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New February 2017 | Vol. 38 | No. 2


The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo

Catholic Schools Week Education with a faith-based perspective


From Bishop Folda: Male and female: Our identity in God’s plan

Coffee shop in Grafton supports Catholic schools and parish in Haiti

YOUTH 2000 retreat coming to Fargo NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2017





February 2017 Vol. 38 | No. 2

ON THE COVER 14 Education with a faith-based perspective Schools around the diocese celebrated Catholic Schools

Week Jan. 29 through Feb. 4. There are 2,113 students enrolled in Catholic schools across the diocese, 1,201 of those in the JPII schools in Fargo. The Fargo schools are in the first of a five-year program aimed at increasing enrollment in the JPII schools by 360 students in that time. The success of the effort, of course, depends on Catholic parents deciding if a faith-based education is in the best interests of their children despite the extra costs.



Male and female: Our identity as in God’s plan



Pope Francis’ February prayer intentions


Ask a priest: What can Catholics do who are struggling with their faith but have a strong desire to believe?



Coffee shop in Grafton supports Catholic schools and parish in Haiti

10 “Beloved Daughter” next in series of Redeemed conferences 11 St. Mary’s celebrates first Cookie Walk for a Cause 11 Sister Wilma Davis, 95, brought the gift of knowledge to North Dakota


14 8

20 Students from NDSU and UND encounter Christ’s sacrificial love at SEEK2017


21 Stories of Faith

12 St. Cecilia’s Corner - St. Michael’s in Grand Forks

13 Tattered Pages

22 Catholic Action

A review of “Stabat Mater settings for choir”


18 Decora – celebrating the new and authentic feminism 18 YOUTH 2000 retreat coming to Fargo 20 Langdon students learn to give during Christmas season


The story this month shares how Sacred Scripture helped Vietnam Jesuits during the Vietnam War. Christopher Dodson reviews principles about education from a Catholic perspective.

23 Seminarian Life

Seminarian Kyle Kaufman shares an encounter with Christ he experienced near Detroit.

24 Stewardship

Steve Schons offers three basic traits for a good will.

25 Making Sense Out of Bioethics



Guest columnist Father Tad Pacholczyk explains the flaws of cohabitation.

ON THE COVER: Students from St. John’s School in Wahpeton bring the gifts to Father Patrick Parks during Mass. (Paul Braun | New Earth)



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


Most Rev. John T. Folda Bishop of Fargo


Paul Braun

Assistant editor Kristina Lahr


Stephanie Drietz - Drietz Designs


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





26 Events across the diocese 27 A glimpse of the past 28 Life’s milestones SPECIAL SECTION – SIDEWALK STORIES 31 Gathering gratitude on sidewalk despite cold

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

Contact Information

Use the following contact information to contact the New Earth staff: (701) 356-7900 Deadline to submit articles, story ideas, advertisements and announcements for the March issue is February 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 FEBRUARY 2017



Male and female: Our identity in God’s plan


he phenomenon of people considering themselves to be “transgender” or “transsexual” has moved with surprising speed from the margins to the center of our society. While the vast majority of the population understands the basic science of human sexuality, the media is full of stories of those who have chosen a different “gender identity” as well as efforts to normalize this movement. And along with this effort comes the expectation that others will assent and support such a change. Pope Francis vigorously denounces what he calls an “ideology of gender.” In Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”), his recent document on marriage, he warns that there is a growing ideology of gender that separates personal identity “from the biological difference between male and female.” In this view, “human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time” (56). Gender ideology is based on the notion that biological sex distinctions should be meaningless and interchangeable. According to this line of thinking, gender is a fluid concept, something assigned at birth but not rooted in any unchanging reality. However, science tells us otherwise, and so does our faith. In the Book of Genesis, we read that “in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.” Each one of us— male or female—is created in God’s own image and likeness, and to deny this inherent part of our being is to deny the intention of God, who formed us out of love and with divine purpose. Gender dysphoria or confusion is undoubtedly a heavy cross and calls for a response of compassion and support. There is no place for disparaging words or attitudes toward those who struggle with this disorder or any of the other physical, emotional or psychological consequences of living in a fallen world. But at the same time, one must acknowledge the facts of creation, the reality of God’s plan, and the limits of our power to change what we don’t like. In the face of this cultural challenge, the Church reaffirms the beauty and sovereignty of God’s design in the life of each

person, which includes their bodily integrity and gender. To put it quite simply, we must not presume to alter the biological sex God has given us. Pope Francis warns: “It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality. Let us not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator. We are creatures, and not omnipotent. Creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift” (Amoris Laetitia, 56). In 1992, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life…” On the surface, this sounds like a great expression of freedom. But how can anyone reasonably say, “I can define the universe?” This exaggerated notion that each individual can define existence, meaning, the universe, and life in their own way is an underpinning to gender theory, which renders everything changeable and nothing stable, even our biological constitution. Furthermore, it assumes that no one can say otherwise, and those who disagree or hold to objective truths can be written off as closed-minded, bigoted and intolerant. Gender theory has now worked its way into educational programs and public policy as well. In fact, during the past year, agencies of the federal government issued new regulations that redefine discrimination based on “sex” to include “gender identity” and even “termination of pregnancy.” Last year the U.S. Department of Education told public schools across the country receiving federal funds that they must provide services, restrooms and “equal access” to all students according to their stated gender identity. In other words, the government required that a boy, who now considers himself a girl, must be permitted to use girls’ restrooms, play on girls’ teams and change in locker rooms with girls. This is simply wrong, and fortunately, this rule was overturned in court, for now. But there are also new rules concerning health care. As of January 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has effectively required most employers, medical providers, educational institutions and health insurers – including dioceses, parishes, schools and Catholic Charities – to cover transgender services in their health plans, or in certain cases to directly provide and perform those services. Thus, even Catholic dioceses, schools, hospitals or Catholic-owned private businesses would be required to pay for gender reassignment surgery, hormonal treatments and counseling, as well as coverage for abortion. So, at the end of December the Diocese of Fargo, along with

“While the culture now tells us that gender is arbitrary and switching genders will solve all our problems, God tells us that only he can give us lasting joy and peace.” – Bishop John Folda, Diocese of Fargo 4


Catholic Charities of North Dakota, and the Catholic Benefits the poet Dante says, “In his will is our peace.” Association, which includes several hundred other Catholic To those men and women who experience the pain of gender institutions throughout the nation, filed a lawsuit in federal court confusion, we must profess the unfailing love of God. By our to halt the implementation of these new rules. It is our hope friendship and pastoral care, we assure them that they are not that this suit will protect those institutions and individuals that alone on their journey. They are loved and cherished, and they cannot in conscience provide or cooperate with such services. We are beautiful in God’s eyes. Families that experience this challenge do not take this action lightly, but feel it is necessary to protect need the understanding and support of their brothers and sisters the religious liberty of those who cannot agree to the distortions in faith, so they too will know that they are not alone. And, as and demands of gender ideology. always, we offer the support of prayer and penance so that the The Church holds to its constant belief in God’s plan for his suffering of others might be lightened. children, male and female, but we also acknowledge the call These events show us how wounded our culture is and how of our Lord to accompany those who are not at peace with profoundly we need the healing of God. Let us entrust our their own identity. While the culture now tells us that gender nation once again to Jesus Christ and the Immaculate Virgin is arbitrary and switching genders will solve all our problems, Mary, and be active, joyful missionary disciples of his truth and mercy. God tells us that only he can give us lasting joy and peace. As

Feb. 10 | 6 p.m.

Feb. 26 | 1 p.m.

Holy Family-St Mary’s Catholic School Benefit, Ramada Inn, Grand Forks

Catholic Collage, Shanley, Fargo

Feb. 12 | 11 a.m.

Ash Wednesday Mass, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center, Grand Forks

4:45 p.m.

Operation Andrew Dinner, St. Thomas Aquinas, Grand Forks

7:30 p.m.

Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas, Grand Forks

Feb. 16-17

Mar. 1 | 12:10 p.m.

Mar. 5 | 3 p.m.

Rite of Election, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Mar. 7 | 3 p.m.

Diocesan Finance Council, Pastoral Center, Fargo

Mar. 8-10

St. John Paul II Schools, Friends and Alumni Gathering, Phoenix, Ariz.

SMP Health Systems Bi-annual Leadership Retreat, Phoenix, Ariz.

Feb. 18-19

Mar. 11 | 5 p.m.

Vianney Discernment Weekend, Maryvale, Valley City

Mass at REDEEMED Women’s Conference, Holiday Inn, Fargo

Feb. 21

Mar. 15

Real Presence Radio Banquet, Ramada Plaza, Fargo

Feb. 22 | 3 p.m.

Catholic Charities Board Meeting and Retreat, Pastoral Center, Fargo

Mar. 17

St. John Paul II Schools, Board of Directors Meeting, Pastoral Center, Fargo

Diocesan Staff Retreat, Pastoral Center, Fargo

Feb. 23 | 10:30 a.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, Sts. Anne and Joachim, Fargo

Mass at Maryhill Manor, Enderlin

Mar. 18 | 10 a.m.




