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New April 2017 | Vol. 38 | No. 4


The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo

Welcome New Catholics received around the world on Easter Vigil


From Bishop Folda: Easter: A time for new life

Saints, beauty and the present moment: Diocese celebrates REDEEMED Women’s Conference

Our hearts yearn for a relationship with Christ by Sister Mary Pieta NEW EARTH MARCH 2017





April 2017 Vol. 38 | No. 4

ON THE COVER 14 Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program prepares new Catholics for their faith journey The Rite of Election is held each year on the first Sunday

of Lent at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo, where those who wish to join the Catholic faith are sent on their Lenten journey towards full communion with the faithful.



Easter: A time for new life



Pope Francis’ April prayer intentions


Ask a priest: Evil – what’s a person to do?



Saints, beauty and the present moment: Diocese celebrates REDEEMED Women’s Conferences


10 Diocesan website features new page with Parish Locator Map 10 Bishop Folda meets with SMP Health System Leadership in Arizona


11 St. Joseph parish in Devils Lake celebrates patron’s feast day by caring for others 11

Monsignor Joseph R. Huebsch, 99, was a friend to many


13 Tattered Pages

25 Sister Life: Special Edition

Sister Mary Pieta of the Sisters of Life explains how how hearts yearn for a relationship with Christ.

A review of “Night’s Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story” by Sally Read

26 Catholic Action


27 Seminarian Life

20 The Center for Ministry Development returns to diocese 21 Youth 2000 brings Real Presence front and center


24 Stories of Faith

Father Bert Miller shares his experience washing the feet of a stranger.




Christopher Dodson discusses the difference between individual and communal views of freedom. Seminarian Christopher Finneman shares how his eyes were opened to the Holy Spirit.

28 Stewardship

Steve Schons explains the option of a Donor Advised Fund.

29 Twenty Something

Guest columnist Christina Capecchi shares how a surgical waiting room reveals quiet acts of mercy.

ON THE COVER: Bishop John Folda greets candidates and catechumens at the Rite of Election March 5 at the Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo. These individuals received the Sacraments of Initiation during the Easter Vigil. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)



(ISSN# 10676406) Our mission is to serve Catholic parishes in Eastern N.D. as the official monthly publication of the Diocese of Fargo.


Most Rev. John T. Folda Bishop of Fargo


Paul Braun

Assistant editor Kristina Lahr


Stephanie Drietz - Drietz Designs


Parish contributions make it possible for each registered Catholic household in the diocese to receive 11 issues per year. For those living outside the Diocese wanting a subscription, an annual $9/year rate is requested.





30 Events across the diocese 31 A glimpse of the past 32 Life’s milestones


34 World needs those who can bring God’s hope, consolation, says Pope Francis SPECIAL SECTION – SIDEWALK STORIES 35 The case for life intricately linked to our Catholic faith

Send address changes or subscription requests to: New Earth 5201 Bishops Blvd S., Suite A Fargo, ND 58104

Contact Information

Use the following contact information to contact the New Earth staff: (701) 356-7900 Deadline to submit articles, story ideas, advertisements and announcements for the May issue is April 19, 2017. All submissions are subject to editing and placement. New Earth is published by the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, a nonprofit North Dakota corporation, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S, Suite A Fargo, ND 58104. (701) 356-7900. Periodical Postage Paid at Fargo, ND and at additional mailing offices. Member of the Catholic Press Association NEW EARTH MARCH 2017



Easter: A time for new life


f Lent is a time for conversion, then Easter is a time of joy and new life. Not only do we rejoice in the Resurrection of Jesus and the new life he promises us, but we also celebrate the new life of those who are received into the Church during the Easter season. As a young priest, one of my favorite parish duties was teaching the RCIA class (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). It was always uplifting to greet newcomers and share the faith with those who had a desire to learn more about Christ and his Church. Needless to say, their questions were challenging, but they were always sincere in their desire to understand. And it was a special joy to accompany them as they made the decision to enter the Church through the sacraments of initiation at Easter. Several weeks ago on the first Sunday of Lent, hundreds of people from all over the diocese gathered at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo for the Rite of Election. This yearly ritual, which is part of the RCIA, is an important moment of preparation for the coming celebration of Easter. During the rite, those who wish to be baptized were presented by their godparents, and enrolled in the Book of the Elect. And then those who are already baptized were presented by their sponsors as candidates for confirmation and reception of the Eucharist. Their reasons for coming were various. Some have been influenced by the Catholic faith of a spouse or future spouse. Others were invited by a family member or close friend to consider joining the Church. Some have been searching for a spiritual home for a long time, and finally have found that home in the Catholic Church. Many expressed a great longing to receive Christ in the Eucharist. As they filled the sanctuary of the Cathedral, I was impressed by their eager faith and their willingness to step forward in such a public way. It isn’t always easy for a person to enter into the Catholic Church. There may be obstacles along the way, the same obstacles faced by some of the great saints. Pressure from family or friends, or just the secularizing power of our culture, can often dissuade those who might be interested in exploring the Catholic faith. But they, and others like them around the world, came forward and professed their desire for new life in the Catholic Church. These men and women stand in a long line of converts to the Catholic faith, including St. Augustine, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Blessed John Henry Newman, St. Edith Stein, and many others. Who knows, maybe a modern-day St. Paul was standing among us in the Cathedral that day! 4


“We should… never forget that there are many others who might be looking to us, perhaps waiting patiently for an invitation to come and see what the Lord has given to us.” – Bishop John Folda, Diocese of Fargo The sacramental initiation of those who enter the Church at Easter is always a sign of God’s grace at work in their lives and in the life of the Church. It is God who touches their hearts and draws them toward his Church. And it is God who lives within his Church, animating all the faithful with a missionary spirit. We sometimes hear in the media of persons who have abandoned the Catholic faith and the Church. However, it is also important to know of the many persons who joyfully embrace the Catholic faith and enter the Church every year. Greeting and welcoming these aspiring members of the Church is encouraging and challenging. It is always a joy to welcome new members into the family. But it also reminds us that each one of us has a responsibility to these new members. Each of us must be ready to pray for them and support them with our love. And we must show them by the example of our lives what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. We should also never forget that there are many others who might be looking to us, perhaps waiting patiently for an invitation to come and see what the Lord has given to us. We must be ready to show them the face of Jesus living within his Church and eager to witness to the grace that we have received. As Peter tells us, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15). Our newly initiated brothers and sisters also inspire us to live our faith more deeply and actively. It is easy to become lukewarm or to take for granted the incredible and undeserved gift of faith or the treasure of the sacraments. Our culture distracts us in so many ways, and we might tend to push Christ and our faith lives to the back burner, behind career, entertainment, sports, family, and many other attractions. But those who have stepped forward to seek full communion with Christ through his Church and the sacraments can be an example for all of us. Seeing their courage should renew the fervor and love for the faith in the hearts of all Catholics. When you meet one of these “new Catholics” who just entered the Church, realize that they truly are our new brothers and sisters in faith. Make a point to welcome them, let them know you are happy to meet them, and promise your prayers for them. It’s the least we can do for those who have responded so beautifully to the grace of God. To each one of you, and especially to those who have just entered the Church, I wish a happy and blessed Easter. May the Lord’s resurrection give us overflowing joy, undying hope, and the courage to live our faith with renewed zeal.

Apr. 15 | 8:30 p.m.

Easter Vigil, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Apr. 16 | 10 a.m.

Easter Sunday Mass, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Apr. 20 | 7 p.m.

7 p.m.

Shanley Deacon Dinner Auction, Holiday Inn, Fargo

Apr. 30 | 1 p.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, Nativity, Fargo

May 5 | 7 p.m.

“Can Lutherans and Catholics Be Friends?� Ecumenical Event, Trinity Lutheran Church, Moorhead

Confirmation and First Eucharist, St. Joseph, Devils Lake

Apr. 21 | 5 p.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, St. John the Evangelist, New Rockford

Apr. 22 | 10 a.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, St. Catherine, Valley City

Confirmation and First Eucharist, St. Aloysius, Lisbon Confirmation and First Eucharist, St. Michael, Grand Forks

5 p.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, Holy Family, Grand Forks

May 6 | 10 a.m. 5 p.m.

May 7 | 1 p.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, St. Leo, Casselton

May 12 | 7 p.m.

Apr. 23 | 1 p.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, St. Philip Neri, Napoleon

Apr. 23-25

Confirmation and First Eucharist, Transfiguration, Edgeley

Confirmation and First Eucharist, Blessed Sacrament, West Fargo Spring Education Days, Carrington

Apr. 26 | 3 p.m.

JPII Schools Board of Directors Meeting, Pastoral Center, Fargo

Apr. 27 | 2 p.m.

May 13 | 10 a.m. 4 p.m.

Mass for 100th Anniversary of Apparition at Fatima, Shanley High School, Fargo

May 20 | 10 a.m.

Diocesan Pastoral Council Meeting, Pastoral Center, Fargo

Confirmation and First Eucharist, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Reynolds

Apr. 28 | 5 p.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Confirmation and First Eucharist, St. Philip, Hankinson

5 p.m.

