“He has done wonderful things for the Native Americans and for St. Francis Mission. He works hard to better their way of life and has their interest at heart.”

“Because of his hard work and determination, he has preserved history for hundreds of years. His works show that he loves the Lakota people and is very dedicated to helping them.”

Reverend John Hatcher, SJ, Diocese of Rapid City, SD

Life on an unincorporated Native American reservation is met with many social, economic and spiritual challenges. For the past nine years, Father John Hatcher, SJ, has tried to curb these challenges for the Lakota people on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in south-central South Dakota. As Director of the Saint Francis Mission, he has been a true light to this Native population, encouraging them to use their many gifts in service to the church.

Father Hatcher guides his ministry toward one ultimate goal: for the Lakota people to be both fully Catholic and fully Native. To realize this goal, he urges them to take ownership of their faith and invites them to fully participate in the life of the Church, offering formation, catechesis and retreat programs for adults. He’s also implemented a religious education program, introducing Christ and Catholic teaching to the youngest generations on the reservation.

Father Hatcher’s ministry extends beyond the walls of the church and deep into the surrounding community. In 2007, he founded a recovery and recreation center that is run by staff members certified by the Betty Ford Institute. The program both encourages sobriety and builds community within families that need it most. In all aspects of his ministry, Father Hatcher is committed to respecting the traditions of the Lakota people. With his dynamic attitude and dedicated leadership, Father Hatcher is propelling the Rosebud Reservation into a hopeful, vibrant future.