Category Archives: Fr. Terry’s Sharing

Fr. Terry’s November 17th Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

This Sunday’s 2nd Reading from Paul to the Thessalonians always makes me think of the Blue Cloud Benedictine Monks.  I loved to go there for Priest retreats or casual visits as I was passing by.  I really do miss them.  The Benedictine values were a model to me, just as St. Paul tells us how he wanted to be a model to us.  The ones I remember were:

1) an awareness of God, especially in the ordinary events of every day life;

2) community living, so that they could become who they are by their relationships with others;

3) a dignity of work in being good stewards of God’s creation;

4) hospitality to all by seeing them as Christ; and many more.

I loved their balance of prayer, family, work, and hospitality.  These should be the cornerstones of our families, our church community, our nation, and our world.  I hope we have not lost those keys to living God’s Kingdom here and now in this world.  If I remember right, these four virtues/values of living led to a true justice for everyone; a sincere desire to actively listen; moderation in how we live and a real glimpse of what Heaven is like.  All these flowed into a deep respect, a stable foundation for life, and a true stewardship that honors the creator.  I invite all of us to reflect on these values this week, in how they are lived in our lives.  God is good and He blesses those who reflect that goodness.


Fr. Terry’s September 29th Bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

Since I have been here, I have shared about my relationship with my Mom who has Alzheimer’s.  So many of you have kept both of us in your prayers and often ask about her.  I have also heard from so many of you about your situations with Dementia and Alzheimer’s.  It has effected someone from our parish staff since I have been here (many of you know her as she was the receptionist for our parish for many years).  Because it is increasingly effecting more and more people directly or indirectly in our parish, I am going to break one of my personal rules.  I don’t promote anything in these articles unless it is sponsored by our parish.  Quite a while ago, Susan Schaunaman of our staff, gave me a wonderful gift.  It was a book called “My Two Elaines” by Marty Schreiber, a former governor of Wisconsin.  As a caretaker for my Mom, I found the book to be a great source of encouragement, grounded in hope, and a healing for me.  Because this health concern is in so many of your lives, I encourage you to attend a presentation by him here in Sioux Falls.  It is on Thursday, October 17th at 10:00am and is hosted by Active Generations at 2300 W. 46th Street.  Many of the healthcare organizations that provide for them are co-sponsoring the event, one of them being the home my Mom lives in.  RSVP is encouraged, but not required, at 367-9570.  Posters are on the bulletin board and in the church area.

We are one church here at St. Michael Parish, but have a tendency to always go to the same Mass of the five offered on the weekends.  I guess in some ways you could say we are five communities under one church roof.  It is the same way with clergy in our diocese.  I have many fellow brother priests, but we are scattered all over the Diocese.  Once a year we have Clergy Days at Chamberlain for four days.  This is the best chance for the most priests to be in one place at one time.  Ordinations, priest retreats, and Diocesan gatherings, while nice opportunities to gather, never work for everyone.  While we are there, we have a continuing education presentation for further growth as a priest or deacon.  This year our presenter is Fr. Laurence Kriegshauser who will do some presentation on the Book of Psalms we use in prayer and at Mass.  We honor priests with special anniversaries, those newly ordained, and an evening of prayer for the Deceased Clergy of our Diocese.   It is a time of fellowship and connecting.  It is a time for Bishop Swain to present his picture of the Diocese, any concerns, or answer any questions we might have.  This is all built around time of prayer and Mass together.  Please keep us in prayer this week during Clergy Days from Monday thru Thursday.


 Please note – if you get any emails or texts from Bishop Swain, Fr. Terry, Fr. Tim, or any staff member that is requesting monetary donations, gift cards, favors and/or asking you to “reply” to a text or email, please use caution.  If you have any doubt, please call the Parish Office before you reply to anything.


Fr. Terry’s August 18th Bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing… 

Good News of Glad Tidings!  And don’t we all need more of that in our lives.  As I get older and have more years behind me than in front of me (although nothing can out do the eternity ahead of me in God’s plan because He is a compassionate God), I am more mindful of how the past has shaped who I am now.  The same can be said about our parish church and family.  As I look back on the litany of pastors, God has been good to St. Michael Parish.  We started with Msgr. Michael Doyle from 1979 to 1989.  Then Fr. Michael Wensing was our pastor from 1989-1999.  Next came Fr. Joseph Vogel from 1999 to 2004, a time with us shortened by the birth of our daughter parish – St. Katharine Drexel of which he became the founding pastor.  Last on our list is Fr. Chuck Cimpl from 2004-2015.   Each in his own way brought his talents, ministry, and love of God to help us grow and prosper in God’s Kingdom here at St. Michael.  But the history of the parish has three legs.  The second leg is all those who served St. Michael as parish staff.  Truth be told, it is their efforts that often make the pastor look very good.  I should know as I see it every day.  The third leg is all the members of this parish, from those who helped start our parish to all of us today.  It is you who found a home here and decided that this parish and it’s parishioners can give something lovingly to those who follow.  You have invested your lives, your faith, your hope, and your love here at St. Michael.  And it shows by all the good things happening here and the fact that almost every weekend we have guests visiting us who compliment how welcome they felt, how prayerful their experience was, and how they will be back.  Take a bow…and Thank You.  What a great foundation for our lives!

We want to pass it on to those who come after us, God would expect no less of us.  We want to do that with gratitude in our hearts and a celebration of who we are.  One way we celebrate is offering a thank you and at the same time caring for our present/future needs, is our banquet event to honor former pastors and provide the funds for our staff.  Last year we honored Msgr. Doyle and raised money to help with the salaries of our staff.  They are such a treasure to us, we don’t want to lose them.  And we recognize that they are sacrificing on the salaries they make to minister here.  All of them could make much more in the secular world, but they believe in the goodness of this parish and God’s kingdom.

Fr. Mike Wensing will be honored on Sunday, October 6 at 5:30pm.  Details are in this bulletin.  Fr. Mike has been gone from the parish for twenty years and some people might not know him.  As an introduction, he will be with us at all the Masses on the weekend of Aug. 31/Sept. 1.  Come and celebrate our roots of faith with gratitude and provide for our future as we acknowledge God’s presence in our midst here and now.


Fr. Terry’s July 21/28 Bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…A Hodge Potage of Sharings! 

First up, the Children’s sharing in the giving envelopes of Stewardship:

¨ I helped with Vacation Bible School.

¨ I picked up candy and cracker wrappers in the pews.

¨ I picked up the dog’s toys and boy is he messy.

¨ I vacuumed.

¨ I watched my little sister.

¨ I cleaned up after my brother, why does there have to be more food on the floor than his plate?

¨ I saw a homeless person and said a prayer for him.

¨ I told Fr. Tom he was the greatest.

¨ I loaded the dishwasher, but could not unload it because they all go higher than I can reach.

¨ I saw a woman in the Chapel praying and I said a prayer for her.

¨ I helped put the puzzle away.

¨ My Dad was sad and I made him smile.

¨ I cleaned my room for the third time today.

¨ I helped other kids with their projects.

¨ I drew a picture for Fr. Tom to put on his fridge so he would not forget us.

¨ I loved and forgave my brother even though he did not deserve it.

¨ I helped Grandma get up when she fell and put a bandaid on her cut.

¨ I put dresses on my dolls so they would not be cold.

¨ I helped my babysitter cook supper.

¨ I shared my books with a little girl that had none.

¨ I gave smiling hugs as I cleaned.

¨ I helped by making Mom and Dad’s coffee.

¨ I helped my Dad even though he said he did not need help, but I told him everyone needs some help.

¨ I made a homemade birthday card for Grandma.

¨ I watched my sister while Mom went to the grocery store.

¨ I played trucks with my little brother even though it was boring.

¨ I found a quarter and am giving it to the church.

¨ I shared my candy bar even though my sister did not share hers with me.

¨ I helped feed my cousin’s cats and chickens but not the chickens to the cats.

¨ I helped my Mom make sandwiches for Dad working outside and then I sat with him so he would not have to eat alone.

¨ I helped my cousin.

¨ I helped take out the garbage.

¨ I did not yell today.

¨ I drew a picture of Mom as a queen because she is special.

¨ I went to a baptism and helped hold things for Father.

¨ I held my sister’s hand as she crosses the street.

¨ I helped set the table.

¨ I colored pictures to set the meals on.

Things they said they were praying for:  my family, the poor, Mom, the sick, my sister’s First Communion, the church, peace, Dad, for better behavior, for my neighbors, my grandma, for my swim teacher, the homeless, our country, the veterans, my daycare, my sister who has cancer, my friends from school that I miss, I prayed for those suffering from the floods, for the farmers, for Jesus who helped me, for those in nursing homes, for my sister’s wedding, for those who are sad.  Out of all these, by far, the most said that they were praying for the poor.  Thanks to parents for raising compassionate children.

When driving on trips, my Mom used to put all sorts of things in a big bag.  We would take turns picking something out and then we had to make a prayer about it.  Some of the ones I remember:  A map and praying that we would not get lost and see new things.  A bell…that we would not miss anything important and listen to the songbirds along the way.  A ball…that we would play nicely together and laugh a lot.  A vase…so we would not stop to “smell the roses” and enjoy nature’s beauty.  It taught us to be creative, to pray in a fun way, and to enjoy each other.  What things would you put in a bag to travel with?


Fr. Terry’s June 16th Bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

Believe it or not (but really do believe it) the end of June is the end of our administration year in the parish.  We will start a new year beginning in July.  (July 1st used to be a date when all the priests who were moving went on the road, so people were asked to be extra careful out there, now it is July 10th.  lol!)  So this is a good time to give you an idea of what has been happening in our parish.  You will notice that our parish is alive and well.  Over the last year, we have had 111 Baptisms.  We had 56 First Communions.  This, in a few years will go up as all those babies grow.  We had 113 Confirmations.  We had 24 weddings.  Sacramentally we had many Confessions and many Anointings here at the parish and in the hospital.  During this time, we have celebrated the lives of 28 parishioners as they were called from death to new life.

Of course, this only represents the life of the parish sacramentally, but the life and heart of this parish is also beyond the sacraments.  We have supported numerous ministries on the Diocesan level.  We have been good stewards of the parish grounds and buildings.  We have supported many charities, especially those who function locally.  We have supported missions beyond our parish boundaries.  We have provided for the education of our youth from early on, including through our Catholic schools.  We have visited the prisons, the hospitals, the homebound, the elderly, and those grieving.  We have had multiple adult education opportunities.  We have been blessed with musical talent and have offered some concerts.  There have been many local organizations that need volunteers to do their ministries and St. Michael parishioners have been very generous with their time and talent.  Our parish could not survive without all the volunteers for our liturgies, for teaching and faith sharing, for meals during funerals, and many more needs.  Forgive me, these are all off the top of my head (and remember what is on the top of my head is getting thinner everyday).  I have no doubt I have failed to mention everything, but with pride, I acknowledge that whatever the need, the parishioners of St. Michael have responded.  I as a pastor am very proud to be a member of this parish and one among you.  Thank you for the life and responsibility of being God’s family and representatives to the world.

What the Diocese uses to define Active Parishes:

Key Characteristics of Vibrant Catholic People and Parishes

╬ Minister to all parish members through service and stewardship

╬ Provide parish family-building through activities that include all ages, vocations, and nationalities

╬ Welcoming

╬ Strong spiritual atmosphere

╬ Participation of parishioners in liturgies and parish affairs

╬ Engaging education in the faith for all ages

╬ Community-minded presence

╬ Active youth groups

╬ Stable financial support for the parish

╬ Parishioners take responsibility and pride in the parish


Fr Terry’s May 26th Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

No doubt you could not help but see the changed look of our Parish campus.  The loss of the trees is truly a sad situation and one we wish we could have avoided.  Like the present situation of the farmers with all the water in their fields, this was one not of our choosing, but one where the choice was made for us.  At the combined budget meeting of our Finance and Parish councils, we talked about how unexpected expenses like this really put a strain on our efforts to have a balanced operating budget.  It seems like at least once a year something comes up.  Therefore, the decision was made to once a year take up a second collection to try to cover these unexpected expenses.  All those on the committees really do put forth a great effort to be good stewards of our gifts.  Our normal envelope income is geared to our regular expenses.  That is why we do not want to use that income to cover the unexpected expenses.  Please see article below for more information from our Deacon John who headed up our response as a parish.

We will be taking up a second collection over these two weekends:  June 8/9 and June 15/16.  Our budget year expires on June 30th and our expenses will come during this budget year.  We are collecting on two weekends because with school ending, more parishioners are traveling and this will give them a chance to participate.  If you are going to be gone both weekends, you could send something by mail or drop an envelope off at the office.  The committees also discussed creating a memorial fund for tree replacement.  Details have yet to be worked out.  This is our parish and we are responsible to share in its upkeep just as we care for our own personal responsibilities.  Thank you for your understanding and your dedication to the needs of the parish.  May God bless you and your participation in caring for His Church.

What Happened to our Trees??

Because of the Emerald Ash Borer invasion in Sioux Falls, we needed to address our ash trees on the St. Michael property.

We have been in consultation with arborists from Minneapolis & Sioux Falls and with our own Building and Grounds committee.

We have taken their recommendations to remove most of the ash trees (33 of the 39) and will then treat the remaining six trees.

Good News is – we will be replanting trees this summer with a variety of trees – Locust, Maple, and Elm.


Fr. Terry’s May 5th Bulletin article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

Easter is so powerful and impactful in our lives and our salvation.  No wonder Easter Season lasts for 50 days.  Ten days longer than the Lenten Season that gets us ready for it.  We will continue to do the things in our liturgies that reflect this.  Take the time to plan things in your homes to do likewise.

Last weekend we had our First Communion Celebrations.  How fun to see the excitement in their eyes, in their dress, and in their active participation.  And I am not just talking about Fr. Tom here.  Parents, I want to thank you for wanting the best for your children.  You want their bodies and souls to be nourished by our Lord in a very direct and meaningful way that day and in the rest of their lives.  It was easy to see how happy and proud you were.  Keep up the good work of being their first and most important teachers in the ways of faith.

This weekend, Daniel Williams, a seminarian from the Diocese of La Crosse, WI and with us here at St. Michael last summer, will be ordained Deacon for his final year of preparation for Priesthood.  Their Bishop was so pleased with our Parish and how we supported him that they are sending another seminarian, Steven Waller, to be with us this summer.  He will arrive in the parish on May 26th.  Two summers ago, we had Anthony Klein, a seminarian from our Diocese with us.  He will be ordained Deacon as he enters into his last year of preparation for Priesthood.  Three summers ago, Timothy Cone was with us.  He will be ordained to the Priesthood for our Diocese at the end of May.  Thank you for your care, support, and especially your prayers as you participate in forming them to be priest servants for our church.  It is by no mistake that you are a parish that Bishops send their candidates for the priesthood to. Your helping in their formation is a privilege, an honor, and a trusted responsibility.

God Bless you all!   


Fr. Terry’s April 7th Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

In the Gospel we hear the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery.  I have always found a great sense of hope and a strong challenge in that reading.  There have been a few times in my life when I thought something I did was unforgiveable.  During those times, I found myself doing two things:  pulling away from others because I felt embarrassed and unworthy of their love and friendship and being haunted by what I did to the point of punishing myself beyond what others would want me to do.  Frankly, sometimes they were more forgiving than I was to myself.  If I am honest with myself, I still carry the burden of that sin, even though it had been forgiven by others and God a long time ago.  As my spiritual director, God bless her, points out to me from time to time:  God has forgiven you, others have forgiven you, why will you not forgive yourself?  Sometimes it boils down to fact that I cannot believe I am capable of being that stupid.  Sometimes it is because I cannot get over the anger I feel at myself.  God is so compassionate, that his forgiveness is never held over us.  When He forgives, it no longer exists.  Family, friends, and even people I don’t like still offer me forgiveness because they know I can be better than that.  I still remember a time in 5th grade when a classmate I was always in competition with or could argue/fight with at the drop of a hat, walked up to me on the playground while I was crying my eyes out, put his arm around me and just sat with me.  Finally, when I could stop crying, he told me it will get better.  Forgiving myself and letting go, is what I have to work the hardest at.

The other thing that always comes to mind for me when I hear this reading is that there are many more stones we can toss that have nothing to do with rocks.  Our gestures, our attitude, our actions and words to others can and often do more damage than a rock would.  Do we harm others spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually as well as physically?  What would Jesus say to us, if he watched the way we are with others?


Fr. Terry’s March 17th Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

I remember visiting a student of mine who lived in Florida while I was there to visit a priest from our Diocese who had moved there.  I was just looking to visit, but this student wanted to do something special for me.  He had arranged a fishing trip in the ocean.  Not being very experienced himself, he had hired a guide.  The guide was exceptional and kind.  He knew where to go for the good fishing.  He knew what equipment to use and prepared us on what to do when a fish grabbed our line.  He would make suggestions along the way and not once did he call us dumb.  Like I say, he was a kind man who wanted us to have the best experience possible.  It was hard work, but a very fun day.  It was productive because we had a wonderful time visiting to catch up on each other’s lives.  It was productive because we accomplished catching some fish that we enjoyed in a meal together that evening.  Those were the things that made the trip memorable.

We are headed into the days of uncharted waters called Lent.  It is a Journey worth taking.  It has a way for us to follow.  It has a guide who wants us to have the best experience possible (God).  It has companions to journey with us in caring and support.  It has a goal/destination.  We learn along the way.  We are given chances to learn and to be forgiven for mistakes.  With each experience along the way we grow, individually and together.  Our weaknesses are turned into strengths.  We are blessed with the things that are most important to us.  We are fed with nourishment, bodily and spiritually.  Everything becomes right in our lives and the world around us.  We become grateful.  And everything is how it should be.  It leads us to a time of celebration in the midst of that gratitude.  And we develop a memory to last a lifetime and beyond.  I invite you to a marriage, yes a marriage!  In prayer and reflection, take my experience and connect it to the journey of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter.  That is what we should be about:  connecting our experiences of life to the God who gave us that life.

May your prayer and reflection be fruitful to your life and journey of faith. 


Fr. Terry’s February 17th Bulletin Article

Fr. Terry’s Sharing…

 We just celebrated Valentine’s Day.  “Love is a short word but it contains everything” is a quote by Guy De Maupassant.  I have often thought that if God were to give that quote, he would add these three words at the end – for an eternity.  In other words, God would tell us that love is meant to never have an end.

 God is love; and he that dwells in love, dwells in God. (1 John 4:16)

 An early Christian Mystic offered this:  God is the presence, warm, all-enfolding, touching the drab world into brilliance, lifting the sad heart into song, indescribable, beyond understanding, yet by a bird’s note, a chord of music, a light at sunset, a sudden movement of rapt insight, a touch of love, making the whole universe a safe home for the soul.

St. Augustine wrote:  He loves each of us, as if there were only one of us.

 Desire Joseph Mercier once reflected about our relationship with God and each other in this way:  “To unite we must love one another; to love one another we must know one another; to know one another we must meet one another.”

Greater love has no one than this, that one lays down one’s life for a friend. (John 15:13)

I leave you two scripture passages…

Earnestly desire the greater gifts.  And I show you a still more excellent way.  If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.  Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 12:31 to 13:8)

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.  For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you.  Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.  He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:3-9)