The Courier - April 2023

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April 2023


Gundersen St. Elizabeth's to Expand

AUSTIN - Bishop Robert Barron joined 18 catechumens and 117 candidates, who are journeying toward communion with the Catholic Church through the Diocese of WinonaRochester's Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program, for the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion on Sunday, February 26, at Queen of Angels Church in Austin.

The catechumens, now called "the elect," will spend the Lenten season as a Period of Purification and Enlightenment, and will then be initiated into the Catholic Church at this year's Easter Vigil, receiving the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.

The candidates, already baptized, will also spend Lent as a time of purification, before receiving the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist. They will also prepare to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance.

Please welcome:


From St. Theodore Parish, Albert Lea: John Holloway, Murnico E. Gomez, and Yaimy Dayana Rodos Coriales.

From St. Augustine Parish, Austin: Avery Hastings, Ryder Hastings, and Tom Hastings.

From Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, Blue Earth: Jennifer Abbas.

From Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, Mankato: Khe Kit Shum.

From Sacred Heart Parish, Owatonna: Yandi de Zayas.

From Pax Christi Parish, Rochester: Jignesh Jethwa and Tai Phat Vo.

Welcome, cont'd on pg. 4

WABASHA - Since its founding by the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother in 1898, at the request of Bishop Joseph Cotter, St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Wabasha (now Gundersen St. Elizabeth's) has held a special place in the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. Many diocesan priests served as chaplains in the hospital and in the orphanage with which it was once affiliated, and the bishops of the diocese have collaborated with St. Elizabeth's in numerous efforts over the years. In recent decades, St. Elizabeth's has become the home of many of the diocese's senior priests, whose quality of life stands to benefit from the expansion project St. Elizabeth's plans to complete in this 125th year since its founding. The following submission by Gundersen St. Elizabeth's Director of Community Relations JENNY SCHLAGENHAFT contains more information on the project.

�he Wellness Center at Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Clinics in Wabasha is a happening place! On any given day, treadmills are rolling, bike wheels are spinning, ellipticals are climbing and weights are lifting. Every motion from every machine is moving patients closer to living their healthiest lives.

The reasons that bring them to this wellness hub are varied. The incentives that keep them coming are plentiful. But the

St. Elizabeth's, cont'd on pg. 4

Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona-Rochester, MN | National Child Abuse Prevention Month Divine Mercy Sunday Events A Holy Week Journey with Pope Francis page 6 pages 8-9 page 16 INSIDE this issue
Sunday April 9
Official Newspaper of the

A Heart Filled with Scorn, Vain Presumption, Is a Ticket to Hell, Pope Says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - The faithful must set aside their egos and sense of superiority over others to make room for God and his tender mercy, Pope Francis said at a Lenten penance service.

"Only those who are poor in spirit and who are conscious of their need of salvation and forgiveness come into the presence of God," he said March 17.

And those whose hearts are filled with haughty, self-righteous comparisons and judgment, "you will go to hell," he said in his homily.

The pope led the penance service in a Rome parish, rather than St. Peter's Basilica, to mark the start of the worldwide celebration of "24 Hours for the Lord," a period when at least one church in every diocese was invited to be open all night -- or at least for extended hours -- for confession and eucharistic adoration.

The Rome parish the pope visited was St. Mary of Graces at Trionfale, the titular church of U.S. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey. It also was the first parish in Rome he has visited since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

After delivering his homily at the service, there was a moment of eucharistic adoration during which the congregation knelt and the pope stood, head bowed, leaning on his cane.

Customarily, the pope would have then gone to a confessional in St. Peter's Basilica and knelt in front of a priest to confess his sins. However, this year with increased difficulty with his knee, he went to a quiet corner of the Rome parish church where there were two chairs, put on a purple stole and waited for each penitent to approach. He heard confessions for almost one hour.

Other priests were stationed in confessionals or elsewhere in the small church to hear confessions.

In his homily, the pope talked about the danger of being proud of one's "religious accomplishments" and believing oneself better than others.

"They feel comfortable, but they have no room for God because they feel no need for

him," he said. Their prayer is more a series of "monologues" rather than sincere dialogue and prayer.

Such people may do good works, join church groups or help the parish and then expect a kind of "payback," that is, a sense of righteousness or expectation of a "prize" that elevates them above those who don't meet the same standards, he said.

"Brothers, sisters, let us remember this: The Lord comes to us when we step back from our presumptuous ego," the pope said.

He asked everyone to look in their hearts and reflect: "Am I presumptuous? Do I think I am better than others?"

After listing self-righteous thoughts such as: "I go to church, I go to Mass, I am married, married in the church, and these people are divorced, sinners," he asked, "Is your heart like this? (If so,) you will go to hell."

"In order to get close to God," he said, each Catholic should tell the Lord they are the biggest sinner of all, and the only reason they have not fallen into worse sin is because God's mercy "took me by the hand."

"God can bridge the distance whenever, with honesty and sincerity, we bring our weaknesses before him. He holds out his hand and lifts us up whenever we realize we are 'hitting rock bottom' and we turn back to him with a sincere heart," the pope said.

God is not afraid to "descend to the depths" and "take the lowliest place so he can be the servant of all," he said.

"There God waits for us," at the bottom, the pope said, pointing downward, "not there," pointing up. God always waits for his children, especially when they participate, with great humility, in the sacrament of penance.

Pope Francis asked that everyone reflect on their lives and choose to stop hiding behind false masks and "the hypocrisy of appearances."

The faithful must "entrust to the Lord's mercy our darkness, our mistakes, our wretchedness," he said, and "acknowledge the distance between God’s dream for our lives and the reality of who we are each day -- the wretched."

The sacrament of reconciliation is meant to be an encounter that "heals the heart and leaves us with inner peace. Not a human tribunal to approach with dread, but a divine embrace in which to find consolation," he said.

He asked his brother priests who hear confessions, "please forgive everything, forgive always."

Articles of Interest

Life, Marriage & Family___________________5

A Holy Week Journey with Pope Francis______6

Piloting 'The

The Holy Father's Intention for April 2023

For a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence

We pray for the spread of peace


The Most Rev. Robert Barron, Bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, announces the following:

Minnesota Catholic Conference

Ms. Shanna Harris: reappointed to the Minnesota Catholic Conference Social Concerns Committee for a three-year term, effective March 8, 2023.

Child Abuse Policy Information


Publishing Schedule: Monthly - Deadline for advertising & articles is the 10th of the month prior.

(ISSN 0744-5490)

The Diocese of Winona-Rochester will provide a prompt, appropriate and compassionate response to reporters of sexual abuse of a child by any diocesan agent (employees, volunteers, vendors, religious or clergy). Anyone wishing to make a report of an allegation of sexual abuse should call the Victim Assistance Coordinator at 507-454-2270, Extension 255. A caller will be asked to provide his or her name and telephone number. Individuals are also encouraged to take their reports directly to civil authorities. The Diocese of Winona-Rochester is committed to protecting children, young people and other vulnerable people in our schools, parishes and ministries. The diocesan policy is available on the diocesan web site at under the Safe Environment Program. If you have any questions about the Diocese of Winona-Rochester’s implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, please contact Mary Hamann at 507-858-1244, or

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Conference____________13 Diocesan Headlines___________________14-16 The Courier is the official publication of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester 55 West Sanborn, P.O. Box 588, Winona, MN 55987 Vol 114 - 4 Most Reverend Robert E. Barron, Publisher Nick Reller, Associate Editor
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Schools Updates________________10
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and non-violence, by decreasing the use of weapons by States and citizens.
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� he resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the be-all and the end-all of the Christian faith. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, all bishops, priests, and Christian ministers should go home and get honest jobs, and all the Christian faithful should leave their churches immediately. As Paul himself put it: “If Jesus is not raised from the dead, our preaching is in vain and we are the most pitiable of men.” It’s no good, of course, trying to explain the resurrection away or rationalize it as a myth, a symbol, or an inner subjective experience. None of that does justice to the novelty and sheer strangeness of the

Three Easter Lessons

Biblical message. It comes down finally to this: if Jesus was not raised from death, Christianity is a fraud and a joke; if he did rise from death, then Christianity is the fullness of God’s revelation, and Jesus must be the absolute center of our lives. There is no third option.

