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New January 2017 | Vol. 38 | No. 1


The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo

Mission of Mercy Mercy Project renews hope at St. Ann’s Mission in Belcourt


From Bishop Folda: Create in me a clean heart

National Conference on Catholic Youth Salonen shares motivation for pro-life Ministry inspires local evangelizers activism in inaugural ‘Sidewalk Stories’ NEW EARTH JANUARY 2017





January 2017 Vol. 38 | No. 1

ON THE COVER 14 Mercy Project renews hope at St. Ann’s Mission Church in Belcourt St. Ann’s Mission Church and School have been serving

the faithful on the Turtle Mountain Reservation since 1885. The church and school are facing crippling challenges and financial pressures. Bishop Folda has made helping the church and school a priority by declaring St. Ann’s the recipient of the diocesan Mercy Project. The needs are great, but the rewards are even greater.



Create in me a clean heart



Pope Francis’ January prayer intentions


Ask a priest: Three questions about the liturgy



Early church, Islam, Reformation, Mary among topics of 4th annual Catholic Collage


St. Anthony of Padua celebrating parish centennial


10 St. Cecila’s Corner

Music for every taste at Holy Cross

Catholic Church in West Fargo

11 Tattered Pages

A review of “John Senior and the Restoration of Realism” by Father Francis Bethel OSB


12 National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry inspires local evangelizers





20 Stories of Faith

The story this month is a testimony to how the joys and hardships of World Youth Day go hand-in-hand.

21 Seminarian Life

Seminarian Corey Baumgartner shares an encounter with Christ he experienced while ministering to youth.

22 Catholic Action

Christopher Dodson explains how the Alternatives to Abortion program can fight poverty.

24 Stewardship

Steve Schons suggests what to consider for a New Year’s resolution.

25 Twenty Something



Guest columnist Christina Capecchi shares the story of a “prayer box” and how it expresses the spiritual hunger of the world.

ON THE COVER: St. Ann’s Mission Church in Belcourt is blanketed in snow. St. Ann’s has been selected as the Fargo Diocese Mercy Project. (submitted photo)



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


Most Rev. John T. Folda Bishop of Fargo


Paul Braun

Assistant editor Kristina Lahr


Stephanie Drietz - Drietz Designs


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





26 Events across the diocese 27 A glimpse of the past 28 Life’s milestones


29 World scarred by war, greed must welcome prince of peace, pope says 30 Final resting place: Vatican releases instruction on burial, cremation

SPECIAL SECTION – Sidewalk Stories

31 Salonen shares motivation for pro-life activism in inaugural ‘Sidewalk Stories’

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 February issue is January 18, 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 NEW EARTH JANUARY 2017



Create in me a clean heart


uch attention has been given recently to the scourge of human trafficking, and rightly so. It is abhorrent to think that human beings, our brothers and sisters, are literally traded for profit, bought and sold for the use of others. But more prevalent and much closer to home is another plague, a sickness in our society: the rampant production and use of pornography. It is often maintained that pornography is a harmless indulgence and has no victims. But the fact is that there are many victims of pornography, starting with those who are portrayed in it. Every person portrayed is beloved by God our Father and is someone’s daughter or son. And yet, through pornography, they are reduced to objects and exploited for profit. Even those who view pornography are also victims, in a certain sense. They too become degraded by the use of pornography, and often become addicted to it. Like any addiction, pornography plays on an interior weakness, a desire that craves satisfaction. But most habitual pornography users will tell you that they are never really satisfied. Repeated use only stimulates a desire for more. Those who use pornography become desensitized, and even debased by the objectification of those portrayed. They lose a sense of the sacredness of the human body and human sexuality. They see only the flesh and lose sight of the person. The consequences of pornography use can be devastating. Pornography ruins relationships, especially marriages. Up until recently, financial issues were the leading cause of marital disintegration, but now pornography use has taken over first place. It has a corrosive effect on families, isolating spouses from one another, and leading to secretiveness and suspicion. Pornography diminishes the user’s capacity for healthy human relationships and intimacy. This means that those considering the vocation to marriage must also be aware of how pornography could erode their ability to begin healthy relationships. It is a great act of love, for a potential future spouse, to take concrete steps to guard against or end pornography use.

