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New February 2016 | Vol. 37 | No. 2


The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo

Giving thanks for the Year of Consecrated Life Though few, male religious in diocese continue to be a strong presence in communities


From Bishop Folda: Mercy and Reconciliation

How to evangelize during Lent

Jubilee of Mercy: Sheltering Churches

provides protection for homeless NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2016





February 2016 Vol. 37 | No. 2

ON THE COVER 14 Giving thanks for the Year of Consecrated Life

During this Year of Consecrated Life, the Catholic Church celebrated religious throughout the world who continue to spread the gospel by their witness. In March 2015, we took a glimpse of the life of our women religious in the Diocese of Fargo. Here we take a look at our male religious and the gifts they continue to be for our communities.



Mercy and Reconciliation



Pope Francis’ February prayer intentions


Ask a priest: What’s the history behind the order of Mass? Does it have to go in the same order every time?


How to evangelize during Lent


8 9 10 11 11

Bishop Raymond Lessard, originally of Oakwood, dies at 85 Catholics and Jews celebrate 50th anniversary of Nostra aetate Fraternity of the Secular Franciscans celebrate 50th anniversary Sisters of Mary of the Presentation celebrate 50 years at Maryvale Convent Sisters bless St. Leo’s parish with 50 years of service


13 Tattered Pages: A review of Catholic books and literature

Bringing sense to life’s messiness: A review of Ron Hansen’s ‘A Stay Against Confusion’




20 First ever vocations Jamboree gives opportunity for prayer, fellowship and discernment 21 Park River football team claims 11-man class A state football championship


23 Stories of Faith

The faith story this month tells how a wife continues to care for her husband and hope for his recovery from a coma.

24 Catholic Action

Christopher Dodson discusses how to show mercy to the imprisoned.

25 Making Sense of Bioethics




Guest columnist, Father Tad Pacholczyk, describes the trials that families face when a loved one struggles with addiction.

ON THE COVER: St. Dominic was a Spanish priest and founder of the Dominican Order. This year the Dominican Order celebrates its 800th jubilee when Pope Innocent III responded to St. Dominic’s request to fill the need at the time for informed preachers in the Church. (Emory University Catholic Center)



(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

Interim Editor Kristina Lahr


Stephanie Drietz - Drietz Designs


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



26 Stewardship


In this month’s column, Steve Schons presents an example of a letter parents write to their children when planning their estate.

27 Seminarian Life

Seminarian Robert Foetsch reflects on his experience studying for the priesthood in the heart of Detroit.


28 Events across the diocese 28 Life’s Milestones 28 A glimpse of the past SPECIAL SECTION: JUBILEE OF MERCY 31 Sheltering Churches provides protection for homeless

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 17, 2016. 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




Mercy and Reconciliation


ne of the most striking images of Pope Francis is a photo taken of him in St. Peter ’s Basilica. He was scheduled to hear confessions but stopped on his way to go to confession himself. The image of our Holy Father, kneeling down to confess his sins, is a great visual lesson for all of us. We all have need of God’s mercy, and he offers it to us freely. But to receive mercy, we must also be open to conversion, a change of life. We must desire and intend to leave behind any and all sin, which keeps us away from living fully in the grace of God. Pope Francis himself says, “We are all sinners. We are all called to a conversion of heart.… Let us be transformed by God’s mercy.” With the beginning of Lent on Feb. 10, we sense more urgently this need for God’s mercy and the need for conversion in our lives. In these intense and powerful weeks of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, God is inviting us to draw ever closer to him and to share more fully in his divine life. He is inviting us to drink deeply of the inexhaustible well of his mercy as often as we can. As a sign of this mercy, Pope Francis has asked for the observance of “24 Hours for the Lord,” an extended period for the celebration of the sacrament of Reconciliation. Starting on the evening of Friday, Mar. 4 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo, priests will be available for 24 hours straight to offer the sacrament of Reconciliation as a sign that God’s mercy is always available and unending. One of the Missionaries of Mercy delegated by Pope Francis will be hearing confessions for fourteen hours and preaching a Mission of Mercy at the Cathedral Feb. 20-23 (see details on page 30). And throughout the season of Lent, other churches in our diocese will also offer extended times of

Reconciliation, giving all of us the opportunity to confess our sins and to receive the healing mercy of God through this beautiful sacrament. Jesus said, “I have come not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mt. 9:13). Doesn’t it make sense that we should respond to that call? I sincerely hope that this season of Lent will be a time of true conversion for every one of us. Taking our cue from Pope Francis, what better way to experience that conversion than to receive the mercy of God in the sacrament of Reconciliation? Some receive this sacrament regularly, and they will tell us how important it is in their spiritual lives. After all, what could be the downside of experiencing God’s mercy as often as possible? But others receive this sacrament rarely or not at all, and I offer them a heartfelt invitation to approach Reconciliation during these weeks of Lent. Perhaps you have fallen out of the habit of going to confession or have forgotten how. Or perhaps you are nervous, and don’t know how to put into words the sins of your past life. And maybe you had a bad experience in a previous confession and are reluctant to try again. Do not allow these or any other obstacles keep you from experiencing God’s forgiveness in this holy sacrament. The priest will help you if you ask him, and every priest knows that he, too, is a sinner in need of forgiveness. He is an instrument of the mercy of God, a representative of Jesus, whom Pope Francis calls “the merciful face of the Father.” No matter what our sins have been, and no matter the human limitations of the priest confessor, Jesus is there, ready and eager to extend mercy and forgiveness when we come to him with contrition. Our Holy Father tells us, “Put on Christ: he awaits you in the sacrament of Penance, with his mercy he will cure all the wounds caused by sin. Do not be afraid to ask God’s forgiveness, because he never tires of forgiving us, like a father who loves us. God is pure mercy!” There is nothing more liberating than coming from confession with the certainty that our sins are forgiven and that we have received an even richer share in the divine life of our merciful God. Through this forgiveness, we also receive the grace to follow God more faithfully, to turn away from sin, and to love as he loves. God’s forgiveness depends on only one thing: our desire to change, to be free from sin and to be reconciled to him. If we truly desire his mercy, then we must also accept the grace of conversion, of moving away from sin and error. Our Lord

“With the beginning of Lent on Feb. 10, we sense more urgently this need for God’s mercy, and the need for conversion in our lives. In these intense and powerful weeks of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, God is inviting us to draw ever closer to him and to share more fully in his divine life.” – Bishop John Folda, Diocese of Fargo 4


Bishop Folda’s Calendar Diocese of Fargo Official Appointments/ Announcements January 2016

Feb. 10

February Universal intention: Care for Creation. That we may take good care of creation – a gift freely given – cultivating and protecting it for future generations. Reflection: How do I experience creation as a gift that God has given me? Scripture: Psalm 148. Praise the Lord from the heavens and from the earth! Evangelization intention: Asia. That opportunities may increase for dialogue and encounter between the Christian faith and the peoples of Asia. Reflection: From your experience, what are some of the things that we Christians hold in common with non-Christians? Scripture: 1 Timothy 2: 1-7. God our savior wills everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Provided by Apostleship of Prayer,

Quotable “You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working, and just so, you learn to love by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves.” -St. Francis de Sales

2:10 p.m.

Ash Wednesday Mass, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Feb. 14

gave his life for us not to leave us in our sins but to save us from them. As he said to the woman accused of adultery, “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore” (Jn 8:3). In his mercy, he says the same words to us. Cardinal Gerhard Mueller tells us, “Mercy is a grace that comes from on high and changes our lives: it takes us as we are, but doesn’t leave us as we are. Thank God!” So once again, I hope that this Lent in the Year of Mercy will be a joyful experience of grace for all of us. Let us invite God to touch our hearts, to transform our lives and to make us truly holy. We need his help, we need his mercy, and there is no better place to find it than in the sacrament of Reconciliation. Pope Francis shows us we have nothing to fear.

Prayer Intentions of Pope Francis



3 p.m.

Rite of Election, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Feb. 21


11 a.m.

Mass at Holy Family, Grand Forks

7 p.m. Parish Mission Talk, Holy Family, Grand Forks

Feb. 27


5 p.m.

Mass at Notre Dame, Willow City

Feb. 28


9 a.m.

Mass at Sacred Heart, Rolette

11 a.m. Mass at Holy Rosary, Bisbee

Feb. 29


6:30 p.m.

Real Presence Radio Banquet, Ramada Inn, Fargo

Mar. 5


5 p.m.

Mass for Junior High Youth, Lidgerwood

Mar. 6


1:30 p.m.

Catholic Collage, Shanley High School

Mar. 7-9 USCCB Administrative Meeting, Washington D.C.

Mar. 11


6 p.m.

Operation Andrew Dinner, Napoleon

Mar. 12


10 a.m.

Confirmation/First Eucharist at St. Philip Neri, Napoleon

5 p.m. Mass at St. Agatha’s, Hope

Mar. 13


8:30 a.m.

