Just a bit from Fr Schmidt – June 4, 2023

Confirmations, Dedication & Goodbyes

The month traditionally dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus brings with it a number of momentous occasions this year. At the 5:00 PM Mass on Saturday, June 10, we’ll be gathering in Hoven with the Bishop to celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation with candidates from both parishes, up to 32 total. The previous evening at 7:00 PM on Friday, June 9, we’ll be observing the 100th Anniversary of the Dedication of the church in Hoven. The date of the original dedication was May 29, 1923. Hopefully, several other priests will be able to attend with the Bishop on a Friday. In September, there will be another Sunday celebration coinciding with St. Anthony Parish Bazaar.

June also brings for a number of our priests another round of packing and moving, saying goodbyes and thank-yous. I know I couldn’t have asked for better parishes for my first assignment as a pastor. I’ll always be thankful to Bishop Swain for sending me here. And now that the landscape of pretty much every pastorate in the diocese is changing so drastically, I’ll remember fondly the days when I could be the pastor of just two parishes and three or four churches.

And I’ll always be grateful to God for the staff, volunteers, council members, families and parishioners who helped and supported countless times, those who had patience with my own limitations and shortcomings, those who choose to forgive and to practice generosity and faith. I know my parents and most of my family are excited to have me closer to home, but there’s a real sadness in saying goodbye to the places I’ve called home for the past four years. We are planning to have a Farewell Potluck in each parish: at 5:00 PM on Sunday, June 25 in Hoven, and at 11:00 AM on July 2 in Bowdle.

Please continue to pray for our Pope, Bishop, and priests, both those who will be moving and especially those staying in the area who will be serving in these parishes. Few things about the future are clear, but one thing is certain: if we remain faithful, Christ Himself will be our Good Shepherd and bring us into green pastures of life everlasting.

This entry was posted on June 1, 2023.

Just a bit from Fr Schmidt – May 28, 2023

Ember Days & Mass Times

Just a quick note to encourage you to observe the Summer Ember Days this Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following Pentecost Sunday. If you are able, please offer some extra prayer, fasting, and penance for holy vocations to the priesthood and for God’s blessings upon this season of the year.

The first most noticeable change coming July 5 will be a modified weekend Mass schedule, adjusting for the number of priests and new parish groupings. First up is Pastorate 1, from Mobridge to Leola, including Bowdle. The following message is from Fr. Michael Griffin, who will become pastor of these parishes:

On July 5, 2023, eight parishes will combine to form one glorious pastorate known, for now, as Pastorate 1; which I think is a great name as we are going to be amazing in transforming this part of the diocese and state with the joy of the Gospel.

As time progresses, a Pastoral Planning Committee will be formed from the 8 parishes to establish our goals and vision for the next 10 years.

In the meantime, as this planning work begins, we will have 3 priests serving in Pastorate 1, and due to the logistics of serving the pastorate, there will be a new Mass schedule for the coming year.

Starting the weekend of July 8-9, 2023, the Mass schedule for the 8 parishes will be:

Priest 1: Mobridge Sat 5:00 PM/Selby Sat 7:00 PM/Mobridge Sun 8:00 AM & 10 AM

Priest 2: Bowdle Sat 5:00 PM/ Roscoe Sun 9:00 AM/ Ipswich Sun 11:00 AM

Priest 3: Herreid Sat 7:00 PM / Eureka Sun 8:30 AM/ Leola Sun 10:30 AM 

As pastor, I will be rotating through the month so I have the opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist in each of the parishes in Pastorate 1.

On this beautiful Pentecost, we rejoice in the gift of the Holy Spirit in our midst, guiding us into a future where we know Christ calls us to a new life; be open to this gift, as a parish and as an individual believer. We are blessed beyond imagining, and I am so honored to be called to walk with you all.


Fr. Michael Griffin


This entry was posted on May 26, 2023.

Just a bit from Fr Schmidt – May 21, 2023

The Fire of God

As I return from our Parochial Vicar meeting, I’ve been thinking about two sorts of responses to Set Ablaze that seem to be on opposite sides of the spectrum, and both tend to be unhelpful. The first is to think that not much is really going to change on July 5. To let complacency and sloth direct us. Just a slight reorganization of parish groupings. Some priests being moved, as tends to happen every July, but otherwise, it’s all going to be business as usual.

