Philadelphia friends spend week on the reservation

posted on July 9, 2012

by Shannon Grooms

A group from St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, PA visited Our Lady of the Sioux Church in Oglala and St. Bernard’s parish on Red Shirt Table from June 11 through 16. This was the third year that visitors from the school have come on such a trip.

The young men from St. Joseph’s were high school juniors and seniors who took a semester-long class that prepared them for the trip to the reservation. Mr. Dino Pinto, a former Red Cloud Volunteer, was the teacher of this class. Mr. Pinto himself was unable to take part in this year’s trip due to a bicycle accident earlier in the year. In his place, Mr. Sam Deitch and Father Bruce Maivelett were the team leaders of the young men.

Upon the students’ arrival on Monday, June 11, they sent a bus to Red Shirt Table and around Oglala to pick up students. During the morning, they held a vacation Bible school in Brother Rene Hall at Our Lady of the Sioux. The day consisted of Bible skit time, crafts, snack, and playtime. The group members prepared all the crafts and all of the content for the program.

In the afternoons and the weekend following the vacation Bible school, the students from St. Joseph’s enjoyed the Badlands, Black Hills, and the Crazy Horse Memorial. They listened to cultural speakers Leonard Little Finger and Linn Cross Dog, and had the opportunity to participate in a sweatlodge (Lakota purification ceremony).

In reflecting on their experience at the end of the week, the young men had many positive things to say. They loved teaching and playing with the children, and most said that they very much wanted to return. One student said, “Out here, we can really see the stars for the first time!”

Mr. Deitch was also very pleased with how the trip went, saying, “The week provided our group with an opportunity to be with many young children in the area, and to hear their stories. It inspired us to go back to Philadelphia and share those stories with our school community, families, and friends.”

If you are interested in learning more about any of the churches on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, contact Fr. Peter Klink at 605-867-5491 ext. 627.