P.O.Box 499 St. Francis, SD 57572-0499 605-781-7912 www.sfmission.org
Fr. Hatcher Remembers
August 16, 2013
Fun fact: I’m turning 70 on August 31—it’s a gizmo! However, I like to think of it as the fiftieth celebration of turning twenty. But more important to me is that this month I’m also celebrating my 10th anniversary as president of St. Francis Mission Among the Lakota. I have spent 38 years in service to the Lakota, and except for a few years teaching high school, this is all I’ve ever done as a Jesuit. I am grateful that God has blessed my ministry. C
Also, I must thank you, my friend, for your prayers and support. Without friends, there would be no Mission!
Recently, I dug out plans I presented to the board of directors when I first met with them in 2003. I laughed out loud at how naive I was both in regard to what would be done and especially how soon it could be done. Yet, ten years later, I am amazed to see that in cooperation with excellent staff and your support we have accomplished almost everything on the list! From the beginning, we worked toward inculturation, a strange word we missionaries use to describe honoring the culture of the people among whom we are living as ministers of the Gospel. Inculturation recognizes that the Lakota culture brings wisdom, strength, and blessing to the whole Church. As a first step, we changed the name from Rosebud Educational Society to St. Francis Mission Among the Lakota. Previously outsiders called the Lakota the “Little Sioux.” We owed them the respect to call them by the name they called themselves. We are always asking ourselves, “Does any given plan honor and empower the Lakota?” “Does it respond truly to their wants and needs—or does it impose on them something we think (Over) (Cut or tear on the perforation and return this slip with your gift.) Dear Fr. Hatcher, Happy birthday and happy anniversary! Please accept my gift of $_________ for the continuing good work of the Mission.
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they need?” “Does it spring from deep Lakota values, spirituality, language, and art—or does it spring from us non-Lakota trying to make them like ourselves?” Historically, missionaries have made many mistakes with Native Americans, but we now know that it is important first to Young and old alikelisten rely onmore KINIthan for talk and learn as well as teach. If we profess to bring Christ, we understand—to announcements funerals wakes, veryagendas. need to bring of others hisand love, not our important here. They hear about upcoming classes preparing for baptism and marriage. I went on to study the strategic plans for the Mission for the past 10 years. After almost every They tunedsay, for daily meditations in goal,stay I could “DONE!” We accomplished much good in the parishes, renovating church both Lakota and English and, later, for the buildings, assigning pastors, installing parish councils, improving religious education, and evening Rosary. This month are airing With a involving parishioners in we everything. Lakota leadership, we have opened a Suicide and Crisisseries Hot of Line, dental clinic, a Catholic educational institution—Sapa Un Academy. We special talksacentered on theand spiritual have also significantly upgraded KINI Radio and the Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum. exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. And everybody loves the comic skits created We have partnered with many federal, state, local, and tribal agencies. We have partnered by our production manager Roger Crow with the diocese, religious orders, universities, high schools, professional associations, private Eagle. Each skit is a take charitable on a topic, foundations, such as healthcare providers, and non-profits, like the Betty Ford Center, to bring Halloween, recovery, church-going, or the many forces to bear for good on the Rosebud Reservation. tribal powwow. How can not be grateful when I think of all the wonderful things God, with your help, has done Nowhere in IAmerica, I believe, is there among the Lakota in the past ten years? a radio station that serves its community better than KINI does. Virtually There are those people who gingerly everyone on Rosebud Reservation listens remind me, “You are getting old, Fr. Hatcher. You better we’ve been broadcasting a plan for the future Mission.” While I have no retirement plans, ISince do have a plan for tohave our radio station. They playofitthe all day Sunday Massworking live from succession. Within four years, the work of St. Francis Mission will pass to others (I am long for entertainment, information, and St. Charles Borromeo Church with an excellent candidate who is interested in becoming the future president). Our local board (above), attendance has grown inspiration. Even more, KINI brings the of directors is truly visionary, and our Lakota leaders know where we need to go. steadily. The staff of KINI FM whole community together, expressing (left to right): Mary Lee Fast and the caring of onetoperson Roger Crow Eagle, Jerod Mymultiplying fondest dream as I begin let go of this work is the success of the Sapa UnHorse, Catholic Mendoza, and Johnna Gueru. forAcademy, another. Our radio station works a which, thanks to your generosity, is starting up with a class of 16 third-graders this fall. continuing wonder. I am very proud It will grow a grade each year. The Academy will give motivated Lakota boys and girls everything ofthey our radio staff and you, dear friend, need to be successful in college and beyond. Having been served, they will return as men forand making all this happen in one the women of compassion andofcompetence to serve others on the reservation. very poorest places in the land. Of course, I am now going to askpeople you toonlook into your hearts and listen to asking More than ever in these hard times, Rosebud Reservation are leaning onwhat their God faith.isSt. Francis you to give to help us. Please consider giving a generous gift for the Lakota people, who, with Mission relies on the radio station to feed this people’s hunger for God and to lift up all things useful, good, your help, beisthe blessing to the Church andwithout the world God always meant to be. and true. Thecan truth that we’d have no radio station you.that I deeply appreciate yourthem generous gift to KINI, the Voice of St. Francis Mission. May God bless you. One more thing: come visit us! See for yourself what you and I are doing together. Call and we will arrange a visit. Call soon as I am on the down hill side! Your Partner in Loving Service to the Lakota, In the Risen Lord,
Fr. John Hatcher, SJ Fr.President John Hatcher, SJ President P.S.: The radio station is expensive to operate. But the good it does is priceless. Thank you! (Cut or tear on the perforation and return this slip with your gift.)
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Published on Aug 7, 2013