Apr. 29 | 1 p.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, St. Mary, Grand Forks




Prayer Intention of Pope Francis April


That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life. Every month Pope Francis records a message about his prayer intention. Visit


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Evil – what’s a person to do?

n today’s world, people are often confronted with situations in which their actions seemingly make them accomplices of things they deem wrong or even evil. Not long ago there was a news story about a county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses under her name because she objected to same-sex marriages, which the United States Supreme Court had deemed to be constitutional. Daily life seems to abound with such conflict stories. Should a pacifist, who does not believe in violence or war, be made to pay taxes to government entities who build weapons of war? Should a person patronize a business, who in turn gives money to organizations that fund abortion, or violate child-labor laws in the production of the products they sell? Should a taxi driver transport a person to a ‘house of ill repute?’ This kind of list could go on and on. Beyond such individual one-on-one conflict situations, what about making a living within social and cultural settings that operate with less than the best intentions or the purest of motives? What is a person to do? By participating in these actions and/ or ‘questionable’ systems/structures, am I culpable of sinning? In the world of moral theology, these questions and situations are treated under the topic of cooperating with evil. This is not a new phenomenon in the world of moral theology, but shifting cultural mores, global economics and technological innovations have made us more aware of how our lives relate and intersect with other people and social structures. In turn, the arena of ‘cooperating with evil’ has become a hot topic of public discourse and debate. I remember the first time as a young priest being asked for help about this kind of situation. A young man, who was an active and practicing Catholic, was working at a convenience store. As a store sales clerk he would occasionally be asked to reach under the store counter and give a person a packet of male contraception. For this young man he saw himself as being asked to cooperate with evil. What should he do? Should he get another job? The moral tradition of the Catholic Church has always made a distinction between formal and material cooperation with evil. Formal cooperation means you either explicitly or implicitly agree with the wrongful action being done, even though you are not specifically doing the wrongful action, but your action helps facilitate the wrongful action. The Church has always understood formal cooperation with evil to be wrong. In an analogous way, civil law speaks of such people and their actions as being accessories to crime. On the other hand, material cooperation with evil means you do not agree either implicitly nor explicitly with the wrongful action being done, even though your actions may participate at some level in the wrong being done. As you can see there is a significant difference between formal and material cooperation with evil, but that does not mean material cooperation is always without culpability. Intention alone does not define the moral quality of a

human act, nor one’s culpability or lack of culpability in terms of wrongdoing. Perhaps this Ask a Priest quotation from Msgr. Father James Ermer David Bohr’s book Catholic Moral Tradition is helpful: “Material cooperation is in itself a good act which is abused by another to do evil, for example, a taxi driver transporting someone to an abortion clinic, or a nurse preparing a patient for a morally illicit operation. Both of these are instances of mediated material cooperation; the former being remote and the latter proximate. Such material cooperation is licit when there is a proportionate reason and when scandal is removed as far as possible by suitable explanation. There remains immediate material cooperation, an example of which would be any form of employment in an abortion clinic; in the objective order this is really equivalent to implicit formal cooperation because the object of the moral act of the cooperator is indistinguishable from that of the principal agent.” Given the interconnectedness of modern living, it seems doubtful anyone can totally escape all situations that might involve some cooperation with evil. The Church’s distinction between formal and material cooperation is a helpful start in assessing one’s culpability of sinning when it comes to material cooperation with evil. The counsel/advice of a confessor or spiritual director should be sought in discerning whether the circumstances of one’s material cooperation (e.g. bad effects, duress, proximity to the evil done, proportionate reason, etc.) would be considered either sinful or not sinful. The moral and spiritual life is not a ‘walk in the park.’ In his Sermon on the Mount, Christ counsels us to “enter through the narrow gate” all the while encouraging us when he says, ‘with God all things are possible.’ Praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit’s counsel should be a continuous part of our moral and spiritual lives, especially in a world filled with so many ‘dips and curves.’ Father James Ermer serves as pastor of St. Leo’s Church in Casselton and St. Thomas Church in Buffalo. He may be reached at Editor’s Note: If you have a question about the Catholic faith and would like to submit a question for consideration in a future column, please send to with “Ask a Priest” in the subject line or mail to New Earth, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S, Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104, Attn: Ask a Priest.



Saints, beauty and the present moment

Diocese celebrates REDEEMED Women’s Conference By Kristina Lahr

Former presidential speechwriter, Colleen Carroll Campbell, spoke as a keynote speaker on the topic “Love Comes First: Lessons from the Women Saints” at the REDEEMED Women’s Conference March 11 at the Holiday Inn, Fargo. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)


et me just preface with saying I’m not much of a conference person. I’m not big into crowds, packed schedules and long days. I’ve been to plenty of retreats and conferences before and usually after a day of listening to many (albeit, wonderful) speakers, I feel like I’ve forgotten everything that was said. Any notes that I took throughout the day don’t seem to capture the true movement of my heart that drew me to write the note in the first place. After all the speakers, fellowship, music and prayer, as refreshing and delightful as they can be, I still come home to my same apartment. There are still dirty dishes in the sink and I still haven’t cleaned the bathroom. Life goes on. But there was something a little different about the REDEEMED Women’s Conference on March 11 in Fargo. About 650 women gathered in fellowship that day with some 200 men committed to prayer either at the adoration chapel, at the conference, or at their own churches and homes. Knowing how many were involved to make the day happen was a beautiful thing, a realization that we are never alone. As I was helping with registration in the morning, I was touched by the distance some traveled to get there. Faithful came from all corners of the diocese and beyond, as far as St. Cloud, Sioux Falls, Bismarck and Winnipeg. For some, this conference was a pilgrimage that required a lot more planning and expense than it did for me. I didn’t drive four hours to get there. I drove four minutes. Sister Mary Elizabeth was the first keynote speaker and is the vicar general for the Sisters of Life in New York. Her joy and energy was undeniable. One story she told was when a little girl, maybe four or five years old, asked her about the clothes she was wearing. Sister Mary Elizabeth explained she was a 8


sister and a bride of Christ. The little girl then exclaimed, “He chose you?!” It was a light-hearted moment, but it struck a chord with me. Christ chooses all of us, and that is shocking. Even in our brokenness, he finds beauty and longs to draw nearer to us in our everyday moments, whether mundane or chaotic. Author, print and broadcast journalist and former presidential speech writer Colleen Carroll Campbell spoke next with her presentation entitled, “Love Comes First: Lessons from the Women Saints.” “The saints remind us to embrace the unknown, even when Jesus doesn’t reveal his plans,” she said. “Or follow ours. ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways,’ he tells us in Isaiah. It’s an unsettling truth. However, it’s also a liberating one because we don’t need to figure it all out. The key though, is to keep moving even when he beckons us to places we’d rather not go, and to be ready to abandon our plans in favor of his. This too is something we see in the lives of the saints.” I realized that the saints took their walks in life one step at a time, just like all of us. It’s easy to think that the saints are a select few, specially chosen for holiness. Nevertheless, we all have the ability to be saints, beginning right now. That’s one of the great beauties and mysteries of our faith. Christ is always present, and sees our potential for saintly greatness. Colleen concluded her presentation with these words.“In the end, the question isn’t whether or not we have what it takes to be saints. The question is whether we really want to be saints. May Jesus enflame our hearts with that holy desire and may he never let us be content to settle for less.” After lunch, musician and composer Eric Genuis performed


on piano along with a violinist, cellist and vocalist. Genuis is world-renowned and for good reason. Not only was his performance uplifting, he frequently uses his talents to perform at prisons, a place devoid of beauty. “They’re cut off from beauty there,” Genuis said. “The walls, the food, the beds, the way people talk to each other, what people are wearing… it’s all ugly. So when they encounter beauty in music, it touches a part of them that’s been buried deep.” We can all find ourselves cut off from beauty if we don’t seek it. Whenever we make our own prisons for ourselves through our sins, we see the world in a darker light. But God himself is beauty, and he can be found anywhere, even in the worst situations. There were several breakout session speakers in the afternoon including Jennifer Anderson, Roxane Salonen, Dr. James Link and Renae Duppong. I attended Renae’s presentation entitled, “Longing for a Purpose.” She shared the story of caring for her sister during her sister’s yearlong journey with cancer. It was a time when countless negatives could have overwhelmed her and her family, but when they focused on the good and present moment, beauty could always be found. “I would ask, what is God trying to show me right now? This minute?” Renae said. “God can make beauty from anything.” By this time in the conference, any apathy I brought in with me was washed away. I spoke with several women who attended that had similar experiences. “I’ve enjoyed this conference greatly, coming out here with sisters in Christ,” said Stacey Coles from St. Michael’s Church in Grand Forks. “It’s keeping me focused as a daughter of Christ. In a world with so much chaos, it’s refreshing to come together with my mom and sister to be uplifted.” Patti Doll from Perham, Minn. appreciated the simplicity of the message, a message she saw as relevant to all women, whether they were a mother or grandmother, single, married, widowed or divorced. “The love of God is given to us so freely, and we don’t often take the time to recognize it. I can just see a fire rekindling in the eyes of the women here.” The day ended with Mass with Bishop John Folda as the main celebrant. The gospel message was the story of the Transfiguration. Just as the Transfiguration was a “mountaintop experience” that the disciples didn’t want to leave, the conference left me with a similar desire. These words from Bishop Folda allowed me to see that this mountaintop was a gift from Christ, sometime to turn to whenever following Jesus becomes difficult. He said, “Like Abram – whose name was changed by God to Abraham – we too are on a pilgrimage to a better land. We too must bear the burdens of the day, the heat and dust of the road. And in all our bearing, we must help others to catch a glimpse of the glory that we have seen, the glory of holiness, the glory of God’s compassionate love.”

