The Courier - March 2023

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PoPe: Lent Is tIme to Let Go of the frIvoLous, to Choose truth, Love

ROME (CNS) -- What matters is the truth and the love that God sees, not what is superficial, showy and self-centered, Pope Francis said during a Mass to mark the beginning of Lent.

Lent is the time, he said, "to proclaim that God alone is Lord, to drop the pretense of being self-sufficient and the need to put ourselves at the center of things, to be the top of the class, to think that by our own abilities we can succeed in life and transform the world around us."

"How many distractions and trifles distract us from the things that really count! How often do we get caught up in our own wants and needs, lose sight of the heart of the matter, and fail to embrace the true meaning of our lives in this world!" he said.

"Lent is a time of truth, a time to drop the masks we put on each day to appear perfect in the eyes of the world," he said, and to "reject lies and hypocrisy. Not the lies and hypocrisies of others, but our own."

Pope Francis, dressed in the purple vestments of the Lenten season, celebrated an Ash Wednesday Mass Feb. 22 at Rome's Basilica of Santa Sabina. The liturgy began with a procession from the nearby Church of St. Anselm on the Aventine Hill. However, Pope Francis did not do the traditional walk because a painful knee has limited his mobility.

At the Basilica of Santa Sabina, the pope received ashes on the top of his head from Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, who also was the main celebrant at the altar. Cardinal Piacenza, who is head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, distributed ashes to a number of cardinals, bishops and others attending the Mass.

Lent, cont'd on pg. 4

Bishop Chairman Marks First Anniversary of Russian Invasion of Ukraine


WASHINGTON - Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by renewing the Church’s call to prayer, solidarity and hope amidst the mounting tolls of this war. Bishop Malloy’s full statement follows:

It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This past year has seen the horrific consequences of Russian armed aggression on the sovereignty of Ukraine, its infrastructure, its economy, and most

Ukraine, cont'd on pg. 4

March 2023 Official Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona-Rochester, MN | How We Spent Catholic Schools Week The Minnesota Abortion Debate How to Pray for the Eucharistic Congress page 7 pages 8-9 page 13 INSIDE this issue St. Patrick March 17
Pope Francis, dressed in the purple vestments of the Lenten season, bows his head in prayer during an Ash Wednesday Mass Feb. 22, 2023, at Rome's Basilica of Santa Sabina. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

10 Years as Pope

Pushing the Church to Bring the Gospel to the World

The Courier Insider

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- For a decade, even when discussing the internal workings of the Vatican, Pope Francis has insisted the church is not the church of Christ if it does not reach out, sharing the "joy of the Gospel" and placing the poor at the center of its attention.

Signals that his papacy would be different started the moment he stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica the evening of March 13, 2013: He was not wearing a red, erminetrimmed cape, and he bowed as he asked the crowd to pray that God would bless him.

His decision not to live in the Apostolic Palace, his invitations to Vatican trash collectors and gardeners and other employees to join him for his daily morning Mass, his insistence on going to the Italian island of Lampedusa to celebrate Mass and pray for migrants who had drowned in the Mediterranean captivated the attention of the media.

But not everyone was pleased with the seeming ease with which he set aside pomp and protocol. And tensions within the Catholic community grew as he expressed openness to LGBTQ Catholics and to those living in what the church considers irregular marriage situations and when he said in an interview in 2013 that the church cannot talk only about abortion, gay marriage and contraception.

One kind of summary of his first 10 years as pope can be found in numbers: He has made 40 trips abroad, visiting 60 countries; in eight consistories he created 95 cardinals under the

age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave and paid tribute to 26 churchmen over the age of 80; and he has presided over the canonizations of 911 new saints, including a group of more than 800 martyrs, but also Sts. John Paul II, John XXIII and Paul VI.

In his first major document, the apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," he laid out a program for his papacy, looking inside the church and outside at the world to see what needed to be done to "encourage and guide the whole church in a new phase of evangelization, one marked by enthusiasm and vitality."

The document included a discussion of the need to reform church institutions to highlight their missionary role; to encourage pastoral workers to listen to and stand with the people they were ministering to -- his famous line about having "the smell of the sheep"; to deepen an understanding of the church as "the entire people of God" and not as an institution or, worse, a club of the elect; to integrate the poor into the church and society, rather than simply see them as objects of assistance; and to promote peace and dialogue.

For Canadian Cardinal Michael Czerny, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the agenda of Pope Francis is the original agenda of the Second Vatican Council.

Unlike St. John Paul II and the late Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis did not attend any of the council sessions. And, in fact, because he 10 Years, cont'd on pg. 4

Most Reverend Robert E. Barron, Publisher Nick Reller, Associate Editor

Telephone: 507-858-1257 Fax:507-454-8106 E-mail:

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

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Articles of Interest

The 2023 Catholic Ministries Appeal__________5

Opening Ourselves to Lent__________________6

How to Pray for the Eucharistic Congress____7

How We Spent Catholic Schools Week______8-9

Catholic Schools Updates________________10

Mercy on the Move________________________11

Who Is Your King?________________________12

Meet Joshua Miller______________________12

The Minnesota Abortion Debate___________13

Annual Diaper Drive______________________14

Diocesan Headlines______________________15

The Holy Father's Intention for March 2023

For Victims of Abuse

We pray for those who have suffered harm from members of the Church; may they find within the Church herself a concrete response to their pain and suffering.


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

Ministerial Standards Board

Very Rev. Michael Cronin: appointed to the Diocese of Winona-Rochester Ministerial Standards Board, effective January 24, 2023, and for the remainder of the time he serves as Judicial Vicar.

Ms. Michelle Holt: appointed to a five-year term on the Diocese of Winona-Rochester Ministerial Standards Board, effective January 26, 2023.

Child Abuse Policy Information

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

Council of Catholic Women

Rev. Kurt Farrell: appointed Spiritual Advisor for the Diocese of Winona-Rochester Council of Catholic Women, effective January 17, 2023.

to Find The Courier

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March 2023 w The Courier w
The Courier is the official publication of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester 55 West Sanborn, P.O. Box 588, Winona, MN 55987
114 - 3
Pope Francis laughs as he jokingly asks the congregation a question while celebrating Mass with bishops, priests and members of religious orders in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines, Jan. 16, 2015. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

� e commence the holy season of Lent, our preparation for the joy of Easter. During this privileged time, the Church recommends to us three activities, three things to do: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I should like to say a few simple things about each of these.

Prayer is the “raising of the mind and heart to God,” in the words of John of Damascus. It is intimate conversation with God, a manner of cultivating friendship with the Lord. We are so preoccupied with the concerns of everyday life: family, job, friendships, money, etc., but beyond all of these, there is (or at least should be) our preoccupation with the things of God. So we should raise our minds and our hearts to the Lord. The spiritual teacher Thomas

Bishop's Calendar

*indicates public welcome to attend

March 2, Thursday 7:30 p.m. - Lecture at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN

March 7, Tuesday 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Holy Hour and Presbyteral Council MeetingPax Christi Church, Rochester

March 8, Wednesday

9:30 a.m. - Mass - St. Mary’s Catholic School, Owatonna

Merton said that the most important thing we could do to improve our prayer lives is “to take the time.”

So Lent is a marvelous opportunity to deepen our lives of prayer. Now there are thousands of ways to pray. I bet many of you could find a rosary around your house, maybe squirreled away in a drawer. Take it out this Lent; resolve to pray it every day for forty days. I guarantee you that your life will change. Do you know the Jesus Prayer?

If you don’t, I’d advise you to pick up the marvelous little book The Way of the Pilgrim. Might you engage in meditation this Lent? Take five minutes, ten minutes, a half-hour if you can, and simply be in the presence of the Lord. Say, “Guide me today, Lord.” “I dedicate this day to you.” “Help me to find the path of love today.” Or meditate upon the Gospel for the coming Sunday. Francis de Sales once commented: “You should always meditate for a half-hour every day, except when you’re really busy… than you should meditate for an hour!” Might you do a Holy Hour every day during Lent? If you haven’t been to Mass for a long time, resolve to get to Sunday Mass every week during Lent. If you go to Sunday Mass, perhaps you could attend daily Mass during Lent.

Secondly, Lent is a marvelous opportunity to fast. Why should we fast? The desires in us for food, drink, pleasure, and sex are good. We Biblical people are not Puritans and not Gnostics.

March 9, Thursday

11 a.m. - Holy Hour and Deans Meeting - Resurrection Church, Rochester

2:30 p.m. - Clergy Personnel Board Meeting - Resurrection Church, Rochester

March 10, Friday

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

Recording - Rochester Studio

March 13, Monday

9 a.m. - 12 p.m. - USCCB Laity, Marriage, Family Life, & Youth Committee Meeting - Baltimore, MD

We think that the material creation and our bodies are good. The desires that I’ve specified are the desires for life—which is why they are so insistent and so powerful. But this very insistence can become a spiritual problem. If I might quote Merton again, these good desires can become a bit like little children who want what they want when they want it. If we allow them to dominate us, then our deeper desires, our hunger for God, won’t surface. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Do you see now why prayer and fasting go together?

So at the beginning of Lent, identify some desire of yours that has become too dominant. Perhaps it is a desire for food and drink. Perhaps it’s some form of entertainment that has taken over your life. Dare I talk about pornography, which is a multi-billion-dollar industry in the United States? Might I speak of the addiction to social media that is rampant

in our society? Fast indeed from certain foods; follow the Church’s recommendations for fasting and abstinence. Perhaps do a black fast one day a week. Maybe on Fridays skip a meal entirely and give the money you would have spent on that meal to the poor. Give up social media for forty days, I dare you. If you’re using pornography, you should fast from it forever, but begin this Lent.

Finally, Lent is a graced time for almsgiving. To give alms is to love in a very concrete way. It is to care for the poor—in action. And this is why, in a way, it is the most important discipline of Lent, for love is the greatest of the theological virtues. This can indeed take the form of giving money away. And I have found that there is something bracing about giving money, for it gets our attention in a unique way. If I have to give my money away, I know my love is costing something. But almsgiving could be any form of service to the poor. It might be the gift of time

to someone who is psychologically poor; it might be the gift of your skill and knowledge to a kid who needs help reading; it might be practical care that you give to someone homeless. Might I suggest that you tithe this Lent, giving ten percent of your income to the poor? You might increase your tips. You might resolve to give to anyone who asks during these forty days. You might set up a poor box in your house. You might buy the less expensive version of something you want and give the difference to the poor. Or perhaps you could volunteer at a soup kitchen. Or you could reach out to the homeless. Practice one of the corporal works of mercy. So do something this Lent! Pray, fast, give alms.

-Most Rev. Robert E. Barron, Bishop of Winona-Rochester

St. Patrick's Day Dispensation

Bishop Barron sent the following letter to all priests in the Diocese of Winona-Rochester on February 24, 2023.

�ear Brothers,

It is an important Lenten practice, that on the Fridays of Lent, the Catholic community abstains from eating meat and meat products, as an act of penance. I am aware however, that this year, the Feast of St. Patrick, March 17, 2023, falls on a Lenten Friday.

5 - 8:30 p.m. - Pope Francis' 10th Anniversary of ElectionWashington, D.C.

March 14, Tuesday

9 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Mass and USCCB

Administrative Committee Meeting - Baltimore, MD

6 p.m. - Keynote Speaker at the Heritage FoundationWashington, D.C.

March 15, Wednesday

8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. - USCCB

Administrative Committee Meeting - Baltimore, MD

I realize that many parishes and organizations may have planned corned beef dinners and other social events along with family dinners and celebrations of St. Patrick's Day. So that all can freely celebrate, I grant a dispensation from abstinence from meat and meat products to all Catholics on March 17, 2023, in the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. I encourage however, that those who take advantage of this dispensation, engage in another act of penance or charity on that day. May God bless you always.

March 16, Thursday

1 p.m. - Holy Hour and Bishop’s Cabinet Meeting - Winona

March 17, Friday

9:30 a.m. - Holy Hour and College of Consultors MeetingPastoral Center, Winona

*5 p.m. - Record Diocesan Easter

Sunday TV Mass - Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Winona

March 19, Sunday

*2 p.m. - Diocesan Mass for Young Adults - Rochester

March 20, Monday

10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Film “Bishop

Barron Presents”

March 21, Tuesday

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

Recording - Rochester Studio

March 22, Wednesday

11 a.m. - 3 p.m. - MCC Board Meeting - St. Paul

March 23, Thursday

9 a.m. - 3 p.m. - MCC Legislative Visits - MN State Capitol, St. Paul

March 24-31, Friday - Friday Documentary collaboration in Rome

Non Nisi Te Domine
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Pray, Fast, Give Alms
Bishop Robert Barron
From the Bishop 3

Lent, cont'd from pg. 1

In his homily, the pope said the Lenten period is "the favorable time" for returning to what is essential and true, and to be reconciled with God and each other.

The rite of the imposition of ashes reminds people to "return to the truth about ourselves," which is that "the Lord alone is God and we are the work of his hands."

God, a tender and merciful father, always waits for his children to reconcile with him and he "constantly urges us not to despair, even when we lie fallen in the dust of our weakness and sin."

The ashes also invite the faithful to rebuild their relationships with others, he said.

Lent, the pope said, is a time to "break the chains of our individualism" and to rediscover "our companions along the journey of each day" through encounter and listening, and "to learn once more to love them as brothers and sisters."

The three great paths to take on this journey of truth and reconciliation, he said, are the paths of almsgiving, prayer and fasting.

However, they must be done with a heart that is truly renewed and sincere, he said.

"All too often, our gestures and rites have no impact on our lives; they remain superficial. Perhaps we perform them only to gain the admiration or esteem of others," the pope said.

However, the pope warned, "outward displays, human judgments and the world's approval count for nothing; the only thing that truly matters is the truth and love that God himself sees."

He asked that the faithful use the 40 days of Lent to: "rediscover the joy, not of accumulating material goods, but of caring for those who are poor and afflicted"; to put God at the center of one's life and pray and dialogue with him from the heart; and to become free "from the dictatorship of full schedules, crowded agendas and superficial needs, and choose the things that truly matter."

"The ashes we receive this evening tell us that every presumption of self-sufficiency is false and that self-idolatry is destructive, imprisoning us in isolation and loneliness," Pope Francis said. "Life is instead a relationship: we receive it from God and from our parents, and we can always revive and renew it thanks to the Lord and to those he puts at our side."

of all, on its people. The war in Ukraine has taken a brutal toll on innocent civilians, prompting millions to flee and seek asylum and shelter in other countries. Grieving family members on both sides have been left behind in the wake of the violence. We continue to witness accelerations of military escalation including the threat of deploying nuclear weapons. Russia’s announcement February 21 to suspend its participation in the New START treaty, the last remaining nuclear weapons agreement between the U.S. and


was ordained to the priesthood Dec. 13, 1969, he is the first pope to be ordained a priest after Vatican II.

"After Scripture and tradition, the council is the significant foundation, and I would say, characteristic orientation of this papacy," the cardinal told Catholic News Service. "He has taken the council not from a collection of decrees, but from the lived experience of the council as implemented, as lived, as tested, as developed, you might say, in the church of Latin America."

St. John XXIII launched the council with a pastoral focus on what it means to be the church in the modern world, he said. The papacies of St. John Paul and Pope Benedict, he said, "reverted to a more doctrinal understanding of the council" with "some very good results and with some massive, unfinished business."

While the work of Pope Francis' predecessors was important, he said, "I don't think it picked up the primary agenda (of the council), which was implementing a new understanding of church in the modern world, a new way of evangelizing because the world is so different from how it was, let's say, at the end of World War II."

Emilce Cuda, an Argentine theologian and secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, agreed that a key to understanding Pope Francis' pontificate is knowing how Vatican II was lived in Latin America with respect for popular piety and culture, and trust in the "sensus fidei," the notion that the baptized together have a "sense of faith" and an ability "to understand what God says to us, to his people, in every moment."

Russia, further demonstrates the demise of the commitment to advancing responsible nuclear arms control measures. Such grim developments dim prospects for resolution of this conflict. Compounded by energy and food production disruptions, environmental degradation, and high inflation, no corner of the globe is untouched by the consequences of this expanding war, with the poorest bearing its heaviest tolls. We renew our call for an end to all hostilities and appeal to the global community to create frameworks for justice and a lasting peace to be realized, echoing the Holy Father’s appeal for ‘all the protagonists of international life and the political leaders of nations to do everything possible to bring an end to the war, without allowing themselves to be drawn into dangerous escalations, and to promote and support initia-

"There in the popular culture, in the peripheries, and in all the people of God, we can hear what God wants from us, or what God tells us to do in response to social problems and in the church in each moment," she said. "We are in history and history is a movement, and the situation is not the same (as) in the 20th century or in the 21st century."

As for disagreements with or even controversies about the papacy of Pope Francis, Cardinal Czerny warned against confusing "loud with representative or loud with majority. Loud doesn't mean any of those things; it means loud."

But, he said, "the patience of Pope Francis" leads him and encourages others to recognize that the pope's critics "are not 100% off beam," or off track; there usually is a grain of truth in what they say or an important value they hold dear that is being overlooked.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, told CNS he believes the first 10 years of Pope Francis' pontificate have been preparation for "what's happening right now, and that's the synodal conversation."

The Second Vatican Council called Catholics to read the "signs of the times" and respond. And, the cardinal said, "this notion that we don't have automatically prepared prescriptions for every challenge that faces us leads us to a fundamental tenet of our belief," which is belief "in the Holy Spirit, the lord and giver of life."

The synod process, which began with listening to people around the globe and will move toward two assemblies mainly of bishops, is about listening to the Holy Spirit.

While the synod involves meetings, Cardinal Tobin said, "synodality is a way of being church. It's an ancient way of being church that is being recovered and lived in the circumstances in which we face ourselves today. And so, to my mind, that's sort of the

tives for dialogue.’

The U.S. Catholic faithful and American people atlarge have not wavered in their generosity this past year, giving sacrificially, and providing critical aid to those whose lives and homes have been uprooted in the scourge of war. We call on the faithful to continue to pray for peace and to continue to give generously to Catholic and other humanitarian organizations that are providing continued and much needed assistance.

As we usher in the season of Lent, may all the faithful and people of good will join with the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, in setting aside February 24 as a solemn day of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, beseeching the Lord to bring an end to the fighting and a return to justice and peace in Ukraine.

capstone of what Pope Francis has been working for over the last decade."

"I've called synodality his long game," the cardinal said. "He's convinced that the changed circumstances of our world and our world going forward demand a new appreciation for the role of the Holy Spirit and a way to access that gift that is given to all of us by virtue of our baptism.

Pope Francis has been laying the foundation for the new synod process since the beginning of his pontificate, said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago. "There's an organic whole to all of this."

"I just wonder if, from the very beginning, he had in his mind that this would be the trajectory of his pontificate, and the synod on synodality I think is, in some way, the opportunity for him to pull everything together," he said. "There are people who want him to go faster, but he wants things to be held together and the church to be held together."

Asked what he thought was the most significant aspect of Pope Francis' pontificate, the cardinal cited his predecessor, the late Cardinal Francis E. George, who participated in the 2013 conclave, and said the best description of Pope Francis was "He's free."

"He's free in the sense of wanting to listen to different voices in the life of the church," Cardinal Cupich said. "He's free in being imaginative, but also he has the kind of freedom that really allows him to be joyful in this ministry."

"John Paul II told us what we should do. Benedict told us why we should do it. And Francis is saying, 'Do it,'" the cardinal said. Pope Francis is leading by example in how he cares for the poor, sees God at work in people's real lives and reaches out to people often overlooked by the church.

"I think history will look back on this pontificate as historic, as pivotal in the life of the church," Cardinal Cupich said.

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Years, cont'd from pg. 2
Ukraine, cont'd from pg. 1

The 2023 Catholic Ministries Appeal Launched on the Weekend of February 18/19

Please join us in our mission of Building Christ's Church, Fulfilling Christ's Mission, by giving generously to the Appeal. Pledge your gift by December 31, 2023.

Thank you!

5 Catholic Foundation March 2023 w The Courier w

Opening Ourselves to Lent and to Our Eucharistic Lord

Lent is a path: it leads to the triumph of mercy over all that would crush us or reduce us to something unworthy of our dignity as God’s children. Lent is the road leading from slavery to freedom, from suffering to joy, from death to life. The mark of the ashes with which we set out reminds us of our origin: we were taken from the earth, we are made of dust. True, yet we are dust in the loving hands of God, who has breathed his spirit of life upon each one of us, and still wants to do so.

-Pope Francis, Ash Wednesday Homily, 2017

�reetings of Peace!

First, I wanted to share the following Lenten reflection. It is reprinted, with permission, from the resource, Impact, produced by Grateful Disciples and my friend and colleague, LEISA ANSLINGER Impact is “a dynamic, monthly resource to form people as disciples and good stewards who share their gifts and faith, making an impact in their lives and the life of the world. Each month, Impact focuses on themes found in the Sunday readings, connecting Mass with the call to discipleship, growing as good stewards, and sharing faith in daily life.” To learn more, go to:

Open Your Ears

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

Listen. We began the season of Lent in the desert with Jesus. There, Jesus faced temptation and showed us how to avoid sin by staying focused on God and God’s ways. From the desert, we go to a high mountain, where we hear the voice of God urging us to listen to Jesus.

Pray. During Lent, we set aside time for prayer, time to listen to God and search our life in response to God’s loving presence. Christ speaks to us in word and sacrament, through loving relationships, in joyful and challenging times. We must be ready to listen.

Reflect. What is your desert? What tempts you? From what do you need to turn away in order to listen to the Lord more attentively and make a greater place for Jesus in your life?

Open Your Eyes

“Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.”

See. During Lent, we are invited to open our eyes, to pay attention to the grace of God in our midst and see the needs of others. In the gospel we hear on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, the man did not ask to be healed. Jesus saw his need and reached out to him. As a result, the man who was born blind could see, but those around him were blind to the truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ. They couldn’t believe what was before their very eyes. We may see the face of God in the poor and vulnerable, the eyes of a child, the Body and Blood of the Lord in the Eucharist. We must be ready to open our eyes to perceive God’s presence and to

see others through the eyes of God, as precious and wonderful in his sight.

Fast. In Lent, we fast from a favorite food, beverage, screen time, or activity in order to experience more fully our hunger for God and to become more willing to live as God’s holy people in the world.

Reflect. How often do you fail to see the goodness of God’s love? In what ways might you more fully accept and share the mercy and forgiveness Christ freely gives?

Open Your Heart

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

Feel. Lent is a time in which to open our hearts to Christ, to risk trusting in God and allow Jesus to change us. The Samaritan woman did not at first understand what was happening to her as she spoke with the Lord at the well. Yet, she did not run away, and opened her heart to Christ. Not only was her heart moved and her life changed, so were the people of her town whom she told of her encounter with Jesus.

Give. During Lent, we give our time, money, and support to those who are poor, lonely, sick, in prison, the most vulnerable among us. We share our faith in Jesus and the impact of our faith in word and in deed, with friends, family, and especially with those to whom we reach out in charity this season.

Reflect. How might you open your heart to encounter Jesus this Lent? Who needs to know Christ’s love and mercy through your giving and sharing? How might you go beyond yourself in care, compassion, and charity?

Second, the diocesan Institute of Lay Formation’s “Emmaus” program is continuing its focus on the Eucharist, in this winter/spring season, during this diocesan year of the National Eucharistic Revival. We have two gatherings this month open to all lay women and men in our diocese.

A “True Presence Night” of Eucharistic Reflection and Adoration

The nationally acclaimed music group, The Vigil Project, is coming to our diocese to offer a Lenten “True Presence Night.” This one-night program will be held on Monday, March 6, from 6-8 p.m., at the Church of the Resurrection in Rochester. Live music, dynamic reflections, and a time of Eucharistic Adoration are all part of this opportunity to pray more deeply into this holy season and prepare for Christ’s Resurrection at Easter.

The Vigil Project is a community of artists who come together [in their words] “to make music for the Catholic journey and to invite the Church into prayer through song. Our live events are simply an opportunity to gather the Church in a specific location to pray, to worship, and to journey more deeply into the heart of God. All of the music and videos we create find their fulfillment in the opportunity to worship together with real people in real time.” [You can learn more about The Vigil Project and listen to their music for

Lent at]

The evening is also part of Resurrection Parish’s Revive Lenten Mission, and will feature a reflection on the Eucharist by Robert Feduccia, a nationally known Catholic speaker, retreat leader, and writer. There is no charge to participate, and no registration is required.

A Book Study on Becoming Eucharistic People

We will also hold our second book study and discussion on recent books by Catholic theologian, author, and teacher, Dr. Timothy P. O’Malley. Our second weekend book study will be held on March 10-11 (Friday evening - Saturday afternoon) on, Becoming Eucharistic People: The Hope and Promise of Parish Life, at the Alverna Center in Winona (with overnight accommodations available).

"In Becoming Eucharistic People, theologian Timothy P. O’Malley, author of Real Presence, shows what it means to foster a parish culture where the Eucharist infuses the worldview, priorities, and practices of its members. He leads the reader through discovery and discernment about how to create a parish culture where each person is called to holiness and receives the spiritual, theological, and pastoral help they need to meet Christ fully present in the Eucharist and to become a witness to him in the world.” [From the Ave Maria Press web site: products/becoming-eucharistic-people]

To learn more about the book study and to register, please contact me in the diocesan Office of Lay Formation (Email: / Phone: 507858-1270). I invite everyone to consider being part of the National Eucharistic Revival, and especially to join us for our diocesan “Eucharistic Congress 2023” on Saturday, June 10, at the Mankato Civic Center. You can learn more about the Revival and the Congress at:

I wish you God’s grace and mercy as we journey again through these holy days of the Lenten Season. Deo

[God] wants to keep giving us that breath of life that saves us from every other type of breath: the stifling asphyxia brought on by our selfishness, the stifling asphyxia generated by petty ambition and silent indifference – an asphyxia that smothers the spirit, narrows our horizons and slows the beating of our hearts. The breath of God’s life saves us from this asphyxia that dampens our faith, cools our charity and strangles every hope. To experience Lent is to yearn for this breath of life that our Father unceasingly offers us amid the mire of our history.

6 Lay Formation & RCIA
-Pope Francis, Ash Wednesday Homily, 2017
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How to Pray for the Eucharistic Congress

if you haven’t heard, we have a Diocesan Eucharistic Congress this June 10, 2023, at the Mankato Civic Center. We will have thousands of Catholics from across the diocese present, national speakers, Catholic musicians, Mass, a Eucharistic procession, language tracks, children’s activities, and we’re going to pack 10,000+ meals for those in need with Kids Against Hunger. We literally have never done anything this big before, and it is meant to be a gift after the pandemic and a turning point for a new age of mission. Please come! Please register (see text box)! And please invite your friends.

But (maybe right after you register?) I ask you to do something else, right away and often. Pray for this Congress and pray for the Eucharistic Revival.

We do have a diocesan prayer for the Eucharistic revival, and I encourage you to pray it with us! But the reality is we will not have a revival unless it begins with prayer.

On our Eucharistic Congress and Revival website, under the upper Eucharistic Congress tab, there is a “Pray for the Congress” option. I encourage you to look at it! You can find the revival prayer, the prayer intentions for our Congress, and the heavenly intercessors for the Congress. I’d like to unpack some of the possibilities here for your prayer.

Prayer intentions for the Congress. The Eucharistic Congress is a big investment on our end in terms of work and energy–and the reason we do it is because we believe it will make a huge spiritual impact on the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. This is why we ask you to pray to the Lord for:

1. The spiritual protection of the Eucharistic Con�ress. We need spiritual protection because spiritual warfare is real. The Evil One cannot win because God has already defeated the power of death, but the Evil One can put up stumbling blocks, tempt us to confusion, and more. The Lord allows this in order to teach us to rely on him. And we rely on him in prayer. The Our Father prayer that Jesus taught us specifically says “deliver us from evil.” If you offered one Our Father for the protection of the Eucharistic Congress every day, that would be powerful.

2. An outpourin Spirit in upon the Con the Holy Spirit at work. Biblically and historically, this is how spiritual revival happens. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, not us. But we can pray for the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth, and this particular space! And we should pray for this–it fosters our own faith, and helps us be open to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.

3. An� that many missionaries, for local mission an� beyon�, �ill be born from this Con�ress. This Eucharistic revival is meant to open a new age of mission. The Great Commission is just as much an imperative today as it was 2000 years ago. The good news is still good! For some, they will share the gospel with family. For others, in their workplace. For a few, they will go to foreign lands! And it is a grace to be able to do so. We need to pray that this Congress will inspire people to say yes to their personal and universal mission.

Our heavenly patrons of intercession. One of the joys of being Catholic is our friendship with the communion of saints. And we realize we do not pray alone! We have one saint and two blesseds as our heavenly patrons for the Eucharistic Congress, and they were deliberately chosen as saints for our Congress and continued revival.

1. Mary, Our La�y of Gua�alupe. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the National Eucharistic Revival, as well as patroness of the Americas. The Blessed Mother is our saintly intercessor par excellence, and her life’s work is to draw people to her Son. Who could be a more appropriate intercessor for a revival focusing on drawing people to Jesus in the Eucharist? Also, the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego is a stunning example of incredible love and compassion. If you have not read the story of her apparition, what are you waiting for?

2. Bl. Carlo Acutis. Bl. Carlo is the patron of the diocesan year of Eucharistic Revival for the United States as well. As he was recently beatified and lived in our lifetimes, you may have heard of him. But it’s the details of his story that are incredible. He was a devout child of lukewarm parents. He loved video gaming, but he loved Jesus more, and curbed his gaming to one hour so he wouldn’t be tempted to place gaming about devotion. Yes, he was prayerful, and a good and kind student, but he also created a world database of Eucharistic miracles (at the age of 14!). He also would spend his money buying and delivering blankets to those sleeping on

the street. Finally, he died an incredibly holy death at age 15, consoling his parents and all those around him, more excited to meet Jesus face to face than live a longer life. That is an astounding life, friends. He’s a good intercessor, and I suspect wants nothing more than the renewal of the people of God through the Eucharist.

3. Bl. James Miller, FSC. This last patron of our Eucharistic Congress is one of our own. He was born and grew up in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, but also graduated from Saint Mary’s University in Winona, as he entered religious life with the De la Salle Christian Brothers. His religious life of teaching eventually led him to Guatemala, where he and other brothers remained during a dangerous and violent time in the 1980s to continue teaching the young and poor, so they would not be recruited to become child mercenary soldiers. He was martyred in Guatemala when he climbed a ladder on the Brothers’ property to work on repairs. Beyond being a local Blessed, as well as a connection to a growing Guatemalan immigrant population in southern Minnesota, Bl. James Miller reminds us of a Christian statement first made by Tertullian: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Calling for the intercession of those who died for the Christian message is a powerful way to pray for revival and renewal. They stand in an honored place with the Lord, who died for us.

Finally, pray for your own Eucharistic thirst. The biggest stumbling block to revival is often our own selves, and not recognizing that we need reviving. At one point, people who are literally dying of dehydration lose their sense of thirst. This is, in fact, deadly in itself. If we could pray for awareness of our thirst for the Eucharist, I can guarantee God will answer that prayer! It is one of those prayers to which God always says “YES.” And when we arrive at the Congress–indeed, when we go to Mass the next Sunday and every Sunday afterward–we will be able to say a more honest and heartfelt thank you.

So starting now: let us pray! And thank you for doing so.

Want to learn more and register for the Eucharistic Congress?

Want to pray for the Eucharistic Congress?

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Missionary Discipleship Need inspiration to make a good confession this Lent? The Light is On Southern Minnesota - how-to, stories, support:
Susan Windley-Daoust Director of Missionary Discipleship
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Rochester Catholic Schools
St. Theodore, Albert Lea
St. Felix, Wabasha
St. Mary, Caledonia St. John Vianney, Fairmont
Week Jan. 29 - Feb. 4, 2023 Catholic Schools Week 2023
Sacred Heart, Adams
How We Spent
Catholic Schools Week 2023 March 2023 w The Courier
St. Casimir, Wells
Sacred Heart, Waseca
Loyola, Mankato
St. Mary, Madelia St. Mary, Worthington Cotter, Winona Adams
Crucifixion, La Crescent

Serving the Community at Cotter Schools

Catholic Schools

6,098 hours

Submitted by JANA KORDER

365,880 minutes

21,952,800 seconds

…. And growing!

That is how much time Cotter students have volunteered in the Winona community since September 2022, just 5 months. During that time Cotter students have supported over 134 community organizations. It is Cotter’s mission to “challenge students to achieve their full potential and use their lives in the service of others”.

Each Cotter student’s service varies based on the gifts, talents, and desires of each person. Some of our students like to help out around school, others choose to support one local organization throughout the entire year and others love helping at summer camps such as Celebrate Me Week, Camp Summit or Vacation Bible School.

Depending on their grade, students are required to complete 10 or 20 hours of service per school year, but a large number of our students go above and beyond that requirement. For example, Cotter sophomore, Peyton Gish, needed only 20 hours this school year but currently has 67 hours and Cotter

St. Theodore, Albert Lea A Blessing to Many

Submitted by SUE


st. Theodore Elementary School is a blessing to many. Over the past few years, we have continued to grow. This year, we had to split our combined Kindergarten/1st Grade class as they had become too large. For this upcoming year, if we keep all the current children, we will need to split our 2nd/3rd Grade combination also. This is truly a great thing to see. However, it comes with challenges of finding qualified teachers.

We are also considering options of adding a grade or two in the future, but our biggest obstacle is finding a teacher. Therefore, if you know of any teachers looking for a job, please let us know. They can send their application and resume to Sue Amundson at .

We just finished Catholic Schools Week, and it was a fun-filled experience for all. A few of the fun activities included:

eighth grader, Izma Mohmed, needed 10 hours, but she currently has 47 hours.

Marisa Corcorcan, Cotter’s campus minister, said that “over the years, we’ve seen so much growth in our students as a result of service learning experiences. Some of our students have discovered their passion while others found out what they didn’t want to spend their life doing. Throughout the process of serving others, every student goes through a transformation in one way or another and we are very proud of the positive impact Cotter students continue to make on our local and global communities.”

Recently, during Catholic Schools Week Cotter chose service projects for each grade level to support. Students at the St. Mary’s Campus donated supplies for Birthday Bags for the Winona Food Shelf. The Winona Food Shelf gives birthday bags to all children ages 2-11 whose family visits the food shelf during the month of their birthday. Cotter students donated items such as plates, napkins, forks, cake mixes, frosting, and birthday decorations.

Students in grades 1-6 supported Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer. Students brought in loose change during the week.

• Kick-off Mass on Saturday, January 28, with our students reading and our choir singing.

• We spent some time praying then we sent our “Prayer Planes.”

• We painted sun catchers for the nursing home.

• We had our weekly Mass in the morning which included a Eucharistic Procession through our school to bless each room.

• The students were seated and served lunch by our teachers and staff. We talked about the importance of serving and being an example to others.

• Bible stories and activities

• Making Valentines for the nursing homes

Now we are focusing on:

• Open House (February 9)

• Catholic United Financial Raffle

• Preparing for Stations of the Cross, which will be led by our students each Friday at 2:15 p.m.

• Lenten Fish Fries - March 3 and 24.

100% of the profits go to the foundation in Kayden Jensen's name. Kayden is a 1st-grade student at the St. Stan’s Campus who is currently going through cancer treatment.

Students in grades 7 & 8 brought in donations for Grace Place. Grace Place is a local transitional shelter program for women and their children, that provides supportive, temporary housing that is meant to bridge the gap between homelessness and permanent housing. Students donated garbage bags, baby wipes, cleaning supplies, toiletries, toilet paper, paper towels, kleenex and grocery store gift cards.

A new fundraiser for Cotter’s high school students was a Pie in the Face Fundraiser. During Catholic Schools Week students brought in monetary donations with the goal of filling the jar for the teacher they’d like to see get a pie in the face. At the end of the week a “winner” was declared. The teachers that participated in the challenge donated the money collected in their jar to a non-profit of their choice. Those organizations include The Advocacy Center, The Warming Center, Home & Community Options and Restored Blessings.

Service is a part of who we are as a Catholic school community here at Cotter. We are each called to serve the marginalized, the forgotten, the refugee, and the lost. Therefore, service is an expectation of all of our students, faculty, and staff at Cotter. And, we wouldn’t want it any other way. Cotter SchoolsChallenging YOU to be the difference.

Jana Korder is the director of marketing and communications at Cotter Schools in Winona.

If you want to see more about our school, check out our website:, then look under “School” or go to our Facebook page: https://www.

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Sue Amundson is the principal of St. Theodore Elementary School in Albert Lea. Nathan, a Cotter 2nd grader, proudly donates his loose change.

Mercy on the Move

the Confirmation Class at St. Leo, Pipestone, has not let the cold weather keep them from practicing the works of mercy. Last November, they made a trip to Sioux Falls to serve those in need at the Banquet (feeding the hungry). In January, they met with the Catholic Daughters (CDA Court Saint John 1371) and said the Rosary together as a large group (praying for the living and the dead). Most recently, they visited the court house/jail and learned a little about how to minister

Pathways TEC 73

my experience at TEC was a little different than others. The night before I went to the retreat, I was given crutches and a knee immobilizer. I didn’t know it yet, but I had fractured a bone in my knee. I couldn’t participate in every single one of the activities, but when I could, you bet I did - even if that meant I had to hop around on one leg. But my injury could never change the presence of God I felt there. TEC changed my life. It gave me a new perspective on how to live my life with God present. It also

gave me amazing new friends whose love for God shines through to everyone around them. It’s safe to say that I felt that love throughout the whole weekend. I remember sitting in the chapel and just feeling so much joy because love and joy is contagious. It didn’t matter to them that I was broken; they accepted me for who I was. I definitely would encourage anyone who wants to grow in their faith to come to TEC. It truly was an amazing experience that will live in my heart forever.

to those in jail (visiting the imprisoned). These active students look forward to being Confirmed this fall! Mary Lapthorn is a catechist at St. Leo's Parish in Pipestone. Lily Trager is a teenage member of Holy Trinity Parish in Litomysl.
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Youth Ministry & Faith Formation

someone once told me: “The one to whom you listen is the one you will obey.” Indeed, whomever I most fear or love is the one to whom I pay the most attention, and the one I will usually obey and becomes my king.

Who do you most love or fear? Who is your king? You may be reluctant to answer. We Americans don’t like kings. We rebel against them. Nevertheless, we have our self-created kings and obey them.

I think a fundamental struggle for many is ridding themselves of idolatry and self-made kings. One needs only to read the history of the Hebrew people in the Bible to see this clearly described. The Chosen People mightily struggled to rid themselves of false gods and pagan kings. They were continually reminded to worship with awe and obedience their one true King who was God. Similarly, one needs only read the hearts of many in today’s world to see this same struggle.

Who is our King? Jesus Christ is our true King! He is King of the Universe. He is the Master we must love with holy fear, more than health or wealth, more than security or spouse, and more than children or parents. If we truly love Jesus as King, and allow him to rule our lives, then we will rest securely in this world and the next.

Jesus Christ is our King! He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He is the one to whom every knee must bend in heaven and earth. His word is sharper than any two-edged sword. He is the one who has brought us into his kingdom, a kingdom of peace and truth, where the hungry are fed, the naked clothed, the homeless find shelter, the lost are found, sinners find mercy, the lowly are exalted, and the poor are made rich. He is a King unlike any other king, and his kingdom is unlike any other.

Jesus Christ is King of the farthest limits of the universe, and the innermost depths of our souls. He is King forever and His kingdom shall not end.

Jesus Christ is King yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He reigns for eternity in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Do we love our King? Do we have a holy fear of Him? Do we listen to Him? It is easy to quickly say “yes,” but let us be hesitant. Let us keep an inner watch. Where is my heart? Where does it rest? To whom do I most listen? Who do I fear most?

Our answer must be Jesus! Our answer must be the Incarnate Son of God among us!

As Pope St. Paul VI said:

So, to you Christians I repeat his name, to everyone I proclaim him: Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega; he is the King of the new world; he is the secret of history; he is the key to our destiny. He is the mediator, the bridge, between heaven and earth. He is more perfectly than anyone else the Son of Man, because he is the Son of God, eternal and infinite.

I love Jesus! Do you? I listen to my King! Will you? I am in awe of the King of the Universe! Are you? However deep or difficult our worries and problems, Jesus remains King. He is someone we can trust, someone to whom we can listen, someone we must obey, and someone for whom we can have a healthy awe and fear.

Jesus, our true King, we trust in you! Amen! Deacon Robert Yerhot serves the parishes of St. Mary in Caledonia and St. Patrick in Brownsville.

Who Is Your King? Meet Joshua Miller

With gratitude to God for every gift and blessing that He bestows, I am grateful to share with you the news that we have added a new seminarian during the 2022-2023 school year. JOSHUA MILLER is originally from Waseca and as you will read in his biography, he has been studying for the Diocese of Fairbanks. After a period of discernment, Josh has decided to transfer to his home diocese and finish his discernment with us. He was officially given permission to study for the Diocese of Winona-Rochester this past January. Please read on for Josh's story and keep him in prayer as he concludes this call from God to our diocese and especially for his final discernment before ordination.

my name is Joshua Miller and I am very excited to be joining the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. I am originally from Waseca, MN. I graduated from Waseca High School in 2008. After high school, I went to the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. I graduated from West Point in 2012

and commissioned into the U.S. Army as a Field Artillery Officer. I was stationed at Ft. Sill, OK, and Ft. Wainwright, AK. During my time as an officer, I found myself in many situations with my subordinates where the Lord revealed to me my desire to be more of a spiritual father to them rather than to be their boss. I knew that I wanted to be a military chaplain before I fully understood the priesthood.

I entered formation with the Diocese of Fairbanks, AK after fulfilling my active-duty service commitment to the Army. I was sent to Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, IL. I began the two-year pre-theology program there in 2017. I finished the program in 2019, and I continued at Mundelein for Theology studies. After my second year of Theology, I attended the Institute for Priestly Formation summer program for seminarians in Omaha, NE. After that I was in the Diocese of Fairbanks for a full pastoral year during which I spent several weeks assisting with ministry in the rural villages of northern Alaska. After my pastoral year, I completed the Army’s Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course in Ft. Jackson, SC. I returned to Mundelein after 18 months in August of 2022. At this point my discernment to come home to my family roots began to come to fruition.

I have one sister and her family in Waseca, one sister and her family in Burnsville, one sister abroad with the military, and one sister living with my par-

March 2023 w The Courier w
ents in Clear Lake, IA. Most of my extended family is spread across southern/western Minnesota and the Twin Cities. My hobbies include: hunting and fishing, playing hockey, and reading by a fireplace on a snowy evening. My patron saints include St. Gregory VII, St. Miriam of Bethlehem, and the Immaculata.
12 Diaconate & Vocations

The Minnesota Abortion Debate Is Discouraging, But We Can Be Proud of Our Part of It

The following editorial was published by the Diocese of Duluth on February 1, 2023. It is reprinted here with permission.

back in 2012, during the debate over the proposed marriage amendment in Minnesota, I noticed something I just can’t unsee about the way that debate was carried out, the way those debates are still playing out.

It came into focus for me after I attended and reported on one of the events the church sponsored. There were expert speakers making arguments for the amendment — compelling ones, in my opinion. They drew from a range of disciplines: not only the

The objective was clear: to persuade and convince people who weren’t already convinced, through dialogue in pursuit of the truth with mutual respect.

I think I was the only journalist there.

I didn’t attend any of the events held by the other side, but I carefully followed the news coverage of them, which was extensive and wholly favorable. I read countless op-eds and letters to the editor from opponents of the amendment.

The approach of that side of the debate could not have been more different from ours. There were endlessly repeated bumper sticker slogans and talking points, like “love wins.” Carefully curated personal stories manipulatively aroused a very onesided sympathy. When it came to those who supported the amendment, we were spoken of always with contempt, accompanied by false accusations of hatred and bigotry.

When they bothered to make arguments, they were superficial arguments proponents of the amendment had answers for. Those answers were not even acknowledged, much less engaged. The secular media was not so much reporting as “manufacturing consent,” echoing the language and talking points of only one side. Small wonder most people

Legal experts testified before the legislature giving compelling arguments. Countless people of good will contacted their legislators begging and pleading with them to stop the bill or at least to moderate its extremes.

The approach of the other side was, again, quite different. There were the slogans we’ve heard (and refuted) for 50 years. There were the carefully curated personal stories designed to manipulate emotions. There was the media manufacturing consent. There was the contempt for and demonization of the pro-life community, the horrible false accusations.

And most strikingly there was the total lack of engagement of any of the pro-life arguments, those irrefutable arguments rooted in science and natural law and the dignity of the human person that we have been making for so many years.

The outcome itself, of course, is the most terrible part of it: the death and the suffering and the unspeakable violation of human rights that will result from it. Minnesota is undoubtedly a much worse place for it.

But I also found myself so sad and discouraged by the injustice of how these debates play out. Consequential issues should be debated seriously and openly and substantively, and truth should matter. We should try to persuade, not demonize, those we disagree with. This is how a good society would conduct itself.

Despite the sadness of it, though, I found myself being proud to be associated with the people who made our case so well, who carried themselves with intelligence and decency, who treated the people who disagree with us with respect and appealed to their consciences, attempting to convince them, even if in the end they didn’t listen.

I know there are many people who take the opposite lesson. There are those who think that winning is all that matters, and if that means adopting the rhetorical tactics of those who oppose us, that’s what we should do. We should stop trying to persuade, stop focusing on rational argument, and instead focus on slogans and manipulative sentimentality, the argument goes. As for those who disagree with us, there are those who feel we’d be better off doing to them what they do to us, demonizing them and treating them as unworthy of engaging with civility and respect.

I think those are not just the wrong lessons but approaches that damage our pro-life witness. How could we defend human dignity by denying it in our opponents? How could we uphold truth by turning away from reason? How could we uphold the moral law by being shallow and manipulative?

Given the public perception of the Catholic Church, it’s a delicious irony that often, on these major issues, the church is the most consistent defender left in the public square of reason, of science, of genuine human freedom and liberty, of respectful dialogue.

Now, if only there were more people receptive to those valuable things.

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Life, Marriage & Family

Annual Diaper Drive Provides Relief for Struggling Families

you know that Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota helps people in need all over the Diocese in all sorts of ways from emergency housing, to mental health counseling and wellness programs to keep seniors active. This month the agency looks to help the littlest members of our community with its annual diaper drive for the Pregnancy, Parenting, and Adoption (PPA) program. The goal is to collect at least 800 packs of diapers to provide low-income families in Southern Minnesota with this essential and often overlooked resource.

The PPA program provides parents with diapers and wipes once a month, ensuring that their babies have access to enough clean and dry diapers. This may seem like a small thing, but it makes a big impact on the health and well-being of low-income families.

Diapers and wipes are getting more expensive by the day. Local store-brand diapers cost between 15 and 16 cents per diaper. A newborn can use up to 12 diapers a day – and that adds up.

“Diapers are a constant, immediate expense for new parents that can’t wait until the next paycheck,” Sarah Vetter, PPA Program Director says. “When parents try to change diapers less frequently because of costs, it could be harmful to a baby’s health.”

According to a study by the National Diaper Bank Network, one in three American families experience a diaper need, meaning they do not have enough diapers to keep their children clean and healthy.

For low-income families, this can be a chronic issue. Without access to enough diapers, parents may have to choose between buying food, paying the light bill, or buying diapers, which can lead to diaper rash, infections, and other health problems for their children.

Lack of access to diapers can also limit a child’s access to childcare and early education programs. Many daycare centers require parents to provide at least 10 diapers a day for their child. That adds up to about 50 diapers per week. Without the means to provide enough diapers, parents may not be able to work or attend school, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

“We serve hundreds of families at or below the federal poverty level, who are struggling to make ends meet,” Vetter says. “We can alleviate some of that stress by providing diapers and wipes regularly.”

“This is a great way for the community to come together to help out in a real and tangible way,“ Shanna Harris, Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota Executive Director, adds. “Every pack of diapers and wipes will go to a baby who needs it right here in our community.”

There are many ways to help. You can throw a diaper drive shower at your workplace, at your church, or with family or friends. Use our handy template to make it easy!

Another way to help is by donating diapers. Buy a package or box of diapers and drop them off during the month of March or anytime. You can drop off donations at Catholic Charities offices in Mankato, Owatonna (donations by appointment; call 507450-1518), Rochester, or Winona; St Bernard’s in Stewartville; St. John the Baptist in Mankato; Holy Spirit or Pax Christi in Rochester; and Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Winona.

You can also make a monetary gift that will stay local and help struggling families in need.

Diapers are often the most requested non-food item at area food banks and the PPA program is one of the only safety net programs in southern Minnesota that provides diaper assistance. Last year, people across the Diocese donated more than 500 packs of diapers and 400 packs of wipes to help families in need. This year, the need is even greater.

“We are so grateful for the way the community responded to last year’s diaper drive! We provided

over 600 packs of diapers to families in 2022,” Vetter says. “And we’ve seen an increase in requests with the rise in the cost of living in the last few months. We estimate needing 800- 900 packs of diapers for families in 2023.”

The need for diapers is great, but so is the will to help. Every dollar and diaper donated will benefit families in need in our area through Catholic Charities’ PPA Program. With the help of the entire Diocese, our community can help reach the goal of collecting 800 packs of diapers. If you can donate, please consider dropping off a pack of diapers or wipes at one of the locations listed above.

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Christi Reynard Director of Communications Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota

Go to Joseph! 15

this is the month of St. Joseph. He is the icon of God the Father; silent but active and perfectly providing for the needs of all. The Church constantly invokes the protection of St. Joseph, admonishing us to go to Joseph.

We are now in the heart of Lent. Are you fasting, praying more, giving up anything and doing something extra? Please attend the Stations of the Cross when offered at a parish near you. Your every act should be done with love.

Our next quarterly membership meeting will be at St. Joseph’s Church in Rushford, on April 12, 2023. In-depth speakers will be on International and Spirituality Commissions. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the meeting is at 9 a.m; adjournment by 3 p.m. All women are welcome and no need to preregister.

Save the dates – August 23-26, 2023, NCCW Convention at Salt Lake City, and our W-RDCCW convention on Oct. 7 at Queen of Angels in Austin. The theme is: Fasting and a Daily Rosary: The Greatest

Minnesota Catholic Conference Inside the Capitol

MN Child Tax Credit Gains Momentum


“public authorities have the duty to sustain the family . . . the family does not exist for society or the State, but society and the State exist for the family.”

(Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 214)

This is a bold calling, and as faithful citizens, we need to be advocates for policies that prioritize the family. Without strong families, we cannot expect to have a strong society.

One such policy that will put families first is a nation-leading Minnesota child tax credit (CTC). Economic relief in the form of direct cash support to families, such as a refundable CTC, not only helps sustain families but does so in a manner consistent with the Church’s teaching on subsidiarity. This form of tax relief provides families with the freedom to choose how best to structure their budgets.

A Minnesota CTC could also help address our state’s long-term workforce and population concerns. While many studies show that financial difficulties encourage divorce and family fragmentation, the lack of economic security also discourages family

Fish Fries

Weapons Against Satan.

“Connecting Catholic Women” is W-RDCCW’s quarterly E-news newsletter in which you will find information on our upcoming events and commission reports. To find it go to the diocesan CCW email which is:

Nick Modelkie of Real Presence Radio interviewed me for a half hour on Jan. 4 at 9:30 AM. We talked about what W-RDCCW is and how I became involved. If you wish to listen to it the easiest way to share the recording is by sharing the following link: http://

If you have any questions having to do with W-RDCCW you may contact me at 507-937-3460 or God Bless all of you!

Eleanore Jones is the president of the WinonaRochester Diocesan Council of Catholic Women.

formation. A nation-leading fiscal commitment to families could be a catalyst for new families to be formed or for existing families to stay together.

Partnering to Advance Pro-Family Policies

The Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) is working with an array of partners to pass a CTC. Our work began last year when MCC, along with Children’s Defense Fund and Legal Aide, convened a meeting between the Republican and Democrat Tax Committee Chairs to present a CTC as the solution to the gordian knot between GOP-favored tax cuts and DFL-favored “Walz checks”.

This year, the Minnesota Budget Project joined our efforts, and we began promoting this relatively novel concept to the Governor’s office. Those efforts proved successful when the Walz Administration included a CTC proposal in their budget recommendation. Simultaneous outreach to build a groundswell of public buy-in has resulted in over 30 advocacy organizations adding their names to a letter of support.

We crossed another significant milestone when a bill to create a new Minnesota CTC (H.F. 1369) received its first hearing in the House Taxes Committee on February 9. Four parents from MCC’s Catholic Advocacy Network participated in the hearing by sharing their own stories of how the proposal would provide them with much-needed economic relief.

Christ the King, Byron

Held in the church - 202 4th St. NW in Byron

Fridays, starting March 3, ending March 31

4:45-7 p.m.

$16 drive-through, $18 indoor (all you can eat), $16 kids & seniors, $10 mac & cheese.

St. John Baptist de la Salle, Dodge Center

Held at the American Legion - 401 Highway St. in Dodge Center

Friday, March 24, 2023

4-7:30 p.m.

All-you-can-eat baked & fried fish, baked potatoes, vegetable, salads and dessert.

Adults $14. Kids 6-12 $6. 5 & under free.

In the Diocese

While only 12 states currently offer a CTC, there are several ways in which the policy can be crafted, with per-child benefit amounts and income eligibility thresholds being the most significant variables. It was important to offer a positive, personal display of support for H.F. 1369 because it would be nation-leading in terms of perchild benefit structure, flexibility, and inclusivity.

A CTC would send a signal to Minnesota families that our state supports their vital contribution to society. This families-first proposal has built great momentum, but we need the voices like yours to help get it over the legislative finish line.

If you would like to share your story of how the 2021 Expanded Federal Child Tax Credit helped your family, please contact Ryan Hamilton, MCC Government Relations Associate, at Minnesota Catholic Conference is the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota.

The Televised Mass Is Offered Every Sunday

Sioux Falls - KTTW Channel 7 at 7 a.m.

Sioux City - KPTH Channel 44 at 8:30 a.m.

Mankato - KEYC Channel 12 at 7:30 a.m.

Digital Channel 12.2 or Charter Channel 19 NEYC at 9:30 a.m.

Digital Channel 7 (DirecTV) or Channel 11 (DISH) KMNF at 9 a.m.

Rochester/Austin/Mason City

KIMT Channel 3 at 7:30 a.m.

MyTV 3.2 at 9 a.m.

Twin Cities - WFTC Digital Channel 29 or Channel 9.2 at 11:30 a.m.

Southeastern MN - HBC Channel 20 at 3 p.m. (repeated Wed. at 3:30 p.m.)

Winona/La Crosse/Eau Claire - WLAX/ WEUX Channel 25/48 at 7:30 a.m. and on our website, (click "Weekly Mass")

March 2023 w The Courier w
• The Courier March 2023
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