And the effects of pornography are not limited to adults. Current studies show that most children are first exposed to pornography between the ages of 8 and 10, which might seem shocking until we realize how prevalent it is in the media. If our children watch network television, they know about pornography. If they have access to the internet or a “smart phone” without filtering or accountability measures, they have ready access to pornography. Parents have a solemn duty to protect their children from danger, and this includes protecting them from the poison of pornography. Young minds and hearts are very impressionable, and early exposure to pornography leaves a profound and disturbing imprint on the imagination and memory of a child. As the problem of pornography has become more widespread and the effects more evident, the bishops of our nation have felt the need to respond. Last year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a pastoral statement, called “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography.” This letter draws attention to the problem and offers strategies for a solution. The most immediate truth that must be proclaimed is the beauty and inherent dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God. Pornography is a counterfeit, a false portrayal of the person and a betrayal of our universal vocation to love. But the remedy is right before us: Jesus himself. The same Lord who took our human nature as our redeemer now calls us to renewed respect and reverence for the sacredness of the human body. Whenever we are immersed in sin, Jesus can lift us up and set us back on a pathway towards God. The Church reaffirms that using or producing pornography is always gravely wrong, and a mortal sin if committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent. This sin needs the Lord’s forgiveness and should be confessed within the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The good news is that God’s mercy is always available to us, and can overcome any sin, even the sin of pornography. Pornography profoundly wounds the soul, but God’s mercy is always there to heal and restore us. Prayer is another important remedy for pornography. When we regularly turn to God and enter into communion with him through prayer, there is less room in our soul for an attraction to sin. Through prayer, we are gently formed by God to seek only what is good and wholesome and holy. Prayer even forms our desires and strengthens us against the temptations that would lead us away from God and from our true selves. St. Augustine, who struggled with chastity in his early life, wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts

“Pornography is a counterfeit, a false portrayal of the person and a betrayal of our universal vocation to love. But the remedy is right before us: Jesus himself.” – Bishop John Folda, Diocese of Fargo 4


are restless until they rest in you.” When we do rest in God’s at hand. Prayer and the sacraments are the first line of defense. presence through prayer, the restlessness that seeks sinful satisfaction Talking to your pastor, though initially difficult, can be a great can be stilled, and we can dwell peacefully in his grace. relief for those who bear this burden alone and in secret. The Many people struggle with the use of pornography, including diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life is working on faithful Catholics, people of other faiths, and people of no faith. initiatives to reach out to anyone who has suffered the effects of We are all vulnerable to the attractions of sin, and sadly, many pornography, and to assist parents in protecting their children have fallen prey to the seductive temptation of pornography. But from exposure to it. there is always hope, even for those who have been immersed Nothing is impossible for God, and with his help, anyone in this shadowy world for a long time. The power of grace is can be freed from the bondage of pornography. As our society greater than any sin, and we have the constant assurance of grapples with this plague, let us all pray in the words of the God’s love and mercy to heal us. psalmist, “Create in me a clean heart (Ps. 51:10).” For those who do struggle withof pornography, help is close Diocese Fargo Official Appointments/Announcements

Bishop Folda’s Calendar Jan. 7-13

Region VIII Bishops Retreat, Venice, Fla.

Jan. 15 | 11 a.m.

Mass at St. Mary, Forman

Jan. 16 | 1 p.m.

Priest Council, Pastoral Center

Jan. 19 | 5:15 p.m.

Mass for Homeschoolers, St. Michael, Grand Forks

Jan. 21 | 5 p.m.

Feb. 2 | 9:30 a.m.

Mass for JPII Schools Catholic Schools Week, Shanley, Fargo

Feb. 3 | 11 a.m.

Mass for St. Catherine School, Valley City

Feb. 4 | 5:30 p.m.

Mass at St. Mark Bottineau

Feb. 5 | 9 a.m.

Mass at St. Andrew, Westhope

11 a.m.

