Xavier South Dakota Mission Trip April 2024

Truly on a Mission
At Xavier High School, we have a proud tradition of service and servant leadership. Service is at the heart of what Xavier instills in our students. 
We unite ourselves to God through an integrated life of both contemplation and service. Through the Xaverian Way, we are awakened by the Spirit of God to our own graced potential and freely offer that giftedness in service to the gospel. Through our ministry, in particular, among the poor and the marginalized, we work to help others discover their uniqueness so they, too, may "share the love of God with the world through their giftedness."
In the early morning hours of Sunday, April 7, 2024, twenty students from Xavier High School embarked on a mission trip to Rapid City, South Dakota to serve the people of that fine city and surrounding areas. Accompanied by four faculty members, and under the guidance of staff from Mission Discovery, a non-profit mission organization based in Tennessee, the Xavier contingent served through Love INC of the Black Hills, an organization that seeks to “mobilize local churches to offer a holistic approach to caring for people in all areas of life: spiritual, mental, emotional, relational, material, and physical.” 
Work at the Love INC Thrift Store and warehouse in Rapid City included furniture refinishing and delivery, showroom display setup, and warehouse organization and inventory. The second worksite was a house in Sturgis that was donated to Love INC, which will be used for a satellite office and rental apartment to generate income for their many ministries. The Xavier group assisted with gutting the home in preparation for a total renovation, digging a fifty-foot trench for electrical conduit, and general sitework.
Xavier students also spent two afternoons at a teen center co-sponsored by Love INC and Bethel Church. There they played basketball, pool, Jenga, and a host of board games while getting to know the middle and high schoolers from the area.
Since the population of Rapid City has a large representation of Native American people from the Lakota Tribes, the Xavier boys took some time to learn about the history and culture of the area in general and the Lakota specifically. This came in the form of some very enlightening presentations from two of the chaperones, Mr. Jim Royce, teacher of Native American Studies at Xavier, and Mr. Bill Braychak, also a member of the Xavier Social Studies Department. These presentations enhanced the educational component of the trip, which included visits to Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument, Wounded Knee, and the Badlands. At Wounded Knee, the site of the last battle between the Native Americans and U.S. troops, Br. John Sullivan led the group in a very reverent and meaningful prayer service at the cemetery overlooking the battle site, after which the boys paid their respects and spent some time picking up trash around the gravesites.
Each day began with morning prayer led by Br. John, and concluded with an evening reflection, which included sharing, small group discussion, and praise and worship songs.    The Xavier boys were asked to be open to learning, to be servant leaders, and to see God in every situation. By these standards, they represented Xavier High School and the XBSS Network well and made us all proud.
Here is what some of our Falcons had to say about the trip.
Gianni Brescio ’24
“The week that I spent in South Dakota with 19 of my peers not only allowed me to develop a new understanding of service but also to form new relationships with many members of the Xavier community. We were all working towards the common goal of effectively serving the people of South Dakota; because of this I believe the sense of camaraderie amongst us was greatly enhanced both on the trip and now in the hallways of Xavier.”
Jacob Fagan ’24
“An experience that really stood out to me in South Dakota was when we visited the after-school program in Rapid City. Interacting and playing with the Lakota children was a truly empowering experience that really put things into perspective from a cultural and spiritual perspective.”
Henry Peeler ’24
“Feels like a fever dream. The work was blissful, and helping the workers in the mid-west was certainly a positive. However, this was all second to the fact that I never felt so free. I’ve taken vacations in the past, but never quite like this one. I bonded and strengthened my relationship with the people there, and I learned many lessons in such a short time. I would go so far as to argue that it was my best week not only of senior year, but out of all four years at Xavier. Mr. Royce would know; I’ve pestered him so much already about how I still can’t believe I actually left there.”
Joe Paterno ’24
“I would say that the South Dakota service trip was one of the best memories of my time at Xavier High School. I truly felt in touch with God throughout the entire trip, and I learned a lot more about who I am and the skills and values that I have gained in my time at Xavier. Serving others in a different area really changed my perception on our world and has inspired me to make our world a better place.”

CLICK HERE to view a photo gallery from the trip. 
Xavier, a Tradition of Excellence