Sister Mary Elizabeth, vicar general for the Sisters of Life, speaks with a woman at the conference following her keynote presentation “Our Feminine Identity: A Gift to be Received and Given.” (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)

A woman at the REDEEMED conference venerates the missionary image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)

Eric Genuis performs with his ensemble “An Encounter with Beauty.” (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)




Diocesan website features new page with Parish Locator Map The Diocese of Fargo is constantly working to update and improve the diocesan website. We have installed a new page on the website called the Parish Locator Map. On the main page of the website, go to the About tab and click on Parish/ Clergy Locator in the dropdown. You will see a map with blue pins indicating where each of our parishes are located. You can zoom in on the map to help you more accurately pinpoint the parish you need to find, especially multi-parish locations in Fargo and Grand Forks. When you hover your cursor over a pin, the name of the parish and the city it is located in will appear. When you click on a pin, the parish and address will come up, along with a link called View Details. When you click on this link, a parish page will appear with basic information, including Mass times, church mailing address and phone number, email and website (if available,), and the priests and deacons assigned to the parish. We hope this new page will make it easier for visitors to our website to find parish information quickly and easily. Look for more improvements to the website in the coming months!

Bishop Folda meets with SMP Health System Leadership in Arizona


he Sisters of Mary of the Presentation Health System (SMP Health System) welcomed Bishop John Folda to its Leadership Retreat in Chandler, Ariz. March 9-11. Bishop Folda celebrated Mass, participated in morning prayer and attended educational sessions to become more familiar with the complex business of healthcare, as well as to experience it as a ministry of the Church operating within the Diocese of Fargo. SMP Health System has its corporate office in Fargo, and is comprised of four hospitals, five nursing homes and a home health agency. One hospital, St. Margaret’s Health and Prairieland Home Care, is located in Spring Valley, Ill. and the rest of the hospitals are St. Andrew’s Health Center, Bottineau; Presentation Medical Center, Rolla; and St. Aloisius Medical Center, Harvey. The nursing homes are Ave Maria Village, Jamestown; Sheyenne Care Center, Valley City; Maryhill Manor, Enderlin; Rosewood on Broadway, Fargo; and Villa Maria, Fargo.




The Feast of St. Joseph, March 19 marked the 11th anniversary for St. Joseph’s Table at St. Joseph’s Church in Devils Lake. From March 2016 to February 2017, the parish contributed and delivered over 2,200 pounds of food to the local Hope Center. Betty Bachmeier, a parishioner at St. Joseph’s Church, leads St. Joseph Table. (submitted photo)

Monsignor Joseph R. Huebsch, 99, was friend to many


onsignor Joseph R. Huebsch, 99, passed away March 24, at St. Gerard’s Community of Care in Hankinson. He died on the 99th anniversary of his baptism into Christ. Monsignor Huebsch was the fourth of nine children born to Clement and Mary (Ernesti) Huebsch, at the home farm in rural Lake Lillian, Minn., March 19, 1918. He was ordained by Bishop Leo F. Dworschak at St. John’s Church, Wahpeton, on June 3, 1950. Father Huebsch began and ended his years of pastoral service at St. Philip’s Church in Hankinson, first as assistant to Father Gerard Bierens from 1950-56, then as pastor from 1983-91. Between those assignments he served as pastor at St. Lawrence Church, Jessie and Sacred Heart Church, Aneta, 1956-67; St. Henry’s Church, Alice and St. Henry’s Church, Leonard, 1967-72; St. Patrick’s Church, Enderlin, St. Henry’s Church, Alice and St. Mary’s Church, Sheldon, 1972-75; St. Anthony’s Church, Fargo, 1975-78; St. Paul’s Church, Tappen, St. Francis de Sales Church, Steele and Our Lady of the Lake, Lake Williams, 1978-83. Monsignor Huebsch requested retirement in 1991 after over 40 years of active ministry. With Bishop James Sullivan’s permission, “Father Joe” began his years of active retirement. Between 1991 and 2016, Monsignor Huebsch helped out in many parishes, was the confessor for the Sisters at the Carmelite Monastery, Wahpeton, was Chaplain of St. Francis Convent, Hankinson, 1992-2002, and Chaplain of St. Gerard’s Community of Care, Hankinson, 2002-16. During his Chaplaincy years, he was devoted to the ill, injured

and elderly, making rounds to cheer the homebound, bless the troubled and assist the dying. On April 29, 2015, he received the North Dakota Long Term Care Association’s Adult Volunteer of the Year Award at their spring conference in Bismarck. The greatest joy of his life was offering Holy Mass, and with care and attention, he fulfilled the prayerful duties of the ordained in the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours each day. He was very devoted to the Blessed Mother, even building a shrine in her honor at the home farm in 1938. It still stands today, strong as ever. Outgoing and friendly, Monsignor Huebsch, was a familiar visitor to any new projects taking place around town. He took an interest in people and was a friend to many. With his farmer’s heart, he loved driving out to the countryside to check the fields, and was a welcome guest at the kitchen tables of many friends. Fearless in his expectation to serve Christ along the way, he was known to open his door to a stranger’s knock at night, pick up hitchhikers, and even to risk harm to help another in need. Monsignor Huebsch is survived by his sister, Edna Athmann Rudeen, Bird Island, Minn., sister-in-law, Doris Huebsch, Lake Lillian, Minn., and many nieces and nephews and their families. He was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings: Marie Olson, Ben Huebsch, Vernon Huebsch, Dorothy Wittman, Gerry Bomsta, Jerome Huebsch, Elaine Reitsma; and in-laws: Jeanette Huebsch, Porkie Athmann, Ted Olson, Art Wittman, Bud Reitsma and Dale Rudeen. The funeral Mass was at St. Philip’s Church, Hankinson March 29. NEW EARTH MARCH 2017


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A poet’s conversion

A review of Sally Read’s Night’s Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story By Father Luke Meyer


A review of Catholic books, movies, music “Her hunger to be known is met by the God whose attention is entirely fixed upon her as compassion and humility come together as one.” –Father Luke Meyer


nconventional may be the best description of Sally Read’s conversion story, but that is what also makes it so interesting, surprising, and delightful. Confidently embracing a post-modern lifestyle divorced from any religious tradition, Read seeks to find meaning in writing verse about her experiences as a psychiatric nurse in London, attempting to offer redemption to human experience that is often forgotten. Outside of work, she begins to sense the cold emptiness of evenings laced with too much wine and distant amorous encounters. Settling into marriage with a Roman carabinieri, a member of Italy’s national police force, her aversion to anything Catholic is on full display. Life, however, begins to change. The usual pared down and visceral poetry she had been accustomed to write is challenged by her new experience of motherhood. Her sights are set on writing a book encompassing all things feminine. In seeking to interview a broad base of women from diverse backgrounds, her curiosity is sparked by a small group of American Catholic women in Rome, who are part of the only families she can find with children to serve as playmates for her daughter Flo. Read’s journalistic inquiries into these Catholic families were met by an immovable refusal to respond to her probing questions, and she was providentially led to a Ukrainian monk from Canada. Her ongoing encounters with Catholic mothers over playdates and what became regular coffee with Father Gregory, the monk studying in Rome, provided an environment of open conversation that allowed God to work in the unique way needed for this particular soul. It was not a logical argument that first pierced her heart, but a restlessness in her heart fueled by a desire to discover a presence in life both real and sincere. These new and strange Catholic acquaintances, as she saw them, did not so much try to convert her as they gave her space to speak and provided a listening ear to discover the meaning behind the new stirrings within her soul.

One notable theme of reflection threaded through this conversion story that struck me surrounds the desire of the heart to be fully known. Contemporary life is too often marked by loneliness and distraction, paradoxically even more so in the city bustling with life and technology. Assuming that what is most real is experienced in what we can measure, sense, and touch, the modern world leaves the author with many encounters in which she is seen, but hardly known. Her hunger to be known is met by God, whose attention is entirely fixed upon her as compassion and humility come together as one. Read’s story is not laid out in a tight chronological sequence but through chapters with thematic headings as she comes to experience the Father, the Son, the Spirit, the Church, Mary, and her own call. I suppose this is fitting for a poet, as each page is saturated with vivid language and metaphor, attempting to articulate with words a rich and deep experience of grace, which intervenes with such precision, wisdom, and love amidst her sincere seeking. I hope you find her beautifully told story a source of encouragement and delight. Fr. Luke Meyer is Pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center at the campus of theUniversity of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

About the Book: “Night’s Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story” by Sally Read. Published by Ignatius Press Hardcover 147 pages Available via Amazon and other book resellers.

Christ the King Retreat Center Buffalo, Minnesota

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Bishop Folda welcomes a family at the Rite of Election held Sunday, March 5th at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo. (Kristina Lahr/New Earth)

Sons and daughters in Christ By Paul Braun

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program prepares new Catholics for their faith journey




nd now, my dear catechumens, I address you. Your own godparents and teachers and this entire community have spoken in your favor. The Church in the name of Christ accepts their judgement and calls you to the Easter sacraments.” With these words, Bishop John Folda of the Diocese of Fargo officially welcomed new candidates to declare their intention of joining the Catholic Church, and asked them to sign the document of enrollment, making them members of the elect to receive the sacraments at the Easter Vigil. The Rite of Election is held each year on the first Sunday of Lent at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo, where those who wish to join the Catholic faith are sent on their Lenten journey towards full communion with the faithful. Getting to the Rite of Election ceremony is a process that usually starts at the local parish level just after Labor Day. The process is called RCIA, or Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, and is based on traditions and teachings dating back to the first years of the Church’s existence in Rome (although the modern rite we use today was revived after Vatican II in the early 70s). “Ultimately it’s about a journey of faith and their journey with Jesus Christ,” says Deacon Les Noehre, who supervises the RCIA program at Holy Family Church in Grand Forks. “We start with some of the foundational items right away, like who is Jesus, why did he die for us. So it goes in depth from the very beginning.” The process of joining the Catholic Church can take upwards of eight months, culminating with the Easter Vigil Mass. Candidates may be in various stages of their faith lives.


