Catholic Social Services to honor the late Fr. Bill Pauly, S.J.

posted September 18, 2015 

“Bill had great faith and a very large heart. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate the ways in which he touched so many lives here on the Pine Ridge Reservation and in the Diocese of Rapid City,” said Fr. Peter Klink, S.J., who served as president of Red Cloud Indian School during Fr. Bill’s time on the reservation. Catholic Social Services has selected Fr. Bill to receive its 2015 Founder’s Award in recognition of his lifetime of service to others and to the Black Hills community.

Fr. William F. Pauly, S.J. was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and raised just 30 miles south of there in Port Washington. He entered the Society of Jesus—the Jesuits—in 1965 and was ordained in 1979. As a young priest, Fr. Bill worked for several years as a campus minister at Marquette University in Milwaukee and then served for six years as pastor of a predominantly Hispanic Church in Milwaukee where he became fluent in Spanish and learned to appreciate the beauty of a culture different from his own.

In 1989, Fr. Bill came to Red Cloud Indian School where for the next seventeen years he did parish ministry and became a well-known, much loved pastor. He was consecutively Pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Pine Ridge; Pastoral Coordinator for all the Catholic churches on the reservation; Superior of the Holy Rosary Jesuit Community; Pastor of Holy Rosary Church, Our Lady of the Sioux Church in Oglala, Christ the King Church in Porcupine and St. Agnes Church in Manderson. 

On November 29, 2006, Fr. Bill Pauly died suddenly while on a much deserved sabbatical attending the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Ill. He was 59 years old and had been a Jesuit for 41 years. Fr. Bill was an avid runner and golfer, a fanatic Green Bay Packers fan and had an infectious laugh and joy of life. He spent his life sharing Christ’s love, compassion, and understanding with everyone he met, especially with those most in need.

Shortly before he died, Fr. Bill emailed the following prayer to a young friend. He explained that his mother taught it to him when he was in high school and that the prayer reminded him he was not alone. He had recently added the final line:

All I do I do for You. 
With You at my side, 
I will do my best. 
And I leave the rest 
to You.

Given the Lakȟóta name of Wačhíŋyaŋpi meaning “Depends on Him”, Fr. Bill touched the lives of many people of all ages.

Fr. Bill will be honored posthumously with the 2015 award at the Catholic Social Services annual banquet in Rapid City, S.D. this Sunday, September 20th. Provincial Superior of the Wisconsin Province of Jesuits, Fr. Thomas Lawler, S.J., will be the keynote speaker. Accepting the award on her brother’s behalf is his sister Mary Pauly Lacy of Milwaukee. Among attendees from Red Cloud Indian School will be his long time brothers in Christ, and good friends, Fr. George Winzenburg S.J., president, Fr. Peter Klink, S.J., vice president of mission and identity, Fr. Rick Abert, S.J., pastor, and Pastoral Coordinator Veronica Valandra. 


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