Prayer Intention of Pope Francis February

COMFORT FOR THE AFFLICTED: That all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities. URGENT PRAYER INTENTION: That in these days of such great cold that we think of all the people living on the streets, affected by the cold and by the indifference of others. We pray for them and ask the Lord to warm the hearts of others to help them.”


“Let your old age be childlike, and your childhood like old age; that is, so that neither may your wisdom be with pride, nor your humility without wisdom.” – St. Augustine

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What can Catholics do who are struggling with their faith but have a strong desire to believe?


his is a real issue for a lot of people. Without a doubt, it always has been an issue, but today our culture – sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly – discourages faith. Science is touted as faith’s replacement. At the same time, life itself brings hard questions. Even if we have never suffered much ourselves or helped people through suffering, we still see it on TV and we know it’s there. We ask, “Why?” “Is God not listening?” “Can I trust God if he doesn’t seem to be helping?” and we can get caught spending too much time in our thoughts and not looking at the world around us. The problem is not that there aren’t answers. Yes, God seems elusive at times, but we also believe that God is the most knowable thing in himself. That is not to say God is the easiest thing for us to know, we whose minds are often cloudy and distracted. Yet the Scriptures tell us that we can see God’s fingerprints in the world we study. “Ever since the creation of the world [God’s] invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20). Things that bring us awe inspire us to learn how they came to be, and this search will lead us to what could not have been created by anything else. In this vein, St. Thomas Aquinas describes certain “proofs” of God’s existence. Granted, these are not “proofs” in the usual sense of the word. When we typically “prove” something we rely on experiments that can be repeated and whose results can be measured. Instead Aquinas’ proofs rely on our mind’s ability to recognize what is logical or illogical. It is illogical to believe that time (or anything that’s governed by time) could have always existed, or could have begun without something else making it exist. There must be one thing that is not under the normal laws of space and time, but which instead makes those laws. That “thing” is God. Yet, these mental exercises don’t make us feel better if we still don’t have real faith. Faith compels us to surrender to the One who is unseen. So how do we practice faith? To get practical, I will offer some good ideas from JRR Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings. He gave advice for what he calls “sagging faith” in a letter to his son, Michael. (Another nice commentary on this letter can be found on the website, First, Tolkien gives his son – who had been feeling mildly depressed – encouragement by reminding him that this is a “universal human malady.” Everyone struggles to find meaning and purpose at times, and that has direct effects on the intensity of our faith. Don’t forget in the tough times what God may have done for you before. Secondly, Tolkien warns him against looking too much at the

examples of other Christians. Sometimes Christians – even Christian leaders – demonAsk a Priest strate great shortFather comings and can Gregory Haman make us question if anyone’s faith is real. At other times, we might think that faith comes easier to everyone else, and our struggle is quite unique. Yet faith isn’t automatic in anyone; everyone has a certain fogginess. Heaven is described as seeing the face of God, and no one on earth is in heaven yet. Resist becoming cynical either toward others or yourself and your road will be smoother. Tolkien also recommends that his son make an act of faith. Faith is ultimately a choice. This can seem counter-intuitive because we expect faith to elicit a feeling or an easy confidence that God will make everything fine, but that is in fact not faith. Faith is trusting in God and following his instruction, even when he seems distant and it does not feel good. Lastly, Tolkien encourages his son to stay close to Christ, especially in the Mass. “The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion,” he writes. Keep drawing close to Christ in Holy Communion, and make the Apostle Thomas’ words your own prayer, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) whenever you are walking down the communion line. You’re choosing to believe here, even though you don’t understand and perhaps feel nothing. That’s okay for now. Do what you can. In the end, what is faith? The Letter to the Hebrews says it is, “the conviction of things unseen” (Hebrews 11:1). It is nothing you can pack into a box and keep nicely. There is always something elusive about it, because it is a connection with God, and God will always be somewhat elusive, somewhat beyond us. But he will always stretch us and keep us moving. Father Gregory Haman serves as parochial vicar at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Grand Forks. He can be reached at greg.haman@ Editor’s Note: If you have a question about the Catholic faith and would like to submit a question for consideration in a future column, please send to with “Ask a Priest” in the subject line or mail to New Earth, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S, Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104, Attn: Ask a Priest.

“Faith is trusting in God and following his instruction, even when he seems distant and [faith] does not feel good.” – Father Gregory Haman NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2017



Coffee shop in Grafton supports Catholic schools and parish in Haiti By Paul Braun

with pastry items, to serve the lunch crowd. Several varieties of whole-bean coffee are available for sale, including some varieties grown in Haiti itself. There is also Haitian artwork on the walls that customers may purchase, with all after-cost proceeds going to the Haiti church and schools. Father Schroeder’s ultimate goal is to eventually sell the coffee shop to Brigita and allow her to continue operating it for the benefit of the St. John’s Haiti project.

New windows and signage greet customers at Grafton’s Haiti’s Daily Grind Coffee Shop, located at 24 East 5th Street in Grafton. (Paul Braun/New Earth)


pen the door at lunchtime and immediately you are greeted with the sumptuous aroma of freshly brewed coffee, caramel rolls and the daily special. The small coffee shop, locally known as the Daily Grind, has been in operation in Grafton for about 25 years. But recently, the shop’s name, and purpose, have taken on a different look and mission. Now known as Haiti’s Daily Grind, the coffee shop exists for the sole purpose of raising money and awareness for St. Yves Catholic Parish and schools in Savanette Cabrale, Haiti. St. Yves is the twin-parish of St. John the Evangelist Church in Grafton, which has been sponsoring churches and schools in Haiti for over 25 years. The idea to use a coffee shop as a means to fund a charitable project came from St. John’s current pastor, Father Tim Schroeder. “The Daily Grind Coffee Shop has been in the community for many years, but the former owners decided to sell it, and there was a risk that it would cease to be a coffee shop,” says Father Schroeder. “Rather than risk losing a popular business in town, I decided to buy it as a means to keep it open and use the profits to help our Haiti project. That’s why it’s called Haiti’s Daily Grind. It keeps the name of the shop, as it has been known to locals, while raising awareness of what we are trying to accomplish.” While Father Schroeder is the financial backer of the coffee shop, his obligations and duties as pastor of St. John’s prevent him from having any day-to-day involvement with its operation. That responsibility belongs to full-time manager Brigita Bovaird, a member of the St. John’s Haiti Committee. Brigita and another part-time employee make sure the shop is stocked, clean and ready for business. Coffee is freshly ground and brewed daily, and the shop offers a variety of freshly-prepared sandwiches and soups, along 8


Regular customers enjoy coffee, lunch and each other’s company at Haiti’s Daily Grind Coffee Shop in Grafton. (Paul Braun/New Earth)

A Great Need

According to an informational brochure available at the coffee shop, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Over 10 million people live in an area about one-seventh the size of North Dakota. Sixty-percent of Haitians live in poverty, with 25% living in what is called “abject poverty.” St. John’s Church provides a monthly donation of $1,000 to help St. Yves pay for teacher and administrator salaries for the schools. The average pay for a teacher is between $55 and $65 dollars a month, with administrators making just under $200 a month. School cooks make about $20 a month. There are three Catholic schools run by St. Yves, and the largest school has about 100 students. All grades are taught under one roof with no walls, so noise and distractions are a problem. There is a great need to build a proper school building with classrooms and sanitary facilities in order to expand the curriculum beyond the primary grades. That is just one of the future goals Father Schroeder and the Haiti Committee at St. John’s have in mind. “They need bathrooms, classrooms and the like,” says Father Schroeder. “The earthquake in 2010 was a low-rippling quake, so it destroyed much of the sewer systems. Then Hurricane Matthew came through and destroyed the country’s trees and

Haitian students waiting for Mass to start at one of the chapel schools run by St. Yves Parish in Savanette Cabrale, Haiti. (Submitted photo)

agricultural industry. Those trees helped to prevent mudslides, funded from a percentage of the monthly offertory collections which are more prevalent today because the hurricane swept during Mass at St. John’s. Some donors even sponsor a teacher many of those trees away.” every month and provide the means to pay the teacher’s salary. Students don’t live at the schools; many of them walk up to Father Schroeder and members of the Haiti Committee make five miles to get to school. Father Schroeder says nearly half yearly visits to St. Yves to check on progress and to bring hope of the youngsters are orphans. The schools provide students to the parishioners and students. one meal per day, and for many that is the only meal they will “To me, a huge part of pastoring is to be aware of the poor,’ receive that day. The schools are the only real hope for these says Father Schroeder. “When I go down there, I meet so many kids to lift them out of their poverty through education. The people I otherwise never would have met, and that’s part of focus on education helps to build a foundation for students to our outreach.” improve their quality of life and to keep that foundation for That outreach also extends to Grafton and the surrounding future generations. communities, getting the word out about Haiti’s Daily Grind The Haiti Committee at St. John’s has committed to building and the good works provided by the shop’s profits. Father an eight-room modern school. Money for the project is raised Schroeder hopes the coffee shop will be a must-stop for visitors through special raffles, silent auctions, dinners and events, private and locals alike, who with every sip of coffee, slurp of soup, or donations, and now, the coffee shop. Donations help offset the bite of a sandwich, help to give hope to school children who are $1,000 monthly commitment already in place, which is primarily desperate for the chance to be all they can be in life. Bon appetite!

(Left to right) Deacon Mike Grzadzielewski, St. John’s Parish, Grafton; Father Wilfranc Servil, Pastor of St. Yves Parish in Savanette Cabrale, Haiti; and Father Tim Schroeder, Pastor of St. John’s in Grafton. (Submitted photo)

A young school student admires a cross that was given to her by visitors from St. John the Evangelist Parish in Grafton. (Submitted photo)




“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you” “Beloved Daughter” next in series of Redeemed conferences By Kristina Lahr


he world has a laundry list of things it says that women need to do and be in order to matter,” said Colleen Carroll Campbell who will be a keynote speaker for the Diocese of Fargo Women’s Conference. “Jesus is inviting us to scrap that list and find our identity in Him alone – and through Him, to find all the joy and fulfillment we sought in vain elsewhere.” Colleen Carroll Campbell is an author, print and broadcast journalist and former presidential speechwriter. Her journalism credits include contributions to the New York Times, Washington Post, First Things and America, and appearances on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, PBS and NPR. She has served as executive producer and anchor of EWTN News Nightly with Colleen Carroll Campbell and as creator and host of EWTN’s Faith & Culture television and radio interview show. She lives near St. Louis, Mo., with her husband and four children, whom she homeschools. Her most recent book, My Sisters the Saints, includes some themes of her keynote address, such as how the saints help us to accept Christ’s invitation to find joy in him. “I want to explore what the women saints can teach us about trading the do-more-buy-more-achieve-more craziness the world offers us for the peace of Christ, that peace the world cannot give. I’ll be sharing some of my personal struggles to find that peace, which the women saints helped me to discover.” Campbell will also share her 12-year experience as a caregiver to her father during his journey through Alzheimer’s. She says that the elderly aren’t just recipients of care but have many gifts to offer through their lives and through their suffering. “The trick is learning to see those gifts in the midst of the dayto-day slog of caregiving. I plan to take a closer look at saints like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, along with other exceptional caregivers, to distill three secrets of soulful caregiving that can help us emerge from this journey closer to our loved ones and to Christ.” “If I had a goal for my speeches it would be this,” said Campbell. “That the woman who walks into that conference hall feeling alone, or misunderstood, or buried in stresses and struggles that none of her earthly friends and family fully comprehend, will be able to walk out realizing that she has sisters and brothers in heaven waiting – longing, even – to offer her real support and practical wisdom that can help her find her way back to peace.” The Redeemed Women’s Conference will host an array of speakers including Sister Mary Elizabeth, Vicar General for the Sisters of Life, and Eric Genuis, composer and virtuoso pianist. The conference will also feature local speakers, Roxane 10


Salonen, Jennifer Anderson, Renae Duppong and Dr. James Link. To register for the conference, go to www.fargodiocese. org/redeemedwomen. The event will take place March 11 at the Holiday Inn, Fargo. “Our hope for this conference is that women will be able to realize at a personal level their identity as Beloved Daughters of God,” said Jennie Korsmo, Marriage Preparation Coordinator for the Diocese of Fargo. “With this realization they will continue or be able to go out into the world and live their vocation, as married, single or religious, with great love.” Beloved Daughter is the next installment of the Redeemed conference series. After the Living Reflections of God’s Love Family Conference in the fall of 2015, Bishop Folda wanted to make conferences such as these available on an annual basis for people in the region. A Faith and Family Conference is in the works for April 7, 2018 and a second Men’s Conference is slated for spring of 2019.

Redeemed Men’s Conference goal – to inspire men to greatness “The goal for these conferences is what we are already beginning to see: renewal, a strengthening in the faith, hope, and love of those who attend, and a deepened commitment to God,” said Brad Gray, Director of Office of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Fargo. “We want people to know Christ’s love for them more intimately and to discover anew the marvel of their own dignity as sons and daughters of God.” All conferences moving forward will share the name Redeemed, a reminder that we are all redeemed in Christ. It is the foundation of our lives and the source of our joy. “It is also that which makes everything new and meaningful,” said Gray. “It simply made sense to let the reality that we are redeemed through the loving self-gift of Jesus Christ be the

AROUND THE DIOCESE context for all of these conferences.” has already shown fruits of a renewal. It served as a reminder Keynote speaker Steve Wood, a leader in youth, campus and to men that they are “made for greatness,” as the name of the prolife ministries, gave his testimony about his journey to the conference suggested. Catholic Church as an evangelical pastor. During his keynote The Redeemed Men’s Conference was designed as a reminder address, it was clear he has a passion for passing on the faith to us men of the unique call that we have received as men made to all, especially his children and grandchildren. in the image of God. It is not to shrink back in the face of the challenges that we face from the world, the flesh and the devil, He gave examples of how fathers can effectively pass their but to go out and conquer them through the power of Jesus faith to their children by building a “relational bridge.” Fathers Christ alive in us.” could do this by including their kids on adventures and then, little by little, sharing the faith. He suggested it doesn’t take much “‘Made for Greatness’ seemed such a fitting theme since this to get a child or teen connecting to Christ, even one question is one of the primary challenges that we men face today, the could open the door to something in his or her heart. tendency to close in on ourselves and pursue comfort instead Wood also discussed the harms of pornography and how of greatness,” said Gray. “But that fails to fulfill the desires of to combat it. He suggested delving into scripture, and not just a man’s heart to be great, not merely to appear great, but to reading it, but memorizing verses. That way the mind could be genuinely great, that is upright and noble, whether anyone more easily be filled with good things in a moment of temptation. notices or not.” As the first Redeemed conference, the Men’s conference in October

Sister Wilma Davis, 95, brought the gift of knowledge to North Dakota

St. Mary’s celebrates first Cookie Walk for a Cause


t may have been colder than normal in December, but St. Mary’s parishioners in Grand Forks baked up a storm for the first Annual Health Ministry and Social Concerns Cookie Walk on Dec. 17. Cookies, fudge and bars were sold by the pound while specialty items such as breads, lefse and baklava were priced individually. Piano music was provided by Emily Bibow and lefse was made onsite by Pam Swensen. Parishioners sold more than 100 pounds of baked goods and 88 specialty items. More importantly, the Health Ministry and Social Concerns Committee raised more than $1,100 to support the activities of their mission which includes “…the activities that promote physical, mental and spiritual wellness as well as social challenges and life-changing events. This ministry is based upon the example of Jesus who included healing and caring in his ministry.” Many thanks go out to the bakers, volunteers and shoppers who supported the first Annual Cookie Walk for a Cause.


ister Wilma Davis, 95, of Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Ind., died Jan. 16, at the monastery’s Hildegard Health Center. Sister Wilma was born Feb. 20, 1921, in Columbus, Ind., the fourth of seven children of Gary and Clara (Schneider) Davis. She entered the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand in 1938 and made her profession of monastic vows in 1940. She celebrated the 75th anniversary of her monastic profession in 2015. Sister Wilma taught at Assumption School in Indianapolis, Ind., Sacred Heart School in Vincennes, Ind., and at Ferdinand Elementary School in Ferdinand, Ind. In 1957, she came to North Dakota, where she taught at St. Ann’s Indian Mission School in Belcourt, served as director of religious education at Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, also in Belcourt, and as diocesan director of religious education in Fargo. She also served as subprioress and as prioress of Queen of Peace Monastery in Belcourt. After returning to Ferdinand in 2004, she worked in supportive services at the monastery. She most recently served in the ministry of prayer. She is survived by her brother, Father Prior Thomas Davis, OSCO, nieces, nephews and members of her religious community. She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Regina Davis, Josephine Blades, Anne Russell and Sister Mary Jean Davis, OSB; and her brother, Gary Davis. NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2017


St. Cecilia’s


Traditional and contemporary blend of music at St. Michaels in Grand Forks


t. Michael’s in Grand Forks is fortunate to have a fully under the direction of Jesse Zyskowski. We are also blessed to functional pipe organ that is still in use today. The have 10 accompanists ranging from 15-80 years of age. With organ was installed in 1938 by Wicks Organ Company, having five Masses every weekend, they are blessed to have re-voiced in 1973, and repaired in 1984 by Nelson Organ a very talented and vibrant group of individuals involved in Company. It has over 1,500 pipes. Saint Michael’s also has a our music ministry. Yamaha Hybrid Grand Piano which was purchased in 2015. St. Cecilia’s Corner is a new feature for New Earth Magazine. Each We are blessed to have three choirs: an adult choir (20 people), month we highlight the musicians and music program of churches a children’s choir (25 children), and a Seraphim Choir which around the diocese. To feature your parish music program, send a does more contemporary music once a month. All choirs are photo and information to:

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) 356-7965 or For additional information about victim assistance, visit 12


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At the cross her station keeping: Stabat Mater settings for choir By Rebecca Raber - Director of Music Ministry at the University of Mary/Assistant Professor in Music & Catholic Studies


A review of Catholic books, movies, music

At the Cross her station keeping, Stood the mournful Mother weeping, Close to her Son to the last.