These are persons 18 years of age or older who have never been baptized into any Christian denomination, who are then asked to follow the process to help them grow in their awareness to God’s call to conversion. These people are called “catechumens,” and will be baptized and receive the sacraments of confirmation and first communion.

Baptized in another Christian Church

These are Christians baptized in another Christian denomination and are seeking full communion with the Catholic faith. These people are called “candidates.” Candidates will receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Communion.

Uncatechized Catholics

There are people who were baptized as an infant, but then never received catechetical instruction nor the sacraments Confirmation or First Eucharist. If, when they are in their teenage or adult years they desire to receive Confirmation and Eucharist, they take part in certain elements of the RCIA process to prepare them. “RCIA is always an invitation,” according to Father Matthew Kraemer, who serves as the Director of the Liturgy Office for the Diocese of Fargo. “We always ask, ‘does the person want this?’ We don’t proselytize; we evangelize through learning about the gospel and coming to conversion. You really have to be committed to this. This is probably the biggest decision you’ll ever make in your life. It’s a life-changing decision. It’s a matter of your salvation, so the process must reflect that.” According to the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the RCIA process is made up of four periods: NEW EARTH MARCH 2017


Catechumens and candidates gather at the Rite of Election. (Kristina Lahr/New Earth)

1) Evangelization and Precatechumenate, 2) Catechumenate, 3) a process to become part of something. Since the beginning of Purification and Enlightenment, 4) Postbaptismal Catechesis the growth of Christianity in society and the culture, there has (Mystagogy). The length of these periods may vary. When a been a process for becoming a Christian. This process we have person’s search leads them to discuss the possibility of becoming now goes back to Roman times, when becoming a Christian Catholic, they have a conversation with a parish priest or RCIA carried with it the consequences of possible persecution, so director. Under the guidance of the priest or director, they may there had to be a seriousness to the process, which is still carried become a candidate and look to be accepted into the Order of through today.” Catechumens. This is done through the Rite of Acceptance. This When the parish priest and the RCIA team, working together, Rite takes place in the midst of the parish community where the agree that the catechumen is ready to make a commitment to candidates state their desire to begin the journey of faith. The the Catholic Church, the catechumen will make their request parish assembly welcomes them and the candidates become for Baptism at the celebration of the Rite of Election. The Rite of “catechumens.” Election is usually celebrated at the cathedral with the diocesan The period of the catechumenate may vary depending on bishop presiding. The catechumens gather with their sponsors how God is leading the catechumen on the journey. During this and families and publicly state their desire to enter the Catholic period, the catechumen learns the meaning of the sacraments, Church. Their names are recorded in The Book of the Elect, and and reflects on what God is asking of them in the Scriptures. they are now “the elect.” They will also learn the fundamentals of the Catholic faith and The stage of the RCIA called purification and enlightenment, the responsibilities they will take on as believers. takes place during Lent in preparation for celebration of “The RCIA program is really a returning to the beginning of the Sacraments of Initiation during the Easter Vigil. For the the Church,” says Father Kraemer. “Initiation is just that…there’s elect this is a period of prayer, further study, and spiritual 16


Monsignor Brian Donahue, Pastor of Holy Family Church in Grand Forks, offers First Communion to a new member of the Church at Easter Vigil Mass in April 2016. (Submitted photo)

direction. Finally, at the Easter Vigil the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist) are received and the elect become fully initiated as members of the Catholic Church, called “neophytes.” “We are providing information in RCIA that’s for the head, but that’s really not the intent of the information we give,” says Deacon Noehre. “It’s really food for the heart. It’s amazing to watch God working in people’s lives and how they change throughout the course of the program. I see it over and over again, but I’m still amazed to see people literally change before my eyes.” The process continues for the new neophytes for 50 days after the Easter Vigil through a post-baptismal catechesis called Mystagogy. They are led to reflect on the experience of the sacraments they have received, and through that, to come to a deeper understanding of God’s Word and what it is to live in communion with God. Those of us who are cradle Catholics have received Mystagogy through our CCD classes, confirmation classes, and in many instances, through a Catholic school education. This is also a period for new Catholics to learn what it means to be an active member of the parish community. As a new member, they continue to learn while

A catechumen for admission to the Catholic Church signs the Book of Elect and becomes an “elect” of the Church as Deacon George Loegering looks on. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)



COVER STORY having opportunities to participate in the Church’s mission of serving others. “If RCIA is done well, it’s learning the content of the faith, like the laws and teachings,” says Father Kraemer. “That’s important because we don’t want to be ignorant, but then we have to live our faith. What is it to experience Christ, to experience his sacrifice on the cross, his resurrection and his presence in the Eucharist? This is the continued learning of our faith. For an RCIA program to be successful, this Mystagogy must be part of the process. It’s important to support these new people who have entered the Church. They need help to continue in their faith, it’s not just go through the program and now you’re Catholic. That’s something that the parish community can do, is to be there to support them.” Mystagogy played an important role in Deacon Noehre’s decision to become part of the clergy. Deacon Noehre is a

convert to Catholicism, and the RCIA program and continued learning afterwards helped him to answer Christ’s call to serve. “My wife, Annette, is a cradle Catholic, and my children were baptized Catholic and went through the sacraments, so I thought it was time to unify my family and go through the RCIA and become Catholic,” says Deacon Noehre. “That was my motivation. As the process went along I realized my motivation was actually my relationship with Jesus Christ, and that’s what really unified my family.” On Saturday, April 15 at Easter Vigil Masses across the diocese, at least 31 Catechumens and 68 Candidates entered full communion with the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Fargo. As stated by Bishop Folda in the Rite of Election; “Each of you has been called by Christ; he has invited you and wants to be a part of your life. Thank you for saying yes to Him.”

Bishop Folda receives candidates and their sponsors at the Rite of Election at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo. (Kristina Lahr/New Earth)

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The Center for Ministry Development returns to diocese to engage youth and their families. We will include practical ideas and starting points within these topics as we explore the ministry implications for youth ministry, catechesis, sacramental preparation and parish life: • Listening to and Walking with Gen Z Youth


• Engaging their Parents and Families ust as we are getting used to the Millennials, along comes • Making it Personal through Relationships and Formation Generation Z, which includes youth born in the mid to late • Empowering the Innovators – Letting their Faith Soar 1990s, mostly to Gen X parents. These young people are tech savvy, social innovators, and are • Transforming Ministries and Creating New Pathways anxious to create a customized way to belong and contribute. The workshops will be Friday, May 5 at the Diocesan Offices We can accompany this generation by listening, learning and in Fargo and Saturday, May 6 at Holy Family Church in Grand responding. We can create pathways and onramps for Gen Z Forks. This workshops are designed for all parish leaders youth so that we can share the Good News and include their whose ministries touch the lives of adolescents—including many gifts and their seemingly boundless energy. We can also pastors, deacons, pastoral associates, coordinators of youth make a faith connection with Gen X parents that could spark ministry, leaders in faith formation, catechists and service/social faith growth for the whole family. concerns leaders. The Center for Ministry Development will offer “Ministry Cost is $20, which includes handouts, light continental with Gen Z and their Families” at two locations in the Diocese breakfast and lunch. For more information, contact Kathy of Fargo. This workshop will share the research about Gen Z Loney at (701) 356-7902. To register go to www.fargodiocese. youth and their families along with effective ways for parishes org/cmdregistration

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Diocesan policy: Reporting child abuse

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Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (701) 241-7842 toll free (888) 682-8033 1336 25th Ave. S., Fargo 58103 (south of K-Mart)

The Diocese of Fargo is committed to the protection of youth. Please report any incidents or suspected incidents of child abuse, including sexual abuse, to civil authorities. If the situation involves a member of the clergy or a religious order, a seminarian or anemployee of a Catholic school, parish, the diocesan offices or other Catholic entity within the diocese, we ask that you also report the incident or suspected incident to Monsignor Joseph P. Goering at (701) 356-7945 or Larry Bernhardt at (701) 356-7965 or For additional information about victim assistance, visit




Father Daniel Williamson, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal, explains the goodness of the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the Youth 2000 retreat March 24-26 at Holy Spirit Church in Fargo.

Youth 2000 retreat brings Real Presence front and center


By Kristina Lahr | New Earth

t. Francis said ‘Let your word be simple,’” said Brother Vittorio. Brother Vittorio was one of several brothers, sisters and priests of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal that traveled to Fargo for the Youth 2000 retreat at Holy Spirit Church March 24-26. Youth 2000 began in 1990 as a response to Pope John Paul II’s call for a decade of evangelization. The success of the retreats naturally continued into the new century. “It’s evolved through the grace of God and the guidance of our Lady and the Eucharist,” said Anne Brawley, creator of Youth 2000. What makes Youth 2000 retreats so powerful is their focus on the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Throughout the weekend, the Eucharist was visible in the monstrance on the “burning bush” throughout the testimonies, music and prayer. “Jesus is what it’s all about,” said Brawley. “He’s front and center. Young people today are looking for someone, for truth, and they are going to find it here. They are really focused on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.” “The Lord desires so much intimacy with us,” said Brother Vittorio. “Because of our sinfulness, we separate ourselves from that, but in his presence, he’s right here in front of our faces. It’s a beautiful encounter.” Many of the religious were from the New York City area or Albuquerque, N.M where they focus on serving the poor and conducting parish missions about the Real Presence and Christ’s mercy and healing.

Tim Warzecha from Hibbing, Minn., brought his son to the retreat, remembering his experience attending Youth 2000 in 1997. “The Franciscans introduced him to different aspects of the faith,” said Warzecha. “Here’s a group of people that specialize in helping the poor and evangelizing. Just to see that witness can cultivate the faith in a new way.” “We try to raise the bar. We want the youth to know that something special is happening here,” said Brawley. The retreat also included Mass, adoration, rosary, Reconciliation, music, testimonies and catechesis.

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STORIES OF FAITH The significance of feet washing

The Christian rite of washing of feet owes its origins to the Gospel passage of John 13:1-15. The Lord’s command at the end of the passage cannot be missed: “If I, then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” Jesus’ command inspired Christian communities to adopt this action as a sign of loving hospitality offered to guests, a practice kept over the centuries, particularly in monastic houses. The rite found its way into the liturgy as early as the 4th century and not long after that came to be practiced in many churches on Holy Thursday. A respectful way to approach the rite of foot washing is to recognize that it exists within the on-going feast of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil (the Triduum) and all of Lent and all of life; it is about passage through life and it is about passion for life. In this Gospel, the eternal Word of God (Jesus) lowers himself to the feet of those he came to save. God’s presence and glory are revealed where least expected, in humble foot washing. By inviting the disciples to wash one another’s feet, Jesus invites them, and us, into his hour of glory through the wondrous servant action of hospitality. That “feet” are washed may turn us off, but there is real significance to this. The Israelites “walked dry shod through the sea.” Jesus walked out into the waters of the Jordan to be washed with the Spirit and the waters covered his feet. It is those feet that are nailed to the cross. In washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus invites them to join him in passage and passion. Pope Francis kisses the foot of a refugee during Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Center for Asylum Seekers in Castelnuovo di Porto, near Rome March 24, 2016. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)


Washing the feet of all, even strangers By Father Bert Miller

ne summer day 28 years ago while I was on an internship out in the middle of the diocese, I went to a trailer house to give communion to an old man who lived there alone. This was maybe the third time I had been to his home. I always dreaded going because the house smelled. It smelled of impending death. I don’t know if the man had cancer or what was his medical problem; I just knew that his house smelled. This day, when I got there, the old man was not yet up for the day. I knew to yell for him and to go in; I waited in the living room. And I waited. Finally, he yelled for me to come back to the bedroom. I found him sitting on the edge of the bed in his underwear and undershirt with one brown sock in his hand. He couldn’t find his second sock. Would I find it for him? He thought it might be caught in his trousers, which were in a heap on the floor. Reaching into the leg of his trousers, I found the sock. Then, he asked me to help him get dressed. That impending death smell was quite intense in the bedroom. The man’s legs were covered with sores – some healing, others open and oozing. I put his socks on and pulled them up over some of the sores. I



got him into his pants too. When I had an opportunity, I ran to the sink and washed up to my elbows. I never thought I would be dressing someone in ministry. This was really service. I was caring for someone I didn’t even know. I washed the feet – so to speak – of an unknown person with tender and loving care. I did what Jesus called his disciples and all of us to do: “Wash one another’s feet as I have washed yours.” That day is like yesterday. It is readily in my mind when I celebrate Holy Thursday and the ritual of washing feet. It is the care that we extend to one another – friend and stranger – that is center to discipleship and following the instruction of Jesus to “wash one another’s feet.” Who’s feet do you wash these days? A parent? A spouse? A child? A friend? A stranger? Father Bert Miller serves as pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Park River and St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Veseleyville. Editor’s note: Stories of Faith is a recurring feature in New Earth. If you have a faith story to tell, contact Father Bert Miller at


Our hearts yearn for a relationship with Christ


hen I was little, I never dreamed that I would live KJ noticed that the anywhere but North Dakota, let alone New York red sanctuary candle City. Now, I actually live in Manhattan, literally only next to the tabernacle a few minutes’ walk from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Central Park, remained lit. He Sister Life: and Times Square. What has brought me here? Jesus, of course, leaned over to Sister through drawing me to the religious community of the Sisters Michela and “whis- Special Edition of Life. pered” – you know, Sister Mary Pieta one of those “little The Sisters of Life, an active contemplative community, was founded by John Cardinal O’Connor, the Archbishop of New kid whispers” that’s York, in 1991. The charism, or gift of the Holy Spirit particular actually louder than to our community, is that of the protection and enhancement their normal voice of the sacredness of all human life, especially of those who are – “Hey, what’s that red light for?” Sister replied, “It means Jesus is here.” “Oh.” most vulnerable. Made perfect sense. After a second, he then asked, “Hey, what’s “In this sacred time of celebrating the death in that gold box?” Referring to the tabernacle. Now, Sister wasn’t sure if she should explain transubstantiation to and resurrection of Jesus, I invite you to Michela a four year old, “My flesh is true food…” (John 6), so she simply consider how Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross said, “That’s where Jesus is, that’s where he lives.” And totally touches your today, your “now,” in the forgetting to whisper, wide-eyed KJ stands on the kneeler and said, “Well, do you ever take him out and look at him?!” To that, Sacrament of the Eucharist.” Sister responded, “Well, yes, we do, every day for an hour; we – Sister Mary Pieta, Sisters of Life call it Adoration.” Our hearts yearn for a relationship with someone who will Here in New York, the largest population whom we serve understand us, who will love us with our weaknesses, and are pregnant mothers, who face incredible pressure to have an who we can love in return. In this sacred time of celebrating abortion. A great deal of the time, these women aren’t given the death and resurrection of Jesus, I invite you to consider how the love and support they need to recognize their own dignity Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross touches your today, your “now,” in and goodness; their gift as one capable of loving, and that they the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Every time we come to Mass, are unique and unrepeatable, an image of the living God. We we hear the priest say, “Behold the Lamb of God!” also have a retreat mission, and serve those who have suffered When we behold him, we see Jesus, who makes himself so from abortion through our Hope and Healing Mission. small, so vulnerable, so we can receive him. Yet he is the same I came to know the Sisters through my time as a missionary God who created the universe, the mountains with their grand with FOCUS after college, and in that time slowly grew to love vistas and tiny alpine flowers, and he created you and I so consecrated life. Before that, I had felt drawn to it at times, but intentionally, even with that space in our hearts that ache for I had a fearful idea of what religious life could mean – a lot of someone – him. When you go to Mass or Adoration, ponder “no’s” – no family, no children, no spouse…. how he looks at you as you look at him. The Eucharist is this However, when I met the Sisters, something in my vision of gift Jesus gave us as his true presence among us now, so we religious life changed, and I saw it in a new light – to be a bride, remember we are not alone. a soul set aside to live and love Christ as my spouse. In a sense, it was actually a lot of “yes!” It is about a relationship with Sister Mary (Michaela) Pieta is a 1st professed sister at the Sisters of Life Jesus, on which all other relationships are founded – when my in Bronx, NY. She the daughter of Pat and Brenda Breen and is originally life belongs to Jesus in this way, I actually can live as a better a parishioner of Sts. Anne & Joachim Church in Fargo. woman, daughter, sister, friend, and even bride and mother. The convent where I live, Sacred Heart, our holy respite mission, is a place where we invite pregnant mothers to come live with us as guests as they prepare to give birth to their child, and then grow in their relationship as a mother with that newborn for a few months following. Living at Sacred Heart, right in the midst of Manhattan, we see a lot of people show up at our door. One such encounter was a little boy named KJ, who came by with his father. He hit it off with one of our sisters, Sr. Michela. At 8:15 p.m., the bell rang for prayer, and although KJ wasn’t Catholic, he REALLY wanted to come to the chapel and pray night prayers with the Sisters. At the end of prayer, when the candles on the altar were extinguished, NEW EARTH MARCH 2017



Individual and communal views of freedom


wo competing views of freedom mark American Catholic politics. Action One view considers freedom Christoper Dodson an absolute right belonging to an individual that can be expressed in any manner the individual chooses, so long — at least according to some views — it does not injure another individual or their property. Although labels can be imprecise, we can call this the individualistic or libertarian view of freedom. The other view either considers freedom as a limited right, subject to what is good for the life and dignity of human persons and the communities in which they live, or sees freedom not as a right at all, but a condition that allows people to choose rightly. We can call this the communal or traditional conservative view of freedom. Adherents to either view can reach the same conclusion about some issues. For example, both would object socialist or collectivist programs. Sometimes the two perspectives are incompatible. Legalization of drugs, assisted suicide, and minimum wage laws are a few examples. Consistency eludes the human condition, so politicians are not always consistent. Nevertheless, trends develop and they reveal themselves in the arena of public policy. The fight over the Sunday morning closing law in North Dakota is one example. Proponents of repealing the law made several arguments, such as the many exceptions in the existing law and the fact that some people have to work other days of the week. However, at the heart of most of their arguments was the idea that government “had no business” telling businesses when to open and close. The sentiment expressed the individualistic or libertarian view of freedom. What mattered to these individuals was not whether the common good was served by the law but the fact that the law infringed on what they considered an absolute right of the individual. Opponents also made several arguments. Some legislators felt that protecting time for the Sabbath was important. Others, including the North Dakota Catholic Conference, contended that communities and families prosper best when they have a common period of rest and recreation. At the heart of these arguments was the idea that government’s job is to provide

“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” – St. John Paul II



the sum conditions necessary for the development of persons and communities, especially the family. Implicit in this view is the belief that some things are more important than business and property rights. This position reflected the communal or traditional review of freedom. It views freedom not as a right to be asserted without limit, but as a virtue that is only good when the exercise itself is good. It also recognizes that forces like the economy, social behaviors, culture, and structures of sin can remove the ability to choose correctly. Corporate farming, gambling, firearms, minimum wage, zoning ordinances, restrictions on abortion, and limits on pornography are other examples of when these competing viewpoints reveal themselves in North Dakota politics. This tension between competing views of freedom is not reflected in the usual Left/Right political spectrum. The “left” often holds an individualistic view of freedom when it comes to matters of sex and gender. The “right” often holds an individualistic view of freedom when it comes to matters of property, business, and guns. There were Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the Sunday closing issue. The Catholic view rejects the individualistic view of freedom and teaches something more akin to the communal view. The most important teacher on freedom in recent memory was Saint John Paul II. His experience in communist Poland and his exposure to individualistic errors in the West made him uniquely suited to reflect and teach about authentic freedom. His most famous quote on the subject is: “Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” He was not the first person to say it. Others before him, including Abraham Lincoln, had made similar statements. Indeed, the idea is not new. Some attribute the idea to St. Augustine. Whomever expressed it first, it is rooted in the Christian understanding of human life. It expresses, on one level, deep theological lessons about Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection; about what it means when we say that Christ set us free. On another level, it expresses truths about how we should structure society. St. John Paul II understood this connection between the salvific action of Christ and the church’s social teaching. He also understood how the erroneous view of freedom underlies problems ranging from abortion to excessive consumerism even as he understood the dangers of statism through communism. Notably, his famous statement about freedom was not presented to audiences in the newly freed Poland or the struggling democracies of Africa or Asia. He said it on one of his visits to the vanguard of freedom, the United States. I don’t think he meant it as congratulatory. I’m sure he meant it as a warning. Christopher Dodson is executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference. The NDCC acts on behalf of the Catholic bishops of North Dakota to respond to public policy issues of concern to the Catholic Church and to educate Catholics and the general public about Catholic social doctrine. The conference website is



Thy kingdom come, thy will be done

s my first semester concluded here at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, my feelings were “Man! That was great! I can’t wait to see what God does the second semester.” Little did I know that God had things in store for me that far surpassed my imagination. This semester the Lord has provided countless opportunities for me to witness the raw and unfiltered power of the Holy Spirit. During Christmas break I found myself at a conference with 20,000 other Christians and was asked whether I wanted to be like Jesus. I hesitated to say yes because I knew that if I wanted to answer the question honestly I had to say no. The reality is that I had fallen into a season where I didn’t necessarily have the goal of living a life like Jesus (curing the sick, healing the blind and lame, preaching the Gospel on the street, and casting out demons). I discovered that somewhere along the line I had settled for simply wanting to worship God and grow in holiness and paid no attention to the great commissioning of Jesus as I ought to. I had totally forgotten about my call as a son of God to preach the Gospel to all peoples and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! At this conference, I witnessed things I never thought I would see. I saw people healed and walking out of their wheelchairs. People that used to harm themselves were healed and their scars completely disappeared! I witnessed blind people regain sight and I witnessed deaf people regain their hearing! I saw the book of Acts come to life before my eyes and I will never be the same. So during Christmas break, I was really forced to take a good hard look at my Christianity and decide whether I wanted it to look more like the lives of the apostles I read about after Pentecost. A number of other seminarians and myself came back to seminary hungry for more of the Holy Spirit and eager to live a life that is shameless of the Gospel and fearless in the Holy Spirit. Since the second semester began, the group of us that had been changed over break have prayed with strangers, preached the Gospel to countless people, especially waitresses and waiters, and the coolest part of all is we have witnessed God heal people through our prayers! I have witnessed ankles and knees and arms healed. I have seen more people leave their wheelchairs. One brother here at the seminary has been receiving healing from seizures and the pain it causes him. I have prayed with a man with stage 4 lung cancer and witnessed him breathe easily for the first time in months. We have even gone to Psychic/ New Age/Pagan expos and preached the Gospel and watched people get healed and surrender to the Gospel, and were even kicked out of them!

“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” – 1 Corinthians 3:9

The Father has brought me places and worked wonders through me that I Seminarian could have never Life imagined. I say all of this to communiChristopher cate one thing that Finneman I have learned and will never forget: The Holy Spirit is still moving. The things we read in the New Testament are still happening. If I could sum up my seminary experience in one phrase it would be this. “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done” because before I stepped into this life with the Holy Spirit, I simply thought that being a Christian meant that I strive for Heaven. After having my eyes opened to the fullness of the Holy Spirit, I now understand that the Father has more in store for me than striving for sanctification. The Father wants His children to invade Earth with Heaven! To bring His kingdom come in whatever way we can. For me, bringing the Kingdom comes more naturally through music. I have the gift to make music for my King. Everybody has a gift in which they can release Heaven into this world. I encourage everyone in my beloved diocese to step into the gifts and charisms they have so we can release the Kingdom of God all throughout North Dakota! We are not to simply wait to enter Heaven one day, but be co-laborers with Christ to bring His Kingdom to our communities and cities in the unique way we are gifted. Finneman is a College II student studying at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Mich. Editor’s Note: Seminarian Life is a column written by Diocese of Fargo seminarians. Please continue to pray for them.




Donor advised funds — Simple, cost-effective and flexible Stewardship Steve Schons


recently took a call from a man who wanted to know more about Donor Advised Funds. After some discussion, it became clear that a Donor Advised Fund was a good

It’s easy to get started

When you make a gift of cash or other assets, we take your tax-deductible contribution and establish a special DAF in your name. Your DAF is then invested to grow over time, permitting you to recommend annual gifts to your favorite charitable organizations. Opening a Donor Advised Fund is easy to do. At the Catholic Development Foundation, we use a simple DAF agreement. You may fund your DAF with a gift of cash, securities, real estate or other assets.

option for him to consider. He was trying to accomplish two things. First, he wanted Once your DAF is open, you are ready to begin giving! to make sure he received a significant tax deduction for this Simply contact the DAF administrator in writing with your tax year, explaining he has some unexpected income and he annual recommendations for your DAF distributes. We take wanted to offset his tax liability with a tax deduction. Second, those recommendations, and providing the charities you he wanted the ability to make donations annually to his parish, recommend meet non-profit status requirements, we make those but still wanted some flexibility in case he wanted to give to distributions. It’s that easy. other causes. Based on his priorities, I urged him to talk with his financial advisor about his options and to learn more about a Donor Advised Fund.

Start advising

An investment for the future

A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is like having your own foundation. The fund is invested for growth, which permits you to make annual gifts of income and principal while you are alive. In some cases, parents will allow their children to advise charitable distributions for a term of years. If you establish a DAF, at the end of the term the remaining fund balance will become an asset of the Catholic Development Foundation, helping further the good work of our Catholic Church.

A flexible, low cost alternative to a private foundation

A DAF provides you a flexible and easy-to-establish vehicle for charitable giving. Unlike private foundation gifts, DAF gifts generally qualify for a full fair market value charitable deduction and there are no startup costs to establish a DAF at the Catholic Development Foundation. In addition, a DAF permits you to make grants to charities without the unfavorable Private Foundation restrictions and excise taxes. For more information, or if you wish to speak to me about Donor Advised Funds, please contact me at steve.schons@ or call me at (701) 356-7926.

Give a Gift to Help Keep the TV Mass on the Air

The best gift for those you love who are nursing home residents, shut-ins, or non-practicing CatholicsWDAY, Channel 6, Fargo – WDAZ, Channel 8, Grand Forks 10:30 a.m. Sunday Name_________________________________________________ Address_______________________________________________ City/State/Zip_________________________________________ Phone_________________________________________________ A GIFT FOR: Name_________________________________________________ Address_______________________________________________ City/State/Zip_________________________________________

“I support the TV Mass because it was an important part of my mother’s life. My husband and I would sometimes watch it with her. I’m thankful that the TV Mass was there for her.” – Helen Bye, Fargo



Or, IN MEMORY OF: Name________________________________________________ I would like this listed at the end of the TV Mass on this date(s): ______________________________________________________ MAIL TO: TV Mass, Diocese of Fargo, 5201 Bishops Blvd., Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104-7605



Angels among us: how helping leads to healing

pend a day in a surgical waiting room and you’ll witness a hundred quiet acts of mercy. Strangers gather for a host of reasons with a common cause: to sit beneath the slowest clock and wait it out. They make calls, utter prayers and flip through magazines, and in their anxiety, they extend morsels of compassion: smiles and small talk, directions to the cafeteria and tips on its offerings. One person shown the way by someone slightly less new, flashes of humanity while loved ones down the hall are put under. The mercy at one Minneapolis hospital, where I spent a recent Thursday as my husband’s elbow was reassembled, began with this text: “Surgery started. Everything going well.” Five words to make you feel oriented and relieved, the optional last three abounding in kindness. A 60-something couple across from me hunkered down for their daughter’s four-hour surgery, a double mastectomy. A toddler behind them sprawled across her grandpa, staring at the fish tank. A camouflage-clad college student wanted to know where his dad would be recovering overnight. A collared 40-something paced and repeatedly checked on his wife’s status. We were told we would be notified as soon as any information became available, but people could not wait. The women behind the front desk responded with grace, promising to look into each query and let them know as soon as they learned more. Surgeons periodically popped in, shaking hands and sitting down to explain an outcome in the the most simple and encouraging language they could. As we settle into a new year already shadowed by political tensions, I’m focusing on the acts of kindness playing out in my midst. A neighbor shoveling for us late at night. Casseroles and cards. A well-oiled prayer chain. I’m reveling in gratitude and trying to seize entry points for compassion. A trip to the grocery store brings opportunities at every aisle: carts stuck together in the entrance, crowded corners, broken bags in parking lots. It feels so good to help in the smallest of ways or pay a sincere compliment to a weary cashier. I learned about mercy from an 85-year-old priest – a retired English professor who quotes Samuel Taylor Coleridge and hears confessions twice a week. He donates every month to a free-ofcost hospice founded by Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne and explained to me his reasoning: “Spiritual and corporal works of mercy happen there. We can’t personally do much of that work, and so we have proxies.” The same organization sends two nurses every month to his retirement home for priests to trim their toenails. “As I get older, my feet get farther and farther away from me,” he said. “That’s the trouble.” What a beautiful way to serve the church’s servants, the kind of assistance most would never think to provide. “Old folks appreciate the power of touch,” he said.