Mass at St. Bernard’s, Oriska

11 a.m. Mass at Sacred heart, Sanborn

5:30 p.m. Operation Andrew Dinner, Bishop Folda’s residence, Fargo NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2016



What’s the history behind the order of Mass? Does it have to go in the same order every time?


he history of the order of the Mass has developed over almost 2,000 years in Ask a Priest many different places Father Matthew and cultural settings. Kraemer Here is an overview of this long and rich history. Jesus Christ himself instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper and commanded the Apostles to carry on its celebration in memory of him (Mt. 26:26-29, Mk. 14:22-25, Lk. 22:14-20, 1 Cor. 11:23-26). Since the very beginning of the Church there have been two major parts which make up the one celebration of the Eucharist. The first part, the Liturgy of the Word, consists of the readings from the Sacred Scriptures, the homily and the Prayers of the Faithful. The second part, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, consists of the offertory, Eucharistic prayer and reception of Holy Communion. This twofold division was already present at the time of the Apostles. St. Luke writes in the Acts of the Apostles that “… they devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2:42). The teachings of the Apostles were the texts that would one day be recognized as the books of the New Testament. The breaking of bread and the prayers are not to be understood in a general sense but specifically as the ritual instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper. This structure of the Eucharistic celebration is apparent in the Lord’s appearance after his resurrection on the road to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13-35). As Jesus explains to the disciples all that pertains to him in the scriptures, he is in fact celebrating the Liturgy of the Word with them. When he breaks bread with them, he is celebrating the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This twofold structure of the Mass is made up of specific prayers that aren’t explicitly mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures. Where did these prayers come from? First of all, it is important to note that there are many different liturgical traditions in the Catholic Church. These traditions grew in each of the regions where the Apostles brought the gospel message, and although the fundamental structure of the Mass is the same, many of the prayers are different. We know from many sources that in the second, third and fourth centuries, the priest would celebrate the Eucharist by following a fixed structure of prayer but would express it in his own words. Very little was written down yet because it was a time when books were rare and the oral tradition was strong. The fourth and fifth centuries saw the rise of the great heresies, and along with that, came greater concern to ensure the orthodoxy of the liturgical celebration. This coupled with 6


the fact that not every priest was adept or artful at improvised prayer led to the greater formalization of the prayers of the Mass. In Rome, the specific prayers for the Mass were first written down in little booklets called ‘libelli.’ There would be a different libellus for each Mass, whether one for various needs or in honor of a martyr. By the seventh century these little booklets were compiled and formed into larger books called sacramentaries and used for the celebration of the Eucharist. Many of the prayers recorded in these first sacramentaries are still in use today, almost word-for-word. During the eighth century the development of the celebration of the Mass began to occur in the regions that are now Germany and France. In contrast to the terse and sober prayers of Rome, they composed new prayers which corresponded to their temperaments: exuberant and loquacious. These developments eventually worked their way down to Rome. Many of the silent prayers that the priest says during Mass were developed during this time. Until the sixteenth century there was significant diversity in the way Mass was celebrated. Although the basic structure and prayers of the Mass were consistent, there were many small variations in different regions and religious communities. The turmoil of the Protestant reformation led to the reforms of the Council of Trent, one of which was the reform of the liturgy. Following the council, Pope Pius V decided it was time to unify the way the liturgy was celebrated throughout the Roman rite, and in 1570, promulgated a Roman Missal that was to be used by all Roman Catholics. The Mass of Pius V was used with very few changes until the Second Vatican Council which opened in 1962. The council Fathers discerned some reforms were necessary to bring the faithful into a deeper participation in the liturgy, both internally and externally. The order of the Mass as we have it now has been established according to the mandate of Vatican II. Suffice it to say that through all the twists and turns of the history of the celebration of the Mass, a direct line can still be traced back to Christ, the source of all authentic worship. Because of this we can be sure that the order of the Mass is not something arbitrary, but rather, the means of our participation in the mystery of Jesus Christ and consequently a vehicle of God’s grace. Father Matthew Kraemer serves as Secretary to the Bishop, Master of Ceremonies, Vice Chancellor and Director of Liturgy for the Diocese of Fargo. He can be reached at matthew. Editor’s Note: If you have a question about the Catholic faith and would like to submit a question for consideration in a future column, please send to with “Ask a Priest” in the subject line or mail to New Earth, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S, Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104, Attn: Ask a Priest.


How to evangelize during Lent By USCCB

During Lent, when your friends or co-workers express curiosity about Catholic customs and symbolism, use those moments as opportunities to evangelize! The following are six common questions Catholics hear during Lent and some evangelizing answers.

Ash Wednesday: What’s with the dirt on your head?

Having ashes on your forehead isn’t just some weird Catholic thing: it’s a tradition that finds its roots in the Old Testament. When the ashes are placed on our foreheads, it is a reminder that we are called to repentance and that God created us from the earth and when we die, we will return to it. But here’s the best part: As Pope Benedict XVI has said, “Man is dust and to dust he shall return, but dust is precious in God’s eyes because God created man, destining him to immortality.” God so loves us that, even when our bodies return to the dust, our souls are meant to live forever with him.

Abstinence: So why aren’t you eating pepperoni pizza on Friday?

On Fridays during Lent, we particularly remember the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Abstaining from meat on Fridays is an outward manifestation of an interior reality: the conversion of our hearts. Christ himself fasted and prayed in the desert. Through fasting and praying, we unite ourselves with the sacrifice of Christ and offer him reparation for our sins and failings. It’s a little thing to give him in the face of his ultimate sacrifice, but what a grace that our God accepts and loves little gifts!


Sacrifice: So why are you not eating candy for the next month?

Christ said, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Giving up something we enjoy strengthens our love for Christ and our resilience against temptation.

External Sacrifice vs. Internal Conversion: All you do is give up candy?

External sacrifices are the most obvious kind, so sometimes

it does look like all we do is avoid chocolate. However, if you look closer, you’ll realize that fasting and abstinence have always gone hand-in-hand with prayer and almsgiving. External sacrifice is a manifestation of interior conversion. In almsgiving, we show mercy and generosity to others, giving them a chance to experience the blessings we have. In prayer, we communicate with God, asking him to bless and perfect our fasting and almsgiving. It’s not just avoiding sweets. It’s glorifying God by growing in his Love.

Palm Sunday and Symbolism: Why are you carrying around tree branches?

Sometimes, one of the hardest things to explain as a Catholic is our attachment to symbolism. We come home from Mass holding palm branches and tuck them behind a crucifix or picture of the Last Supper. This tradition goes to the story of Palm Sunday, when the people heard Christ was coming and “they took out palm branches and went out to meet him.” It was a tradition to spread palms before a king to welcome him into his city. This fulfilled the prophecy in the Old Testament, which declared, “Behold: your king is coming to you, a just savior is he, humble and riding on a donkey” (Zech. 9:9). It revealed that Christ was a great king but also a humble king. But one short week later, they crucified him. We celebrate this feast and carry palm branches home with us to commemorate the great humility of Our Lord.

Observing Good Friday: So, why can’t you go to the baseball opener on Friday?

In some years, Good Friday occurs on the same day major league baseball teams have their “opening day” celebrations. While everyone else is heading to the stands, Catholics are walking towards churches. Why? Because on a hillside called Calvary, the Savior of the world took his last breath. All for love of us. On Good Friday, we take the time to reflect on what Christ has done for us, not only by fasting, but by the various devotions that our churches offer: veneration of the cross, the reading of the Passion and the Stations of the Cross. We spend our afternoon walking with Christ to Calvary, immersed in his love and mercy. NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2016



Bishop Raymond Lessard, originally of Oakwood, dies at 85 By Father Andrew Jasinski

