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New February 2018 | Vol. 39 | No. 2


The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo

I was a stranger and you welcomed me Keeping the homeless out of the cold


From Bishop Folda: A time for silence

MEALS: Managing Eating And Living Simultaneously shares importance of family meals

Pope in Peru: “Be the saints of the 21st century”






February 2018 Vol. 39 | No. 2

ON THE COVER 14 Keeping the homeless out of the cold There are 284 homeless people in the Fargo/Moorhead

area on a list to get into an emergency shelter. That’s why different homeless organizations try to identify a space to handle what they call “overflow” shelters. These are temporary places set up to handle sleeping accommodations overnight. Several churches in the area have joined in an ecumenical effort to help make sure all are kept out of the cold during the winter months.



A time for silence



Pope Francis’ February prayer intentions


Ask a priest:


Why do we fast and feast?

8 9

MEALS: Managing Eating And Living Simultaneously shares importance of family meals Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14



Bishop Folda blesses pastoral center for St. Michael’s Church, Grand Forks

10 Pastoral Council provides input and advice to Bishop Folda 10 Nurse and pastoral care minister, Sister Celine Marie Morth, passes away Dec. 29


12 White House invites University of Mary students to Rose Garden 13 University of Mary welcomes St. Gianna’s daughter to annual vocations jamboree


18 Tattered Pages

A review written by Suellen Dusek for “33 Days to Morning Glory” by Father Michael E. Gaitley, MIC



19 Stories of Faith

This Lent, be still and know

20 Sister’s Perspective

Consecration, communion, service

21 Catholic Action

Protecting those with disabilities in the womb promotes inclusion for all

22 Stewardship

God provides what we need, invites us to share

24 Seminarian Life

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

25 Catholic Charities Corner

The issues of today

26 Little Sisters of the Poor




Getting organized for love

ON THE COVER: Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo on a frigid January evening. (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


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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.





27 Events across the diocese 28 Life’s milestones 28 A glimpse of the past U.S. AND WORLD NEWS 30 Pope in Peru: “Be the saints of the 21st century” SIDEWALK STORIES 31 “You don’t understand,” she whispered to me

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 12, 2018. 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 2018



A time for silence


e still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:11). Lent begins this year on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, and on the first Sunday of Lent we will hear once again the Gospel of our Lord’s 40 day fast in the desert. Jesus certainly abstained from food during this time of retreat, but perhaps more importantly he also spent time in silence. The desert is a uniquely quiet place, and throughout history the faithful have gone into the desert to seek God in order to hear his voice more clearly. With the start of Lent, Christ invites us to enter with him into his desert retreat, to spend some time in the quiet of the desert, so that we too might know God more deeply in our lives. Silence is in short supply in our hyperactive culture, and with all the noise around us it is easy to drown out the quiet voice of God in our hearts. Politicians and commentators constantly rage at the crises of the day and at each other. Entertainment and the media clamor for our attention and distract us from far more important things, like God, family, and friendship. All of this sound and fury can make us angry, anxious, and exhausted. It undermines the tranquility of our minds and can even cut into our spirit of charity towards each other. But this season of Lent is a time for deeper communion with God, and therefore it should be a time for some silence too. Only in silence can we really hear God speaking to our hearts, and only in silence can we experience intimacy with him. A good place to begin would be with our own daily schedule. Our lives can be very full and demanding with the ordinary responsibilities of family life, work, and community. But every one of us would do well to make room for a few moments of quiet at the beginning of each day, a time to invite God in, to place before him the people, duties and challenges that we will face, and to ask his guidance and blessing on our activities. In a similar way, a few moments of quiet recollection at night, gratitude for blessings, and contrition for sins, will help us to

end the day in communion with God, and prepare us for the day to come. “Be still and know that I am God.” Lent is also an opportune time to hear the Word of God through the Sacred Scriptures. Quiet reading of the Gospels or any other books of the Bible, maybe a page or two a day, will always enrich our prayer lives as we come to know God more intimately. A few minutes of silent, meditative scripture reading is within reach of even the busiest person, and will bring a little peace to our sometimes hectic days. Silence is also very important in our celebration of the Eucharist. Arriving a few minutes early for Mass can help us to collect our thoughts and enter more fully into the sacred action that unfolds before and within us. It can also give us time to place before the Lord our specific prayer intentions. Likewise, after we have received Holy Communion, and even after Mass is over, a few moments for a quiet prayer of thanksgiving can help us to abide more fully in the grace of the sacrament that God wishes to give us. Fasting is a normal aspect of Lenten observance, and we usually think of fasting in terms of food and drink. But perhaps our observance of Lent this year might take a different turn. In an age when we have become so attached to our phones, tablets, computers, and other devices, it might be a good time to detach and fast from the “noise” that these create in our lives. This Lent might be a time to set them aside or turn them off, even if only for a little while each day. The world will keep on turning and our lives will keep rolling too, but we might do well to quiet the noise and give ourselves a chance for some peace and recollection. And most importantly, we would also have a better chance at hearing the voice of our Lord, who speaks to us most personally in the quiet of our souls. Turning down the noise of technology can also be an opportunity for more meaningful interaction within our own families and among our friends. With the television and radio filling our homes with noise, and with the distractions of social media, it is easy to ignore those whom God has placed in our lives. But with a little intentional silence, we might be more able to converse and listen to one another, and learn more about what is happening in the lives of our loved ones. Of course, this invitation to silence is not a ticket to ignore others, nor to disregard those who need our attention. As Christians, we do not shut ourselves off from the world in which we live. We should be informed and engaged in this world, bringing our faith to bear on the important issues of our times. We have

“…this season of Lent is a time for deeper communion with God, and therefore it should be a time for some silence too. Only in silence can we really hear God speaking to our hearts, and only in silence can we experience intimacy with him.” – Bishop John Folda 4


responsibilities of charity, and our Lord would never ask us to turn away from a brother or sister in need. But, we can be much more attuned to the voices of those around us if we are first attuned to the voice of God. In his book The Power of Silence, Cardinal Robert Sarah wrote: “Christ lived for thirty years in silence. Then, during his public life, he withdrew to the desert to listen and speak with his Father. The world vitally needs those who go off into the desert. Because God speaks in silence.” As we begin the forty-day retreat of Lent, let us pray for the grace of silence and for stillness of heart, so that we might experience the grace and mystery of God and welcome him more readily into our lives.

Prayer Intention of Pope Francis February

That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.

Bishop Folda’s Calendar Feb. 9 | 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 26 | 11:30 a.m.

Holy Family/St. Mary’s Catholic Schools Dinner and Auction, Ramada, Grand Forks

Teresa Tomeo Luncheon, Sts. Anne and Joachim, Fargo

Feb. 14 | 12:10 p.m.

6:30 p.m.

Ash Wednesday Mass, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Feb. 16 | 8:30 a.m. Mass, Holy Spirit, Fargo

Feb. 18 | 3:30 p.m.

Rite of Election, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Feb. 22-23

St. JPII Schools and Diocese Gathering, Phoenix, Ariz.

Feb. 25 | 9 a.m.

Mass at St. Mary, Knox

5:30 p.m.

Operation Andrew Dinner, Bishop’s Residence, Fargo

Real Presence Radio Banquet, Delta Hotels, Fargo

Feb. 28 | 3 p.m.

JPII Schools Board meeting, Pastoral Center, Fargo

Mar. 1 | 6 p.m.

Mass and Talk for Young Adult Night, Nativity, Fargo

Mar. 4 | 11 a.m.

Mass, St. Charles Borromeo, Oakes

Mar. 8 | 5 p.m.

Red Mass, Sts. Anne and Joachim, Fargo

Mar. 9 | 6:30 p.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, St. Helena, Ellendale



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Why do we fast and feast?