Herbert Howells: 51 minutes (SATB/soloists/orchestra) Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina: 11 minutes (SATB/SATB, a cappella) Arvo Part: 30 minutes (SAT/string trio) Giovanni Pergolesi: 35 minutes (SA/soloists/strings/organ...also SATB version) Francois Poulenc: 32 minutes (SATB/soloists/orchestra) Josef Rheinberger: 16 minutes (SATB/strings) Giocomo Rossini: 62 minutes (SATB/soloists/orchestra) Domenico Scarlatti: 25 minutes (SSSSAAAATTTTBBBB/continuo) Giuseppe Verdi: 13 minutes (SATB/orchestra)

Of these settings, my favorites are composed by Pergolesi, Poulenc, and Pärt. Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater is arguably the most well-known setting t seems strange that, in February, we could already be looking of the text. It is scored for women’s voices and is hauntingly ahead to Lent. We have just finished celebrating the birth beautiful. In its opening movement, the image of Christ hanging of Christ, and now we anticipate the approaching season of on the cross is represented by the harmonic suspensions in the Lent and Holy Week. Our Holy Mother Mary is a key figure in vocal writing and the orchestral accompaniment. The densely both events, but she is especially compelling as she stands at emotional writing is impressive for such a young composer. the foot of the cross that bears her only son. Pergolesi was only 25 years old when he penned this work, and As we begin to prepare for Lent and Holy Week, I’d like to died only a few weeks after completing it. recommended recordings for one of the most intensely devotional Poulenc’s approach to the text is very different. He expertly of all Latin Catholic hymns: Stabat Mater. Stabat Mater – a 13th century devotional hymn to Mary, is a strikes a tricky balance between the modern and honoring the collection of 20 rhymed stanzas, each containing three metered ancient. The vocal writing is engaging and alternates between lines of text. The complex text is both descriptive and lovely. angular and more sentimental melodies. His use of a cappella The verses provide narration, but also personal reflections and singing mixed with larger accompanied sections contributes to prayerful petitions. Mary’s tender devotion is mingled with her the emptiness and feeling of loss that Mary undoubtedly felt at the foot of the cross. Poulenc’s writing glistens with vibrant vivid suffering, as her “soul is pieced by a sword.” orchestral colors and complex rhythmic ideas. It contains some Scholars largely attribute this sacred hymn text to Jacopone musical surprises, as is usually the case with Poulenc. da Todi (1230-1306) although certainty of authorship remains Arvo Pärt’s Stabat Mater is completely different as well. Pärt unresolved. It draws from several scriptural passages, but is is a minimalist. It is scored for just a handful of musicians. It inspired by John 19: 25-26, “Meanwhile, standing near the cross is absolutely stark, aptly reflecting the mood of the text. The of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife strings function by doubling the vocal parts, playing a simple of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother counterpart to their vocal lines, or as an interlude between and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said stanzas. The orchestral writing is not “competitive,” but forms a to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’” base of sound which allows the choral sound to “hover” above Stabat Mater is a sequence, a liturgical hymn sung prior to it. Pärt’s Stabat Mater is haunting, plaintive and sublime. the reading of the gospel on feast days. It is typically sung at the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary; it also Last year, I heard a student posing this question, “Why do commonly sung on the Friday after Passion Sunday. It is one of people still compose using these ‘old’ texts? Don’t they want the five sequences used in the Catholic Church (also: Dies irae, to do something more modern? I don’t understand.” I smiled. There is something within these sacred texts and music that Lauda Sion, Veni Sancte Spiritus, Victimae paschali laudes). transcends time and connects us with the past in a truthful and Because of the rich and dramatic nature of the text, Stabat beautiful way. Music provides a way for us to glimpse the pain Mater has been a popular setting for composers wishing to of a Mother grieving her only son, as if we were at her side. demonstrate their Marian devotion. Hundreds of composers have set this text. Even “younger” composers such as Paul I’ve created a Spotify playlist (free online service) that has Mealor and Philip Stopford have found this ancient text to be all of these settings and several more! If you don’t use Spotify, engaging. Ten of the most popular settings of this text include: you can find all of these on YouTube as well.


Antonio Caldara: 20 minutes (SATB/soloists/orchestra) Antonin Dvorak: 80 minutes (SATB/soloists/orchestra) Franz Josef Haydn: 60 minutes (SATB/soloists/orchestra)

Editor’s note: In the past Tattered Pages reviewed only books. It is now open to review movies and music as well that help us fill our minds with good things and shape our Catholic faith. NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2017



Catholic Schools Week Education with a faith-based perspective

By Paul Braun




in the mid 1800s to satisfy the growing demand of Catholic parents, mostly immigrants from Ireland and other European countries, to educate their children, while still holding true to the teachings and fundamental beliefs they held through their faith. That tradition continues today, and was highlighted across the nation and in the Diocese of Fargo through National Catholic Schools Week, which was observed Jan. 29 through Feb. 4. According to the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA), Catholic Schools Week 2017 centered on the following themes:

• In Our Parish - Catholic schools benefit all year long from the religious guidance, prayers and support parishes provide. • In Our Community - A central aspect of Catholic education is learning the importance of service to others.

Holy Spirit principal Jason Kotrba checks the lunch tray of a student. Many Catholic school administrators perform multi-duties at their respective schools. (Paul Braun/New Earth)


• Celebrating Students - Schools celebrate students by recognizing their accomplishments and encouraging students to reflect on the benefits of Catholic education. 3



ason Kotrba wears many hats every day. Along with being a husband and father, he is a school principal, transportation coordinator, coach and a lunchroom monitor, for Holy Spirit Catholic School in Fargo. Having several different responsibilities is nothing new to the 14-year educator, in fact it seems to be the norm at private schools. For most Catholic schools, it is a necessity due to a lack of resources. However, Jason sees his additional duties as something more. “How I look at it is I’m giving my teachers the best way to plan for their students,” says Kotrba. “If I had the teachers in the lunchroom, that would mean less time to communicate and collaborate with each other to help with student growth.” Jason is just one of the administrators across the diocese who give of themselves as principals in the diocesan Catholic Schools network. These dedicated professionals, along with members of their teaching staffs and school employees, work tirelessly for the cause of Catholic Education, and usually at a pay grade that trails most public schools. The onset of Catholic schools in the United States came about 14


• Celebrating the Nation - Students, families, educators and other Catholic school supporters communicate the value of Catholic education to government leaders.

• Celebrating Vocations - Catholic schools prepare children to use their God-given talents to the fullest later in life by answering the call to a religious vocation, by nurturing a family through sacramental marriage, by volunteering in church activities and charities and/or by pursuing a career that makes the world a better place. • Celebrating Faculty, Staff and Volunteers - Honoring teachers and principals as well as administrators and staff, and thank the parents, grandparents, alumni, parishioners and school board members who provide volunteer service. • Celebrating Families - Acknowledging the role of families in Catholic education and celebrate their contributions all year long.

The Bishop John Folda of the Diocese of Fargo, says the Church has a long history of commitment to Catholic education. “Despite many challenges, our Catholic schools continue to do


Fourth graders pray after lunch at Holy Spirit Catholic School in Fargo. (Paul Braun/New Earth)

“Although secularism has become more entrenched in our culture, our Catholic schools are working every day to keep Jesus Christ at the center of our kids’ lives.” -Bishop John Folda, Diocese of Fargo a great job of helping parents in the education and formation of their children,” he said. “Although secularism has become more entrenched in our culture, our Catholic schools are working every day to keep Jesus Christ at the center of our kids’ lives.”

Catholic education is a choice

Mike Hagstrom serves as the Director of Schools for the Diocese of Fargo and President of the St. John Paul II Catholic Schools in Fargo. Hagstrom says there are 2,113 students enrolled in Catholic schools across the diocese, 1,201 of those in the JPII schools in Fargo. The Fargo schools are in the first of a five-year program aimed at increasing enrollment in the JPII schools by 360 students in that time. The success of the effort, of course, depends on Catholic parents deciding if a faith-based education is in the best interests of their children despite the extra costs. “We have the unique opportunity to look at everything about Catholic schools through Catholic lenses, says Jason Kotrba, who also has seven children currently enrolled in Catholic schools. “Catholic schools are a community inspiring excellence through faith, knowledge and service.” He adds that Catholic parents must decide for themselves if that emphasis is important enough for their child’s education to invest in tuition and time.

Students of the Quarter are honored after Mass at St. Alphonsus Catholic School in Langdon. (submitted photo)






Kindergarten students at St. John’s Catholic School in Wahpeton gather to pray, while a friendly reminder hangs on their classroom wall. (Paul Braun/New Earth)

Ken Schill is the principal at Holy Family-St. Mary’s Catholic School in Grand Forks. He feels the parents of his students appreciate that teachers are focused on teaching academics within the context of the faith, which includes a routine of praying and respect for God and the Church. “Catholic schools focus on the entire child including his/her mental, physical and spiritual self,” says Schill. “Children who attend our schools often come from homes where education is a priority, and children are encouraged at school and at home to study and be caring human beings.” Schill also adds that parents are a child’s first teacher, and at Catholic schools parents are encouraged to take an active role in their children’s education. The school supports families and works with them for the benefit of children.

Celebrating the Eucharist

A big part of a Catholic education is the celebration of the Mass during the school week. Unlike the weekend Masses, the school Mass helps the Church bring the Mass to a more personal level for Catholic school students. Their participation in the Mass sets the school Mass apart from Sundays. “The Mass has become second nature to them instead of just something that you go to on Sunday,” says Father Patrick Parks, Parochial Vicar at St. John’s Church and School in Wahpeton. “I think it becomes more a part of their life. It becomes engrained



Smaller class sizes, like this 2nd grade class gathered at St. John’s Catholic School in Wahpeton, are a major plus for some parents who opt for a Catholic Education for their children. (Paul Braun/New Earth) ABC



COVER STORY in their souls at a young age, and to be honest, I think that is the best chance we’re going to have in hanging on to our kids.: Father Parks adds that the Mass is taught during class time. Students learn the parts of the Mass, how the sacrifice of the Mass relates to them in their lives, and that allows their eyes to be opened through their weekly participation in the beauty of the Mass. “It gives hope when you look at what’s happening in some parishes across the country, such as the lack of attendance at Mass,” says Father Parks. “Seeing the kids participate so willingly, and do so well, gives me hope that these kids will, in the future, be more likely to have their own children baptized, and join in a parish community and ministry. Our Catholic schools are more important than ever, especially now in the world we live in.” But, Catholic schools can’t do the job of educating children in the faith alone. That primary role, according to the Church, must be taken on by parents themselves. Parents are the first and foremost teachers of the faith. Just sending a child to Catholic school isn’t enough. The home setting for a child must support what is being taught in school, and the school must support what is being taught at home. A one-way approach either way will not plant the seed for spiritual growth in a child. By working together, parents, teachers, and clergy make the nucleus of the well-rounded spiritual education that Catholic schools are known for in faith, knowledge and service.

Students from Nativity Catholic School in Fargo learn about service to others by taking part in the Fill the Dome food drive at the Fargodome. (submitted photo) 3



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Decora – celebrating the new and authentic feminism


By Renee Johnson

ecora is a day designed to inspire young women 1321+ to discover what St. John Paul II refers to as their “feminine genius.” It will be a fun and exciting day to learn about their fertility health, and enjoy a Pinterest craft, delicious food, a spring fashion show, beauty tips, speakers and even a guy panel – inspiring them to live healthier and happier lives. Decora is the feminine word in Lain for “beautiful.” Isn’t that what every woman wants to be? That is how God created us! He created us with a desire to know the truth, beauty, and goodness of who we are as women. Decora is about the new and authentic feminism. The keynote speakers will be Ashley Haiar, a FOCUS missionary serving students at the University of California Santa Barbara, Natalie Aughinbaugh, a local NFP only family nurse practitioner and Dr. Duane Marguerite, a board certified family physician, wife, mother and co-founder and Executive Director of FACTS – the Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science, a project of the Family Medicine Education Consortium (FMEC). She also serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University, where she directs an introductory course on natural methods of family planning. Fertility Care is an important topic for women of all ages. Due to the nature of this particular talk, 13-16 years old need to be accompanied by their moms or a female mentor – an aunt, grandmother, youth minister, etc.

Decora will take place Saturday Feb. 25, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the NDSU Alumni Center in Fargo. Registration and continental breakfast begin at 8 a.m. The cost is $20 per person and is free for students if registered by Feb 17. Register at www.fargodiocese. org/decora or email or call Renee Johnson at (701) 361-3270. Decora is underwritten by the Fargo Diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Natalie Aughinbaugh, DNP, FNP-C is a wife and mother of 3 boys and a Doctoral prepared Family Nurse Practitioner who practices in Fargo and is NFP only, meaning she does not prescribe contraceptives.

Dr. Marguerite Duane is a board certified family physician, wife, mother and cofounder and Executive Director of FACTS – the Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science, a project of the Family Medicine Education Consortium (FMEC).

YOUTH 2000 retreat coming to Fargo By Kathy Loney


oly Spirit Catholic Church in Fargo is excited to announce they are hosting a YOUTH 2000 Eucharistic retreat for 9-12 graders March 24-26. YOUTH 2000 is an international movement modeled on World Youth Day. There will be Mass, Adoration, Reconciliation, talks led by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal from New York, live music provided by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Moorhead, Minn., small group discussions led by NDSU & UMary college students and food for both the body and soul. Hundreds of young people from North Dakota and Minnesota will gather together to draw closer to Christ and to share their excitement about their faith. The event begins in the Holy Spirit School Gym on March 24 at 6:30 p.m. with closing both Friday and Saturday night at 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings begin at 8 a.m. with the final closing on March 26 at 12:30 p.m.



The cost for the event is $50 per person and includes lunch and dinner on Saturday. Financial aid is available upon request from the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Department of the Diocese of Fargo. Call Kathy Loney at (701-356-7902) or email for the application form. There is no housing available so local students will go back to their homes on Friday and Saturday night. Out-of-town participants are responsible for finding their own housing. Adults from the Fargo-Moorhead area who would like to volunteer to help serve Saturday meals or take an hour during all night Adoration on either Friday or Saturday night should contact Jeff Benda at Holy Spirit Church. Registration deadline is March 15. To register, contact your local parish, or visit For more information, contact Jeff Benda at Holy Spirit Church at (701) 799-8299 or email

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Students from NDSU and UND encounter Christ’s sacrificial love at SEEK2017 Nearly 13,000 attendees, including over 160 students from the NDSU and UND college campuses, charged up their faith at SEEK2017, Jan. 3-7 in San Antonio, Texas. The biennial event, hosted by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), featured the theme “What Moves You.” Throughout the conference, attendees learned to see the truth of how God seeks them with sacrificial love and invites them to encounter him with their whole hearts. (submitted photo)

Langdon students learn to give during Christmas season First graders at St. Alphonsus School, Langdon, gather for a photo after their Christmas concert. There was a “Christmas Giving Tree,” where people placed their needs on the tree and anyone could come by and pick a need off the tree and purchase that item. First grade teacher, Mrs. Jenny Chaput, took the opportunity to take her first grade class to the general store to help her class better understand the giving aspect of Christmas. It helped the students see some of the basic needs that people in the community have and how they could help to meet them. (submitted photo) 20


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Humor and drama of Sacred Scripture By Father Bert Miller


am just back from Jerusalem, where I spent four months on sabbatical. It was a long time coming. I had spent four months there in 1989 while in seminary. Now, 27 years later, I was able to spend another four months at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute. Check it out online at Oh, the people you meet in a setting like this! Three stand out. I met these men in November. The month just Father T. Douan kept getting better and better. On All Saints’ Day, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, an Irishman who was a retired nuncio (ambassador) for the Vatican came to discuss the Muslim-Catholic dialogue, a favorite topic of his. While with us, he celebrated the feast day liturgy. I served as his cantor and one-finger pianist. After Thanksgiving, my group (ten of us) discussed a 2009 Kairos Document written by church leaders of Israel and the West Bank concerning “Peace.” We even had an audience with one of the writers, Msgr. Sabah, the former Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Israel/Jordan. (I had met him before in 1989 at the ordination of transitional deacons.) Then, during the last day and a half of my group’s time together, a retreat was hosted. Originally we were going to minister to each other, but at the last moment a Jesuit stepped forward. A member of my group knew of him from their shared time together in a Vietnam prison. He was Father T. Douan. I am not much of a retreat lover, but this guy was great! He wanted us to read Sacred Scriptures as theatre acts. He told us that books written by the evangelist Luke (Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles) were written in comedy and drama. After all, Luke was a Greek and the theatre was very important to Greeks. Father Douan suggested that other books could be read with this same theatre lens, for example Job and Jonah, the Samaritan Woman in John’s Gospel and Peter’s denial of Jesus. While I thought this was crazy when I first heard him explain it, it really unlocked something for me. While it was very important to my retreat, it was Father Douan and his life story that was more important. He saved that for his last talk with us. As a young man from Vietnam, he studied abroad during the war there. He was ordained as the war was coming to an end. Evacuations of key people were taking place (remember the US ambassador lifted from the South Vietnam embassy roof). Well, the Jesuit leader was also evacuated. They needed a new

leader and the newly ordained Father Douan was sent home to be the new leader. One day he was a priest, the next he was head of the Vietnam Jesuits. He wondered what he would be doing. Surely, he would be in prison shortly. That day did not come right away. Instead, he had time to reorganize the leadership of the Jesuits. Father Douan shared his leadership work with three others so that whoever was imprisoned, the others could carry on the work of the monastery, leading the priests and monks. Father Douan was eventually imprisoned by the Communist authorities. It was years before it was decided what he was guilty of and what kind of time he would serve. But, he served a long time, first in a VIP prison (where business people had been imprisoned) and then in solitary confinement (when the others had been released). He said the detention workers were very fair to him; he got food, a daily walk and contact with others in the yard. Father Douan did not get hard labor or a punishing sentence. When he was released, he returned to the Jesuits. When the prison closed, the detention workers were retired. Years passed. Eventually the detention workers asked Father Douan’s new superior to ask him if he would have lunch with them. Father Douan accepted the invitation. The detention workers were anxious. Father Douan was calm. The detention workers wanted to express remorse for this period of their lives. Father Douan said: “You were just doing your job. It was someone else’s orders. You were doing your job and doing it in a kind way. Let’s eat and talk about our lives today.” Father Douan is a living saint. I suppose I meet living saints every day, but Father Douan really stands out! He gave up his life to lead Vietnam Jesuits during a particularly difficult time in their lives and in their country. He was in prison the greater part of his life. He has no anger, only love for others, including those who detained him. Now he lives and prays in Jerusalem and gives retreats around the world. And he treats others to the drama and comedy of the Sacred Scriptures. Just imagine how he passed his time in those Vietnamese prisons! Laughing at the humor of Sacred Scriptures and sometimes crying at the drama. Father Bert Miller serves as pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Editor’s Note: Stories of Faith is a recurring feature in New Park River and St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Veseleyville. Earth. If you have a faith story to tell, contact Father Bert Miller at




Education from a Catholic perspective


am writing this column a few days after Governor Doug Catholic Burgum’s first Action State of the State Address, in which Christoper Dodson the new governor called for substantial changes and a “reframing” of the state’s educational system. By the time this column is published, we will have celebrated Catholic Schools Week. Perhaps it is time to review some principles about education from a Catholic perspective. Education is a human right. The dignity bestowed upon every human person extends not only to the person’s life, but also to the full potential of the human person. Like food, shelter, health care, and work, access to education is essential and the lack of it offends the dignity of the human person. This principle should serve as the reference point for all discussions regarding education policy. Keeping it in mind will help create policies focused on the common good and the human person, rather than narrow interests like test results and economic production. Parents have a primary right and duty to educate their children in matters of religious education and morals. This duty to educate cannot be neglected or delegated. Parents cannot leave the religious and moral education of your children to the priests, nuns, religious education directors, Catholic schools, or youth ministers. They may help, but the primary responsibility rests with the parents. Parents have a right and duty to educate their children in all matters that are not uniquely religious or moral. We cannot separate religion and morality from other fields of knowledge. Thus, the parents’ right to educate extends to education in general, and not just matters of religion and morals. This right is “irreplaceable and inalienable” and cannot be completely delegated to others. Parents are the first educators, not the only educators, of their children. Some parents seem content to turn over more and more of the responsibility to civil authorities. Other parents view their place as “first educators” as absolute, giving very little or no role to government or church authorities in the education of their children. The Church, however, recognizes that parents must exercise their responsibility “in close and vigilant cooperation with civil and ecclesial agencies,” noting that both government and churches play necessary parts in the task of educating children. Parents have a right to choose the educational means that best reflect their convictions. In short, this means that parents have a right to choose whether to send their children to public schools, nonpublic schools, or to educate them at home. Public authorities have the duty to guarantee this right and ensure the concrete conditions necessary for it be exercised. To put it another way, public subsidies for education must be allocated 22


so that parents are truly free to exercise their right to choose the educational setting for their children without incurring unjust burdens. A just public education system provides education for all children, no matter where they are educated. Government, therefore, should financially support home education and nonpublic schools. In addition, government should not interfere with, or place burdens on, the ability of parents to choose among public schools. Consider first the poor. Every proposal should be judged first on how it impacts the poor. It should be no secret that education is key to giving the state’s poorest children, especially on the reservations, a chance to overcome poverty. Many parents simply cannot afford to exercise their right to choose the best school for their children. Reforms should start by giving them a real choice. Catholic doctrine on education is basically a call to solidarity and empowerment. All of the community works together, in their respective roles, to assist the parents as the primary, but not sole, educators of their children. In this way, the task of education does not exclude or usurp anyone. Instead, all are called to help ensure that the dignity of every child is respected so that every child can develop his or her full potential, just as God intended. At the same time, respecting parental choice empowers parents to be more involved in the children’s education and calls upon public officials to better respect parents and the uniqueness of every child. It remains to be seen what Governor Burgum will propose to, as he says, “lead the way in education across America.” Everyone involved, however, could benefit from keeping in mind these universal truths the Catholic Church acknowledges as fundamental when it comes to educating our children. 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

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An encounter with Christ

have returned to Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit to begin my second semester after celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ with my family and parish back home in Hillsboro. Upon my return, our first Mass at the seminary coincided with the Baptism of Jesus, which was the point in which his public ministry began. Our Vice Rector of the seminary, Father Burr, reminded us during his homily that, as we begin our new semester, we should remember to bring the joy of Christmas, of Jesus and his birth, into our hearts, and to maintain that joy in our daily challenges. His message was one of surrendering ourselves to Jesus, and allowing him to not only change us, but others through us. As I was reflecting on this point, I realized that it not only applies to the new semester, but the new year as well, and especially finds itself true in the approaching the Lenten season. I realized that the Lord was asking me to recommit myself to include him in my daily life, allowing him to transform me. St. Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” (Gal. 2:20). Jesus has been born into our hearts, but it is not meant to only last a short time. He desires to remain in us and united with us in all that we do. Jesus desires for us, who have the light of Christ within us, to go forth and share that light with others, to proclaim the Gospel to all and to be the instrument in which he touches the lives of others. It is only when we surrender ourselves completely to Jesus that his love is able to bring about change in all of us. I am always struck by the many instances of Christ’s work in our lives when we surrender ourselves to him. Already this semester, I have seen how an openness to the Lord’s transforming love has brought deep encounters with him in others, while providing the opportunity to bear witness to his work. A fellow seminarian and I visited the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, a suburb of Detroit. While we were walking around the beautiful Basilica, a homeless man approached us asking for money. While we carried no cash with us,

we offered to pray with and for him. When we finished praying together, he Seminarian graciously thanked Life us and spoke about the beauty of Kyle Kaufman the prayer. Not only was I moved by this man’s deep and sincere gratitude for our prayers and time given to him, but also by witnessing his encounter with Christ in that moment. It was a simple encounter, yet it left me filled with gratitude towards Jesus for his love and presence in each one of us. My commitment to surrender myself to Jesus had not only bore a change in me, but also in the homeless man my friend and I encountered at the Basilica. Through a commitment to remain united with Christ in daily life, I was able to share, receive and bear witness to his transforming love. As we continue in this New Year and look towards the Lenten season, I pray that you will use this opportunity to recommit yourselves to Christ, to allow him to transform your lives, and to be the instrument in which he transforms others. It is a task that is not easy, but one which is vital to our own growth in holiness and our desire for a deeper relationship with God. Please continue to keep all of us seminarians in your prayers and please know of our prayers for you, the faithful of the Diocese of Fargo. Kaufman is a College II student studying at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Mich. Editor’s Note: Seminarian Life is a column written by Diocese of Fargo seminarians. Please continue to pray for them.

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

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

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

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




The basics of a good will


ost people seem to agree that having a Last Will and Testament Stewardship is important... and Steve Schons that every will, to be worthwhile, needs to be good. If this is so, the question naturally arises: What makes a will good? How does one know whether his or her will is right? Here are three features that help to answer these questions. Apply them to your own situation to discover whether or not your will can accomplish what you expect it to do.

Accurate. A good will conforms to the legal requirements of

the state in which you reside. It is prepared and signed correctly, and it fully expresses your desires regarding the disposition of your estate. It also adequately cares for such things as guardianships, trusts and trustees, business succession, final declarations and other important matters your situation may require. When your will is completed and tucked away for safekeeping, you want to have the confidence that it was done accurately.

Benevolent. A good will does good. That is, it addresses

the needs of your spouse, dependents and others who are within the circle of your responsibility. Further, it does good by providing support for those organizations that reflect your most important values and concerns. Hopefully, that means you’ve made plans for your own Catholic parish or program.

Current. A good will is up-to-date. It incorporates the most

recent changes in tax law and reflects changes in your own life. Actually, professional advisors recommend that you review your will at least once a year. For example, you may no longer have minor children at home, and perhaps someone close to you has died or become dependent. You may have new grandchildren, and changes may have occurred financially that have changed your estate tax status. Whatever the case, it’s mighty good to have a current will. We have a helpful Will Information Kit we would like to send you free of charge. It includes a checklist for reviewing your will, as well as important information about other facets of estate planning. If you would like a copy, please contact me. Steve Schons is director of stewardship and development for the Diocese of Fargo and president of the Catholic Development Foundation. He can be reached at or (701) 356-7926.



Tony Melendez

For a Lenten Mission

“BE THE NEW EVANGELIST FOR OUR CHURCH” March 19-22 March 23 6:30 pm in church

6:30 pm Mass

Join us each night for teaching about being an evangelist mixed with Tony’s talent as a musician. All are welcome! Invite your friends and family! Love offerings accepted for Tony Melendez Ministries

WANT TO ADVERTISE IN NEW EARTH? Contact Kristina Lahr (701) 356-7900

Grand Forks, ND | | 701.746.4337


Thinking through the temptation of cohabitation


en and women clearly need each other and naturally The members of a gravitate towards arrangements of mutual support and cohabiting couple lives of shared intimacy. Because women are frequently practice holding the immediate guardians of the next generation, they have a back on one anothMaking Sense particular need to ascertain if there will be steady support from er. They rehearse a man prior to giving themselves sexually to him. The bond of not trusting.” Out of Bioethics marriage is ordered towards securing this critical element of They don’t develop Father Tad Pacholczyk ongoing commitment and support. the elements crucial Cohabitation, where a man and woman decide to live together to a successful marand engage in sexual relations without marriage, raises a host riage, but instead of issues and concerns. Sex, of course, has a certain power all keep their options its own, and both sides may be tempted to play with it in ways open so they can althat are potentially damaging, all the more so when they decide ways beat a hasty retreat to the exit. Or as Chuck Colson has to cohabit. put it: “Cohabitation — it’s training for divorce.” Many studies confirm that the divorce rate among those who cohabit prior to One concern is that cohabitation can often become a rehearsal marriage is nearly double the rate of those who marry without for various selfish patterns of behavior. It perpetuates an prior cohabitation. arrangement of convenience, popularly phrased as, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” Even as many Some researchers believe that individuals who cohabit are women try to tell themselves they are “preparing” for marriage more unconventional to begin with, being less committed by cohabiting with their partner, they may sense the trap of the to the institution of marriage overall and more open to the “never ending audition” to be his wife, and become intuitively possibility of divorce. Others suspect something more insidious aware of how they are being used. Cohabitation also invites — that living together slowly erodes people’s ability to make a the woman to focus on lesser concerns like saving on rent or commitment by setting them up into patterns of behavior that garnering transient emotional attention from her partner by work against succeeding in a long-term relationship. Both may moving in with him and becoming sexually available. actually be true. Various risks correlate strongly with cohabitation. Compared with a married woman, a cohabiting woman is roughly three times as likely to experience physical abuse, and about nine times more likely to be murdered. Children also tend to fare poorly when it comes to these live-in arrangements. Rates of serious child abuse have been found to be lowest in intact families; six times higher in step families; 20 times higher in – Father Tad Pacholczyk cohabiting biological-parent families; and 33 times higher when the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend who is not the Even as a woman becomes attuned to the power of sex from biological father. Cohabiting homes see significantly more drug an early age, she can eventually fall prey to an easy mistake. and alcohol abuse, and bring in less income than their married Aware that sexual intimacy is also about bonding, she may peers. Cohabitation is clearly bad for men, worse for women, suppose that by surrendering this deeply personal part of herself and terrible for children. through cohabitation, she now has a “hook” into a man and his “Marriage,” as Glenn Stanton notes, “is actually a very heart. While such an arrangement can trigger various platitudes, pro-woman institution. People don’t fully realize what a raw (that he “cares for her,” “loves her,” etc.), experience shows it deal for women cohabitation is. Women tend to bring more doesn’t typically help him reach the commitment reflected in goods to the relationship—more work, more effort in tending to the relationship—but they get less satisfaction in terms of those all-important words, “Will you marry me?” relational commitment and security.” Cohabitation, in fact, is a relationship that is defined by a While marriage doesn’t automatically solve every problem, it holding back of commitment. The notion that it somehow allows clearly offers a different and vastly better set of dynamics than both parties to “try out” a marriage beforehand is conveniently cohabitation for all the parties involved. make-believe, a kind of “playing house,” mostly because it’s impossible to try out something permanent and irrevocable Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. earned his doctorate in neuroscience from through something temporary and revocable. Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the diocese of As Jennifer Roback Morse has described it, “Cohabiting couples Fall River, MA, and serves as the Director of Education at The National are likely to have one foot out the door, throughout the relationship. Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. See

“Cohabitation, in fact, is a relationship that is defined by a holding back of commitment.”




Events across the diocese

beauty of Gregorian Chant, praying with scripture and joining the sisters in prayer. Experience “A Taste of Dr. David Anders, host of EWTN’s “Called to Communion,” Carmel” March 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 will be the guest speaker at a Pro-Life Luncheon event on Feb. p.m. at 17765 78th St. SE, Wahpeton. 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sts. Anne and Joachim Church, Monastic lunch will be provided. Fargo. Dr. Anders will speak on “The Case for Pro-Life: Catholic Please contact Mother Madonna if Apologetics and the Church’s Pro-Life Mission.” He will offer you are interested at (701) 640-0019 or guests ways we can inspire our culture to a greater respect for all human life from conception to natural death. Cost is $15/ person, registration required. Registration deadline is Feb. 15. Registration forms can be found at respectlife; by email or by If you or someone you know has suffered from the physical, calling (701) 356-7910. Sponsored by the Fargo Diocese Respect emotional, and spiritual effects of a past abortion, there is hope for healing. Rachel’s Vineyard offers a safe, non-judgmental, and Life Office. confidential weekend retreat for anyone: women, men, grandparents and siblings who struggle with the feelings of loss that can accompany an abortion experience. The weekend begins St. John’s Church in Wahpeton is hosting a Mardi Gras March 31 in the evening and concludes April 2 in the afternoon. celebration Feb. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event provides a For more information or to register, call Ruth Ruch at (701) 219-3941 wonderful dinner, theme basket silent auction, cake walk, raffle, or email her at All calls are confidential. bingo, carnival games and a bake sale. Everyone is welcome. Contact St. John’s Church in Wahpeton at (701) 642-6982 for more information. A women’s retreat entitled “Love at the Center” will be offered at Maryvale Retreat Center, Valley City beginning at 7 p.m. March 31 and concluding at 12:30 p.m. April 2. During the retreat we will prayerfully reflect on God’s love for us and Do you know someone who is carrying the grief of a past the nature of love as presented to us in the Scriptures, the lives abortion? There is help and hope available. The pain and sor- of saints and one’s personal life. Suggested donation is $85. row of a past abortion need not endure for a lifetime. A Day of Contact Sister Dorothy at (701) 845-2864. Prayer and Healing will be held March 18 and offers women an opportunity to experience the love and mercy of God and to heal the wound of a past abortion. For location and confidential registration, call Rachelle at (844) 789-4829. For more information Join St. James Basilica, Jamestown go to as the Tabernacle Society hosts Patti and Mark Armstrong April 3 at 7 p.m. The Armstrongs are national speakers hailing from Bismarck and will be St. Catherine Church in Valley City welcomes presenting a talk entitled “Put God in Tony Melendez as a speaker and performer for the Driver’s Seat of Your Minivan and their Lenten Mission, “Be the new evangelist for You’ll Go Places You Never Dreamed.” our church.” The evenings are March 19-22 at 6:30 Mark and Patti will be sharing their personal story of the ups p.m. and March 23 at the 6:30 p.m. Mass. Join us and downs of raising 10 children, and how they have grown in each night for teaching about being an evangelist their faith along the way by trusting in God to be their driver. mixed with Tony’s talent as a musician. All are Patti Maguire Armstrong is a correspondent for Our  welcome. Invite your friends and family! Free-will offerings Sunday Visitor newspaper and the National Catholic Register accepted for Tony Melendez Ministries. and works in marketing for Teresa Tomeo Communications. She is an award-winning author and was the managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’ bestselling Amazing Grace series. She has appeared on EWTN, Catholic TV, Fox & Friends, and numerous radio programs across the country. Single women ages 17-34 are invited to Carmel of Mary Monastery, Wahpeton, for “A Taste of Carmel.” Experience the joyful For the past 15 years, Mark Armstrong has served as the and prayerful lifestyle of the sisters while learning about the Communications Liaison for North Dakota Workforce Safety

Dr. David Anders to speak at Pro-Life Luncheon Feb. 21

Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat set for March 31 – April 2

Mardi Gras celebration in Wahpeton

Women’s retreat at Maryvale, Valley City

March 18 Day of Prayer and Healing for women suffering from a past abortion

Jamestown to host national speakers Patti and Mark Armstrong

Tony Melendez returns to Valley City for Lenten Mission

Experience “A Taste of Carmel” at the Carmel of Mary Monastery



& Insurance, the state’s workers’ compensation agency. Prior to that, he worked in radio broadcasting in six different states in a career that spanned over 45 years. He also gives talks and writes about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Shroud of Turin and has traveled to both locations with family members. Everyone is welcome. Refreshments will also be served.

Middle School and High School Celebrations come together for Annual Catholic Youth Extravaganza

The Catholic Youth Advisory Council is planning a new joint event for youth in our Diocese, the “Annual Catholic Youth Extravaganza.” Mark your calendars for April 29 for this event located at St. John Evangelist’s Church in Grafton. Students 6-12 grade are invited to come and celebrate! Our theme for this event is “Be Strong, Be Courageous.” The keynote speaker will be Nic Davidson, who some students may have met at a Steubenville Youth Conference. He will also present two workshops in the afternoon, one for Sr. High male students and one for Middle School male students. There will also be a Sr. High female students workshop and a Middle School female students workshop. Also included in the afternoon will be two tracks of workshops specifically for Sr. High students and Middle School students, Reconciliation, Adoration, Eucharistic Procession, Mass and a dance in the evening. Workshops for our chaperones are in the planning stages as well. We are planning a 3-on-3 basketball challenge for church teams that register by the registration deadline, April 13. Teams will be decided on a first come first serve registration basis. We only have room for 24 teams which includes Middle School and High School teams, male or female. The fee for this event is $35/student and $15/chaperone. We must have one chaperone for every eight students registered. Please go to after March 1 for registration forms. A mailing will also go out to parishes in early March. For more information, contact Kathy in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry office at (701) 356-7902 or kathy.loney@

How far can you walk with Christ?

During the Lenten season, Holy Cross will be participating in the Diocesan Mercy Project to raise money for St. Ann’s Parish and School in Belcourt. Every $5 donated will equal one mile. Can we make it the 251 miles from West Fargo to Belcourt? If you’d like to contribute, contact Holy Cross parish at (701) 282-7217.

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

Three interfaith Christian unity services were held in the diocese in January and early February. On Jan. 22 a special service was held at St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Devils Lake. On Jan. 25 a second interdenominational service was held at Fargo’s Olivet Lutheran Church and on Feb. 1 a union service was held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Grand Forks.

20 Years Ago....1997

What a year to hold a rally in February. With all the storms throughout December and January, people were more than a little hesitant about sending students out for our Junior High Youth Rally in Cando Feb. 9. God blessed us in his goodness and with more pleasant weather in the last week and half before the rally, the number of registered students rose from 150 to 450! Including chaperones and drivers, more than 500 people were challenged and encouraged by Father James Cheney and many workshop presenters. Bishop James Sullivan presided at the closing Mass along with six other priests who came for the celebration.

10 Years ago....2007

Holy Family-St. Mary’s Catholic school, Grand Forks celebrated its newly renovated library with a blessing by Father Jim Tiu of Holy Family Church, during an all-school assembly and recognition of volunteers on Feb. 20. The library renovation project began in Fall 2005, when Holy Family-St. Mary’s School received grants, as well as a $2,000 donation from an anonymous donor, for the purchase of new equipment and software to implement a laser-coded library cataloguing system. Holy Family-St. Mary’s School serves 65 families with children in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Job Opening

Full-time director of liturgy needed

The Church of Saint Henry, Perham is now looking for a full-time liturgy and music director. This person will be responsible for organizing and leading the music at Sunday Masses, weddings, funerals and other liturgies. They will train and lead choirs, cantors, acolytes, lectors and ushers for the parish. This is a significant time of growth for our music program, and we need someone who can lead us with skill and confidence. Vocal and organ/piano skills are required, as well as familiarity with the Catholic liturgical tradition, from Gregorian Chant to Contemporary Praise and Worship. For more information, please call the parish office at (218) 346-4240 by email Deacon Randy at



LIFE’S MILESTONES Roman Michels will celebrate his 100th birthday Feb. 12. He was born and raised in Munich along with his 11 siblings. Roman currently resides in Langdon and is a long-time parishioner of St. Alphonsus Church. He has one daughter, two grandsons, and one living sister. Tillie Moch will celebrate her 95th birthday Feb. 11. She is a lifelong member of Transfiguration Church in Edgeley. After raising her 10 children on a dairy farm, she moved to Edgeley in 1976 and started working for the church and St. Joseph Manor, which she continues to do today. She has 10 children, 43 grandchildren and 67 great-grandchildren. Marian Saunders celebrated her 96th birthday on Feb. 6. She was originally from Cayuga and Wahpeton and now lives in Fargo. She has always loved life and loved to dance. She has four children, 26 grandchildren and over 40 great-grandchildren.

Hurley’s Religious Goods Inc

Serving our faith community Since 1951

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

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



1417 S University Dr - Fargo ND 58103 1-800-437-4338 -



Keeping Our Promise

Pat Dolan, FICF

Ryan Brunner, FICF

General Agent

Grand Forks 701-757-0523

Fargo 701-298-9922


Wayne Cherney, FIC, LUTCF

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



Joel Herman, FIC

Adam Jordan

Rylee Nelson

Wahpeton 701-219-5847

Grand Forks 701-367-4222

Fargo 701-660-0587


RETIREMENT ANNUITIES Gen_WME_2016, Exp. 12/131/2017

Sidewalk Stories By Roxane B. Salonen


Gathering gratitude on sidewalk despite cold

oday’s my one-year anniversary,” the young man remarked. I congratulated him, understanding exactly what he meant. It’d been a year of him showing up at the sidewalk outside our state’s only abortion facility to pray, and though abortion isn’t anything to celebrate, surviving a year out there is. The temperature that day was quite a few degrees below zero, as it likely had been a year prior. He wasn’t celebrating what we come to do, but the fact that he’d made it through that year, of freezing temps, or, in the summertime, scorching heat. Nick is one of the more faithful advocates. He comes in the morning every week when the facility opens, and doesn’t leave until its lights dim and doors lock. I admire his tenacity, and willingness to have sacrificed so many hours for this cause over a year’s time. I’m not quite as brave or valiant, and to see it in someone so young is especially heartening. Earlier that same day, I’d found myself grumbling while rounding up extra layers of clothing. I muttered to God – maybe even aloud – about how he’d lured me into this praying thing deeply enough that I could no longer see an out. Despite the inconvenience and my thin skin, I was committed to being there, if only for an hour. So, trying desperately to summon enthusiasm, I gathered up the literature we hand out when we can, along with my Rosary, scarf and mittens, and headed out into the crisp, sunny day. I’ve taken to starting my Wednesday prayer en route, to help prepare myself spiritually, and that day, I asked God to use me for his glory. While whispering the words there in my van, it occurred to me how blessed I am to have any time at all to do this. Not everyone does. I also realized that earlier on in my life, I might not have been strong enough, either, spiritually-speaking. God had done some work in my soul to prepare me for the sidewalk, and rather than complain about the weather, I needed to remember how lucky I am that God had touched my heart enough to move me to action. Block by block, as I inched my way toward downtown, I began realizing how little I have to complain about, and what a luxury it is to be able to go there each week, as often as I can, to pray.

Growing up on the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana, I loved going to powwows and watching the traditional dancers. It was a beautiful way of life, and I remember when someone explained to me how happy the elders are to see the younger generations dance, “because we no longer can.” It can be said of sidewalk prayer, too. Nick, still in his 20s, can physically stand out there for longer periods of time. And I, though not as young, can offer at least some of my time. Like the Lakota elders, I pray, in part, because others no longer can – or at least not in so visible a way. My complaints about extra layers and teeth-gritting through the frigid temperatures began to fall away as I realized how God had offered me the privilege of being there. Suddenly, the sacrifice didn’t feel so tall. I prayed with purpose that day, and when, about a half-hour into it, I could no longer feel my fingers, I found the will to go on when Nick offered me some hand-warmers. God gives us what we need to serve him. Additionally, he sees every little sacrifice we make for the sake of others. Whether preparing another pan of macaroni and cheese for our kids, or making it through another day of illness, each suffering moment borne well counts in God’s eyes. In my humanity, I resist the sidewalk. But with spiritual grace and God’s gentle reminder of the blessing of being there, I arrive another week, knowing it’s one more chance to be part of building his kingdom on earth. Most days it’s no easy thing, but in God’s eyes, it’s no small thing, either. Thank you, Lord, for the chance to serve you, all days, in all these ways.

Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five, is a local writer as well as a speaker and radio host for Real Presence Radio. Co-author of the pro-life memoir, Redeemed by Grace: A Catholic Woman’s Journey to Planned Parenthood and Back, and a contributor to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, Roxane also writes weekly for The Forum newspaper and monthly for She serves in music ministry as a cantor at Sts. Anne and Joachim Church, Fargo.





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

Where in the diocese are we?



This beautiful grotto depicting the Apparition at Fatima is one of many around the Diocese. Where is this particular grotto located? The answer will be revealed in the March New Earth.

Last month’s photo was a statue of the Good Shepherd outside the church office and rectory of St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s Church in Oriska.

New Earth February 2017  

Magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND

New Earth February 2017  

Magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND