St. Katharine Drexel Parish December 2016 e-Newsletter
In This Issue

Upcoming Events

December 7th
Vigil Mass, Solemnity of the Immaculate
Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
5:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 8th
Holy Day Masses, Solemnity of the Immaculate
Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10th
First Reconciliation Retreat
9:30-11:30 a.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10th
Youth Bake Sale (GS)
after 5 p.m. Mass
Sunday, December 11th
Youth Pancake Breakfast and Bake Sale (MPR)
8:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Sunday, December 11th
Children's Nativity Play practice 11:30 a.m.
Friday, December 16th
Serve supper at St. Francis House
5-7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 17th
Parish Men's Group (Gathering Space)
7:30-9 a.m.

Sunday, December 18th
Children's Nativity Play Practice 11:30 a.m.

Sunday, December 18th
Decorate the Gathering Space and Nave for Christmas 11:30 a.m.

Sunday, Dec. 18th
Communal Reconciliation Service 
7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 21st
Children's Nativity Play Practice 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 21st
Youth Large Group meeting (MPR) 6:45 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 22nd
Early dismissal - SFCS
Friday, Dec. 23rd- Monday, January 2nd
No school - SFCS and SFPS

Saturday, Dec. 24th
Christmas Eve Masses
4 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 25th
Christmas Day Mass
9 a.m.

Monday, Dec. 26th
Parish Office closed

Tuesday, December 27th
6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, January 3rd
Serve breakfast at The Banquet 5:30 a.m.

Friday, January 6th
6 a.m.-7 p.m. 
Friday, January 13th
No school - SFCS

Sunday, January 15th
Knights of Columbus Youth Free Throw Contest (MPR) 1 p.m.

Monday, January 16th
No school - SFCS
Monday, January 16th
Parish Council Meeting
6:30-7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 20th
No school - SFPS
Friday, January 20th
Serve supper at
St. Francis House
5-7:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 21st
Parish Men's Group (Gathering Space)
7:30-9 a.m.

Sunday, January 22nd
Youth Pancake Breakfast (MPR) 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 25th
1 st Holy Communion Parent Meeting
5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 25th
Youth Large Group meeting (MPR) 6:45 p.m.

Sunday, January 29th
1 st Holy Communion Parent Meeting (Chapel)
9:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 1st
1 st Holy Communion Parent Meeting (Chapel)
5:30-6:30 p.m.
For more events, visit our parish calendar, where you can automatically add events to your personal calendar!

Advent and the Sacrament of Forgiveness
As our parish makes its way through the season of Advent, we join the Church all over the world in this annual time of preparation. In many ways, Advent doesn't have the spiritual traction that Lent displays later in the year. Maybe it's eclipsed by Christmas that extends backward and forward from its actual feast day. Maybe we just don't have the kind of childhood memories about Advent that would fuel our imagination.
As a feast day, Christmas came kind of late to the Christian calendar. Since no one thought to write down the date Jesus was born, a day for His birthday was selected later. The Church very purposely selected a time right after the winter solstice as the minutes of daylight were beginning to expand to celebrate the birthday of the Light of the World.
Advent comes during the darkest days of winter as a reminder that our world is often shrouded in darkness that is as much figurative as it is literal. Whenever personal sin shatters or harms our relationships, darkness descends in our world. When injustice prevails in society, darkness casts a shadow that is deeper than the absence of sunlight.
Advent is a time to ask ourselves about our personal areas of darkness. Where are we still in need of redemption to live fuller, richer lives? Jesus offers us life in abundance, but often enough we settle for less. Jesus is the Light of the World, but sometimes we are guided by lesser lights.
So, in preparation for Christmas, please join me in making a good examination of conscience. In recent years, I have noticed that many spiritual writers have focused more on the capital sins as a beginning point for looking at our lives before God: pride, envy/jealousy, gluttony, greed, lust, anger, spiritual sloth. These are the internal attitudes of the heart that sometimes stymie us in the spiritual life.  

Sometimes we aren't even very aware of these forces that work within us. Sometimes they motivate us in the most unexpected ways. That's the bad news. The good news is that Jesus is the one who can set us free of these urges.
As we continue our preparation for Christmas, I invite you celebrate the Sacrament of Forgiveness at our parish or in one of our neighboring parishes. Our communal celebration of Penance will be Sunday, December 18 at 7 p.m. In the week leading up to Christmas, we will offer confessions on Monday at noon; Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.; Thursday at 7 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and at 7 p.m.
Father Gregory Tschakert
St. Katharine Drexel Parish

Parish Volunteers Keep Our Youth Program Rolling     

I heard someone remark recently about the amazing spirit of giving in our parish. And of course they were right! A recent example: a number parishioners have generously stepped forward to offer their time and talent to keep our Youth Group moving forward. Annamarie Trevvett, our Youth Ministry Director, resigned her position in October. Fr. Tschakert made a few phone calls and in short order had enough volunteers on board to ensure that our vibrant, dynamic Youth program does not miss a beat.

