The Courier - November 2023

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St. Andrew the Apostle November 30

November 2023

Official Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona-Rochester, MN |

As Synod Winds Down, Social

Members Urged to Sow Patience Concerns Day Builds Discussion, Relationships Pope Francis poses for a photo with participants in the assembly of the Synod of Bishops before a working session in the Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican Oct. 23 (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By CINDY WOODEN, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - As members of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops return home, share the results of their work and prepare for the final synod assembly in 2024, they must be on guard against people who will want to make them take sides as if the synod were a political debate, said Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe. "The global culture of our time is often polarized, aggressive and dismissive of other people's views," Father Radcliffe, spiritual adviser to the synod, told members Oct. 23. "When we go home, people will ask, 'Did you fight for our side? Did you oppose those unenlightened other people?'" "We shall need to be profoundly prayerful to resist the temptation to succumb to this party-political way of thinking," he said. "That would be to fall back into the sterile, barren language of much of our society. It is not the synodal way," which is "organic and ecological rather than competitive." Having discussed synodality, communion, mission

and participation over the previous three weeks, members of the synodal assembly began the final segment of their work with talks from Father Radcliffe, Benedictine Mother Maria Ignazia Angelini, the other spiritual guide for the synod, and by Father Ormond Rush, a theologian from Australia. They were to work on a "Letter to the People of God" at the synod's morning session Oct. 23. After a day off to give time to the committee writing the synthesis of the assembly's discussions, participants were to meet again Oct. 25 to examine, discuss and amend the synthesis and to propose "methods and steps" for continuing the synodal process in preparation for its next assembly in October 2024. "We have listened to hundreds of thousands of words during the last three weeks," Father Radcliffe said. "Most of these have been positive words, words of hope and aspiration. These are the seeds that are sown in the soil of the church. They will be at work in our lives, in

Submitted by LISA KREMER, OFS

On October 7, 170 people from across Southern Minnesota and South Dakota filled Divine Mercy Hall at the church of St. Ann in Slayton, to learn about and to show solidarity and compassion for our Native American brothers and sisters. The program for the day focused around a Native Girls’ School that existed in Avoca, Minnesota from 1880 to 1893. The sisters of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus from Pennsylvania opened and ran the school at the request of Bishop Ireland. This was

Attendants in Divine Mercy Hall. Credit: Kelly Nelson

Patience, cont'd on pg. 2

Social Concerns Day, cont'd on pg. 8

INSIDE this issue

About Christ the King

The Praying Family page 6

page 7

Why Have Catholic Schools?

page 12

Patience, cont'd from pg. 1 our imagination and our subconscious, during these months. When the moment is right, they will bear fruit." Father Rush told participants that as he listened to discussions over the previous three weeks, "I have had the impression that some of you are struggling with the notion of tradition, in the light of your love of truth." During the Second Vatican Council, when different approaches to the question of tradition were hotly debated, then-Father Joseph Ratzinger - later Pope Benedict XVI - explained the two approaches as being "a 'static' understanding of tradition and a 'dynamic' understanding," Father Rush said. The static version is "legalistic, propositional and ahistorical - relevant for all times and places," he said, while "the latter is personalist, sacramental and rooted in history, and therefore to be interpreted with an historical consciousness." Father Ratzinger wrote that "not everything that exists in the Church must for that reason be also a legitimate tradition," but that a practice must be judged by whether it is "a true celebration and keeping present of the mystery of Christ," Father Rush said. The Second Vatican Council "urged the church to be ever attentive to the movements of the revealing and saving God present and active in the flow of history, by attending to 'the signs of the times' in the light of the living Gospel," he said. As synod members continue their discernment, he said, they are urged "to determine what God is urging us to see - with the eyes of Jesus - in new times," while also being "attentive to the

The Courier Insider



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

Mrs. Michelle Gerlach: appointed Chancellor of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, effective October 2, 2023. Faculties

Rev. Joachim Anumba: a priest of the Diocese of Aba in Nigeria; granted priestly faculties in the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, effective September 27, 2023.

traps - where we could be being drawn into ways of thinking that are not 'of God.'" "These traps," Father Rush said, "could lie in being anchored exclusively in the past, or exclusively in the present, or not being open to the future fullness of divine truth to which the Spirit of Truth is leading the church." To open the assembly's final section of work, Father Radcliffe and Mother Angelini chose the parable of the sower and the parable of the mustard seed from the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark. And Mother Angelini encouraged synod members to "narrate the parable" rather than "issue proclamations" as they continue working over the next year. "Today - in a culture of striving for supremacy, profit and followers, or evasion - the patient sowing of this synod is, in itself, like a profoundly subversive and revolutionary act. In the logic of the smallest of seeds sinking into the ground," she said. "Thus, the synod seems to me to find itself called to dare a synthesis-as-sowing, to open up a path toward reform - new form - which life requires." The synodal process, Father Radcliffe told members, "is more like planting a tree than winning a battle." And the only way to ensure they continue the sowing rather than join the fighting is to "keep our minds and hearts open to the people whom we have met here" and treasure the hopes and fears they shared. "Humanity's first vocation in paradise was to be gardeners," he said. "Adam tended creation, sharing in speaking God's creative words, naming the animals. In these 11 months, will we speak fertile, hope-filled words, or words that are destructive and cynical? Will our words nurture the crop or be poisonous? Shall we be gardeners of the future or trapped in old sterile conflicts? We each choose."

Parochial Administrator

Rev. Shawn Haremza: appointed Parochial Administrator of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in St. Charles and Holy Redeemer Parish in Eyota, effective October 16, 2023. Rev. John Sauer: appointed Parochial Administrator of St. Pius X Parish in Rochester, effective October 16 2023. Parochial Vicar

Rev. Joachim Anumba: appointed Parochial Vicar of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and St. Casimir Parish in Winona, effective September 30, 2023.

The Courier is the official publication of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester 55 West Sanborn, P.O. Box 588, Winona, MN 55987 Vol 114 - 11

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. (ISSN 0744-5490)

November 2023 w The Courier w

Diaconal Ministry

Rev. Mr. Joshua Miller: appointed to Diaconal Ministry at St. Theodore Parish in Albert Lea, effective October 1, 2023, through the corning school year. Presbyteral Council

Rev. Timothy Biren: appointed to the Presbyteral Council, effective October 16, 2023, through December 31, 2024. Catholic Charities

Mr. Mike Ludvik: appointed to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities, effective October 1, 2023.

Articles of Interest

The Testimony of Gary Thomas____________4 'To Walk Together with the Gaze of Jesus'__5 About Christ the King______________________6 The Praying Family_______________________7 New MN Law to Impact Previous Adoptions__8 Meet the Rest of Our New Seminarians____10 Seminarian Education Fund________________11 Catholic Schools News__________________12-13 Come to the Feast________________________14 Diocesan Headlines____________________15-16

The Holy Father's Intention for

November 2023 For the Pope We pray for the Holy Father; as he fulfills his mission, may he continue to accompany the flock entrusted to him, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Mr. Mike McCarvel: appointed to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities, effective October 1, 2023.

Ms. Teresa Speck: appointed to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities, effective October 1, 2023. Dr. Douglas Wood: appointed to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities, effective October 1, 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

Where to Find The Courier

Hard copies are distributed at DOW-R parishes on the first weekend of each month.

An online version may be viewed at courier/index.html

To be added to the home delivery list free of charge, readers should send their names and addresses to: Diocese of Winona-Rochester The Courier 55 W Sanborn St. Winona, MN 55987 or

A Day in the Life of the Synod

Bishop Robert Barron

�s some of you probably

know, I’ve been in Rome for the past three weeks participating as a delegate at the Synod on Synodality. You might also have heard that in order to assure the confidentiality of the proceedings, Pope Francis has asked all the members of the Synod to refrain from disclosing what has been discussed. So, I won’t be providing any juicy insideinformation. But I thought you might find it interesting to know what a typical day at the Synod is like and what the overall atmosphere is. I am residing, along with most of the other American delegates, at the North American College, situated on the Janiculum Hill, about a fifteen-minute walk from St. Peter’s. We commence Bishop's Calendar *indicates all are welcome to attend November 4, Saturday 2 p.m. - Confirmation Mass St. John the Baptist, Mankato

November 5, Sunday *5 p.m. - Mass - Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Rochester November 5-6, SundayMonday New Ressourcement Conference - Rochester

November 8, Wednesday 7 p.m. - Confirmation Mass - St. Mary of the Lake, Lake City

November 9, Thursday 11 a.m. - Mass for Priest Retreat - Winona 1:30 p.m. - Holy Half Hour and DOW-R Finance Council - Winona November 10-16, FridayThursday USCCB General Assembly Baltimore, MD

the conclusion of this lengthy (and frankly, sometimes laborious) undertaking, the group puts together a threeminute summary of the main points of convergence and divergence. Then, one by one, each group shares these summaries with the plenary assembly. When those reports are finished, all of the delegates are permitted to request time for what are called “free interventions.” Though the speeches are, in principle, limited to three minutes, speakers frequently enough go over the limit, and the days when we have to listen, in plenary assembly, to intervention after intervention are, I admit, rather tiresome. The time that we spend in the small groups are the most enjoyable, mostly because it enables us to get to know one another - and we come from an astonishing variety of backgrounds. In the four groups in which I have so far participated, I have met bishops from Liberia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Turkey, Germany and Lithuania - as well as lay delegates from Australia, Canada, Ireland, and Lebanon. I just don’t think there is any other organization in the world that could gather a group of such stunning cultural and geographical diversity. Being part of these groups shows that Jesus’ command to go out to the ends of the world proclaiming the Gospel has been, against all odds and expectations, obeyed.




Thursday-Sunday Good News Conference Orlando, FL

November 21, Tuesday

11 a.m. - Holy Half Hour

and Pension Plan for Priests Board of Trustees - Winona

*6 p.m. - Installation of

Acolyte Mass - St. Peter, Hokah

I should say a word about the technology, which has worked rather impressively and represents a significant improvement over what was available at previous Synods. There are, of course, simultaneous translations available through headsets, but there are also, at each table, cameras that can swivel into position to broadcast the speech of a given individual to the entire assembly. All of it has gone pretty much without a hitch, the great exception being when the system mistook me for my namesake, Sr. Mary Theresa Barron from Ireland! The days are very long, commencing at 8:45 and ending at 7:15 - and we work Monday through Saturday. Almost everyone that I’ve talked to is less than thrilled with the schedule and eager for a bit of a reprieve when we re-gather next year. A saving grace are the coffee breaks, the morning session featuring cappuccinos and the afternoon session a shot of espresso. During these informal times, we small talk, complain a bit, tell stories, and sometimes have some very serious conversations. During the breaks, I have engaged, to name just a few, Cardinal Christof Schonborn of Vienna; Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney; Cardinal Michael Czerny, head of the Vatican Dicastery on the Development of Peoples; Cardinal Gracias of Mumbai; Cardinal Walter Kasper, a theologian whom

November 22, Wednesday 9:30 a.m. - Anointing Mass - St. Anne Extended Healthcare, Winona 11 a.m. - Clergy Personnel Committee - Winona November 28, Tuesday 9:30 a.m. - Holy Hour and College of Consultors Winona 5 p.m. - Mass - Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, Winona


I read with great interest when I was a seminarian; and Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, former head of the Vatican’s office for doctrine. The overall mood of the Synod I would describe as business-like and serene. Important and controversial matters are being discussed, and it is very clear that not everyone is of the same opinion, but I have not heard one raised voice or polemical tone. Very occasionally, following an intervention, a smattering of applause might be heard, but, typically, each speech is met with a respectful silence. When the workday ends, I either go back to the North American College for dinner or, a bit more typically, I go out with friends and colleagues to a Roman restaurant. Since supper in Rome begins at 7:30 or 8:00, I don’t get back to my room until 9:30 or so, at which point, I’m pretty exhausted. As you can undoubtedly sense, the whole Synod experience is a bit of a slog, and, frankly, I’m eager to get home. But it’s also fascinating, even, at times, exhilarating. And in a year, I’ll be back for round two. Please keep all of us synodal participants in prayer.

From the Bishop

Non Nisi Te Domine

with a quiet Mass in a small chapel at seven, and then, after a quick breakfast, we make our way by bus to the Paul VI audience hall, where the Synod is taking place. You have undoubtedly seen photos or videos of this venue, for it is where general audiences with the Pope are held during the colder months of the year. They have cleared out the first fifty or so rows of chairs to open up a space for thirty-six round tables at which the delegates are seated. The leadership of the Synod - including the Pope himself, when he is able to attend - are situated at a round table on a slightly elevated platform at the front of the room. The Synodal day begins with prayer, in either Italian, Spanish, English, or French, and proceeds with a calling of the roll and an introduction to that day’s work, by Cardinal Grech, the General Secretary of the Synod. The focus of our attention is the so-called Instrumentum Laboris (working document), which represents a distillation of two years of preparatory conversations around the world. In our small groups, we consider the various sections of the Instrumentum under the guidance of a facilitator, who rather tightly manages the process. Each person around the table is expected to offer a prepared five-minute contribution, and then, in a second round of discussion, each can react to what the others have said. At

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

November 29, Wednesday *12:10 for







Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Rochester

4 p.m. - Catholic Foundation

of Southern Minnesota Board Meeting



of St. John the Evangelist, Rochester

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Missionary Discipleship

'What Do the Saints Have that 4 I’m Still Searching for?' The Testimony of Gary Thomas

Friends, I read this article on the NATIONAL EUCHARISTIC REVIVAL blog (, and was inspired to share it with you this month. Enjoy, and pray for Gary and all others in the OCIA process of being received into the Church! -Susan Windley-Daoust

�ove for the Eucharist is something

that cannot be taught. To truly believe in Jesus’ power as the Bread of Life, we need more than a class or a book. We need the gift of faith, oftentimes bolstered by experience. No book can teach us the depth of meaning hidden in this intimate access to the Lord of the Universe. However, through the movement of the Spirit, the words and lives of saints who loved the Eucharist can ignite in us a desire to discover in our own lives what they found. “What is it that these great saints, everyday Catholics with courageous love, had that I’m still searching for?” This was the question that prompted Assembly of God pastor and Evangelical artist Gary Thomas to investigate the Catholic Church and its Eucharistic practice. Enlivened by Art

Gary Thomas had been baptized as a Christian when he was in middle school, gravitating toward the Evangelical tradition and hoping one day to become a pastor. His home, academically and spiritually, was always enlivened by the visual arts. He learned to draw, paint, make prints and woodcuts, all of which he still enjoys today. It was through these art mediums and his eye for the visually pleasing that he eventually came to appreciate the timeless beauty of Catholic art. In his own words, Catholic art struck him as “mystical.” By this he meant that Catholic art existed for the sake of Christ, to draw us to him in rich beauty that is part of a living tradition rooted in salvation history. It was art, finally, that drew him from observation to study and led him eventually to dive into the writings of Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, and other mystical writers. “I remember reading Merton and Nouwen’s works and thinking, ‘These guys get me!’” Gary had been surprised to find in these authors companions who seemed to understand him. He later learned that both Merton and Nouwen resonate with many Evangelical Christians. He was particularly moved by the book Return of the Prodigal Son, Nouwen's book-length, personal meditation on Rembrandt's masterpiece The Return of the Prodigal Son. “To have all those elements of art and life come together so beautifully was another step for me in moving toward Catholicism. I felt I wasn’t alone.” November 2023 w The Courier w

Discovering Catholicism Gary continued to build his career teaching Christian drawing, printmaking, and art history at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois for 18 years. While he was living his dream as an artist, he felt the tug of his vocational call to ministry growing stronger. So in between teaching classes, Gary took many courses himself and was shocked at just how much Catholic history and tradition was woven into his Masters in Christian Theology program. “All my life I’d been raised to think there was something wrong with Catholics, and I caught myself thinking, ‘How can this be?’” His curiosity piqued, Gary continued to investigate the Catholic faith while he was pastoring and serving as a hospital chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, Illinois. He met several Catholic priests and befriended a Catholic sister who became his spiritual director. Through them he was introduced to the powerful charism of Ignatian spirituality— most notably, the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. After his move to Chicago, he focused his studies at Loyola University within the Ignatian spiritual tradition and began to integrate what he was learning into his pastoral role at an Assembly of God ecclesial community. He had been moved so deeply by what he had discovered in Catholic spirituality that he had to share it!

Susan Windley-Daoust

Director of Missionary Discipleship

Encountering the Eucharist

All of these experiences led him to embrace the most powerful invitation of all: attending Catholic Mass. Gary attended Mass several times and began to believe in his heart that the bread and wine distributed in Holy Communion were undoubtedly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ—indeed the whole Christ—given to his children out of love for them. This revelation set his heart on fire that one day he entered the Communion procession and received the Eucharist for the first time. “I know now that since I wasn’t Catholic at the time, I wasn’t supposed to do that, but at that moment I have to say that it was a very moving experience for me. In the Evangelical ecclesial community, you see, Communion has always been an extra thing. To have it be front and center, as the Catechism notes “The celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion” (CCC no. 1382) was another thing altogether. This reality attracts me still.” Gary was deeply moved by this meeting with Jesus in the Eucharist, though at the time was hoping for a new pastoral role at a church in Chicago and relocated to the area. As Gary describes this crucial moment in his conversion he remarks with amazement, “just as the door closed on this opportunity, a sign inviting people to investigate OCIA (formerly RCIA—Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, now OCIA—Order of Christian Initiation for Adults) appeared…literally.” Gary’s daily walk took him by a massive banner outside of St. Thomas of Canterbury parish that invited all the passersby to

The Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt

OCIA. During this same time, while at the Catholic Worker house, Gary met someone who connected him to a Franciscan priest, and he received another invitation to join the OCIA program. After all of these beautiful encounters with a Eucharistic people, the time was right for Gary to begin OCIA in winter of 2022. He will be fully received into the Catholic Church in 2024. Full Communion

“For us Evangelicals,” Gary reflects, “the Bible is the be-all, end-all, the connection between the Scriptures and the service. In the Mass, Christ is present in the Word, and in the minister, and in the people assembled, but most especially in the Eucharistic species. It’s beautiful how it all fits together. It feels mystical.” Gary eagerly awaits the day he can receive Jesus in the Eucharist, fully united to the Catholic community and his Lord. “[Abstaining from receiving the Eucharist] has created in me a deeper desire as I move forward,” Gary says, “but I know that next year at the Easter Vigil, when I can receive Jesus in Holy Communion, it will be a very special time.” As Gary nurtures his Eucharistic faith with support on his journey, let us be reminded to pray for him and all of those soon to receive the Sacraments of Initiation, especially the Eucharist, as well as those who are continuing their journey through the Order of Christian Initiation for Adults.

'To Walk Together with A Gaze that Blesses

Todd Graff

Director of Lay Formation & RCIA

Dear brother Cardinals, brother Bishops, sisters and brothers, we are at the opening of the General Assembly of the Synod. Here we do not need a purely natural vision, made up of human strategies, political calculations or ideological battles. We are not here to carry out a parliamentary meeting or a plan of reformation. No. We are here to walk together with the gaze of Jesus, who blesses the Father and welcomes those who are weary and oppressed. So let us start from the gaze of Jesus, which is a blessing and welcoming gaze. -Pope Francis, Homily Opening the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Oct. 4, 2023

�reetings of Peace in these fall days!

In my July article, I referred to a conversation I had been fortunate to have had with the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, [then] Archbishop Christophe Pierre. (He is now Christophe Cardinal Pierre.) I wrote: “In discussing our Holy Father’s leadership of the Church and what guides him, the archbishop said: ‘All that Pope Francis wants is for the Church to be the Church.’” As I indicated in the article, this simple comment struck me deeply. As I was reading Pope Francis’ homily for the Mass opening the Synod on Synodality at the Vatican, I realized that our Holy Father was offering a vision of how he believes the Church is “to be the Church.” I would like to lay out this vision, drawing from his homily, for our reflection and inspiration. His point of reference, throughout the homily, is the “gaze of Jesus.” He reflects on this in terms of, “a gaze that blesses,” and of, “the welcoming gaze of Christ.” Let’s dive a bit deeper into each of these.

Even in the face of the “rejection” and “hardness of heart” our Lord experiences at times in response to his ministry, his gaze remains one that offers blessing and praise. Jesus’ gaze, which we might think of as his way of seeing and being in the world, is directed by a heart that is not “imprisoned by disappointment … does not become bitter … remains serene even in the storm.” And, this gaze of our Lord blesses the Church as we are also called and invited to have the same “glad heart” as we “contemplate” and “discern” God’s action in our present time. Amidst the storms of our time, the Church “does not lose heart, does not seek ideological loopholes, does not barricade itself behind preconceived notions, does not give in to convenient solutions, does not let the world dictate its agenda.” In the face of so many truly serious issues and concerns facing us in today’s world, the Church stands against “a divisive and contentious spirit” – so prevalent in our society – and “turns its eyes to God who is communion and, with awe and humility, blesses and adores him, recognizing him as its only Lord.” Pope Francis then offers us this beautiful description of the Church and her mission in the world: We belong to [God] [and] we exist only to bring him to the world…. to reach out to it with the consolation of the Gospel, to bear witness to God’s infinite love…. [T]his is the primary task of the Synod: to refocus our gaze on God, to be a Church that looks mercifully at humanity. A Church that is united and fraternal, that listens and dialogues; a Church that blesses and encourages, that helps those who seek the Lord, that lovingly stirs up the indifferent, that opens paths in order to draw people into the beauty of faith. A Church that has God at its center and, therefore, is not divided internally and is never harsh externally. This is how Jesus wants the Church, his Bride, to be.

So much of the conversation and ways of relating to one another of our time come from a place of anger, grievance, fear, and accusation. This is not the way of the Church, as our Holy Father clearly reminds us. The Church’s way, coming out of the heart of Christ, is one of “communion … consolation … love … mercy … unity … listening and dialogue … blessing and encouragement … opening paths to draw people into the beauty of the faith.” It is never “divisive … contentious … harsh.” We see the world with the gaze of Jesus, a gaze which always “blesses.” The Welcoming Gaze of Christ

As he does so often, Pope Francis then reflects on the Church’s reaching out to, and walking with, those who are the outcast and marginalized members of our society. The “welcoming gaze of Christ,” throughout his life and ministry, is directed “toward the weakest, the suffering and the discarded.” And, so is Christ’s Church called and invited to be “a welcoming Church … so that we can encounter each other without fear.” He again provides us with an inspiring vision of this welcoming Church:

Lay Formation & RCIA

the Gaze of Jesus'


A Church "with a gentle yoke" (cf. Mt 11:30), which does not impose burdens and which repeats to everyone: "Come, you who are weary and oppressed, come, you who have lost your way or feel far away, come, you who have closed the doors to hope: the Church is here for you! Tutti, tutti, tutti! (Everyone, everyone, everyone!)” We can ask ourselves, “Who do I know, in my life, that feels “weary and oppressed … who has lost [their] way or feels far away … who has closed the doors to hope”? How can I – joined in communion with my sisters and brothers in the faith – reach out to these hurting ones, walk with them in their suffering and discouragement, and bring the love and mercy of Christ to them? How can our Church, the “Body of Christ,” continue to proclaim His Good News in our world today and to be His healing and life-giving presence to “everyone, everyone, everyone” in our community? In the final section of his homily, Pope Francis asserts that to reflect on this blessing and welcoming gaze of Jesus will safeguard us from three distinct temptations: “of being a rigid Church, which arms itself against the world;” “of being a lukewarm Church, which surrenders to the fashions of the world;” and “of being a tired Church, turned in on itself.” Rather, we are invited to “walk together: humble, fervent and joyful;” and, to “walk in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi … [who] took up only the weapons of the Gospel: humility and unity, prayer and charity.” So, in closing, let us return to Cardinal Pierre’s point… For “the Church to be the Church,” in the wisdom and vision of our Holy Father, is: • to keep God at our center, to bless and adore Him, and to bear witness to His infinite love • to be in communion with one another as the Bride of Christ • to reach out and welcome the broken ones, to listen and encourage, and to open paths for all to experience the beauty of the faith • to engage the world not with fear, judgment, or surrender, but with “fervent and joyful” humility, prayer, and charity. Deo Gratias!

And if God's holy people with their shepherds from all over the world have expectations, hopes and even some fears about the Synod we are beginning, let us continue to remember that it is not a political gathering, but a convocation in the Spirit; not a polarized parliament, but a place of grace and communion. The Holy Spirit often shatters our expectations to create something new that surpasses our predictions and negativity. Perhaps I can say that the more fruitful moments of the Synod are those connected to prayer, an atmosphere of prayer, through which the Lord works in us. Let us open ourselves to him and call upon him, the protagonist, the Holy Spirit. Let us allow him to be the protagonist of the Synod! And let us walk with him, in trust and with joy. -Pope Francis, Homily Opening the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Oct. 4, 2023

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Life, Marriage & Family


About Christ the King From

�n the last Sunday of each liturgi-

cal year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, or Christ the King. Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925 with his encyclical Quas primas (“In the first”) to respond to growing secularism and atheism. He recognized that attempting to “thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law” out of public life would result in continuing discord among people and nations. This solemnity reminds us that while governments come and go, Christ reigns as King forever. During the early twentieth century, in Mexico, Russia, and some parts of

Europe, militantly secularistic regimes threatened not just the Catholic Church and its faithful but civilization itself. Pope Pius XI’s encyclical gave Catholics hope and—while governments around them crumbled—the assurance that Christ the King shall reign forever. Jesus Christ “is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind” (Quas primas, 7). Christ’s kingship is rooted in the Church’s teaching on the Incarnation. Jesus is fully God and fully man. He is both the divine Lord and the man who suffered and died on the Cross. One person of the Trinity unites himself to human nature and reigns over all creation as the Incarnate Son of God. “From this it follows not only that Christ is to be adored by angels and men, but that to him as man angels and men are subject, and must recognize his empire; by reason of the hypostatic union Christ has power over all creatures” (Quas primas, 13).

Peter Martin

Director of Life, Marriage & Family and Communications

The Church calls us to acknowledge Christ’s kingship with our whole lives:

He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, ‘as instruments of justice unto God.’ -Quas primas, 33

Today, religious freedom for many people means that we can believe whatever we want in private, but when we enter the public square or the marketplace, we may not speak of anything that relates to our faith. However, the Church acknowledges the reign of Christ, not only privately, but publicly. This solemnity encourages us to celebrate and live out our faith in public. “Thus by sermons preached at meetings and in churches, by public adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed and by solemn processions, men unite in paying homage to Christ, whom God has given them for their King” (Quas primas, 26). For Christians, when our faith is repeatedly marginalized in public life, we can fall into the habit of compartmentalizing our lives. We love Jesus in our private lives, but we shrink from acknowledging the kingship of Christ in social life. When we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, we declare to the world and remind ourselves that Jesus is the Lord of the Church and of the entire universe.

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The Praying Family Dana Thirstrup

" he family that prays together, stays together.” I think most of us have heard this saying that was popularized most recently by St. Mother Teresa, but originally popularized in the Catholic world by an Irish priest named Fr. Patrick Peyton. Fr. Peyton devoted his life and priesthood to promoting family prayer and the rosary, and he was often dubbed as “the Rosary Priest.” In fact, Fr. Peyton got the phrase from another man named Al Scalpone, who was the

We know what you might be thinking. “My two-year-old will only annoy everyone in the Adoration chapel.” Or, “We don’t even have an Adoration chapel, and our parish is closed when our family would be able to be in the church for prayer.” We are aware of the many hurdles that exist when trying to bring your family to Adoration together, so we have put together ideas and materials to best serve many various ages, specifically focusing on the very young. Any amount of time in front of Jesus in the Eucharist for our children is important, even if it’s just for 10 minutes or less. In the Family Adoration Pack you will find “My First Little Adoration Booklet” and two interactive Advent companions for children that includes coloring pages and activities. We will also provide saint cards for them to become more familiarized with Catholic saints. These items come in a Family Adoration Tote Bag so you can store everything together and travel easily back and forth to Adoration. To kick off The Praying Family Advent, the Diocese of Winona-Rochester is hosting Family Adoration at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Owatonna around 4:00pm on Sunday, Dec. 3. Please check our website at or for more updates. This event is free, and we will be offering a free dinner for families after Adoration. To order The Praying Family Advent Pack, you can either purchase a pack at our Family Adoration event, or ask your local Faith Formation Coordinator to fill out The Praying Family Order Form they have all received. Each pack is $10 each, and Family Adoration is open to all ages and demographics, single, married, and with or without children. Know of our prayers for you as you foster your own life of prayer and that of your family so our Church may be a beacon of light in a world of darkness.

Youth Ministry & Faith Formation

Director of Youth Ministry and Faith Formation

vice president of CBS in the 1950’s. Isn’t our media world in a much different place today? Whoever said it, it is true. The family that prays together, stays together. St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta also said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” A healthy family prayer life is so important that it can actually change the world! One roadblock to family prayer can be knowing how to pray. We know it’s important to pray, but how do we actually do it as a family in a way that is engaging to all members, from young to old? The Diocese of Winona-Rochester has offered The Praying Family during Advent and Lent as a way of giving families tools and materials to pray together, fostering a life of prayer all year. This Advent, we are offering a Family Adoration Starter Pack that encourages families to sit with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration.


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Catholic Charities


New Minnesota Law to

Impact Previous Adoptions �innesota’s adoption laws are

changing, and the updates may affect many individuals in the adoption triad. When an individual is born and adopted in Minnesota, an original birth certificate is created, listing their birthparent(s) names and the name originally given to them. For individuals adopted before July 1, 1982, original birth records are currently confidential, and an adopted adult can only access this information if their birthparent signed an affidavit allowing their information to be released. For those adopted after July 1982, an adopted adult can request their birthparent’s name and last known address from the state of Minnesota, unless the birthparent has filed an objection. Based on legislation passed this year, these affidavits to allow or restrict identifying information will expire on June 30, 2024. After that date, all adopted adults who are at least

18 years old will be able to request and receive their original birth certificates from the State of Minnesota. Birth records show the names of birthparents, the adopted person’s name at birth, the place of birth, and additional details. A Contact Preference form is available through the Minnesota Vital Records so that birth parents can specify if they would like to be contacted or not. When sent to adopted adults, the completed forms will be attached to the original birth records. This change in Minnesota law could be a wonderful opportunity for some who have been hoping for a connection, and it may cause concern for birth parents who do not want to be identified. It is important that birth parents complete a Contact Preference Form indicating their desire to be contacted or not, and it is equally important that adopted adults honor the wishes indicated on the form they might receive. Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota aims to support adopted adults, birth parents, and adoptive parents through these changes and the potential

Social Concerns Day, cont'd from pg. 1 the only church-run Native Boarding School within what is now the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, and although it existed briefly in the grand scheme of the history of Native Boarding Schools, its history is interesting and seems somewhat different from other schools. In 2018, the Catholic Daughters of Slayton became aware that six of the girls at the school died from disease while at Avoca, and are buried in the Catholic cemetery there. There were no grave mark-

John Eagle. Credit: Lisa Kremer November 2023 w The Courier w

ers for these girls, so the Catholic Daughters took up the project of raising money to have a stone made and placed on their graves. A memorial ceremony was held when the stone was placed, but since then more interest and more questions have arisen about the school in Avoca. The Diocesan Social Concerns Committee and Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota decided this was an important topic to learn more about, so with the encouragement of the Diocesan Curia, they pursued having the program. A subcommittee made up of local people in the Murray County area was formed to plan and further research the possibilities. John Eagle, a Dakota tribal elder, was the advisor for this committee. The subcommittee had incredible enthusiasm for the project, and did a lot of work with planning, promoting, and implementing the program. Our keynote speakers were local

Wakpa Ipakson Singers. Credit: Lisa Kremer

Sarah Vetter, LISW

Director of Child & Family Services Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota

outcomes. In addition to providing search and reunion services, our social workers can answer questions, assist in completing the preference forms, and help process the wide range of emotions that surface for those considering a reunion. We have assisted numerous adopted adults in acquiring non-identifying medical information, shared letters between birth parents and their adult children, and supported birth parents in deciding whether reconnecting is right. We welcome the opportunity to answer your questions about adoption, birth certificates, and your options for searching. You can reach a Catholic Charities post-adoption worker at 507-287-2047.

Gravestone for girls who died at the Native Girls' School. Credit: Isaac Landsteiner

historians Janet Timmerman and Anita Gaul, who have done extensive research about the school. Sr. Marie Ursino, of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus in Pennsylvania, also joined us to represent her religious order. Our special guests were the Native Americans who came mainly from South Dakota, representing the communities that the girls came from. The day included not just historical presentations, but also prayer (both in Lakota and English), Native food, informational displays, and Native singing and drumming by the Wakpa Ipaksan singers from Flandreau. We ended the day with Mass and a Native ceremony at the cemetery, led by a Lakota ceremonial leader from the Rosebud community, Russell Eagle Bear, and other Native Americans. The feedback from the day has been overwhelmingly positive, and connections were made with the people of the tribes in South Dakota. The relationships and the discussions will not end here, but will continue, as we work together to honor the wishes of the family members of the girls buried in Avoca regarding their final resting place.

Lisa Kremer is the Coordinator of Parish Social Ministry in the Worthington Deanery for Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota.


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Meet the Rest of

Our New Seminarians! Last month, The Courier printed introductions submitted by three of five new seminarians in formation for the Diocese of Winona-Rochester: Philips John Paul, Isaiah Lippert and Timothy Zappa. This month, we complete the set by introducing STEPHEN FERRAZZANO and MICHAEL RAHM. Once again, I ask you to please pray for these men! Stephen Ferrazzano

Hello everyone! My name is Stephen Ferrazzano, and I am from St. James, Minnesota. I am an only child and grew up in a Protestant family. I grew up in a small town called Tracy, Minnesota, in the Diocese of New Ulm, where I went to elementary school and high school. There I was on the speech team and concert band (I never was much of an athlete). I decided I wanted to be a pastor when I was about to graduate high

school, so I went to the University of Sioux Falls for a degree in theology. There, I converted when I was a sophomore, having a conversion experience while studying Church history and the Church Fathers, and also, during my studies, I started to learn more about the Catholic Church and fell in love with it right away and came to realize it was the true Church started by Christ, and took St. Thomas Aquinas as my patron saint. And, by God’s good grace, my parents came to the Catholic Faith a year after me. I am 24 now, and have been a Catholic for a little over five years. During my conversion, I had a pull to consider the priesthood. I talked with various priests on the matter and discerned the religious life for a while as well. Since I was a new convert, I had to wait a couple years to consider applying to seminary. So, after college, I worked in retail and in a tax office, and had a brief career as an emergency dispatcher. I am currently in my propadeutic year at Mater Redemptoris in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Whatever our Lord has planned for my life, I take solace in the fact that Christ is by my side through it all. May God bless you all! You’ll be in my prayers and please keep us in yours.

Rev. Jason Kern Director of Vocations

Michael Rahm

Stephen Ferrazzano

My family and I moved to Luverne when I was around three years old. That's where I grew up and lived all the way through high school. I remember I really enjoyed hearing the Bible stories as a kid, but never felt my faith was super strong. In middle school, I went through a period of seriously questioning and doubting the faith. By the grace of God, and through the example of some holy men at St. Catherine's, I started going to Mass in high school. In 2018, I graduated from Luverne and went to study chemisty at the University of Minnesota. I got involved with the Catholic student group on campus and really started to grow in my faith. I joined a men's group. I started to pray every day. And I went on retreats where I encountered God as a real person. It was during my time as a student that I started taking God's plan for my life seriously. I graduated with my degree in 2021, and, in praying for God's plan for me after college, I felt called to step into college ministry. I worked for Saint Paul's

Students from St. Joseph, Sacred Heart, Holy Trinity and Christ the King Parishes received the Great Promise Award, sponsored by the St. Serra Club of the Owatonna Area, on Saturday 10/14 and Sunday 10/15. The recipients are: Julia Anhorn, Lanie Chambers, Laura Herget, Hailey Kubicek, Ben Laughlin, Elliot Schiller, Colin Schultz and Emery Zak. Congratulations!! This award is presented to our youth who through their example of service, generosity, and leadership show great promise as future Catholic leaders. The award consists of a certificate, a You Cat (Youth Catechism) and a handmade blue rosary that was made by Pete Connor. The St. Serra Club of Owatonna Area promotes and prays for vocations to the priesthood, religious life, married and single life. Bishop Barron has requested that each of us pray even more for the increase of priests, especially within our diocese. For more information, contact St. Joseph Parish Office: 507-451-4845.

Photos and caption submitted by JOANN EICHTEN, a member of the St. Serra Club of the Owatonna area. November 2023 w The Courier w

Michael Rahm

Outreach for two years at Northeastern University in Boston. That city is a whole other world from southern Minnesota, but I loved my time there. It was in Boston that I experienced a call to the priesthood. I'm so excited to be back in Minnesota, and to be closer to my home in the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. Some quick things about me: I love to read, run, and play guitar. One of my favorite things in the whole world is backpacking in the mountains. And I'm so grateful for all the support I've received these last few months, from everyone at St. Catherine's and throughout our diocese. Thanks be to God for His great love and the wonderful plan He has for each of us.

Seminarian Education Fund Appeal

Benefits Diocese of Winona-Rochester Seminarians 11 Executive Director Catholic Foundation of Southern Minnesota

The following letter from BISHOP ROBERT BARRON was sent to parishioners in the Diocese of WinonaRochester. To discuss options for donating to the Seminarian Education Fund, contact Monica Herman at 507-858-1276 or, or donate online at by clicking "donate."

�reetings in the Lord Jesus Christ,

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus calls each person by name to follow Him. There are young men in our communities whom Jesus is calling to follow Him as a priest, and to bring

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136:1). As I have begun my final year of seminary in preparation for priesthood, my heart has been filled with awe and gratitude at the sheer goodness of the Lord who called me from before my birth and who has cared for me so generously along the way. In a particular way I thank each of you who have been a part of His providential care through your financial support and prayers which make our formation for the priesthood possible. Your generosity equips us to share the life and warmth of Jesus Christ with a world desperately in need of Him, especially through the Eucharist and Reconciliation. I and my brother seminarians are deeply humbled by your support and we’re excited to be on mission for Christ with you!

-Deacon Brian Klein Configuration IV, St. Paul Seminary Home Parish: St. Casimir, Wells

the Eucharist to His people. His call is an invitation to become intimate friends with Him. However, becoming a priest, let alone an intimate friend of Jesus, does not happen without the support of the Church. One cause for celebration, is the fact that the Diocese of Winona-Rochester has twenty-four young men in various stages of priestly education and formation. Seven of them are currently at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Minnesota, one attends Mater Redemptoris House of Formation in La Crosse, Wisconsin, fourteen are studying at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, one at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy, and one is participating in a Pastoral Year within a parish in the Diocese. The Seminarian Education Fund was created to assist in covering the expenses of the men who are attending seminary and discerning a life of service to the parishes and faithful across southern Minnesota. The blessing of these many vocations presents a challenge: the cost of priestly formation averages $43,000 for tuition, housing, and additional expenses. With these men in priestly studies, that total is over $1,030,000. The Seminarian Education Fund covers a portion of the cost of room and board for Juniors, Seniors, and Pre-Theology semi-

narians attending Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary and all the educational expenses of those who attend Major Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, or are participating in a Journey or Pastoral year. Would you be willing to make an investment in the future of the diocese by helping support the men who will bring the sacraments, priestly presence, and spiritual guidance to you, your children, and your grandchildren? My deepest gratitude goes to you for your prayers and many other contributions. Our seminarians feel the love of the people in the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. More than ever, we need faithful priests with a dedication to their vocation and to the people in their care. Please pray for them as they continue their formation and education, and consider how you might join me in the task of forming future priests. God Bless You, Most Rev. Robert Barron, Bishop of Winona-Rochester

Due to the incredible and generous support of all you who contribute to the Seminarian Education Fund, I have been able to enter into seminary formation more fully and freely. While education costs continue to prove to be a great burden on much of society, God, in His providence, provides generous donors, like you, here in the diocese to help alleviate the burden. I have always been deeply moved by the support we receive as seminarians. Your support makes our education possible, and provides great encouragement, all of which allows us to, God willing, serve as priests of Jesus Christ. For this I would like to express gratitude on behalf of all our seminarians. Please know of our prayers for you and your families.

As St. Pope John Paul II says, life with Christ is a wonderful adventure. Time and again, I wonder at the gift that I have of being able to give myself and my life to God and His people in this journey towards the priesthood. Time and again I have also wondered at the tremendous generosity of God’s people for us seminarians by their prayers and support. I cannot tell you how tremendously humbling it is to have the freedom to say yes to God and grow in holiness and towards His vocation for me, thanks to the financial support of those who believe in the mission of Christ’s Church and continue to trust in God’s plan for the salvation of the world. You have my sincere thanks for saying yes to God in your own daily lives, and for lifting us up in prayer and support.

-Riley Becher

-John Paul Bickerstaff

Configuration II, St. Paul Seminary Home Parish: Pax Christi, Rochester

Discipleship III, IHM Seminary Home Parish: Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Winona

Catholic Foundation

Monica Herman

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Why Have Catholic Schools? 12 By MICHAEL GERARD

�hy should we bear the burden of

Catholic Schools

providing a private school education for Catholic children? Let us ask Jesus. "Then Jesus approached and said to them, 'All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you'" Matthew 28:18-20. We must remember that when Jesus speaks in the Bible, he is not only speaking to those standing within earshot. Jesus is speaking to you and me. According to Him, we must make disciples. Our Catholic forebearers understood this need and built schools to complete this mission for our children. Mother Teresa famously said, If you want world peace, you must start in your own house. It is the same with making disciples. We must begin with those closest to us. The Catholic Church teaches that the parents are the first educators of their children. It is the responsibility of Catholic parents to teach their children the faith. Teaching the faith is best done by living the faith. Fitness gurus who don't look like they could jog to the refrigerator will have few converts. The same is true when teaching the Catholic faith. We must live the good Catholic life if we are to teach it. Our schools support our families in their mission to make disciples. Our society is straying further and further from the lives Jesus would want us to live. Our Catholic schools serve not only as teaching institutions of the catechism and academics, but Catholic schools also serve as an essential refuge from the hopelessness and helplessness that is common in our secular society. Jesus teaches us to be not afraid and to have hope in eternal life. This message is good for us; we should face life with hope instead of hopelessness. Our Catholic schools help our Catholic families raise hopeful, faithful disciples.

Our Catholic Schools win souls for Christ and produce disciples. A well-run, mission-driven, faithful Catholic school is a place where we can practice our faith. Being a Catholic is a lot like going to the gym. The more times you go and the longer you spend time there, the better your chance of success. People become healthier even if they do nothing but sit at the gym. Why? Their outlook is more optimistic; they may walk on a treadmill or pick up a stray dumbbell, and they are not eating junk food. Cynics often critique churchgoers by saying that attending Church makes you a Christian as much as standing in a garage makes you a car. Indeed, we do have our share of Pharisees who count sins and sneer at the unclean. However, they are the exception and get their reward in this life. Going to church is a good thing and is, in fact, required each Sunday. We may have bent halos, but we can become great saints. We say we practice our faith because even the greatest of saints admit they were far from perfect. It is the same with our Catholic schools. Our Catholic schools provide a fertile environment for everyone to grow. In our schools, souls are strengthened, and disciples are made. We need your help. We need prayers. Our Church thrives on prayer. According to the greatest saints, prayer is the most important thing we can do. The Gospel urges us to keep asking God for what we need. He will not deny us if we ask him. We need to lift each other up in prayer. Please pray for our families, teachers, principals and benefactors. We will make sure to keep praying for you. We are grateful for your prayers. We need teachers. At the beginning of my career, I worked in public schools. I worked in the last chance schools for kids on parole or who had flunked out of all their classes. Many kids had social, emotional, economic, or behavioral problems. Many had never heard the good news of the Gospel. They had no standard to aspire to. They regularly violated the Ten Commandments. Let me tell you. You will have a very hard life if you swear, lie, steal, covet, and disrespect your parents. It was a hard job. I wanted to share my faith with them. God calls all of us to be our best. I found myself tap-dancing around the best self-help book ever made. I felt as if I was working

On Saturday, October 7, Cotter Schools participated in Kasson-Mantorville's 7th Annual Epilepsy Awareness and Fundraiser Soccer Game Day! This event has proven a great opportunity for the boys’ and girls’ soccer programs to work in conjunction with one another and others to shine a light on the challenges of epilepsy, to bring multiple schools and programs together for a day of awesome soccer and fun, and to raise money for the SE MN Epilepsy Foundation. Through t-shirts sale, goalie shoot-out, the bleacher bucket runs, and silent auction donations, more than $3,000 was raised for the SE MN Epilepsy Foundation, with Cotter’s help. Kasson Mantorville Soccer programs want to extend their thanks to the Cotter players and fans for supporting this Awareness and Fundraiser. Photos and caption submitted by ELIZABETH OOLMAN, a parishioner of Holy Family Church in Kasson. November 2023 w The Courier w

Deacon Sean Costello

Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Michael Gerard

with one hand tied behind my back. It was not until I was teaching in Catholic schools that I felt free as a teacher. If you know a teacher who is exasperated with modern education, suggest they try Catholic schools. We are blessed to be able to use the wisdom of the ages when we teach. Our history is full of great redemption stories. People of all ages should consider working in Catholic Schools. We need your support. Tradition is the vote of the dead. Our system of Catholic schools was handed down by people who have gone on to meet our maker. It is up to us to honor their sacrifice. You can support us with your time, talent, and treasure. We need volunteers to read to our struggling students. We need people to volunteer to sit on our school boards, parish councils, finance councils, home and school, fundraising, and all the various committees. Good, strong supporters of our Catholic schools are helping support the mission Jesus gave us to make disciples. Finally, we need students. Please prayerfully consider sending your children to our schools. Every child in our school is a victory for God. We are working hard to ensure that our schools are pleasing to God. What a great place to be. Our students go on to do great things. Our mission is to ensure that they go on to do things for the greater glory of God. Please join me in our mission to make disciples and to teach them to observe all that Jesus has taught us. Together, we can make the world a better place. Thank you for your support and God bless. Michael Gerard is the assistant superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Winona-Rochester.

Ben Bushlack Scholarships Awarded Submitted by TERESA CHIRPICH

So Far This Year at

am sure Jesus smiled, too! I have seen her thoughtfulness in helping others in school, in her classroom and with her family. I am very honored to award the first scholarship to Abby Chirpich.” “The second Ben Bushlack award goes to a young gentleman that I have had the opportunity to watch grow into a young man of faith. One whose words and actions, enthusiasm and effort reflect the kind of person he is—responsible and helpful. When I first met this young man, he would speak with love and pride for his family. Family is very important to him. I

Catholic Schools

The Ben Bushlack Scholarship was awarded to two St. Casimir’s School students on October 17th at St. Casimir Church in Wells. Ben’s family and friends offer this memorial scholarship to students who exhibit the qualities that represent Ben’s infectious personality including his strong faith-filled life, the giving of self to others and his love of the educational environment. Ben was the perfect example of how we must face adversities in life in an enthusiastic, optimistic and unselfish manner. Ben’s family chose his former teacher, Linda Raimann, to present this year’s awards. In doing so, she stated, “The Lord gave Ben so many special blessings that continue to live on in the lives of those he touched, and I am blessed to be one of them. Ben was a friend to everyone—young and old alike. He was always there to offer a helping hand and occasionally get into a bit of mischief himself! When we have the love of Jesus, Jesus will use us to be a blessing to others, even when things get difficult. Ben had that love.” Ms. Raimann went on to present the awards saying, “The first award goes to a young lady whom I have seen grow in her faith through the years and now also as an altar server. I watched her one Sunday skipping down the aisle with a big smile on her face as she headed to the altar to serve. It made me smile, and I


often see him proudly serving at Sunday Mass. Ben’s second award goes to Calvin Jewison." Abby is the daughter of Kyle and Wendy Chirpich and Calvin is the son of Nicholas and Laura Jewison. The Ben Bushlack Scholarship award comes with a financial gift that is applied to the selected student’s family tuition at St. Casimir’s School

Teresa Chirpich is the office manager for St. Casimir School in Wells.

Crucifixion School, La Crescent Submitted by LORI DATTA

rucifixion School in La Crescent (the Apple Capital of Minnesota) is a Pre-School through Sixth-Grade school. We started the school year with a prayer service in the church, and the sixth-graders were given a special blessing. At Mass on September 6, Father Evans named Nevaeh Wieser as the head server at weekday school Masses. Neaveh’s parents were there to present her with the Head Server Cross. Father also blessed all those who are servers for Mass. This year, each student is finding a patron saint.

They are doing research on their saints. They are finding out their feast days, life history, what they are the patron saints of, etc. Each class will also have a patron saint that represents the class, and the students need to do research and be able to explain why they chose the saint they did for their classroom. We are learning a lot about a lot of saints. Studying and learning about saints will help us on All Saints Day. Students are allowed to dress as their saint or wear something that represents their saints. For example, if a student’s saint is the patron saint of sports, he/she might wear a sports outfit. If the saint is a patron saint of art, they might dress as an artist. It

will be fun to see all the different “saints.”

Lori Datta teaches sixth grade at Crucifixion School in La Crescent.

Marathon for Non-Public Schools

Submitted by JEN SLATER

n Wednesday, October 4, at St. Mary’s Catholic School, Madelia, students participated in our Marathon for Non-Public Schools! Every year we complete a color run with the help of many parent volunteers. We get to run or walk a mile and get colored each lap! These kids really enjoy this activity. Our goal this year was $7000. We are so very

close to reaching our goal. If anyone is willing to donate, please call the school office (507) 642-3324. Each family bringing in money received the rewards of candy bar, extra recess and a skip assignment certificate. When we reach our goal the sixth graders choose to throw water balloons at the teachers. This is always a fun time for the students and families! Jen Slater is the principal of St. Mary's School in Madelia.

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Come to the Feast



Deacons are called to reach out to all those on the edges of the Church. We are to be heralds of the Gospel. We bring them back into the parishes, into the life of faith in community. Reflecting on this, and the Eucharistic Revival in our country, I offer the following reflection.

od only gives the best in southern Minnesota. He always provides the best. His love knows no bounds. God invites us to the Feast. And he invites everyone throughout our diocese to come to the Eucharist. He wants us to accept his invitation. Every Sunday, he calls out, "Everything is ready! Come to the Feast!" Yes, everything is ready, every Sunday. All are invited, but as we hear in the Scriptures, the chosen are few. Although God calls all, he chooses those who accept his invitation. Why? Is God limited in some way? No, of course not, but He respects our freedom. It is like a marriage proposal. A man can choose a woman to be his wife - or a woman choose a man - only if the desired one accepts the invitation. He cannot choose her against her will. He can only invite her to marital intimacy. So too, God will not coerce us to accept his invitation to come to the Feast. Let us not make light of this invitation. Let us not ignore it. For on the altar, God is with us, comforting and forgiving us, removing our shame and destroying death. Do you believe? Will you accept? People have asked me, "Deacon Bob, why do you go to Mass every Sunday? Be honest! Because you want to or because you have to?" My response is always, "Both!" I want to be here and I have to be

here because God has invited me and I accept. How can I refuse his invitation? How can I not want to come to give thanks for all his blessings and graces? He gives only the best. How can I not be compelled to be here, believing in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? Yes, Jesus is truly present at each Mass. He gives only the best; he gives Himself. Each Mass is a miracle. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is made present.... Jesus, his body and blood, his soul and his divinity.... appearing as bread and wine. But it is more than a banquet. It is the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Every Mass, in a miraculous way, the priest makes present that one sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross that occurred two thousand years ago. How can we not want - have - to be here? More and more, Catholics are not taking seriously the invitation, indeed the obligation, to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. We are too attached to worldly affairs. The world seems almost to insist we ignore the Lord's invitation. Too many of us listen to the world and not to God. We who are deacons and priests must become better preachers of the Word, for we have not preached as boldly as we must in today’s world. The people are hungry. This is my challenge to each of you: in the next month, invite just one person to come with you to the Feast. You come and bring others with you! May God bless your efforts! Let us pray: Help us Lord to disdain our vain excuses. We want to attend the banquet. Don't allow our pride or sensuality or attachments or idle curiosity to get in the way of our attendance. Make sure that we show up. We have been invited by the wealthy one who became poor for our sake. We will come as sick people, since we need the divine doctor to cure our ills. We will come as lame people, and we will tell him: "Keep steady my steps according to thy promise" (St. Augustine).

Deacon John Hust

Director of the Permanent Diaconate

Deacon Robert Yerhot serves the parishes of St. Mary in Caledonia and St. Patrick in Brownsville. Bishop Michael Izen, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis, joined his home parish, St. John Vianney in Fairmont, on August 27 for a celebration of his recent installation. The day included Mass with a choir including Bishop Izen's sister and niece, his siblings carrying up the gifts, and a church filled with family and friends. Later, the bishop gave blessings and enjoyed his favorite foods at a reception, which featured a slideshow of pictures of him, from baby to bishop.

Photo submitted by TAMARAE SCHMIDT, a parishioner of St. John Vianney Church in Fairmont.

Thank you to the following parishes who have met their goals for the 2023 Catholic Ministries Appeal since our Feb. 18-19 kick-off: All Saints Madison Lake All Saints New Richland Christ the King Byron Christ the King Medford Crucifixion La Crescent Holy Family Kasson Holy Redeemer Eyota Holy Spirit Rochester Immaculate Conception Kellogg November 2023 w The Courier w

Immaculate St. Casimir St. Joseph Conception Winona Good Thunder St. Clair St. Columba St. Joseph Pax Christi Iona Waldorf Rochester St. Columban St. Luke Queen of Angels Preston Sherburn Austin St. Finbarr Resurrection St. Mary Grand Meadow Rochester Chatfield St. Francis of Assisi Sacred Heart St. Mary Rochester Brewster Lake Wilson St. Gabriel Sacred Heart Fulda St. Mary Hayfield Winona St. Ignatius St. Ann Spring Valley Slayton St. Patrick St. Anthony St. John Baptist LeRoy Westbrook de la Salle St. Peter Dodge Center St. Bernard Hokah Stewartville St. John St. Rose of Lima Nepomucene St. Bridget Lewiston Winona Simpson

From the New CCW President 15


installed president of the Winona-Rochester Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. I’m Shelly Holt, from St. Teresa Parish in Mapleton. I’m married to Jeff, have four adult children who have blessed us with 11 (soon to be 12) grandchildren, of which 11 are boys!! My involvement with the Council started when we moved to Mapleton and I was invited to become an active member back in 1983. I have served on the local, area and diocesan levels of Council since then. In my parish I serve as a cantor, lector, Eucharistic minister, Rosary leader, hospitality and am a member of our Sonrise Choir. In the past I also taught faith formation for various grades and Confirmation. My overarching theme for my two-year term will be God Helps Us Write Our Story. Here is the story of how the Council of Catholic Women was established. Our Diocesan Council of Catholic Women is affiliated with the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) which is part of the international World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO). In March 1920, NCCW was founded under the auspices of the U.S. Catholic bishops. The bishops had witnessed the important work done by Catholic women’s organizations during World War I and had the wisdom to call for the founding of NCCW to bring these organizations together. This gave U.S. Catholic women a unified voice, a national service program and the ability to reach out to each other through a national organization. As Catholic women we are represented at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the United Nations, the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO), Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, and Religious Alliance Against Pornography. We collaborate with Catholic Relief Services, Cross Catholic Outreach, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Mobilizing Network, and many more organizations. Pray with me our Prayer to Our Lady of Good Counsel, the Patroness of the NCCW. O God of Heavenly Wisdom, who has given us Mary, Mother of Jesus, to be our counselor, grant that in all things we may have the grace to seek her motherly help in this life and so enjoy her presence in the life to come. O Mother of Good Counsel, Patroness of the National Council of Catholic Women, intercede for us so we may be wise, courageous, and

loving leaders of the Church. Help us, dear mother, to know the mind of Jesus, your son. May the Holy Spirit fill us with reverence for God’s creation, and compassion for all God’s children. May our labors of love on earth enhance the reign of God and may God’s gifts of faith and living hope prepare us for the fullness of the world to come. Amen. Won’t you join with us and share how God has written your story (so far)? Check out w w w. n c c w. org for more information!

In the Diocese

� would like to introduce myself as the newly

Shelly Holt is the president of the Winona-Rochester D i o c e s a n Council of Catholic Women.

Participants at the Winona-Rochester Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Convention held October 7, 2023, at Queen of Angels Church in Austin November 2023 w The Courier w

November 2023

The Courier

Minnesota Catholic Conference

Inside the Capitol Uniting and Renewing the Pro-Life Movement

�t is no secret, the 2023 legislative session set

back Minnesota’s pro-life movement, especially regarding the protection of women and girls’ health and safety. But there is no time for lamentations. Instead, we must move forward in a united and collaborative way to create a state where every preborn child is welcomed in life and respected by law. But what does that look like, and how do we get there? These were questions posed at the Pro-Life Leadership Summit on September 27. Pro-Life Summit

This vital Summit - spearheaded by the Minnesota Catholic Conference and other key partners - brought together more than 140 pro-life leaders including medical professionals, pregnancy resource center staff, lobbyists, lawyers, sidewalk counselors, post-abortive women, parish leaders, pastors, and more. The goal was to start a discussion about building a movement dedicated to making abortion unlawful, unnecessary, and unthinkable. Archbishop Hebda opened the Summit by acknowledging the discouragement felt in Minnesota following the brief jubilation of the Dobbs decision. He emphasized the importance of the pro-life community coming together with respect for the complementarity of gifts and roles within the movement and with a renewed commitment to creating a common vision. This hope for renewal can strengthen our mission

and provide us a common path forward to incorporate others into the work. Attendees agreed with the Archbishop’s call for unity and collaboration. The Summit provided the space for all areas of the movement to freely share their successes, challenges, and hopes. Although not everyone may agree with one another all the time, cultivating space for frank discussions and strategic conversations in a respectful manner is an important component in moving us forward together. A key takeaway from the Summit is the desire to build on common principles and identify new modes of collaboration. The end goal we all share is to reduce abortions in Minnesota by offering a winsome defense of the humanity of the unborn and by walking with women in need. What Is Next?

Difficulties we face in the courts, legislature, and culture emphasize the importance of generating a unified movement. During the 2024 session, we expect proabortion proponents to continue pushing. In Illinois, for example, a new law imposes another level of control over the speech used at pregnancy resource centers and ultimately requires them to refer for abortions. We will likely see this bill, and others, introduced here. In the courts, a group of MOMS - Mothers Offering Maternal Support - is working to challenge the Doe v. Minnesota ruling in state district court that struck down the parental notification

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")


November 11, Saturday Christ the King Parish, Byron, will hold its 13th Annual Fall Expo from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Arts-Crafts & Home-Based Businesses. Baked goods, beverages and Arby’s lunch available. Get a jump start on your holiday shopping. 202 4th St NW in Byron. December 3, Sunday

Holy Family Parish, Kasson, will hold its Winter Warm-Up Soup Lunch, Bake Sale & Silent Auction from 11 a.m. - 1p.m. in Marian Hall. Chili & other soups (with crackers), and homebaked apple crisp dessert. Hot dog kids' meals also available. Cost: free-will donation. Bake Sale to feature many homebaked goodies, and the Silent Auction a wide variety of gift baskets and other items. All are welcome! 1904 Mantorville Ave N in Kasson.

requirement for minors seeking abortions. The ruling puts young girls in danger should any complications occur after she has left the abortion facility. Ultimately, this battle goes beyond the legislature and courts. It is in the hearts and minds of ourselves, our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and communities. If you are unsure how to share your pro-life convictions, watch our 90-minute webinar featuring Emily Albrecht to learn practical dialogue tips for changing hearts and minds: www.mncatholic. org/practical_dialogue_tips. Action Alert: Walk with Moms in Need

Throughout Respect Life Month (but also year-round) we encourage you to learn more about the practical ways you can walk with moms in need. Visit to take the challenge and share your story.

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