Archive for the ‘Native Ministries’ Category

Jesuit Photographer’s Work Aims to Give Voice to the Voiceless

For 50 years Jesuit Father Don Doll has seen the world through the lens of who he is and the life he’s lived.

Fr. Doll, a renowned photographer whose work was featured in National Geographic magazine in 1984 and 1990, has traveled the globe “to tell the stories of people who have no voice.” His ministry began on the plains of South Dakota in the early 1960s while working with the Lakota people on the Rosebud Reservation. He had joined the Jesuit order after graduating from high school in 1955.

“The first week I was there they said, ‘Would you like to learn photography?’

“I said, ‘Sounds like fun.’”

After two years of training and experience in photography, he questioned that choice.

“I went for a walk on the prairie (wondering) ‘What the heck am I going to do as a Jesuit?” the 75-year-old priest reminisced. “I’m not brilliant like some of these guys.”

Feeling he hadn’t taken “a single decent picture after two-and-a-half years,” he suddenly heard a voice inside him say: ‘Stay with the photography, it’s the first thing you love doing, don’t worry if it takes 10 years.’

“It did!” he added with a laugh.

“I see how the Holy Spirit speaks to us in the depths of our hearts and I trust that,” he said. “I don’t hear voices a lot (but) when I have a hunch, I really trust that’s how the Holy Spirit speaks to me. It’s true of every project I’ve taken on.”

Since 1969, Father Doll has worked at Creighton University in Omaha, where he is a professor of journalism. For the last 20 years, he has documented the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service in some 50 countries including India, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Sudan and Rwanda. These assignments, he said, working with “the poorest of the poor” have been close to his heart.

“Jesuits have a mission: Faith doing justice,” he shared, quoting his personal artist statement. “I photograph to tell the stories of people who have no voice. Hopefully, I can help others understand and work to change unjust social structures.”

He often finds himself praying that he can look at people and photograph them “with something of the empathy and understanding that God has for them.”

“Often I’m asked if being a priest affects my photography,” he shared, reflecting on nearly 44 years in the priesthood. “My answer is always: ‘Yes, it has everything to do with it.’”

“For me, it’s hard to separate the creative process of ‘seeing’ from prayer. Both can be contemplative acts.”

To commemorate a half-century in photography, Fr. Doll is working on a book and considering an art exhibit to be on display at the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. For more about Father Doll and to view his work, visit magis.creighton.edu. You can read more about him in this Denver Catholic Register, the newspaper of the Denver diocese, article.

South Dakota Native Ministries Featured on EWTN Live Tonight!

Jesuit Father John Hatcher and Jesuit Tom Olson will be the featured guests tonight on fellow Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa’s EWTN Live, scheduled to broadcast at 8pm EST. They will be interviewed about their ongoing work on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Olson, who is in his final year of regency at St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, serves as the Executive Assistant to the President for Advancement and Fr. Hatcher, is the current Superior and President of St. Francis Mission.

St. Francis Mission operates according to a new model of doing mission and ministry among Native Americans. Recovery, spiritual formation, and education are each of essential importance to this new model, which is truly holistic and seeks to address the cross-generational social, economic, and spiritual struggles that are suffered by Native Americans. In its application of this solution, the Mission operates 2 drug and alcohol recovery centers, 6 parishes, a dental clinic, 3 religious education centers, a museum, and a radio station. In addition, the Mission has plans to open a nativity-styled school next year.

These programs provide practical, short and long-term solutions to the myriad social, economic, and spiritual problems that Lakota people face. Perhaps most importantly, these programs give Lakota Catholics a real opportunity to become leaders in establishing a Church on the Rosebud Reservation that is unabashedly Catholic and vibrantly Lakota.

Please tune in to EWTN tonight at 8pm EST to learn about this growing and important ministry! When the video becomes available, we’ll be sure to post it on National Jesuit News.

Jesuit’s Experience in Native Ministry on the Pine Ridge the Focus of This Month’s Podcast

Jesuit Father Peter Klink is currently the school parish chaplain at the Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The Pine Ridge reservation of the Lakota Tribe covers a large, 5,000 square foot swath of land in the southwestern corner of South Dakota.

Here, Fr. Klink ministers to the Lakota’s communities three schools and in its parishes. He’s held many responsibilities during his 26 years of native ministry on the Pine Ridge, including 18 years as the school’s president.

Today, staggering poverty and an unemployment rate that hovers around 80% leave the children of the Pine Ridge facing an uphill struggle as they learn and grown up on the reservation. But, Klink endeavors to make sure the two elementary schools and the high school that make up the school system on the Pine Ridge are a beacon of hope for the possibility of a bright future for the Lakota and their families.

Recently, Klink took the time to speak with National Jesuit News by phone from the Red Cloud School for our monthly podcast series. You can listen to our interview with him below:

Canada’s Mi’kmaq Tribe Ask Jesuits to Help Preserve their Language

Port_Royal_RizzettoAs Canada’s Jesuits remembered their first steps on North American soil and the welcome they received from Mi’kmaq people 400 years ago, the Mi’kmaq asked for a favor.
“Maybe it’s time for the Mi’kmaq to ask for your help in preserving our language,” Grand Keptin Antle Denny told three dozen Canadian Jesuits and about 100 guests who had gathered to mark the 1611 landing of two Jesuits at Port Royal in what is now Nova Scotia.

Denny said about 70 percent of Mi’kmaq speak English and very few young people are comfortable in their own language. Linguists have told Denny the language will be extinct in 20 years.

“We need your help,” Denny told the Jesuits.

“We want to be with them in spirit,” said the Jesuits’ English Canadian provincial superior, Father Jim Webb. “We would be happy to cooperate.”

Father Webb told The Catholic Register it’s difficult to say what practical steps today’s Jesuits could take to help preserve the language, but he noted that work on languages has been part of Jesuit history in Canada. Canadian Jesuits translated Ojibwa stories into English and the Bible into Ojibwa in central Canada. A Canadian missionary to Nepal was responsible for translating the liturgy into Nepali.

Nova Scotia’s Lt. Gov. Mayann Francis praised the Jesuits’ 400 years of faith and zeal.

“God has blessed us. Let us not squander that in an age of distraction,” she said. “Let us embrace those blessings we enjoy in this province.”

The reconstructed settlement on the shores of the Annapolis Basin, near the Bay of Fundy, provided a backdrop for a brief dramatic re-enactment of the Jesuits’ landing at the site. The original settlement had been built by French fur traders in 1604 but was abandoned to Mi’kmaq control when the Jesuits arrived. It became the base for two years of missionary activity before the Jesuits returned to France.

“Their mission was the Jesuit mission to find God in all things,” said Father Webb in a homily at a thanksgiving Mass.

“They recognized the spirit of Christ present among the native people they came to serve,” he said. “That’s a legacy that continues to this day.”

The arduous, expensive and dangerous journey to North America in 1611 was typical of what Jesuits have always done, and still do, said Father Jean-Marc Biron, provincial superior of the Jesuits in Quebec.

“Even in those times, Jesuits had to work to the frontiers,” Father Biron told The Catholic Register. “We still, as Jesuits, work on the frontiers — not just the geographical ones.”

[Catholic News Service]

Canada's Mi'kmaq Tribe Ask Jesuits to Help Preserve their Language

Port_Royal_RizzettoAs Canada’s Jesuits remembered their first steps on North American soil and the welcome they received from Mi’kmaq people 400 years ago, the Mi’kmaq asked for a favor.
“Maybe it’s time for the Mi’kmaq to ask for your help in preserving our language,” Grand Keptin Antle Denny told three dozen Canadian Jesuits and about 100 guests who had gathered to mark the 1611 landing of two Jesuits at Port Royal in what is now Nova Scotia.

Denny said about 70 percent of Mi’kmaq speak English and very few young people are comfortable in their own language. Linguists have told Denny the language will be extinct in 20 years.

“We need your help,” Denny told the Jesuits.

“We want to be with them in spirit,” said the Jesuits’ English Canadian provincial superior, Father Jim Webb. “We would be happy to cooperate.”

Father Webb told The Catholic Register it’s difficult to say what practical steps today’s Jesuits could take to help preserve the language, but he noted that work on languages has been part of Jesuit history in Canada. Canadian Jesuits translated Ojibwa stories into English and the Bible into Ojibwa in central Canada. A Canadian missionary to Nepal was responsible for translating the liturgy into Nepali.

Nova Scotia’s Lt. Gov. Mayann Francis praised the Jesuits’ 400 years of faith and zeal.

“God has blessed us. Let us not squander that in an age of distraction,” she said. “Let us embrace those blessings we enjoy in this province.”

The reconstructed settlement on the shores of the Annapolis Basin, near the Bay of Fundy, provided a backdrop for a brief dramatic re-enactment of the Jesuits’ landing at the site. The original settlement had been built by French fur traders in 1604 but was abandoned to Mi’kmaq control when the Jesuits arrived. It became the base for two years of missionary activity before the Jesuits returned to France.

“Their mission was the Jesuit mission to find God in all things,” said Father Webb in a homily at a thanksgiving Mass.

“They recognized the spirit of Christ present among the native people they came to serve,” he said. “That’s a legacy that continues to this day.”

The arduous, expensive and dangerous journey to North America in 1611 was typical of what Jesuits have always done, and still do, said Father Jean-Marc Biron, provincial superior of the Jesuits in Quebec.

“Even in those times, Jesuits had to work to the frontiers,” Father Biron told The Catholic Register. “We still, as Jesuits, work on the frontiers — not just the geographical ones.”

[Catholic News Service]