So who's involved, and what's happening? I asked Kathy Halma, one of the volunteers, to fill me in:
  • Who's helping out? In addition to myself, several adults who have been helping with the program for the past few years have stepped forward to assist. Our parish's Y- Disciple leaders are also continuing in their very active roles, as are the adults who help with Confirmation preparation. Fr. Tschakert summed it up best: "At St. Katharine Drexel Parish, we have an amazing number of adult volunteers who giving generously of their time to share their faith with the next generation."
  • What is your goal? Our priority is keeping our youth excited about their Catholic faith and keeping the doors to fellowship open.
  • When is Youth Group meeting? We're meeting on the 1st and 3rd Sunday night of each month, from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Youth Room. We usually start with about 15-20 minutes of praise and worship music, and transition into instruction, with sharing to follow. Sometimes we have game time in the gym, if the youth voice an interest in this. And of course, snacks are always available!
  • How are the youth helping? Several high school students are on our parish Youth Council, and they are on fire for our Lord and want to keep our youth program going. We are making plans to have some of them lead some of the sharing, especially with the junior high students.
  • What about the fundraising events? We all volunteer at the fundraising events. Curt and Rochelle Lauret are in charge of pancake breakfasts, and Joan and I are in charge of the bake sale. All youth are expected to help out at these events, too.
  • What are some of the upcoming events for our youth?
    • Steubenville North will be held in St. Paul at the end of July. Registration forms should be returned as soon as possible. The deadline is in January! Steubenville North is a very powerful event for our youth, and we hope all will be called to attend.
    • Mission Trip: Two mission trips are planned for the upcoming year--one to the Abbey of the Hills and one to Sisseton. Dan and Mary Jo Gallagher are putting together plans for our youth to help out around the Abbey. Mary Jo will also host a retreat program. Our parish youth will also go to Sisseton and assist Fr. Ranek with his Native American parish, St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Mission trip plans and dates are still being hammered out.
  • Any special events in December? On Sunday, December 11th, the youth will host a Pancake Breakfast. We'll also have a Bake Sale on Sat. & Sun., Dec. 10th & 11th. We need baked goods for this event, so if anyone would like to donate some, please drop them off at the church by noon on Saturday, Dec. 10th. Our youth will sell them after Mass on Saturday night and at the Pancake Breakfast on Sunday.
  • Anything else? "We would love for other parents or anyone interested in working with our youth to join us.  Many hands make work light."
For more information about our parish youth program, visit their  website .
So Many Opportunities to Celebrate the Gift of Jesus!  

Why do we give gifts at Christmas? To celebrate the true "gift"--Jesus! It's all about Jesus--His birth, His love, His saving grace.
Life gets extra busy this time of year. Make an effort to slow down and reflect on the reason we celebrate Christmas. We have so many opportunities to share the gift of Jesus' love with others. Why not add one or more of these to your Christmas giving tradition?
**Take an ornament or two or three from our Advent Angel Tree and purchase gifts for Volunteers of America, in support of area veterans; St. Francis House, in support of single guests to open on Christmas; Children's Inn; Bishop Dudley Hospitality House; St. Katharine Drexel Parish Food & Diaper Pantry.
*Please note the return date on each label, as many gifts are time-sensitive

**Get involved in the Inmate Christmas Sack Program. On Christmas Eve, each inmate in our state prison system receives a sack of candy, nuts, and homemade fudge, along with a Christmas card. The program encourages children to make the cards, so this program can involve the whole family. Donations can be dropped off at St. Michael Parish, Mon.-Fri., December 12th-16th. Guidelines for the cards and the fudge recipe are available in our Parish Office. Please contact Tonia at 275-6870 with questions.

**Serve supper at St. Francis House. Volunteer with other St. Katharine Drexel parishioners on the 3rd Friday of each month, from 5-7:30 p.m. Our parish serves at the St. Francis House every month. Why not add this giving opportunity to your monthly calendar?