and assigned him to work in the Roman Curia. Father Lessard, who was fluent in Italian, French and Latin, was chosen as his secretary. After Cardinal Muench died in 1962, Father Lessard was asked to stay in Rome and continue to work at the Vatican. He was there when Bishop Dworschack arrived for the Second Vatican Council. Father Lessard was a peritus (a theological expert) at Vatican II. In 1973, after working in Rome for 11 years and at the young age of 42, he was named the twelfth Bishop of Savannah. A cardinal, many archbishops and bishops attended his consecration. With his experience and connections, people thought that he would not be in the diocese long. They were wrong. He served there for 21 years. Bishop Lessard suffered from chronic back problems. By the mid 1990s the problem became so bad that he asked Pope John Paul II to retire early. His request was granted. In 1995, he moved to St. Vincent de Paul Seminary. Despite his fragile health, he spent the next 20 years forming men to be priests. On Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, the Lord said to him, “You may go now.” He died on the Feast of the Epiphany. On Jan. 11, his body, resting in a simple wooden casket, was Most Rev. Bishop Raymond Lessard carried through the Jubilee of Mercy Holy Door of St. John the Baptist’s Cathedral. As I spoke with people, they recalled hen I was in Florida in 2009, I had the opportunity to that he had been a wonderful teacher, and the fact that he had visit Bishop Raymond Lessard at St. Vincent de Paul the habit of abruptly ending conversations, saying, “You may Seminary in Boynton Beach. As soon as I explained go now.” that I wanted to speak with him about Cardinal Muench, he On Jan. 12, Bishop Hartmayer, the current bishop of Savannah, said, “This is February. Cardinal Muench died on February celebrated Bishop Lessard’s funeral Mass and Bishop Boland, 15. That’s next week. Have you celebrated Mass? We should the retired bishop, preached the homily. At the end of Mass, his celebrate Mass for Cardinal Muench.” So, in the little chapel body was taken once again through the Door of Mercy to its at his residence we prayed for the repose of Cardinal Muench. final place of rest. Afterward, Bishop Lessard spoke for almost two hours about Bishop Lessard was 85 years old, a priest for 59 years and a serving as Cardinal Muench’s secretary in Rome. He remembered bishop for 42 years. He worked in Fargo for less than three years the time the Cardinal sat for his official portrait, the name of but had unique opportunities serving the Church elsewhere. their chauffeur, the day Cardinal Muench died and so much more. In the end, he said that he surprised himself that after 50 Father Andrew Jasinski is the Chancellor of the Diocese of Fargo. He can be reached at years he could remember these things with such great clarity. He asked a few questions about the Diocese of Fargo and Sacred Heart Church, his home parish in Oakwood, then abruptly said, “I’m tired. You can go now.” As I left, I felt a little embarrassed that I made him tired. The St. John Paul II Catholic Schools Network The second time I saw Bishop Lessard was on Jan. 11, 2016. He seeks a highly qualified, knowledgeable, was lying in state in St. John the Baptist’s Cathedral, Savannah, experienced educational leader to be President/ Ga. How did a man from a small town in North Dakota, end up working for a cardinal in Rome and being buried in Georgia? Superintendent of the JPII Catholic Schools and As a seminarian Raymond Lessard showed himself a very provide supervision to all schools within the capable student. Although he started seminary at St. Paul Diocese of Fargo. For more information visit Seminary, Minn., after a few years he was sent to Rome. He or was ordained a priest on Dec. 16, 1956, and the following year contact (701) 893-3244 with questions. returned to Fargo, where he served at St. Mary’s Cathedral. In 1959 Pope John XXIII named Archbishop Muench a cardinal


Job Opening




Catholics and Jews celebrate 50th anniversary of Nostra aetate

By Father Matthew Kraemer

On Oct. 10 at Temple Beth El Synagogue in Fargo, Catholics and Jews celebrated their common spiritual bonds and religious legacy. Catholics and Jewish leaders spoke about Nostra aetate, the 1965 Declaration on the Church’s Relationship to Non-Christian Religions. Just 20 years after World War II, Nostra aetate established a foundation of respect among Catholics and Jews. Pictured here are Father Luke Meyer, Bishop John Folda, Rabbi Janeen Kobrinski, Steve Hunegs and Father Matthew Kraemer. (submitted by Steve Hunegs)


n Saturday Oct. 10, 2015, Catholics and Jews gathered together at Temple Beth El Synagogue in Fargo to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Nostra aetate, the “Declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions” from the Second Vatican Council. The event began with a greeting and blessing from Rabbi Janeen Kobrinski. She then led all present in chanting Psalm 23 in Hebrew. Although most of the Catholics present were not versed in the Hebrew language, the more adventurous ones joined in on the refrain. The Psalms are part of the common spiritual heritage of Jews and Catholics, and chanting them together was a beautiful expression of our spiritual brotherhood. Father Luke Meyer, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center in Grand Forks, then gave a presentation outlining the historical background of the declaration. He said that although Church teaching has never condoned anti-Semitism in any form, nevertheless, in the course of history Jews have experienced hostility from individual Christians. Nostra aetate strongly repudiates all forms of anti-Semitism and has helped to root out prejudices against Jews. It specifically condemns the erroneous ideas that the Jewish people bear a collective responsibility for the death of Jesus and that their covenant with God has been revoked. This presentation was followed by the chanting of Psalm 16 in English. The next presentation was by Bishop John Folda. He spoke

on the growth and development that has occurred in Catholic thought since Nostra aetate. He pointed out, in particular, the common spiritual heritage of both Judaism and Christianity. He also stressed the importance of Catholics and Jews working together to reclaim the primacy of God in a society that is increasingly secular. Next Psalm 150 was chanted, also in English. Finally, Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, gave a presentation on the difference Nostra aetate has made in the lives of Jews. In his remarks he expressed gratitude for the declaration and the good effect it has had in bettering relations between Jews and Catholics. He acknowledged that the Jewish people have suffered greatly throughout history, even in Christian lands, and that these injustices cannot be erased but pointed out the great importance of the declaration in helping to prevent such mistakes in the future. Although the Jewish and Catholic communities of Fargo have come together to pray before, this specific encounter is of historical importance because, as far as is known, it is the first time the bishop of Fargo has visited Fargo’s Jewish synagogue. We are grateful to the Jewish Community Relations Council, Center for Interfaith Projects, and Temple Beth El, who invited Bishop Folda and local Catholic to participate in this historic event. This kind gesture from our “elder brothers” in the faith is greatly appreciated and we look forward to future opportunities to learn and celebrate together. NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2016



Members of the Secular Franciscan Fraternity gathered at St. Anne’s Guest Home in Grand Forks Jan. 10 to celebrate the Baptism of the Lord and their 50th anniversary as a community. Pictured here are Art and Maria Miles; Sharon and Deacon John Bredemeier, guests; Sister Rebecca, guest; Barb (partially hidden) and Al Langer; and Sister Christina, Spiritual Assistant to the Fraternity. (Kim Flanagan)

Fraternity of the Secular Franciscans celebrate 50th anniversary By Barbara Langer | Minister to Immaculate Heart of Mary Fraternity


he Grand Forks Fraternity of the Secular Franciscans has been active for 50 years as the only Secular Franciscan Fraternity in North Dakota. Through the years there have been quite a number of members who have professed their lives to follow the way of St. Francis of Assisi to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Currently there are 13 members. Secular Franciscans live in their own homes while striving to follow Jesus through prayer and the study of scripture. They are called to practice the Works of Mercy by helping those in need. Members believe they have been called by the Spirit of God to live the Gospel, a vocation lived out in fraternity and through the support of shared prayer and Christian service. They are not called to “leave the world” but to transform it. They choose to live simply, to value persons above possessions, sharing what they have with others as they strive to identify themselves with the poor and reach out to the needy and the marginalized of society. They are also called to respect all creation which reveals the love of God for us, thus fostering an attitude of environmental concern. At a recent meeting, members of the Fraternity shared some of the ways they were drawn to becoming a Secular Franciscan. Two people stated that the example of others made them explore 10


the life of a professed Franciscan, some said they were looking for something more in life and found that becoming a Franciscan met that desire. Others had relatives who were either Secular Franciscans or Franciscans living in community and were inspired by their witness. Various other reasons included, “my wife told me to join, which I agreed with as we started formation.” Formation includes the inquiry stage through the candidacy stage which is about three years. The profession does not include taking the vows of poverty, obedience and chastity, but consecrates the person morally to God with a rule to serve as a discipline and for the grace to sustain and inspire the person in life. Kim Flanagan stated that going through formation was “life changing in my prayer life.” About her lifestyle Kim shared that it is “a life that is God-centered, open to his will and tries to live a simple life.” The material objects in the world seem to take on much less importance in our lives after professing as a Secular Franciscan. Experiencing the joy of living more in tune with God’s plan, such as living more simply, doing more of the Works of Mercy and helping others are changes in the life style of a Secular Franciscan.


Sisters of Mary of the Presentation celebrate 50 years at Maryvale Convent

By Kristina Lahr

in 1828, but during the French Revolution, they were asked to leave the country and came to Canada. In 1903 a priest invited them to serve as teachers at St. Benedict’s school in Wild Rice. From there they established schools in rural areas including Oakwood, Willow City, Bottineau, Lisbon and Olga. It wasn’t long before they began to serve as nurses at hospitals as well. In August of 1965 they moved to their current home, Maryvale or “Mary’s Valley” in Valley City. Thanks to a surprise return of money six years later, the Sisters were able to completely pay for the convent in that short time. A special mortgage burning ceremony was held and is a highlight in many sisters’ memories. “Dear sisters, your community came to North Dakota from France at least in part because an anti-religious government Bishop Folda greets Sister Marlyss Dionne at the celebration had made it impossible to stay there,” said Bishop Folda in his of Consecrated Life and the 50th Anniversary of the Maryvale homily. “So what must have seemed a trial and even a disaster at Convent for the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation. Residing the time, became a moment of grace for you and for the Church, just north of Valley City, the Sisters are known for their a grace that continues to bear fruit right here.” hospitality, healthcare services and dedication to prayer. The physical layout of the building with the chapel in the (Kristina Lahr/New Earth) center is a symbol of the God-centered lives which all are called ur sole goal is to bring forth the glory of God in all to lead, lives dedicated to the service of God and neighbor. It we do,” said Sister Elaine Lange for the celebration is the silence and beauty of the land at Maryvale however that of Consecrated Life and the 50th Anniversary of the many of the sisters enjoy most about their home. Maryvale Convent for the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation “One feels a sense of peacefulness as they cross the bridge in July 2015. “We provide for the current needs in our world, into the Maryvale grounds and take in the beautiful, spacious especially for the most vulnerable of our society. We are called grounds laid out before them,” said Sister Elaine Lange. “They see Maryvale nestled in the hills and just know God is here in to ‘be the presence of Jesus’ in our world today.” this place.” The Sisters of Mary of the Presentation order began in France


