Parish Stories

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Martin, SD Diocese of Rapid City


“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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“The Eucharist is the center of my faith”

Benjamin Nadler

The Eucharist is the center of my faith, a link between the finite and the infinite. Receiving holy Communion reminds me of who I am and where I am going. It keeps me grounded and focused on the things that really matter. 

My faith in Jesus present in the Eucharist is largely a result of how I feel when I am there in front of Him. All troubles fade away in adoration, or at least become trivial. The peace that washes over me when silently kneeling before Christ is indescribable, something I am very grateful for, but how I feel when I leave is even more remarkable. 

The peace I experience when I am with Him continues even after I leave. I have inner peace and quiet, whatever my struggles are. For the time being they aren’t all-consuming, and any suffering I am experiencing seems to matter, to be worth something. 

My parish has a holy hour once a week and, because I live 25 miles away, it is difficult for me to get there every time. I do, however, make a point of dropping by the parish whenever I am in town, and spending a few minutes in front of the tabernacle before carrying on with my day.

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“My weekly ‘hour of power’”

Anthony Kathol

The Eucharist is the source and summit of my life! Without the Eucharist, I am spiritually dead. No matter how the "smells and bells" are (or the lack thereof) at the sacred liturgy of the Mass, there is nothing greater than being in the Real Presence. 

When my application to join a monastic community was declined, and then two years later when I made an application for seminary for the Rapid City Diocese, I was completely devastated. It was like the bridegroom had not shown up to meet His bride at the wedding feast. That was how brokenhearted I was and yet no one seemed to care or to understand. I could not even look at the Eucharist at Mass anymore because I was so bitter toward my Lord. I was so close to walking away from Holy Mother Church, but then it was Our Blessed Mother who led me back to her Son through the "beads" and then spending time in adoration pondering what this all meant. 

It wasn't until several months later that I could actively engage myself fully in the Mass once again because of the emotional pain and scarring that was left in the wake of the disappointment of being denied the opportunity to pursue what I truly saw as a legitimate calling from above. Time slowly releases the tension and pain that exists, but the thought is still there: "Mary, how could your beloved Son do this to me?" Someday, I will know the full answer, but in order for me to know, I need to simply be present in his Real Presence at the holy sacrifice of the Mass. I do know this: God knows what is best for me and that sometimes we don't always know what His plan is for our lives. Hence, one must continue to stay "in his Body" as beloved children of God by remaining in Christ's Mystical Body, His Church, and surrender our will. It is not easy, but by receiving the Eucharist often, it becomes easier to surrender thy will, which ultimately leads us to sainthood. 

Mass is the essence of worshiping our God. It is the representation of Christ's passion and death on the cross at Calvary and I am there actively present when time and space are suspended at the moment of consecration. It is a foretaste of the heavenly reality of being in God's presence with the Church Triumphant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Militant...all united in our worship. It is through Holy Communion that I receive the true bread from Heaven that sanctifies me and makes me holy. Much like my prayer during the purification of the sacred vessels, I pray by asking the Lord to purify this sacred vessel (me) by saying in silence, "Lord Jesus, through this sacrament of your Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, I ask that by the grace of this sacrament that you sanctify me, purify me, make me holy and spotless like your Blessed Mother Mary, her most chaste spouse St. Joseph, and all the heavenly angels and the communion of saints. Amen." 

Praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament is my weekly “hour of power." It literally is my "date time" that I get to spend resting in the Lord who re-energizes me for the following week ahead. It is literally like getting my batteries recharged to move forward with this earthly pilgrimage that we call life. It is by making myself available for that one hour a week that I get to spend quality time with my Lord and God. The exposition of the Blessed Sacrament has true power to transform oneself if we succumb to our own will. All we have to do is sit, be quiet, and be attentive to what Jesus has to say to us during this "hour of power.” It does not occur overnight and it may be one word that He imparts upon you, but through time, Christ reveals what he has in store for us...we just have to be attentive, listen to what He has to say, and turn our minds off to what we want or what is on our task list for the week. 

Adoration allows me to come to the Lord freely, surrender my will, and listen. That is all Christ asks of me. As my mother would often say to my father, "That one hour a week (at Mass) isn't good enough." If we truly want to develop a relationship with our Lord and Savior, we need to spend more than an hour a week in worship. Adoration is a good way to get to truly know the Logos — the Word — who created the heavens and the earth.


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“I no longer doubt that He loves me.”

Fr. Tyler Dennis

My father always said that of his three sons, he wanted them to be a doctor, a lawyer, and a priest so that he would be well provided for in his old age. For whatever reason, it was assumed that of these options, I would pursue priesthood. It was not a path to which I objected. I always loved the rituals of the Church. There was something deep and mysterious that attracted me. Perhaps I was an odd boy in that regard. I liked things that most other boys my age did not. I liked to read. I liked music. I liked school, especially history. These, I suppose, might have been overlooked by my peers if I had also had any interest in the things typical to other boys my age. But I didn’t. I wasn’t much good at running, jumping, throwing, kicking, or catching. I was a poor athlete, and, as time went on and I grew older, at least in my own estimation, I was not a very good son. I didn’t enjoy the things my dad enjoyed, and I believed myself to be a disappointment. 