e love weekends. Our vocabulary includes popular of mourning when, expressions to celebrate their arrival. We love them “I ate no delicacies, for various reasons: extra sleep, time to practice our no meat or wine hobbies, and time to explore our interests. Our affection for entered my mouth” the weekend can help us understand why the Catholic faith (Dan 10:2-3). AbstiAsk a Priest includes days of fasting, penance, abstinence, as well as days nence from meat Father Jason Asselin of feasting and celebration. on Fridays should remind us of the “Living our Catholic faith with all its fasting and crucifixion. Cathofeasting is an invitation to order our days to the lics are required to glory of God, and to echo his bountiful goodness observe some form of penance every Friin all our actions.” – Father Jason Asselin day of the year. Abstaining from meat is required only on Ash “Wor k is an everyday occurrence, while a feast is something Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent. special, unusual, an interruption in the ordinary passage of Finally, what about the celebrations, holy days and special feasts time” (In Tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity). At the center observed by Catholics throughout the year? First, the Lord’s Day, of our faith is a person, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of Sunday, is the foundation of these celebrations: “God’s action is God, who interrupted the events of humanity when he entered the model for human action. If God ‘rested and was refreshed’ a real, human family in the stable in Bethlehem, learned from on the seventh day, man too ought to ‘rest’” (2172). Second, special his parents, worked, and entered public ministry. celebrations are reminders that we follow a different calendar. Because our faith is centered on the life, death and Resurrection We’re not here to live for the weekend! Rather, our celebrations of Christ, our lives should imitate the life of our Savior. Thus, recall the many events of Christ’s life throughout the whole year. the practices of self-discipline are undertaken to remind us of Easter, the Resurrection, is the “feast of feasts” (1169). Christ’s self-giving, simplicity and humility. We also celebrate The liturgical year has the goal of communicating all the events the glorious and joyful events of salvation: the birth of Jesus, of our salvation, including the role of the Blessed Mother of God, the Resurrection of Jesus, and other events from the life of our the martyrs and saints. The purpose of observing feast days, life Savior, his Blessed Mother and the saints. events, and saints is to proclaim how the glory of Christ shines for the whole world in these lives and events (1171-1173). Milestones and memorable moments of life are treasured experiences. Reaching those experiences usually includes rocky, Our feast day celebrations often include physical reminders challenging and difficult events. We celebrate Advent before of God’s goodness to us. The celebration of the Eucharist is the Christmas and Lent before Easter, to remind us of this same primary example of this; the faithful gather to praise God for his idea: fasting comes before the feast. The practice of fasting is ultimate sacrifice. Another example is the Eucharistic procession. a biblical discipline. Jesus instructed his disciples to feast (Mt Holy Thursday Mass concludes with this practice. The outdoor 9:14-15); he also instructed them how to fast (Mt 6:16-18). procession on the feast of Corpus Christi is another example. The disciples struggled to accept that Jesus must suffer first, Benedict XVI says, “Our relationship to God needs not only the and then enter into glory. We face the same struggle when we inward aspect; it also needs to be expressed. As well as speech, are asked to undertake penance and to practice self-denial. singing, silence, standing, sitting and kneeling, expression also calls Cultural pressures may cause us to question the very necessity for this celebratory walking along together in the community of doing penance at all. It is increasingly common to doubt the of the faithful, together with the God in whom we believe… so real value of suffering. the liturgy opens out into everyday life; into our earthly life and cares; it goes beyond the church precincts because it actually In the book of Acts, Peter’s message on Pentecost states the embraces heaven and earth, present and future. How we need obligation of repentance (Acts 2:38). Human nature tries to avoid this sign!” (Feast of Faith). suffering and practices of self-denial. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that original sin produces negative influences on Everyone craves a little downtime, rest, and vacation. Somepeople and makes life a battle against sin (408-409). Penance and thing greater than the weekend is offered to us in the liturgical abstinence are tools to help us achieve the continual conversion calendar. Living our Catholic faith with all its fasting and feasting we need. When Jesus calls us to conversion, his first goal is interior is an invitation to order our days to the glory of God, and to conversion, “not sackcloth and ashes, fasting and mortification” echo his bountiful goodness in all our actions. (1430). However, we are physical human beings with flesh and bones, therefore, “interior conversion urges expression in visible Father Asselin serves as the pastor of St. Helena’s Church in Ellendale signs, gestures and works of penance” (1430). Prayer, fasting and St. Patrick’s Church in Fullerton. and almsgiving are the most common expressions of penance Editor’s Note: If you would like to submit a question for consideration contained in Scripture and the Fathers of the Church (1434). in a future column, please send to or mail Abstaining from certain foods is a specific form of penance to New Earth, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S, Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104. also found in the bible. The prophet Daniel recalls a period NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2018


Catholic Culture e m o H e h in t

MEALS: Managing Eating And Living Simultaneously shares importance of family meals By Doreen Kennelly


wenty-seven years ago, when I was a younger mother and homemaker, some friends and I decided that life would be easier for us if we were to organize meals for our families. We worked diligently creating weekly menus, collecting recipes, and compiling shopping lists to correspond with them. We thought this was such a helpful tool that we arranged to mass-produce our work and sell it. As we set out to “market” our product, one of the women in the group came up with the acronym MEALS = Managing Eating And Living Simultaneously. This title appropriately captured the struggle and solution. Although I am no longer responsible for planning and preparing meals for a young family, I understand that gathering as a family around the meal table – even once a week – is a great challenge. The lives of young families are full of demands and activities that cause them to choose restaurants and fast food, which is often eaten on the run, rather than in the comfort of their homes around the family table. We all have a certain nostalgia and longing for family mealtime. Family memories and traditions often find their source at the dinner table. The popular television series, Blue Bloods, captures the essence of the family meal in each episode as the Reagan family’s four generations gather at the dinner table each week. They share a meal, their joys, sorrows, struggles, pains, and opinions. They honor accomplishments and remember those who are no longer with them. There is a tangible sense of comradery and companionship, a sense of belonging. They are family. Their Sunday meal is a clear symbol of this bond. “Families” can be extended to include close friends, not just blood relatives, who also enjoy the fellowship of sharing a meal with others. A number of years ago a group of men from various walks of life went on a “golf pilgrimage.” The group included my husband, a priest friend, and six other men. At the final meal of the pilgrimage the conversation turned to the consideration of the question, “If you could plan your last meal on Earth, what would you choose for the menu?” The men took turns, describing delicacies of all sorts. The last man at the table (a recent convert to the Catholic faith), who had been listening attentively to the others as they described their feasts, stopped them in their tracks with his response. “What I want for my last meal is the body and blood of Christ.” 8


The Church, in her wisdom understands the fundamental need to gather as family once a week. As the church bells ring on Sunday mornings, it is our Mother (the Church) calling her children to gather as family around the table of the Lord. We hear the stories of our ancestors in faith, we learn how much God loves us, and how we can share his love with others. We sing. We pray. We commune. We are nourished, and we are sent off. Here is a simple recipe your family might enjoy on these winter days in North Dakota. It’s easy and delicious!

Chicken Tortilla Soup (semi-homemade) • • • • • • • • • • •

1 small jar of Pace Picante sauce 1 can shoe-peg corn (it is a short can found in canned vegetable aisle) 1 can black beans 1 package shoe-string style carrots (produce department) 2 cans chicken broth 1 tsp cumin Meat from one rotisserie chicken or 1-2 cans chicken Lime juice to taste Fresh cilantro to taste Heat until the carrots are tender! (Sometimes I microwave the carrots before adding them to the soup if I am in a hurry) Serve with tortilla chips, grated cheddar cheese, and/or sour cream

Doreen Kennelly is the Adult Education Coordinator at Holy Spirit Parish in Fargo. Note: The gentleman whose desire it was to receive the body and blood of Christ as his last meal on Earth did, indeed, receive what his heart desired! Editor’s Note: The aim of this new column in New Earth is to provide a place to share stories, traditions, and inspirations for living out a Catholic culture in the home. If you have tradition and stories in your family that illustrates the goodness of Catholic community and family in the home, please contact


Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14


From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

ent is a favorable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ.” – Pope Francis During Lent, we are asked to devote ourselves to seeking the Lord in prayer and reading Scripture, to service by giving alms, and to sacrifice self-control through fasting. Many know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season. In addition, the giving of alms is one way to share God’s gifts—not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents. As St. John Chrysostom reminds us: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess

are not ours, but theirs.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2446). In Lent, the baptized are called to renew their baptismal commitment as others prepare to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of learning and discernment for individuals who have declared their desire to become Catholics. The key to fruitful observance of these practices is to recognize their link to baptismal renewal. We are called not just to abstain from sin during Lent, but to true conversion of our hearts and minds as followers of Christ. We recall those waters in which we were baptized into Christ’s death, died to sin and evil, and began new life in Christ. Catholics are also encouraged to make going to confession a significant part of their spiritual lives during Lent.


Bishop Folda blesses pastoral center for St. Michael’s Church, Grand Forks On Jan. 21, parishioners and friends of St. Michael’s Church in Grand Forks flooded the church’s new pastoral center across the street. After the 9 a.m. Mass at St. Michael’s, Bishop John Folda blessed the newly-renovated building that will be used to accommodate the workings of the parish. Following the blessing, the building was open for tours and refreshments. The main floor includes the parish offices while the lower level is equipped with an adult classroom, a conference room, and two multipurpose meeting rooms with facilities that allow for future overnight retreats. When complete, the upper level will include rooms for religious education and youth ministry. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth) NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2018



Pastoral Council provides input and advice to Bishop Folda By Paul Braun

shall serve as a structure for constructive dialogue. The Diocesan Pastoral Council shall be a visible source of unity in the diocese.” The Pastoral Council derives its authority from Canon Law. It is composed of the Bishop of the Diocese of Fargo, who serves as the President of the Council, the Vicar General, and the Chancellor. The department heads for Catholic Education and Formation, Finance and Administration, and Catholic Charities, ND and the editor of New Earth are ex-officio members or members who serve due to the office they hold within the diocese. The rest of the council is made up of one lay representative Bishop Folda chairs a recent meeting of the Pastoral Council. from each deanery, one priest representative for each of the (Paul Braun | New Earth) four pairs of deaneries, two representatives from the Permanent Diaconate, serving an urban and a rural area, one religious he task of shepherding a diocese can be a daunting one, representative from each motherhouse within the Diocese, and and Bishop Folda must make important decisions on any additional lay representatives appointed “at large” as needed a daily basis that affect the well-being, as well as the by the Bishop. These members are nominated through their spiritual needs, of the faithful that make up the Fargo Diocese. local deaneries, and each serves a three-year term. Many times when making these important decisions, the Bishop The Pastoral Council is charged with meeting at least once per will call on various people and groups to offer him advice and year, but a minimum of two meetings per year are scheduled, counsel. An important role in that process lies with the Fargo one in the spring and one in the fall. The council’s function, Diocesan Pastoral Council. under the authority of the Bishop, is to study and weigh those According to the statutes that govern the council and its matters which concern the pastoral works in the diocese, and formation, “The Fargo Diocesan Pastoral Council is a consultative to propose practical conclusions concerning them. body at the assistance of the Bishop. Its members assist the Bishop by “The members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council are living advising him, presenting his questions to the faithful whom they rep- the faith daily in their parishes and communities, so they bring resent, and assisting in research and coordinating diocesan programs a very important perspective to our discussions,” said Bishop and activities as he directs. They also assist the faithful of the diocese Folda. “It’s always a joy to gather with representatives from by presenting their concerns and responses to the Bishop’s pastoral throughout our Diocese, and I’m very grateful for their honest initiatives back to him. In this way, the Diocesan Pastoral Council input on important issues that face the Church.”


Nurse and pastoral care minister, Sister Celine Marie Morth, passes away Dec. 29


ister Celine Marie Morth, 94 years old, died at Maryvale, Valley City, Dec. 29, 2017. The funeral Mass was held Jan. 2 in the Maryvale Chapel with Father Donald Leiphon officiating. Sister Celine Marie (Gertrude Ludmilla) Morth was born Oct. 3, 1923 to Anna (Millner) and John Morth, in Fingal. She made vows of consecrated chastity, obedience and poverty to God with the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation, Aug. 23, 1944. She lived a long life of fruitful service as a nurse, supervisor and pastoral care chaplain. Sister Celine Marie served as a nurse, head nurse or pastoral care minister at St. Margaret’s Health,



Spring Valley, Ill. 1944-45 and 1950-58; St. Andrew’s Health Center, Bottineau, 1945-49, 1972-87; St. Jerome, Quebec, Canada 1958-60; St. Aloisius Medical Center, Harvey, 1960-72 and 1991-2011; Presentation Medical Center, Rolla, 1972-74; and St. Anne’s unit, Maryvale, Valley City, 1988-1991 and retired to Maryvale in 2011. She is survived by her Religious Sisters of Mary of the Presentation and her sisters Cele Anne Tomlins, Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Lucille Sherman, Fargo. She was preceded in death by her parents, sisters Agnes Gruman, Annie Shackel, Sister Mary Margaret Morth, PBVM, Magdeline Peterson, and Barbara Weber, and her brother John Morth Jr.


Pro-lifers March for Life at nation’s capital

Faithful of the Fargo Diocese gather for a photo following the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Jan. 18. They then attended the annual March for Life on Jan. 19 to protest the 45th anniversary of the Roe v Wade Supreme Court case that legalized abortion on Jan. 22, 1973. (submitted photo)

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White House invites University of Mary students to Rose Garden By University of Mary

University of Mary students invited to the White House stand in front of the presidential podium in the Rose Garden on Jan. 19. (University of Mary)


wenty University of Mary students from Bismarck were special guests of the President of the United States in the Rose Garden—the traditional staging ground for major policy announcements and diplomatic receptions—when he addressed, via satellite, hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers at the March for Life event in D.C. Testament to their courage and devotion to this movement, this is the third year in a row that the University of Mary in Bismarck has garnered the national spotlight at the world’s largest pro-life event that gives witness to and celebrates the dignity of human life. In 2016, after the march, the country watched as Mary’s buses were among the many vehicles stranded for 24 hours on the Pennsylvania Turnpike after a semi jackknifed in the blizzard. Last year, over 600 students, faculty and staff led the March for Life after the rally in which University of Mary marketing student Katrina Gallic represented thousands of youth around the world when she gave a powerful and passionate speech on national TV. On January 19, they were on the biggest stage ever for one of America’s history-making moments as it was the first time a sitting president made a public appearance at the March for Life event in 45 years. University of Mary students learned of their front row seat near the president’s podium immediately following Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, just down the street from the White House. After celebrating the news with screams, hugs and photos, the students processed down the street chanting and praying spontaneously, creating their own mini March for Life — punctuated by their unmistakably bright, school-colored, blue and orange stocking caps that read, “University of Mary For Life.” 12


“We’re so honored to be at this famous place for this historic moment in our country, representing our state and our Catholic university,” said University of Mary junior, Hailey Hilzendeger, a respiratory therapy major from Avon, S.D., and who is president of the school’s Collegians for Life on campus. “I can speak for my classmates and say how proud we are to be students at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, where we stand for the life and dignity of all, and cherish the numerous opportunities we are blessed with, like this one, in order to make a positive and profound impact on American culture and be part of the Pro-life Generation.” From there, Hilzendeger and her classmates met up with the rest of the University of Mary students at the March for Life— who were part of a contingent of over 600 students and staff in a convoy of 12 buses that made the trek east for 30-hours to represent Catholic education from the Peace Garden State. On Thursday, January 18, Katrina Gallic, now a University of Mary senior, along with other invitees, were guests of honor at the pre-March for Life reception with Vice President Mike Pence and numerous dignitaries.

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University of Mary welcomes St. Gianna’s daughter to annual vocations jamboree


mpacted by her mother and father’s love for one another, her love for family, her love for the Catholic faith, and her love for life, Gianna Beretta Molla viewed life as a beautiful gift from God, especially growing up in northern Italy with 12 siblings. While medicine became her mission and career after World War II, Molla, a Dr. Gianna Emanuela pediatrician, also chose marriage as her Molla, daughter of St. vocation. She once again embraced both Gianna Beretta Molla. as gifts from God and dedicated herself (submitted photo) to forming a truly Christian family. After marrying Pietro in 1955, their family began. In 1961, Molla became pregnant with their fourth child. Near the end of her second month of pregnancy, Molla was struck with unbearable pain. Doctors discovered she was carrying both a baby and a tumor after developing fibroma in her uterus. According to published accounts, doctors gave Molla three choices: an abortion that would save her life and allow her to have children, yet take the life of the child she carried; a complete hysterectomy, which would preserve her life, but take the unborn child’s life and prevent a further pregnancy; removal of only the fibroma, which could result in further complications for her, but save the life of the baby. Calling upon what her Catholic faith taught her, Molla believed every human life was a gift from God, something sacred to be respected and protected from conception to natural death. She opted for the removal of only the fibroma in order to preserve her child’s life, while at the same time realizing she may lose her life. “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child. I insist on it. Save the baby,” Gianna Beretta expressed to her family. On April 21, 1962, the baby was successfully delivered by Caesarean section. However, after many attempts

By University of Mary

by her doctors to save both lives, Gianna passed away from septic peritonitis a week after the baby was born. On April 24, 1994, Gianna Beretta was beatified by Pope John Paul II and canonized as a saint on May 16, 2004. Today that baby is Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla, who works full time at the Saint Gianna Foundation and will share her mother’s memory, example, testimony and spirituality with the public at the University of Mary’s annual Vocations Jamboree April 17-19. Her keynote address on April 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the new Founders Hall inside the Lumen Vitae University Center is free and open to the public. People interested in attending are encouraged to register at or contact Ed Konieczka at (701) 355-8102 or “I know a little, in an indirect way, the heartbreak of infertility,” Emanuela Molla said in an interview with the St. Louis Review. “Many people from different parts of the world ask for me to pray, to receive their so eagerly awaited gift of a child. I tell them, if your desire is in accord with God’s will, surely my mom will listen to your prayers. What a great joy for me, when (I see) these families for whom I have prayed, when they tell me through your mom’s intercession we have received this so eagerly awaited gift of a child. Nothing is impossible with God.” “Dr. Molla brings to our third annual Vocations Jamboree a unique blend of grace and ‘gravitas,’” said Dr. Peter Huff, director of the Saint John Paul II Center for University Ministry and professor of theology at the University of Mary. “Celebrating God’s special call to each person  means first and foremost recognizing the unrepeatable dignity and beauty of every individual life. Dr. Molla’s message is simple yet profound: If you want peace and justice in society, rediscover the power of respect.” Gianna Emanuela carries on her mom’s legacy—who is regarded as a modern day example of the Lord’s words, “Greater love than this, nobody has, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

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A volunteer prepares lunch at the Churches United for the Homeless shelter in Moorhead, Minn. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

I was a stranger and you welcomed me Keeping the homeless out of the cold By Paul Braun


or I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matt 25: 35-40). Our call to help those in need comes directly from Jesus himself. One of the greatest needs during winter, especially in the Fargo/Moorhead area, is ensuring the homeless have a warm place to seek shelter on nights when temperatures dip below zero. Several agencies that assist the homeless have established 14


shelters in the community, serving those with varying degrees of needs. While most of these agencies assist with providing shelter until permanent housing can be found, the greatest need during the winter months is providing immediate emergency shelter. “We in the shelter community get a little discouraged as the weather in the fall starts to get cold,” said Pastor Sue Koesterman, Executive Director at Churches United for the Homeless. “The question becomes ‘winter is coming, what are you, the shelters, going to do to care for people?’ But homeless people are our neighbors. Homelessness is not a shelter problem, it’s a community issue.” According to Pastor Sue, there are 284 homeless people in the Fargo/Moorhead area that are on a list to get into an emergency shelter when they need it. That’s why the different homeless organizations try to identify a space to handle what they call “overflow” shelters. These are temporary places set up to handle

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sleeping accommodations overnight. Homeless clients are screened and put on a list, ranked from most to least in need of shelter on cold winter nights. Once they are on the list, they are in the system and eligible for assistance. When a shelter bed opens up, agencies place the most vulnerable person or family who’s been waiting the longest in the next available shelter bed. “The Wednesday before Christmas, when we saw this really bitter cold arctic front was coming in, and knowing we had 284 individuals on the unsheltered list, we all really hit the bushes and called everyone we could think of telling them we had a potential catastrophe, that someone was going to freeze to death if we don’t have overflow,” said Pastor Sue. “With the help of Mayor Williams in Moorhead, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed an emergency proclamation on December 23 allowing us to use the Moorhead National Guard Armory for emergency overflow.” The armory was just a temporary solution through January 4. But Pastor Sue says overflow shelters need to be ready to go between mid-December and mid-March. Cold, wet conditions can cause hypothermia even when overnight temperatures are in the 30s and 40s above zero. The mayor of Dilworth offered that city’s Community Center to use as overflow until the end of January, and a local church has been found to serve as a shelter through mid-March, and may be available in future seasons. For the homeless affected by the frigid winters, any place warm to stay is vital. Paul Weeks, a homeless Churches United client, says compassion and understanding is just as important as providing warmth and comfort. “You really have to understand the kinds of problems the homeless have to go through,” said Weeks. “It’s not just drugs or having children at the wrong time, it’s people who have been dealt bad hands. What these people are seeking is solitude, a roof over their head, knowing that they don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. This means a lot to them because they don’t have to worry about being out in the ice cold. Without the shelters, it would mean death to some.” “I usually have a car, but this year I don’t,” said Rachel Ryan, who has been homeless for a few months. “It’s been tough. It

scares me to think what would happen to me if they weren’t here. I have pneumonia right now, and they’ve helped me since I’ve been out of the hospital. I hope to transition into a permanent apartment soon.” Rachel is typical of the kind of people Weeks says he encounters every day. They don’t know the system, and many times they don’t know how to ask for help. Weeks says it’s his calling to help those who are not familiar with the hardships of homelessness to adapt and to get the help they need, because he’s been there and knows of those hardships and challenges first-hand. “I try to help guide those who are new to this situation,” said Weeks. The daunting task of providing temporary and permanent shelter to many men, women and children is taken on by several local and national organizations, who have to work together if they want to avoid letting someone slip through the cracks of the system and possibly die unnecessarily. “We all want to ensure that everyone has a safe place to stay,” said Sonja Ellner, Executive Director of the Fargo-Moorhead Dorothy Day House of Hospitality in Moorhead, Minn. “We have been working in collaboration with each other for many years to accomplish this. There is a tremendous amount of respect, communication, and coordination that goes on between shelter staff of all of the shelters on a daily basis, as we are not only trying to keep people safe but also ensure that they are at the shelter that best suits their needs.” “Many times those who are unsheltered will sleep in a car, unoccupied buildings, some double up with family or friends, and some quite frankly trade services, like sex, for shelter,” said Pastor Sue. “Folks who are unsheltered are extremely vulnerable to traffickers and predators.” That vulnerability is one of the primary reasons sheltering the homeless needs to be embraced by the ecumenical faith community, if only to give victims of traffickers and predators some place to escape and find self-worth. For the past six years, an ecumenical network of churches, the Fargo/Moorhead Sheltering Churches Project, offered overnight shelter in their NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2018


The Dilworth Community Center preparing to take in overnight overflow guests. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

church buildings on a weekly rotation. Some of the parishes involved from the Fargo Diocese include St. Anthony of Padua and the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo, and Blessed Sacrament in West Fargo. The project ended last season for a variety of reasons, mostly due to the higher amount of vulnerability and needs of the guests. “We didn’t feel it was safe for guests or volunteers to shelter week after week in places staffed solely by volunteers,” said Pastor Sue. “We also lost a financial backer and our transportation services due to various restructuring of those agencies. But a lot of good came out of that project, especially increased awareness on the local shelter availability problem in the area.” Another upside to the Sheltering Churches Project was an influx in experienced volunteers. Over 1,700 volunteers have been identified to help when called upon, and many of those continue to donate their time on a day-to-day basis at the shelters. Still, more are needed, especially at the overflow shelters. “We have a trained staff working security through the overnight hours,” said Pastor Sue. “However, we are still reaching out for volunteers to help check in guests during the evening hours, and in the early morning hours to help folks get checked out and to clean the site for the next evening.” “We have trained thousands of volunteers and gained an army of allies and advocates for the work we do,” said Sonja Ellner. “I believe this has fostered understanding about homelessness as well. Many churches continue to offer volunteer, in-kind, and monetary support for both overflow sheltering and to individual shelters. Homelessness is a community issue and addressing it takes a collective effort.” While operating a year-round shelter takes an enormous amount of financial resources, overflow sheltering isn’t in most 16


shelter budgets. It costs about $40,000 per winter season. Some of that is the cost of overnight security, transportation, staff time, commercial linen laundry, cleaning the shelter and food. Funding is the greatest need each year, according to Pastor Sue. Lending a helping hand to those in need, through monetary support or volunteer hours, is the calling from the Gospel. For Paul Weeks, it goes further than that. “These people are my family. God gave me a mission to do instead of ruining my life. He gave me that job! It will be my permanent job until the day I die.” “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt 25:40).

Dorothy Day Hospitality House shelter in Moorhead, Minn. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

Diocesan policy: Reporting child abuse

The Diocese of Fargo is committed to the protection of youth. Please report any incidents or suspected incidents of child abuse, including sexual abuse, to civil authorities. If the situation involves a member of the clergy or a religious order, a seminarian or anemployee of a Catholic school, parish, the diocesan offices or other Catholic entity within the diocese, we ask that you also report the incident or suspected incident to Monsignor Joseph P. Goering at (701) 356-7945 or Larry Bernhardt at (701) 3567965 or

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Entrust your life to Mary’s motherly care through 33 Days to Morning Glory By Suellen Dusek


A review of Catholic books, movies, music


“is notable for the way she put Marian consecration into context,” adding that she did so, “within the big picture of a most intimate relationship with Christ.” Finally, St. Pope John Paul II, often called “the most Marian pope” added depth to how we understand Marian consecration today. He contended that, “It’s Mary’s role to lead us into the mystery of Christ’s redeeming love and self-consecration to the Father.” The way Father Gaitley opens the window into the hearts and souls of these tremendous saints is tender, compelling, and inspiring. After week four, 33 Days wraps up the remaining five days in review of the weekly reflections. The author summarizes what was learned, anticipating and answering any questions the reader may still have. Some last-minute instructions and preparations are suggested for the day of consecration (day 34). An appendix of prayers completes the book. While St. Louis de Monfort’s True Devotion to Mary is a wonderful work, it’s long, the language is somewhat archaic, and the prayers are lengthy. It is available in various translations online. I’ve read it, however, I much prefer Father Gaitley’s simpler, and more accessible, 33 Days to Morning Glory. Enjoy this do-it-yourself retreat in the privacy of your own home, but consider meeting with a small group of other retreatants once a week to share what you’ve learned. If you’re interested in making a Marian consecration, there are 17 Marian feast days from which you may choose. This year, the Solemnity of the Annunciation falls on Palm Sunday, so it will be transferred to Monday, April 9. That makes the 33-day start date March 7. Plan ahead!

Days to Morning Glory, written by Father Michael E. Gaitley, MIC, is a do-it-yourself book retreat in preparation for Marian Consecration. In the introduction, Father Gaitley defines Marian Consecration as it relates to the title of his book: “33 Days to Morning Glory best captures what Marian consecration is all about: A new way of life in Christ. The act of consecrating oneself to Jesus through Mary marks the beginning of a glorious new day, a new dawn, a brandnew morning in one’s spiritual journey. It’s a fresh start, and it changes everything.” He also touts Marian consecration as “the surest, easiest, shortest, and the most perfect means” to becoming a saint. Intrigued? I was. Nearly four years ago, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation (March 25), I made a formal Marian consecration, using 33 Days as a guide. Since then, I’ve reread the book each year, prior to renewing my consecration, and I always find something fresh and new. Father Gaitley writes in a very down-to-earth and engaging style. He offers beautiful glimpses into the lives of Suellen resides in West Fargo with Steve, her husband of 28 years. They four Marian saints, whose holy examples illustrate how to have four adult children and one sweet grandbaby, whom Suellen cares for understand and live consecration to Jesus through Mary. in their home. Suellen’s passion is Marian spirituality. 33 Days is arranged by weeks rather than chapters, comprising about five minutes of reading each day. Beginning in week one, Father Gaitley introduces us to St. Louis de Monfort, a man of great passion and fiery temper. Born in Brittany, in northwest France, he labored to bring people “to Jesus through Mary” by way of parish missions, despite persecution from local clergy and Jansenists. He received the title of Apostolic Missionary from the Pope and went on to author True Devotion to Mary, his classic book on Marian consecration. He died in 1716 at age 43, only 16 years a priest. After his death, his manuscript was hidden for nearly a century before it was found and published. Weeks two through four introduce us to three modern-day spiritual giants: St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Pope John Paul II, all deeply influenced by Monfort’s True Devotion to Mary. St Maximilian Kolbe is known today under such titles as, “Martyr of Charity, the Saint of Auschwitz, Founder of the Militia Immaculata, Apostle of Mary, and Patron Saint of “33 Days to Morning Glory” the 20th Century.” He is recognized for his deep contemplation of, by Father Michael E. Gaitley, MIC. and insights into, the Immaculate Conception. Published by Marian Press. 204 pages According to Father Gaitley, however, St. Teresa of Calcutta,




STORIES OF FAITH This Lent, be still and know By Rev. Bert Miller

(Pete Bellis on Unsplash)


n Valentine’s Day this year, we begin Lent. It is the cleansing time of our life. Growing up, many of us gave up candy, television, movies, and every kind of entertainment. As we grow older, we know these are temporary fixes at best. Maybe we have tried different things, like adding one good thing to our lives each day – maybe listening more. A friend of mine, Sally, tells this story about listening to people. Sally says she was out shopping at a mall. After hours of looking in the store windows, touching the fabric of dresses and trying on clothes, she was exhausted. She sat down on a comfortable bench near a fountain. Two other women were seated across from her, discussing various Christmas presents they’d bought. One was playing with her key chain that hung around her wrist. The other woman finally asked about the bracelet that secured the keychain to the woman’s arm. She observed that it was homemade. “Yes,” the woman said. “I got it as a Christmas present from my daughter. She makes items like this.” It was made out of plastic and yarn. Into the plastic was woven letters or words. The other woman asked what it said. Surprised that the woman had such an interest in this bracelet, she said, “Be still and know.” She smiled. Her eyes seemed to twinkle. The other woman squinted and shook her head and observed that it did not seem to be a whole sentence or thought. She finally said, “Know what?” The woman with the prized possession said, “You know.” The other woman thought some more and then said, “I do not know.” The woman held up the bracelet and said, “God. Be still and know God.”

