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 30, 2008


The associate pastor with whom I work often comments about some of the villages where we minister, "The more I love the people, the more I hate the village."  Louie's story is characteristic of the situation. 

I met Louie on Sunday.  He is a native boy, and exhibits a typical Lakota trait of appearing to be some indeterminate age between thirteen and twenty-five.  He didn't come to Mass, but he did come to enjoy the free meal afterwards.  I sat with Louie and his younger brother while we ate.

From all appearances, Louie is a decent kid.  He is very polite and soft-spoken.  I had to strain to hear him.  He told me that he is seventeen, but that he would turn eighteen in a few months.  I asked him about school, and he revealed that he is supposed to be a junior, but that he was required to repeat a year at some point in his past.  Unfortunately, it is unlikely that Louie will finish high school.  He was recently expelled for fighting.  A peer had tried to "jack his necklace," and Louie had responded in kind.  Besides being expelled, he was charged with simple assault and several other things.  The courts have yet to decide what to do with him.

Louie wants to go to Job Corps.  This organization will help him finish his GED, and will also teach him some sort of job skill.  In Job Corps, he could learn carpentry, painting, heavy equipment operation, or any number of things.  Perhaps the courts will permit him to do this.  God willing, he will learn a skill, get off the Rez, and live a decent life.  Unfortunately, Louie fears that he will be sent to "placement," or as we more commonly know it, treatment or rehab.

As I mentioned Louie is only seventeen.  Even at this age, though, he has already spent more than five years in treatment.  He didn't tell me the addiction(s) with which he struggles, but if I were a betting man, I would guess that he had already faced criminal charges for alcohol, marijuana, and meth.  All of them are readily available on the Rez.

Louie is one of hundreds of kids just like him.  When you live and grow up on the Rez, you begin to believe that this is all that life has in store for you.

1 comment:

Jinglebob said...

So sad. What can we do for people like this?

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