Sisters bless St. Leo’s parish with 50 years of service

St. Leo’s Church in Casselton celebrated this Year of Consecrated Life by thanking the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary for over 50 years of service to St. Leo’s Parish. Presentation Sisters made weekly trips to Casselton to assist in RE programs, prepare students for the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation, as well as working with the summer migrant program. Pictured here are Father James Ermer and Sisters Geraldine Krom, Rosaria Acton, Petronilla Metzger, Jan Ihli, Georgiana Sprunk, Marcelline Sookov, Geraldine Steinbach, Maura DeCrans, Stella Olson, Olivia Scully and Bernadette Trecker. (submitted photo)



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Bringing sense to life’s messiness

A review of Ron Hansen’s ‘A Stay Against Confusion.’ By Father Michael Hickin


A review of Catholic books and literature “From Jesse James to Tolstoy, from Ignatius Loyola to the martyrs of El Salvador, Hansen peppers personal portraits with enough autobiography to give readers what we so often long for, a sneak peak at the artist behind the art.” –Father Michael Hickin


t World Youth Day 2013, Pope Francis introduced us to the idea of a ‘messy Church.’ The call is not to create a mess but to accept the messiness. Don’t pretend it’s otherwise. Life indeed is messy. We shouldn’t think we can correct that; still, who doesn’t do their part to put a little sense into the madness? Ron Hansen does it through writing. He also shows others the way in the way Robert Frost describes as ‘the stay against confusion.’ “A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom. Assuming direction with the first line laid down, it runs a course of lucky events, and ends in a clarification of life—not necessarily a great clarification, but at least ‘a momentary stay against confusion.’” – Robert Frost Hansen gleans from this thought the title for this collection of writings. The book cover handsomely illustrates the poet’s insight. There, upon a close-up of the arm of St. Jerome holding a quill (painted by Caravaggio) is superimposed a flourishing line. It originates from the thumb and winds its way upward by elegant swirls. Is it a depiction of a believing artist’s train of thought? The mind holds confusion at bay by letting the hand trace a creative line that reaches beyond the horizon of thought. Anyone who journals knows this experience. Author Ron Hansen has nine novels under his belt, three adapted to screenplay, one starring James Coburn, another Brad Pitt. Born and raised in Omaha, Neb. Hansen graduated from Creighton University in 1970. He is currently the Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. Professor in Arts and Humanities at Santa Clara

University. In 2007, Ron was ordained a permanent deacon for the Diocese of San Jose. A Stay Against Confusion features 14 essays on faith and fiction written between 1993-2000. The preface and first three writings reflect a sacramental approach to the exercises of writing and storytelling. The bulk of the essays might be deemed biographical sketches. From Jesse James to Tolstoy, from Ignatius Loyola to the martyrs of El Salvador, Hansen peppers personal portraits with enough autobiography to give readers what we so often long for, a sneak peak at the artist behind the art. Two doctrinally charged pieces on stigmata and Eucharist reveal the author’s identity as both scholar and believer. My personal favorite is his 20 page movie review of Babette’s Feast. “Rotten Tomatoes” rates this 1987 Academy Award winner at 96%, and Pope Francis claims it as his favorite film. If you want to know why, watch it, then read Hansen’s article, then watch it again. Hansen provides helpful pre-history of the author Karen Blixen, but more so, he allows his artistic soul to unfold the story—with one eye on the host of colorful characters (camouflaged in Nordic drab) and the other on the clearly incarnational work of the Spirit. Nowadays, wooed as we are by a craze of cuisine shows, our appreciation is greater than ever when Hansen’s words marry two great arts: sensual cooking and spiritual conversion. The deacon-novelist’s varied reflections speak to artists and doodlers alike. Be it journaling or letter writing or simply reading others, in a world droning on 24-hour news sound-bites, a little thoughtful writing, even the casual stuff, is praiseworthy for its ability to bring some sense to life’s messiness. Tired of being confused? Pick up a good book. Hansen himself offers plenty from which to choose.

About the Book: “A Stay Against Confusion” by Ron Hansen. Published by Harper Perennial. Paperback 288 pages. Available via Barnes and Noble, and other book resellers.




Father Joseph Christensen, FMI and Candidate Justin Reineke lead adoration at the Third Order Secular monthly meeting. Justin Reineke began his discernment and formation as a Franciscan of Mary Immaculate Sept. 8, 2015. (submitted photo)

Giving thanks for the Year

of Consecrated Life

Though few, male religious in diocese continue to be a strong presence in communities

During this Year of Consecrated Life, the Catholic Church celebrated religious throughout the world who continue to spread the gospel by their witness. In March 2015, we took a glimpse of the life of our women religious in the Diocese of Fargo. Here we take a look at our male religious and the gifts they continue to be for our communities.




Franciscans of Mary Immaculate continues to bless diocese with gifts of religious community


he Third Order Franciscans of Mary Immaculate are the newest religious community in the Diocese of Fargo. Modeled after St. Maximilian Kolbe, priest and martyr of Auschwitz in 1941, the Franciscans of Mary Immaculate are devoted to the Lord through total consecration to Mary Immaculate. It is through this consecration to Jesus that Father Joseph Christensen, FMI, founder of the new religious community, first received the calling to work for the salvation of souls in a specific way. “I always had a yearning to live religious life,” said Father Joseph. “I lived diocesan priesthood, and had enjoyed working in various parishes, but still I felt drawn to live as a Franciscan in religious life. My heart was very set on it. I asked permission and founded the community five years ago.” The Franciscans of Mary Immaculate reside in Warsaw and are devoted to the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Maximilian Kolbe and, of course, the Virgin Mary. “It’s a very unique community drawing from the spirituality of these patrons,” he said. Each summer Father Joseph leads a week long boys camp followed by a week for the girls, called JMI Camp, to inspire them to know, love and live the Catholic faith. His new community is deeply involved in pro-life work especially through Saint Gianna’s Maternity home, where he serves as Spiritual Director and Chaplain, but also as a positive father figure to the women and their children there. They also pray regularly at the abortion facility in Fargo. In addition, Father Joseph preaches at parish missions, gives retreats and days of recollection, and evangelizes through the media, both print and online. All these apostolates Father Joseph sees as a gift God has given to our diocese. “We are a Religious presence here, and

Girls at the JMI camp last summer light candles for the night prayer procession to the Marian shrine. Each summer Father Joseph Christensen, FMI leads a camp each summer for boys and girls to learn, love and live the faith. (submitted photo)

By Kristina Lahr

we pray for the Bishop, priests and the lay people. People write to us with their intentions and needs, and we take this call seriously as we pray throughout the day in our prayers, Mass, and Holy Hour. We’re here for the people’s sanctification and are completely dedicated to God.” Another gift received this year was the Year of Consecrated Life proclaimed by Pope Francis. “This year made me reflect more deeply to look at my life and how I am living consecrated life. It’s inspired me to enter more deeply into my particular way of life and into a deeper prayer life. In July Bishop Folda was gracious in coming to Warsaw for a special Mass in which he received the renewal of my religious vows.” Father Joseph is the only consecrated man in the community, although as of Sept. 8, Justin Reineke of Fargo began discernment as a candidate for the community. “We knew each other before his candidacy,” said Father Joseph. “He came to every summer camp we had since we started five years ago. Additionally, he came for a few visits in order for us to discern if this may be what God is calling him to. Candidate Justin is very humble, hardworking, prayerful and has a good sense of humor, all good qualities for a religious.” The perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience would be five years down the road should he discern the community is God’s will for him. “We’re open to both ordained and non-ordained brothers. I invite any young man, if the thought of religious life crosses his mind, to check us out. Come pray with us. We live a penitential life, but it is filled with great joy.” He also added, “and it is never boring!” For more information on the Franciscans of Mary Immaculate, go to:, or write to

Boys from JMI camp last summer gather for a group photo outside of St. Stanislaus’ Catholic Church in Warsaw. (submitted photo)




This year the Dominican Order is celebrating its 800th jubilee, when Pope Innocent III responded to St. Dominic’s request to fill the need at the time for informed preachers in the Church. (Emory University Catholic Center)

