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Friday, June 10, 2011

Serving the Shoshone and Arapaho Peoples in Wyoming

R-L Fr Tony Blount, SOLT (Pastor), Fr Gerry Sheehan, SOLT
(Regional Priest Servant), Bishop Paul Etienne of Cheyenne
Diocese, Fr John Gaffney, SOLT (far left) at the installation

St Stephen's church in
St Stephen, WY
Our community is very blessed to serve the Arapaho and Shoshone Indian Nations at the Wind River Indian Reservation, in Wyoming.  August 31, 2010, was the day when the SOLT community took stewardship of the St Stephen's Catholic Mission, and the departure of the Jesuit community, who had served the people since 1884.  SOLT has a long history of serving different indigenous, native, or immigrant peoples on different continents, and is something we feel is very close to the Heart of Our Lady, who herself was a Galilean and lived even as an exile while in Egypt.  It is to these people we have been sent to bring the Good News of our Salvation, that Jesus Christ speaks each man's language, draws near to each family, tribe, and nation to bestow upon them the covenant of communion of the Most Holy Trinity.

Mission Residence
The reservation is the largest in North America, spanning 2.2 million acres with over 2,500 Eastern Shoshone and 5,000 Arapo Indians.  The St Stephen's mission has one very large residence and gym that used to house a boys for a boarding school, and three churches in different towns of the reservation.  The parish priest is Fr Tony Blount, SOLT, assisting him are Fr John Gaffney, SOLT, Fr John Patterson, SOLT, and Br Michael Mary Wight, SOLT.

Blessed Sacrament Church in Ft Washakie, WY

St Joseph's Church in Ethete, WY

Br Michael Mary Wight, SOLT serving Mass

Bishop Paul Etienne said this about the installation Mass:
"I cannot say enough about how moving the Mass was at St. Stephen.  The spirit of the Native Americans is quite moving, and I truly enjoyed celebrating Mass with them!  I look forward to getting to know them better, and celebrating the sacraments with them again soon."
On May 13th of this year he gave the sacrament of confirmation to young people of the parish.

Confirmation at Riverton, WY with Bishop Etienne
If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering as a lay person at a SOLT mission click here, or discerning a calling to priesthood or religious life click here.