Page 1

New December 2017 | Vol. 38 | No.11

Earth

The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo

O come let us adore Him Christmas is a good time to begin a child’s faith journey

PLUS

From Bishop Folda: The Catechism at 25

Fargo Catholics and Lutherans gather Christmas has come early, to reflect on the 500-year anniversary as a saved babe of the Protestant Reformation NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017 1


NEW

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EARTH

December 2017 Vol. 38 | No. 11

ON THE COVER 14 Christmas is a good time to begin a child’s faith journey Parents have a unique role in the spiritual education of

their children. From the moment of their child’s conception, they are called to evangelize by inviting their child to meet Jesus and to share in his love.

FROM BISHOP FOLDA

4

The Catechism at 25

FOCUS ON FAITH

5

Pope Francis’ December prayer intentions

7

Ask a priest:

Do I dare pray for miracles? How big or small?

8

6 simple ways to help a family caregiver. And 6 things to avoid doing

AROUND THE DIOCESE

14

10 $2 million dollar matching gift for new bisonCatholic Newman Center 11 Secular Franciscans live the life of St. Francis of Assisi 12 St. William’s Church in Maddock dedicates 15 stained glass windows 13 Fargo Catholics and Lutherans gather to reflect on the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

12

20 Stories of Faith

NEXT GEN

17 Youth from Fargo and Bismarck Dioceses attend National Catholic Youth Conference 18 Little Deacons know what makes a good Bishop

OUR CATHOLIC LIFE

13

A Christmas blessing for a hungry family

21 Catholic Action

The founding principles of our country

22 Seminarian Life

FAITH AND CULTURE

19 Tattered Pages

2

A review written by Father Michael Hickin for “Last Testament” by Pope Benedict XVI and Peter Seewald.

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

Christ’s gift of love can be our gift to others

23 Catholic Charities Corner

The most wonderful time of year… but not for you?

24 Word on Fire

The Least Religious Generation in U.S. History: A reflection on Jean Twenge’s “iGen”


ON THE COVER: Natividad by Jacopo Robusti (Tintoretto) 1518-1594.

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.

Publisher

Most Rev. John T. Folda Bishop of Fargo

Editor

Paul Braun

Assistant editor Kristina Lahr

Designer

Stephanie Drietz - Drietz Designs

Subscriptions

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.

Postmaster

17

27

WHAT’S HAPPENING

25 Events across the diocese 26 Life’s milestones 26 A glimpse of the past 27 In Memoriam – We remember

SPECIAL SECTION

28 Catholic Development Foundation Financial Report U.S. AND WORLD NEWS 34 Pope: For Christians, work is more than an occupation, it’s a mission SIDEWALK STORIES 35 Christmas has come early, as a saved babe

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: news@fargodiocese.org (701) 356-7900 Deadline to submit articles, story ideas, advertisements and announcements for the January issue is December 13, 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 DECEMBER 2017

3


FROM BISHOP FOLDA

The Catechism at 25

T

wenty-five years ago, the Church gave to all the faithful a wonderful gift: the Catechism of the Catholic Church. After the Second Vatican Council ended in 1965, there was great uncertainty about the best way of handing on the faith in the modern era. But in 1985, at the urging of the Synod of Bishops, Pope St. John Paul II mandated the development of a “universal catechism” that would be a resource not only for teachers but for all the faithful. This project was overseen by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI, and it remains one of his greatest contributions to the life of the Church in our time. The word “catechism” comes from a Greek word that means “instruction” or “oral teaching.” To put it very simply, the Catechism is a comprehensive summary of the essential teachings of our faith in one single volume. It draws heavily from Sacred Scripture, as well as the official teachings of the popes and ecumenical councils. The Catechism is also filled with the rich testimony of the saints, the great witnesses of holiness who have inspired us and led us to Christ through the centuries. As Pope St. John Paul II said, the Catechism is “a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion.” The Catechism’s structure is somewhat different from the question-answer format previously found in similar works. It is in narrative form and divided into four parts that reflect the four pillars of Christian initiation: the “Profession of Faith” (the Creed); the “Celebration of the Christian Mystery” (the Sacraments); “Life in Christ” (Christian Morality); and “Christian Prayer.” One could summarize this whole outline as “God’s call and our response.” Or, as George Weigel says, “Parts One and Two illuminate God’s action in seeking us out… Parts Three and Four then outline our response to God’s action through the moral life and prayer.” The Catechism has been a great blessing over these 25 years, especially for the important work of catechesis. Prior to 1992,

the catechetical materials available to our parishes and schools were less than stellar. Teachers did their best, but many key aspects of Catholic teaching were neglected, and the resources themselves were somewhat unreliable. But the promulgation of the Catechism changed the whole landscape, and set a much better standard to follow. Now, in the United States, the bishops certify all catechetical materials for their conformity to the Catechism, and the quality of these materials has markedly improved. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that the Catechism is only useful to those who teach young people. On the contrary, the Catechism is a resource for every Catholic, and should be in every Catholic home, right next to the Bible. It is an excellent summary that allows any one of us to deepen our knowledge and understanding of our Catholic faith. Some are intimidated by the size and depth of the Catechism. It’s not light reading! But it is organized in such a way that one can pick it up and read any section without needing to read everything that came before. However, the best approach might be to start at the beginning and read a page or two a day. This makes it much more accessible, and with some perseverance, one could easily read the entire Catechism within a year. I know of one gentleman from our diocese who read the entire Catechism six times, so yes, it can be done! The Catechism also has enormous value for the work of evangelization. Pope Francis has called every one of us to be a “missionary disciple.” We are to be active witnesses of our faith to others, ready to go out and proclaim by our lives the beauty of Christ and the Gospel. But to do this, we need to know Christ and his teachings. St. Peter says we must be ready to give an account of the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15). I know many ordinary Catholics who are completely committed to their faith, but feel ill- equipped to respond to questions or challenges about that faith. The Catechism is an excellent tool that can help all of us become more confident about the doctrines we believe. There are many people out there, including our friends and neighbors, who are curious and have questions about our Catholic faith, and it would be a shame if their questions went unanswered. Our world needs credible witnesses who know what the Church believes about God, Jesus Christ, the Eucharist, Confession, moral virtue, heaven and hell, prayer, the Commandments, and all the rest. The Catechism will deepen our knowledge and make it possible for us to answer those questions when they come. If the Catechism itself is too overwhelming at first, the Compendium

“Our world needs credible witnesses who know what the Church believes about God, Jesus Christ... The Catechism will deepen our knowledge and make it possible for us to answer those questions when they come.” – Bishop John Folda 4

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017


of the Catechism of the Catholic Church might be a better fit. This volume was promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 and is organized according to the same four-part structure as the Catechism. In each section, it offers a comprehensive series of questions and answers that convey the essence of each article of the Catechism. And like the Catechism, it is filled with references to the Scriptures, the Magisterium, and the saints. I can say from personal experience that the Catechism is a treasure. I wish it had been around when I was a seminarian and a young priest-teacher. But for the last 25 years, it has been a goldmine for me in my priestly life, and the final section on prayer and the spiritual life is especially beautiful. I have no doubt that it will be equally valuable for all the faithful for many years to come – if we read it! If you don’t yet have the Catechism, or if you have one but haven’t read it, now is the time!

Hurley’s Religious Goods Inc

Serving our faith community Since 1951

Bishop Folda’s Calendar Dec. 8 | 12:10 p.m.

Immaculate Conception Mass, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo Pastoral Center Closed

Dec. 12 | 2 p.m.

Priests Pension Board

3 p.m.

Diocesan Finance Council

Dec. 25 | 12 a.m.

Midnight Mass, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Jan. 2-6

SEEK 2018 for FOCUS, Chicago, Ill.

Jan. 6-12

Region VIII Bishops Retreat, Los Angeles, Calif.

Prayer Intention of Pope Francis December

The Elderly:

1417 S University Dr - Fargo ND 58103 1-800-437-4338 - info@hurleysrg.com

That the elderly, sustained by families and Christian communities, may apply their wisdom and experience to spreading the faith and forming the new generations.

Diocese of Fargo Official Appointments/Announcements November 27, 2017

Diocese of Fargo Official Appointments/Announcements Most Rev. John T. Folda, Bishop of Fargo, has made the following appointments, announcements, and/or decrees:

Deacon James McAllister is appointed Director of Pre-Ordination Formation for the Permanent Diaconate of the Diocese of Fargo. This appointment is effective retroactive to August 1, 2016 and continues ad nutum episcopi. This appointment is in addition to his other duties as an active deacon in the Diocese of Fargo.

Deacon Paul Schneider, his appointed Assistant Director of Pre-Ordination Formation for the Permanent

Diaconate of the Diocese of Fargo. This appointment is effective October 1, 2017 and continues ad nutum episcopi. This appointment is in addition to his other duties as an active deacon in the Diocese of Fargo. NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

5


C ELEBRATE C HRISTMAS

BY GIVING YOUR FAMILY A LIFELONG GIFT

Pat Dolan, FICF

Wayne Cherney,

General Agent

FIC, LUTCF

Fargo 701-298-9922

LIFE INSURANCE

6

Devils Lake 701-662-4420/ 1-800-906-6780 l

Joel Herman, FIC Adam Jordan, FIC Rylee Nelson, FIC Wahpeton Grand Forks Fargo 701-219-5847 701-367-4222 701-660-0587

DISABILITY INCOME INSURANCE

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

l

Sean Osowski Grafton 701-360-0770

LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE

l

Ben Savageau Fargo 701-540-1168

RETIREMENT ANNUITIES


FOCUS ON FAITH

T

Do I dare pray for miracles? How big or small?

his is a question I recently asked of myself, and no doubt many other people ask the same. It occurred to me to ask this while we were observing the 100th anniversary of the “Miracle of the Sun” at Fatima on Oct. 13, 1917. The event was witnessed by over 70,000 people gathered in anticipation of Our Lady’s promise that she would “perform a miracle so that all may believe” the apparitions and the messages she was sharing with the three young children. That stupendous event is described by witnesses: The rains that had plagued the day ceased, and the sun emerged from behind clouds to spin and tremble for 10 minutes. “Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was biblical as they stood bareheaded, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws — the sun ‘danced’ according to the typical expression of the people,” reported O Seculo, a Lisbon newspaper. That kind of major public miracle is obviously a rare occurrence, but it is meant to instill a deeper faith in the heart of believers, and to help non-believers come to faith. Such are the miracles we see Jesus work as recorded in the Gospels, from healing the fever of Peter’s mother-in-law to raising Lazarus from the dead. I have chosen this topic because I just experienced a humorous example of a “minor miracle.” This occurred on Oct. 13, just after we had celebrated Mass with a holy hour in honor of the Fatima Centennial. After sharing a brief summary of the Fatima events and preaching on the chosen Scriptures, I said to those gathered, “Miracle enough for me would be to see our Griggs County Titans football team score two touchdowns tonight.” To set the stage for my comment, you need to realize that victory is quite rare for our Titans team, and in fact scoring touchdowns is also quite a challenge. We had lost to Langdon 55-0 the week before, and on Oct. 13 we were playing against the Carrington Cardinals. I thought praying for victory would be quite presumptuous in that circumstance, but how about some nice scoring at least? After our Mass and Holy Hour, I went to the game. To my surprise and delight, I found the halftime score was 49-10. So our Titans already had one touchdown and a field goal, more than I am used to seeing. The Cardinals scored quickly again in the second half, making it 55-10. Then came the “minor miracle.” On the ensuing kickoff, our returner slipped through no less than seven would-be tacklers to reach the end zone for our second touchdown! The 55-17 score held through the rest of the game. I shared this incident at Mass the following Sunday and followed it up by blurting out, “I’m a believer!” Seriously, it is good for us to pray with faith in matters great and small, and to trust that God will grant what is good for our well-being. Sometimes that is healing of a physical illness, other times it is the gift of patience to bear our share of the Cross of Christ. I have personally experienced some extraordinary instances of healing in the lives of persons for whom we have prayed, and experienced many seeming “failures” when we prayed for divine assistance. In the section on Christian Prayer, our Catechism of the

Catholic Church cites these references to our Church Fathers: “Do not be troubled if you do not immeAsk a Priest diately receive from Father Dale Kinzler God what you ask of him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer.” “God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what he is prepared to give” (CCC 2737). The miracles of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels, attest that he is the Son of God sent by the Father. “They invite belief in him. To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask. So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does the Father’s works” (CCC 548). “Nevertheless, he did not come to abolish all evils here below, but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation as God’s sons and causes all forms of human bondage” (CCC 549). So regardless of our particular favorite team’s victory or loss in the world of sports, and whether or not we are in perfect health or beset with difficulties, we will do well to focus our prayer on the victory over sin and death for which Christ came and suffered and died. Moreover, God will grant many miraculous signs along the way, in order to keep us focused in pursuit of that goal of life in the Resurrection. Father Kinzler serves as the pastor of St. George’s Catholic Church in Cooperstown as well as pastor of Sacred Heart, Aneta; St. Olaf’s parish, Finley; and St. Lawrence’s parish, Jessie. He can be reached at dale.kinzler@fargodiocese.org. Editor’s Note: If you would like to submit a question for consideration in a future column, please send to news@fargodiocese.org or mail to New Earth, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S, Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104.

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

7


FOCUS ON THE FAITH

6 simple ways to help a family caregiver. And 6 things to avoid doing By Bill Dodds | Originally published by Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly | Reprinted with permission

(Created by Pressfoto - Freepik.com)

F

amily caregiving can be overwhelming, but so can trying 1. Forget “I can’t do much.” That’s true. And not true. Even to figure out how to help a family caregiver. doing a little, from your point of view, can be a lot from You probably know one — or more — in your family, theirs. Dropping off a batch of brownies. (And not feeling immediate or extended. Or in your neighborhood, your parish, slighted because you aren’t invited in.) Or, if you live a distance away, ordering a treat of some kind and having it your workplace. They’re pretty much everywhere and, often, pretty hard to delivered to their home. Sending a card in the mail. Or an spot. It’s harder still to appreciate all they’re going through, to email. Or a text. Letting them know that you’re having understand how inadequate they feel about the care they’re a Mass said for them and their intentions. That they’re in your prayers. So small. So inexpensive. Taking so little of providing and how lonely they can be. your time. It’s letting them know they aren’t forgotten. That The challenges they aren’t alone. Caregivers can be racked with guilt for a lot of reasons, not the 2. Play the “club-member” card. It could be you’ve been least of which is they want to do a better job. It can be difficult a caregiver, or are one now, and so you have a pretty good for them to realize that just as they’re never going to be perfect idea of what your family member or friend is going through. in any other part of their life — spouse, son or daughter, parent, You don’t know exactly. (It’s like parenthood or marriage: no grandparent, sibling, friend, coworker — they aren’t perfect at two homes or situations are identical.) caregiving either. By sincerely asking how they’re doing, by talking a little bit And the loneliness? If they’re a frontline, primary caregiver, of what is was like (or is like) for you, caregivers can be inclined it can be a solitary existence. Partly because of what the work to open up more than they would with others. In effect, that demands, but also partly because family, friends and others one-on-one sharing is a tiny, informal support group. seem to fade into the distance. Does that mean you should avoid them because you’ve Perhaps you’ve faded away. You’ve hesitated. You haven’t never been a caregiver? Of course not! Sometimes they may come forward because, honestly, you don’t know how to help. just want someone to listen to them. Sometimes they may want to talk about something other than caregiving. (Some good, oldA few simple suggestions fashioned parish gossip. Uh, that is, some catching up on who’s With that in mind, here are some concrete ways to be helpful done what at the parish lately.) and supportive to a family caregiver you know: 3. When you offer to help, include saying: “I’m not sure 8

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017


what you’d like me to do. What would you like me to do? What can I do?” Odds are the response will be, “Thank you but no. I’m doing OK.” There can a variety of reasons for that. Maybe they are doing fine. Right now. But your making the same offer a week or two from now might bring a different response. Maybe they have a concern about maintaining their carereceiver’s privacy and dignity. Maybe they were raised to believe one doesn’t ask for help. Or accept it when it’s offered. They don’t want any form of “charity.” Maybe, when asked, truly nothing comes to mind. If that’s the case, it can be good to have some specific suggestions. Pick up something at the store? Mow the lawn? Rake the leaves? Shovel the walks? Weed the gardens? Bring a casserole or a batch of cookies or some double lattes and scones? Drive them both to a doctor’s appointment? Sit with their care-receiver for an hour (or more) so they can have a chance to get other things done or just take a nap? Set it up so you do that once a week or twice a month on a regular basis? 4. Encourage them to keep your offer in mind and to jot down a “chore” or “favor” when they think of something you can do. Let them know they can contact you about it. Ask them if they have any items when you get back in touch with them. Again, it may seem so small to you but has been looming large for them. 5. Find out if they’d like an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist to come by with Communion for both care-receiver and caregiver. It may be they can’t get to Mass and haven’t been

for quite a while. But they haven’t considered Communion being brought to them or they weren’t even aware of that option. If it’s OK with them, arrange for that to happen, choosing a time and day of the week that’s best for them. The same goes for anointing of the sick and arranging for a parish priest to visit. (Let them know, in either case, the house doesn’t have to be clean and they aren’t expected to be host or hostess.) 6. Get them a “caregiver packet” from the Friends of St. John the Caregiver (FSJC.org). It’s free and includes caregiver prayer books, holy cards and more. (Yes, if you’re a caregiver, order one for yourself!) [Full disclosure: The author and his late wife, Monica, founded this ministry in 2005. All its material is free.]

What about the don’ts?

Those are the dos. But here are the things you really want to avoid doing with a family caregiver: 1. Don’t force your “help” on them. They have enough stress already. 2. Don’t be a know-it-all because you’ve been a caregiver yourself. (Again, each case is unique.) 3. Don’t be nosy, pushing for medical details. 4. Don’t tell others private details of what you learn about the situation. 5. Don’t suggest ... wackadoodle ... remedies. (Yes, we’re talking to you, “apple-cider-vinegar-cures-everything” people.) 6. Don’t disappear once the care-receiver has passed away. Those who are grieving need your love, contact, help and prayers, too.

Wishing you a Blessed Christmas From the St. John Paul II Catholic Schools

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

9


MoveNewmanForward

<RXU*LIWV7KURXJK 

7RWDOZLWK 0DWFK*LIW

A

$2 million dollar matching gift for new bisonCatholic Newman Center By bisonCatholic

s Catholics, we have always been educators. We created universities. A Catholic priest, Father Georges Lemaitre, was the first to put forth the scientific method, a true champion of the harmony between faith and reason. Our mission as educators has been at the forefront of our community. Together we have built an amazing network of Catholic schools: forming and educating our youth. St. Paulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Newman Center is working hard to bring the value of a Catholic education to the secular university setting of North Dakota State University. The numbers always tell a story: 9 out of 10 Catholics will attend a state university. Out of all Catholics who attend college, only 2.7% will attend a Catholic college. Eighty percent of our young adults will abandon the faith by the time they leave college. Eighty percent! Dismal stuff, I know. bisonCatholic has been fighting hard for the minds and hearts of over 4,300 Catholics on the campus of NDSU. It is nationally recognized as one of the best programs in the country. Building on the relationship Cardinal Muench Seminary had with NDSU, work has begun on building a Catholic studies program, empowering young adults with the ability to make moral decisions. The bisonCatholic wellness program offers an alternative to student health. A program of personal discipleship, retreats, bible studies, and the sacraments brings the values of your Christian home to the campus. Campus ministry, one of the most effective means of fostering 10

Total Campaign Goal

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

leadership for the future of the Church, deserves our best efforts for Catholics who attend college. bisonCatholic is partnering with NDSU to build a broad-based value in the university, increase the impact of university life for our students, and form future leaders for the challenges that lie ahead. Our future includes transforming blighted property and crime-ridden neighborhoods into a home away from home where the standard of the Christian faith can be modeled for students, faculty, and staff. The bisonCatholic organization proposed a new facility that will have an impact on tens of thousands of lives over the next 100 years. Significant progress has been made on a $21.5 million capital campaign and community leaders are stepping forward in bold ways to make the dream of new facility for the students a reality. A generous donor has come forward with a $2 million dollar pledge and challenge to the region for the bisonCatholic capital campaign. That means your partnership from now until the end of the year could have double the impact. Every dollar pledged to the campaign until December 31, 2017 will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $2 million! If you value Catholic education and evangelization and forming future leadership within the Catholic Church, consider making a gift to the bisonCatholic capital campaign before the end of the year. For more information on the campaign call (701) 235-0142 or visit www.bisonCatholic.org.


AROUND THE DIOCESE

Secular Franciscans live the life of St. Francis of Assisi

T

Secular Franciscans gather for their monthly meeting in Grand Forks. From l to r: Jo Lambert, Gayle Bailey, Kim Flanagan, John Kelly, and Ken Flanagan. Not pictured: Sister Christina Neumann. Their next project is to provide Christmas gifts for the Northlands Rescue Mission in Grand Forks. (submitted photo)

he Immaculate Heart of Mary Fraternity, started in 1965, is the only Secular Franciscan fraternity in the state of North Dakota. Secular Franciscans are an order within the Church where the professed members live in their own homes and work in the world, while living a life outlined by St. Francis of Assisi. Those who feel called to this way of life follow a course of two and a half to three years of formation before professing for life. Members may be single or married. Those in formation also attend the monthly meetings of the Fraternity, which consist of prayer, continuing formation, and socializing. At the regional meeting, held this year from May 31 to June 2, Jo Lambert, Formation Director of this Fraternity, was elected as the representative for the Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota fraternities to the Queen of Peace Region. There are Secular Franciscans throughout the world who live the Gospel, pray, and are dedicated to helping those in need and caring for the environment. If you feel called to live as a Secular Franciscan, call Ken Flanagan at (701) 215-0344 in the evenings. If you live a great distance from Grand Forks, and have a minimum of five people interested in being members, the Region can help you form a Fraternity in your area. Visit their website www.stannesguesthome.org/ofs.html.

We are SMP Health System •Presentation Medical Center •St. Andrew’s Health Center

Rolla, ND

Bottineau, ND

•SMP Health System •Rosewood on Broadway •Villa Maria Fargo, ND

•St. Aloisius Medical Center Harvey, ND

•Ave Maria Village Jamestown, ND

•Maryvale •Sheyenne Care Center Valley City, ND

•Maryhill Manor

•St. Margaret’s Health •Praireland Home Care Spring Valley, IL

Enderlin, ND

SMP Health System Sponsored by the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation

Caring for You! NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

11


AROUND THE DIOCESE

St. William’s Church in Maddock dedicates 15 stained glass windows By Father Brian Bachmeier

In 2016, the parish council decided that the deteriorating and heat-inefficient original wood windows needed to be replaced with commercial, thermal-insulated windows. After a little research, it was determined that the cost of new stained glass was not feasible, so the parish then looked into the possibility of purchasing and restoring a set of antique windows. Providentially, the church discovered a set of 13 antique stained glass windows from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. These high-quality windows, created in 1921 by Conrad Schmidt Studio, were removed from the closed parish of St. Callistus in Philadelphia. The windows depict 13 events from the life of Jesus and the Holy Family. Additionally, there were two smaller windows from St. Mary’s Villa for Children and Families in Ambler, Pa. that matched very well. Unfortunately, the lead in all of the windows was crumbling due to age, and the window size and shape was different from the St. William’s window openings. Working with Michael Orchard Studio of Fargo, the parish was able to disassemble, re-lead, and re-construct the inner medallions of these antique windows and set them into a field of outer stained glass designed to fit and match the interior design of St. William’s Church. The total cost of the 15 refurbished stained glass windows came to about $37,500. To pay for the new windows, the parish began a capital campaign requesting that families consider “sponsoring” a window at a cost of $2,500 each, with the ability to include memorial text in the bottom nameplate of the window. Within a couple of weeks, this small parish of under 50 families had each of the 15 windows fully sponsored. Since the parish of St. William’s is in a heavily Lutheran community, the council discussed the possibility of having an ecumenical service to dedicate the windows and celebrate their completion with the broader Christian community. The pastors of the two other local Christian congregations in Maddock, Lu Mathison and Allen Campbell, were supportive of the event and participated in leading the dedication service. It just so happened that the famous Catholic composer and musician, Nativity & Epiphany window sponsored by the family of Cheryll Eric Genuis, was in town that evening to do an event at the local (Maddock) Ellingson, the only parishioner who remembers attending Opera House. He and his ensemble of professional musicians both the original Church dedication in 1954 and the stained glass contributed by performing two beautiful pieces of music as a window dedication in 2017. (submitted photo) part of the service. After 63 years, many of the names of the silent founding n 1954 in Maddock, a small number of committed Catholic members who worked so hard to provide a Catholic Church in families worked hard and contributed generously to make the Maddock community are now inscribed into memorial plates their new Church building a reality. At the time of construction, of stained glass in the very Church they built. Their descendants, they desired to install stained glass windows, but they simply who still celebrate the Eucharist in the Church that was handed did not have the resources. down to them along with their Catholic faith, remember the On Sept. 9, 2017, 63 years later after the dedication of St. sacrifices these founding members made. While these founders William’s Church in Maddock, the vision of those committed could not complete every detail of their original vision, their families was finally complete with a dedication service for 15 children and grandchildren are now continuing their legacy and refurbished, antique, stained glass windows. keeping the flame of faith alive for future generations.

I 12

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017


Bishop Terry Brandt, ELCA and Bishop John Folda reflect during a joint worship service at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

Catholic and Lutheran clergy join to pray for Christian unity at First Lutheran Church in Fargo. l to r: Msgr. Joseph Goering, Rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral; Rev. Corey Bjertness, Senior Pastor at First Lutheran; Most Rev. John Folda, Bishop of Fargo Diocese; Bishop Terry Brandt, Eastern North Dakota Synod of the ELCA. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

Celebrating our common witness

Fargo Catholics and Lutherans gather to reflect on the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

“C

By Paul Braun

atholics and Lutherans embrace each other as sisters and brothers in the Lord. Together they rejoice in the truly Christian gifts that they both have received and rediscovered in various ways through the renewal and impulses of the Reformation. These gifts are reason for thanksgiving.” With those words, Msgr. Joseph Goering, Rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo, joined Rev. Corey Bjertness of Fargo’s First Lutheran Church in a reflection of thanksgiving to open a joint worship service for Catholics and Protestants at First Lutheran Church and St. Mary’s Cathedral, both in Fargo, on Nov. 5. The service was held to commemorate and reflect on the past 500 years since the Protestant Reformation, but also on where Catholics and Protestants may find common ground now and in the future. The service opened at First Lutheran Church, attended by over 400 people, who then processed across Broadway Avenue to St. Mary’s Cathedral to conclude the service. In a joint letter to Catholic and Protestant faithful, Bishop John Folda of the Diocese of Fargo and Bishop Terry Brandt of the Eastern North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), referenced a meeting in Sweden a year earlier, where Pope Francis and Bishop Dr. Munib Younan of the Lutheran World Federation, signed a joint statement saying that Catholics and Lutherans would “Celebrate the common witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ we share, and walk toward visible Christian unity, which is Christ’s prayer for us.” Since then, according to Bishop Folda and Bishop Brandt, the past year has seen Catholics and Lutherans jointly looking back on the event of the Reformation, and reflecting on 50 years of official worldwide ecumenical dialogue. “Now more than ever, we are beginning to see reconciliation between us, and we are looking into the future with hope.” The services included music sung by a joint Catholic/Protestant choir, homilies by Bishop Folda and Bishop Brandt, and the reading of the Five Commitments drafted last year by the

participants of the world gathering in Sweden, which are: • Catholics and Lutherans should always begin from the perspective of unity and not from the point of view of division in order to strengthen what is held in common, even though the differences are more easily seen and experienced. • Catholics and Lutherans should again commit themselves to seek visible unity, to elaborate together what this means in concrete steps, and to strive repeatedly toward this goal. • Lutherans and Catholics must let themselves to continuously be transformed by the encounter with the other and by mutual witnesses of faith. • Catholics and Lutherans should witness together for the mercy of God in proclamation and service to the world. • Lutherans and Catholics should jointly rediscover the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ for our time. In his homily at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Bishop Folda encouraged us to put aside our differences and seek a common understanding. “When we realize our Lord’s clear desire that all of his followers should be one, we cannot be satisfied with the state of affairs that we find ourselves in. We cannot just resign ourselves to the separations that still exist. The quest for unity in Christ is an imperative, and not just a nice thing to wish for. It is a necessary part of who we are as followers of Christ. And this unity is not something we can accomplish on our own, by sheer force of will or convincing argument. No, it is a gift of grace, and it requires an openness from us, a willingness to receive that grace.” Bishop Folda went on to say, “I pray that each one of us here and all our brothers and sisters will experience the love of God in an ever deeper way, so that we may be signs of hope and instruments of peace and love in a fractured world. And let us never forget the powerful prayer of Jesus for each one of us: ‘That they may all be one.’” NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

13


Traditional Nativity figures with the baby Jesus removed for Advent. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

COVER STORY

O come let us adore Him Christmas is a good time to begin a child’s faith journey

By Paul Braun

“I

hr Kinderlein, kommet, O kommet doch all,“ (O come little children, oh come one and all). The words of a favorite Christmas carol as I was growing up come back to me each December. My parents taught us this carol in German to sing as my siblings and I processed with straw and a figure of the Christ Child to lay in our manger scene under our Christmas tree each Christmas Eve. Passing on family Christmas traditions centered on our Catholic faith and German heritage was very important to my parents, and they were the ones who taught me and my siblings the first Bible story we ever learned...the story of the Nativity and Christ’s birth. This is probably true for many Catholic families. Our parents become our first catachists, or teachers, and chances are the first Bible story passed on down is the Christmas story. Parents have a unique role in the spiritual education of their children. From the moment of their child’s conception, they are called to evangelize by inviting their child to meet Jesus and to 14

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

share in his love. Dr. JoAnn Paradise is the National Catechetical Consultant of the Curriculum Division for the publication Our Sunday Visitor. She was in Fargo last August to help train religious education directors and teachers in the diocese on the new curriculum used in our Catholic schools and parish CCD classes. Dr. Paradise says the role of parents in teaching their children about God’s love is irreplaceable, and must be understood early on in their marriage. “We call the family the domestic church,” says Dr. Paradise. “Ideally, parents would have been formed in this understanding from their own families and on-going faith formation. We know, however, that that is not always the case. That is why marriage preparation and baptism preparation must be a priority for a parish.” The role of being a parental catechesis can be a daunting one, and some parents may feel they aren’t up to the task, or just don’t have the time in their hectic schedules. For some, the easy out may be sending their children off to Wednesday or Sunday


Dr. JoAnn Paradise, National Catechetical Consultant for Our Sunday Visitor Curriculum Division (submitted photo)

younger ones in the family. Starting on December 1, the child opens a little door on the calendar each day that corresponds to the day’s date to reveal a scripture reading. Some calendars even feature a piece of chocolate behind the door. Many families will expand on the scripture reading by opening their Bibles at home to better understand the context of the quote from scripture. This takes place each day up until December 24.

• St. Nicholas Day – December 6 is the feast of St. Nicholas,

the real-life Bishop who lived from 270 to 343 AD in what is now Turkey, and on whom the tradition of Santa Claus is based. St. Nicholas’ feast day traditions vary widely, but they all carry the same theme of small gifts and treats left in either shoes or stockings, or in my family’s case, paper plates at the kitchen table. This Advent tradition is a great way to teach children to venerate the saints and to deepen their knowledge of and love for the Christian faith.

• Home Nativity Scene – Most Catholic families have a

RE classes, or enrolling their children in Catholic school. While these steps are very important to a child’s spiritual development and should be applauded, they should never be regarded as a substitute. Rather, RE and Catholic schools should be a rein- forcement of what is taught at home.

“Parents accompany their children on the road of discipleship moment-by-moment,” according to Dr. Paradise. “They are the ones who teach forgiveness by forgiving, teach compassion by acting with charity and justice, teach developing a deep spiritual life by praying with them, and teach meaning and purpose by giving them a deep sense of their own identity as a child of God, a brother or sister of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. Priests, catechists, and Catholic schoolteachers support parents in their ‘work.’ We are very confused if we think that these people are the primary educators of the children in the way of faith.” Christmas is a wonderful time to begin the faith journey of children. The story of Christ’s birth is easy for them to comprehend, and they relate to the baby Jesus at their young age. Christmas also brings with it many traditions handed down through the centuries, and many of these are relevant today. For many North Dakota families, these traditions are already being passed on to the next generation, and if not, it’s not too late to start.

manger scene with nativity figures set up in a place of prominence in the home. However, some families will leave the figure of the Christ child out of the manger during Advent, as he has not yet been born, and place him there on Christmas Eve. Another tradition is to leave the figures of the Magi, or Three Kings, out of the scene until the Feast of Epiphany. I have seen some families place the figures of the kings in different rooms of the house, approaching ever closer to the manger until the celebration of Epiphany.

• Straw for good deeds – This tradition coincides with

the manger scene in the family home. When a child performs a task or a good deed, they are given a piece of straw to place in the manger, to make it more comfortable for the baby Jesus. Of course, the more pieces of straw, the more comfortable the baby will be when he arrives. These are but a few traditions parents can use to help teach their children the story of Christmas and Christ’s birth. Chances Traditional Advent Wreath (Wikipedia)

• Advent Wreath – on the first Sunday in Advent, a family

gathers around the wreath and its four candles (three purple and one pink), says a blessing over the wreath and light the first purple candle. Many times prayers are said and the song O Come, O Come Emanuel is sung. This takes place each Sunday until Christmas, with the idea that the family is waiting for the arrival of Christ the Light to dispel the darkness of sin. Tradition has it that the candles represent the four-thousand years humanity waited for the coming of the Savior.

• Advent Calendar – This tradition is especially fun for the NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

15


COVER STORY

Scripture-based Advent Calendar. (Paul Braun/New Earth)

are good that many parents reading this already use these traditions in their homes because they were passed down from their parents. But teaching children to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas is only the start of the discovery of their faith. A parent’s task is to continue sharing their faith-journey with their children all the way through adulthood. Dr. Paradise says for parents to live out their vocation of parenting, they need to be aware that they are forming future disciples.

“Every parent wants to raise a happy, successful, contributing member of society. Catholic parents know at the root of all their desires and dreams for their child is life forever with God. Parents must become more intentional in making their homes a place where our faith is taught, celebrated and lived. Homes that provide places of honor for sacred images, the reading of Scripture, prayer that becomes part of the fabric of daily life and participation in Sunday liturgy are all necessary in forming a child’s faith. It goes without saying that children need to see faith in action. But parents must also be equipped to be able to speak about their faith in a way that connects their life to their faith through language and images that their children will understand.” Dr. Paradise suggests that parents who want to become better equipped to elevate their child’s spiritual growth should talk to their local priest, deacons or religious education instructors. They could also get a copy of the curriculum being used at schools or in RE so they are better prepared to answer their child’s questions, or to discuss further what lessons they are being taught. “We are the Church,” said Dr. Paradise. “Where you go the Church goes. Give your children the gift of a deep sense of belonging by living your lives connected to your parish. The benefits will be life-giving!”

Welcome

to Riverview!

Call Wendy Buth for a tour today!

W

✆ 701-237-4700

chiriverview.org CHI Riverview Senior Living

We make retirement better. 5300 12th St. S., Fargo, ND 58104

Foundation Discover the enriching experience of senior living at CHI Riverview 16

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017


NEXT GEN

Youth from Fargo and Bismarck Dioceses attend National Catholic Youth Conference

A priest carries the Blessed Sacrament through a crowd of over 20,000 youth from across the nation during the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis, Ind. from Nov. 16-18. NCYC is bi-annual conference for high school students that includes music, prayer, workshops, Mass, Reconciliation, and features top Christian speakers and performers from around the nation. (Courtesy of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, www.nfcym.org)

TobyMac, Christian hip-hop music producer, songwriter and author performed for youth as the evening entertainment Nov. 16. TobyMac has charted 20 solo singles on Billboardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Christian Songs list. (Eve Dahlin)

Youth from the Dioceses of Fargo and Bismarck. Collectively, 32 students and adults from the two dioceses attended the conference. (Natalie Hoefer | The Criterion) NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

17


NEXT GEN

Little Deacons know what makes a good Bishop By Paul Braun

A good Bishop…

• sings his whole day. – Ivan

• talks to Jesus and drives a car. – Jack

• has a thing on his head shaped like a circle and does push-ups. – Kaysn • is in my heart and has ice skates. – Kaelen

• shares and goes on a train. He plays nice. – Briggs • is a friend and drinks all his milk. – Rozanna

• drinks wine. He likes me when he comes to my room and hugs me. – Nash

• is good and tells people not to do bad things in church. – Ashtyn • is respectful, not bad and not crabby. – Emily • wears a cross and a cape and a hat. – Neveah The Little Deacons Class of 2016 from Holy Spirit School poses with Bishop Folda and their third grade mentors. (Submitted photo)

Y

ou’ve heard the expression “Out of the mouths of babes.” Bishop John Folda learned first-hand what that expression truly means when he visited with Little Deacon preschoolers at Holy Spirit School in Fargo. The kids dressed up for Bishop Folda with construction paper crosses hung around their necks and miters that they made to wear on their heads. They were also asked to complete this sentence: “A Good Bishop...” The results were priceless, and in the spirit of the Christmas season, we share them with you now.

• is nice and loves people. – Tori

• likes to color pictures of families and rainbows. He also draws the sun, rain and snow. – Freddy • wears a thing on his head. He goes to Mass and talks and sings about church. – Haven • does good things like play. He likes people. – James • is kind to people. – Lydia

• likes pizza. He likes to see our school and see us too. - Rylee

• doesn’t hit. He says good words. He listens to Jesus and he is Jesus’ friend. He sings the B-I-B-L-E song and Yes Jesus Loves Me. – Addison Merry Christmas, and thank God for kids!

Students at Trinity Elementary School in West Fargo had a special visitor Nov. 20, Cara Mund, the first ever Miss America from North Dakota. Since her crowning on Sept. 10, Mund has been traveling to children’s hospitals and schools around the nation, inspiring children to aspire to what the four points of her crown represent: service, scholarship, style, and success. She is originally from Bismarck. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)

18

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017


FAITH AND CULTURE

Pope Benedict as a faithful innovator By Father Michael Hickin

points in my life.” They made him aware of a new generation sprouting. He rejoices to see in these young people and their movements a fresh face for the Church. When asked if he was a bridge between an old era and a new one, he hesitates. “I don’t belong to the old world anymore, but the new world isn’t really here yet.” The theme of Benedict’s witness to continuity through renewal is nowhere more evident than in his resignation and embrace of Pope Francis. The Church is not frozen in old patterns, A review of Catholic books, movies, music but remains “flexible, dynamic, open.” He could have said this ope Emeritus Benedict XVI has been blind in his left eye about Vatican II or his own writings, but he says this about his for many years. He names his favorite pieces from Bach successor, Bergoglio, whose election genuinely shocked him. and Mozart. He likes to think through thoughts reclin- He had no inkling who his successor would be. As different as ing on a sofa, but never plays the night owl over his books. “I Francis is in style, Benedict approvingly recognizes how the new love French culture.” He finds that the ‘unrestrained stillness Pope’s temperament serves the Church well. He praises Francis’ of the rural expanse’ really speaks to him. To write, what he courage to expose problems and pursue solutions. Continuity needs most is silence, “then thoughts are able to ripen.” This continues, and Pope Emeritus Benedict is content. interview, the fourth he has done with Peter Seewald, is plumb Last Testament should set the record straight. For him there is full of anecdotes. no sense of disruption. For anyone tempted to think otherwise, Heading the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for they are welcome to imbibe Benedict’s lifelong brew, generously 25 years, Cardinal Ratzinger got pegged as the watchdog of served up throughout this interview, of refreshing continuity. orthodoxy. Reading Last Testament paints another picture, Benedict’s self-portrait as a faithful innovator. It began with the atmosphere of his seminary in Bavaria. Nineteenth century piety was set aside in favor of a liturgical About the Book: spirituality. Aquinas was side-lined in favor of Augustine. He says that after the War, there was a sense you could begin afresh, “Last Testament” plunging into the adventure of thinking, advancing toward “new things.” He threw himself into a “vision for tomorrow, by Pope Benedict XVI embracing breakthroughs that would allow the ancient faith and Peter Seewald. to ring true in contemporary ears. Published by His behind-the-scenes role at Vatican II helped tip the scales in Bloomsbury Continuum. favor of the “progressives,” his camp, at a crucial turning point regarding the Decree on Divine Revelation. With his mentor 288 pages Henri de Lubac and others, he saw it as his mission to renew the faith by giving greater voice to its beginnings in Scripture and the Fathers. But then the defections began. This is where the real drama of Joseph Ratzinger’s life begins. He pushed for real progress, but not at the expense of breaking with Church authorities. He concedes some naïveté for not having foreseen the political ramifications of “a renewal of the whole.” Fact is he refused to align his efforts with those who Pilgrimages for Catholics and people of all faiths would bad mouth the Pope or the Council. Prices starting at $2,499 ~ with Airfare Included in this price Ratzinger would come to stand for a beautiful paradox, akin from anywhere in the USA to the organic farmer who uses the most up-to-date equipment. Several trips to different destinations: the Holy Land; Italy; France, Portugal, He labored to bring together the cultivation of a fresh language Spain; Poland; Medjugorje, Lourdes, Fatima; Ireland, Scotland; England; for Christian theology with a rootedness in the origins of Austria, Germany, Switzerland; Greece, Turkey; Budapest; Prague; Our Lady of Christian Faith. This is what he calls continuity. Guadalupe; Colombia; Brazil; Argentina; Domestic Destinations; etc… Elected the Successor of Peter at age 78, Pope Benedict did We also specialize in custom trips for Bishops, Priests, and Deacons not see it as his task to carry out any great reforms. He hadn’t (Hablamos Español) the energy for that. Nevertheless, he admits “new things given to me” while writing his 3-volume Jesus of Nazareth. He calls the anthony@proximotravel.com Call us 24/7 508-340-9370 www.proximotravel.com 855-842-8001 three World Youth Days over which he presided “real turning

TATTERED PAGES

P

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

19


(Erwan Hesry | Unsplash)

STORIES OF FAITH

I

A Christmas blessing for a hungry family By Father Bert Miller

n a large parish, the pastors do not do all of the ministries and tasks as they would in a smaller parish. In the city, the ministry roles are more defined. At one of my city assignments, there were 11 full-time paid ministers (two were priests). Each of the others wore many hats too, but their primary ministries were visiting the sick and homebound, facilitating youth and Faith Formation classes, working with Catholic Schools, preparing couples for Baptism, accounting, etc. The priests were preparing couples for marriage and celebrated Mass daily and on weekends at the parish and at nursing homes. Staff meetings included all of us. To begin, we would tell stories about our week and the people we encountered. The home visitor wanted to go first this particular week. Just last night, she had been out on a visit to a single mom with two children, one a newborn. The visitor had gotten a tip from a parishioner that the single mom lived close to the church and seemed to be in need. It was evening in the darkness of winter when the visitor decided to make her visit. She started in the parish food pantry, packing two big grocery bags to take to the woman. She hoisted the bags out to the car and drove to the woman’s apartment complex, where she discovered the apartment was on the upper floor, up an icy outside staircase. Breathing deeply, she made it to the apartment door. She knocked. The lights were on; it was clear the little family was there. Finally, the door creaked open just enough for our worker to see a little face. It was a four-year-old girl. They talked through the door, but when the little girl noticed the two bags, the door swung open, and she invited our worker into the little apartment. The little girl closed the door and invited her guest to take off her coat. She asked about the bags and the guest said she had brought some food for her, her mother and her little sister. Oh, the excitement! The little girl was thrilled. She said, “Let’s take the food to the kitchen and put it in the cupboards. That will surprise my mom!” 20

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

So the adventure began! What our worker noticed was that as each cupboard was opened, there was absolutely no food in the apartment. The only food there was what the guest had brought them. They packed it away, sat, and talked more. Suddenly, the bathroom door opened. The mom noticed the coat and the hat and boots and knew that someone unexpected was there. The mom found her daughter and the guest in the kitchen. Our worker got up right away to explain who she was and where she came from, how she had gotten the woman’s name and address, etc. She explained that she had brought food and the daughter had suggested they put it in the cupboards. The mom cried. She said, “I was bathing the baby, and thinking what I would make for my four-year-old tonight. I knew there was nothing in the cupboards or refrigerator. You are a blessing. You came at just the right time; now we will have food.” With tears in her eyes, the worker said to the rest of the staff at the end of her story that she had never seen anything like this before. Rubbing tears from our faces, we all agreed. She started visiting more people in need. All of us helped by gathering comments that parishioners made about people they thought needed help. And generally, the work of the parish changed from sacramental only to sacramental and care of people in need. It’s Christmas! Doesn’t this little hungry girl just warm your heart? So, if you know someone hungry, give them food, make them a holiday meal, or give them a grocery gift card. You also could make a monetary donation to a local food pantry or drive the hungry person to the food pantry and help get the food home. Have a wonderful Christmas! See you in 2018! 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 bert.miller@fargodiocese.org.


OUR CATHOLIC LIFE

D

The founding principles of our country

ivisiveness permeates our country and gives sustenance to nationalism and identity politics. The trend betrays the founding principles of our country and Christianity itself. From its founding, our country too often embraced the sin of racism and even enslaved an entire people based on the color of their skin. The consequences of slavery and racism still permeate our society. Our country, however, was not founded on the principle of white supremacy. The first Americans were mostly Christian, even if many of the nation’s founders were deists. Yet the United States was not created to be a Christian nation.

“The root of the ugly divisiveness that threatens our country — and sadly many others — is a failure to see the ‘other’ as one of us.” – Christopher Dodson The colonists were overwhelmingly Protestant. Although there were scatterings of Catholics and Jews, they were mostly kept, by law or practice, from full participation in society. Yet our country was not founded as a Protestant nation. The colonists overwhelmingly spoke English, but the country was not founded for Anglophones or to be an “English-Only” nation. The settlers brought with them customs and traditions that were primarily Northern European and especially Anglo-Saxon, but our country was not founded to protect or foster any ethnicity or tradition. Vestiges of aristocracy existed, especially in the southern colonies, and, by most European standards, American colonists were what we today would call a “middle class.” Yet the United States was not established to maintain class systems. The founding fathers, as it usually was at that time, were men. Women did not have equal rights under the law. Yet the country was not founded to entrench and further patriarchy. While other nations have formed from an attachment to the land stretching back hundreds of years, our ancestors on this land were newcomers and sometimes usurpers. From its beginning the United States embarked on what is perhaps the greatest accumulation of wealth by private citizens in modern history, but its founders did not intend to create a nation devoted solely or even primarily to power and material wealth. In short, even if we have too often failed in following their vision, our country’s founders rejected, in principle, all the usual features that define a nation, such as culture, land, religion, or ethnicity. The United States transcends blood and soil. Instead, our country was founded upon aspirations and a commitment to universal principles rooted in recognition of the rights, responsibilities, and capabilities of every human person. Moreover, our nation is supposed to be dedicated to the idea that no one should be excluded because of race, ethnicity, or religion. Although our country was not founded as a Christian nation, Christians should recognize these foundational principles.

St. Paul repeatedly wrote about the universal nature of the human family, created through Christ Catholic and for Christ. Action “Here there is not Greek and Jew, cir- Christoper Dodson cumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all” (Col 3:11). “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). While it is common to read and hear interpretations of these and other passages as applying only to the body of Christian believers, such interpretations miss some fundamental principles of our faith. Every human person is created by God and in God’s image. Thus, everyone is bestowed with innate dignity from which flow certain universal and inalienable rights. Indeed, immediately before the passage cited above from Colossians, Paul teaches to reject the sinful “earthly” acts and to put on a “new self” and be “renewed” in the “image of its creator” (Col 3:5-10). It is more, therefore, than a change into a new self. It is a conversion that accepts who we were created to be by a savior who created all in his image. This does not mean that patriotism and pride for country and community are not laudable virtues. St. John Paul II’s love for his native Poland exemplifies this affection. It does mean, however, that there is no place for an “us versus them” mentality. Solidarity must prevail over politics of exclusion. Subsidiarity requires that communities not be unduly stripped of their ability to govern themselves. Sometimes corrections are necessary. Families, neighborhoods, communities, and selfgovernance are important. When, however, the call for community turns into insularity, isolationism, nationalism, or exclusionism, the principle of subsidiarity is perverted. Moreover, community formation itself can never justify racism, ethnocentrism, parochialism, identity politics, or any form of unjust discrimination. The root of the ugly divisiveness that threatens our country — and sadly many others — is a failure to see the “other” as one of us. When we fail to see the image of God in others, we fail to respect others. When we fail to respect others, we place our needs ahead of theirs. When we place our needs first, we view others with fear. When we cultivate a politics of fear, we succumb to tribalism. When we succumb to tribalism, we betray American ideals and Christ himself. 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 ndcatholic.org. NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

21


OUR CATHOLIC LIFE

Christ’s gift of love can be our gift to others

I

bought John a cup of coffee the other day. I met John out Seminarian on the sidewalk Life as I was walking around the Robert J. Foertsch downtown area of a large city in the U.S. John and I made eye contact, he approached me, and we began to engage in conversation. He told me about the architecture of the city all around me. He had an eye for these things, you see.

Perhaps this can be our call this Christmas season: cast aside our preconceived notions and false judgements and ask God for the grace to see as he sees and the courage to act as he acts.” – Robert J. Foertsch After about 20 minutes of conversation, John asked me if I would be willing to buy him a cup of coffee. I said sure, and we approached the local coffee house. John and I entered the coffee shop and immediately I noticed that the clerk was unhappy. “He’s got money; he’s just conning you!” the clerk shouted to us. John got his paper cup and filled it with coffee, while I approached the clerk to pay with the clerk grumbling the whole time. The clerk was frustrated and angry that I was buying John some coffee. “He does this all the time,” the clerk said. John and I eventually exited the store, said goodbye and went our separate ways. It is easy for us to misjudge situations and people, and this is the error of the clerk. The clerk put John in the category of homeless, lazy, a con man, without actually encountering him. The clerk put a false image in his head of the man without ever engaging John. How often do we do the exact same thing? We say things like “I will not give money to the homeless because they’ll just spend it on booze or drugs.” Or perhaps, “My spouse underappreciates me because…” We quickly force our own preconceived understanding on so many people without ever simply receiving the other person. Is this how God judges? Is this how God loves? Of course not. We as Christians are called to move beyond our own natural fallible powers into acting with supernatural grace. To love as God loves, such that when one gives to those in need, we see Christ in the other person, and our free gift of love to the other is a gift to Christ. When we give ten dollars to a man on the street, we freely give ten dollars to Christ. When we see our spouse eating cereal at the breakfast table in the morning, we see Christ in our spouse, and we love Christ in our spouse.

22

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

Ironically, if God judged us fairly, there would be no Christmas; we would already be condemned. Our first parents had fallen into sin through Original Sin, and I have a multitude of sins to append onto the list. Yet in God’s superabundant love for us, he sends Christ to us to redeem us in spite of what we deserve. Perhaps this can be our call this Christmas season, to cast aside our preconceived notions and false judgements and ask God for the grace to see as he sees, and the courage to act as he acts. Jesus pours out love upon all who ask for it, and so should we. I’ll leave you with these words from the 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew: “‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’” (Mt 25:37-40). Foertsch is a Theology I seminarian at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, Colo. Editor’s Note: Seminarian Life is a column written by Diocese of Fargo seminarians. Please continue to pray for them.

s a m t s i r h Merry C

From all of us at

Catholic Catholic Charities CharitiesDakota North North Dakota


OUR CATHOLIC LIFE

The most wonderful time of year… but not for you?

T

hink about the classic Christmas song, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. In it, we sing about, “parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow” and how “hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near!” We dream of a perfect Christmas, but do life and the world get in the way? Instead of enjoying this time, do you find yourself driving around town, fighting traffic and other shoppers searching to find the perfect gift, or franticly cleaning before the relatives and company arrive? Rushing to the store for groceries, baking for days or weeks ahead, and cooking for hours on Christmas day? These things can all lead us to lose the joy in Christmas. Money can also be a big problem during the Christmas season, and the cold and dark North Dakota winters can make it even worse. Others find Christmas to be the toughest time of the year for different reasons. When everyone else is getting together with loved ones, what about those who don’t have anyone? Some will feel an intense sense of loss and grief like the new widow or widower who just lost a spouse. Even years later, the holidays can be very difficult for those who have loved ones who have passed away. If you or someone you know would like to talk with someone, Catholic Charities North Dakota currently offers counseling in Fargo, Langdon, and Wahpeton by calling (701) 235-4457. If you are closer to Bismarck, Minot, or Dickinson/New England you can call (701) 255-1793 to reach Tami Christianson, who joined our team in August. Our most recent addition to the counseling department is Dr. Kenneth Flanagan who will be providing services in Grand Forks at (701) 775-4196 starting on Jan. 8, 2018. Dr. Flanagan has many years of experience working in the social work and counseling fields, and is currently a professor in Social Work at the University of North Dakota. We are often pressured to feel merry and bright, but many will feel isolation and loneliness this time of year. Remember, it’s ok to feel what you feel. If you don’t feel as happy as you think you should, don’t fight it. Here are a few ideas to get some relief from the holiday blues. • Seek the sun and endorphins. Be sure to get at least 20 minutes of sun each day and don’t forget to exercise. Both sunlight and exercise can help alleviate any chemical imbalance. • Create your own traditions. You don’t have to do what you have always done for the holidays. If old traditions bring up unhappy memories, try starting some new ones. • Stay busy and avoid unstructured time. If you know the holidays are going to be difficult for you, plan ahead and minimize your difficult feelings. Try to fill your calendar with fun events. • Take stock in the positive things in your life. When you are focused on the blessings in your life, the things that bring you down will fade in comparison. • Help someone else. It’s hard to feel down while you are busy helping someone else. Spend time visiting an elderly family member or neighbor. Bake treats for someone.

• Get involved. Many parishes have gift trees where you can pick out a pres ent for a child in Catholic need or provide Charities gift boxes you Corner can fill up and ship to foreign Chad Prososki countries, so you can bring joy to children across the world just like Santa Claus! • Go caroling. Build a snowman. Watch an old holiday movie. Do something fun or silly! • Consider changing your gift plans. Does Dad really need another tie or sweater? This Christmas, would you consider a gift that keeps on giving, gives back to others, or helps those in need? If these suggestions are not helping, please talk to someone. Remember that caring professionals with many years of experience working with children, adults, families and the aging population provide counseling for individuals, couples, and families at Catholic Charities North Dakota. Most insurances are accepted and Catholic Charities offers a sliding fee scale. With locations in Fargo, Grand Forks, Langdon, Wahpeton, Bismarck, Minot and New England, help is near. All appointments can be scheduled through the Fargo office at (701) 235-4457. Don’t hesitate to call if you are having a difficult time this holiday season. And, as Tiny Tim says in A Christmas Carol, “God Bless us, everyone!” Chad Prososki is the Director of Development and Community Relations for Catholic Charities North Dakota. For more than 90 years, Catholic Charities North Dakota and its supporters have been putting their faith in action helping people, changing lives. You can reach Chad at info@ catholiccharitiesnd.org or (701) 235-4457.

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

23


OUR CATHOLIC LIFE

The Least Religious Generation in U.S. History: A reflection on Jean Twenge’s “iGen” Originally published at WordOnFire.org

J

ean Twenge’s book iGen is one of the most fascinating—and depressing—texts Word on Fire I’ve read in the past Bishop Robert Barron decade. A professor of psychology at San Diego State U n i v e r s i t y, D r. Twenge has been, for years, studying trends among young Americans, and her most recent book focuses on the generation born between 1995 and 2012. Since this is the first cohort of young people who have never known a world without iPads and iPhones, and since these devices have remarkably shaped their consciousness and behavior, Twenge naturally enough has dubbed them the “iGen.” One of her many eye-opening findings is that iGen’ers are growing up much more slowly than their predecessors. A baby-boomer typically got his driver’s license on his 16th birthday, but an iGen’er is far more willing to postpone that rite of passage, waiting until her 18th or 19th year. Whereas previous generations were eager to get out of the house and find their own way, iGen’ers seem to like to stay at home with their parents and have a certain aversion to “adulting.” Twenge argues that smartphones have undeniably turned this new generation in on itself. A remarkable number of iGen’ers would rather text their friends than go out with them and would rather watch videos at home than go to a theater with others. One of the upshots of this screen-induced introversion is a lack of social skills and another is depression. Now there are many insights that Dr. Twenge shares, but I was particularly interested in her chapter on religious attitudes and behaviors among iGen’ers. In line with other researchers, Twenge shows that the objective statistics in this area are alarming. As recently as the 1980s, 90% of high school seniors identified with a religious group. Among iGen’ers, the figures are now around 65% and falling. Religious practice is even more attenuated: only 28% of 12th graders attended services in 2015, whereas the number was 40% in 1976. For decades, sociologists of religion have been arguing that, though explicit affiliation with religious institutions was on the decline, especially among the young, most people remained “spiritual,” that is to say, convinced of certain fundamental religious beliefs.  But Twenge indicates that this is no longer true. Whereas even 20 years ago, the overwhelming number of Americans, including youngsters, believed in God, now fully one third of 18 to 24 year olds say that they don’t believe. As late as 2004, 84% of young adults said that they regularly prayed; by 2016, fully one fourth of that same age cohort said that they never 24

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

pray. We find a similar decline in regard to acceptance of the Bible as the Word of God: one fourth of iGen’ers say that the Scriptures are a compilation of “ancient fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by men.” Her dispiriting conclusion: “The waning of private religious belief means that young generations’ disassociation from religion is not just about their distrust of institutions; more are disconnecting from religion entirely, even at home and even in their hearts.” Now what are some of the reasons for this disconnect? One, Twenge argues, is the iGen preoccupation with individual choice. From their earliest years, iGen’ers have been presented with a dizzying array of choices in everything from food and clothes to gadgets and lifestyles. And they have been encouraged, by practically every song, video, and movie, to believe in themselves and follow their own dreams. All of this self-preoccupation and stress upon individual liberty stands sharply athwart the religious ideal of surrendering to God and his purposes. “My life, my death, my choice” (a rather iGen friendly motto which I recently saw emblazoned on a billboard in California) sits very uneasily with St. Paul’s assertion, “whether we live or we die, we are the Lord’s.” A second major reason for iGen dissatisfaction with religion is one that has surfaced in lots of surveys and polls, namely, that religious belief is incompatible with a scientific view of the world. One young man that Twenge interviewed is typical: “Religion, at least to people my age, seems like it’s something of the past. It seems like something that isn’t modern.” Another said, “I knew from church that I couldn’t believe in both science and God, so that was it. I didn’t believe in God anymore.” And a third—also attested to in lots of studies—is the “antigay attitudes” supposedly endemic to Biblical Christianity. One of Twenge’s interviewees put it with admirable succinctness: “I’m questioning the existence of God. I stopped going to church because I’m gay and was part of a gay-bashing religion.” One survey stated the statistical truth bluntly enough: 64% of 18-24 year olds believed that Christianity is antigay, and for good measure, 58% of those iGen’ers thought the Christian religion is hypocritical. Dismal stuff, I know. But Dr. Twenge performs a great service to all those interested in the flourishing of religion, for she lays out the objectivities unblinkingly, and this is all to the good, given our extraordinary capacity for wishful thinking and self-deception. Further, though she doesn’t tell religious educators and catechists how to respond, she unambiguously indicates what is leading this most unreligious generation in our history away from the churches. Her book should be required reading for those who wish to evangelize the next generation. Bishop Barron is a theologian and evangelist, known for his Word on Fire ministry. He serves as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.


WHAT’S HAPPENING

Events across the diocese (Lizzie DeCock)

Cheer on the priests and seminarians at the Collar Classic

Come and cheer on your favorite priest or seminarian at the annual Collar Classic Basketball Game. The seminarians have been on a winning streak, but could this be the year the trophy comes back to the priests? The Collar Classic will be Dec. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Main Gym at Shanley High School in Fargo. You can also listen on Real Presence Radio. Free and open to everyone.

Life in the Spirit seminar to be held Jan. 5-7 at Little Flower Parish, Rugby

Prayerful Remembrance and Intercession to be held in January in two locations

St. John’s Church in Wahpeton will be offering a Morning of Prayerful Remembrance and Intercession on Jan. 20, from 9 a.m. to noon, as a time for all the faithful to gather in prayer and intercession on behalf of our nation, seeking forgiveness and healing in God’s merciful love. The hidden wounds of abortion affect each of us either directly or indirectly. Whether it be one’s neighbor, co-worker, friend, relative, or maybe oneself, as a community we have all been touched. The prayer service will include intercessory prayers, Eucharistic Adoration, Sacrament of Reconciliation and Mass. A light lunch will be served following the prayer service. For more information contact Connie at (701) 642-4312. St. Stanislaus Church in Warsaw will be offering an Afternoon of Prayerful Remembrance and Intercession on Jan. 28 from 1–4 p.m, and will be based on the same theme as the event in Wahpeton. For more information contact Mary Pat at (701) 248-3077.

Maryvale Convent, Valley City, to host several Three-Hour Retreats

The Life in the Spirit seminar is an invitation to make or renew The format for these retreats allows for small group gatherings a deep personal commitment to Jesus Christ in openness to the that enable participants to converse on their prayer experiences Holy Spirit and his gifts. It serves as an introduction to a life in and encounters with God. Suggested donation is $35. Contact the power of the Holy Spirit and provides teaching, guidance, and Sister Dorothy Bunce at (701) 845-2864 or dorothy.bunce@ prayer leading to a new and deeper relationship with the Lord. fargodiocese.org. Come join us and experience the presence of the Lord, through praise/worship and talks. For more information or for housing “Choice-Making:” Jan. 27 from 1–4 p.m. (register by Jan. 13), please contact Monica Houim at (701) 208-0461 or monicahouim@ and March 10 from 1–4 p.m. (register by Feb. 24). gmail.com. Registration will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 5. “Emptying Your Cup:” Feb. 10 from 1–4 p.m. (register by Jan. 27), and May 12 from 1–4 p.m. (register by April 28).

Beginning Experience assists those coping with life alone

Beginning Experience, a non-denominational support group for separated, divorced and widowed persons, is offering the 10-week program “Rebuilding,” formerly known as Level 2. The session begins Jan. 8 at Liberty Lutheran Brethren Church 1702 32nd Ave S, Fargo. Registration starts at 6:30 p.m. with sessions beginning at 7 p.m. Newcomers are welcome for the first three weeks or until Jan. 22. For more information, call (701) 277-8784.

Experience Ignatian Retreats at Maryvale Convent, Valley City

The Ignatian Retreat is steeped in the Gospels and is based on the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This is a silent retreat where one is able to meet Jesus in the experiences of Jesus’ own life. Conferences and individual direction are part of the retreat. Two weekend retreats available: Jan. 19–21 (register by Jan. 12), and April 27–29 (register by April 20). Suggested donation is $85. Contact Sister Dorothy Bunce at (701) 845-2864 or dorothy.bunce@ fargodiocese.org.

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

www.fargodiocese.org

Diocesan policy: Reporting child abuse

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) 3567965 or VictimAssistance@fargodiocese.org. For additional information about victim assistance, visit www.fargodiocese.org/victimassistance.

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

25


Life’s milestones

Elaine and Rick Kilichowski, parishioners of Sacred Heart Church in Minto, celebrated their 50th anniversary on Oct. 14. They are blessed with four children and 14 grandchildren. Clayton and Theresa Overbo celebrated their 50th anniversary on Nov. 25. They were married at St. Joseph Church in Devils Lake where they continue to be parishioners. They have two children and six grandchildren. Doris Galbreath is a lifelong parishioner of St. Patrick’s Church in Enderlin and celebrated her 90th birthday Sept. 30. Doris is blessed with six children, 14 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren.

Sally Gaustad will celebrate her 90th birthday on Dec. 28. She is a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist Church in Grafton. She was married to Dr. Jim Gaustad until he passed away in 2013. She has nine children, 24 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

A Glimpse of the Past - December

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

50 Years Ago....1967

Sisters representing the six novitiates and junioretes located in North Dakota will meet at Sacred Heart Convent, Fargo, December 2 to plan for a permanent organization and to pursue work on a syllabus of formation to be used in their training program.

20 Years Ago....1997

Artistic parishioners at St. Cecilia in Harvey have produced another major project that helps worshipers focus on the birth of Jesus Christ. This year, volunteers created a three-panel painted canvas screen with a stained-glass window effect depicting the Nativity. The initial idea came from the pastor, Fr. Vernon Smith. More than 20 volunteers got busy to adapt the idea for St. Cecilia’s.

10 Years ago....2007

Just in time for Christmas, the work was complete and AM 1370 KWTL, the only Catholic radio station based in the Diocese of Fargo, began broadcasting its Catholic programming at 12,000 watts from sunrise to sunset. That boost in power, from 1,000 to 12,000 watts, means AM 1370 can now be heard in the majority of communities across the dioceses of Fargo and Crookston.

Grand Forks, ND | normanfuneral.com | 701.746.4337

Correction: Frank and Frances Weigel were misidentified in the November 2017 issue. We apologize for the error. Frank and Frances Weigel, parishioners of St. Andrew’s Church in Zeeland, celebrated their 63rd anniversary on Nov 8. They have been blessed with nine children, 20 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren, soon to be 11.

26

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

WANT TO ADVERTISE IN NEW EARTH? Contact Kristina Lahr (701) 356-7900 newearthads@fargodiocese.org


In Memoriam – We remember SAINT MICHAEL – St. Michael’s Mission: Rocky B. Littlewind–Oct. 23, 2016; Gerald Cavanaugh–Oct. 23, 2016; Delray D. Demarce–Nov. 10, 2016; Delemma M. Greywater–Nov. 23, 2016; Gerald L. Vannett–Jan. 2, 2017; Craig S. Black–Jan. 7, 2017; Janice E. Kraft–Jan. 18,2017; Mary Ann Cavanaugh–Jan. 20, 2017; Calia Hayward–Apr. 5, 2017; Tanner Nikolaos de la Paz–Apr. 12, 2017; Adele M. Johnson– Apr. 24, 2017; Audie M. Swiftbird, Jr.–June 3, 2017; Marceline A. Herman-St. Pierre–June 3, 2017; Gavin C. Jackson–June 7, 2017; Wy DeMarrias–July 21, 2017; Hope L. Rough–Aug. 3, 2017; Roselie G. Baer–Aug. 14, 2017; Marie Y. Baker–Aug. 29, 2017; Justine Standing Crow–Oct. 2, 2017. St. Benedict’s Church Cemetery, Wild Rice. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

Give a gift that can last a lifetime... the gift of life insurance protection! A one-time premium of

$170

buys $10,000 term life policy for a child in your life1

A gift of a single premium youth term life policy comes with additional gifts, including post-high school scholarship eligibility!

Jon Herold FIC The following names of deceased parishioners were accidently missed in the Memoriam section in the November New Earth who passed away between Oct. 15, 2016 and Oct. 15, 2017. Please include all of the faithful departed and their family members in your prayers during this Advent and Christmas seasons. ASHLEY – St. David’s Church: William Kretschmar–Aug. 17, 2017. EDGELEY – Transfiguration Church: Roger Kamletz–Jan. 15, 2017; James Senger–Jan. 31, 2017; Frank Weigel Jr.–Mar. 5, 2017; James Ham–Aug. 23, 2017. FARGO – Cathedral of St. Mary: Delores W. Kelly–Sep. 6, 2017.

Jamestown, Buchanan

Joshua Volk FIC Napoleon, Edgeley, Ellendale,Wishek

Philip Zubrod FIC Grand Forks, Grafton, Langdon & nearby

701-840-8560 1-800-568-6670 info@catholicunited.org

1Parents must be beneficiaries. Convertible to up to $50,000 in permanent coverage before expiration without further evidence of insur-

ability. See sales representative for limits on total Youth Term coverage. Form 08SPYT-1 ©2017 Catholic United Financial.

HOLY FAMILY BOOKSTORE

GRAND FORKS – Holy Family: Larry. D. Jackson–Jan. 16, 2017; Paul Kobilansky–June 13, 2017; Robert McConn–Sep. 11, 2017; Yvonne Tweeten– Sep. 12, 2017; Cicely Latraille–Oct. 7, 2017.

For Baptisms, First Holy Communion, Confirmation, weddings and special occasion gifts and books.

GWINNER – St. Vincent Church: Janice Schillinger–Mar. 2, 2017; Norma Haring–Aug. 21, 2017. NORTONVILLE – Holy Spirit Church: Delbert Henke–Dec. 1, 2016. PEMBINA – Assumption Church: Annette Masloski–May 30, 2017.

Regional Manager I'm hiring. Join my team!

701-388-9624

701-955-0115

701-321-2423

Cameron Wolf

To Know God... To Love God... To Serve God...

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)

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

27


Consecration during the Ordination Mass on June 3 at St. Maryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cathedral, Fargo. (Tyson Kuznia | Legacy Photography)

Thank you for your dedication to Christ and his Church Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

to the faithful of the diocese via links on our website under the Finance Office. A copy of each report may also be reviewed in With praise and thanksgiving to God, I am deeply grateful the Diocesan Finance Office. for your generosity during the past fiscal year, which allows the Church in this diocese to continue our commitment to Catholic These ministries and other diocesan services link together education, charity, justice, worship, personal spiritual growth, the parishes which constitute the diocese. Good stewardship and pastoral ministry. Not only have you supported your parishes begins with the faith and understanding that we all are called and diocese, but also many other appeals to help those in critical to give back to God a first portion of the gifts he has bestowed need due to natural disasters. I am edified by your generous on us. Your gifts of time, talent, and treasure are reflected in this annual report. Your trust in God is reflected in your gifts concern for others! to the Church and your parishes. What follows is the annual accountability report, which covers As in the past, we planned and evaluated the compelling needs the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017. The Diocesan Finance Council, of the diocesan Church against available resources. I believe represented by 10 laypersons from throughout the diocese and that responsible and creative stewardship guided this process, five diocesan representatives, assists me in the painstaking and I pledge to continue good stewardship in the future. task of overseeing diocesan finances. We are thankful for your generous and consistent financial support. May God bless you I am convinced that through the goodness and generosity of and reward you for your financial assistance, prayers and acts the Catholics of our diocese, we will continue to rise to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters. Your continued support of service in response to his call. The condensed summary of our reports, found in this issue, through prayer, volunteer service, and financial commitment, is is intended to give you a broad view of the normal operations of a positive sign of a community alive in our Catholic faith. May our diocese and its ministries, as well as the contributions which God generously reward and bless you and your families. our diocese makes to the national and international work of the You are in my constant prayers. Please pray for me. Church. This report summarizes over 60 pages of audit reports Sincerely yours in Christ, on our three diocesan entities, the Diocese of Fargo, the Catholic Church Deposit & Loan Fund, and the Catholic Development Most Rev. John T. Folda Foundation. Complete audited financial reports are available Bishop of Fargo 28

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017


DIOCESAN FINANCIAL REPORT 2017

Diocese of Fargo statement of operating income and expenses for year ending June 30, 2017 CATHEDRAL SUBSIDY

GRANTS

FAITH EDUCATION

CHANCERY FUNCTIONS

ENDOWMENT FUND EARNINGS

SICK AND ELDERLY PRIESTS

GOD’S GIFT APPEAL INCOME

DEVELOPMENT AND STEWARDSHIP VOCATIONS

FAMILY LIFE

PROGRAMMING DONATIONS/ CONTRIBUTIONS

Expenditures: Faith Education

Revenues:

$1,235,032

22%

Sick and Elderly Priests

$231,464

4% 6%

God's Gift Appeal Income

$2,991,155

48%

Development and Stewardship

$343,785

Programming Donations/Contribution

$1,928,053

31%

Vocations

$828,866 14%

Endowment Fund Earnings

$866,916

14%

Family Life

$1,542,665

27%

Grants

$423,042 7%

Chancery Functions

$1,397,702

24%

TOTAL INCOME

$6,209,166

100%

Cathedral Subsidy TOTAL EXPENSES

$150,000

3%

$5,729,514

100%

Complete audited financial statements are available for review on our website under the finance office link www.fargodiocese.org/finance or by contacting the finance office (701) 356-7930 for an appointment.

A message from Catholic Development Foundation

Dear Friends,

encourage you to review this list to see which ones are created in your community or otherwise important to you. All Diocese of Fargo parishes have an endowment established in the CDF. If you do not see your parish listed, it’s simply because it hasn’t been funded by a donation yet.   God has planted within us a desire to give and to receive. The CDF’s ability to easily receive gifts and help donors offer gifts is rewarding both for donors and for those who are assisted. Donors know their gifts are long-term investments for current and future Catholics.   I encourage you to become a Catholic Development Foundation donor. Every the Diocese of Fargo contribution, no matter the size, makes a difference in the lives of Catholics in our diocese. Planning and making a gift now will allow you to witness your charity in action. Thank you and may your blessings be multiplied through your generosity to the CDF. For more information about Catholic Development Foundation, visit www.cdfnd.org or call (701) 356-7926.

We have all heard the saying, “We reap what we sow.” Since 1985, the Catholic Development Foundation (CDF) has been sowing the seeds of generous Catholics throughout the Diocese of Fargo. Because of this generosity, hundreds of Catholic programs and ministries within the framework of our diocese will continue to grow and strengthen our Catholic faith community for years to come.  CDF is a securely structured organization that was incorporated in 1985. As a publicly supported 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, CDF helps donors achieve their charitable and Serving the faithful of financial goals. The foundation ensures the security of all donated funds. The funds are used only for their intended purposes as designated by the donors. CDF has produced wonderful benefits for many parishes and diocesan programs over the last five years. Distributions from the CDF for parishes, diocesan programs and clergy/seminarian education have totaled $8,231,605. On these pages, you will see a list of endowments currently Sincerely, established for various Catholic ministries and parishes. I

Steve Schons | President NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

29


DIOCESAN FINANCIAL REPORT 2017

Other financial funds and related information

the money, and is available for their use. As of July 1, 2017, the rate paid for deposits is 2.25%, and the rate charged on loans is The Custodial Fund is used for monies that are from national 3.25%. These rates are based on the Prime Rate, and are adjusted collections taken up in the parishes, and the Diocesan Insurance quarterly. The deposit rate is Prime minus 2%, and the loan rate Program. When national collections (i.e. Black & Indian Mission, is Prime minus 1% as of the adjustment date. Peter’s Pence/Holy Father, Good Friday/Holy Land, Religious Retirement) are taken, the monies from each parish are sent to There are 13 loans outstanding for $15,272,501, and 272 the Diocese. Once all the monies from all parishes are received, parishes, institutions, and Catholic entities with deposit notes a single check is sent on behalf of the people of the diocese to of $35,955,986. the intended national office or agency. CATHOLIC DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION During this past year, the following collections were forwarded The Catholic Development Foundation was established in 1985 to national offices: as a separate entity that exists as an “umbrella Foundation” for Black & Indian Missions...................................................... $14,846 Catholic churches and institutions. The Foundation serves as a World Mission/Propagation of the Faith......................... $69,258 vehicle for Catholic entities to accumulate endowments, perpetual care funds, and the like through bequests and deferred gift Peter’s Pence/Holy Father................................................. $36,748 planning. Gift planning tools such as charitable gift annuities, Good Friday/Holy Land...................................................... $54,877 charitable remainder uni-trusts, charitable lead annuity trusts Religious Retirement.......................................................... $35,335 and other deferred gift plans utilize the Foundation as a means Catholic Home Missions Appeal....................................... $31,621 of providing for the Church after our earthly existence. Louisiana Flood Relief........................................................ $53,842 At June 30, 2017 there were: Military Archdiocese Collection........................................ $17,024 Endowments for parishes and agencies.................. $17,085,448 Catholic Relief Services for Rice Bowl............................. $12,972 Endowments for Seminarians/Clergy Education... $18,859,376 Sheltering the Homeless...................................................... $7,587 Perpetual Care Cemetery Funds............................... $2,094,609 Trinity Dome Collection...................................................... $7,330 Endowments for Catholic schools........................... $11,391,076 Others (e.g., Aid to Eastern Europe, Haiti, Nepal)........ $10,083

CUSTODIAL FUND

The Diocese of Fargo received $228,020 from the Black & Indian Mission Office this year for direct aid to Native American communities in the diocese, and $35,000 from the Catholic Home Mission Office for Diocesan programming and economic assistance to three parishes.

Annuities/Uni-trusts...................................................... $2,609,633

Donor Advised Funds.................................................. $4,915,325 The Catholic Development Foundation provides a permanent way for donors to make a positive impact for years to come on the well-being of the Catholic Church and people served All parishes participate in the diocesan insurance program through its many ministries. through Catholic Mutual. Catholic Mutual sends bills to the par- As an umbrella foundation for the Catholic entities in the ishes based on a $1,000 deductible. The parishes make payments Fargo diocese, the Catholic Development Foundation seeks to the Diocese for these insurance premiums. Catholic Mutual to support financially the spiritual, educational, and social bills the Diocese based on a $25,000 deductible, and the Diocese well-being of our Catholic Faith community and to help donors makes payments to Catholic Mutual. The premium difference or achieve their charitable and financial goals through a legacy spread between the $1,000 and $25,000 deductibles is retained gift. All endowments are qualified endowment funds making in the Insurance Reserve and is used to pay insurance claims contributions eligible for the 40% North Dakota Tax Credit. between the $1,000 and $25,000 level.

CATHOLIC CHURCH DEPOSIT & LOAN FUND OF EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA

The Catholic Church Deposit & Loan Fund of Eastern North Dakota is a separate corporate entity that exists so that Catholic churches and institutions may make deposits to and borrow from it in an effort to reduce the cost of funds to “sister” organizations. The Deposit & Loan Fund was established during the Depression in 1937 by Cardinal Aloysius Muench after having numerous financial institutions shut their doors in his face when requesting loans for the building of churches within the Fargo diocese. As a cooperative group, the investors and debtors of the Deposit & Loan Fund have withstood many adversities. The money deposited with the Deposit & Loan Fund belongs to the individual churches and institutions that have deposited

30

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

What is an endowment fund? Endowment gifts are to a parish what retirement funds are to an individual – they represent set-aside resources for the future. Endowment dollars can make it possible to underwrite programs, projects, positions and even facilities that might be impossible to maintain otherwise. An endowment can allow the donor to honor or memorialize a loved one, parish or diocesan cause as a permanent philanthropic legacy. An endowment gift is perpetual, never-ending. It leaves a lasting impression of your personal values and beliefs for the charity and for family and friends.


DIOCESAN FINANCIAL REPORT 2017

Endowments Awarded July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017 OTHER DIOCESAN CEMETERY SEMINARY CATHOLIC SCHOOLS

PARISH

Seminary

$808,188 40%

Parish

$419,100 20%

Catholic Schools

$421,397

20%

Cemetery

$63,383 3%

Diocesan

$67,558 3%

Other TOTAL

$285,633 14% $2,065,259 100%

Dear Friends at the Catholic Development Foundation: ____ Please contact me (us). I would like to learn more about the Catholic Development Foundation. ____ Please contact me (us) about a personal visit. The best time to call me is: ______________________ Name: _________________________________________ Address: _______________________________________ City: ___________________________________________ State:______ Zip: __________ Phone: _____________

Mail this form to:

Catholic Development Foundation Attention: Steve Schons 5201 Bishops Blvd, Suite A Fargo, ND 58104

North Dakota Tax Credit benefit the Church and you

In 2011, N.D. legislators passed a bill that allowed a very generous tax credit to those who make a charitable gift to a N.D. qualified endowment. If you are a North Dakota resident and make a gift of $5,000 or more to a N.D. qualified endowment, you are eligible for a 40 percent tax credit on your N.D. taxes. Tax credits are much different than a tax deduction because they reduce your tax liability dollar for dollar. The maximum tax credit allowed is $20,000 for individuals or $40,000 for married couples filing jointly. However, credits may be carried forward up to three years. The following is an example of how tax credits may benefit you: GIFT AMOUNT

$5,000

$25,000

$50,000

*Federal tax savings

$1,250

$6,250

$12,500

ND state income tax credit -$2,000

-$10,000

-$20,000

$8,750

$17,500

Net “Cost” of Gift

$1,750

*Based on individuals that fall in the 25 percent Federal tax bracket. Please consult your own financial or tax advisor for your unique situation.

Your guide to giving

C

atholic Development Foundation (CDF) offers many ways to give and leave a legacy. CDF accepts gifts of cash, appreciated securities and real estate. All gifts are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. And, you choose the parish, school or organization which will benefit from your gift.

Gifts that start making a difference today

These are gifts that are easy to make and see immediate impact. • Existing Endowment Fund • Donor Advised Fund • New Endowment Fund

Gifts that give back – Life income gifts

These types of gifts provide income for the donor’s lifetime, any remainder goes to the donor’s charity of choice. • Charitable Gift Annuity • Charitable Remainder Trust • Charitable Unitrust

Gifts that bear fruits later – Deferred gifts

The benefits an organization receives from these gifts are deferred until a later time, typically after a donor passes away. • Charitable Bequest • Life Estate For more information, please contact Steve at (701) 356-7926 or visit www.cdfnd.org.

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

31


DIOCESAN FINANCIAL REPORT 2017

Catholic institutions and parishes with funded endowments in the CDF Cemetery Endowments

Location

St. John the Baptist Cemetery Ardoch St. Anthony’s Cemetery Bathgate Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cemetery Balta Sacred Heart Cemetery Cando St. Leo’s Cemetery Casselton St. Helen’s Cemetery Concrete St. Mary’s Cemetery Courtenay St. Patrick’s Cemetery Crystal St. Mary’s Cemetery Dazey Dickey Catholic Cemetery Assoc. Dickey Immaculate Heart of Mary Cemetery Dunseith St. Louis Cemetery Dunseith St. Boniface Cemetery Esmond Holy Cross Cemetery Fargo Sacred Heart of Jesus Cemetery Fried St. Martin’s Cemetery Geneseo St. Cecilia’s Cemetery Perpetual Care Harvey St. Rose of Lima Cemetery Care Hillsboro Sacred Heart of Jesus Cemetery Joliette Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery Care Karlsruhe St. Mary Cemetery Care Knox St. Joseph Cemetery Leroy Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery Care McHenry St. Mary’s Cemetery Medina St. Arnold’s Cemetery Care Milnor Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cemetery Mt. Carmel St. John’s Cemetery Care New Rockford Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Cemetery Olga St. Bernard’s Cemetery Care Oriska St. Mary’s Cemetery Care Park River Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cemetery Reynolds Little Flower Cemetery Rugby St. Anthony’s and St. Marie’s Cemetery Selz St. Thomas Cemetery St. Thomas St. John’s - Ottofe Cemetery Tolna St. Catherine’s Cemetery Valley City Holy Cross Cemetery Velva St. Luke’s Cemetery Veseleyville St. Boniface Cemetery Walhalla St. Pauline’s Cemetery Windsor St. John the Baptist’s Cemetery Wyndmere

Other non-endowed cemetery funds are not listed here. These other funds are managed by parish cemetery committees through the Catholic Church Deposit & Loan Fund. For further information and to contribute to those funds, please contact your parish cemetery representative or pastor. You may also contact Steve Schons or Scott Hoselton at (701) 356-7930. Parish Endowments

Location

St. William’s Church St. Ann Church St. Benedict’s Church St. Thomas Church Sacred Heart Church

Argusville Belcourt* Belcourt Buffalo Cando

32

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

Sacred Heart Church St. Joseph’s Church St. Edward Church St. Michael the Archangel Church St. Helena’s Church Holy Spirit Church Nativity Church of Fargo St. Paul Newman Center St. Mary’s Cathedral Sts. Anne and Joachim Church St. Mary’s Church Seven Dolors Church St. John’s Church Holy Family Church St. Michael’s Church St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center St. Rose of Lima Church St. James Basilica St. Maurice Church St. Alphonsus Church St. Boniface Church St. Aloysius Church Our Lady of Peace Church St. Arnold Church St. Philip Neri Church Native Americans – Blue Cloud Abbey St. John’s Church St. Charles Church St. Mary’s Church St. John Nepomucene Church Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church St. Joachim’s Church St. Therese the Little Flower Church St. John’s Church St. Michael Church St. Thomas Church St. Jude Church St. Luke’s Church St. John the Evangelist Church Blessed Sacrament Church Holy Cross Church St. Benedict Church St. John the Baptist Church

Carrington Devils Lake Drayton Dunseith Ellendale* Fargo Fargo* Fargo Fargo Fargo Forman Fort Totten Grafton Grand Forks Grand Forks* Grand Forks* Hillsboro Jamestown* Kindred Langdon Lidgerwood Lisbon Mayville Milnor Napoleon Native American Parishes New Rockford* Oaks* Park Rapids Pisek Reynolds Rolla Rugby St. John St. Michael St. Thomas Thompson Veseleyville Wahpeton* West Fargo West Fargo Wild Rice Wyndmere

Other Named Endowments

Church/Location/ Serving

Archbishop Aquila Scholarship Deacon David Gates Scholarship Rev. Darin Didier Memorial Fund St. Joseph School St. JPII Catholic Schools Diocese of Fargo Youth Scholarship Fund

Seminarian Education Diaconate Education

Seminarian Scholarships

Devils Lake* Fargo* Fargo* Diocese of Fargo


DIOCESAN FINANCIAL REPORT 2017

Real Presence Radio Fr. George Bolte Memorial St. Michael’s School Holy Family School St. James Catholic High School Fund Lidgerwood K of C – Dexter Cemetery Catholic Charities North Dakota Little Flower Elementary School Fr. John Bacevicius Memorial Fund Thomas Gustafson Religious Education Marriage Tribunal Endowment

Young Disciples

Seminarian Clergy Endowments

Fargo/Grand Forks St. John’s School Wahpeton Holy Trinity - Fingal Donor Advised Funds Serving/Supporting Grand Forks* Grand Forks* Our Daily Bread Various Catholic Charitable works Benefits three Grand Forks parishes for The Hoffart Family St. JPII Catholic education Schools Lidgerwood *These locations have multiple named endowments. Visit www.cdfnd.org Statewide or call (701) 356-7926 for more information. For the complete list of Rugby* endowments, go to cdfnd.org. St. Boniface Cemetery - Kintyre St. Charles Borromeo - During Fiscal Year 2016-2017, the Catholic Oakes Development Foundation paid out $201,740 in Supports people seeking annulments annuity payments to faith-filled individuals who

Fargo

Diocese of Fargo*

have funded annuities with the Foundation.

New Earth deadlines for articles and ads in 2018 Issue Month

Copy/Photo Deadline

January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July/August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019

Dec. 13, 2017 Jan. 17 Feb. 12 Mar. 21 Apr. 18 May 25 July 3 Aug. 22 Sept. 19 Oct. 17 Nov. 21 Dec. 12, 2018

T

he diocesan publication, New Earth, aims to provide informational, educational and inspirational stories and photos about the people and places of the Diocese of Fargo. Jan. 12-13, 2018February You are2017 invited to submit articles, photographs and story ideas for consideration and inclusion in an upcoming issue. Feb, 8-9 Here are the 2018 printing deadlines for New Earth. Please Mar. 8-9 share this schedule with anyone who may want to publicize Apr. 12-13 events or share a great story through New Earth and/or the May 10-11 diocesan website. Please submit your items no later than 5 p.m. on the June 14-15 “Submission Deadline” date that corresponds with the issue July 26-27 you wish to see your item appear via: Expected Arrival

Sept. 13-14 Oct. 10-11 Nov. 8-9 Dec. 13-14 Jan. 10-11, 2019

• Email: news@fargodiocese.org

• Mail: New Earth, Diocese of Fargo, 5201 Bishops Blvd., Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104 • Phone: (701) 356-7900

Because of limited space in New Earth, no item is guaranteed with the exception of paid advertising.

“Those whose hearts are pure are the temples of the Holy Spirit.” – St. Lucy NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

33


U.S. AND WORLD NEWS

Pope: For Christians, work is more than an occupation, it’s a mission By Hannah Brockhaus | Catholic News Agency

I

Pope Francis at the general audience Oct. 11. (Daniel Ibanez | CNA)

n a letter for the conclusion of a conference on labor, Pope Francis said work is about more than just doing something for money, but about cooperating with Christ’s work of redemption in how we care for others and the earth. “According to Christian tradition, (work) is more than a mere doing; it is, above all, a mission,” the Pope said Nov. 24. “We collaborate with the creative work of God when, through our work, we cultivate and preserve creation; we participate, in the Spirit of Jesus, in his redemptive mission, when by our activity we give sustenance to our families and respond to the needs of our neighbor.” Jesus of Nazareth, who spent most of his life working as a carpenter, “invites us to follow in his footsteps through work,” he continued. This way, in the words of St. Ambrose, “every worker is the hand of Christ who continues to create and to do good.” Pope Francis sent the letter for the conclusion of a Nov. 23-24 international conference at the Vatican on work and worker’s movements, and how these are at the heart of sustainable and integral human development. At the same time that we consider the value of work, the Pope stressed the importance of not exaggerating the “mystical” side of work, as observed by Pope Paul VI. The person “is not

just work,” Francis said. “There are other human needs that we must cultivate and consider, such as family, friends, and rest.” This is why, he stated, it is important to remember that work must always serve the human person, and not the other way around. Therefore, “we must question the structures that damage or exploit people, families, the companies and our mother earth,” he said. In the letter, the Pope decried the utilitarian attitude faced by many workers, who in their struggle for just work, have been forced to accept the presence of a utilitarian mentality which does not care if there is excess waste, “social and environmental degradation,” forced child labor, or pollution. “Everything is justified by the money god,” Francis said, noting however that many of the people who participated in the conference have contributed to the fight against utilitarianism in the past and are “well positioned to correct it in the future.” “Please address this difficult subject and show us, according to your prophetic and creative mission, that a culture of encounter and care is possible,” he said. Drawing a connection between the three topics of time, work and technology, the Pope criticized the constant intensification of a rapid pace of both work and life, saying it is unfavorable for sustainable development. Technology as well, which we receive many benefits and opportunities from, can also hinder sustainable development when “it is associated with a paradigm of power, dominance, and manipulation,” he said. To talk about development in a fruitful way, we must start from what we have in common, he said, which is: our origin, our belonging and our destination. “On this basis, we can renew the universal solidarity of all people, including solidarity with the people of tomorrow.” “We will also be able to find a way out of a marketplace and monetary economy that does not give work the value it is due, and move it towards another in which human activity is the center.”

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

34

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

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


Sidewalk Stories By Roxane B. Salonen

T

Christmas has come early, as a saved babe

his “Sidewalk Story” began last spring, when a fellow sidewalk prayer advocate and I separately approached a man who’d just brought a woman into the abortion facility downtown Fargo. In my years helping with this ministry, I’d heard about “saves,” when those who pray at these facilities successfully draw the potential clients away. But I’d never been part of one. If a save did happen, it would always be before or after my shift. Though I knew that saves cannot always be measured, I wondered if God would ever show me the fruits of my weekly commitment. The thing is, God asks us only to show up. If we are listening to his voice, we will recognize the honor of doing so. However, we’re not guaranteed to see the fruits of our efforts in this lifetime. But God, in all his kindness, did show me that day last spring. I was first to approach the young man as he exited the Red River Women’s Clinic. As a sidewalk advocate, we need to be open and ready for anything. Some people are downright nasty with us, and others, receptive. Surprisingly, he seemed open, so, seeing the opening, I began gently pleading, trying to paint the picture of what might be possible with a U-turn. “I don’t want this,” he’d said, “but she’s made up her mind.” “It’s never too late,” I offered. “You can be a hero today for your family.” He was carrying, in one hand, a car seat with another young child. Certainly, I could understand the panic of the young woman I later learned was his girlfriend. It can be downright overwhelming, the gift of new life. But the taking of that life can be far more overwhelming, not to mention devastating. For many, by the time they realize this, it’s too late; the wounds are already festering. Our purpose is to stand in the gap and try to help bring illumination, before it’s too late. At some point, though, I lost him – or so it seemed. My cohort then approached him at his vehicle and, among other things, explained that babies aborted at the facility are discarded like waste. It was a last-ditch effort, she later explained, to help him see. But he got in his car and drove away. Feeling the defeat, the two of us went on a walk to process what we’d just experienced,

lamenting the missed chance. As we rounded the corner a block north of the facility, a car suddenly pulled up alongside us, and in it was the man to whom we’d been talking, and the woman. She rolled down her window. “I’m not going to do it,” she said. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such disbelief and joy all in one. Soon, we were accompanying them to FirstChoice Clinic, where an ultrasound was taken, and the family, led into hope. It was one of the happiest days of my life, and made even more so when the woman asked if she could stay in touch with me, to which I said, “Yes!” But even that did not compare with what I experienced a few weeks ago when I had a chance to meet the beautiful baby girl we helped save that day. Oh, glorious moment, when God showed me the fruits, here on earth. Oh, beautiful child of God, who now breathes, and has a future. You might say Christmas came early to me this year, in this precious new life. Since then, I’ve had the chance to bring gifts and a meal to this little family, and to thank God over and over for touching their hearts. It would be tempting to feel ownership over what has unfolded, but I don’t. I just happened to be there when God started moving, and am more blessed observer and witness to God’s movements in another soul than anything. But praise him for that. I can’t think of a better way to end my first year of Sidewalk Stories. And I look ahead with hope, and a request. I would love this column, in 2018, to include some of your experiences of witnessing the prolife culture in action, whether on the sidewalk, or some other way you’ve been touched by the message of life. Please send your inspirations to my email below. And may God bless those who work to preserve life in any way, and those who choose it. “For unto us a child is born,” a child destined to bring light to dark places. Rejoice! 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 CatholicMom.com. Reach her at roxanebsalonen@gmail.com.

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

35


NEW

EARTH

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

This statue of Jesus stands outside one of the biggest parishes in the diocese. Do you know where we are? The answer will be revealed in the January New Earth.

Where in the diocese are we? 36

NEW EARTH DECEMBER 2017

Last monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s photo is of St. Philip Neri in St. Philip Neri Church in Napoleon.

New Earth December 2017  

The official magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND

New Earth December 2017  

The official magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND