Adventures in and Around Sioux City

In mid-October, Sr. Gabrielle Marie and I teamed up with three Religious Sisters of Mercy from Michigan again to offer a Discernment Day for young women at Holy Trinity Parish in Fort Dodge, Iowa. We were blessed to have 10 participants with us for the day. We started out with a lovely Mass celebrated by the Associate Pastor, Fr. Patrick Behm. He co-led our mission trip with me last year to the Dominican Republic, and loves helping promote Religious life. After Mass, we transitioned over to the parish center. There we had refreshments, information conversation, introductions, and interactive conferences about various aspects of Religious life. Two of the RSM Sisters are medical students, so we enjoyed hearing their stories about their studies.

A wide range of young ladies interested in discernment participated. Several came with a FOCUS missionary from Iowa State University, while others were local students or young professionals from Iowa. We finished the day by joining Father Behm and his parishioners for a parish dinner. Our two communities plan to offer two similar Discernment Days in the Spring in other parts of Iowa as well.

At Bishop Heelan Catholic High School the fall semester passed very quickly. Father Shane and I coordinated lively small group gatherings with ladies and young men throughout the semester using the FOCUS Bible Study app and answering questions about the faith together. We continued our planning and fundraising for next year's mission trip to Costa Rica with 30 participants. Father Beran, the Pastor and Mission Director of Winnebago will co-lead the trip with me this year, and we look forward to helping our Heelan students encounter Christ in the mission. Our trip will be through Family Missions Company, which is a lay apostolate used by many colleges and parishes that partners with local parishes and missionary families overseas. We are excited to embark on this adventure after school wraps up in May.

Before Christmas, our group received a generous donation from the Propaganda Fide of the Diocese of Sioux City that will allow us to sponsor two students and make a contribution to the parish where we will serve in Costa Rica, which was wonderful. During the closing days of the semester, Father Shane organized a Eucharistic Procession to open our new school building, which we will start back in for the spring semester. We said our goodbyes to the old school building, and are grateful for all of the generous benefactors who made our new school possible. It is the hope of the Bishop Heelan community that future generations of Crusaders will encounter Christ and grow as disciples there together.