For preaching and the salvation of souls By Kristina Lahr


hen St. Dominic received the approval of the Order of Preachers in 1216 from Pope Innocent III, he was responding to a great need for informed preaching in the Church. Until that time, the bishop of a diocese was the official preacher, and the task of proclaiming the Word of God in the public sphere was not the major task of parish priests. St. Dominic was concerned that people’s lives were not being formed by the Word of God in the most effective way. “Preaching is our charism, a gift of a deep desire to spread the good news,” said Father Charles Leute, pastor and Dominican serving at parishes in Fort Totten, Crow Hill and Tokio. “The formation and life of a Dominican religious is guided by four pillars, which are on-going even after profession and/ or ordination. These are study, prayer, community life and ministry. Dominicans are formed by intense study, which is a life-long process and commitment, connecting the other pillars as the context, and a life of prayer feeding the individual friar and the whole community. Our brother, St. Thomas Aquinas captured it in saying, ‘we are to give to others the fruits of our contemplation.’” St. Dominic was a cleric in Spain and encountered the need for informed and solid preachers to clearly feed and shepherd the people who were subject to many false teachings and interpretations of the Catholic faith. Dominic, along with his first companions, adopted a way of life devoted to prayer and study as preparation for preaching to ensure that their ministry



would faithfully reflect the truth of Christ. The Order of Preachers is now celebrating its 800th jubilee. This year, the Dominican family which includes cloistered nuns, friars, sisters and laity, celebrate this jubilee with gratitude and renewed commitment. The Order continues to experience growth in men considering the ministry of preaching. The Order is world-wide, with four Provinces of Friars in the United States. Father Leute is a member of the Providence of St. Albert the Great, headquartered in Chicago and serving 11 states in the upper Midwest. “The ultimate goal of every one of us, is a lived relationship with Jesus Christ, begun here by faith and grace and celebrated forever in eternal life,” said Father Leute. “The Lord calls each one of us in different ways. My vocation awareness came in the fourth grade. I was in a drama for the passion of Jesus. I was to lead a song after moving across the room carrying a cross while a scene of the crucifixion was flashed on a large screen. I became so focused on the figure of Jesus on the cross, I lost awareness of where I was. I had to be poked in the ribs to bring me back to reality. That experience of communion was the birth of my call. Of course, I did not know how it would flesh out, but I knew I was called to be united to Jesus.” Father Leute began his formation as a Dominican when he was a junior in college. After a year of novitiate and three years of study in philosophy, he pronounced his solemn vows. He then studied four years of theology prior to priestly ordination. His entire ministry has been serving among the Native tribes of

COVER STORY the Dakotas and Minnesota. At present, Father Leute is the only Dominican serving in the Fargo Diocese. “I am an avid reader. I am always reading multiple books. Study is a constitutive element of Dominican life and ministry. We are called to learn sacred truth not only in books, but in creation itself and in relationships with other men and women. Even though my ministry has mostly been lived outside of formal Dominican community, I am very much connected to my Brothers throughout the Province. I also bring that sense of community to my brother priests here in our local area.” Father Leute serves in pastoral ministry for three parishes on the Spirit Lake Reservation, doing counseling and step work for those struggling with addictions along with parish sacramental ministry, teaching, spiritual direction, confessions to many within and outside the immediate area and retreats. It is for any pastor, a “ministry of presence, of accompaniment.” “The formal Year of Consecrated Life is now closing, but the opportunity it brought was to remind and invite one another to live our vocations with gratitude and joy,” said Father Leute. “I give thanks for what I have received and trust that my life, efforts and presence continue to remind each person I encounter of what is the most important truth, the key relationship that gives true life and worth, who is the person of Jesus Christ. That is the blessing of a religious vocation, to be a living reminder of what and who is most important.”

Father Charles Leute stands near a Nativity scene at one of the parishes on the Spirit Lake Reservation. Father Leute is the pastor of the parishes in Fort Totten, Crow Hill and Tokio and is also a Dominican. (submitted photo)

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Invisible Monastery invites faithful come together to pray for vocations By Father Kurtis Gunwall


ome of us prefer to pray quietly in our room as this instruction from Jesus directs, while other like the quiet in adoration before Jesus in the Eucharist. We can pray a rosary uniting our prayer with those of Mary and the saints and we can read a few lines of Sacred Scripture and meditate on God’s Holy Word. I hope that you unite your prayers with the parish Church in the celebration of

ON THE WEB Call Kristina Lahr (701) 356-7900 or e-mail: Place your ad here and we’ll send targeted visitors directly to your site!



the Eucharist each Sunday although some must join in the Mass through television and radio because of illness or infirmity. No matter where we are, we can pray! No matter the method or tools we use, we can praise, adore, intercede and give thanks for all that God does. Has someone asked you to pray for them in their time of need? Jesus used the parable of the persistent widow to say that although God wants to give us what is good, sometimes we have to continue in prayer to receive it. St. Paul reminds us to “pray always.” Today, I invite and beg you to offer your prayers for holy men and women to respond to God’s call to ordained and consecrated religious vocations in a simple yet powerful way. It does not require that you add something to your prayers although you may choose to do so. You can pray in your own home, in the car or at your parish. You can pray each day, once a week or as frequently as you are able and choose. This opportunity to unite with hundreds and thousands in our diocese is coordinated through the website www. and lets us know how many others have made the pledge to pray for these two vocations. Men and women, boys and girls need your encouragement and prayers to listen to God and for courage to follow his call to find true and lasting joy. Will you commit to pray for their joy, for these ministries in the Church, and perhaps for your children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren to find the pearl of great price – God’s call to them? Registration takes only two minutes and your contact information is requested but you can register anonymously if you prefer. If you include your contact information, it will be used by our vocations office to send you specific prayer requests (e.g. as in November 2014 when our seminarian Zach was in a serious car accident). Please join us in praying to our Loving Father for laborers for the harvest!

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Students process across campus overlooking the majestic Missouri River Valley to Palm Sunday Mass at the University of Mary. (University of Mary)

First ever vocations Jamboree gives opportunity for prayer, fellowship and discernment By Tom Ackerman


he University of Mary is partnering with the Diocese of Bismarck, Annunciation Monastery and Assumption Abbey to host the university’s inaugural Vocations Jamboree. Dozens of vocations directors and teams representing a broad range of religious orders and communities from across the country will gather on the main campus in Bismarck Mar. 30-31 to pray together and witness to the joy and beauty of life consecrated to God’s call. Exhibits and display booths will showcase the distinctive charism, history and mission of each group. University of Mary students and young people from the region will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from the visiting communities to learn more about the rich variety of religious life in the Church today. Catholic and Christian service and missionary organizations will also participate in the Jamboree. “Inviting students to discern God’s will for their lives is at the heart of everything we do at the University of Mary,” says Dr. Peter Huff, director of the Saint John Paul II Center for University Ministry. “Our community is gaining a national reputation as fertile ground for vocations. The Vocations Jamboree will highlight the many different ways dedicated women and men are serving Christ and the Church. We hope the event will become a great annual tradition at [University of] Mary.”



A special feature of the Jamboree will be Bishop Robert Barron’s visit to the campus on Mar. 30. Bishop Barron will celebrate a special Mass, offer a keynote address and receive the University’s Lumen Vitae medal. For more information, please go to or contact Ed Konieczka, assistant director of the Saint John Paul II Center for University Ministry, at or (701) 355-8102.

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Father Gary Luiten and Colleen Samson, high school CCD teacher, pose with players and coaches from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Park River who are part of the Park River Fordville Lankin Aggies football team. The Aggies are back-to-back 11-man Class A State Football champs and Father Gary has been a faithful fan!

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

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 an employee of a Catholic school, parish, the diocesan offices or other Catholic entity within the diocese, we ask that you also report the incident or suspected incident to Monsignor Joseph P. Goering at (701) 356-7945 or Larry Bernhardt at (701) 356-7965 or For additional information about victim assistance, visit



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This man has been in a coma for 33 years – and his wife has stayed by his side By Catholic News Agency


fter sustaining a damaged leg tendon in 1982, 34-year old international soccer player Jean-Pierre Adams thought that a routine knee surgery at a hospital in Lyon, France would relieve some of his discomfort. By the end of the day, the surgery had left Adams in a comatose state, unable to perform normal bodily functions like walking or talking. That was over thirty years ago. Today, his devoted wife Bernadette personally cares for JeanPierre in their home near Nimes, France, where the beloved soccer player remains bedridden and comatose. “I think he feels things. He must recognize the sound of my voice as well,” Bernadette told CNN in a recent interview, saying he can still breathe on his own but needs round-the-clock attention. Bernadette and Jean-Pierre met at a dance in the 1960s. As an interracial couple, the two grew in resilience through the challenges they faced and married in 1969. Not long after, JeanPierre was playing first division side soccer as the “garde noire” alongside some of the best in the world. “He was the ‘joie di vivre’ embodied in human form – a laugher and joker who liked to go out,” his wife told CNN. That all changed on March 17, 1982 when the understaffed hospital botched Adams’ intubation, causing a heart attack, brain damage and an eventual coma. The surgery was ruled as an “involuntary injury” and the medical workers were found guilty seven years after the incident. Jean-Pierre, now 68, is cared for daily by his faithful wife Bernadette. She feeds him, talks to him, clothes him and still buys presents for him to open on his birthday. “I’ll buy things so that he can have a nice room, such as pretty

sheets or some scent.” Bernadette told CNN. When asked about euthanasia, Bernadette replied, “What do you want me to do – deprive him of food? Let him die little by little? No, no, no.” Although the 33-year journey has not been easy, Bernadette still clings to hope and to her husband of 46 years. “If one day, medical science evolves, then why not? Will there be a day when they’ll know how to do something for him? I don’t know,” she told CNN. 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