Mass at St. Paul, Tappen

Mass at St. Mark, Bottineau

Jan. 22 | 9 a.m.

Feb. 6-9

Mass at St. Mary, Medina

11 a.m.

Mass at St. Francis de Sales, Steele

Jan. 23 | 5:15 p.m.

Mass for bisonCatholic Week, St. Paul Newman Center, Fargo

Jan. 25 | 3 p.m.

JPII Schools Board of Directors Meeting, Pastoral Center

Jan. 26 | 5:30 p.m.

Mass for Legislature, Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Bismarck

Jan. 31 | 10 a.m.

Mass for St. John’s Academy, Jamestown

National Catholic Bioethics Conference, Dallas, Texas

Feb. 9 | 6 p.m.

JPII Schools Staff Dinner at Nativity, Fargo

Feb. 10 | 6 p.m.

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

Feb. 12 | 11 a.m.

Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center, Grand Forks

4:45 p.m.

Operation Andrew Dinner, St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center, Grand Forks

7:30 p.m.

Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center, Grand Forks NEW EARTH JANUARY 2017



Starting in 2017 the Pope will present only one prepared prayer intention per month, rather than the two presented before this year. He plans, however, to add a second prayer intention each month related to current events or urgent needs, like disaster relief. The urgent prayer request will help mobilize prayer and action related to the urgent situation. The Apostleship of Prayer will publish these urgent prayer intentions as well as a video relating to his prayer intentions at

What is the process in the preparation of the prepared prayer intentions? The faithful from around the world suggest papal prayer intentions to the international office of the Apostleship of Prayer in Rome. Through prayerful discernment the Apostleship selects a large number of them and submits them to the Vatican for further selection, with the Pope making the final selection. The Vatican then entrusts to the Apostleship of Prayer the official set of monthly prayer intentions, which the Apostleship then translates into the major world languages and publishes in print and digital formats. 

Prayer Intention of Pope Francis - January CHRISTIAN UNITY: That all Christians may be faithful to the Lord’s teaching by striving with prayer and fraternal charity to restore ecclesial communion and by collaborating to meet the challenges facing humanity.

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Three questions about the liturgy ew Earth readers have asked three separate questions that deal with liturgy. Here’s a brief response to each.

the Roman Missal of Paul VI in 1970, and it has stayed there since. It is fitting that Why do some people hold hands during the Our Father the ancient liturgical Ask a Priest at Mass? Where did this practice come from? tradition of concludFather Matthew Holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer at Mass is not part ing the Our Father of the official practice of the Church. The General Instruction of with a doxology Kraemer the Roman Missal (GIRM), which is, for lack of a better term, the would again be part “rule book” for how Mass is to be celebrated, does not indicate of the celebration of how the faithful should hold their hands during the Our Father. the Mass. While participating at Mass, it is always appropriate to fold Outside of Mass, one’s hands since it is an expression of reverence and a prayerful the tradition whereby Catholics don’t say the doxology and disposition. This holds true during the Our Father as well. protestants generally do, comes from the vernacular translations Holding hands at the Our Father is not forbidden, but no one of Scriptures that were published after the reformation. The should be forced to do so. Rheims New Testament, an English translation completed in On the other hand, after the Our Father, when the priest or 1582, is based on the Latin Vulgate, which does not include the deacon says “Let us offer each other the sign of peace,” then doxology. This translation was used widely by Catholics. The we are asked to make some gesture of peace, communion and King James Bible, completed in 1611, which was widely used by charity. The Roman Missal indicates that this sign is according Protestants, was translated from manuscripts which included to local custom. In our Diocese the local custom is a handshake, the doxology. or within families or close friends, a hug. Modern critical editions of the New Testament now attest that What is the proper position for the congregation after the original text of the Lord’s prayer did not include the doxology. Nevertheless, there are many other non-biblical liturgical texts the priest has finished cleaning the vessels at Mass and which we as Catholics consider to be legitimate expressions of sits down? Usually the congregation sits down when the the Church’s faith and prayer. It is perfectly acceptable for our priests sits just before the final blessing, but I’ve seen some protestant brothers and sisters to do the same.

people remain kneeling. Is there a note in the church books on what the congregation should do? Is it cultural? Father Kraemer serves as the Secretary to the Bishop, Master of

GIRM #43 states the following: “…if appropriate [the faithful] may sit or kneel during the period of sacred silence after Communion.” In some parishes in the Diocese of Fargo the custom is to kneel until the priest sits down, in others, to kneel until the Prayer After Communion. Either practice is acceptable.