These words from Isaiah brings it all home: “Thus says t h e L o rd : S h a re Twenty your bread with the Something hungry, shelter the oppressed and the Christina Capecchi homeless…and do not turn your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed.” Acts of mercy aren’t just to be performed when you’re in perfect condition and your to-do list is complete. They’re done when you are wounded – that’s how you arrive at healing. “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and He will say: Here I am!” Christina Capecchi is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, Minn., and the editor of

A Catholic Camping Experience for students entering 4th-8th grade this fall.

Register for Trinity Youth Camp 2017 June 14-18 at Red Willow (near Binford) July 12-16 at Pelican Lake (near Bottineau) July 19-23 at Camp of the Cross (near Garrison) July 26-30 at Pelican Lake (Bottineau) Activities include Good News, crafts, rec, water sports, daily Mass, skits, campfires, new friends, and much more.

Register online today: Registration is due two weeks prior to start of each session!




&285$*(286 JOSHUA 1:9




Events across the diocese

Can Catholics and Lutherans be friends? Middle and High School Celebrations An event designed to encourage dialogue unite for Catholic Youth Extravaganza on Christian unity is set for April 20 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 210 7th Street South in Moorhead, Minn. Presenters will be Pastor Mark S. Hanson, former Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and Father John W. Crossin, former Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops. Bishop John Folda is scheduled to attend. The event is free and open to the public.

Celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday at Holy Cross Church, West Fargo A Divine Mercy Chaplet service will be held at Holy Cross Church, West Fargo on April 23 at 3 p.m. Come as a family to participate and learn about Sister Faustina and find out why praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily is so important for your faith journey. The service will be followed by confessions. For more information, please call the parish office at (701) 282-7217.

“Gathering” Support Group for PostAbortive Women to start April 24 Without a doubt, abortion is one of the most traumatic

experiences a person can have. The pain of loss is often buried initially, but may be manifested by dysfunctional relationships, depression, and emotional or spiritual problems. If you are struggling with guilt, depression, regret, anger, or other difficult emotions after an abortion, you are not alone. In the Diocese of Fargo, Project Rachel Ministries offers a network of healing in the heart of the Catholic Church. A confidential, dedicated toll free phone number is available for you to contact us at 1-844-789-4829. Anyone can leave a message on the phone. A trained Project Rachel staff member then contacts the caller as soon as possible, gathers information, and offers options available through our ministries. On April 24, Project Rachel Ministry, together with Catholic Charities ND, will start offering a “Gathering” post-abortion support group for women. If you have begun your healing journey either through the Sacrament of Reconciliation or by attending a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, you are invited to join us. The group will meet on the 4th Monday of every month at a designated location in the Fargo area. These monthly gatherings consist of a half-hour mediation before the Blessed Sacrament followed by a share discussion. Confidential registration required. To register and learn location of meetings, please call (844) 789-4829. 



Students in 6-12 grade are invited to come and celebrate the “Annual Catholic Youth Extravaganza” April 29 at St. John Evangelist’s Church in Grafton. The keynote speaker will be Nic Davidson, who some students may have met at a Steubenville Youth Conference. He will have two workshops in the afternoon, one for High School male students and one for Middle School male students. Ashley Grunhovd, Director of Evangelization for the Diocese of Fargo, will have two workshops, one for High School female students and one for Middle School female students. The afternoon will also include two tracks of workshops specifically for High School students and Middle School students. There will also be workshops for adults. Evening activities at the Armory include a dance and 3-on-3 basketball competitions. We will accept 16 teams for basketball. This means four teams from the Middle School female attendees, four teams from the Middle School male attendees, four teams from the High School female attendees and four teams from High School male attendees. The teams will be accepted on a first registered, first served basis. The fee for this event is $35/student and $15/chaperone. We must have one chaperone for every eight students registered. For more details, contact Kathy Loney in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry office at (701) 356-7902 or A special collection will be taken Apr. 30 for the Catholic Home Missions Appeal. The bishops’ Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions is a grant-making agency. It offers STRENGTHENING financial support to missionary activities the CHURCH AT HOME that strengthen the Catholic Church in the United States, its territories and former territories. Catholic Home Missions educates American Catholics about mission needs and invites them to assist fellow Catholics in the practice of the faith. THE THE


Copyright © 2016, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Photo credits: © Getty Images, CNS/Nancy Weichec, CNS/Chaz Muth, Diocese of Great Falls–Billings.


There will be a one-time special collection on Mother ’s Day, May 14, for the Trinity Dome Collection for the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Basilica is the nation’s preeminent Marian shrine, and is oftentimes referred to as America’s Catholic Church. The Basilica hosts pilgrims and tourists alike from across the country and around the world. Proceeds from this collection will assist the completion of the central and final dome in mosaic, The Holy Trinity.

State Convention of the Catholic Daughters of the Americans to be held May 5-7

The 50th Biennial North Dakota State Convention of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas will be held May 5-7 in Bismarck at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center. The theme will be “Mary, Our Mother, Help us to say Yes!” The convention will begin with a vocations Mass celebrated by Bishop David Kagan on Friday at noon. Business meetings will be conducted Friday afternoon and Saturday with the memorial Mass on Saturday at 8 a.m. The banquet will be at 7 p.m. Saturday with a social hour at 6:30 p.m. Installation Mass for newly elected state officers will be 9 a.m. on Sunday.

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fatima with a mini-retreat

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of Fatima, the World Apostolate of Fatima, Fargo Division, invites you to attend a mini-retreat at Shanley High School on May 13 from 1-4 p.m. with Mass at 4 p.m. celebrated by Bishop John Folda. RSVP to Please provide your name, phone number, parish and the number of people attending. If you have any questions call (701) 371-8409.

Blessed Sacrament Church hosts parish-wide rummage sale

Blessed Sacrament Church, West Fargo is holding a rummage sale May 20 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring furniture, clothing, tools, sporting goods, books, etc. Concessions will be available all day. Proceeds will assist Blessed Sacrament’s upcoming roof repair. For more information, call (701) 282-3321.

A Glimpse of the Past - April

These news items, compiled by Dorothy Duchschere, were found in New Earth and its predecessor, Catholic Action News.

50 Years Ago....1967

Four members have been elected to a newly-organized parish council by members of St. Joachim’s Church, Rolla, according to Fr. Stephen King, pastor. Eight names were presented to the parish by the Board of Directors. Of these eight, four were elected by general ballot. Elected were Dr. Donald Hoesl, Mrs. William Keegan, Delbert Anderson and Maurice DesRoches. They will serve with two lay-directors and will be an advisory council to the pastor in all matters that pertain to the spiritual and temporal good of the parish.

20 Years Ago....1997

The Diocese of Fargo and each of its parishes will soon be on the Internet. In fact, the diocese already has its own home page. Bishop Sullivan wrote to the priests of the diocese saying, “one of the most important responsibilities that we have as leaders in the Church is to do all we can to communicate Christ to others. One way to fulfill this duty is to make use of the various technologies that the modern world affords us. The most prominent example of modern technology is the Internet.”

10 Years ago....2007

During spring break this year, six seminarians – Robert Keller, Philip Zubrod, James Fries, Matt Kraemer, Chris Markman and Sean Zimprich traveled to St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver. They left Fargo and drove 14 straight hours through to Denver. After a few days there, they started the journey home, when they had car trouble in Nebraska. God provided for them though, as there was a seminary right off the exit where their vehicle broke down. For four days they stayed at Pope St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Neb.

Note: The Rector of Pope St. Gregory the Great Seminary was Father John Folda – now Bishop Folda!

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Get Connected Find more stories and information about the diocese at:




LIFE’S MILESTONES Robert and Ardella Lacina will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary April 22. They are lifelong parishioners of St. Patrick’s Church in Fullerton where they have farmed since 1957. They have four children: Jody (Susan) Lacina, Patti (Don) Lipp, Debbie (David) Scallon and Nancy Lacina. They have five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Tony and Joan Scheett, parishioners of St. Mary’s Church in Grand Forks, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary April 8 with Mass at St. Mary’s. Tony and Joan were married at St. Michael’s Church in Grand Forks by Monsignor William McNamee. They have four children and nine grandchildren.  Catherine Franklin celebrated her 95th birthday on April 4. She was married to Lyle Franklin Sr. who passed away in 2002. She is a parishioner of St. Catherine’s Church in Valley City. She has three children, Karen Sauer and Louise Max of Jamestown, and the late Lyle Franklin Junior, who passed away in 2016.



Margaret Haugen celebrated her 90th birthday April 8. She is a parishioner of St. William’s Church in Argusville. She lived in Harwood for 53 years and currently lives in West Fargo. Margaret has four children, 14 grandchildren and 12


Elaine Majerus celebrated her 90th birthday April 8 at a gathering with friends and family. She was born in St. Cloud, Minn. and now lives in Fargo. She is a long time parishioner of Sts. Anne and Joachim Church in Fargo. She raised three daughters and two sons. S o p h i a “ S o p h i e ” Va n Hook celebrated her 103rd birthday March 7. Helping her with the celebrations were her sons, Tom (Patty), and John (Mary) along with some close friends. Sophia resides at the Rosewood on Broadway and was a parishioner for many years of St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Paul’s Newman Center.

Share Life’s Milestones As a way to celebrate life and love, we encourage parishioners in the Diocese of Fargo to send photos of golden anniversaries and those 60 or more years, or birthdays of 80 or more years to: New Earth, Diocese of Fargo, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S., Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104-7605 or

Job Opening

Elementary School Principal – Nativity Elementary St. John Paul II Catholic Schools Network is seeking a dynamic, faith-filled educational leader to serve as Principal at Nativity Elementary School for the 2017-18 school year. The school serves children in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 5. Successful candidate must be a practicing Catholic with knowledge of Catholic teachings. Candidates must also hold or be able to obtain current ND Teaching Certificate and ND Principal’s Credential. Application deadline: April 25, 2017. Visit for more information

Join our team and be a part of the JPII community that inspires excellence through faith, learning, and service.

building a culture of

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Application deadline is July 10.

Inquire today at or 701-355-8030. NEW EARTH MARCH 2017


An elderly woman reacts as she meets Pope Francis during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 22. (CNS photo | Paul Haring)


World needs those who can bring God’s hope, consolation, says Pope Francis By Carol Glatz | Catholic News Service

hristian hope is built on patiently enduring everything life brings and knowing how to see God’s presence and love everywhere, Pope Francis said. God “never tires of loving us” as he “takes care of us, dressing our wounds with the caress of his goodness and his mercy, meaning, he consoles us and he never tires of consoling us,” the pope said during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square March 22. The pope also invited all Catholics to “rediscover the sacrament of reconciliation” during the Lenten season by taking part in the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative, being held March 23-24 in many dioceses and parishes worldwide. The pope asked people to make time for confession to “experience the joyful encounter with the mercy of the father,” who welcomes and forgives everyone. During his main audience talk, the pope continued a series of reflections on how the Apostle Paul describes the nature of Christian hope. In the apostle’s Letter to the Romans (15:1-5), he said that it is “by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” This endurance or perseverance, the pope said, is the patient ability to remain faithful and steadfast even when dealing with the most unbearable burdens. It is persevering even when “we would be tempted to judge unfavorably and give up on everything and everyone.” The encouragement or consolation St. Paul talks about, the pope said, is “the grace to know how to grasp and show the presence and compassionate action of God in every situation, even in one greatly marked by disappointment and suffering.” When St. Paul says, “We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak,” he isn’t separating the Christian community into a special class of those who are “strong” and a group of “second-class citizens” who are weak, the pope said. In actuality, the strong are those who experience and understand their fragility and know they need the support and 34


comfort of others, he said. And when people are experiencing their fragility and vulnerability, they “can always offer a smile or hand to a brother or sister in need,” showing them strength. It’s about people offering one another what they can and knowing that the truly strong one is Christ, who takes care of everyone. “In fact, we all need to be carried on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd and to feel surrounded by his tender and caring gaze,” Pope Francis said. That strength to endure and find encouragement all comes from God and his sacred Scriptures, the pope said, not from one’s own efforts. The closer people are to God with prayer and reading the Bible, the more they will have the energy and feel the responsibility to go to those in need, “to console them and give them strength.” The aim of serving others then will not be to feel proud of oneself, he said, but to “please our neighbor for the good, for building up,” as the Apostle Paul says. People will realize they are “a ‘channel for broadcasting’ the Lord’s gifts and, in that way, concretely become a sower of hope,” the pope said. Planting seeds of hope “is needed today. It’s not easy,” Pope Francis said. But with Christ at the center of one’s life, it will be him who “gives us the strength, the patience, the hope and the consolation” needed to live in harmony. At the end of the general audience, the pope highlighted that the day also marked World Water Day, established by the United Nations 25 years ago. The pope greeted participants attending the conference, “Watershed: Replenishing Water Values for a Thirsty World,” sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Club of Rome March 22. He said he was “happy this meeting is taking place” as part of continued joint efforts to raise awareness about “the need to protect water as a treasure belonging to everyone.”

Sidewalk Stories By Roxane B. Salonen

The case for life intricately linked to our Catholic faith


r. David Anders, host of the “Called to Communion” radio show on the Eternal World Television Network, recently spoke at a prolife luncheon in Fargo, hosted by the diocese’s Respect Life Office. As a regular sidewalk prayer advocate, I eagerly anticipated hearing from Anders, whose graceful intelligence, conveyed through radio, I’ve come to appreciate. During his talk, Anders mentioned the question at the center of his show: “What’s stopping you from becoming a Catholic?” And how, despite the myriad questions he’s been asked through the years, there’s one that’s not come up: “Why does the Catholic Church oppose abortion?” “Why do you think that is?” Anders posed. “Well, it’s because abortion is manifestly wrong, and people know that.” He shared that when his son was a baby, his family prayed at an abortion facility, and watched a woman approaching for an abortion leave at the sight of the infant. Anders said his daughter Zoe, a young adult, now volunteers at a pregnancy help center. But when she was younger and just learning about abortion, she expressed horror. “Why would they do that?” she’d asked incredulously. “They wouldn’t have wanted to die from abortion.” “Even the basic argument, from a child’s perspective, is intelligible,” Anders pointed out, and yet the cultural conflict surrounding abortion persists. Anders said that although the Catholic Church espouses the most comprehensive and consistent life ethic, to reach others, we’ve each got to daily exemplify a culture of life in our own lives. “Pro-lifers must create internally the kind of life and love that makes abortion unthinkable,” he said. “It’s got to be embedded in the life of the family.” Indeed, even when we are successful in convincing someone of the value of an unborn life, Anders said, it’s not always enough. “Often, our culture doesn’t deny the value of an unborn life, but neither will it agree to give it the same value as the life of the mother.” He shared a story from professor and apologist Peter Kreeft, who once, likened abortion to infanticide. Processing his logic, one student, rather than becoming convinced abortion is wrong, declared instead his newfound support for infanticide. Feminism has only exacerbated the disconnect, he said, promoting the error that for women “to find full inclusion in civic life,” abortion becomes necessary; that to achieve her dreams, woman “must separate herself from the capacity toward maternity.” Those who view radical freedom as the ultimate good

generally justify abortion, he added, but the Catholic worldview, which sees human beings as having intrinsic worth, takes a different approach. “The difference between the Catholic Church and liberal progressivism is that our lives mean so much more than a commercial value,” Anders said. “Far from advancing a life of human authenticity, the progressive mindset retracts us from it.” Anders shared the story of a former feminist who eventually concluded that most women do want to see a culture “that cherishes our shared and wondrous capacity to bear new human life.” Having her first child had changed her thinking, Anders said. “She began to see feministic activity as fundamentally dehumanizing. It exposed her to a degradation of authenticity.” Another ex-feminist was on her fifth abortion when things went awry. It wasn’t until the nurse mentioned needing to do a procedure to remove the dead baby from her womb that she, for the first time, comprehended the gravity of her actions. Before that, “her ideology had stifled her natural inclinations.” But Catholic moral thinking can restore a right mindset, Anders said, as we learn “to orient ourselves to a good beyond ourselves.” In the first four centuries of the Church, he pointed out, far more women were willing to convert than men, because, women were “massively elevated” within Christianity, from what they’d known previously. “It was through the Catholic Church that the consent of the woman became required for marriage,” he said, noting that, on the contrary, Buddhists had held that it was “better to be reborn as a cow than a woman.” In contrast, Catholicism produces examples like St. Bakhita, who once said, “I’m definitively loved…and so my life is good.” Anders highlighted that feminists who promote abortion today fail to see that it’s within the authority of the Catholic Church that the dignity of woman was made possible. “To the world, we are a visible sign and witness. The case for life is intricately linked to the Catholic faith.” He reminded me what a richness we have in our faith, and reinvigorated me to continue living out this culture of life daily, for both myself and for the good of others.

Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five, is a local writer, and a speaker and radio host for Real Presence Radio. Roxane writes for The Forum newspaper and for She serves in music ministry as a cantor at Sts. Anne and Joachim Church in Fargo. Reach her at NEW EARTH MARCH 2017




Catholic Diocese of Fargo 5201 Bishops Blvd, Ste. A Fargo, ND 58104

This beautiful stained glass window of St. Cecelia is in the choir loft of one of our diocesan churches. Where in the Diocese are we? The answer will be revealed in the May New Earth.

Where in the diocese are we? 36


Last month’s photo of the bronze portrayal of the agony beneath the cross was taken at Holy Cross Cemetery South just off I-29 south of Fargo.

New Earth April 2017  

The official magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND

New Earth April 2017  

The official magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND