Category Archives: Parish Events

March Newsletter Article

Dear Parishioner:

Lent:  Our annual journey to holiness.  Each year when I start thinking about Lent, I often seem initially drawn to the concepts of sacrifice and self-denial.  These issues are significant, but in reality they are neither the starting point nor the end of the season.  The goal of Lent, in fact, is quite the opposite.  Lent is first and foremost a time, not for diminishment, but for growth and development.  We should aspire to expand our hearts, enlarge our souls, and enrich our minds.  Perhaps the meaning of the Lord’s words is this—God prefers a full heart to an empty stomach.

What is the goal of Lent?  The first question I often ask is, “What should I give up for Lent?”  A spiritual director once told me that I should begin Lent by asking, “What do I need for Lent?” or “What is missing from my life?”  The first goal of Lent is holiness and the meaning of holiness is wholeness.  Lent is a time to seek the real gifts we lack:  patience, joy, trust, and compassion.

Once we determine what we lack, then we can turn to the question of self-denial.  The human heart and soul are much like our hard drives and garages; they fill up with junk very quickly.  The role of self-sacrifice is to discard the superfluous in order to clear a space for life’s real treasures.  We know we are often distracted by noise, materialism, and self-absorption.  We use the three disciplinary tools of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—to open our hearts and minds to others and to make room in our lives for God.

Prayer-Balance your spiritual life by integrating the body, mind, and soul in your prayer life.  Enhance your prayer by turning off the TV, the iPod, and other devices.  Create spaces where God’s voice can be heard.  There are a number of prayer opportunities listed on the calendar.  How about coming to a daily Mass?  Or come to the adoration chapel for prayer once a week?

Fasting-Use your fasting, not to impress God with your discomfort, but to feed on the gifts for which you hunger most.  Remember fasting can be more than giving up food.  Fast from anger and blame.

Almsgiving-Connect your almsgiving to your fasting so that self-denial becomes other-enhancement.  If you skip a daily latte, give the money to a worthy charity.

Parish Mission – Fr. Michael Griffin, the pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Pierre, and has that wonderful monthly column in the Bishop’s Bulletin, will be here on the weekend of March 14 & 15 plus Monday and Tuesday following to offer a parish mission.  There will be presentations on Monday and Tuesday evenings.  More information will follow in the weekly Parish bulletin.

Bishop Paul Swain will be our celebrant and homilist at the 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday, March 22nd I invited him to come and see our newly renovated Nave.

A couple reminders…

Have you scheduled your photo time for the new St. Michael church directory?  There are numerous times available in March.  You can sign up online or by calling the Parish office.

Have you returned your Catholic Family Sharing Appeal (CFSA) pledge card?  Thanks to all who have already done so.  Remember, we need all the cards returned, even if you choose not to give a monetary gift.  If you have not done so, please attempt to return your card as soon as possible.

Goodbye to Mary Bittner– These monthly mailings do not happen by accident.  For over a decade Mary has been organizing the envelopes and coordinating a group of volunteers to put labels on the envelopes and then filling them with this newsletter, parish calendar and monthly offering envelopes.  Mary has also done numerous things around the Parish.  She kept our plants growing in our sanctuary and in the parish office area.  Mary cleaned and polished brass handles and tabernacles.  She worked on weekends to check in our volunteers.  Actually she did so many things, the list could go on and on.  But most importantly she is a dear friend to me and our staff.  She is moving to Parkston to be closer to her family members and to spend time with her grandchildren, great grandchildren, and soon a great-great grandchild.  While I am happy for her and the new opportunity this gives her, I and all of us will deeply miss her.  God’s blessings Mary.  Thank you for all you have done for us throughout the years.

God Bless all of you!

(Rev.) Charles L. Cimpl



Little Black Books – Your companion for Lent 

               Starting with Ash Wednesday

The goal is to find six minutes of quiet time every day for the next 50 days to walk through this book, a page at a time.

Six minutes.  That’s within reach.  And it pays big returns.

Pick-up your book after Mass Today!

Catholic Relief Services RICE BOWL

Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl

“Lent is a journey.  Where will it take you this year?”

Our Parish will be participating in the CRS Rice Bowl Lenten program as a way to encounter Jesus through others.  Please be sure to take one home and use the easy and fun resources to deepen your family’s Lenten experience.  Your prayers, fasting and almsgiving will help CRS continue to provide life-saving assistance around the world.

Pick-up your Rice Bowl after Mass Today!


Six-Week Lenten Study Program

This Lent we will be offering several opportunities to participate in a new study program by Fr. Robert Baron called Priest, Prophet, King.  Each of us was baptized into the ministry of Jesus Christ as Priest, Prophet, and King.  In getting to know Jesus better you will come to understand yourself and your ministry in a new light.  Join us on:

  • Sunday evenings after the 6:00pm Mass (7:15 or so) in the Nave, beginning February 22nd or:

  • Tuesday evenings after the Lenten Soup Suppers (6:30), beginning February 17th or:

  • Thursday evenings at 6:30pm in the Conference Room, beginning February 12th

 Call Deacon John or Anne Burkard with questions: 361-1600.


February Newsletter

Dear Parishioner:

On Monday morning I had an orange for breakfast.  It’s winter and I know vitamin C is an important ingredient to keep us healthy during these cold months.  The orange was very juicy and sweet, but the peel was difficult to pull off and there were, for some reason, an amazing number of seeds in each section of fruit.  It all became quite messy, but the tastes were worth the struggle.  I was thinking as I was attempting to eat this orange that it would have been a lot easier to just pour a glass of orange juice and “seedlessly” enjoy the taste.

But then I thought a bit deeper.  Each of us labors to taste life with joy, but there are difficulties.  There are events which have coverings or hard things to peel away.  There are lumps and bumps in our everyday lives; relationships which are bothering to us.  We keep drinking life’s juices though, despite the seeds of discontent.

Sometimes as a new year begins I am tempted to read books or articles for easy canned resolutions or answers.  We can think that somebody has reduced all of life to a simple idea or practice which is easy to swallow.  We can even think that religion or the Bible has it all reduced to just our opening the jar of God and all shall be sweet.

Life is a mixture of peels and seeds as well as the juice of receiving the sacraments like the Eucharist.  To love God does not mean liking the seeds.  We pray for the freedom to receive it all and not turn easily to frozen or concentrated or diluted life-juice.

Have you scheduled a time for your picture?  If not, please see the sheet enclosed explaining our new St. Michael Church directory.  There is no cost and you do receive a complimentary 8×10 portrait.  There are many dates in February to schedule the time for your picture.  You can do so online by going to our Parish website— or call the Parish office (361-1600) and we can set a time up for you.  We would like as many of you as possible to be part of our new directory.

Catholic Family Sharing Appeal (CFSA) – Soon we all will be receiving a letter and a pledge card from our Bishop, Paul Swain, inviting us to prayerfully consider a donation for this annual Diocesan appeal.  Many of us who have been in this Diocese for awhile know how important this appeal is for our Diocesan and Universal Church.  Please remember to return your pledge card and donation to our Parish office.  We track all the donations and pledges and at the end of the year it shows up on your charitable contributions report to our Parish.  I trust that most of you are aware that this appeal assists many important Diocesan ministries such as the education of our seminarians.  The Bishop’s letter will point out to you the various ways your donation makes a difference in our Diocesan Church.  Please do return your pledge card as soon as possible.

2014 Offering Report – You will be receiving your 2014 contribution report soon.  This can be used to report your charitable gifts this past year.  If there are any discrepancies in your report, please let Susan in our Parish office know (361-1600).  I am thrilled to report that we completed our renovation of the Church and the overlay of the parking lot without taking out a loan.  You people are amazing!

Lent begins this month!  Easter is pretty early this year so we are getting ready for our preparation for Easter.  This Lent we are featuring an excellent DVD series from the famed Fr. Robert Barron—Some of you may recall his excellent series on Catholicism.  This new one is entitled Priest, Prophet, King.  Through these presentations we are invited to better understand Jesus, become more familiar with Scripture, and realize our own priestly, prophetic and kingly mission.  We are planning to offer it a few times each week so you will have an opportunity to view it.  Watch the bulletin for details.

God Bless all of you!

(Rev.) Charles L. Cimpl




Welcoming all people in need . . . Now making its home in the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, the Good Shepherd Center is a non-profit, ecumenical ministry which offers daytime shelter and services for people who are homeless, poor, or newly arrived in our community.  The people of St. Michael provide a noontime meal once a month. 

We are in need of volunteers:

  1. One person to help organize this effort each month.
  2. Several people to help prepare the meal on the Monday before the 4th Tuesday of the month, at noon in the church kitchen – scheduled about once every 3 months.

Please contact Sylvia in the parish office if you can help:

361-1600 x205




Fr. Chuck’s Bulletin Article 1/18/15

Cimply Putting It…

When will we ever learn?…Probably one of the greatest testimonies of the fact of original sin and how we fail to learn from our past, is the problem of racism in our world.  Today it has rekindled in many of our cities in the USA.  What has our history taught us?  Have we really learned anything from our past?

Monday we honor Martin Luther King.  If you ask somebody who Martin Luther King, Jr. was, or if you go by what you might hear or read in the media, you will probably be told that he was a great civil rights leader and social activist.  This is true.  But at the heart of it, Martin Luther King was a Christian pastor—he was an American Baptist Minister. 

One of King’s favorite terms was what he called the “Beloved Community”.  As he promoted justice, his goal was not to defeat his opponents, not to bring down the oppressors, but to bring about reconciliation.  As a minister he often prayed for his enemies. 

One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King comes from an essay he wrote called  “The World House”.  Here’s a part of it.

“Some years ago a famous novelist died.  Among his papers was found a list of suggested plots for future stories, the most prominently underscored being this one:  “A widely separated family inherits a house in which they have to live together.”  This is the great new problem of humankind.  We have inherited a large house, a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together—black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Moslem and Hindu—a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace…All inhabitants of the globe are now neighbors.”

Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people share in the goodness of the earth.  In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger, and homelessness will not be tolerated because human decency will not allow it.  Racism, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.  In the Beloved Community, disputes will be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries instead of military power.  Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred.  As early as 1956—I was just 4 years old—King spoke of the Beloved Community as the end goal. 

Some of King’s detractors like to point out that he was a human being, that he had faults, and human foibles.  This is true.  He was certainly not a saint.  He made mistakes in judgment.  He put his marriage to the test.  He suffered from human facilities, like anxiety and depression.  But Christianity proclaims a God who came to us as we are, accepted us as we are, forgave us and gave us new life, and thus revealed that we do not have to be perfect in order to be loved by God. 

It is often in suffering where we come together.  I remember a story of a news correspondent who told about a time when there was a bomb that exploded in Israel.  Bloodied people were everywhere.  A man came running up to the correspondent holding a little girl in his arms.  He pleaded with him to take her to the hospital.  As a member of the press he would be able to get through the security cordon that had been thrown around the explosion scene.  They jumped into his car and rushed to the hospital.  The whole time the man was pleading with the correspondent to drive faster.  Sadly the little girl’s injuries were too great and she died in the hospital.  When the doctor came out to give them the news the man collapsed in tears.  The correspondent was lost for words.  Finally he said, “I don’t know what to say.  I can’t imagine what you must be going through.  I never lost a child.  But the man said, “Oh, no!  That girl is not my daughter.  I’m Israeli.  She was Palestinian.  But there comes a time when each of us must realize that every child, regardless of that child’s background, is a daughter or a son.  There comes a time when we realize that we are all family.” 

I wonder if I’ll ever see that time?

Two items for your consideration…First, if you have not yet scheduled a sitting for our new St. Michael pictorial directory, would you do so?  You can schedule a time online on our Parish website or by calling the Parish office.  Remember there is no cost to you and you receive a free picture and a new directory. 

Second, in celebration of the 125th anniversary of our Diocese, Bishop Swain will be celebrating an all Diocesan Catholic School Mass at the arena this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.  If your schedule permits, please join us.  It is to celebrate Catholic Schools Week and Bishop Swain has always wanted to attempt to get all the Catholic School children in our Diocese together for a Mass.  It promises to be a wonderful celebration.

I feel so privileged to be part of this great family of St. Michael Parish.  We are called together each weekend.  Called to follow the Lord together, called to live together in this Beloved Community.  May it be so.  Amen.

Make it a great week.  clc


January 2015 Newsletter

Dear Parishioner:

Do you need some R & R?  As I was writing some last minute Christmas cards a couple of days before Christmas, the Parish Office phone rang and I answered it.  I thought for sure the woman on the other end was going to ask for the times of our Christmas Eve Masses.  The previous 7 calls wanted to know that information.  Instead she asked for the times of our New Year’s Eve Masses.  I was somewhat taken back and then asked her why she was interested in those Mass times.  She told me how she likes going to Mass on New Years for it was good to reflect on what had happened the past year and on what might happen in the coming one.  Then she asked me this question:  “Can you reflect forward?”  Most of the newspapers, TV, and radio stations have been about what happened the past 12 months.  But can we reflect forward?  Do we dare?  What might happen if, as we come to the end of this year, we were to take some time and make a list of reflections for 2015?  Maybe we could even take that list and put it somewhere so we can look at it occasionally.  The list might include living more peacefully, being more open to the surprising grace of God, or of gifting others with joy when we are tempted to slap them silly with sarcasm.  Yes, we all could use some R & R— Rest and Relaxation—but we may want to add another R & R to our lives—Reflect & Resolve.  It might posture us for the New Year.

New Year—New Envelope – For the past three years our offering envelope packet included our Inspired By Faith capital campaign green envelope.  I am so thankful to all of you who have made that campaign such a success.  In the past three years we have increased our office area, renovated our Nave & Commons areas, and resurfaced our parking lot.  The total cost was almost 2 million dollars.  We accomplished this without outside fundraising assistance, and we did not have to borrow any money.  You are amazing!  Now we want to keep our facility in fine shape so we have included in our 2015 offering envelopes a Facility Improvement Fund.  The money we give to this fund will be saved for repairs as they come up.  If you are able, occasionally placing some money into that envelope will help us build up a fund so that when we need to make repairs we will have the resources to do so.  Again, my heart is full of gratitude for your generosity to our Parish.

2014 Church Offering reports will be sent out to you toward the end of the month of January.  The statement you will receive can be used for your tax records and report.

As I say good-bye to 2014 and anticipate the New Year, I want to thank you for the past year and your sharing of your time, talent, and treasure with our Parish family.  I also want to thank you for the Christmas gifts—gift certificates, Christmas goodies for our parish staff, gifts of cash and gifts offered to charitable organizations given in my name.  I wish I could write an individual note to you all, but I don’t believe I would have the time to do so.  I hope this will suffice that I offer you my sincere thanks for the many ways you support me in my ministry.  My prayer is that 2015 will be a year of amazement and gladness, not a year of anxiety and sadness.  May it be a year of grace and gratitude, not a year of fear and ingratitude.  I wish for a year of giving and forgiving, and not a year of grudges and resenting.  Please give us O Lord, a year of opening up and reaching out, and not a year of closing down and shutting out.  Lord, for all the new beginnings of this New Year, Thank You!

Happy New Year!

God Bless all of you!

Fr. Charles L. Cimpl