St. Thomas is in a “twinning” relationship with St. Agnes Parish on the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Carol Redell is the facilitator for the ministry. Below is an update from Carol.
As far as the virus goes, there have been about 85 cases on the reservation and one death as of July 6. I think one of the reasons their numbers are low is that there is a curfew and the tribe has set up roadblocks at all the entrances discouraging people from entering the reservation. This has caused some controversy between the tribe and the governor of South Dakota, but it does seem to be keeping the members of the tribe relatively safe.
According to both Joyce and Father Edmund, they have resumed masses at Saint Agnes starting on May 29. They can only have 10 people at a time in the church (it is a very small church) so Saturday evening mass is for the elders and Sunday is for parishioners.
Funeral services have changed quite a bit. There are not supposed to be any public gatherings. Despite this there have been some funerals and the virus has spread that way.
The cause for the canonization of Black Elk continues. Documents have been sent to Rome, and they are awaiting word concerning the next steps that will be taken.
We were thinking of sending a team out to the reservation this summer. Obviously that can’t happen now but we will continue to keep in touch and we will attempt to find new and creative ways to sustain and deepen our relationship with Saint Agnes.
Please continue to stay safe and take care of each other.