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!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Duc in Altum

The last three weeks have found me traveling the Diocese of Rapid City as a teacher in a program we call Duc in Altum. This is a traveling catechetical program that looks much like the Totus Tuus program that exists in other dioceses. I have been traveling with two other seminarians (both of whom have completed only their first year of minor seminary) and we have had a variety of teaching experiences thus far. In the first town, we had about twenty participants total from 1st through 12th grades. In the next town, we had nearly 100 participants from among those same grades.

This week places us on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This is an entirely different place to be. There is almost no catechesis among the people here. Many do not even know the basic facts of the life of Christ. Some are not baptized, and others have received a variety of sacraments. We are supposed to be teaching them about the sacraments. I dread trying to teach marriage. These are young people who have never witnessed a stable marriage. What image am i supposed to give them that helps them understand it? How am I to tell them that marriage demonstrates Gods love for the Church when the coupling of people on the reservation is inevitably a practice in infidelity?

But, where there is life there is hope, and for the coming week my goal is to demonstrate to these children that God loves them - that at the Church they are safe, that they will be fed, that they will be loved and wanted, and that God wants these things for them too. Perhaps herein, they will find some sense of the transcendent God who desires to be in a relationship with them.

And, this work is not without its small lessons and rewards. They are beautiful children with wonderful senses of humor. Today, as I played tether ball with several of them (apparently reservation tether ball has different rules) on of the children would shout his battle cry in the native language of his people every time he hit the ball - "Hoka Hey!" It's a good day to die.