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Showing mercy to the imprisoned


his Holy Year of Mercy provides an opportunity for Catholic Catholics to advo Action cate for criminal justice reform at Christoper Dodson both the federal and state levels. The United States imprisons more people than any other nation. As of 2011, close to 2.2 million people were incarcerated in federal, state or local prisons and jails. Although national incarceration rates have dropped in recent years, the federal incarceration rate has increased 500 percent during the past thirty years, with close to half of those serving sentences for drug offenses. The situation in North Dakota is even worse. North Dakota’s incarceration rate saw a 175 percent increase from 1994 to 2014, which was the second highest increase in the country. Four years ago, the state inmate population was half what it is today and the inmate population is expected to double again in the next 10 years. The inmate population has gotten so high that the state has to send inmates to a for-profit prison in Colorado. Meanwhile, the cost of maintaining the state’s prison system has doubled during the last ten years. Catholic tradition supports the community’s right to establish and enforce laws that protect people and advance the common good. But our faith also teaches us that both victims and offenders have a God-given dignity that calls for justice and restoration, not vengeance. Rigid sentencing policies for nonviolent offenses have proven to be costly, ineffective, and often detrimental to the good of persons, families and communities. Prolonged incarceration contributes to family instability and poverty. Those who finally leave incarceration face significant challenges upon reentering society, such as finding housing and stable employment, high rates of substance abuse, and physical and mental health challenges. Normally during a presidential election year Congress does not pass major legislation. Observers in both parties, however, have noted that criminal justice reform could be the exception this year. Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed a willingness to start addressing the nation’s incarceration problem. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has identified three pieces of legislation it supports. They are:

completing rehabilitative programs in prison. Contact Senator John Hoeven and Senator Heidi Heitkamp to express your support for this bill.

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


The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S. 2123). This is a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate that would reduce several federal mandatory minimum drug and firearms related sentences and make those reductions retroactive. It gives judges more discretion and allows many federal prisoners to earn time credits for


Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3713) is a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would reduce several federal mandatory minimum drug and firearms sentences and make those reductions retro active for some prisoners. It also gives judges more flexibility in sentencing. Contact Representative Kevin Cramer to express your support for this bill.

Second Chance Reauthorization Act (S. 1513, H.R. 3406). This bill authorizes funding for reentry programs that help people leaving prison reintegrate back into their communities in healthy and productive ways. These programs focus on education, literacy, job-placement and substance abuse treatment. They are often administered by faith based groups. Contact Senator Hoeven, Senator Heitkamp, and Representative Cramer to express your support for these bills.

In North Dakota, the legislature has created an Incarceration Issues Committee to look at the issue. The committee consists of six legislators and ten representatives from the judiciary and law enforcement. They will eventually make recommendations to the legislature in 2017. In the meantime, the state’s incarceration rate will grow in an unprecedented rate. A n y s u c c e s s i n a d d re s s i n g t h e s t a t e ’ s m a s s i v e incarceration problem, however, may depend just as much on the recommendations of another interim committee. The Human Services Committee is conducting a comprehensive review of the state’s behavioral services. Perhaps not surprisingly, the state’s incarceration boom has corresponded with a falling behind in the state’s provision of mental health and addiction services. A study from the last interim concluded that the state’s behavioral services system was “in crisis.” Leann Bertsch, director of the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has stated that the lack of access to behavioral health services is a problem leading to incarceration and to the inability to reintegrate non-violent offenders back into society. Investing in mental health care and addiction recovery costs money, but so do prisons. North Dakotans may have to decide whether they want to voluntarily pay for a better system of behavioral health services now or be forced to continue to fund an out-of-control system of incarceration. In this Year of Mercy, let’s choose the former.



At the heart of the tragedy of addiction

ddiction can be extremely harmful, and in some cases, fatal for those individuals ensnared by it. It can be seriously disruptive and damaging to those around them. Who is to blame when it comes to addiction? Family and friends may think to themselves, “Why can’t Jane just stop drinking?” Or, “Doesn’t Joe understand that his gambling addiction is bankrupting the family?” Or, “Can’t Bob see how his pornography habit is destroying his marriage and his relationships?” For those facing addiction, it seems they ought to be able to recognize their behavior as harmful, and turn away from it by a resolute decision. Family and friends, however, can face years of frustration when they see their loved ones fall into a slow motion “crash and burn,” spiraling downwards as they remain unwilling or unable to step away from their addiction. The individual caught in the web of addiction objectively falls prey to a loss of personal freedom. His will becomes weakened, and he becomes enslaved in a way that limits his ability to recognize the right order of goods in his life. By repetitively choosing the addictive behavior, it becomes ingrained, and the ability to choose better, alternative behaviors becomes enfeebled, if not seemingly impossible. For these reasons, there is almost always diminished personal responsibility in situations of addiction. To be accountable for our acts, we must freely choose those acts, but the internal pressure and downward spiral of the addiction may have already co-opted the individual’s ability freely to choose otherwise. Eventually this bondage can appear to be permanent, and addicted individuals can imagine themselves pathetic and hopeless to such a degree that they almost give up. In the words of a formerly-addicted individual:

of. Unless you were raised on Mars, we all deep down Making Sense knew the risk of of Bioethics our choices, especially if Father Tad Pacholczyk you’re talking about coke, crack, meth, or heroin but we chose to roll the dice anyways. At a certain point, when I was starting to do coke almost every weekend, I knew that it would be wise to stop, but I chose not to because I was having fun and I told myself it will never happen to me. By the end, I was going on solo three day benders with alcohol and cocaine, and I landed in treatment… My point is that I made the choice to try the substance, the choice to begin to use the substance more regularly, and the choice not to quit when I could have.”

While there may have been significant moral culpability at the beginning of an individual’s descent into addiction, it is still critical for us to never stigmatize, patronize or abandon those who are in the throes of addiction. They may feel they are defined entirely by their addiction, unlovable and wretched, rather than seeing that they are, in fact, human beings who are precious to God and those around them, and even now endowed with some tiny space of remaining freedom. That tiny space will “I believe that I did not have a choice to stop... It never be- become key to determining whether they ultimately choose came clear to me that I could live another way until the behavioral changes needed to improve their situation and a medical intervention from my physician and friends took recover the human freedom that is rightfully theirs. We should support, encourage and love them in ways that will help lead place. Willpower plays a small role here, but it too cannot them toward those good choices and successful outcomes. work if one has a malfunctioning brain. I speak for myself here… I could not stop. Period. Now, I have stopped. Not Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. earned his doctorate in neuroscience from just because of the intervention, but because I have turned Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the diocese of my life and my will over to the God of my understanding. Fall River, MA, and serves as the Director of Education at The National That is something 12 step programs have taught me.” Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. See

This radical loss of freedom lies at the heart of the tragedy of addiction. Because we are creatures of habit, the choices we make, either for good or for evil, form us in one direction or the other, so we become individuals who are either capable or incapable of choosing the good freely. Virtue is a habit of good, while vice is a habit of evil. Early choices leading down the road towards addiction, freely made, can quickly snowball into vice, addiction and a loss of freedom. As one recovered addict graphically described it:

“My beef is with those who claim that they never chose to become an addict or never chose to hurt their families… While we likely didn’t intend to end up helpless, dysfunctional people who [hurt] our loved ones, the choices we made put us at risk of ending up in a sorry state where we were capable of doing things we would have never dreamed

“It is… critical for us to never stigmatize, patronize or abandon those who are in the throes of addiction. They may feel they are defined entirely by their addiction… rather than seeing that they are, in fact, human beings who are precious to God and those around them.” – Father Tad Pacholczyk NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2016



Letter to our children Stewardship Steve Schons

I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of folks who started planning their estate. A relatively common practice is to leave a note or letter to surviving kids. The following is one example:

To Our Dear Children: We want to tell you about a decision we made recently and some of the reasons behind it. But first, we want you to know that we are very proud of you and thankful for the honor of being your parents. You have brought us great happiness. As we get older, we find ourselves thinking more and more about our estate — and what to do with it when we are gone. Our holdings, though modest by some standards, represent a lifetime of working, saving and investing. We want to dispose of these things in the right way, not only for you, but also for us and the legacy we desire to leave behind. Our first responsibility, as you know, is to care for each other. If one of us should precede the other in death, we want the remaining person to have enough assets to live comfortably and to meet any unforeseen emergencies. Because our estate plan addresses these matters, we are able to face the future with confidence, self-respect and the knowledge that we will not be imposing a burden on our children for our financial needs. Our second responsibility is to pass along to you a portion of our estate in order to provide you with a final and tangible expression of our love for you. It is also a way for us to assist you in meeting some of the challenges and opportunities you will face in the years ahead. The nature and value of these estate gifts will depend, of course, on several things, including the actual content of our future estate. Our third concern — and this is why we are writing this letter — pertains to our town’s Catholic Church. As you know, we have supported our Catholic Church for many years. We believe in their mission and want them to be financially strong so they can continue to make a positive impact in our community for a long time. We had thought of naming our local Catholic Church in our will to someday receive a significant gift. But then we learned about a gift device called a Charitable Gift Annuity that not only allows us to make a major gift now, but also provides us with additional income throughout the remainder of our lives. Every quarter we will receive income from the annuity that we can either use to make additional contributions or, if needed, apply to our own needs. We talked to our tax advisor about all of this, and she agrees that the plan makes good sense, not only from a tax standpoint, but also as a way to safeguard our future income. We received a green light from our attorney as well. 26


One of the nice features about this plan is that a named endowment will be created after we are gone with the assets remaining in the trust. This endowment will provide a perpetual flow of annual income to our Catholic Church, similar to the amount we are now giving every year. While funding the Charitable Gift Annuity has reduced the size of our estate, we want you to know that we have not invaded what we plan to pass on to you. We also want you to know that this planned gift to our Catholic Church has been a wonderful experience for us — the highlight of our lives as donors. To put it simply, we are thrilled! Our hope is that someday you also will have the opportunity and inclination to do the same thing with a portion of your own estate. Affectionately,

Mom and Dad

If you would like to learn more about Charitable Gift Annuities, please contact Steve Schons. Steve Schons is director of stewardship and development for the Diocese of Fargo and president of the Catholic Development Foundation. He can be reached at or (701) 356-7926. (Please complete and return this reply form.)

________ Please send me information about charitable remainder trusts. Name_____________________________________________________________ Address:_________________________________________________________ City:______________________________________________________________ State:________ Zip:______________Phone:____________________________ Mail this form to: CDF, Attn: Steve Schons, 5201 Bishops Blvd, Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104



The heart of Christ in the heart of Detroit

receive a curious response from people when they learn I s p e n t o n e that I study in Detroit. Even among seminarians that I meet S a t u r d a y m o r n while traveling the question is, “Why would you want to ing at a local soup study in Detroit?” Perhaps people worry about the crime rate, kitchen. We help the poverty found in Detroit or the potential for unstable race set up and serve relations. While we can be pushed away from Detroit by this, I the food for a few feel it is the very reason we are called to study at Sacred Heart hundred people. Major Seminary: it is through living in the heart of the city that When we were we can truly touch the Heart of Christ. setting up, I Each seminarian grows in four areas of formation during noticed a few of the his time in seminary. These “pillars” are human, spiritual, workers putting

Seminarian Life Robert Foetsch

“[Christ’s] heart is wounded in the hearts of our brothers and sisters in need, whether we recognize it or not. Studying in Detroit has given me an opportunity to be thrown into the fray to see the real needs, hurts, joys and pains of the flock.” – Robert Foertsch, Fargo Diocese seminarian intellectual and pastoral formation. No pillar is considered to be superior to another. Instead, each pillar complements the others in forming men to be priests for Jesus Christ. At Sacred Heart, our pastoral pillar is fulfilled through our Apostolic Experience Program. Just as Christ told his disciples to go out, we are called to go out into the city for a particular program. These programs include hospital visits, assisting at food pantries or visiting the homebound. Christ also called his disciples back, and we do the same when we bring back our experiences to share with our peers and spiritual directors to help us grow. Last year, I was part of a group of three seminarians that visited one of the nearby nursing homes to bring the Eucharist to the Catholic residents. We also visit the non-Catholics, either praying with fellow Christians or simply spending time with them. It is obvious that the nursing home is a lower class facility, if not one of the lowest of the city. I remember one day where one resident was laying on a rubber mat while in bed. She was partially paralyzed, having no use of her legs. The facility was out of their supply of adult diapers, so the best the staff could do was put down a rubber mat for the day so she wouldn’t ruin the mattress when she needed to urinate. Another situation arose when a blizzard hit Detroit last year. The seminarians rejoiced, as that meant we did not have to attend class. Yet for the nursing home it meant that staff could not get in, resulting in residents either getting their medication late or not at all that day. Perhaps you may feel such a place is unjust and should be shut down. But the residents have nowhere else to go. It is not as if they can afford a nicer place; if they could, they would leave. Yet many of the residents are kind, generous and full of faith. It is remarkable to see people who have so little still show a deep love for Christ.

aside all of the bread bags once they were emptied. I asked why we were saving the bread bags, and the worker told me that the homeless often like to take the clean bags. Sure enough, while serving the food I saw people taking the plastic bags. The homeless use the bags to store things to preserve them in the snow and rain. In fact, the bags are so highly sought after we run out of them! That baffles my mind; something I never give a second thought to is highly sought after by the homeless. The Heart of Christ is still wounded. His Heart is wounded in the hearts of our brothers and sisters in need, whether we recognize it or not. Studying in Detroit has given me an opportunity to be thrown into the fray to see the real needs, hurts, joys and pains of the flock. The world has forgotten these people. The world sees no need or desire for them. Yet the Father still loves them, and he is wounded when they are wounded. We need to step through our fears of crime or violence to help console his sheep.

Robert Foetsch is a Pre-Theology II student studying at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Mich. Foetsch is originally from Wyndmere. He received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at NDSU in 2012 and worked for NDSU’s Computer Science Department after graduation. He enjoys reading, card games and believes the best thing about being a priest is bringing the sacraments to people. Editor’s Note: Seminarian Life is a monthly column written by current Diocese of Fargo seminarians. It gives New Earth readers a glimpse of what these discerning young men are experiencing. Let us know if there is something you would like to know about the life of a seminarian. Perhaps, it will inspire an article from one of them. And, please continue to pray for them.




Events across the diocese Mark your calendar for events around the diocese Serra Dinner. Blessed

Mike Foltz, Crookston Diocese. Contact Janet Devillers at (701) 746-1454.

Sacrament Catholic Church, West Fargo. Thursday, Feb. 11 and Mar. 10 at 6 p.m. Serra Dinners are a time to encourage vocations in your parish and family and hear vocations stories from around the diocese. Free will offering. Contact Vocations Office at (701) 356-7948.

Fish Fry. Our Lady of Peace

Catholic Church, Mayville. Mar. 11 from 5-7 p.m. Menu includes fish, potato bake, cole slaw, bread and dessert. Contact Marion Baker at (701) 439-0106.

To submit events for New Earth and the diocesan website, send information to: New Earth, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S., Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104-7605 or email The deadline for the March New Earth is Feb. 17. The earliest that issue will reach homes is Mar. 7.

Parish Mission. Holy Family

Catholic Church, Grand Forks. Feb. 21-23 at 6:30 p.m. each evening. Parish mission focuses on God’s Mercy. Presenters include Bishop John Folda; Bishop Michael Hoeppner, Crookston Diocese; and Monsignor

Life’s Milestones Roger and Charlotte Burt celebrate 65 years

Roger and Charlotte Burt of Lawton, parishioners of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Devils Lake, celebrated their 65th anniversary on Feb. 2. They were married on Feb. 2, 1951 at Sacred Heart Church in Oakland, Calf. They have four children, six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Lorraine Schmit celebrates 90 years

Lorraine Schmit of St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Lisbon celebrated her 90th birthday Nov. 17. She is from a family of 13 children.

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



A Glimpse of the Past

These news items, compiled by Dorothy Duchschere, were found in issues of the Diocese of Fargo newspaper, New Earth, and its predecessor, Catholic Action News.

50 Years Ago....1966

An act of ecumenical neighborliness has changed the place of worship for Kindred area Catholics. For two years they attended Mass in the small Kindred City Hall. It was a functional arrangement, but there were a few things strange to a church. In the basement is Kindred’s two-cell jail. Attached to the north side of City Hall is the garage for the fire department’s two fire fighting units. The confessional was in the City Hall stage, back of a curtain and the parishioners sat on uncomfortable folding chairs. They now attend Mass in a church, one that isn’t their own. They use the Calvary Evangelical United Brethren Church in Kindred. Father Albert Binder, Chancellor of the diocese is pastor of St. Maurice’s at Kindred. - Catholic Action News – Mar. 1966

20 Years Ago....1996

The Diocese of Fargo’s newest parish, Sts. Anne and Joachim in south Fargo now has a building to call its own. The parish became aware of an available building at 3329 S. University Drive and the decision was made to acquire it as the parish’s temporary home and church. In addition to a large worship area, the building has a kitchen area, nursery and can accommodate eight Religious Education classes. - New Earth – Feb. 1996

10 Years ago....2006

A solemn vespers service was held at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 22 at the Basilica of St. James in Jamestown. Bishop Samuel Aquila was the celebrant for the service on the feast of the Chair of St. Peter. Father Al Bitz is the Basilica rector. Fathers Joseph Barrett and John McGinnis are parochial vicars. Father Timothy Johnson, pastor of the parishes in Oriska, Hope and Sanborn composed the music for the service and served as organist. - New Earth – Feb. 2006

For more news and events, visit the “News and Events” section of the diocesan website:

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


Events across the diocese

Make Catholic Collage series a part of your Lenten journey Have you the need for greater understanding of the Catholic

Church? Do you feel equipped to defend your faith? There is a deep richness and beauty to the teachings of the Catholic Church that requires our active, conscious effort of study and contemplation in order that we come to a greater understanding of its true meaning. Catholic Collage is an initiative started by Father Bert Miller, pastor at Blessed Sacrament Church in West Fargo, as an opportunity for Catholics to move beyond their early formative CCD knowledge. Catholic Collage will lead the faithful to deepen their understanding of faith and spirituality. Eight courses are offered over three weeks. The classes are held on consecutive Sunday afternoons Feb. 21, 28 and Mar. 6. Each Sunday afternoon is divided into two sessions. Session 1 meets 1:30-2:45 p.m. and session 2 meets 3-4:15 p.m. Participants can enroll in one three-week course in session 1 and/or one three-week course in session 2. Each session is $20 for the threeweek course. Refreshments will be provided.

The retreat begins 7 p.m. Friday, Mar. 4 and concludes by 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 6. Sister Anne Germaine and Sister Dorothy Bunce are the presenters for this retreat. The suggested donation is $85 for the weekend. If you are unable to make this donation, the Spiritual Life Center will accept any offering within your means. Registration is due Feb. 26. Register by contacting Sister Dorothy Bunce at (701) 845-2864, dorothy.bunce@fargodiocese. org or through mail at 11550 River Road, Valley City, ND 58072. The same retreat will be offered July 8-10. Registration and information to come.

Christ the King Retreat Center Buffalo, Minnesota

Session 1 courses:

• “Year of Mercy” with Bishop Folda and Father Kevin Boucher • “Vatican II for You” with Mike Hagstrom

The readers of New Earth are cordially invited to a beautiful inexpensive lakeside retreat of wonderful relaxation and spiritual rejuvenation. The theme for the retreat is “Sowing Seeds of Mercy.” For a free brochure please call 763-682-1394, email, or visit us at

• “Pope Francis and Laudato Si: Understanding the Pope’s Mission” with Joshua Gow • “A Prophet like Moses” with Monsignor Joseph Goering

Session 2 courses:

• “Authentic Love and Sexuality” with Father Reese Weber and Father Charles LaCroix • “Church Authority: Who says so?” with Father James Ermer • “The Return of the Prodigal Son book study” with Father Kurtis Gunwall and Roxane Salonen

• “Catholic Argentina and the Early Life of Pope Francis” with Father James Gross Child care for participating families is offered on site by Shanley students. Registration deadline is Feb. 17. You may register via www. or by emailing Registration forms are also available at area Catholic churches. Contact with questions.

Sisters of Mary of the Presentation offer women’s retreat “Mercy: The Face of God” is a women’s retreat offered at Maryvale Convent, Valley City Mar. 4-6. We will pray and discuss scripture, life experiences and the words of Pope Francis about the importance of mercy and compassion in our lives and in the world. There will be conferences and time for prayer and group activities that will open us to become more aware of the love of our God.

Saint Gianna’s Maternity Home has been chosen by Dakota Medical Foundation and Impact Foundation to participate in Giving Hearts Day 2016. Contributions of $10 or more will be matched. Please go to

Fernando was born on April 19th, 2014. His mother chose life! Saint Gianna’s Maternity Home offers a home and hope to mothers who find themselves pregnant and alone.

to participate.

24-hour Online Fundraising Event - February 11, 2016 NEW EARTH FEBRUARY 2016



Events across the diocese Living God’s Mercy through trust and forgiveness

St. Mary’s Cathedral invites all to parish mission Feb. 20-23

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Devils Lake will be featuring Dr. Bryan Thatcher as part of their parish mission “A day of reflection on God’s mercy” Saturday, Mar. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dr. Thatcher, who lives with his family in Tampa, Fla. has personally experienced mercy and forgiveness. He was a successful gastroenterologist for many years, but twenty years ago he hit rock bottom. A friend who knew of his struggle gave him the Diary of Saint Faustina. He read her diary and got his life back on track. As a result of his ministry, small prayer groups are now active in over 36 countries. Dr. Thatcher has written several books on Divine Mercy and has co-hosted two series on Divine Mercy that air on EWTN. Dr. Thatcher will be presenting Mar. 7 at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, Valley City after the 8:30 a.m. Mass and again at 3-6 p.m. Also on Mar. 7, he will air live on Real Presence Radio from 1-2 p.m. and will present at Nativity Catholic Church, Fargo, 7-8:30 p.m. For more information, please contact St. Joseph’s parish at (701) 662-7558.

St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Diocese of Fargo invite you to join with Pope Francis’ Missionary of Mercy Monsignor Thomas Richter, rector of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck, for an experience of God’s forgiveness and mercy at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fargo Feb. 20-23. The schedule is as follows:

Sts. Anne & Joachim Church to host Steve Ray for parish mission As part of their 2016 parish mission, Sts. Anne & Joachim Catholic Church, Fargo will be featuring Steve Ray. Since his conversion to the Catholic Church in 1994, Steve has been sharing the exciting news of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church around the world. The talks will take place Feb. 21-23 and begin at 7 p.m. each night. Children Presenter Steve Ray and adults are welcome to all presentations and free childcare will be available on site. The topics for each night are: • Sunday, Feb. 21: From Baptist to Catholic - Steve’s conversion story

• Monday, Feb. 22: Scripture and History - The Gospel of John: Master Storyteller

• Tuesday, Feb. 23: Early Church - Proclaiming the Gospel: Back Then and All Over Again

Steve Ray is an intrepid traveler, expert on the Holy Land, popular Catholic apologist, documentary producer, Bible teacher and best-selling author. His popular film series The Footprints of God has inspired and enriched the faith of thousands around the world. For more information, please call Katie at (701) 235-5757 or visit 30


• 14 scheduled hours of confession: • Feb. 21: 7:30-9 p.m.

• Feb. 22-23: 7:30-9 a.m.; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; 3-4 p.m. and 7:30-9 p.m.

• Parish also has regularly scheduled confessions times 6:30-6:50 a.m. Feb. 22-23 • Preaching on Mercy

• Monsignor Thomas Richter will preach at each weekend Mass, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m. and Feb. 21 at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m. • Conference with Evening Prayer Feb. 21-23 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

What is a Missionary of Mercy? The Missionaries are to be: 1. A living sign of the Father’s welcome to all those in search of his forgiveness 2. Facilitators for all, with no one excluded, of a truly human encounter, a source of liberation, rich with responsibility for overcoming obstacles and taking up the new life of Baptism again

3. Guided by the words, “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all” 4. Inspiring preachers of Mercy

5. Heralds of the joy of forgiveness

6. Welcoming, loving and compassionate confessors who are most especially attentive to the difficult situations of each person


Sheltering Churches provides protection for homeless By Dianne Nechiporenko


he misconception about homelessness is that those experiencing it brought it upon themselves; but many times it is the result of an unfortunate event or is a risk a person is willing to take for a better life. Conversations I have had with individuals vary greatly at Churches United for the Homeless, where my brother, sister and family members serve meals for Blessed Sacrament parish of West Fargo on a monthly basis. There is no cookie cutter image of a person without a home. There may have been a suicide in the family and the family wasn’t able to pull themselves up from it causing them to lose everything; a family with two little children may be moving from Georgia for better employment opportunities or someone may be fleeing a volatile neighborhood in a large community. People describe working multiple jobs but are still unable to afford the price of apartments after paying bills or being discharged from the military and not feeling as if they fit in. Someone may have been evicted because a roommate hadn’t been paying rent or felt unsafe in an abusive relationship. Regardless, these individuals and families are without homes, without stability and without the feelings of dignity, self-esteem and respect. Many times being without a home is a full time job to figure out how to survive on the street. They need to resolve where to find food, housing, showers, laundry and a place to stay safe and warm. There continues to be large numbers of homeless individuals in the community who will need shelter during the winter months. FM Sheltering Churches provides overflow sheltering for the winter season. FM Sheltering Churches is a volunteer-run organization that works to build a partnership between area shelters and the churches of our metro area. Homelessness has been on the rise in our community, but instead of building another shelter, FM Sheltering Churches provides warmth and comfort in existing facilities (namely

churches) while we work toward long-term goals and permanent solutions. There are roughly 24 congregations who made a commitment to offer their building or assisting with staffing to provide overflow sheltering for the homeless or to partner with a host site. Guests first arrive at area shelters and are only transported to the emergency overflow host church in the event that there is no more room in the permanent shelter. All guests must first go through regular check-in processes at the permanent shelter. As an individual who has volunteered through Blessed Sacrament Church, West Fargo for the three years of our involvement, I can attest that you walk away with more blessings than you contribute. Our guests are appreciative, gracious and very similar to you and me. They appreciate visiting, playing games, eating snacks, looking through donated items of clothing and hygiene items, as well as resting in the warmth of the indoors. They leave in the morning with breakfast and a feeling of dignity and respect. In summoning the Church to a Year of Mercy, Pope Francis is calling on us to become living signs of love. We long to love and be loved, and cling to the love that we have found. Jesus reassured his disciples that already they lived in a love that would not be taken from them. There can be no greater joy than the knowledge that, despite our many failings, we are truly loved. If you have not had or taken the opportunity to volunteer in this ministry, it is not too late. Go to for online volunteer sign-up with additional information provided. Dianne Nechiporenko is the executive director of Catholic Charities ND. Catholic Charities provides adoption, counseling and guardianship services and serves people of all faiths. Visit their website at

Air mattresses are set up at one of the Sheltering Churches in the Fargo/Moorhead area for the homeless. After area shelters are filled, churches in the area provide overflow warmth and comfort for the homeless during the winter months. (FM Coalition for Homeless Persons)





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



New Earth February 2016  

Official magazine of the Diocese of Fargo, ND

New Earth February 2016  

Official magazine of the Diocese of Fargo, ND