From Las Casas: Groundbreaking Rocky Boy

People shovel the first dirt Sunday for the new St. Mary Catholic Church Sunday at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation.

A group gathered Sunday to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new Catholic church at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation following a Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael Warfel of the Great Falls-Billings diocese.

“It’s a great joy to be here,” Warfel said, adding, “We just have to make sure it stays up for a while.”

St. Mary Catholic Church was built in 1979 by hand of logs cut on the reservation.

On December 14, 2019, the church was completely consumed by fire.

Father Joseph Tran, who took over the parish in 2018, has been celebrating Mass from the porch of his residence that was behind the church.

Sister Kathleen Kane, OP (Sparkill), center in photo, has been in pastoral outreach ministry among the Native peoples there since 1973. Another Sparkill Dominican, Sister Margaret Mary O’Doherty, was in pastoral ministry at St. Mary’s Church at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation for 37 years.