**Serve a meal at The Banquet. Our parish also serves regularly at The Banquet, another opportunity to share Jesus's love throughout the year. Watch for details in our parish bulletin, and mark your calendar throughout 2017.
Donate to a local agency that assists the poor:
The Bishop Dudley Hospitality House
Some 600+ men, women, children in Sioux Falls have no home. Our parish is reaching out to them. Parishioners on our Social Ministries Committee volunteer at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House (BDHH) in downtown Sioux Falls each month. The Bishop Dudley Hospitality House is a safe, loving place that can help the poor in our community start their way back to a stable life.
As is always the case when we share God's love, it is multiplied, again and again. Gloria Paulin of the Social Ministries Committee agreed to share some of her "humbling but rewarding experience" volunteering at the BDHH:
I did not have any idea what to expect when I volunteered. I was asked to be part of a group that did a search of the guests and their possessions as they arrive. There are a couple of staff members with you as you complete this process. The search is for weapons, drugs, and alcohol. If these items are found, they are confiscated and weapons are returned to the guest in the morning when they leave. At first, I was very uncomfortable going through their possessions, but the guests handle this with such a quiet resolve that it eases some of the discomfort. The staff is very familiar with most of the guests and any who have caused trouble in the past are not allowed to stay. I always felt completely safe. The guests are very appreciative of having a warm place with a bed in which to sleep for the night. I talked in depth with a couple of the guests. These guests were actually employed but could not afford housing. It was a humbling but rewarding experience. The volunteer time was short, only a couple of hours. Time passed quickly and as I left I was so grateful for the BDHH and their staff. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ and the guests at BDHH are treated as such.
BDHH Fast Facts:
  • emergency shelter for homeless and vulnerable
  • overnight services can assist 80 men, 20 women, 7 families, in separate areas
  • lunch is served Monday-Friday
  • computer and phone access is offered to assist guests with securing employment
  • mental health counseling (provided by outside agency)
  • addiction counseling (provided by outside agency)
2015 at BDHH by the numbers:
  • Safe Nights Provided: 34,022 Guests Served: 1,537 (Unique, Unduplicated)
  • Meals Served: 17,855
  • Transitioned to Permanent Housing: (52) families, (33) women, (86) men, and (164) children
Our parish Social Ministries Committee would like to set a standing volunteer date each month at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, similar to our parish's standing volunteer commitments at The Banquet and the St. Francis House. A New Year's resolution, perhaps, to share your blessings with others? If you're interested in volunteering at BDHH, contact the Parish Office at 275-6870.

Did You Know?
Our Social Ministries Committee has volunteers who will provide transport to appointments for those who cannot drive. If you need a ride, please call Gloria at 759-7684.
During your last hotel stay, did you pick up soaps, shampoos, or other personal hygiene items that you won't use? Guests of our Parish Food Pantry welcome these personal items. Gather them up and drop them off at our Parish Office.
Have you used our Parish Library? Yes, I said Parish Library! We have a large bookshelf full of all kinds of materials that you can borrow. Take a look at it next time you're in church. It's located around the corner from the mounted television in our Gathering Space. And if you'd like to donate books and other reading material to the library, contact Tonia in our Parish Office at 275-6870.
When you participate in the Sioux Falls Catholic Schools Certificates Program, you're generating "free money" for our schools as well as tuition credit for your student, your future student, or other SFCS students? And SFCS Certificates make great Christmas gifts! You can purchase SFCS Certificates after the weekend Masses or at the Parish Office. Businesses include: 10th Street Auto Wash, Applebee's, Bagel Boy, Barnes & Noble, Bath & Body Works, Buffalo Wild Wings, Burger King, Century Theaters, Cherry Berry Frozen Yogurt, Cherry Creek Grill, Culver's, Fareway Food Stores, Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic, Gas Stop, Get-N-Go, Great Bear, Hurley's Religious Goods, HyVee, JCPenney, Juice Stop, Kohl's, Lewis, Look's Market, Menards, Minervas/Grille 26, Noodles & Co., Panera, Papa Murphy's, Perkins, Pizza Ranch, Qdoba, Sam's Club, Scheels, Shopko, Sioux Falls Ford, Spezia/Bracco/Starz, Starbucks, Sunshine, Target, TC Referee, Texas Roadhouse, Walmart, and WestMall 7 Theaters.
Homilies from the past year are available on our  parish website. You can listen again to those who spoke to you in a special way. Or maybe you have a friend or family member who would be touched by a particular homily? Send them the link to our parish homilies recordings.
St. Katharine Drexel Parish on the Web   
  Mass Schedule, Calendar, Online Giving, Readings, and much more. Our Parish Web page has been updated and redesigned. Check it out!

 Have you "liked" St. Katharine Drexel Parish yet? It's a great way to stay up-to-date on Parish events. Visit

Log on to our Flickr site to see photos of our beautiful Sanctuary and Nave as well as our stained glass windows. Want to help us? Contact Carol Deering (212-5218/ of the Communications Committee.

Our Parish YouTube page includes eight videos. Do you have an idea for a video on our channel? Talk with Fr. Tschakert (275-6870/ or Carol Deering of the 
Communications Committee ( 212-5218/