Parish Stories

Our Lady of the Black Hills

Piedmont, SD Diocese of Rapid City


“I experience His love, peace, and joy in my life.”

David Allardyce

As a young adult, I considered myself to be a very independent person, able to take care of myself under all circumstances. Thus, after graduating from college and being required to go into military service because of Viet Nam, I had no problem handling flight training with the Marines. My time serving in Viet Nam was not easy. In fact, I survived three incidences in which no chopper pilot should have survived: a mid-air collision with another aircraft; a horrific crash in a Viet Nam mountain zone during a resupply mission; and finally, I took an armor piercing bullet through my left arm and chest, survived and spent 13 months in a state-side Naval hospital recovering. The bullet is still there after all these years and is actually laying against my aorta. I had some close calls as a child as well such as surviving a 107 degree fever and a fall from the roof. Clearly, God has had a plan for my life...and apparently, he plans to see that I keep it!! It wasn’t until many years later when I joined the Church that two truths of what I had been missing all my life hit me between the eyes: indeed that my God knows who I am and truly loves me, and he is the one who has been in control all these years, not me. 

When I am truly faithful to listening to the Lord and trying to discern what His plans for my life may be, I am able to see more clearly the reason for certain events (good and bad) that have already occurred over the many years. This realization has greatly strengthened my faith and trust, and that He has indeed been listening to my every need. I am so grateful for Eucharistic adoration because it has given me a new dimension in my daily prayer life, a new intimacy with the Lord that I don't feel at home. I am able to experience through an enhanced personal relationship with my Lord His love, peace, and joy in my life. After all I have been through and because I can see God’s hand protecting and guiding me, meditation on God's love for me is pretty easy, but being able to follow through and match his love continues to be a daily challenge and I feel it will be impossible while I am in this world. 

Mass is also very important to me. Since being confirmed in the Church at the age of 67, nearly 15 years ago, Mass has shown me the importance of knowing that I am not by myself but am part of a community of faith, and I can contribute, and in fact have an obligation to contribute, in an individual way as His disciple. I have been in the Knights of Columbus (as a Fourth Degree) and their charity events within a few weeks of being confirmed. I am also a lector and catechist and have been deeply and continuously involved with Faith Formation classes since joining the church. For instance, I have helped to facilitate our men’s Thursday morning Scripture studies. Lastly, I am committed to promoting our parish's Eucharistic adoration program to the maximum extent. And I do it out of love for my God who has blessed this "Fourth Quarter of My Life" (Allen Hunt/Matthew Kelly) beyond description.

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