I want to explore, very briefly, a handful of lessons that follow from the disquieting fact of the resurrection. First, this world is not it. What I mean is that this world is not all that there is. We live our lives with the reasonable assumption that the natural world as we’ve come to know it through the sciences and discern it through common sense is the final framework of our lives and activities. Everything (quite literally, everything) takes place within the theater of our ordinary experience. And one of the most powerful and frightening features of the common-sense world is death. Every living thing dies and stays dead. Indeed, everything in the universe, scientists tell us, comes into being and then fades away permanently.

But what if this is not in fact the case? What if the laws of nature are not as ironclad as we thought? What if death and dissolution did not have the final say? What if, through God’s power and according to his providence, a “new heavens and a new earth” were being born? The resurrection of Jesus from the dead shows as definitively

as possible that God is up to something greater than we had imagined or thought possible. And therefore we don’t have to live as though death were our master and as though nihilism were the only coherent point of view. After he had encountered the risen Christ, Paul could even taunt death: “Where is your sting?” In light of the resurrection, we can, in fact, begin to see this world as a place of gestation, growth and maturation toward something higher, more permanent, more splendid.

Here’s a second lesson derived from the resurrection: the tyrants know that their time is up. Remember that the cross was Rome’s way of asserting its authority. Roman authorities declared that if you run afoul of our system, we will torture you to death in the most excruciating (ex cruce, from the cross) way possible and then we will leave your body to waste away and be devoured by the beasts of the field. The threat of violence is how tyrants up and down the centuries have always asserted their authority. Might makes right. The crucified Jesus would have seemed to anyone who was witnessing the awful events on Calvary to be one more affirmation of this principle: Caesar always wins in the end. But when Jesus was raised from the dead through the power of the Holy Spirit, the first Christians knew that Caesar’s days were,

in point of fact, numbered. Jesus had taken the worst that the world could throw at him and he returned, alive and triumphant. They knew that the Lord of the world was no longer Caesar, but rather someone whom Caesar had killed but whom God had raised from death. This is why the risen Christ has been the inspiration for resistance movements up and down the centuries. In our own time we saw how deftly John Paul II wielded the power of the cross in Communist Poland. Though he had no nuclear weapons or tanks or mighty armies, John Paul had the power of the resurrection, and that proved strong enough to bring down one of the most imposing empires in the history of the world. Once again, the faculty lounge interpretation of the resurrection as a subjective event or a mere symbol is exactly what the tyrants of the world want, for it poses no real threat to them.

The third great lesson of the resurrection is that the path of salvation has been opened to everyone. Paul told us that “though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped. Rather he emptied himself and took the form of a slave… accepting even death, death on a cross.” In a word, Jesus went all the way down, journeying into pain, despair, alienation, even godforsakenness. He went as far as you can go away

from the Father. Why? In order to reach all of those who had wandered from God. Then, in light of the resurrection, the first Christians came to know that, even as we run as fast as we can away from the Father, all the way to godforsakenness, we are running into the arms of the Son. The opening up of the divine life allows everyone free access to the divine mercy. And this is why the Lord himself could say, “When the Son of Man is lifted up, he will draw all people to himself,” and why Paul could assert in 1 Corinthians, “When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.” The resurrection shows that Christ can gather back to the Father everyone whom he has embraced through his suffering love.

So on Easter Sunday, let us not domesticate the still stunning and disturbing message of the resurrection. Rather, let us allow it to unnerve us, change us, set us on fire.

-Most Rev. Robert Barron, Bishop of Winona-Rochester Bishop's Calendar

*indicates all welcome to attend

April 3, Monday of Holy Week

*4 p.m. - Diocesan Chrism MassSt. Augustine Church, Austin

April 6, Holy Thursday

*7 p.m. - Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper - Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Rochester

April 7, Good Friday

*12:10 p.m. - Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord - Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Rochester

April 8, Holy Saturday

*8 p.m. - Solemn Easter VigilCathedral of the Sacred Heart, Winona

April 9, Easter Sunday

*10:30 a.m. - Solemn Easter Mass - Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Winona

April 11, Tuesday

1 p.m. - Episcopal Ordination of the Most Rev. Michael J. IzenCathedral of Saint Paul, Saint Paul

April 12, Wednesday

7 p.m. - ConfirmationResurrection Church, Rochester

April 13, Thursday

11 a.m. - Clergy Personnel Committee Meeting, Winona

3:30 p.m. - Zoom Meeting with MCC and Minnesota Bishops

April 14, Friday

4:30 p.m. - IHM Seminary Bishops and Rector Dinner - Rochester International Event Center

April 16, Divine Mercy Sunday

*11 a.m. - Confirmation/RCIAMankato Newman Center Parish

April 18, Tuesday

10:30 a.m. - Word on Fire Show Recording - Rochester Studio

April 19, Wednesday

7 p.m. - Confirmation - St. Joseph Church, Owatonna; with Christ the King, Medford; and Sacred Heart, Owatonna

April 20, Thursday

*5:15 p.m. - Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders for seminarians Alexander Peters, Gabriel Rysavy, Ryan Saltness and John Vrchota - Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Winona

April 21, Friday

1 p.m. - Bishops Advisory Group for the National Eucharistic Revival - Zoom

6 p.m. - Confirmation - Pax Christi Church, Rochester; with Ss. Peter & Paul, Mazeppa

April 22, Saturday

11 a.m. - Confirmation - St. John Vianney Church, Fairmont; with Ss. Peter & Paul, Blue Earth; and Holy Family, East Chain

April 23, Sunday

*9:30 a.m. - Confirmation - Sacred Heart Church, Adams; with St. John, Johnsburg; Queen of Peace, Lyle; and St. Peter, Rose Creek

April 26, Wednesday

11 a.m. - DOW-R Baccalaureate

Mass - Loyola School, Mankato

April 27, Thursday

7 p.m. - Keynote speaker for the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota 30th Anniversary Celebration - Minneapolis

April 29, Saturday

8 a.m. - St. Mary’s University

Baccalaureate Mass - Winona

April 30, Sunday

2 p.m. - ConfirmationCo-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Rochester

May 1, Monday

7 p.m. - Confirmation - Crucifixion Church, La Crescent; with St. Peter, Hokah

May 2, Tuesday

11 a.m. - Deans MeetingResurrection Church, Rochester

2:30 p.m. - Clergy Personnel Committee Meeting

May 3, Wednesday

10:30 a.m. - Word on Fire Show

Recording - Rochester Studio

7 p.m. - Confirmation - St. Mary Church, Caledonia; with St. Patrick, Brownsville

Thursday, May 4

9 a.m. - Mass and BrunchHermits of St. Mary of Carmel, Houston

1:30 p.m. - Holy Half Hour & DOW-R Finance Council - Winona

Friday, May 5

6 p.m. - Confirmation - St. Joseph the Worker Church, Mankato; with Ss. Peter & Paul, Mankato; All Saints, Madison Lake; Holy Family, Lake Crystal; and Immaculate Conception, St. Clair

Non Nisi Te Domine
April 2023 w The Courier w
Bishop Robert Barron
From the Bishop 3

Welcome, cont'd from pg. 1

From the Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Rochester : Angela Acharya.

From St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Rochester: Emmanuel de La Cruz Cruz.

From St. Charles Borromeo Parish, St. Charles: Danyel Herzog.

From the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Winona: Blake Curti.

From St. Mary Parish, Worthington: Cristian Edmundo Preza Gonzalez, Clever Eriberto Ramirez Morales, and Sandra E. Chavez Morales.


From St. Theodore Parish, Albert Lea: Brianda L. Aguirre, Jonathon Clark, Eunice Hatleli, and Isis Violeta Mascote.

From St. Augustine Parish, Austin: Brandon Halsey, Jordan Howe, Madison Klein, Marsha Leathers, Mitchell Meyer, Stephanie Meyer, Dylan Regensheid, and Tammie Sutphen.

From Christ the King Parish, Byron: Mark Evjen, Lisa Heimer, and Joshua Schultz.

From Crucifixion Parish, La Crescent: Corey Lee Johnson, Olivia Hei Jung Leirmo, and Lisa Iverson-Leirmo

From St. Catherine Parish, Luverne: Tristin Fleihe.

From St. Mary Parish, Madelia: Genesis Sandoval, Leah Sandoval, Roberto Sandoval, and Sylvia Sandoval.

From Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, Mankato: Jackeline Lisbeth Sorto Arguera, Cheyenne Rose Brown, Danny Jefferson Coreas, Dayanara Missell Coreas, Kevin Josue Coreas, Emily Saraai Flores Flores, Jeremy Yurheim Sigara Flores, Hollie Rae Halloran, Cyrus Thomas Brave

St. Elizabeth's, cont'd from

common denominator is the important role each plays in improving lifestyle behaviors that reduce the burden of chronic disease.

At first glance, it looks and sounds like any other fitness center. But it’s not. Adults of all ages tie up their tennis shoes to combat symptoms of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory illness or other chronic diseases. Their workout is more like a tune-up. It is rehabilitative care that combines exercise, education and support into a comprehensive and customized care plan. The program is supervised by a team of healthcare specialists that monitors and motivates patients as they turn lifestyle changes into long-term habits.

“My affection for the Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s Wellness Center runs deep, as it primarily meets one of the essential needs for a balanced and healthy life, namely, physical exercise,” shared Wellness Center patient Father James Russell. “As the adage puts it, healthy body, healthy mind. I think we are particularly blessed to have a staff that is not only professional but also welcoming, friendly and caring. They, along with

Heart, Miguel Angel Medrano, Glenda Yesenia Flores Mejim, Yesenia Areli Orellana, Sonia Salgado, and Zachary Stevan Webster.

From Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, Mazeppa: Kalia Darcy, Klarissa Poncelet, and Derek Stehr.

From Sacred Heart Parish, Owatonna: Lucas Arndt, Jim Borgman, Bill Mower, Danielle Sanjuanero, and Carolina de Zayas.

From St. Leo Parish, Pipestone: Jacqueline Cervantes and Darinel Sanchez.

From St. Joachim Parish, Plainview: Melinda Haag.

From Pax Christi Parish, Rochester: Andy Chin, Nicole Heimsness, Jonathan Lang, Hanna Truwe, and Helen White.

From the Church of the Resurrection, Rochester: Jozy Olson and Lucia (Lucy) d'Uscio.

From St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Rochester: Jesus Donaldo Arellano Bautista, Ignacio Aguirre Castillo, Ismael Hernandez Cayetano, Anahi Hernandez, Paciano Cristanto Hernandez, Chris Marquette, Braulio Luciano Perez, Gerardo Luciano Perez, and Angela Thompson.

From the Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Rochester: Tammy Bachman, David Kingland, Deb Kingland, Jade Kutzke, Hyemi Lee, Darleen Olson, Michael Turski, Chloe Warmuskerken.

From St. Pius X Parish, Rochester: Anna Cooper, Benjamin Bradley Erickson, and Nate Zimmerman.

From St. Charles Borromeo Parish, St. Charles: Courtney Erickson, April Heim, and Jyll Wendt.

From St. James Parish, St. James: Lilian Amalia Gabril-Perez, Marisol Lopez-Miranda, Willy Josue Lopez-Rosario, Gilmar Baldemar Miranda-Ramires,

the patients they serve, make what could be a boring time into a happy hour! Every one of the staff members are like hard-boiled eggs. They are gold on the inside and hard to beat!”

Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s Wellness Center was derived out of a strong commitment to help patients with chronic conditions live better and longer and intervene earlier before symptoms take root and become irreversible illnesses.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), six in 10 Americans live with at least one chronic condition like heart disease, stroke, cancer or diabetes. For seniors 65 and older, the risk rises to one in two. While these statistics are alarming, they are not surprising.

As the population continues to age, the impacts of chronic disease will likely intensify. That’s why Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s is gearing up and expanding on its pledge to offer additional resources and expertise that patients need to improve their quality of life.

It is fitting that the organization unveils this ambitious investment in world-class healthcare during its 125th anniversary celebration. Throughout 2023, Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s commemorates the founding Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and their missionbased legacy of caring while it plans for the construction of a 19,000-square-foot facility that features the relocation and expansion of wellness, rehab and pharmacy services under one roof.

When completed, Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s will expand its capacity to offer improved patient access to clinical providers and a larger wellness and restorative space; provide a one-stop shop for a broad scope of wellness, rehab and chronic disease management services; enhance streamlined continuity and coordination of care; and improve patient privacy, convenience and safety. Completion of this state-of-the-art structure will also add more specialty services and relocate retail pharmacy to include drive-up/pick-up services.

The multifaceted project offers many benefits that enhance the health and well-being of the Wabasha region. Through this growth in space and services, lives are changed, extended and saved. Now in the planning

Leonnel Ernesto Perez-Agustin, Lucas Perez-Garcia, and Maria Solis-Ramos.

From St. Ignatius Parish, Spring Valley: Adrianna Hatz and Autumn Mulhern.

From St. Bernard Parish, Stewartville: Jessica Gilmour.

From the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Winona: Sarah Bunke, Olivia Osland, Nathan Rislove, and Alex Vaslow.

From St. Mary Parish, Worthington : Elmer Adan Lopez Aguilon, Mariory Nohemi Garcia Augustin, Emmanuel Coronado, Jose Carlos Martinez Escobar, Juana Guico Gomez, Mario Enrique Morales Gonzalez, Martin Jose Juarez, Etelvina Lopez Lopez, Juliana Augustin Lopez, Lidia Juana Perez Lopez, Nohei Idalia Jimenez Lopez, Rosendo Garcia Lopez, Samantha Guillen de Martinez, Rony Baldomero Miranda, Amrando Martin Morales, Lorenzo Rafael Felipe Niz, Rony Efrain Lopez Niz, Priscilla Dalila Preza, Clever Ramirez, Esmerelda Ramirez, Penelope Ramirez Rodriguez, Lucio Lopez Rosario, Susy Solorio, Augusto Federico Tomas, and Luis Adolfo Coronado Tomas.

phase, Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s is finalizing the expansion design and partnering with supportive donors to raise financial funding for this critical capital improvement. To date, more than $4 million has been raised toward a goal of $7 million. In addition, numerous businesses and contractors have committed in-kind donations of labor, services and products.

“We believe this vision can become a reality with help from our generous communities,” said Tom Crowley, senior consultant for the St. Elizabeth’s Community Development Foundation. “Every past dream of advancing services to meet healthcare needs has been realized because of the loyal and lasting support of our donors. We are certain, that together, we can reach our goal of raising 100% of this investment that will pay healthy dividends for years to come.”

To learn more about Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s campaign to build for tomorrow, today, contact Tom Crowley at (651) 565-5587 or

Pictured: Fr. Don Schmitz (left) and Fr. James Russell (above) engage in monitored exercise therapy.
pg. 1
Bishop Barron signs the Book of the Elect, in which the catechumens signed their names at the Rite of Election.

The Family-Friendly Eucharistic Congress

�f you are like me, you are wondering if you can bring the whole family to the Eucharistic Congress in June. You might be thinking: “Will

the little ones be too fidgety during the talks?” “Will I have to sneak in a bunch of snacks to keep them quiet the whole time?”

Have no fear! There are a number of opportunities that will be available throughout the day to make the experience meaningful for both you and for your children! The Institute Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará (Servadoras Sisters) are generously offering activities for children who are potty trained through 12 years

old. These activities will take place from 9 to 11 in the morning and then again from 1 to 2:45 in the afternoon.

There is also a service project planned with Kids Against Hunger. This project is for kids 8+ and will require a parent to be present, but it will be a wonderful opportunity for children to assemble kits for the homeless as well as an opportunity for children to write cards for the homebound.

At noon there will be a picnic with the Armstrong Brass Quintet and outdoor lawn games such as cornhole which will offer the younger ones a chance to get some fresh air and get some energy out.

If you have need for it, a nursery area (ages 0-3) will be available and a privacy room for nursing mothers. Of course, your children are welcome to take part in all of the regular Congress events, too! Adoration and the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available throughout the day. Finally, St. James Coffee will have a café space available where people of all ages can hang out.

The bottom line is, YES! Bring the whole family! I cannot think of a better way to spend the day as a family! I look forward to seeing you and your family in Mankato on June 10!

April 2023 w The Courier w
Marriage & Family

A Holy Week Journey with Pope Francis

[W]hat does living Holy Week mean to us? What does following Jesus on his journey to Calvary, on his way to the Cross and the Resurrection mean? In his earthly mission, Jesus walked the roads of the Holy Land; he called twelve simple people to stay with him, to share his journey, and to continue his mission…. He spoke to all without distinction … he brought God’s mercy and forgiveness; he healed, he comforted, … he brought to all the presence of God who cares for every man and every woman…. In Holy Week we live the crowning moment of this journey, of this plan of love that runs through the entire history of the relations between God and humanity. Jesus enters Jerusalem to take his last step with which he sums up the whole of his existence. He gives himself without reserve, he keeps nothing for himself, not even life..

-Pope Francis, Wednesday of Holy Week, 2013 �reetings of Peace!

As I write this in the middle of March, I am preparing to travel to a conference marking the tenth anniversary of Pope Francis’ pontificate. Many of you know the deep love I have for our Holy Father, and how much I treasure his spiritual wisdom and ecclesial leadership. As a way to honor him, I would like to offer selections from the homilies and reflections he gave during Holy Week of 2013, just after he was elected to serve as our pope. May his words be a source of grace for us in these holy days.

Palm Sunday

Jesus enters Jerusalem….

Crowds, celebrating, praise, blessing, peace: joy fills the air. Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten – those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human suffering, he has shown the face of God’s mercy, and he has bent down to heal body and soul. This is Jesus. This is his heart, which looks to all of us – to our sicknesses, to our sins. The love of Jesus is great. And thus he enters Jerusalem, with this love, and looks at us. It is a beautiful scene, full of light – the light of the love of Jesus, the love of his heart – of joy, of celebration.

-Pope Francis, Palm Sunday Homily, 2013

Holy Week

Living Holy Week, following Jesus not only with the emotion of the heart; living Holy Week, following Jesus means learning to come out of ourselves in order to go to meet others, to go toward the outskirts of existence, to be the

first to take a step toward our brothers and our sisters, especially those who are the most distant, those who are forgotten, those who are most in need of understanding, comfort, and help. There is such a great need to bring the living presence of Jesus, merciful and full of love!

Living Holy Week means entering ever more deeply into the logic of God, into the logic of the Cross, which is not primarily that of suffering and death, but rather that of love and of the gift of self, which brings life. It means entering into the logic of the Gospel. Following and accompanying Christ, staying with him, demands ‘coming out of ourselves,’ requires us to be outgoing; to come out of ourselves, out of a dreary way of living faith that has become a habit, out of the temptation to withdraw into our own plans, which end by shutting out God’s creative action….

Holy Week is a time of grace that the Lord gives us to open the doors of our heart, of our life, of our parishes, of the movements, of the associations; and ‘to come out’ in order to meet others, to make ourselves close, to bring them the light and joy of our faith. To come out always! And to do so with God’s love and tenderness, with respect and with patience, knowing that God takes our hands, our feet, our heart, and guides them and makes all our actions fruitful.

-Pope Francis, Wednesday of Holy Week, 2013

Holy Thursday

Jesus, washing the feet of his disciples…

It is the Lord’s example: he is the most important, and he washes feet, because with us what is highest must be at the service of others. This is a symbol. It is a sign, right? Washing feet means: ‘I am at your service.’ And with us, too, don’t we have to wash each other’s feet day after day? But what does this mean? That all of us must help one another. Sometimes I am angry with someone or other … but … let it go, let it go, and if he or she asks you a favor, do it….

Now we will perform this ceremony of washing feet, and let us think, let each one of us think: ‘Am I really willing, willing to serve, to help others?’ Let us think about this, just this. And let us think that this sign is a caress of Jesus, which Jesus gives, because this is the real reason why Jesus came: to serve, to help us.

Good Friday

One word should suffice this evening, that is the Cross itself. The Cross is the word through which God has responded to evil in this world. Sometimes it may seem as though God does not react to evil, as if he is silent. And yet, God has spoken, he has replied, and his answer is the Cross of Christ: a word that is love, mercy, forgiveness. It also reveals a judgment, namely that God, in judging us, loves us. Let us remember this: God judges us by loving us. If I embrace his love then I am saved, if I refuse it, then I am condemned, not by him, but by my own self, because God never condemns, he only loves and saves….

Let us walk together along the Way of the Cross and let us do so carrying in our hearts this word of love and forgiveness.

-Pope Francis, Good Friday, 2013

Holy Saturday

Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! Are we often weary, disheartened, and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations that God cannot change, there is no sin that he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him….

Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected toward the future; Jesus is the everlasting ‘today’ of God. This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples, and all of us: as victory over sin, evil, and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human. And this is a message meant for me and for you, dear sister, for you, dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us: Why do you look for the living among the dead? Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness … and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive!

Let the Risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you, and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do….

May he help us to feel his presence as the one who is alive and at work in our midst. And may he teach us each day, dear brothers and sisters, not to look among the dead for the Living One. Amen.

I wish you God’s grace and mercy in this Holy Week, and the joy and peace of our Risen Lord in the Easter Season to follow. Deo Gratias!

I hope that we all will live these days well, following the Lord courageously, carrying within us a ray of his love for all those we meet.

-Pope Francis, Holy Thursday Homily, 2013 -Pope Francis, Easter Vigil Homily, 2013
6 Lay Formation & RCIA
-Pope Francis, Wednesday of Holy Week, 2013
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Piloting The Rescue Project in Winona 7

Friends, I asked LEANDRA HUBKA and ANNA THERNEAU if they could speak to their experience of piloting a new evangelization/discipleship process called The Rescue Project. This program was launched in August 2022, so the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart/ St. Casimir/St. Mary’s was one of the very first to pilot the process. The words below are their own. If you are interested in launching The Rescue Project as a new evangelization and discipleship process in your parish or apostolate, I encourage you to be in contact with me ( or them! More information can be found at We begin with sharing from Leandra Hubka:

�or many Catholics, Wednesday night is a time for parents to drop off their children at church, run errands for an hour, and return to pick up their family before heading home. However, for families of three Winona parishes, this routine looks a little different. Instead of being only for children, Wednesday night faith formation has become a family affair, with learning offered for all ages, including parents, youth, and any interested adult of the Cathedral, St. Casimir, and St. Mary’s parishes.

This year, The Rescue Project ( is being offered for adults at the same time that children are receiving their classroom catechesis. It incorporates food, fellowship, worship, videos, conversation, and prayer, all designed to help adults understand the big picture of salvation history and the Christian narrative. The videos feature Fr. John Riccardo of the Archdiocese of Detroit (who, along with his evangelization Acts XXIX Team, spoke to our priests at their annual Presbyteral Days in 2019), as he unpacks the fundamental realities of our human experience: why there is something instead of nothing, the tragedy of the fall, God’s rescue project to save us from slavery to sin and death, and our response to the good news of Jesus Christ.

Catholic in Recovery, Rochester

Address: Holy Spirit Church, Rochester. St. Joseph room

When: Sundays, 7:30 p.m.

Contact Info: Peter at or 507-696-7437

Catholic in Recovery, Austin

Address: Queen of Angels Church, 1001 Oakland Ave E, Austin. St. Francis Room in basement.

When: Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.

Contact Info: Jane - 218-429-1522 or Paul - 218-429-1662; or

The evening starts with a meal shared by all - entire families; any adults who are interested in participating; catechists; and The Rescue Project team, including the Master of Ceremonies, small group facilitators, cooks, clean-up crew, musicians, and others who may be assisting in any way. After dinner, the evening transitions into a short time of praise and worship music, which is usually led by local musicians (including seminarians!), but can also utilize music videos, depending on the available resources of the parish. To aid participation and a sense of familiarity, songs are often repeated week-to-week, with new selections sprinkled in for variety.

After singing, the children head off to their classrooms with their teachers, while adults settle in to watch that week’s video. Fr. Riccardo is the lone presenter, but his dynamic speaking style holds people’s attention for the full 35-45-minute video, as he delves into that week’s topic and what it means for us personally. Theological concepts are not presented as a series of facts to be learned, but rather as part of the dynamic relationship between God and each individual person.

Most evenings, the video is followed by a small group discussion, during which participants unpack how they see the effects of sin and redemption in their own lives. No one is pressured to share if they are not comfortable doing so, and in the weeks that deal with more difficult topics, participants are encouraged to bring along a journal (an optional participant’s guide can be purchased by individuals or the parish) and prayerfully reflect on that evening’s presentation through writing.

Prayer is an integral component of The Rescue Project, especially as the sessions progress. There are several times when everyone is invited to quietly pray individually, or together in a group. There are also opportunities for prayer ministry, where those who wish can be prayed with by a team member. As The Rescue Project is designed to lead participants deeper into a relationship with Christ and His Church, opportunities for prayer increase as the weeks go on.

The Rescue Project can be run with a few people and limited resources, or with a large team and many participants, making it easily adaptable to each parish’s needs and abilities. It is designed to be held in seven weekly sessions and one retreat day, but can be adapted to fit particular circumstances. If you are looking for an adult faith formation experience that delves into the heart of why Christianity matters and what it means for each one of us personally, consider checking out The Rescue Project. With a committed and faith-filled team of volunteers, parishes can help their parishioners and communities come to experience and respond to the overwhelming love and mercy of God.

Leandra Hubka is a consecrated virgin and a member of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Winona. This year she serves as a small group facilitator for The Rescue Project offered by the Cathedral, St. Casimir, and St. Mary’s parishes in Winona.

And now from Anna Therneau, Director of Lifelong Faith Formation at the Cathedral:

�n addition to Leandra’s article, I wanted to share a little about the impact The Rescue Project is having in our community/those participating. For instance, I personally have seen a positive sense of community grow and flourish during our Wednesday night formation, aided by a common meal. I have prayed with people who are turning their hearts dramatically toward God and leaving behind the lies of the enemy. I have been gratified as participants respond favorably to this type of formation and ask for more. Speaking on numbers, every year around mid-winter, we usually see a significant decline in participation (30-50%). This year, we weathered the winter slump, maintaining 90-100% participation; this has never happened before, and I credit the work of the Holy Spirit who we continually invite to be present with us.

Thank you, Anna and Leandra and others, for taking a chance on The Rescue Project!

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Missionary Discipleship

April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

n preparing this article for The Courier, I Googled "April Child Abuse Prevention Month." My first stop was childwelfare. gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/about/. This is the first paragraph that I read:

During the month of April, we recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month (NCAPM) and the importance of communities working together to help families thrive and prevent child maltreatment. Throughout the year, communities are encouraged to increase awareness about child and family well-being and work together to implement effective strategies that support families and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Since 1983, Child Abuse Prevention Month is an annual observance in the United States to raise awareness and learn about child abuse and how to prevent it.

Having said this, it bears remembering that

the Catholic Church has been in the forefront of this endeavor since 2002, with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. This is a comprehensive set of procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse. It has been revised in 2005, 2011, and 2018 and will soon be revised again.

All the dioceses in the United States have taken this document and implemented Safe Environment policies and procedures. This includes, but is not limited to:

• Safe Environment training and background checks for adults if they have any contact with children in their church ministries, with recertification every 5 years.

• Safe Environment training for our children in our Catholic Schools and Faith Formation programs annually.

Our goal is not just prevention of sexual child abuse by clergy but the prevention of any child abuse

by anyone in our parishes/schools and communities. We do this not because we have to but because it is the right thing to do!

So, remember when your church or school tells you that you need to take the VIRTUS Online Safe Environment Training and have a background check run, it is to protect those who are most vulnerable, not only in our churches and schools, but in our communities as well!

I also came across this wonderful fact sheet created by Prevent Child Abuse America that I want to share with permission.

I will close with something that I truly believe: It takes a village to raise a child. It takes the world to protect them.

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St. Theodore School Through the Ages

�round was broken for the first St. Theodore Catholic School on May 3, 1911. The school opened on October 2, 1911 with a total of three teachers and 55 students. To further the education of their children, the congregation opened a high school addition in the fall of 1923. The high school was discontinued in 1934 to make room for the increasing enrollment of the elementary school.

In July, 1963, Father A. T. Perrizo came to St. Theodore’s, and established the first school board. Building additions were completed in 1965 and 1966 to house St. Theodore’s Elementary School. The school was closed in 1971 due to financial necessity and decreased enrollment.

In the early 1990’s, community effort was initiated to re-open the school. After a considerable amount of hard work, the school reopened in the fall of 1995 for Kindergarten through 3rd grade. There were 43 students and 3 teachers. In October of that year, the first Parent-Student

Association (PSA) was held. The first computers were purchased that year, and students participated in several community events. In 1996-1997, Fourth grade was added and Parent and Kids Eat Together (PAKET) day was established. More computers were added along with internet access. In the fall of 1997, Fifth grade was added, followed by Sixth grade in the fall of 1998. At this time enrollment had grown from 43 to 95 students during these years. In the 19981999 school year there were 6 full-time teachers, 2 aides and 3 specialty teachers for music, physical education, and art. Then in 2013-2014 a PreKindergarten program was started. Since then we have become an accredited school through MNSAA. St Theodore School is continuing to thrive. We currently have 89 students. A few other accomplishments include a new playground and enough technology equipment (Ipads and Chromebooks) to provide one-to-one for Kindergarten through Fifth Grade.

We are truly blessed to have a wonderful school. Our staff, students and parents are amazing. Come check us out!

Performing Arts at Cotter Are Growing and Thriving

�he performing arts continue to flourish at Cotter. This year Cotter has added a competitive Show Choir and Show Band to their performing arts program.

Cotter’s Show Choir is an auditioned vocal group consisting of students in grades 9-12. This group has been in existence for over 30 years but is making its competition debut this year.

Competitive Show Choir in Minnesota is a dynamic activity in which groups of singers and dancers perform elaborate numbers that are judged on elements that include vocals, choreography, showmanship, visual impact, and overall performance. Performance divisions include Prep/Small School and Open Division. The Cotter Show Choir is currently performing in the Prep/Small School division.

In addition to the Show Choir, judges evaluate the Show Band on a variety of elements including ensemble unity, intonation, and balance with vocals. There are over 30 students performing in the Show Choir and Show Band.

Under the dedicated leadership of directors Emma Jirele, Show Choir, Mark Roeckers, Show Band, and Claire Penning, choreography, the groups are making an immediate impression on the show choir/show band circuit. The group is committed to delivering precise and energetic performances at each competition. The directors and performers are eager to see the program grow in numbers, skill, and achievement.

Another new performing arts group at Cotter this year is the Winter Color Guard. This group was proposed and created by a handful of students who worked with administrators, parents, and moderators to bring the group to life. Student leaders planned rehearsals, choreography, show themes, chose music, and designed costumes. The students’ passion, creativity, and team spirit were apparent in their performance. They performed their 2023 show "The Corpse Bride" at halftime of a Cotter boys’ basketball game. You can watch their show online (

In addition to these new groups, other traditional performing arts continue to thrive at Cotter. Cotter’s fall play, “Murder's in the Heir,” was performed in November and the Cotter junior high musical will be held March 31 and April 1 in the St. Cecilia Theatre.

Four Cotter students, Cam Smith, Hanalei Hocum, Lillianna Herber, and Milana Shira, were recently selected to attend and perform at the Dorian Vocal Festival. The Dorian Festival is an annual honors choir workshop and performance hosted by Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Choir directors nominate stand-out students, and nearly 1,000 students from around the Midwest attend. “The Dorian Vocal Festival was fantastic. The directors, instrumentalists, and individuals were outstanding. I had so much fun meeting new people and learning new singing techniques. Dorian provided me with a great experience and learning opportunities,” junior Hana Hocum said.

This is a very exciting time for Cotter Schools. As enrollment in our faith-filled school continues to grow, a new elementary school building, St. Luke Hall, will open in the fall and an early childhood center, including a new infant care program, will open in early 2024. Every day we embrace the Catholic identity of our school, rooted in the discipleship of Jesus Christ and living Gospel values. The mission of Cotter Schools is to challenge students to achieve their full potential and use their lives in service of others, and thriving performing arts programs are supporting this commitment.

Jana Korder is the director of communications, marketing & brand identity for Cotter Schools in Winona.

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Sue Amundson is the principal of St. Theodore School in Albert Lea. Marsha Stenzel Superintendent of Catholic Schools
Catholic Schools

Youth Retreat and Miracles Display

Worthington Youth Retreat

For �he second year �n a row, the Worthington Deanery Parish Social Ministry Roundtable worked with local Faith Formation Directors in the Worthington Deanery to put on a successful Youth Retreat. Around 125 high school-age students along with 30 adults from nine parish clusters in nine different counties came to Good Shepherd in Jackson to enjoy a day of prayer, games, talks, and music. The students could “retreat” from the busyness of school, jobs, and extra-curricular activities to encounter the Lord in a new way through Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Confession, and Mass. The title and focus of the retreat were once again “Living Our Faith in Love.” Our presenter was Chris Rogers from the Office of Family Life in the Diocese of La Crosse, and Jon Konz of LeMars, Iowa (originally from Adrian) provided music and engaging games/ice breakers. Many thanks to the Worthington Deanery Social Concerns Roundtable, and local Faith Formation Directors for planning and coordinating this event and to Fr. Jonathan Fasnacht and the parish of Good Shepherd for hosting.

Vatican Eucharistic Miracles Traveling Display

As we near �he end of the Diocesan Year of the National Eucharistic Revival, the Vatican display of Eucharistic Miracles will be traveling through the five deaneries of our diocese, stopping in each deanery along the way beginning in Winona and ending in Worthington. The display features over 100 photographically documented Eucharistic Miracles from all around the world (in both English

Faith Formation

Youth Ministry &

and Spanish) and was first compiled by Bl. Carlo Acutis, patron of the National Eucharistic Revival. The miracles will be at one parish in each deanery for a week, and the display is free to all. For more information on dates and locations, see the adjacent poster. For specific times the display is open at each location, please reach out to the parish contact listed.

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Spiritual Direction

“contemplation is a radically transforming process. For this reason, many people … avoid it altogether or practice it only halfheartedly,” according to George Aschenbrenner, SJ, in his book Contemplating Jesus

(I write this essay knowing both

At second glance, although we long for it, we find something hinders us. What is it?

St. Ignatius spoke of the Enemy, who thwarts our movement toward God. To Ignatius, the Enemy is not only Satan and his demons, but also includes spiritual, emotional, relational and physical wounds that war against prayerful intimacy with God. The Enemy wants to keep wounds unhealed, for they

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Deacon John Hust Director of the Permanent Diaconate

Minnesota Catholic Conference Inside the Capitol

Advocating for Children, Supporting Families


a core principle of Catholic Social Teaching is to exercise, in our public policy making and in our various labors, a preferential option for the poor and vulnerable. One way of thinking about that principle is that the poor and vulnerable should have the first claim on our resources and attention as we consider various policy questions. Children—especially unborn children—are among the vulnerable populations in our society.

One key Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) legislative priority is ensuring all children are welcomed in life and respected by law. Therefore, we are prioritizing opposition to expanding abortion, as well as efforts by social media companies to manipulate the hearts and minds of children for ideological and financial reasons. Our children deserve not only to live but to flourish.

United for Life

On February 28, nearly 700 pro-life Minnesotans came to the State Capitol for United for Life, an event that provided pro-life Minnesotans an opportunity to speak with their lawmakers and stand up for life.

Over 60 meetings were held with legislators to advocate for three policies that protect life and promote mother and child well-being. Attendees opposed an extreme abortion bill, H.F. 91/S.F. 70, which repeals many of the health and safety protections for women considering abortions, and expands taxpayer funding of abortion. Attendees also spoke in support of pregnancy resource centers by increasing the funding of the Positive Alternatives Grant Program, rather than the proposal in H.F. 289/S.F. 336 that would change the program to require grant recipients to refer for abortion upon a client’s request. The third bill for which constituents advocated proposes to remove the state sales tax on necessary baby items such as cribs and strollers.

But United for Life was just a starting point for better engaging the legislative process. Attendees are encouraged to continue building relationships with their legislators through constructive and respectful conversations about protecting our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.

Combating Big Tech

Later in the week, MCC testified in support of H.F. 1503 (Robbins) to prohibit the use of social media algorithms to target youth and addict them to various platforms and content. Limiting the impact of social media provides a concrete step towards mitigating the evidential mental health harms during teens’ most formative years.

Youth are increasingly spending more time on social media. According to a Pew Research poll, 89 percent of teens are online “almost constantly,” or at least “multiple times a day.” A 2023 report by the CDC exposed that “nearly three in five teenage girls felt persistent sadness in 2021. And one in three

girls seriously considered attempting suicide, up 60% from a decade ago.” Additionally, youth who spend the most time on social media reportedly have a 13 to 66 percent higher depression rate.

It is not a secret that the increased use of social media has contributed to these feelings of sadness, anxiety, and depression.

We should not be letting Big Tech and their accompanying algorithms shepherd the lives of our children. We can limit the control these algorithms have over our teens and free them from the confines of social media giants who do not have their best interests in mind.

Action Alert

Ask your legislators to oppose H.F. 91/S.F. 70 which removes nearly all the health and safety protections for women or minor girls seeking an abortion. These include parental notification, the physician's only law, the 24-hour waiting period, Women's Right to Know, and more. This bill would also expand taxpayer-funded abortion and remove the abortion reporting requirement. Tragically, it also repeals the born-alive infant act.

Lawmakers need to hear that you do not want these commonsense guardrails removed from the books. Take action by visiting

�he Families First Project is an advocacy campaign of the Minnesota Catholic Conference to remove economic roadblocks that Minnesotans confront along their journey of forming and raising a family. This week’s column focuses on one Families First policy proposal that helps young people identify and secure stable long-term employment in the trades.

Barriers to Family Formation

Many young people lack confidence about their longterm economic prospects and are therefore delaying marriage and parenthood or skipping them altogether. Steadily declining marriage rates and birthrates among middle- and lower-income earners confirm a growing perception that marriage and parenthood are mere lifestyle choices that can only be sustained by the wealthy and fortunate.

Access to rewarding employment that allows people to support their families is essential to ensuring more people who aspire to the vocations of marriage and parenthood feel confident to pursue this calling. Yet, the number of jobs that do not pay a wage that can support a family, even with two full-time workers, is concerning. Last year, the AEI-Brookings Working Group on Childhood in the United States reported that “one reason marriage is fragile in many poor and working-class communities is that job stability and income are inadequate, especially for workers without a college degree.”

Minnesota can help lessen the costs of family formation by nurturing the employment skills of young men and women without saddling them with the mountains of debt that create further roadblocks to family formation.

Vocational Careers in the Pursuit of Vocations to Marriage and Family Life

Remunerative, reliable, and rewarding jobs remain a key ingredient for young adults considering marriage. Technical and vocational programs offer access to well-paying, middleclass careers that do not require the debt that is typically tied to a college degree. For many young people, this job pathway can be the answer to supporting a family.

Contact your legislators and urge them to support S.F. 596 (Dornink) / H.F. 802 (Mueller). This legislation would create $5,000 grants for individuals enrolled in vocational programs to help pay for training, tools, or licenses necessary to enter indemand career fields. The legislation stimulates entry into vocational programs and makes them easier to afford.

Another bill, S.F. 1599 (Putnam) / H.F. 1996 (Lislegard), would renew funding for the Minnesota Virtual Academy's Career Pathways Program with Operating Engineers Local 49. This program provides high school students with up to five semesters of courses that lead to eligibility into the Operating Engineers Local 49 apprenticeship program, which trains people to be mechanics and heavy-duty equipment operators.

Not everyone needs to attend a liberal arts college following high school. But post-secondary training is a key rung in the ladder of economic opportunity. These programs can put vocational training within the reach of more low- and middle-income Minnesotans.

Action Alert

Share your stories with us!

Do you work in the trades? How has a career in the trades prospered your family? How could a $5,000 vocational program grant help further your career and ability to support your family? Do you have a son or daughter in high school who would benefit from an internship in the building trades?

Send your stories, ideas, and comments to the Minnesota Catholic Conference by visiting

The Minnesota Catholic Conference is the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota.

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Minnesota Catholic Conference

Whatever Happened to the Synod?

�ast year, parishes around the Diocese and the entire world engaged in a process that was quite new for most: we began the Synod on Synodality. Now, a little over a year later, you may be wondering whatever happened to the synod? The short answer is that it is continuing. The long answer is incomplete because we are still finding our way through this synodal journey. Since the answer is incomplete, many people have questioned the purpose of the synod, as there is no immediate action item that has come forth. That perspective understandably misses the point. The goal of the synod is the synod itself—that is, growing in our ability to listen to one another while also listening to the Holy Spirit.

Since the parish conversations began over a year ago, several more steps have taken place:

• Last May, the Diocese designated a day for parish leaders to come together for Mass and a conversation about their experience. About fifteen leaders representing each of the five deaneries discussed their experience of synodality and offered input on what went well, and what didn’t go so well.

• The Diocese issued a summary of the synodal conversations that can be found on our website.

• A few months later, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a document summarizing the synodal experience in the Church in America.

• More recently, a continental document was issued. The last document was used as a starting point for the continental phase of the Synod on Synodality.

Ten individuals from our diocese - including women and men, priests and ecumenical partners, English and Spanish speakers - recently joined thousands of others in the continental phase. We had an opportunity to take part in spiritual conversations that reflected on our experience of synodality and both the positives and negatives to this experience. Some key points that continue to arise in synodal conversations are as follows:

1. we need to be more welcoming to others (especially the divorced and remarried, immigrants, youth and others on the fringes) and also need to know what it means to be welcoming through the lens of evangelization;

2. the conversations are wonderful and provide an opportunity to share faith; and

3. synodal conversations may be more attractive if the end goal is known (and that goal should not be pushing an agenda).

Diocesan Trends 2023

�ast fall, as every year, parishes took part in our annual practice of counting attendance at Mass. Gathering this data from each parish gives a good idea of trends, even if it doesn’t describe the life of a parish or the faith of parishioners. Data illustrates the symptoms of parish and diocesan health, even if further discussion is necessary to point the way toward potential solutions. Further discussion does take place in diocesan groups such as the Presbyteral Council, College of Consultors and

Diocesan Finance Committee.

You are very likely aware of certain trends within your own parish (Mass attendance, Baptisms and Weddings are all down from previous years). I want to share two particular trends that affect the entire diocese: priests in our diocese, and Mass attendance.

First of all, there are currently 100 priests who are either incardinated into the diocese (that is, they belong to the Diocese of Winona-Rochester regardless of where they live) or serve in the diocese. Among the 100 priests serving in the diocese,

The work of the Synod will move on now to the Synod of Bishops. Representative bishops from around the world will gather this October to distill and process all the reports from the continental phase (while being aware of their own diocesan and national reports) as they look at next steps. Despite the disquieting news that comes from the synodal path formed in Germany, my firm conviction is that this process will not result in the changing of doctrine, but rather the changing of how we approach the pastoral needs of people while remaining united as Christians, despite our differences.

People around the Diocese of Winona-Rochester have expressed excitement about their synodal experiences, even if there is some hesitancy. The greatest hesitancy, I think, is the great challenge of being vulnerable in sharing my faith with another who may or may not agree with me, or accept me. Yet isn’t that what Jesus did? Was he not vulnerable in sharing his life and death with us? What was the result of that gift? Eternal life.

59 are active and assigned in different roles by the Bishop. Among the 59 active priests, seven serve in special assignments (such as military chaplains or at IHM Seminary). That leaves 52 priests (many of whom have significant responsibilities with the diocese, Catholic schools and/or cemeteries) to serve 44 parish clusters. Among the 52 priests serving in parishes, 10 are already beyond the age where they can retire, and an additional 11 priests are not incardinated into our diocese. If these 11 priests were recalled to their diocese or religious community and all eligible priests retired immediately, we would be left with 31 priests to serve the 44 parish clusters of the diocese. While the diocese is actively working to increase vocations, we need your prayers and support as well!

Secondly, anyone who attends Mass can look around and notice that churches are simply not as full as they were, even just a few years ago. Even so, there is some good news: Mass attendance grew in our diocese from 2021 (21,204) to 2022 (23,132); this is an increase of over nine percent! However, the bad news is that Mass attendance has decreased from 2016 (32,051) to 2022 at a rate of almost 28 percent. Not only that, but, with an estimated 130,000 Catholics in our diocese, we currently have about an 18 percent Mass attendance rate. Engaging in our Eucharistic Revival and Eucharistic Congress (on June 10) will help bring more people back to church since the pandemic, but more work is being done to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Will you help to invite others to a life of grace, forgiveness and redemption found in Jesus and the Church? We do this not simply to have better trends in our data, but so that more can know what we already know: In Jesus is found fulness of life, peace

In the Diocese
and joy. A Span�sh �an�ua�e Pre-Cana Re�rea� was held in February for Hispanic couples throughout the Diocese of Winona-Rochester who wish to join in Holy Matrimony. The instructors were Fr. Miguel Proanos, Fr. Luis Vargas and Fr. Raul Silva. Fr. Timothy Hall hosted the event at St. James Church in St. James with the help of members of the Hispanic community there. These couples are eager to live the vocation of married life!
Photo and caption submitted by Fr. Timothy Hall.
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Happy Easter from the W-RDCCW

a Blessed and Happy Easter to all!

The Blessed Sacrament: Holy Church is the guardian of the Holy Eucharist. For two thousand years and more, she has guarded this treasure, administering it to the faithful and proclaiming that it is nothing less than Jesus Himself. We can never be too devoted to the Blessed Sacrament or show it too much honor.

Let us all make the Eucharistic Congress one of the greatest events this diocese has ever seen. Back in 2000 we celebrated Renew. My family attended and we were given a blue spruce to plant, and I can look out our kitchen window today and see how majestic it has become. The rewards of such gatherings are unimaginable. Take the time to spend the day and receive all that Our Lord has to offer.


Sister M. Agnes Claire Krogman, SSND, 90, died February 20, 2023, at Benedictine Living Community – St. Gertrude’s in Shakopee. Funeral services were held March 2 at Windermere Chapel, Shakopee, with her cousins, Fathers Jim Berning and David Krogman as co-presiders.

Sister Agnes Claire (Valery Krogman) was born near Adrian in 1932. She attended St. Anthony School in Lismore through seventh grade, and then moved to Mankato with her parents. She completed elementary school at Ss. Peter & Paul School, and then enrolled in Good Counsel Academy. Her father worked for the School Sisters of Notre Dame on Good Counsel Hill, and when she was a senior, the family moved to an apartment on the Hill. She entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame by walking across the parking lot in 1950, and professed first vows in 1953. Her service in the Diocese of Winona-Rochester was extensive:

Agreement Signed for Sale of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Mankato

Submitted by TRUDY C. HAMILTON

MANKATO (February 24, 2023) - The School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province (SSND) announced today the signing of a purchase agreement with Drummer Growth, LLC in Mankato, for the purchase of Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC) in Mankato. The purchase includes the property located at 170 Good Counsel Drive, minus Loyola Catholic School. No other details are available.

“We selected Drummer Growth, LLC to purchase Our Lady of Good Counsel because they are committed to honoring the legacy of the SSND,” said Sister Debra Marie Sciano, Provincial Leader.

Since 2014, the SSND have been working on a Visioning Process focused on continuing their mission in the current reality. “Of utmost importance is the sustainability of our mission,” said Sciano. “SSND are guided by prayer, dialogue, collaboration, community life, service, communal discernment, ecologi-

I look forward to seeing you at our member meeting on April 12, 2023, at St. Joseph’s in Rushford. 8 AM is registration and the meeting begins at 9 AM, Mass will be offered at 11 AM. The in-depth speakers will be the International and Spirituality Commissions. Adjournment by 3 PM. Come and make new friends or rekindle old ones.

Easter is the greatest feast in the Church so let us now go out and be a glorious people proclaiming the gospel of Christ throughout the world.

Eleanore Jones is the president of the Winona-Rochester Diocesan Council of Catholic Women.

teacher at All Saints, Madison Lake (1953-54 and 1990-92); teacher and administrator at St. Isidore, Litomysl (1971-77); St. Anthony, Lismore (197778) and St. Peter Hokah (1978-79); and teacher at Ss. Peter & Paul, Mankato (1979-80) and St. Mary, Caledonia (1980-90). From 1995 through 2012 she served in parish ministry at St. Patrick, Brownsville, and St. Peter, Hokah. She was also responsible for school and parish music in many of her assignments. She retired to Good Counsel Hill in 2013 and continued her music ministry in both the healthcare chapel and main chapel for a number of years. She moved to St. Gertrude’s and the Gardens in Shakopee in the fall of 2022.

Sister Agnes Claire is survived by cousins and her sisters in community, the School Sisters of Notre Dame and SSND Associates. She was preceded in death by her parents Alphonse and Agnes (Hensen) Krogman. A longer obituary and a recording of her funeral services will be available at www.ssndcp. org/obituaries.

Sister M. Jacinta Simones, SSND, 93, died March 5, 2023, at Benedictine Living Community – Windermere in Shakopee. Funeral services were held March 13 at Windermere Chapel, Shakopee, with Father John Kunz as presider.

cal sensitivity and openness to change.”

In March of 2022, the SSND announced most sisters living at Our Lady of Good Counsel would be moving to Benedictine Living Community in Shakopee, Minnesota. Sciano said, “As School Sisters of Notre Dame, we are committed to meeting urgent needs. That often includes change. Our congregation’s history has been full of change and so will our future. We rely on prayer to lead us always, especially in times of transition. We count on your support and prayer during these times and assure you of ours.”

Trudy C. Hamilton is the director of communications for the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

Spring Fling

Sunday, April 30, 2023

9 a.m. - Noon

St. Patrick Church

604 Adams St

Brownsville, MN

Breakfast, Big Ticket Raffle, Silent Auction, Quilt Raffle, Basket Raffles, Bake Sale, Bingo & Kids' Games. $13 meal includes egg bake, sausage, pancakes, fruit, juice & coffee.

Sister Jacinta (Ellen Simones) was born near Lakeville in 1929. She attended Good Counsel Academy in Mankato, graduating in 1947. She entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame that same year and professed first vows in 1950. Her service in the Diocese of WinonaRochester consisted of three teaching assignments in Mankato: primary grades at Ss. Peter & Paul School (1950-56 and 1964-67) and teaching art and literature at Fitzgerald Middle School (1990-99). Following her retirement to Good Counsel in 2002, she tutored in the Good Counsel Learning Center for many years.

Sister Jacinta is survived by nieces and nephews and her sisters in community, the School Sisters of Notre Dame and SSND Associates. She was preceded in death by her parents, Jacob and Caroline (Zeller) Simones; five sisters and three brothers. A longer obituary and a recording of her funeral services will be available at

Living Rosary for the Unborn

Saturday, May 13, 2023

11 a.m. Calvary Cemetery 500 11th Ave NE Rochester, MN 55906

Sponsored by Knights of Columbus Bishop Edward A. Fitzgerald Assembly 548.

All are welcome to attend and participate.

Questions? Call Alan Peterson - 507-421-3205

15 In the Diocese
April 2023 w The Courier w

Divine Mercy Sunday in the Diocese of Winona-Rochester


Sacred Heart Parish † (507) 502-3120 † 2:30 Divine Mercy Service


Queen of Angels Parish † (507) 433-1888 † 2:00

Divine Mercy prayer service † All are welcome.


St. Mary Parish † (507) 725-3804 † 11:30-1:00 (or until confessions are done † Divine Mercy Chaplet † Eucharistic Adoration † Confession


Saint John Vianney Parish † (507) 235-5535 † 2:304:00 Holy Hour † Exposition † Adoration † Chaplet † Confession


Good Shepherd Parish † (507) 407-2944 † 12:30-

3:45 Divine Mercy Observance † 12:30 - 3:30

Confessions † Divine Mercy Chaplet following


St. Ann Parish † (507) 234-6244 † 9:30 Divine Mercy Chaplet † 10:00 Mass

Lake City

St. Mary of the Lake Parish † (651) 345-4134 †

11:00 Eucharistic Adoration † Confession available †

Divine Mercy Chaplet


St. Mary Parish † (507) 642-8305 † (507) 375-3542 † 3:30-5:30 † 3:00 Chaplet, Adoration † 3:30-5:30 Confession † 5:30 Benediction


Saints Peter and Paul Parish † (507) 388-2995 † Beverly (507) 594-9076 † 2:30-4:00 Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament † Confession throughout † Chaplet of Divine Mercy † Messages from Saint Faustina’s Diary † Holy Rosary † Consecration to the Divine Mercy † Benediction


St. Joseph Parish † (507) 451-4845 † 3:00-4:00 † Adoration † Divine Mercy Chaplet † Benediction † Confessions throughout the service


St. Joachim Parish † 507-534-3321 † 2:30 Divine Mercy Service † 2:30 Exposition & Reconciliation † 3:00 Chaplet † 3:30 Benediction & Veneration of the Divine Mercy Image


Resurrection Parish † (507) 288-5528 † After 10:30 Mass: KC Breakfast † 12:45-1:45 Movie: The Face of Mercy † 2-4 Devotions in Main Church † Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction † Devotional Prayers (includes the Chaplet of Divine Mercy) † Rosary † 2-3:30 Confessions † Divine Mercy materials available for purchase and refreshments available.


St. Ann Parish † (507) 836-8030 † 2:00-3:15 † Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament † 2:00-3:00 Confessions with several priests † 3:00 Chaplet of Divine Mercy † Benediction


St. Felix Parish † (651) 565-3931 † Carol (651) 565-4727 † 3:00 Exposition † 3:00 Divine Mercy Chaplet † Confessions after Chaplet † 4:30 Vespers & Benediction


Sacred Heart Parish † (507) 835-1222 + 3:30 Exposition † Confession † Chaplet


Cathedral of the Sacred Heart † Lynn Kujak † (507) 450-0112 † 2:30-4:00 † Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament † Brief Homily on Divine Mercy † Confession throughout Service † Music † Sung Chaplet † Benediction


St. Mary Parish † (507) 376-6005 † 2:00-3:00 † Adoration and Confession † 3:00 Divine Mercy Service (includes Chaplet) † Benediction

April 16, 2023

• The Courier April 2023
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