The other woman said, “I would never have thought of that. My mind just does not go there.” The woman with the bracelet was surprised, but seemed to mask her emotion. The conversation went on to other things. Sally said she was surprised by the other woman’s inability to identify God. Sally told me she assumes everyone is Christian and God is on top of their minds. Through this other woman, she learned her view is not always true. She listened and learned something – not everyone shares our Christian viewpoints on God. And this could bring us to deeper prayer during Lent. You might try to just “be still and know.” Father Bert Miller serves as pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Park River and St. Luke’s Church in Veseleyville. Editor’s note: Stories of Faith is a recurring feature in New Earth. If you have a faith story to tell, contact Father Bert Miller at

Job Opening

Director of Music/Liturgy Ministry Watertown, SD

Individual is responsible for coordinating music and music selections for the parish including Masses, Holy Days and liturgical celebrations. The candidate must be proficient in organ/piano. The candidate will coordinate all persons involved in liturgical ministries as well as oversee the decorations of the worship space. Along with a joyful and faith-filled presence, we hope for a person who can interact with a variety of people and lead choirs and instrumentalists. For a more complete job description, email our parish at Qualified applicants should submit a letter of interest, resume and three references to: Fr. Paul Rutten, Pastor, Immaculate Conception Parish, 309-2nd Ave SE, Watertown, SD 57201.




Consecration, communion, service


n Aug. 11, 2016, our dear Fa Sister’s ther Bob Cronin of The Society of Perspective Our Lady of the Sister Mary Rachel, Most Holy Trinity passed into eter SOLT nity on the Turtle Mountain Reservation where he had loved and served for more than 25 years. During the two weeks leading to his death, we community members, as well as many parishioners, held vigil in his room, serving his needs under the gaze of our Eucharistic Lord 24/7. “It is in service that I am able to complete the example that Christ gave as our Divine Bridegroom in laying down his life, and it is where I am able to give an outlet to the many gifts, insights, and services given to me.” – Sister Mary Rachel, SOLT When Christ came for him, there was a priest, a sister, and a layperson with him. From my time and meditations at his bedside, I would like to draw out three points of the joys of consecrated life that I feel this experience displayed. First, consecration. It is an inexhaustible source of joy and grace for me to be a bride of Christ and the Church in miniature. Consecration is the reality that makes people ask us, “What are you?” To be able to stand for Christ and the Church in a public, marked, concrete, special way was definitely something that attracted me to this life. Not only do I stand for him, but the King of Heaven has reached down and chosen and marked me for himself. This symbolism of consecration means that I represent and stand for another. As we sisters stood by the bedside of Father Bob, we stood as signs of our own dear mother Mary, who persevered by the cross of her dying son, or as signs of the Church who stays faithful to all her sons and daughters to the last minute of their lives. This standing for another is expressed to me in many other ways, also, like the kindergarten students that persist in calling to me, “Hey, Mary!” or the questions and conversations that begin when people see our habits. Secondly, communion: a word dear to our Community, as our charism states that we are “Disciples of Jesus through Mary, living in Marian-Trinitarian Communion, serving on Ecclesial Family Teams, in areas of deepest Apostolic need.” It is a joy to live out every day, in reality and in hope, full communion of heaven and earth, communion of all members of the Church, and communion of all of creation in the love of the Trinity. How



beautifully I felt this in serving Father Bob! One of the other priests would say Mass every day in his room, and when Mass was not in session, our Lord in the Eucharist remained exposed in Adoration for Father Bob and whoever was taking care of him that shift. Heaven and Earth, priests, sisters and laity all working together was as it ought to be. I was able to just sit in silence with others for many hours and watch Father Bob breathe, pondering life, death, and beauty, keeping the rhythm of the day with the Liturgy of the Hours. All of us were touched by this communion and community united in a single purpose, a picture of what Jesus prayed for when he said, “Father, that they may be one…” Third, service: always and to all. It is a great gift to realize that my life does not belong to me, but to all people, in service. Here at St. Ann’s, I am the Religion teacher in our Catholic school, and we Sisters are involved in many other things. We bring Holy Communion to our many homebound, teach sacramental prep, serve our nursing home, and run a thrift store. It is in service that I am able to complete the example that Christ gave as our Divine Bridegroom in laying down his life, and it is where I am able to give an outlet to the many gifts, insights, and services given to me. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati expressed this so well: “Jesus comes to me every morning in Communion, and I return the visit by going to serve the poor.” As I sat by Father Bob’s bed, I often thought of the fact that it is not the number or quantity of people visited that makes a difference, but rather to make each and every encounter with anyone count, to re-gift to them their dignity and the love Jesus has for them, to let each one know that they are priceless. I thank God that he has chosen me to be a sister! Pray for your sisters, and for the people God has given us to serve, that we may be found faithful! And may we always find the source of our joy in the consecration, communion, and service God has gifted us with. Sister Mary Rachel, SOLT, serves on the Turtle Mountain Reservation.



Protecting those with disabilities in the womb

orth Dakota’s prolife efforts are in the news again, but unless you pay attention to legislative battles to protect life in other states you might have missed it. Ohio recently banned abortions made because of a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis. The legislation has drawn national attention, but in 2013 North Dakota became the first state in the nation to enact such a law. Why the renewed interest in banning such abortions? One reason could be the public’s realization that children with non-preventable genetic disabilities, especially children with Down syndrome, appear to be disappearing. A recent widely-disseminated story reported that Iceland has nearly eliminated Down syndrome because nearly 100 percent of mothers whose unborn children test positive for the condition abort the child. Prolife actress Patricia Heaton tweeted: “Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down Syndrome. They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference.” In Denmark, 98 percent of the women abort. Estimates for the United States range from 68% to 90%. Meanwhile, television, social media, and high schools tout a growing acceptance and inclusion of persons with Down syndrome. Even a casual observer would note the incongruity and ask what is wrong with this picture. Much of this renewed attention, however, follows increased pressure to test for and subtly and not-so-subtly pressure women to abort children with disabilities. In 2016, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), an organization that has apparently never come across what it considers a distasteful abortion, recommended that all pregnant women undergo prenatal diagnostic testing for their unborn child. This differs from earlier policies that usually recommended such testing only if the mother showed an increased risk of having a fetus affected with a genetic disorder. Keep in mind that in a majority of cases there is no treatment for the diagnoses. Though portrayed as an effort to give women more accurate information, the new guidelines really just cast a wider net to find and eliminate more children with genetic disabilities. Ohio, therefore, like Indiana, has followed North Dakota’s lead to send a message that discrimination with fatal consequences against children with Down syndrome has no place in a society that espouses inclusion. North Dakota’s law passed in 2013, when the state legislature considered several prolife bills and enacted most of them. HB 1305, as it was known that session, turned out to be one of the session’s least controversial bills. The only organization to testify in opposition was the state’s main abortion-rights group, the North Dakota Women’s Network. Even Planned Parenthood didn’t bother to appear. The legislation, which was combined with a ban on sex-selection abortions, passed the House 64 to 27. It passed the Senate 27 to 15. Admittedly, such laws are hard to enforce. Women could always lie about why they choose an abortion. Difficulty of enforcement, however, is not by itself an excuse to avoid enacting a good law.

The constitutionality of such laws is unsettled. Lower courts have assumed that the Supreme Catholic Court’s abortion Action jurisprudence prohibits states from Christoper Dodson looking at the reasons for particular abortions. It has been some time, however, since the Court has looked at the scope of the “right to abortion” in such detail and some of its decisions appear to open the door for states to consider the social consequences of particular abortions. Certainly, a case can be made that abortions solely for the purposes of eliminating undesirable genetic traits has consequences on society’s commitment to equal rights. The state’s only abortion center at first challenged the law but then dropped its case a few months later. In 1983, North Dakota became a leader when it passed its Human Rights Act and extended protection to persons with disabilities. The federal government followed in 1990 with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Nevertheless, persons with disabilities still face discrimination and a lack of services and no protection in the womb. The marginalization of and willful blindness toward persons with disabilities should come as no surprise when we recognize that society not only allows but encourages destroying those persons prenatally. We provide some legal protection post-birth, but none before birth. One of the prolife mottoes is “love them both,” referring to caring for the unborn child and his or her mother. One of society’s governing principles toward all, especially persons with disabilities, should be: “love them both before and after birth.” There is probably a hidden relation between governments failing to adequately fund services for persons with disabilities and simultaneously allowing killing those persons early in life. At a time when some politicians propose cutting off assistance to children because of their parents’ undesirable activities and deporting children brought here illegally by their parents, punishing children because of their parent’s refusal to abort is certainly within the realm of political motivations. Though they would probably never admit it, it would not be surprising if many taxpayers and legislators think: “Why should the government pay to help these kids just because their mother didn’t make the right choice and abort them?” Such is life — or lack of it — in the world of “choice.” 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 NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2018



God provides what we need, invites us to share


pastor once took the pulpit and told his parishioners, “We have a problem. The roof is leaking again. It has been repaired repeatedly, but this time, it needs to be replaced. The cost

joyfully expressing his pleasure of being in heaven, he asked God why he didn’t save him from the flood. And God’s reply was, “Well I sent your neighbors, the fire department and the Coast Guard. What more did you want me to do?” This story reminds us that we need to step back occasionally Stewardship and ask ourselves, “Am I listening to how God is calling me Steve Schons and, more importantly, am I responding?” As we begin God’s Gift Appeal 2018, it gives us an opportunity to be reflective of the gifts we have and how we can give them back to God. Truly, that is what being a good Catholic steward is ultimately about. Stewardship is not a one-time act of generosity. will be $200,000.” It is a way of living a faith-filled life. When we choose to live There was an audible gasp in the congregation. Then the as a disciple of Jesus Christ, stewardship is not an option. pastor said, “Furthermore, I have some good news and bad Within our parishes, diocese and communities, there are news. The good news: We have the money! The bad news: It’s always needs to be met. Thankfully, God provides us with the still in your pockets.” resources to meet those needs, and then some. If each of us This is one of my favorite pulpit stories. For one, it makes me participates, at the level at which we are able, we will exceed laugh every time I hear it. But secondly, for such a simple story, our appeal goals, be able to continue, and even enhance, the it provides us with such a powerful message. In our earthly many ways the Church in eastern North Dakota reaches out to existence, there are many roofs that need to be fixed. Thankfully, the faithful and others in our communities. we have an abundance of God-given resources to meet those needs. Our proverbial pockets are overflowing with gifts from God. Steve Schons is director of stewardship and development for the There is also a story about being attentive and listening. There Diocese of Fargo. was a man who lived in a house that was inevitably going to be flooded by the surging river. After his neighbors, the fire department and Coast Guard helicopters consecutively came to his rescue, he dismissed them all saying that his faith in God was strong and that God would save him. As the story goes, the flood waters came, the house was washed away and the man died and went to heaven. After

Tithing Tithing is one spoke in the big wheel of living stewardship as a way of life. There are many biblical references about tithing (10%) and the importance of doing so. Canon Law, section 222, reminds us: “Christ’s faithful have the obligation to provide for the needs of the Church, so that the Church has available to it those things which are necessary for divine worship, for apostolic and charitable work and for the worthy support of its ministers.” The following is a simple guideline to help you formulate your own stewardship plan.

Your income 5% to your parish 1% to your diocese 4% to other charities



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Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary


ne of the greatest scenes in the Lord of the Seminarian Rings trilogy is Life when a wizened old man turns to Andrew Meyer face a shadowy demon on a narrow tongue of stone called the Bridge of Khazad-dum. The Fellowship has just raced across the bridge, trying to escape the menacing figure, hell bent on destroying them. All except Gandalf, who instead turns to face the demon alone. He tells it, “You cannot pass.” “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love” (2 Tim. 1:7) “The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell… the balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm” (Tolkien, Lord of the Rings). Gandalf turns around and challenges the creature because he knows the truth: he must face the balrog, and he must stop the balrog, or his friends bearing the fate of the world on their shoulders will die, and with them will all of Middle-earth. He also knows that he is the only one among the company who can stop it. And he knows that whether he loses his life or not is irrelevant – the creature cannot go on. Period. I think about how easy it could have been for Gandalf to give up the fight. Wouldn’t it have been easier to give up? When I look around at the culture of death that surrounds me, some-

times the temptation can get very strong. What can one small person do in a world so bent on doing everything in its power to destroy itself? For me, Gandalf provides the answer: “Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay.” Sometimes, the daily grind of seminary life can feel very small, very insignificant, and very ordinary. It doesn’t match the heroic aspirations that one might think of when one thinks of priesthood, the liturgy, and sacrifice. But, in one sense, the daily grind of seminary life, or any form that your life has taken, can truly be great deeds when they are done for Christ. “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love” (2 Tim. 1:7). Gandalf provides me with two inspiring things in the episode with the balrog. The first is that he stands in the breach, fulfills his duties, and saves the company. But the second is what allows him to do this heroic deed, and that is his love for the company and the loyalty with which he carries out his task. He did not reach the point of willing to stand in the breach for his friends in an instant. He reached it through the countless acts of selfless giving, and through this, his ultimate death to self was not so difficult for him. He had already died to himself by continuously placing the will of others before him in his ordinary life. So, in the daily ins and outs of life, I realize that it is not a matter of heroic duties nor gigantic clashes against the power of darkness in a tangible way. It’s a matter, rather, of finding the extraordinary love of God in a very ordinary heart, and understanding that his will is greater than mine. He is preparing me so that when the time comes to challenge the culture of death head on, I am prepared through the extraordinary gift of his love to me. Meyer is a Pre-Theology I seminarian at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md. Editor’s Note: Seminarian Life is a column written by Diocese of Fargo seminarians. Please continue to pray for them.

“Jesus Christ, Lord of all things! You see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am – You alone. I am your sheep; make me worthy to overcome the devil.” – St. Agatha





t Catholic Charities North Dakota, our main priority is serving others through our existing adoption, counseling and guardianship programs. Yet in our work, we receive all manners of requests for financial assistance. Even though we have very limited funds for financial aid, nonetheless, we try to help with little things where we can. For instance, we provided inexpensive prepaid phones to a woman in danger of domestic violence and an elderly man so he could maintain contact with his grown children. In my time at Catholic Charities North Dakota, it has become clear to me that the problems we face—both our clients and society in general—have become more and more costly and complex. If someone is behind on their bills, they often face many other challenges too. More research is showing how often those suffering from poverty, homelessness, addictions, or who are in prison also have serious physical or mental health issues. Financially, with the cost of a month’s rent at $500-1,000 or more for bigger families, we cannot offer rental assistance. And, unfortunately, if a renter or homeowner is a few months behind, it can become an insurmountable burden when they are on fixed or limited incomes. Many times, we can share referral information about other resources we are familiar with but we also don’t want to provide incorrect or outdated information. The last thing we want to do for someone in need is to send them on a runaround, wasting their time and that of other service providers. Other times all we can do is listen. We simply don’t have the funds to help everyone we would like to. While we would like to do much more as far as financial aid, we are extremely limited. Even if we had thousands of dollars to give away, that might only help a few families with rent. Some of these financial struggles may be traced to deeper social principles, such as the life and dignity of all people, a preferential option for the poor and vulnerable, and the rights and dignity of workers. For anyone interested in learning more, in February the Diocese of Fargo is offering a collection of short courses through a program called the “Catholic Collage.” The class “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” will be co-taught by Mike Hagstrom, President of the St. John Paul II Catholic Schools Network, and me. Of course there will be a number of other great options too! Learn more at On the topic of sheltering for the homeless, it is important to note there are other groups that help with specific housing needs. We have noted before how the Saint Gianna Maternity Home in Warsaw offers a place to live for women with crisis pregnancies, and the Jeremiah Program in Fargo helps single mothers rise from poverty two generations at a time. Recently, the Presentation Partners in Housing started a new innovative, the “Housing Navigator” program, that puts housing first in an effort to help people find safe places to stay before addressing other matters such as finding jobs and addiction recovery. Catholic Charities has also collaborated with Churches

The issues of today United for the Homeless to raise awareness of their ministry, along with our work, during the Fargo Diocese’s Matt Catholic Maher Concert this Charities past August. As an Corner agency, we always look to the future in Chad Prososki North Dakota. Another rising concern is our aging population. We receive calls from people asking us to serve as guardians for their parents or to help with nursing home care. Our Executive Director, Dianne Nechiporenko, has a great heart for our elderly and we are currently looking at ways we can address some of their needs. Each year we also recognize a person or group that has lived out their faith through serving others with a Caritas Award. The Caritas Award was instituted in 2003 at the 80th anniversary celebration of Catholic Charities North Dakota. It is presented to an individual, couple, organization, or group of people who, through their life of faith in action and their commitment to the works of charity and justice, embody the spirit of Jesus in making real and present God’s love, compassion, and caring for the least of his people. Caritas stands for “charity and compassion towards all people.” This year we are honoring Sisters Agatha Lucey, Josephine Brennan, and Mary Beauclair of the Presentation Sisters in Fargo at an Award Luncheon on March 13 for their dedicated service to the elderly. More information about the celebration is available on our website at Chad Prososki is the Director of Development and Community Relations for Catholic Charities North Dakota. For more than 90 years, Catholic Charities North Dakota and its supporters have been putting their faith in action helping people, changing lives. You can reach Chad at info@ or (701) 235-4457.




Getting organized for love


began the new year with 8,000 college students at the Stu Little Sisters dent Leadership Summit (SLS18) of of the Poor the Fellowship of Sister Constance Veit, Catholic University l.s.p. Students (FOCUS) in Chicago. It was an inspiring event that enabled us Little Sisters to engage with hundreds of enthusiastic young people on fire for their Catholic faith. As exciting as the whole event was, the most moving moment for me was completely unexpected. During Eucharistic adoration, Jesus Christ present in the monstrance started moving through the crowd, carried by a team of bishops and priests. An entourage of altar servers led the procession with candles and incense. What caught my eye was one of the white robed altar servers walking backwards, swinging a thurible from which billowed sweetly scented smoke, his attention firmly fixed on Christ in the Eucharist. The only thing that kept him from stumbling into the crowd of young people was a second altar server who kept his hand firmly planted on the first man’s shoulder to direct his every move. It was a highly choreographed and striking scene – this entourage of clergy and altar servers walking together in perfect unity, leading one another, supporting each other’s efforts to carry Christ! I was profoundly struck by this “holy teamwork,” which must have required significant practice and singleminded focus. This Eucharistic procession was a fitting metaphor for the ideals of solidarity and union of hearts and minds in continuing our Lord’s mission on earth. Imagine the wonderful things we could do for Jesus if each Catholic apostolate, religious community or lay movement were this well-ordered and united around a common purpose! In his encyclical on love, Pope Benedict XVI said, “As a community, the Church must practice love. Love thus needs to be organized if it is to be an ordered service to the community.” As we head into Lent this month, we first celebrate the World Day of the Sick on Feb. 11. Just as the procession I witnessed at SLS18 kept Our Eucharistic Lord at the center as it moved through the crowd of young people – a veritable field hospital of souls – Catholic health care is called to place the human person at the center of all its activities, projects and goals. In his message for this year’s World Day of the Sick Pope Francis wrote, “Wise organization and charity demand that the sick person be respected in his or her dignity, and constantly kept at the center of the therapeutic process.” Our Holy Father continued, “Jesus bestowed upon the Church his healing power … The Church’s mission is a response to Jesus’ gift, for she knows that she must bring to the sick the Lord’s own gaze, full of tenderness and compassion. Health care ministry 26


will always be a necessary and fundamental task, to be carried out with renewed enthusiasm by all, from parish communities to the largest healthcare institutions.” Pope Francis recognized the invaluable contribution of families, “The care given within families is an extraordinary witness of love for the human person; it needs to be fittingly acknowledged and supported by suitable policies.” He also speaks of healthcare as a shared ministry: “Doctors and nurses, priests, consecrated men and women, volunteers, families and all those who care for the sick, take part in this ecclesial mission. It is a shared responsibility that enriches the value of the daily service given by each.” As we observe the World Day of the Sick and then begin our Lenten practices of prayer, penance and almsgiving, let’s resolve to keep Jesus Christ and the human person at the center of our spiritual efforts and works of mercy. And let’s endeavor to give the world a striking witness of the unity of Christ’s disciples. May the world be able to say of us, “The believers are of one heart and mind… sharing everything they have” (Acts 4:32). May our united efforts to serve the poor, the sick and the most vulnerable among us lead others to believe in the power of God’s love at work in the world! Sister Constance Veit is director of communications for the Little Sisters of the Poor.




Details and registration at $5 for Students $25 Non-students

Includes Breakfast/Lunch/Materials

Questions? 701-235-0142 or Sponsor: Saint Paul’s Newman Center/Parish Nurse Program


Events across the diocese

outstanding service, love, and respect for humanity. Living in the life of Catholic social teachings for over 28 years, these three Presentation Sisters constantly provided God’s love and care at Holy Cross Catholic Church, West Fargo Riverview Place in Fargo. will present a Divine Mercy Lenten Mission The Caritas Award Luncheon will be held March 13 from 11:30 from Feb. 14 (Ash Wednesday) to April 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sts. Anne and Joachim Church, Fargo. Suggested (Divine Mercy Sunday). The mission will $10 donation to cover the cost of the meal. RSVP by March 1 to feature the 10-session video series “Divine or call Catholic Charities ND Mercy: The Second Greatest Story Ever Told” at (701) 235-4457. by best-selling author and speaker, Father The Caritas Award is given annually to persons or organizations Michael Gaitley, MIC. in recognition of outstanding service and love for humanity. The Father Gaitley weaves a tapestry of wonder purpose of the Caritas Award is to recognize an individual or and beauty from threads of Polish history, the organization who has, by example and deed, served persons in message of St. Faustina, the apparitions of need and advocated for justice and convened other persons of Our Lady of Fatima, the witness of St. Maximillian Kolbe, and good will to do the same in a manner consistent with Catholic the world-changing papacy of Pope St. John Paul II. Social Teaching. For more information, call Holy Cross Catholic Church at (701) 282-7217. The events will take place on the following dates: Encounter Jesus Christ using the time-honored methods of St. • Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m. Ignatius. Conferences will focus on how to pray with Scripture, • All Sundays starting Feb. 18 through March 25 at 10 a.m. Ignatian methods of prayer, the necessity of silence, the Rules • Holy Thursday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m. of the Discernment of Spirits, and more. Silence is observed for the duration of the retreat. Spiritual direction and Reconciliation • Easter Sunday, April 1 at 10 a.m. will be available. • Divine Mercy Sunday, April 8 at 10 a.m. Retreats will be held at the Franciscan Retreat and Conference Center in Hankinson. The men’s retreat is April 19-22 (register by April 9) and the women’s retreat is April 26-29 (register by Join St. William’s Church in Argusville for their annual fish April 16). Retreats begin at 7 p.m. Thursday evening and confry on Feb. 16 from 4:30–7:30 p.m. at the Argusville Community clude at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Center. Adults $10, kids 5-12 $5, preschool free. Raffle tickets and Cost is $275. Private rooms and meals provided. Register at meat raffle available. Contact mary.howatt@northerncassschool. For more information, contact Ashley com for more information. Grunhovd at (701) 356-7908 or

Join a Divine Mercy Mission this Lent in West Fargo

Ignatian retreats for men and women

St. William’s, Argusville, annual fish fry

Join Blessed Sacrament Church in supporting the Terry Krauth benefit

Terry Kauth is a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in West Fargo where he has been the Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus. He has worked at South Elementary as a custodian for many years. Terry is currently battling cancer of the jaw and has recently had other severe medical issues. Join Blessed Sacrament in supporting Terry and his wife, Reberta, on Feb. 25 for a breakfast of pancakes, sausage and eggs, followed by Bingo. There will also be a silent auction. To volunteer or donate a silent auction item, contact Stephen Perreault at (701) 306-4634.

Catholic Charities Caritas Award March 13 honors Presentation Sisters

Catholic Charities ND will honor Sisters Agatha Lucey, Josephine Brennan, and Mary Beauclair for the Caritas Award for their

Immaculée Ilibagiza, author of Left to Tell, to lead retreat in Fargo May 4-5

Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Rwandan-American author and motivational speaker, will be leading a retreat at St. Anthony’s Church in Fargo from 4 to 9 p.m. on May 4 and 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on May 5. Her first book, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, is an autobiographical work detailing how she survived during the Rwandan Genocide. Immaculee shares her life story and touches on many vital themes throughout her retreats. This retreat includes Immaculee’s witness of the power of prayer, miracles of the rosary, and inspirational music. Her messages are life-changing. Register at fargo-nd-retreat-may-4-5-2018-with-immaculee. For more information, contact Joe Hendrickx at or (701) 237-6063 or Brian Herding at or (701) 520-3539. NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2018



“Are annulments just Catholic Divorce?”

The permanence of marriage is one of the most misunderstood doctrines of the Catholic Church. So-called “annulments” are a source of scandal to some, and disappointment to others. Catholics who have gone through the pain of divorce wonder why this burden is added when they are considering remarriage. On Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. Timothy Olson, JCL, will address the Church’s teachings on marriage, explain how the nullity process works, clarify what a “declaration of nullity” is, and more importantly, what it is not. Olson serves the Diocese of Fargo as an Ecclesiastical Judge and canon lawyer. The presentation is sponsored by St. James Tabernacle Society and will be held at St. James Basilica, Jamestown. All are invited. University and high school students are especially welcome.

A Glimpse of the Past

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

50 Years Ago....1968 About 200 persons, representing nearly all of the nine Christian communities in Oakes, attended a Service of Prayer for Christian Unity held in St. Charles Borromeo Church. The service preceded a social hour in the St. Charles School Clubroom, with refreshments served by two groups from the St. Charles Altar Society. The service was the first of its kind in Oakes history.

20 Years Ago....1997 Sts. Anne and Joachim has had many “firsts” as a new parish in Fargo – and one of the most meaningful was the first anniversary of Eucharistic Adoration. Fr. Val Gross, pastor said that more than 37 percent of parishioners are involved in this form of worship – 160 parishioners, including 38 substitutes now are involved in adoration at Sts. Anne and Joachim.

10 Years ago....2008 A February fire on the grounds of Carmel of Mary near Wahpeton destroyed a shop building and the tools and equipment stored within it. The fire also claimed the lives of three bottle calves and a pair of pigeons that belonged to Hank and Karen Weber. Hank serves as Caretaker for the monastery and the Weber family lives on the monastery grounds. The temperature was 29 below that day, so the Webers used the shop’s wood stove to try to keep the animals warm. The cause of the fire has not been fully determined but it was speculated it may have been caused by a fire in the stove’s chimney.



Life’s milestones Walt and Avis Majkrzak celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on Jan. 7 at St. Jude’s Church in Thompson. They received an Apostolic Blessing from Pope Francis in celebration of this milestone of married life. They reside in their home in Thompson. Many of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren came to share this wonderful event. Hazel Ackerman celebrated her 100th birthday on Dec. 18. She is a parishioner of St. Michael’s Church in Grand Forks. She has three children and three grandchildren. She’s pictured here with Father Gerard Braun. Patsy Votava celebrated her 80th birthday on Feb. 7. She is a parishioner of St. Mary’s Church in Grand Forks. She was married to Jim Votava for 49 years until he passed away in October 2009. She has two daughters, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Join us for Catholic Charities North Dakota’s Caritas Award Luncheon

Honoring Presentation Sisters

Sr. Agatha Lucey, Sr. Josephine Brennan and Sr. Mary Beauclair For their outstanding service, love, and respect for humanity shown for over 28 years at Riverview Place.

Tuesday, March 13 from 11:30am - 1:00pm Sts. Anne & Joachim in Fargo, ND

A freewill offering of $10 is suggested. Please RSVP by March 1 to, call 701-235-4457 or visit


Pro-life strength lies in love, speakers tell March for Life

By Mary Rezac | Catholic News Agency


he pro-life movement’s most powerful tool lies in its ability to love, speakers said Jan. 19 at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. This year’s annual March, the theme of which was “Love Saves Lives,” was a historic event for numerous reasons. It marked the 45th anniversary of the March, and it was the first time the event was addressed live by the sitting President of the United States. “I want to thank every person here today who works with such big hearts to make sure parents have the care and support they need to choose life,” President Donald Trump told the crowds from the White House via a satellite feed.

“Because of you, tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full God-given potential... you are the living witnesses of the theme ‘Love saves lives,’” he said. Another speaker addressing the March included Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Ryan encouraged the crowd — mostly made up of young people, he noted — that love is the reason the pro-life movement is on the rise in the United States. “The pro-life movement is on the rise because we have love on our side,” Ryan said. “We believe every person is worthy of love and dignity.” He also noted several pro-life bills that have been passed by the House in the past year, including the just-passed Born Alive Survivors Protection Act, which protects the lives of babies who survive failed abortions.

Laughter defeats temptation of self-importance, pope tells religious By Junno Arocho Esteves | Catholic News Service


aughter is the best medicine for religious men and women to overcome the temptation of feeling too important or being too busy to serve others, Pope Francis said. A joyful self-awareness can help those in religious life to not “slack in the work of evangelization” and keep clear from a Messiah complex, the pope told priests, seminarians and men and women in consecrated life from various parts of Peru. “Yes, learning to laugh at ourselves gives us the spiritual ability

to stand before the Lord with our limitations, our mistakes and our sins, but also our successes, and the joy of knowing that he is at our side,” the pope said Jan. 20. However, he also told them “to laugh in community and not at the community or at others.” Pope Francis offered two prescriptions for laughing at oneself. First, “talk to Jesus and Mary” and ask for “the grace of joy,” he said, and second, “look at yourself in the mirror.” His remark was followed by laughter and applause, then someone in the audience shouted, “Narcissism.” Not missing a beat, the pope added: “And this is not narcissism. On the contrary, it’s the opposite. Here the mirror serves as a cure.”

FOCUS trains record-breaking crowd to evangelize at leadership summit


he Fellowship of Catholic University Students wrapped up a record-setting Student Leadership Summit (SLS) in Chicago following a week of keynote addresses, training, and prayer. “Just being here with people who have the same beliefs as me, and who really love God, you can just feel the joy as soon as you walk in the room,” said Isabella Kotval, a freshman at Spring Hill College. FOCUS was founded in 1998 to evangelize on college campuses, primarily those of non-Catholic universities. They are currently

By Joe Slama | Catholic News Agency

present on 137 campuses, most of which are in the United States. The Student Leadership Summit, held biennially, aims to train college students to evangelize at their schools. The selected theme for this year’s gathering, which met Jan. 2-6, was “Inspire and Equip.” SLS18 hosted 8,000 participants, far surpassing FOCUS’ expected 5,000. The previous conference saw around 3,400 attend. FOCUS takes as inspiration in its evangelizing techniques the example of Christ and his apostles, and center their ministry on forming “small groups living in authentic friendship that want to pursue Christ radically,” as FOCUS founder Curtis Martin said in his keynote. NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2018


By Elise Harris | Catholic News Agency


n his last day in Peru, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to imitate Jesus, who embraces the poor and suffering, and brings hope. The Pope urged Peru’s youth to look to their grandparents and elders in order to discover “the DNA that guided their great saints,” telling them “do not lose your roots! And you, grandparents and elders, keep passing on to the new generations the traditions of your people and the wisdom that charts the path to heaven.” “I urge all of you not to be afraid to be the saints of the 21st century,” he said, telling Peruvians that there is no better way to protect their hope “than to remain united, so that these reasons for hope may grow day-by-day in your hearts.” Pope Francis offered Mass at Lima’s Las Palmas Airbase on Jan. 21, his last day in Peru, bringing an end to his Jan. 15-21 tour of South America, which also included a three-day visit to Chile. In his homily, he acknowledged the difficulties Catholics in Peru face. “Sometimes what happened to Jonah can happen to us. Our cities, with their daily situations of pain and injustice, can leave us tempted to flee, to hide, to run away,” the Pope said. Jonah is an Old Testament prophet depicted in a scriptural book of the same name, who attempted to “flee the presence of the Lord” rather than follow a call from God. Looking around, “Jonah, and we, have plenty of excuses to [flee],” Pope Francis said, noting that while Lima has many people who are well-off, it is also populated by the homeless: “‘non-citizens,’ ‘the half-citizens’ or ‘urban remnants’” found on the streets, many of whom are children. Faced with the desperation of people in extreme poverty, Francis said some Catholics can contract “Jonah syndrome” – which causes them to be indifferent, “deaf” and “cold of heart” to others. Quoting his predecessor, Benedict XVI, Francis said “the true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer.” A society that is unable to accept the suffering of others and which is “incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through ‘compassion,’” he said, “is a cruel and inhuman society.” 30


The Pope noted that in the day’s Gospel reading (Mk 1:14-20, Jesus did the opposite of Jonah: rather than fleeing, he entered a city to encounter those who were desperate and suffering, and to bring them hope. Francis encouraged Peruvians to respond with the attitude of Jesus, who entered Galilee “to sow the seeds of a great hope.” A seed of hope, he said, had been passed down through the apostles and the great saints of Peru, and is present now “in order to act once more as a timely antidote to the globalization of indifference.” “In the face of [Jesus’] love, one cannot remain indifferent,” he said. “He begins to bring to light many situations that had killed the hope of his people and to awaken a new hope,” and calls new disciples, inviting them to walk at a different pace which allows them to notice “what they had previously overlooked, and he points out new and pressing needs.” Jesus is involved in the lives of his people and is not afraid to get others involved too, Francis said, adding that he calls us and wants to anoint us so that “we too can go out to anoint others with the oil capable of healing wounded hopes and renewing our way of seeing things.” The Pope said Jesus also wants to awaken in Catholics a hope which “frees us from empty associations and impersonal analyses,” and encourages faith to enter “like leaven” into every aspect of our daily lives. God will never tire of going out to meet his children, he said, asking “how will we enkindle hope if prophets are lacking? How will we face the future if unity is lacking? How will Jesus reach all those corners if daring and courageous witnesses are lacking?” “Today the Lord calls each of you to walk with him in the city, in your city,” he said. “He invites you to become his missionary disciple, so that you can become part of that great whisper that wants to keep echoing in the different corners of our lives: Rejoice, the Lord is with you!” Francis noted that he began his trip by speaking of Peru as a land of hope, which he said comes from the country’s rich biodiversity, its various cultures and traditions, and because of its youth, “who are not the future but the present of Peru.”

(Catholic News Agency)

Pope in Peru: “Be the saints of the 21st century”

Sidewalk Stories By Roxane B. Salonen


“You don’t understand,” she whispered to me

don’t understand why it has to be so cold,” I mumbled while collecting the extra layers needed for the day. After a necessary hiatus, my first day back praying at our state’s only abortion facility in the new year would happen in bone-chilling weather. Dreading the cold that would soon nip mercilessly at my face, I dawdled a bit. But the diversion wasn’t without merit. It had given me time to do some necessary errands; among them, finally following the lead of the heavy-hitting prayer advocates – those who travel from distances and/or stay the duration – by investing in the packaged hand and toe warmers that could make a day spent in the elements tolerable. Holding the warmers in my hands, my courage returned. Bring it on, frigid weather! As I arrived at the sidewalk, my friend’s rosy cheeks and chattering teeth told the reality. Midway through the rosary, I offered her some warmers, then we finished the petitions. It was around decade four that they appeared, possibly a mother-daughter duo. Just a short while before, another pair like this had come through. The person who’d looked to be the mom then had assured me, “She’s not going in there for that.” But if not for “that” then what? Why bring a loved one to an abortion facility for a procedure that can be done by healthcare professionals truly committed to “first do no harm?” Her unsolicited defense had indicated, at the very least, an aware conscience, and I found it interesting that the second mother to arrive with her daughter also had a response ready. “You don’t understand,” she whispered, just before slipping into the corridors of that dank entryway. As the pain and helplessness in her words lingered, a response formed in my mind. No, I can’t possibly know or understand the circumstances that led you here. But based on stories of others who’ve been here before you, I do understand the tragic ramifications of killing the very thing – the person – who may well have been the saving grace in this hard-to-understand situation. It wasn’t judgment I wanted to present; rather, the jarring truth and beautiful potential of life that those consumed by fear forget. But those with whom I’d have shared these thoughts were no longer in view. Instead, they were busy prepping for a procedure that would violently banish a tiny, beautiful life from this world forever. “I don’t understand,” I heard myself saying.

A short while later, I sat gratefully in the warm sanctuary of St. Mary’s Cathedral, and soon, my friend and I felt the presence of another person near us. He’d come in from the cold, too, warmed mostly by liquor, as indicated from the odor. His movements were loud, awkward, and out of place. Like a child, he watched our every move and followed along the best he could. As the priest prepared the altar, he turned back toward me and, pointing to the front, asked, “What’s he doing?” I offered a brief explanation, quickly recognizing he wasn’t Catholic and didn’t understand the magnificent thing taking place. Though my friend tried to redirect him away from the Eucharistic line when the time came, he ended up slipping through anyway, though likely thinking it just bread, a bite to eat. “Forgive him, Lord,” I prayed. “He doesn’t know what just happened. He doesn’t know it was you, and that he wasn’t supposed to.” Once in the pew again, he shifted about, then all at once, turned to me once more, exuberant. “That made me stronger!” he proclaimed, almost giddy. Amazingly, despite his inadequate preparation, it seemed he’d been affected deeply, truly by the Lord’s holy presence in the host he’d innocently consumed. Momentarily, my mind drifted back to the sidewalk, to the second woman. You don’t understand. I looked at the man in the pew. He doesn’t fully understand. I thought of my own utterance earlier. I don’t understand. And I realized that somehow, despite all the confusion of this world, God is taking care of things in his own way, and will set everything aright. Lord, though I don’t always understand your ways, I do trust in you and want to serve you. Be with the hurting women. Be with the hurting men. And help me be among those who alleviate the suffering of both, in whatever small ways I can. As of this writing, I’m preparing to leave with the Shanley High School students on their pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., for the 45th annual March for Life to end abortion. Please pray that the impact in our hearts from this journey will linger on through the year, even beyond our understanding. Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five, is a local writer, and a speaker and radio host for Real Presence Radio. Roxane writes for The Forum newspaper and for Reach her at NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2018




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

Do you know where we are? The answer will be revealed in the March New Earth.

Where in the diocese are we? 32


Last month’s photo is from inside St. Stanislaus Church in Warsaw.

New Earth February 2018  

The official magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND

New Earth February 2018  

The official magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND