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Ascension c at h ol i c c h ur c h

Welcome to Our New

Youth Faith Formation Director/ Youth Minister Blane Schriock


aving earned a degree in theology and philosophy from the University of Mary, Blane Schriock is ready and eager to begin work with the youth and teens here at Ascension! Blane was recently hired as Director of the Faith Formation program for kindergarten to ninth grade, and as Youth Minister for 10th through 12th grades. “I am most excited to help our youth grow in holiness and find their vocation,” Blane says. “It’s important for them to learn the facts about the Faith, but they have to find where God is calling them, understand our Faith and make it their own.” Blane graduated this past spring and plans to pursue a graduate degree in Catholic Studies Having earned a degree in theology from the University of Mary. Blane grew up on and philosophy from the University a farm near Carson with his brother, mother of Mary, Blane Schriock is ready and eager to begin work with the and father. “I miss living on a farm,” he says. “I am a farm youth and teens here at Ascension! kid at heart. But, this is where God is calling me right now.” One particular activity that Blane enjoys is dancing. He loves all types of partner dancing, from ballroom to polka, and he has been dancing since he was 5 years old. continued on page 2

Inside September 2020


“Coincidental” Stewardship

4/5 Spending Time in Prayer at Ascension The Power of Presence 6 Window 5: St. Hilary of Poitiers 7 Annual Financial Report

Ascension c at h ol i c c h ur c h

Blane Schriock

continued from front cover

Blane also loves to learn more forward to jumping head-on into his new about other cultures, languages and position here in our parish. religions. “Bismarck is a beautiful place to “I am big into reading,” he says. grow in Faith, because it is so deeply “Bismarck is a beautiful “I love to learn more about things. rooted in Christianity and rural place to grow in faith, This is a big reason I want to go values,” Blane says. “It’s easy to on to graduate school.” grow and be nourished here. It’s because it is so deeply rooted in Blane notes that he was not like a spiritual greenhouse.” Christianity and rural values. It’s really active in his faith in high Blane agrees with the teaching easy to grow and be nourished school. However, his local priest of the Catholic Church that here. It’s like a spiritual asked him to teach sixth and parents are the primary educators greenhouse.” seventh-grade catechism. of the faith — the Faith Formation “I didn’t really know why he program is there to assist. He hopes — Blane Schriock was asking me, but he encouraged more parents will step forward as me to try it for a year,” Blane says. “I volunteers with the program. was forced to learn more about the faith, Blane also can’t wait to get started with since I was teaching it.” the 10th through 12th-grade students and to help He credits this with helping him discern his challenge them in their faith. He wants to help answer vocation. the tough questions like why we believe in God, why “I didn’t know I had a knack for teaching until I we are Catholic, and the purpose of our lives. started,” Blane says. “The Lord revealed this gift to “I’d like to introduce them to different vocations me. If our youth can learn more about their faith, by inviting in a married couple, priests, brothers they can learn where God is calling them.” and sisters,” he says. “I just want us to also have By the time Blane graduated from high school, fun together and form a solid group that is striving he was discerning the priesthood. He didn’t know for holiness.” which order to enter, so he decided to study theology Faith Formation meets on Wednesday nights and philosophy at the University of Mary. beginning Sept. 23. Kindergarten to fifth grade “I knew I was being called to work with youth, is 4-5 p.m. or 5:30-6:30 p.m. depending on but I didn’t know how or where,” Blane says. assignment. The sixth through ninth grade is Blane wrapped up his work with a summer youth 7-8:15 p.m. program at the St. Mary's Academy in July and began On Sept. 16 there will be an opening Mass and working for Ascension full time in August. He looks picnic.

If you would like more information about the Faith Formation program for kindergarten to ninth grade, or youth ministry for 10th through 12th grade, please contact Blane Schriock at 701-258-5692 or bschriock@ascensionbismarck.org.


A Letter from our Pastor

“Coincidental” Stewardship

Dear Parishioners,


he famous author G.K. Chesterton once said, “Coincidences are God’s way of staying anonymous.” Since fully embracing the stewardship way of life, coincidences have become cherished experiences for which I thank God — and rightly so! While God stays anonymous, coincidences are His way of interacting with the world He created. Importantly, as we have been continually impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and with many of our circumstances changing day to day, we can be grateful for His “coincidental” intervention. As I continue to witness the gracefilled effects of the stewardship way of life on our parish, and in my own life, it is definitely God’s hand at work in our lives of faith. If some identify a coincidence as a “surprise blessing” that lifts the spirits and draws one closer to gratefulness to God, we cannot deny that in those circumstances that God is giving us the grace to live and celebrate our faith. So, let’s celebrate the coincidences! Celebrate the coincidence that Chesterton himself converted to Catholicism late in his life, yet wrote book after book affirming and defending the Catholic faith long before his conversion. Four years after Chesterton joined the Catholic Church, he wrote a phenomenal book called The Catholic Church and Conversion. It is one of the best works on conversion to Catholicism, as well as a wonderful description of conversion to the stewardship way of life. The same experiences, or “coincidences,” apply when we find ourselves drawn into the understanding, practice and expression of discipleship, known to us as “stewardship.” Chesterton describes conversion in three steps. “The convert takes his first step rather unwittingly

when he decides he’s going to be fair to the Catholic Church,” he wrote. The convert to stewardship must also dispel the “myths of stewardship” and give it a chance. This first step of conversion then leads to a long and enjoyable second step, which is the utter fascination of learning what the Catholic Church really does teach. Chesterton says, “It is like discovering a new continent full of strange flowers and fantastic animals, which is at once wild and hospitable.” For the stewardship convert, it is recognizing that stewardship is a practical way of living the Gospel. It makes sense, and others are doing it with joy and passion. What they have, the convert also wants. Then, the convert to Catholicism suddenly realizes with a shock that he can no longer be detached and impartial about the Catholic Church. The convert to the stewardship way of life realizes this is the way he or she wants to live — and makes the commitment to do so. If this were not true of what Christ has called us to be, I would not be writing this today. If this were not true of our commitment to stewardship, you may not be reading this today. And, if this were not true of a stewardship parish such as ours, we would not be the faithful stewards we are today. Wouldn’t you also agree it is a “coincidence” to thank God for each day of our lives? Sincerely yours in Christ, Msgr. Jim Braaten Pastor


Ascension c at h ol i c c h ur c h

Spending Time in P


or Catholics, “spending time in prayer” may mean a number of different things — praying the Rosary, reading and reflecting on Scripture, or lighting a candle. We pray in thanksgiving for God’s blessings and we bring our needs, and the needs of others, before the Lord, in petition. Prayer is often a response of gratitude in our highest moments, as well as a cry for help in our most challenging struggles. And in uncertain times like these, it’s more important than ever to remain connected to the One Who holds the whole world in His hands, through prayer. “Spending time in prayer brings a peace to the soul that only God can give,” says Julie Ternes, Director of Music and Liturgy. “Jesus tells us ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28). Prayer takes us away from all that is happening in our busy lives and world, and gives us respite. We need that time.” A common form of prayer for many people is spending time in adoration, before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament — often called “Eucharistic Adoration.” However, whether or not our Lord is visible to us in a monstrance, He is always truly present, reserved in the tabernacle, in our church. Here at Ascension, we encourage our parishioners to take advantage of this opportunity to be close to our Lord. “I think when people hear ‘adoration’ they think of the period of time when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed on the altar in a monstrance,” Julie says. “But we can do ‘adoration’ personally whenever we come to the church and sit in front of the tabernacle, with the Blessed Sacrament inside. “Even if we sit in church and can’t turn our minds off, we still can experience the peace of God just by being in His presence,” she adds. In addition to the daily Rosary that is prayed at 7:50 a.m., and Eucharistic Adoration with

The Power

Resources are available for those who would like to deepen their prayer life by spending time praying at Ascension.

Benediction on Mondays from 8:30 a.m. until 9:15 a.m., our church is open daily from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. to allow people to stop by and spend time in personal prayer with our Lord. There are many different ways that people may choose to pray while in the Presence of Jesus in the tabernacle. Whether it’s praying the Rosary, walking through the Stations of the Cross, praying with the continued on page 5


Prayer at Ascension of Presence

saints displayed in our stained glass windows, or lighting a candle, parishioners are encouraged to find the form of prayer which they find most meaningful. There are a number of resources available in the foyer to aid people in their prayer and reflection, as well as apps such as iBreviary and myParish, which give people access to prayers, Scripture readings and reflections, and more. “My favorite prayer is to pray one of the ‘hours’ of the Liturgy of the Hours, because I love the idea that Catholics all over the world are following the same daily cycle and praying the same psalms and reflections as me,” says Julie, who often uses the iBreviary app while praying in the church. For many, in the midst of the busyness of life, setting time aside to get away from all the noise has a significant impact on their ability to be still and hear the voice of God in prayer. As Scripture tells us, the Lord often speaks in a “still, small

voice,” and while we can communicate with God anywhere, there is something unique and special about praying in the church. “The silence of the church physically cuts us off from the noise of the world and helps us turn off our own busy minds,” Julie says. “We have to experience that silence in order to hear God. “As Catholics, we believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament,” she adds. “Believing this, we know Jesus is truly present in the tabernacle. Sitting in that presence feels different than sitting at home, even if we have a special prayer area.” Julie encourages fellow parishioners to make a priority of coming to spend time in prayer, especially in the midst of so much unknown in the world. “Just 10 minutes a day in front of the Blessed Sacrament will bring countless moments a day of peace to your heart and soul,” she says.

Church of the Ascension is open each day from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. for personal prayer. Resources to aid in prayer are available in the foyer and pews are marked off in order to help maintain social distancing. If you have questions, please contact the parish office at 701-223-3606.

The church is open daily for people to come and spend time in quiet, personal prayer.


Ascension c at h ol i c c h ur c h


Hilary of Poitiers

This is the fifth in a 12-part series on our stained glass windows in Ascension Catholic Church.


t. Hilary was born in 310 AD and elected bishop of Poitiers, France around the year 353 AD. He became the leading and most respected Latin theologian of his age. Seeking to immunize the church against the infection of the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ, he wrote an extensive treatise titled, On the Trinity, which is perhaps his most famous work. St. Hilary explains, “There is no space where God is not; space does not exist apart from Him. He is in heaven, in hell, beyond the seas; dwelling in all things and enveloping all. Thus, He embraces, and is embraced by, the universe, confined to no part of it but pervading all.”  It is with this truth that “In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).” This call to intimacy with God is echoed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church when it states, “Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ... God calls us all to this intimate union with him” (CCC 2014).   Hilary died in 367 and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church

15 centuries later by Pope Pius IX.   St. Hilary was chosen for this window as a token of honor and gratitude to the Bishop of the Diocese of Bismarck, the Most Reverend Hilary Hacker, when the windows were installed in 1984. When spending time in front of this window of St. Hilary, ask yourself these questions —  How intimate is my relationship with God? Do I feel God’s presence at all times? Where do I feel God’s presence most vividly? In what ways do I live out my vocation to holiness? How can I do better?  Let us pray with St. Hilary when he implores, “I am well aware, almighty God and Father, that in my life I owe you a most particular duty. It is to make my every thought and word speak of you. Father, keep us from vain strife of words. Grant to us constant profession of the Truth! Preserve us in a true and undefiled faith so that we may hold fast to that which we professed when we were baptized, that we may have Thee for our Father, that we may abide in Thy Son and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Amen”

St. Hilary explains, “There is no space where God is not; space does not exist apart from Him. He is in heaven, in hell, beyond the seas; dwelling in all things and enveloping all. Thus, He embraces, and is embraced by, the universe, confined to no part of it but pervading all.” 6



Statement of Financial Position Liquid Assets

Cash in Bank Investment-Expansion Fund Pre-paid Expense


Accounts Payable



79,563.42 723,468.02 3,332.64





Statement of Activities Operating Income Sunday Contributions $ 725,936.08 Special Donations 31,533.67 BACEF (Bismarck Area Catholic Foundation) 31,390.91 SMCHS Carnival 26,734.98 Faith Formation Income 13,694.53 Votive Candles 5,152.50 Interest Income 3,405.59 Facility Income 2,805.00 Flower Donations 2,175.00 Parish Spring Dinner 0

Operating Expense Payroll & Benefits (2 FT/8 PT) Light of Christ School Subsidy Building/Grounds Operations Office Operations Stewardship Liturgy & Outreach Property Insurance Faith Formation City Street Work Assessment Parish Events St. Mary’s Cemetery Subsidy

$ 308,778.68 286,819.68 49,364.56 47,576.82 36,803.40 21,528.37 19,935.00 17,737.05 12,445.45 6,429.01 5,604.00



$ 813,022.02

$ 842,828.26


465,000.00 $ 1,307,828.26

City Street Work Payoff TOTAL EXPENSE


Beginning Balance

$ 120,934.02

Contributions Insurance Proceeds (Roofs) Total Income

77,364.57 63,980.00 141,344.57


Parish Center & Rectory Roofs Church LED Lighting Rectory Decks Other Repairs

113,280.00 82,477.00 19,773.00 966.74

Total Expense


216,496.74 $


54,581.34 $ 867,603.36




Local Distributions

AID, Inc. Community Action Ministry on the Margins Society of St. Vincent de Paul Abused Adult Resource Center Welcome House Meals on Wheels Christmas Eve Dinner The Banquet Meal (2) Rides to Mass


48,553.30 9,580.00 9,580.00 9,580.00 7,185.00 4,790.00 4,790.00 2,395.00 3,234.57 1,355.29 162.00


52,651.86 7

Non-Profit Org US Postage


Permit #164 Bismarck, ND

Church of the Ascension 1905 S 3rd St. | Bismarck, ND 58504-7118 701-223-3606 | www.ascensionbismarck.org

Address Service Requested

Upcoming Events

Living Rosary and Root Beer Floats Community Shares in Faith and Fellowship This event was held outdoors on July 22, with about 90 people joining us to share in faith and fellowship.

Sept. 16 — Opening Faith Formation Mass at 5:30 p.m., followed by a Parish Picnic outdoors! Sept. 18 — RITE OF CONFIRMATION for 10th graders at 7 p.m. Sept. 23 — Start of Faith Formation Classes — Register online at www.ascensionbismarck.org


Saturday, 5:00 p.m. | Sunday, 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m. Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. | Holy Days: 8:00 a.m., 7:00 p.m.

Stewardship is the grateful response of a Christian disciple who recognizes and receives God’s gifts and shares these gifts in love of God and neighbor.

Profile for Catholic Stewardship Consultants

Ascension Catholic Church Newsletter — September 2020  

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