Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


In South Dakota, it is often said, “If you don’t like our weather wait a few minutes. It will change.” While this may be true most of the time, the weather this summer has been consistent. It has been HOT. I’m talking over 100 degrees. For weeks at a time. Coupled with the heat is a severe drought. Ranchers come one step closer to desperation with each cloudless day. Now, we are a hardy bunch, by and large, and we learn to live with the weather (like we could do anything else) but this year has been disastrous in terms of fires. Thousands of acres of land have been lost, both in the Black Hills and on the prairies. Homes have been taken by fires and all of the state’s resources have been directed toward controlling them. This is one of those situations where pastors are devastated because there is so little that they can do to help and it seems that it is only a matter of time until the next fire starts.

My family has been lucky so far. Earlier in the week a fire burnt almost to our property line as the local men did all they could to stop it. That fire burnt a swath about a quarter of a mile wide for several miles. It was a small fire. Another not far from our home claimed about 30,000 acres of pasture land. Crews of local men with shovels and buckets and gas-powered sprayers managed to subdue it after about four days of fighting.

There are warning signs all over the roads about throwing cigarettes from car windows, and every night, you can see ranchers sitting out on the tops of tall hills watching the horizon for signs of new fires. Few people in the ranch country are getting much sleep these days.

The only thing that is going to bring relief is several inches of rain. Unfortunately, rain in August is almost always accompanied by lightening. So, we just keep praying, and putting out the fires. And we wait until fall when it will get cooler, a few gentle rains will finally come, and folks can sleep at night without dreaming about fire.