Here’s a glimpse of Holy Rosary Indian Mission in Tucker, Mississippi, where Father Bob Goodyear, S.T., serves the Choctaw Indians who live on the reservation. The Choctaw Nation was once the largest tribe in the United States. Before the Trail of Tears, the Choctaws took up all of what is today Mississippi, part of Alabama and Tennessee — they were 25,000 strong. At present, there are 10,000 Choctaws living on the reservation. This number is an improvement over the 4,000 people Father Bob served in 1975. Still, the community struggles with poverty, alcoholism, and despair that have given rise to new afflictions — diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
When Father Bob first came to Holy Rosary in 1975, he was part of a pastoral staff of two priests, two Brothers, and five Sisters. Years after he left the mission, he returned as pastor and today serves alone. His days are jammed-packed with activity — celebrating sacraments and counseling, cutting grass, doing the accounting, answering the door, repairing the church windows, organizing the religious education programs.
Most importantly, he strives to be present for the Choctaw people (at least 15 or 20 a day) who come to his door seeking help. They come in need of food or help with their electric bill or money for enough gas to get to the doctor. Because of you, Fr. Bob can help them.
As you can imagine, the life of a missionary is never boring, but it can be exhausting. As Father Bob likes to say, “It’s a 24-7 commitment!” Even so, the rewards are great. Just knowing that each day offers the promise of making a difference in another person’s life is more than enough.