I am writing to you from Custer, SD. This week I am on vacation and sending thoughts along the way. We are just winding up a Charron family reunion of my mother Jeanne Charron’s side of the family. Included were many of my 72 first cousins, with whom my (Berg) family spent vacations in South Dakota. These cousins were the kids that my siblings “ran with” in summers growing up. This is our first reunion in 17 years, and now there are plenty more cousins, children and grandchildren to meet. I recommend Custer for any tourist venue, in the Black Hills, just 12 miles from Mount Rushmore. It is a pretty town and well organized for golf, frisbee, games and a lot of food. There is also the 108-mile Mickleson gravel bike/horse path, converted from an old railroad trail through the Black Hills, including some interesting tunnels. Deacon Dan and I were able to get out one morning and bike through some beautiful country.
The highlight of the reunion for me was to con-celebrate Mass under a huge tent with Uncle Bishop Joseph Charron (Emeritus Bishop of Des Moines), assisted by Brother Darryl Charron, OPB (religious brother), a couple cousins and Deacon Dan. Bishop Joe, Aunt Mary, and Mom are the three surviving siblings of the eight original Charrons, children of our beloved grandparents who authored the South Dakota families which have extended so far beyond. In the three days of reflecting on the family connections which have grown ever stronger, we celebrated the faith which really is the hidden, invisible and most important gift that binds us together. I prayed with cousins, their children and grandchildren, whom I haven’t connected with for more than 25 years. We remembered things that happened in times long past, sayings of wise parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts, which influence us to this day, and are now being passed on to the next generation Plans are being made for another reunion, two years ahead.
"In the three days of reflecting on the family connections which have grown ever stronger, we celebrated the faith which really is the hidden, invisible and most important gift that binds us together."
This morning, Sunday, Dan and I will be traveling to Billings. I will be blessed to stop along the way in Miles City, MT, to visit my father’s grave, a special gift on Father’s Day. There is a sizeable contingent of Charrons who will follow us to Billings tomorrow, Monday, to visit Mom and bring the reunion home to her. Bishop Joe and I will celebrate Mass with our gathering on Tuesday morning, in Mom’s room. Her Charron family will be brought home to her once again. I will then spend another 5 days in Billings with Mom, my brother Matt, my sisters Mary Beth, Chris and her family. Besides the 72 cousins mentioned above, there are some 60+ extended family on the Berg side in the Montana area. Hoping to see a few of them while in Billings.
When I see the blessings which God has given, I always remember you, faith family of my diocese. You have added so much to my life over the past 9 years and I am praying for you all along the way. Let us never take our faith for granted. It is quietly working on us even when we are apart, awake and asleep, it is always actively growing in ways we cannot comprehend. God is so good, and in His love, our family is always “to be continued.” Please continue to pray for me, my mother and our family, as we are praying for you.
+Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg
Bishop of Pueblo
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