she said. They have raised…
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What Strange Gods Do We Honor?

What Strange Gods Do We Honor?

Featured, May 2019
A Look at the First Commandment The call and command to place God above all else in our lives could not be much clearer. It is first of the Ten Commandments and Jesus reinforces it throughout the gospels, for example, in the Gospel of Matthew. “He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself’”. MT 22:37-39 It is inevitable that something rises to the top of how we spend our time and our resources. Said another way, human beings are made to worship something. “When the Catechism of the Catholic Church was first published I…
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Thoughts and Prayers – The Deeper Meaning

Thoughts and Prayers – The Deeper Meaning

April 2019, Featured
There is no denying the world around us is less religiously aware than it used to be. So when someone offers another “thoughts and prayers” it might be taken as meaningless and ineffective or simply a way to relieve oneself of responsibility by reciting a trite phrase. As people of faith, we know that nothing could be further from the truth. The deeper meaning of thoughts and prayers relates precisely to the command to love our neighbor. “You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39 “In some ways I sympathize with the people who find the…
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The Richness of Marrying in the Church

The Richness of Marrying in the Church

Featured, March 2019
Weddings today can get complicated. Much time and energy often goes in to perfecting the decorations, flowers, dresses and tuxedoes, receptions, dances, invitation lists and so much more. Actually, this is not only a modern reality, as we know weddings long ago had challenges; Jesus’ first miracle saved the day at the wedding feast at Cana. Dealing with all of these things is not bad, unless it obscures the actual event: the sacrament of marriage. As couples today consider their futures, some, perhaps having checked out divorce statistics, decide not to formally marry. Others choose a destination wedding or a justice of the peace option. But many continue to find great richness in making their commitment within the Church. The wedding liturgy proclaims, “you have come together into the house of…
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You Are Helping Create Disciples

You Are Helping Create Disciples

Featured, February 2019
The programs, activities and events supported by the Catholic Family Sharing Appeal are making better and more disciples in the Diocese of Sioux Falls. That is probably not what is on the mind of most donors when they consider their gift to the annual diocesan appeal, and it surely is not on the mind of the youth and young adults deepening their faith at discipleship activities. But there is plenty of good evidence that it is happening. Take Grace and Phil Eisenberg for example. Grace grew up in Aberdeen, Phil in Sioux Falls. Both attended a wealth of discipleship activities – Totus Tuus, Discipleship Camps, Youth Rallies and retreats. They even met at one of them. Today they are a young married couple active in their faith. Grace teaches at…
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