Our Origin Story

Once upon a time there was a priest named Fr. Bill O'Connell from Chicago. Everyday, Fr. Bill wanted to be the hands and feet of Christ to the people of the Diocese of Rapid City where he served.

One day, Fr. Bill invited two religious sisters from the Daughters of Charity in St. Louis to travel around the Diocese of Rapid City and help him identify the many social services needs of people in western South Dakota. Once that task was completed in 1974, Catholic Social Services was chartered as a small adoption and counseling agency in 1975. 

For the next 40 years, Fr. Bill, who eventually became Msgr. O'Connell but always preferred to be called "OC" by his friends, was devoted to the work of CSS. Msgr. O'Connell died in 2015, but not before CSS grew into a multi-program professional social services agency. Today, it offers birthparent services, behavioral health services for individuals, couples and families, disaster response services, a poverty reduction program and the Lakota Circles of Hope risk-prevention curriculum for students in the 2nd through 8th grades.