Studies conducted by the Diocese of Rapid City show that Catholic Lakota people desire the teachings of the Church to be passed on to their children. St. Francis Mission provides release-time religious education in four communities and after-school programs in two communities. The religious education staff collaborates with Deacon Ben Black Bear to provide additional classes for the children and their parents to help prepare for the sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation.
Children from grades 1-8 are released from school to attend religious education once a week for 30 to 60 minutes depending on the school. Mission staff teach over 300 students each week in the Religious Education Program.
WHAT STUDENTS SAY
“I love religion class so so much. It is fun learning about God, Mary and her son!”
“I am happy to learn about God in Religion classes.”
“Religion is a place to learn about God and Jesus. I can teach my little brother and sister about God too.”
BODY, MIND, AND SOUL CAMP
Religious education for children is extended into the summer months through the Body, Mind, and Soul Program, which provides religious education and recreation to children in various communities around the reservation. Many of the children who participate would otherwise never have any contact with the Church or the Mission. The Mission’s religious education teachers, young Jesuits in formation, Jesuit Volunteers, and students from Jesuit high schools from around the United States staff these sessions.