Thursday, June 4, 2015

Leaving With More Than I Came

In other news, it was announced a couple of weeks ago that I Bishop Gruss has assigned me as the parochial administrator (all the responsibility but not the rights of a pastor) for the parishes of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Martin, SD and Our Lady of Victory in Kadoka, SD.

The news was not exactly unexpected.  The need to place a pastor in the parish was fairly evident, two men will be ordained this summer and will need a place to get started, and I have served six years as an associate pastor.  It was time.

Martin is in the south of the diocese, technically situated on the Pine Ridge Reservation, though I am told my parishioners are mostly white ranchers.  Kadoka is sixty miles north along I90.  In my two new parishes I have around two hundred families total.  The Badlands are in my back yard.  It is a long way from Rapid City, a long way from Red Owl, and a little off the beaten path.  I suspect that most arriving in Martin go there intentionally.  It is a little hard to find it accidentally.  The next nearest priest in about forty-five miles away in the village of Pine Ridge.


I made the announcement that I was leaving with a lump in my throat, and even though I do not relish the goodbyes that are to come in the next few weeks, I find that I am very excited to strike out (like an adventurer, not a baseball player) on my own.  I'm sad, my heart is not breaking as it did when leaving my previous assignments.  It is not because I don't love these people.  I do love them.  Very much.  But it seems to have finally sunk in that love abides, even when I no longer reside in a given place.  Love transcends geography.  Love transcends time.  Love transcends death itself.  Goodbyes are not forever for the Christian who stands with a foot already in eternity.

I have learned so much here, and I am so grateful for the ways that God has blessed me through these parishes.  I carry the Parishes of St. Joseph, St. Paul, and Our Lady, Star of the Sea with me as I go.

It will be a sacrifice to drive more than three blocks to fish for trout, though I trade it for great pheasant hunting.

In the end, Gary McMahan's Song, "The Old Double Diamond" expresses fairly well what I am feeling, or at least it has been on repeat on my interior soundtrack.


Pray that I will be a holy pastor.  Pray that I will love my new people well. 


  1. I will really miss you, Father Tyler! You've always at least "been around" ever since I met you as a seminarian in 2002. Now for the first time you'll be way more than just a few minutes away from where we live! Good luck to you!

  2. You have our prayers. You will do fantastic!

  3. New range to ride; new knots to tie... :-)

  4. I'm sure you will be a blessing to your new parishioners.


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