By the time I entered high school, I had developed lots of protective walls around my heart to prevent others from seeing the failure I believed myself to be. These walls manifested themselves as cynicism, anger, self-righteousness, sarcasm, and an acid tongue. I thought that these characteristics prevented others from seeing my deep envy of all the people who possessed all the qualities that I thought I lacked. All they really revealed was an injured young man who desperately needed someone to love him and to tell him he was worth something. 

Through all of this, my desire to go to the seminary never waned, and after graduation, I entered the minor seminary. While there, I finally met men who shared interests similar to my own. I thrived in the rich academic environment. I studied philosophy and Spanish. I made good friends. The walls, however, still did not come down. I was still waiting for someone to love me enough to break through those barriers. I wanted to know God’s love, but it never happened. At the end of four years, I had come to believe that for me, God’s love would forever remain an intellectual concept and a logical necessity. I would never feel it. 

This conviction began to change when I participated in my first serious silent retreat. It was an eight-day Ignatian retreat. On the retreat, I was to pray for an hour at a time on four separate occasions each day. I was also to meet with my spiritual director once each day. I had permission to read two short books on retreat. 

Silence works as a magnifying glass on the soul. After three days, I had read both books and slept so much that I could sleep no more. I had only the silence, and Jesus in the Eucharist before whom I prayed at each hour. One day, during one of those hours I was trying to pray. I was hot, the chapel was hot, and it was crowded with other retreatants praying. It was noisy with fans blowing. Suddenly, I was aware that I was angry. I was angry at the situation I was in, angry that I felt like I was wasting time waiting for someone to love me, and angry that I was no good. I was angry enough that I started cursing at Jesus. At the end of my outburst, I felt a sensation as though strands of barbed wire around my heart had burst, and I was suddenly able to feel what I had so long avoided — my fear, my jealousy, my shame. I saw an image of Jesus on the cross. He spoke to me saying, “I died so you could be this angry.” For the first time, I spoke to him honestly about how I saw myself, and he listened. 

This retreat happened in early June. I spent the rest of that summer praying honestly, always in front of the Eucharist, and by the time summer had ended, Jesus convinced me that he loved me. It was slow, and patient, and convincing. Since that time, he has had to remind me that he loves me over and over again. He is so faithful to me even when I am unfaithful to him. Each time, when I need this reminder most powerfully, he tells me as I sit before him in the Eucharist. Most recently, he did this while I went through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Over and over, he filled me with the knowledge of his love. Each time, it was as I prayed with him in the Eucharist. I no longer doubt that he loves me. I do not wonder where to find his love when I feel as though I have wandered from him. Jesus loves me now, He always has loved me, and He always will. He proves it to me in the Eucharist.

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"The Eucharist is everything to me"

Anne Lyon

I’ve been Catholic all my life, attended Catholic grade school, and was active in music ministry from the time I was a teen.  In college, I continued to be active in the local parish and also explored other faith communities with my friends.  I experienced the grace and blessings of God in many ways and yearned for a deepening of my relationship with Him. I was drawn to the religious life as a little girl, spending much time with the sisters at my grade school.  In college, I got to know the sisters at the Newman Center and learned more about religious life as well as the prayer life of the Church.  But there seemed to be another plan.

I met my future husband, fell in love, and we married.  During our marriage, we had a period of time when we attended another church in our community, — a Protestant denomination.  The community was wonderful, and the preaching was meaningful, but there was no Eucharist.  It was like a big gaping hole — a void — in worship there.  It was not long before we returned to our Catholic community and became active there once again.  The miraculous presence of Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist — knowing that He desires me as well — was a lesson learned and a gift never taken for granted again. 

I used to think that when I was in adoration, I needed something to do, to pray, to think about.  As time passed, I discovered another dimension to adoration.  God did not require anything of me, HE was there FOR ME!  All I needed to do was simply rest in God's presence, listen to what He has to say to me, but mostly bask in His Love.  I know I can simply “be” in His presence.  He knows me, my pain, my joy, my desires, and my love for Him.  Sometimes clear direction is given as I pray, and sometimes, I just experience God’s Love enveloping my entire being. 

I turn to Jesus not only in times of sorrow and joy but in the everyday moments of life as well.  His presence in the Eucharist feeds my soul with exactly what I need for that very day, that very moment.  As I strive for holiness, my heart yearns for Jesus in the Eucharist. When I am in the presence of Jesus in the monstrance, I think about how amazing it is to me that He gave us this most precious gift. The Eucharist is everything to me. 

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