to the St. Katharine Drexel Parish (Sioux Falls, SD) Website
The mission of St. Katharine Drexel Parish is to gather together as a
community of faith, sharing the Word of God with all of our neighbors
through our words and example. We emphasize the sanctity of the
Eucharist in our daily lives and encourage good stewardship and
lifelong Catholic Christian education. Our consistent message is
"Come home to Christ".
Are you new to our parish? We would love to have you become an active part of our
faith community. Please stop after Mass and introduce yourself to Fr. Joe. He will give you a
card of introduction to fill out. Or, you can request more information, ask a question, or
have someone contact you by filling out the simple form here. Welcome!
Click on the image above
to read a biography.
Born: November 26, 1858
Died: March 3, 1955
(Parish Feast Day)
Canonized a Saint:
October 1, 2000
“If I can say of an action: ‘I
did it out of love of God,’
there is something about
it that will last through all
St. Katharine Drexel
Image courtesy of the
Archives of the Sisters of
the Blessed Sacrament.
“Peacefully do at each
moment what at that
moment ought to be
St. Katharine Drexel
Image courtesy of the
Archives of the Sisters of
the Blessed Sacrament.
O GOD OUR CREATOR,
From Your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as Your people and given us the right and the duty to worship You,
the only true God, and Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of Your Holy Spirit, You call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.
We ask You to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of Your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all Your sons and daughters gathered in Your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome—for the
sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us—
This great land will always be “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
WHY CONSCIENCE IS IMPORTANT
During the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, Americans shone the light of the Gospel on a dark
history of slavery, segregation, and racial bigotry. The civil rights movement was an essentially religious
movement, a call to awaken consciences.
In his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in 1963, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. boldly said, “The goal of
America is freedom.” As a Christian pastor, he argued that to call America to the full measure of that
freedom was the specific contribution Christians are obliged to make. He rooted his legal and constitutional
arguments about justice in the long Christian tradition: “I would agree with Saint Augustine that ‘An unjust
law is no law at all.’… A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An
unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”
Some unjust laws impose such injustices on individuals and organizations that disobeying the laws may be
justified. Every effort must be made to repeal them. When fundamental human goods, such as the right of
conscience, are at stake, we may need to witness to the truth by resisting the law and incurring its penalties.
The church does not ask for special treatment, simply the rights of religious freedom for all citizens. Rev.
King also explained that the church is neither the master nor the servant of the state, but its conscience,
guide, and critic.
Catholics and many other Americans have strongly criticized the recent Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) mandate requiring almost all private health plans to cover contraception, sterilization and
abortion-inducing drugs. For the first time in our history, the federal government will force religious
institutions to fund and facilitate coverage of a drug or procedure contrary to their moral teaching, and
purport to define which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit an exemption. This is a matter
of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide such coverage
even when it violates our consciences.
What we ask is nothing more than the right to follow our consciences as we live out our teaching. This right
is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home. It is about whether we can
make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Can we do the good works our faith calls us to
do, without having to compromise that very same faith? Without religious liberty properly understood, all
Americans suffer, deprived of the essential contribution in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil
rights, and social services that religious Americans make every day.
What is at stake is whether America will continue to have a free, creative, and robust civil society—or
whether the state alone will determine who gets to contribute to the common good, and how they get to
What can you do to ensure the protection of conscience rights?
The U.S. Bishops have called us to get informed, pray and advocate. To send your message to HHS and
Congress telling them to uphold religious liberty and conscience rights, go to www.usccb.org/conscience
today! Thank you for joining the effort to end this unprecedented government coercion.
FROM FR. TSCHAKERT
This past week I was invited to preside at the funeral of Sister Verna Kelly, a Presentation
Sister of Aberdeen for more than 60 years. Sr. Verna spent many decades as a primary teacher
where she excelled through her love of children and her commitment to Jesus and His Church.
For most of those years she taught in parish schools around our Diocese, and was usually in
charge of preparing the children for 1st Holy Communion.
I came to know Sr. Verna after she retired from fulltime teaching and returned to Presentation
Heights in Aberdeen. For many, many years in her retirement, Sister Verna served as a teacher’
s aide at Roncalli and as a 2nd grade teacher in our parish Religious Education program. Her
love for the children and her faith were constantly evident, and I was always confident that
the children would be well formed before their First Confession and First Communion.
When I left Aberdeen and became pastor at St. Mary Parish in Dell Rapids, I often heard stories
about Sr. Verna who left a huge impression on that faith community. She was one of the last
Presentation Sisters who served in Dell Rapids over a period of 90 years. Over the years, my
admiration for this wonderful woman grew and grew, so I was really honored that she had
designated me to preside at her funeral Mass.
In many ways Sr. Verna represents a whole tradition of women religious who have given their
lives for the sake of God’s people. Many of these women were very instrumental in building
the Church on the prairie that we call the Diocese of Sioux Falls. Today when there are only a
few of these women who are engaged in active ministry in the Church, many of our
impressions concerning religion religious life are becoming distant memories. It would be a
great blessing for the life of the Church if the apostolic orders of religious (those who go out
to minister in the world) could be reenergized with an influx of new members.
In the meantime, the Church continues to respond to the command of Jesus in the Gospel
who said, “Let the children come to me.” When I look around our parish, I witness
tremendous faith and generosity that has motivated so many parents to accept children as a
gift from God. I know that these same parents will be the first and most effective educators of
their children in the ways of faith. Children are always absorbing the example of their parents,
even when the parents don’t know they are being watched.
When I talk to young people at the time of their Confirmation or when they are preparing for
marriage, they are often able to identify people who have been models of faithfulness for
them. Sometimes it is a parent. Often it is a grandparent. Sometimes it is a neighbor, a teacher,
a coach or someone they know from church.
At the same time, the Church keeps working to establish effective Religious Education
programs that will build on the faith that is instilled in our homes. Over the next few weeks,
we will be preparing for the opening of our parish school where faith is woven into our daily
life. We will also be gearing up for our parish Religious Education programs that rely heavily on
volunteers who are willing to share their faith with our parish children. Also, our parish youth
ministry is adding the Y-Disciple component that has made such a big impact in other places.
There was a time when our faith was passed along rather naturally through family structures
and the Christian community. Today we know that we need to be more intentional in the way
we impart our faith to the next generation. When you look at the big picture, the gift of our
faith is certainly the greatest blessing that we can pass along.
HEALING MASS: Tuesday, July 29th at 6:30 p.m. in the Nave. The Sacrament of the
Anointing of the Sick will be offered and the healing power of Jesus in the Eucharist will be
emphasized during this Mass. Teams will be available following Mass to pray with you for
physical, emotional, mental or spiritual healing.