Receiving young members into our faith communities

posted on February 1, 2013
by Shannon Grooms

Offering youth and adults a firm foundation in the deep human value of faith, a number of the churches around the Pine Ridge Reservation are preparing young members for fuller involvement in their communities. Our Lady of the Sioux Catholic Church in Oglala continued the process of initiating youth in the church on Sunday, January 27.

Two young members at Our Lady of the Sioux have been preparing to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at this year’s Easter Vigil. This past Sunday the community celebrated the Rite of Acceptance of these young people. During this rite of the church, the youths’ sponsors trace the Sign of the Cross on their foreheads, representing the hope that they may always hear, see, receive, walk, know, and live with the unconditional love of God. This rite is performed in the presence of the congregation so that the candidates may feel the love, support, and welcome of the faith community.

Two other young members have spent the last several months preparing to celebrate their First Reconciliation or “Confession.” Sister Barb Bogenschutz spent time with these children on Sunday, January 20, to guide them through a final exercise in preparation for the celebration of the sacrament. She gave each child a small leather pouch. She then talked about how rocks are like sins, describing the hurt they cause when they are thrown or become stuck in a shoe. Following her remarks, she had the children pick rocks from the center of the table and think about any sins they had committed or hurtful things that they had done. For each, the children placed their rocks into their pouch.

This past Sunday, the children’s parents escorted them to the reconciliation room. Following the celebration of the sacrament, the youth exchanged the rough rocks, for polished rocks, engraved with messages such as “I love you” and “You are forgiven.”

Fr. David De Marco heard the children’s first confession. Although both had spoken of some nervousness prior to celebrating the sacrament, they emerged with big smiles on their faces and reported having had a good experience.

If you are interested in learning more about the Sacrament Classes at Our Lady of the Sioux, contact Sr. Barb Bogenschutz at 605-867-1518.