“To look for vocations also means to propose them: “…with passion and discretion, awaken vocations.” [1] Christ habitually “calls through us and our word. Therefore, do not fear calling. Introduce yourself among the young people. Personally go to meet them and call.” [2]

We give thanks to God for the many benefits received from a recent apostolate promoting vocations in Rapid City, South Dakota. Working alongside Fr. Kevin Achbach and Bridget Decker of the Vocations Office, we were able to work with youth of all ages and their families.

Weekend Retreat for Young Women 

We were happy to have young 17 women from around this rural diocese join us for a time of prayer and reflection. The retreat consisted in four talks, namely, God’s callings, the specific call to religious life, how to discern a vocation, and essential elements in responding to God’s call. For many of the young women, this retreat was the first time they asked themselves, “Could God be calling me?” while for others it was an opportunity to put the means to be able to better discern their call to consecrated life. The schedule of the weekend allowed the retreatants ample time for quiet reflection and joyful recreation. In the spirit of our Religious Family, we were able to share with them the virtue of mirth or good humor called eutrapelia especially through teaching them songs and dances from missions around the world.

School Outreach 

After the retreat, most of our work was with the youth in Catholic schools around the diocese. For two days we spent time in the primary, middle and high schools answering questions about religious life and sharing our own vocation stories. We saw the purity of the kindergartners, the curiosity of the junior high students, and the change in the attitude of the high school students as they realized, “that could be me someday.” We were also able to join with the Black Hills State University Newman Center students for a night of prayer and recreation.

“Men In Black” Basketball Game 

The Diocese of Rapid City also holds an annual charity basketball tournament with the students, teachers and clergy of the diocese. The evening started with a spaghetti dinner at St. Thomas More High School. Following the meal, 500 families joined together for a series of basketball games when elementary, middle, and high school students challenged their respective teachers.  The main event, however, was a game between the high school boys and the priests of the diocese including Bishop Robert D. Gruss.

Family Mass and Potluck

Finally, and probably the most fruitful apostolate we were able to do in South Dakota was in the context of the family. The last night of our trip we were able to have Holy Mass which was followed by a potluck dinner with 20 families from the diocese. We were glad to see many students from the schools as well as parents of the some of the retreatants.  In conversation with the families, parents were able to  express their concerns, ask us questions about religious life in general and more specifically about life as a Servidora.

We thank God for the grace to share the joy of the consecrated life with all those we met in South Dakota. Returning to the exhortation of Bl. John Paul II in Vita Consecrata, we beg the Holy Spirit to draw many fruits from this apostolate:

“To you, young people, I say: if you hear the Lord’s call, do not reject it! Dare to become part of the great movements of holiness which renowned saints have launched in their following of Christ.” [3]

[1] Const. [153].

[2]  Juan Pablo II, Mensaje para la Jornada Mundial de Oración por las vocaciones, OR XI, 17, p.1.

[3] Juan Pablo II, Vita Consecrata, 5.