Why don’t Catholics finish the Our Father (for thine is the kingdom, the power, and glory forever and ever)?

Catholics do pray a doxology after the Our Father at Mass: “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.” But they don’t say it when they pray the Our Father outside of Mass, unlike some of their protestant brothers and sisters. Why is this? The doxology is probably a liturgical addition to the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). Many of the earliest Greek manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew do not include this doxology, but some of the later ones do. A very early reference to this doxology is in the liturgical document called the Didache (Syria, 100-110 A.D.). It concludes the Lord’s Prayer with the following: “…for Yours is the power and the glory for ever.” The use of the doxology after the Lord’s Prayer at the celebration of Mass fell out of use in the West at some point, and it is certain that it was not used in the Roman liturgy ever since the Roman Missal of Pius V in 1570. It was reintroduced into the Mass in

Ceremonies, Vice Chancellor, and Director of Liturgy for the Diocese of Fargo. He can be reached at Editor’s Note: If you have a question about the Catholic faith and would like to submit a question for consideration in a future column, please send to with “Ask a Priest” in the subject line or mail to New Earth, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S, Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104, Attn: Ask a Priest.

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Early church, Islam, Reformation, Mary among topics of 4th annual Catholic Collage By Roxane B. Salonen


rowing up in Fargo, Paul Opperman wasn’t Catholic; his conversion happened in college in the relatively nonchurched climate of the Pacific Northwest. Returning to Fargo as a convert some 40 years later, he says, he yearned to connect with the Catholic community here, and found a way through a then-new program, Catholic Collage. “The richness of the Church, of the history, I can never get enough of it,” says Opperman, who notes that Catholic Collage has helped him live his faith more deeply and intensely. “Education helps us understand our own experiences,” he says, “and points us in the direction to further explore, and ultimately, that exploration brings us more fully into our relationship with Jesus Christ.” Opperman, now among those who helps plan the three-week, mid-winter courses within Catholic Collage, now in its fourth year, says this year’s offerings are some of the most exciting yet. “I’m amazed at the diversity of what we’re presenting this year, and how it all fits together,” he says, mentioning topics involving the end times, who we are as a Church, and the current struggles we face. “We’ll be going back to the beginning and yet looking to the future, but also understanding the in-between.” Included are classes covering what Muslims believe, the Book of Revelation, Discernment of Spirits, Mary, Catholic-Protestant History, Marriage, The Real Early Church, and Preaching the Gospel in the Next Century. Joan Schaefer, another organizer, says the program initially was inspired by Concordia College’s “Communiversity,” but with a Catholic slant, adding that it’s not always easy to garner from the culture what faithful and informed Catholics believe and think. “If we’re better informed we can be better witnesses in the world.” About 100 people take part each year, she says. “It’s refreshing to know people are willing to give up an afternoon to come and learn, and that we have presenters willing to give of their time… We do have very talented people (teaching) who love sharing their faith.” She’s been especially impressed by those from outside the Fargo-Moorhead area who’ve sacrificed Sunday afternoons to drive a fair distance to take part. “If the spirit is stirring you, you need to respond to that. Pick up a friend, get into the car 8


