Shared from the 9/7/2019 American News eEdition

Priests bike 260 miles to raise money for parish, school


The Revs. Mark Lichter, left, and Terry Anderson are surrounded by students outside Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Roncalli Elementary School Thursday. The men were finishing up the final leg of a fundraising bicycle tour of East River South Dakota. Lichter was raising funds for Sacred Heart’s stained-glass restoration project, and Anderson was contributing to a new Catholic elementary school in Brookings. American News photos by Kelda J.L. Pharris


The Revs. Mark Lichter and Terry Anderson stand outside Sacred Heart Catholic Church. The church’s nearest window has been restored. Lichter most recently helped the cause by going on a bicycle ride during which he raised funds for the work. Anderson was raising money for a new Catholic elementary school in Brookings.

Biking with a mission

Who: The Rev. Mark Lichter, Sacred Heart, Aberdeen, and the Rev. Terry Anderson, St. Thomas More, Brookings. Trip: Aug. 29-Thursday. Route: Approximately 260 miles, starting in Brookings continuing to Howard, Mitchell, Huron, Redfield and Aberdeen. Fundraisers: Lichter is raising money for stained-glass projects at Sacred Heart. Contribute online at Anderson is raising money for St. Thomas More Catholic School in Brookings. Contribute online at Or visit .

The Revs. Mark Lichter and Terry Anderson have been at it again.

Each trekked 260 miles of county roads and highways on two wheels for a week, ultimately raising nearly $16,000 for their respective parish missions.

They rolled into a pathway lined by students in the Roncalli Elementary School parking lot late Thursday morning for a finale celebration. The students left class just before lunch and gathered with teachers and administration to cheer on the priests’ adventure.

The school shares the parking lot with Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lichter’s current posting. The ride departed from Anderson’s current installation, St. Thomas More of Brookings. The priests’ schedule had them leaving Aug. 29 with an end date of Thursday. It’s not the first trip of its kind.

This was the fourth fundraising bike ride for Lichter and Anderson. The last one was in 2015. Health and medical issues kept them from donning their helmets and hitting the pavement until late this summer. It was time. Lichter set out to raise funds for Sacred Heart’s ongoing stained-glass window restoration project. The southernmost window on the church’s east side has been replaced and sparkles next to the cloudier windows flanking the rest of the side. Those are also slated for restoration as donations come in.

“That window was $120,000 to $130,000 to restore,” said David Vetch, director of the Aberdeen Catholic Foundation.

Funds have been raised through an online donation system and by word of mouth. As of Sept. 4 Lichter had raised $4,889.45 for the window project, and Anderson had raised $11,066 for his school. He has a reputation of raising the most funds in their friendly competition. Donations will be accepted at through Sept. 20.

“Is there anyone older here than 15?” Anderson asked the crowd.

Only staff and administration raised their hands, with a few giggles. Anderson had been a priest in Aberdeen for four years before heading to a new parish 15 years ago.

The children asked what the men drank on their trip, if they had any problems and about their bikes’ features.

“At a penny a mile, that would be how much?” Lichter asked them.

Some of the older students quickly answered, “$2.60.”

Lichter extended his and Sacred Heart’s appreciation for the support from the Roncalli schools.

Anderson was tasked with raising funds for St. Thomas More, a new Catholic elementary school in Brookings.

Save for a flat tire and some South Dakota winds, the priests’ trip was uneventful as they logged the miles between Brookings, Howard, Mitchell, Huron, Redfield and Aberdeen. Anderson always carries spare inner tubes and a pump. Besides water bottles, helmets with rearview mirrors, odometers/cellphones and a couple bike lights, the men travel lightly. A “swag” vehicle is on call for them during the journey. It provides additional water or other amenities as needed. The men do the exercise and log the miles, but they know they don’t go it alone. Whether it’s their tailing vehicle and its volunteer driver or the different rectories along the way that put them up, they have support.

Each man was wearing a shirt representing his respective school. And they led chants for Roncalli and St. Thomas More, much to the delight of the cheering elementary students.

It was as clear as the cloudless sky above that though their funds would be distributed differently, everyone was happy to share the mission of both priests and parishes.

Follow @Kelda_aan on Twitter.


Find a video from Thursday, more photos from this year’s trip and stories about past trips with this story at

See this article in the e-Edition Here