But this is not the aim. Without opening ourselves to new possibilities for the spread of the Gospel, pooling of resources, gifts, charisms, collaboration and coordination between parishes, between different priests and deacons working together, between the clergy and lay faithful, placing our gifts at the service of Christ and His Church—in ways and to a degree that we have not yet seen—we will not be able to disrupt the downward trends of these past decades to bring genuine renewal in worship, service, community, and mission. It will be different. It’s meant to be different and to provide new opportunities in every area of parish life.

The other extreme is to think that drastic changes will take place immediately or without warning or consultation. To let fear direct us to dig in and just cling to what we think of as ours. To bury our talent in the ground, to make sure it doesn’t get merged with the talents of any neighboring parishes. Rest assured, not all that much in the current operations of most parishes will be changing on July 5 itself or even in the coming year. Religious education will continue. Bills will still need to be paid. Parishes and their accounts will still operate independently as they have up till now. And any other changes on the way will be part of a planning process set to begin this September.

So it’s not time to panic, and it’s not time to sit back and disengage from the life of the Church and the discussions and work that will be crucial for the future of our diocese and the Catholic Church on the prairie. Now is the time to pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, for the openness, generosity, collaboration, and creativity that will be the hallmarks of parishes that will thrive within the new pastorate model. Come, Holy Spirit!

This entry was posted on May 18, 2023.

Just a bit from Fr Schmidt – May 14, 2023

Rogations Ablaze and the Original Novena

Besides the Major Rogation on April 25, the Minor Rogation Days are somewhat newer, observed first in southern France around the year 470 and spreading from there. Today, these are observed in the same way, with processions and prayers, accompanied by personal fasting and penance if possible. The Minor Rogations take place on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Thursday. Even in dioceses that transfer the celebration of the Ascension to the following Sunday, it still makes the most sense to keep the Rogations on Monday through Wednesday.

If you’d like to join the processions on these days to pray for crops, livestock, and many other needs—again, starting and ending inside the church and processing around the block if weather permits—I’ll be having one in Bowdle on Monday, May 15 (which also happens to be the feast of Saint Isidore the Farmer) at 9:00 am, and in Hoven on Tuesday, May 16, immediately following the weekday Mass or at about 5:55 pm. On Wednesday, I’ll be leaving early to get to Brookings for a Set Ablaze meeting for all priests who will be serving as parochial vicars in the new pastorates, so there won’t be Mass offered publicly nor a rogation procession. I plan to stay somewhere overnight and return the next day, so Bowdle’s Mass on Thursday will be in the evening at 5:15 pm.

This week we also begin the original novenanovena coming from the Latin word for nine—first prayed by the Blessed Mother and the Apostles and other disciples gathered in the upper room where the Last Supper had been celebrated. After the Ascension of Jesus into heaven on Thursday, they continued together for nine days, in prayer for the Gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. One of my favorite forms of this novena is the “Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts.” The easiest way to find it is probably to just type “seven gifts novena EWTN” into an Internet search.

Regardless of which specific prayers you use, please do join in praying during these nine days for a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon yourself, your family, our parishes, our diocese, even upon the Church throughout the world, especially as we prepare to celebrate Confirmation in our parishes on June 10 and for Set Ablaze beginning in July. The days of the Novena run from Friday, May 19, to Saturday, May 27, the Eve of Pentecost Sunday. May the Fire of the Holy Spirit purify our minds and hearts and spur us on to proclaim with all boldness the saving Gospel of Christ, even as His first Apostles did after Pentecost.

This entry was posted on May 12, 2023.

Just a bit from Fr Schmidt – May 7, 2023

Christ Our Paschal Lamb

Even though I don’t tend to use all that many in speaking, I’ve always had a great love for words. Even the histories and etymologies, how they come in from other languages with different layers of meaning, have always been fascinating to me. Before we reach the end of the Easter season, there’s a word I’d like to highlight that we’ve probably heard frequently in the prayers at Mass without necessarily noticing or thinking too deeply about it: paschal.

The other name for the Easter season—these 50 days that run from Easter Sunday to the Feast of Pentecost—is Paschaltide. Paschal is simply the adjective form of the word for Passover. Passover refers to the Jewish feast commemorating the deliverance of God’s people from slavery in Egypt, when they sacrificed and ate an unblemished lamb and marked their doorposts with its blood. In a Christian context, however, Passover became associated with the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, when Christ, the unblemished Lamb of God, accomplished our deliverance from slavery to sin and death. We know from the Gospel that Jesus suffered and died just as the Passover lambs were being sacrificed for the Jewish feast.

As the first Christians came to use the term in the early Church, paschal was always in reference to Christ, the definitive Passover Lamb. The Paschal Mystery refers to the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus. Even though more than 40 days passed between Good Friday and Ascension Thursday, these events tended to be viewed together as the source of all grace communicated to us in the sacraments.

The prayers at Mass also use this phrase in the plural (paschal mysteries). Here it’s important to note that the original Greek of the New Testament has one word (mysterion) which English and Latin translate into two different terms, both mystery and sacrament. Paschal mysteries, then, refers more to our participation through the liturgy and sacraments of the Church in the grace of Christ’s offering of Himself for our salvation. And more than in any other sacrament, Christ and the saving work of His Passover is made truly present to us in the Most Holy Eucharist, so the Church also refers to the Eucharist specifically as the paschal Sacrament.

I hope this sheds some light for us on one of the richest terms in catholic Tradition, so that as the Easter Prefaces at Mass say, we may be “overcome with paschal joy,” always giving thanks that Christ has enabled us to pass over from death to life through His own victory over the grave and by His entrance into heavenly glory.

This entry was posted on May 5, 2023.

Just a bit from Fr Schmidt – April 30, 2023

Month of Mary

Especially after a long winter, it’s great to finally be able to welcome spring as we enter May, the month dedicated to our Blessed Mother Mary, she who alone was found worthy to bring forth the surpassing Light of the Son of God into this world of darkness in our very flesh. She is the solitary boast of our race, prepared beforehand by God for this most exalted vocation by the grace of the Immaculate Conception. So even as we greet with joy the lengthened days of sunlight, the greening of all that was dry and brown, flowers and birds and new life all around, and as we continue to celebrate the Lord’s own Resurrection from the darkness of the grave throughout this Easter season, we also keep before our eyes throughout this month the all-beautiful vision of Mary the Mother of God and Queen of heaven.

Now would be a great time to begin or get back into the habit of praying a daily Rosary. Throughout the many times in history our Lady has appeared to different people, she has consistently asked us to pray the Rosary daily for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for sins committed, to call down God’s mercy upon the earth. And meditation upon the mysteries of the life of Christ and His Mother is essential for our growth in the virtues, “to imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise.”

One recent bit of news related to Mary is the renaming of the only officially approved apparition in the United States. Long known as Our Lady of Good Help, the shrine near Champion, Wisconsin, commemorating the 1859 apparitions of our Blessed Mother to Adele Brise has been renamed Our Lady of Champion. This is more in line with the names of other apparitions, named for the place (like Our Lady of Fatima or Lourdes) rather than any devotional title of Mary. I still have yet to make a pilgrimage there myself. I have heard it is still a pretty simple and humble place, much like our Blessed Mother herself, but it’s worth looking up and visiting if you ever get the chance. One of the miracles associated was a fire that consumed everything up to the fence line all around but left just that property completely unharmed. May our Blessed Mother always intercede for us and bring us whole and unharmed into eternal dwellings out of the devastation of this present age.

This entry was posted on April 28, 2023.

Just a bit from Fr Schmidt – April 23, 2023

Rogation Days

One event that is often highlighted in publications focusing on Catholic rural life is the Rogation Days procession. The Litany of the Saints and Psalms that are used pray for all sorts of things that are not limited to agriculture, but the image of a cross leading a procession amidst fields and flocks is the one that sticks in people’s minds. Rogation Days are named for the Latin verb rogare, “to ask,” and are observed with solemn procession while singing the Litany of Saints, the Penitential Psalms, and several other prayers for God’s blessings and deliverance from evil. Fasting, abstaining from meat, and other forms of penance are also encouraged on these days.

The Major Rogation, on April 25 each year, is likely the earliest one observed, probably to counteract and replace the pagan Roman festival of Robigalia, held on the same date with public games and the sacrifice of a dog to the false god Robigus for the protection of grain fields from disease. Rogation Days retain this agricultural connection, and besides the Litany and procession, the blessing of fields and flocks became customary in many places on these days. The Minor Rogations (held on the three days leading up to Ascension Thursday) were introduced around the year 470 in France by St. Mamertus, bishop of Vienne, and observance spread out from there, eventually extending to the whole Church. Both the Major and Minor Rogations came to be observed in the same ways.

We’ll plan to have a procession in Hoven this Tuesday, following the 5:15 pm Mass. The procession should start close to 5:50 pm. We’ll plan a few more during the Minor Rogations as we get closer to those. Another tradition that developed with Rogation Days was called “beating the bounds,” to actually make a procession along the parish boundaries, but considering that these two parishes have a perimeter of approximately 210 miles, from the Missouri River up to Hillsview, we’ll probably just be making the procession around the block instead. Please plan to join us this Tuesday as we ask God’s blessings and protection upon our world, our parishes, families, and growing season.

This entry was posted on April 20, 2023.

Just a bit from Fr Schmidt – April 16, 2023

Forty Hours Devotion

The number 40 shows up quite a few times in Sacred Scripture, from the number of days it rained during the flood of Noah, to the number of years that Moses led the Israelites through the desert, or the years of King David’s reign. In the New Testament, we have the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple 40 days after His Nativity, the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert after His Baptism in the Jordan, and the days that He spent with His Apostles between His Resurrection and the Ascension.

Another instance that I recently came across was the tradition that Jesus spent about 40 hours in the tomb, from 3 pm on Good Friday to around 7 am on Easter Sunday. Of course, the precise hour that the Resurrection occurred on that first Easter morning is not recorded in the Bible, but from this and other occurrences of the number 40 developed what’s called the 40 Hours Devotion. The 40 Hours Devotion usually involves Solemn Exposition of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for a continuous period of 40 hours. Along with the Corpus Christi Procession, the 40 Hours Devotion is expected to happen at least once a year in each parish.

Part of the challenge, of course, is that we are never to leave Jesus exposed upon the altar even for a moment without someone there to adore Him and to keep guard in the church. The nighttime hours can be particularly challenging to fill. The Easter season is an especially appropriate time for us to observe this time-honored practice as we celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection and His continued presence among us through the Eucharist.

To limit the 40 hours to just one overnight period, we’ll be going from 6 am on a Saturday morning to 10 pm on Sunday. We’ll plan on the weekend of the Ascension in Bowdle: May 20 & 21, and the following weekend of Pentecost in Hoven: May 27 & 28. The Knights of Columbus are also planning to bring in a Eucharistic Miracles display during that weekend in Hoven. It will be set up in the basement, available for browsing before or after the Masses or your times of adoration. As it gets closer, I’ll have a signup sheet available at the entrance of each church. Please be generous to God with your time and commit to one or more hours. Your time spent with our Eucharistic Lord will never go unrewarded.

This entry was posted on April 14, 2023.

Just a bit from Fr Schmidt – April 9, 2023

Scars of Love

One of the most moving scenes from Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ has to be when Jesus meets His Mother Mary along the Way of the Cross. There’s a flashback to Jesus as a little Boy falling down and Mary running to scoop Him up in her arms as we see Jesus fall beneath the weight of the cross and Mary running to console Him: “I’m here.” As Jesus raises the cross once more and continues on His way, He says to His mother, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5).

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the glory of His Resurrection. Death could not hold Him who is the Author of Life. One apparent oddity in the resurrected Body of Jesus are the holes in His hands and feet, the wound in His side. In the resurrection of life, the just will have every bodily perfection. We usually think of wounds as imperfections, but this was never how Jesus viewed the Cross. He said of His sufferings: “There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” (Lk. 12:50). And the Letter to the Hebrews tells us, “It was fitting that God… should make the leader of our salvation perfect through suffering.”

The wounds of Christ’s Passion, far from being imperfections, are what made His life and sacrifice complete. Only after what He suffered on the Cross could He finally say, “It is finished,” consummated, completed, perfected (Jn. 19:30). He makes all things new, including the trials, pains, wounds, sufferings of this life. In Christ, our own wounds find new purpose and meaning.

I’ve often wondered—since Jesus bears the scars of the perfection of His Body—what other Saints might have similar features in the resurrection. Maybe John the Baptist and St. Paul will be carrying their own heads around in heaven, since they were beheaded as a martyr/witness to Christ. St. Peter may have the scars of his own crucifixion as trophies of his martyrdom. What about us? Are there sufferings we have endured for Christ, scars that will proclaim our love for Him into all eternity? Or are we still imperfect, incomplete? The holes in the hands, feet, and side of Christ endlessly proclaim His love for you. “His mercies never fail; they are new every morning” (Lam. 3:22-23).

This entry was posted on April 7, 2023.

Easter Triduum Times

Holy Thursday April 6 with incense

7:00 PM St Augustine, Bowdle

7:00 PM St Anthony, Hoven

Good Friday April 7 

3:00 PM St Anthony,  Hoven

7:00 PM St Augustine, Bowdle

Holy Saturday April 8 with incense

8:30 PM Vigil St Augustine, Bowdle 

Easter Sunday April 9 

8:00 AM St Anthony, Hoven

10:00 AM St Augustine, Bowdle

2:00 PM Latin St Anthony, Hoven

This entry was posted on April 3, 2023.