St. Francis Mission
We traveled with some of our SFM Youth group members to the 84th Annual Tekakwitha Conference July 19-23, 2023 which was held in Bloomington, MN. We arrived and registered Wednesday evening, then went to dinner. Thursday was the Grand Entry and youth breakout sessions. The youth worked on a banner the week before we went. The youth also met Father Henry Sands at breakfast! We are happy the youth were able to meet him! We attended Mass services daily and our youth were asked to help with the procession, reading, aziliya (smudging), and as gift bearers. They all helped when asked and did awesome! We were grateful to have RST Wiconi Wakan Health and Healing program staff as some of the presenters, also Pine Ridge’s Deacon Bill White and his wife Terri. It was great to hear from the National Catholic Youth Conference representative Lesly and her two youth panelist present and answer questions about what it’s like being a young Catholic today. A couple of our own youth Whisper and Latecia sat on the panel as well! Friday we had breakout sessions including a presentation on St. Kateri, which included beading with the youth. In the evening we took the youth to the Mall of America! They all enjoyed dinner there! A couple of the youth from Pine Ridge came with us. On Saturday we traveled with all the registered children and youth to the Minnesota zoo, a couple of our youth rode a camel! Afterwards we went to the St. Thomas University to join the adults for Mass with Arch Bishop Hebda, St. Paul Diocese. We made it back to our hotel and had pizza for dinner! The youth got ready for the Powwow, which started at 7 pm! Our chaperone Bree and youth Latecia brought their regalia and danced. Our youth supported them and joined all the games and dances at the powwow. They had the potato dance, musical chairs, the rabbit dance, side step, inter tribals and honoring songs. It was a great ending to our week! We want to thank all the youth families for trusting us to take their youth to the conference. Thank you to the youth for representing the St. Francis Mission, our tribe, and themselves in a good and respectful way. All your volunteering and fundraising efforts were worth it! Big thank you to our chaperones and Ben for driving us and keeping us all safe! We enjoy being in the company of all the youth. We are happy and proud of our youth for volunteering and being respectful always. They were all well behaved and looked out for one another. It’s always good conversations with each and every one of them. It was a good learning experience for all of them! St Kateri, pray for us!