Archive for the ‘Vocations’ Category

Welcome to Salem, Archbishop Gullickson!

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Archbishop-GullicksonWELCOME, ARCHBISHOP GULLICKSON!  Archbishop Thomas E. Gullickson will honor our parish this Sunday by celebrating the 10:00 a.m. Holy Mass.  Archbishop Gullickson was born in Sioux Falls on August 14, 1950, and was ordained a priest for our diocese by the late Bishop Lambert A. Hoch on July 27, 1976.   As a young priest, he was assigned to work in Rome and abroad for the Holy See’s diplomatic service.  On October 2, 2004, he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Polymartium by St. John Paul II, and Papal Nuncio to Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, Dominica, Saint Kitts, and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – Island nations in the Caribbean Sea.  Archbishop Gullickson chose to come home to Sioux Falls to receive episcopal consecration (ordination), which took place at St. Joseph Cathedral in Sioux Falls on  November 11, 2004, the Feast of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop and Confessor.  Archbishop (later Cardinal) Giovanni Lajolo travelled from Rome to serve as Principal Consecrator, with then-Bishop Robert J. Carlson and Bishop Paul J. Dudley serving as Co-Consecrators.  Archbishop’s Gullickson’s consecration was only the second episcopal ordination to take place in St. Joseph Cathedral, the first being Bishop Lambert Anthony Hoch’s consecration as Bishop of Bismarck by Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani on March 25, 1952.  On December 15, 2004, Archbishop Gullickson was entrusted with serving the additional islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, Suriname and Grenada.  On May 21, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Gullickson the Papal Nuncio to Ukraine, where he resides at the Nunciature in Kyiv.  You can read Archbishop Gullickson’s very informative weblog by going to:   Thanks to parishioner and Parish Photographer, Sherry Stoffel, for the photos!

Letter from our Parish Seminarian

Friday, August 16th, 2013


Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Dear Parish Family:

In writing to you, I wish to inform you that I have successfully completed my first year of studies (out of a total of seven years) at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska.  Thank you for your prayers and support in this endeavor.  It has truly been a great year that I will never forget!

I have enjoyed the many opportunities that have been presented to me during my time at the seminary, especially the extra opportunities for prayer, spiritual reading, and for socializing with fellow seminarians.  The whole seminary took a trip to Colorado to go hiking in the beginning of the academic year.  This was a great chance to begin to become acquainted with my new confrères.  The first year class took many day-trips as well, including a visit to the Omaha Zoo, the Strategic Air Command Museum, the Carmelite nuns, the “Pink Sisters,” the Schoenstatt Shrine of Our Lady, and a few nearby hiking trips.  These outings provide welcome breaks from the many studies that we do at the seminary.

My classes this year were very good, though.  This year, I took Latin I, Introduction to the Spiritual Life, Introduction to Liturgy, Christian Doctrine, Gregorian Chant, Music and Morality, Sacred Scripture, and Constitutions of the FSSP (our fraternity: the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter).  I received my report card and found that, with the help of God, I had performed quite well in all of my classes.  This fall, I will begin to take more difficult classes as I begin the study of Philosophy for two years, followed by four years of Theology.

Also this fall, on October 19, I will receive what is called the “First Clerical Tonsure.”  Tonsure is a ceremony in which a man leaves behind his state as a lay person and becomes a cleric, a person consecrated to the service of God and His Holy Catholic Church.  This internal transformation is shown externally by the change of dress that takes place during the ceremony.  The man begins to wear publically and constantly the roman cassock and white clerical collar, showing his consecration to the service of God and the Church.  The transformation takes place when the Bishop cuts five snips of hair in the shape of a cross from the head of the one being tonsured, symbolizing the renunciation of a worldly life and the offering of oneself to God.  One is allowed to let the hair grow back, though.

But why all this?  Why give one’s life completely to God?  Well, God calls everyone to a particular vocation in life.  Some He calls to the priesthood, some to the religious life, others to the married life, and still others He calls to remain unmarried.  On our efforts to cooperate with God’s will for our lives depends our Eternal Salvation.  If God is calling me to the priesthood, I must cooperate with a generous and joyful heart, recognizing the marvelous privilege it would be to serve God and His people as a priest.

Venerable Pope Pius XII, in his hallmark encyclical letter of 1947, Mediator Dei, stated that “Jesus the Son of God quite clearly had one aim in view when He undertook the mission of mercy which was to endow mankind with the rich blessings of supernatural grace” (MD #1).  Before Our Lord’s passion and death, He instituted the Catholic priesthood as a way of perpetuating His work upon Earth, particularly in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is “the supreme instrument whereby the merits won by the divine Redeemer upon the cross are distributed to the faithful” (MD #79).

Pius XII further explains that “By [priests], [the faithful] will be supplied with the comforts and food of the spiritual life.  From them they will procure the medicine of salvation assuring their cure and happy recovery from the fatal sickness of their sins.  The priest, finally, will bless their homes, consecrate their families and help them, as they breathe their last, across the threshold of eternal happiness” (MD #43).  So, we can see that the priesthood is absolutely essential for the salvation of souls.

In order to ensure that the world has good Catholic priests to lead its people to Christ, it is essential that young men studying for the priesthood in seminaries be formed properly that they may grow in the knowledge and holiness that are necessary to become worthy instruments through which Jesus Christ may communicate to the world “the rich blessings of supernatural grace” (MD #1).

As can easily be seen from the above paragraphs, the priesthood is vitally important, and without seminarians, what guarantee do we have of priests for the future?

So, dear parish family, I ask you to please continue to remember me in your prayers.  I have enjoyed my first year very much, and I look forward to a great second year and beyond.  It has been great to have been home on summer vacation.  I will return to the seminary on August 31.  I thank you all for your support, most especially for the prayers that you already offer for me.  I pray for you all every day.

Please remember that St. John Vianney, the patron  of parish priests, once said, “The priest is not a priest for himself; he is a priest for YOU!”

Thank you all very much!

May God bless you and may Our Lady of Guadalupe protect you!

In Christ,

John E. Streff
On the Feast of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

A tribute to my late classmate, + Father Todd Anthony Reitmeyer

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
+ Rev. Todd A. Reitmeyer
+ Rev. Todd A. Reitmeyer

The Reverend Father Todd Anthony Reitmeyer

May 13, 1969 – May 24, 2006

Father Todd, then-Bishop Carlson and myself: June 13, 2003

Father Todd, then-Bishop Carlson and myself: June 13, 2003

As I approach my 10th Anniversary on the Feast of St. Anthony this Thursday, I cannot help but post a memorial to my only classmate in the Diocese of Sioux Falls (we were ordained deacons and priests together), the late Fr. Todd Anthony Reitmeyer, who was born on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima in 1969 and died on the Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians (the Patroness of my current assignment in Salem, SD) in 2006 due to a jet ski accident while on vacation in Austin, Texas (his home town).  Then-Bishop (of Saginaw, Michigan) Robert J. Carlson celebrated his Funeral Mass, concelebrating with then-Bishop (of Austin, Texas) Gregory Aymond.  Fr. Todd was a wonderful Priest and had become a good friend after Ordination (I went to Mount St. Mary’s, Emmitsburg and he to the North American College in Rome).  I miss him still. If he hasn’t made it to heaven, may the good God bring him there very soon through the prayers of the Holy Mother of God.

Fr. M. E. Lawrence

Fr. Reitmeyer’s Obituary from 2006:

Father Reitmeyer was born on May 13, 1969 to David and Phyllis Reitmeyer in Virginia. His father was in the military so the family moved some, but eventually settled in the Austin, Texas area. His father suffered a stroke and died in 1992. He graduated from Texas A&M, and earned a Masters degree in counseling from Northwest Missouri State. His discernment of his vocation led him to meet Bishop Robert Carlson, and eventually Todd moved to South Dakota, living in Faulkton with then pastor Father Terry Anderson for several months before entering the seminary. He attended St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul, MN before studying Theology at North American College in Rome.
He was ordained on June 13, 2003 at St. Joseph Cathedral by Bishop Robert Carlson. His first assignment was as associate pastor at St. Michael, Sioux Falls. He then became administrator of St. Michael, Herreid, St. Anthony, Selby and St. Joseph, Eureka where he served from January of 2004 until June of 2005. For the past year he has served as administrator at St. Thomas, Faulkton and St. Boniface, Seneca, as well as sacramental minister for St. Joseph, Orient. He served as spiritual director for St. Margaret Fellowship, the association of Catholic home school families since August 2003.

“I think we all need to be ready spiritually and we have to keep it in our minds that we know not the day nor the hour. I have been thinking a lot about death personally and I want to teach people more about it …”

Fr. Todd Reitmeyer (“A Son Becomes a Father” January 2006 )


External Solemnity of Corpus Christi

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

November 1st: The Feast of All Saints

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Main Altar Prepared for Vigil of All Saints

We can pay no greater honor to the Saints than by offering up to God in their name the Blood of Jesus. The efficacy of their past merits and present prayers is greatly increased when offered to God in close association with the merits and prayers of Our Lord. Therefore the Church commemorates on this day all the Saints in Heaven without exception, and thus honors also those who are unknown and who have no public recognition in the liturgy. The custom of keeping holy one day in the year as the festival of all God’s saints, whether commemorated in the Liturgy or not dates back to at least the beginning of the Fifth Century.

In ancient times it was usually called the feast of All Holy Martyrs. The day of its celebration varied; and in the East, even now, All Saints is in most places a movable feast. Pope St. Boniface IV, when dedicating the Roman Pantheon as the Church of Our Blessed Lady and All Holy Martyrs, appointed November I for the chief annual festival in the sacred building.

Pope Gregory III built an oratory at St. Peter’s in honor of all the saints, confessors as well as martyrs who had died in all parts of the world. Pope Gregory IV chose November 1st as the Feast of All Saints. The octave was added by Pope Sixtus  IV.

Who Are These Like Stars Appearing?

Who are these like stars appearing,
These before God’s throne who stand?
Each a golden crown is wearing;
Who are all this glorious band?
Alleluia! Hark, they sing,
Praising loud their heav’nly King.

Who are these of dazzling brightness,
These in God’s own truth arrayed,
Clad in robes of purest whiteness,
Robes whose luster ne’er shall fade,
Ne’er be touched by time’s rude hand?
Whence come all this glorious band?

These are they who have contended
For their Savior’s honor long,
Wrestling on till life was ended,
Following not the sinful throng;
These who well the fight sustained,
Triumph through the Lamb have gained.

These are they whose hearts were riven,
Sore with woe and anguish tried,
Who in prayer full oft have striven
With the God they glorified;
Now, their painful conflict o’er,
God has bid them weep no more.

These, like priests, have watched and waited,
Offering up to Christ their will;
Soul and body consecrated,
Day and night to serve Him still:
Now in God’s most holy place
Blest they stand before His face.

 Text: The­o­bald Hein­rich Schenk, 1719 – Trans: Frances E. Cox, 1841

October 15th: Pilgrimage to Carmelite Monastery

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012


On Monday, October 15th, the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila, the students and faculty of St. Mary Catholic School, Salem, were the honored guests of the Sisters of the Carmelite Monastery of Our Mother of Mercy and St. Joseph in Alexandria, SD. St. Teresa, a Doctor of the Church, reformed the Carmelite Order in the 16th Century. Along with St. John of the Cross, Teresa is considered a Founder of the Discalced Carmelites. The students were treated to a sung High Latin Mass with the Sisters followed by different activities, including touring the Fatima Family Shrine and meeting and visiting with a group of the Sisters in a meeting room, which is separated from the public by an iron grille.  Students asked the Sisters questions about prayer, their daily routine, how often they may write letters to people outside their Monastery, and they even learned why there is a grille between the Sisters and visitors.

We thank Mother Marie Therese and the Carmelite Nuns of Alexandria and St. Mary of Mercy Parish for allowing us to make our pilgrimage to their wonderful and holy sites, Fr. Martin Lawrence (Priest of Salem) and Fr. DeWayne Kayser (Priest of Madison and native son of Alexandria) as well as to parents Staci Wolf, Laura Gessner, Joni Wagner, Cathy Ries, Val Krempges, Barb Stangeland, and Audrey Eich for their time in transporting students to Alexandria. (Photo by Mrs. Molly Lather)

Going Away Party for Seminarian John E. Streff

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

On Sunday, September 9th, following the 12 noon Traditional Latin Mass (which was a Sung Mass), the Altar Society had a going away party for parishioner John E. Streff, who entered his First Year of Studies for the Priesthood with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter at their Seminary in Denton, Nebraska on September 13th.   Here are some photos:


Totus Tuus Schedule

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

First Solemn Mass of Father Jonathan M. Venner

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

The Reverend Father Jonathan M. Venner, ordained a Priest for the Diocese of Sioux Falls, SD by His Excellency, the Most Revrerend Paul Joseph Swain on 1st  Thursday, August 4th, the Dies Natalis of St. John Marie Vianney, celebrated his First Solemn Mass (in the Usus Antiquior) at St. Mary Church, Salem on 1st Friday, August 5th, 2011.  The Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was celebrated, preceded by the Veni Creator Spiritus and followed by the Te Deum

The Reverend Bryan J. B. Pedersen, Pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Robbinsdale, Minnesota, served as Deacon of the Mass and the Reverend Gregory Parrott, Parochial Vicar of Queen of Angels Church, Austin, Minnesota and Our Lady of Loreto Church, Brownsdale, Minnesota, served as Subdeacon.  The Reverend John Brancich, F.S.S.P., Pastor of Immaculate Conception Church, Omaha, Nebraska, served as Master of Ceremonies and Homilist.  Mr. Nathan J. Knutson, Diocesan Master of Ceremonies for Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, directed the Schola Cantorum, while his wife, Mrs. Lisa Knutson, was organist.  The Priest of Salem served as Assistant Priest.  The Reverend Fathers Charles Duman and Mark Axtmann of the Diocese of Sioux Falls were among the clergy in choir.

Fr. Venner has been assigned as Parochial Vicar at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Sioux Falls.

Thursday, June 30: Day of Eucharistic Adoration for Vocations

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Ad multos annos, Holy Father!

Ad multos annos, Holy Father!

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of his Priestly Ordination on June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.  In honor of his anniversary, the Vatican Congregation for Clergy suggested Catholic clergy and faithful be invited to participate in Eucharistic Adoration with the intention of praying for the sanctification of the clergy and for the gift of new and holy priestly vocations.

 Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York highlighted the importance of this celebration: “An increase in number and sanctity of the priests in service to our dioceses is a sign of health and vitality in the Church,” he said. “Prayer for vocations is ‘a worthy intention’ and an appropriate spiritual sacrifice in gratitude for the example and service of Pope Benedict XVI.”

 “This is an exceptional opportunity to give thanks for our Holy Father, to pray for all of our priests, and to ask the Lord for more vocations to the priesthood,” said Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, chairman for the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. “The Holy Father has been an outstanding model of priestly ministry and service to the Church. In his Message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, he reminded the faithful that we all have a responsibility to pray for vocations. This is a great opportunity to do just that.”

We will have this day of prayer at Salem on Thursday, June 30th, the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (which is also the Worldwide Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of the Clergy).  In addition to our regular 7:00 pm Holy Hour in preparation for First Friday, we will have Solemn Eucharistic Adoration following the 8:15 am Holy Mass until Benediction at the conclusion of the 7:00pm Holy Hour.

 Praying for vocations to the Priesthood and for the sanctification of the clergy is very important!  Why?  Without Priests, there would be no Holy Mass, no parishes or Parish Organizations, no Parish School, etc.  Therefore, 2 or more representatives of the following parish organizations are to be present in church during the following hours of Eucharistic Adoration:

9:00 – 10:00 am   ……………  The Christian Mothers

10:00 – 11:00 am   …………. . The Catholic Foresters

11:00 – 12 noon   ………………  The Legion of Mary

12:00 – 1:00 pm     ……………  The Christian Mothers

1:00 – 2:00 pm   ………………….   The Altar Society

2:00 – 3:00 pm    …………    St. Mary School Faculty

3:00 – 4:00 pm   …………   St. Mary School Children

4:00 – 5:00 pm   ………………   Jr. Christian Mothers

5:00 – 6:00 pm   ……  St. Mary F.A.S.T. Organization

6:00 – 7:00 pm   …….. St. Mary Knights of Columbus

7:00 pm Public Holy Hour ……  ALL PARISHIONERS!

For more information, please contact Darlene in the Parish Office.  During the scheduled times above, there will be no formal prayers, except during the 3:00-4:00pm adoration for the school children, when Fr. Lawrence will conduct a special Holy Hour for them.  Also, anyone can come throughout the day for prayer, not just organization members.