Diocesan Stories

Diocese of Rapid City

"God’s family became my family"

Maryann Kalytka

I find in the Eucharist a medicine for the stress I am currently experiencing in my life. It is in one sense a physical reminder that my God is always there for me and though I may not see, know or understand His planned solution, I am reminded there is one. 

It is at Mass that I learn more about this God who calls me into His family. It is where we celebrate our family. Notice I did not say faith family; but family. That is because when my own family was estranged from me, God's family came in and became my family. Because they became for me grandparents, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, I was able to heal; I was able to reunite with my biological family in a good way and come to see them form their own relationships with our Lord.

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“I know He is there waiting for me”

Kelly Kjerstad

The Eucharist is everything! Frequent reception of Jesus into myself helps me to try to be more like Him. He feeds my soul and gives me the desire to attain Heaven and be with Him forever. Receiving Him makes me strive to avoid sin, and leads me to the sacrament of Reconciliation when I do sin, so I can receive Him always in a state of grace. 

He has healed me. I was once Catholic in name only. I went through the motions but didn’t really know why. That is, until my daughter came home from her first semester at the University of Nebraska. She was immersed in St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center which is incredible and her faith really blossomed. She came home and spoke to us and her peers with such heartfelt conviction and courage! It deeply moved my own heart and my eyes were opened. My journey from “cafeteria Catholic” to dedicated disciple started then and there! My daughter is now a Consecrated Religious Sister! 

I know my Catholic faith is a gift purchased at great cost by the Blood of Jesus the Son of God. Our Church and Her teachings are absolute and we must follow the way laid out for us by Jesus. He came for each of us personally and gave His life so we could spend eternity with Him. I want to do everything in union with Him so I can be with Him forever, and also help others to know this beautiful truth! 

I love going to Mass because I am there present with a community of believers, who are all broken and in need of healing. We all come together to give our Lord praise and glory, along with the Communion of Saints and all the angels. We get to be a part of the heavenly banquet where Jesus is offered up as the sacrifice to atone for our sinfulness. As a community we get to process to the altar to receive His Body and Blood, the price He paid for us to attain eternity with Him. 

Adoration is where I can be face to face with my Lord and Savior! It is a moment of intimate, personal encounter with Jesus where I get the privilege of spending private, one on one time with Him. Just being in His presence envelops me in the complete love He has for me. Every time I go, I feel more drawn into Him. This knowledge of His love has come over several years of participating in frequent adoration. It is where I witness His never ending patience and know He is there waiting for me, with His unwavering love. I especially love being present during the Benediction when the Priest covers his hands and lifts Jesus to bless me Himself!

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“I heard God, my Father, speak to me”

Brett Elkin

I was baptized Catholic, and I went to Catholic schools kindergarten through fifth grade, then switched over to public schools. Throughout that time until I was confirmed, I went to CCD Wednesday nights, and to Mass on Sundays for the most part. However, almost any minor inconvenience would be a good reason in my mind not to go to Mass. I wouldn't go because I just didn't know the importance of it. 

I brought this lukewarm faith with me to college. That is up until last fall when I started going to adoration and Bible study. My roommates told me about the Bible study they went to once a week and invited me to come along. After I got more involved and became a regular at Bible study, Efrain, the leader of it, convinced my roommate and I to commit ourselves to an hour a week in adoration. 

After a few weeks, I couldn't stop myself from going a couple more times a week and even threw daily Mass into the mix. Knowing that my God, my Creator, is in front of me gives me so much peace. I can go to adoration and give Him everything on my plate and trust that He will take care of it because He is all-powerful, all-loving, and He is my Father. One day, I was pouring my heart out to Him in the middle of my holy hour and I asked God, “What have I done to become so blessed?” And I heard Him reply, “It’s not about what you have done, but what you are going to do.” It was so beautiful. This was the first time I heard God, my Father, speak to me and it means a lot to me that what He chose to say were words of comfort and encouragement. 

Unfortunately during Christmas break, I didn't stay faithful to spending so much time with the Lord. Even after such a powerful experience of Him speaking to me, it is easy to fall back into old patterns. Thankfully, I had committed to doing the Exodus 90 program, which started at the beginning of this current semester. Knowing I had to do a holy hour each day as part of my commitments in Exodus 90, I picked up 3 hours per week of adoration and have seen (and heard) Him work in so many ways.

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“He is Somebody simple and good”

Irene Saunders

I long for adoration because my best friend, my counselor, my good guide is there. What kind of Person is He? Looking at the host I see that He is somebody simple and good. I find out more as I sit there, in the same way that if I sat with a friend. My husband, my children are gone. But how pure, how kind is this Person I am looking at. And He knows me. 

I start a conversation, usually in writing. It follows through like a regular conversation, in which you have talked about everything, big and small. 

When I ask a question, one common answer I get is, "Look at Me." How mysterious! Yet how hopeful. To me, that says that I do not have to follow paths that at first sight seem obvious, logical by my habits, but that I would do well in remembering the qualities I see when I look at Him. Even when I don't actually see Him and it is easier to forget. 

I leave my Holy Hour reconstituted. We all need a touchstone. And I have found one... until the next time we meet.

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“Jesus died for you and me”

Kade Harris

Kade is a sixth-grade religious education student at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish. 

I am grateful that I can receive the Eucharist because it shows that I am a Catholic. I am really proud that I am a Catholic because some people don't believe in God. I am also grateful [for receiving the Real Presence] because Jesus died for you and me. I am grateful because I get to receive Jesus's body and blood.

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“It gives me the strength to believe in God”

Jersey Fredreick

Jersey is a seventh-grade religious education student at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish. 

I am thankful for receiving the Eucharist because it gives me the strength to believe in God. The Eucharist can show me and help me believe in God even more.

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“I do believe in the Real Presence”

Harley Harris

Harley is a seventh-grade religious education student at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish. 

I am very grateful for the Eucharist because it [is what makes us different from other Christian faiths] and it makes me very proud to be a Catholic. I am also grateful about receiving the Eucharist because it makes me feel closer to God. I am very grateful for Jesus because He gave me the Eucharist. I do believe in the Real Presence and I am a proud Catholic because of this.

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“God gives us His grace”

Clara Weber

Clara is a seventh-grade religious education student at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish. 

I believe in the Real Presence because God is with us. I think God gives us His grace through the Eucharist. People don't always believe in God; therefore, it is important to share His Word. I think [the Eucharist] helps you have a relationship with Him. God gives Himself to us always and forever.

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“I bring my troubles to God”

Pat McDowell

When things in my life are going great, I relax in the knowledge that the Trinity is guiding me. When things are not going great in my life, I bring my troubles to God in Eucharistic adoration and listen. 

I have experienced a deeper desire to learn more about my religion and pass it on to others. I consider it a gift that I can leave my home and go to Mass and Communion daily and be with Jesus. 

When I focus on the Eucharist I feel a connection with Jesus and feel His presence. It’s a human experience and in times of trouble or hardship, I can focus on a passage in my journal or Bible or inspirational book or thought of a past event that I know was Jesus guiding me.

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