and come together.” Father Kurtis Gunwall says that in his years being involved in Catholic Collage as an instructor, he’s appreciated that the offerings are not just theology presentations, but a chance to engage together on how the topics impact us personally. “Unless we know how to dialogue about some of these issues, or ask a question, we’re not prepared to share (the faith) with others,” he says. Kent and Lisa Wanner, Fargo, are busy parents of seven, ages 3 to 17, but not too busy to make time several Sundays in February to participate. “We’ve attended all of the Catholic Collages, and they’ve all been great experiences,” says Kent. “The timing is perfect, in the coldest part of winter on Sunday afternoons when there is no football.” He adds that their older children now help with childcare, earning service-hour credits for Shanley High School religion class. “The duration for each session is very good, and the three weekends are long enough to learn a lot without too big of a commitment.” He and Lisa usually take different sessions so they can “maximize learning” through sharing with each other later. The classes, he says, also have ended up being “the impetus to establish a ‘mini-tradition’ where we get together with friends of ours and have supper at their house after the classes one of the weekends.” Kent adds, “We would certainly encourage everybody, especially busy families with children, to take advantage of this opportunity with free childcare and a lot of like-minded people to learn more about your faith and make some new friends in the process.” “So many Catholics live on the surface of something that is so rich,” Opperman concludes. “It’s so sad to be sitting at the banquet, and only picking at a little appetizer here and there, not even understanding you’re at a huge banquet…This is a great investment.” Those interested can register online at www.catholiccollage. com or by downloading the registration form and mailing it to the address listed on the webpage. Each course costs $20 with two sessions offered; participants can sign up for one or two sessions, each running for 75 minutes. Refreshments are served in between, and daycare for children is available.

Father Courtright is the main celebrant for the Mass that kicked off the centennial celebration for St. Anthony of Padua Church, Fargo, on Nov. 18. (Bruce Crummy | Bruce Crummy Photography)

St. Anthony of Padua celebrating parish centennial By Father James Gross | Parochial Vicar at St. Anthony of Padua Church


t. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Fargo, has scheduled area until 1998, when it was renamed Sullivan Middle School a number of events to mark its 100th anniversary. Founded as and eventually moved to its current location on the Shanley/ the city’s second Catholic Church (after St. Mary’s Cathedral), Sullivan campus in south Fargo. After an extensive renovation, Bishop James O’ Reilly of Fargo dedicated the new church building the school building now serves as office spaces, faith formation Nov. 18, 1917 to meet the spiritual needs of Catholics on the classrooms and the parish social hall. growing south side of the city. Monsignor Vincent Ryan served A volunteer centennial committee is putting together a as the first Pastor from 1917-40, before being named Bishop of commemorative book to be available next year. The parish is also the Diocese of Bismarck. The current pastor is Father Raymond about to embark on a campaign to finance needed renovations Courtright, serving in this position since 2009. to the sanctuary, to be completed in 2017. St. Anthony’s held a special Mass Nov. 18, 2016 to kick off Upcoming events include a parish picnic and all-school reunion the centennial observances. The congregation welcomed back June 16 and a closing liturgy Nov. 18. Everyone is welcome to several clergy and religious sisters who had served the parish join in any or all of these celebrations and help the people of St. and school. St. Anthony’s School, completed in the 1920s, most Anthony’s honor their great heritage of faith. recently served middle school students in the metropolitan

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St. Cecilia’s


Music for every taste at Holy Cross Catholic Church in West Fargo

Music is an essential element of liturgy, inspiring people to praise God with one voice in a unique spiritual way. Holy Cross is blessed with a vibrant group of musicians who have formed various ensembles and choirs including an Adult Choir, Bell Choir, two adult Contemporary Bands, a youth Contemporary Band as well as a 4th-6th Grade Youth Choir and High School Choir, to serve the music needs of the community. There are many opportunities for those who want to share their musical Join

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St. Cecilia’s Corner is a new feature for New Earth Magazine. Each month we highlight the musicians and music program of churches around the diocese. To feature your parish music program, send a photo and information to:

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gifts. We always welcome new members to continue the quality of our ministry. All of our adult music groups are led and directed by our liturgist, Bianca Wiederrich and the youth music groups are led and directed by Patrick Thiel.


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Reawakening Wonder

A review of Father Francis Bethel OSB’s “John Senior and the Restoration of Realism” By Dr. Jared Staudt Senior is best known, however, for the program he cofounded at the University of Kansas, the Integrated Humanities Program (IHP). Running throughout the 1970s, IHP sought not so much to teach the classics of Western civilization (which it did), but more so to provide a direct experience of the foundations of the culture, which produced the texts. When students encountered the reality of truth through the texts, conversations of their teachers (which substituted for lectures), and the cultural elements mentioned above, their A review of Catholic books and literature minds and hearts were opened. The success of the program was its undoing. After conversions to the Catholic faith and “John Senior and the Restoration of Realism tells a number of religious vocations to a French, Benedictine of an extraordinary teacher and mentor who monastery, concerned administrators responded to the enabled his students to do something absolutely complaints of parents and even the ACLU to strip the program ordinary…. Without preaching, his teaching led of funding and support. to hundreds of conversions to Catholicism and John Senior has much to teach us in this age of rebellion against God the Creator. Father Bethel summarizes Senior’s many vocations.” –Dr. Jared Staudt philosophy as Made for the Starts but Rooted in the Soil. Senior ope Francis recently pointed to a troubling characteristic realized by his own experience that the human plant, in order of our time. Speaking to the Polish Bishops at World to tend to the stars, must be nourished in the soil of this world. Youth Day, he related that “in a conversation with Pope His turn-about and then his work with students deeply Benedict... he said to me: ‘Holiness, this is the age of sin against impressed on him that we must ground all intellectual and affective life on the experiential and imaginative level. This God the Creator.’” There are of course direct ways to sin against God the Creator: concrete way of nourishing Realism underlay everything he destroying human life, denying the truth of our body or sexuality, taught and the way he taught it. or harming the environment. There are also indirect ways such In addition to learning about Senior’s life and educational as withdrawing from the reality of nature by entering into a philosophy, the book offers helpful guidance in reinvigorating home life. “The Restoration of Elemental Things,” chapter 11, in virtual or abstract world of our own making. particular, lays out a vision for restoring culture through family Father Francis Bethel, OSB has provided us with the portrait life (which for Senior includes drastically limiting the reach of a prophet of realism—understood as our ability to encounter of technology). and know the truth of reality. John Senior and the Restoration of Realism tells of an In following Senior’s wisdom in cultivating a direct experience extraordinary teacher and mentor who enabled his students to of reality, parents and educators will find much needed wisdom do something absolutely ordinary. In an age of rebellion, rock in reawakening themselves and their children/students to the and roll, and drugs, Prof. Senior’s students read the great classics wonder of creation. of Western literature, memorized poetry, learned to speak Latin, Editor’s note: In the past Tattered Pages reviewed only books. It is now gazed at the stars, sang folk songs, explored Europe, and learned open to review movies and music as well that help us fill our minds to waltz. Without preaching, his teaching led to hundreds of with good things and shape our Catholic faith. conversions to Catholicism and many vocations. John Senior and the Restoration of Realism is an intellectual biography, exploring both a remarkable life, aimed at discovering About the Book: the truth, and the philosophy that stood behind it. Growing up “John Senior and the on Long Island, Senior experienced the best and worst of his Restoration of Realism.” age, dabbling in Communism as a youth, exploring the role of Published by the occult in French symbolist literature as a grad student, and Thomas More College Press. looking for answers in Hinduism as a young professor. On the other side, he spent his teenage summers as a cowboy in the Hardcover 452 pages. Dakotas (including work on a ranch in Grand Forks), experienced Available via Barnes and Noble, the fruits of the country’s first Great Books Program at Columbia Amazon and other book resellers. University and embraced Catholicism as the destination of his intellectual and spiritual wanderings.






National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry inspires local evangelizers By Kathy Loney | Diocese of Fargo Youth Ministry Director


he National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry (NCCYM) is the largest conference in the nation for adults who minister to Catholic youth. Many involved with this ministry, whether youth or campus ministers, religious education leaders, clergy and religious, performers, artists and volunteers, came together to be inspired by keynote speakers, challenging workshops, dynamic prayer and worship, extensive networking, many resource exhibits and good-hearted entertainment. The gathering of so many truly empowered our attendees to explore and discover different ways of evangelization that will help them connect with youth, young adults and volunteers so that all can continue the journey to true discipleship. The next conference will be in 2018 and held in Tampa, Fla. I encourage anyone who works with our youth to attend this conference. Scholarships are usually offered through The National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry and our Diocesan Youth and Young Adult Ministry office. For more information on these scholarships, contact Kathy Loney at (701) 356-7902. Here is some of what our attendees had to say about this years’ conference:

youth ministers from around the country and was able to share ideas with them. I look forward to getting my youth ready for the National Catholic Youth Conference this fall.” –Teresa Orr, Holy Family Church, Grand Forks

“This conference was a great opportunity to return to my parish with fresh ideas for the classroom, youth group and how to best use technology with our teens. It’s also nice to return with the realization that everyone working with our youth have the same struggles, concerns and great love for our young people as we all work toward our ultimate goal of evangelization and leading our teens closer to Christ.” –Susan Ripplinger, Sts. Anne & Joachim Church, Fargo

“I am grateful to have attended NCCYM 2016, not only because of what I learned in the sessions and workshops, but because of the opportunity I had to meet lots of peers from all over the country. Some of them were from very different settings and walks of life than I, and yet we had a love for Christ and his Church in common. I was able to see how everyone at NCCYM can receive refreshment from the dedication of one another ‘fighting the good fight’ in their respective diocese and communities. Although our challenges are numerous and daunting, we need not feel like we are tackling them alone.” –Father James Gross, St. Anthony of Padua Church, Fargo

“The conference was filled with wonderful speakers, prayer services “NCCYM is a great way for youth leaders to re-charge their spiritual and workshops. The one that really struck me was How to Pray with batteries and share ideas. We are all called to have a personal relationship Middle School Students. There is such a need for creativity as the with Jesus Christ. This conference provided me with the tools to culture in which our youth live in constantly changes.” encourage my youth to go deeper into their relationship with Jesus.” –Catie Vetter, St. Benedict’s Church, Wild Rice –Natalie Lies, St. Anthony of Padua Church, Fargo “The keynote speakers, workshop presenters, liturgies, music and “I enjoyed the opportunity to go with other youth ministers to attend entertainment were absolutely amazing! What a great way to get ideas NCCYM. It has given me the chance to build friendships and develop and rejuvenate our programs for our young church!” a support system. The keynote and workshop speakers were awesome –Sharon Wilhelmi, Holy Family Church, Grand Forks and provided me with some ideas to implement into our parish “I was overwhelmed by the beauty of our Catholic faith. I am so excited program. I highly recommend other youth ministers from our diocese to use the tools that I learned through the workshops. I met wonderful to attend this conference.” –Melodi Novotny, St. Boniface Church, Lidgerwood Local youth evangelizers attended the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry in San Jose, Calif. Dec 1-3. Back row: Father James Gross, Melodi Novotny, Teresa Orr. Front row: Natalie Lies, Catie Vetter, Sue Ripplinger, Kathy Loney and Sharon Wilhelmi.






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St. Ann’s Mission Church parish office building and resource center needs a new roof. (Paul Braun/New Earth)

Mission of Mercy

Mercy Project renews hope at St. Ann’s Mission in Belcourt By Paul Braun


ather Jeffrey Eppler makes his daily trek from the rectory enduring way to a specific need. Many options were considered of St. Ann’s Mission Church in Belcourt to the parish office, by Bishop John Folda and the priests of the Fargo Diocese for St. Ann’s Church, the Queen of Peace center, and St. Ann’s a Mercy Project. They settled on St. Ann’s Mission Church and Catholic School. As he walks he thinks to himself at times, “How School. St. Ann’s is in constant need of funds for faculty and long until we just can’t sustain our mission anymore?” Father staff salaries, books, classroom supplies, and building upkeep. Eppler endures what most every parish priest has to cope with; Most families cannot afford to pay tuition, and the church and how to find the money to keep the lights on, the boiler running, school has to raise significant funds every year to keep operating. the staff paid, and the buildings in repair, but his problem is “Within the past year, the future of the school especially was in intensified by the economic and social challenges facing his doubt, and I felt the diocese should do what we can to keep the parish and parishioners. doors open for the children and families of the Turtle Mountain Belcourt is the largest city on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation,” says Bishop Folda. “Immediate building needs at Reservation in north-central North Dakota. St. Ann’s Mission the parish are over $450,000, and the school operating budget Church has served the people of the Chippewa Nation and is over $200,000 per year.” It is hoped the Mercy Project will the Metis since 1885. Currently there are about 300 registered raise enough money to activate a pending anonymous matching households at St. Ann’s and over 3,000 Catholics served. The donation of $200,000. area suffers from a nearly 65% unemployment rate, most of A RICH HISTORY those who have jobs are employed by the federal government or at the Sky Dancer Casino. The number of families living in The Turtle Mountain Reservation was officially settled and poverty grows yearly. The average weekly collection of $2,600 created in December, 1882, when members of the Pembina Band can’t even keep up with the electric bills each month, according of the Ojibwa moved there from their hunting and trading outpost to Father Eppler. Parishioners do their best, but many families at Pembina. These newcomers settled among the Metis, members of the band who had already settled in the Turtle Mountains just don’t have the money to help out. prior to the establishment of the reservation. The Metis are the During the Jubilee Year of Mercy in 2016, Pope Francis invited offspring of Chippewa and Cree Indians and French fur traders, every diocese to sponsor a project that would respond in an who came to North America nearly 300 years ago. The Metis 14


COVER STORY had been converted to Catholicism by Father Georges-Antoine Belcourt, for whom the city of Belcourt was named. The first log church was built in 1884 under the direction of Father J.B. Malo of St. John. Following Father Malo, two French Canadian priests arrived in 1894, Father Joseph Quellette and Father Leonce Ducharme. In 1932 the Benedictines took over the ministry at St. Ann’s. Father Hildebrande Elliot’s ministry lasted from 1932-68. In 1995 the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) was assigned to St. Ann’s.


Many of the buildings on the mission grounds are eighty years old or older, and due to the economic hardship in the area over the last century, money has not been available for many routine maintenance projects, much less major renovations. Some of the buildings have fallen into such disrepair they are beyond salvageable. Two buildings, Madonna Hall and the St. Joseph Catechism Center, must be torn down because the cost to refurbish them is just too great. Madonna Hall has ceilings coming down, mold on many of the walls, and the exterior bricks are falling off due to structural cracking and settling inside and out. The Madonna statue will be preserved and placed in a grotto behind the Queen of Peace Retreat Center. The St. Joseph Catechism Center has also been closed down and sealed-off. By closing down the building, two of the three boilers that heat the center and the St. Ann’s Mission School are not needed, saving St. Ann’s thousands of dollars in heating and electrical costs in the winter. One other building that is especially in need of repair is the Parish Resource Center. The church secretary and others work on the first floor of the building, but the second floor is uninhabitable due to major leaks in the flat roof. The leaks have become so bad that the second floor ceiling is coming down and mold is growing along the ceiling and walls. The problem areas are right above the ceiling where the church secretary works, and if repairs can’t be made soon it is feared the parish offices and employees will have to vacate the building altogether.


St. Ann’s School closed down in the mid-seventies due to declining enrollment and lack of funds to keep the school going. In 1999 a new school building was built, and rented out to the tribal school system as a pre-school and alternative high school. The rent money paid to St. Ann’s by the tribal school system helped to keep St. Ann’s Mission Church operating. In 1999 it was determined the spiritual needs of the children of parish families were not being properly met, and St. Ann’s Mission School reopened in the original school building connected to St. Ann’s Church. The teaching and administrative staff were all-volunteer at the school, but high changeover in staff resulted in a dwindling student population. Three years ago it was decided that, in order to reduce teacher attrition, school staff needed to be paid. However, funding sources need to be identified to keep them paid and to cut down on staff attrition. Families of the current 33 children in Kindergarten through sixth grade are not charged tuition at St. Ann’s School, but are encouraged to make whatever monetary donations they can towards their child’s education to

The second floor of the resource center cannot be used due to the leaking roof. (Paul Braun/New Earth)

Plaster is falling, yet mold is growing on the walls and ceiling of the parish office second floor in the resource center. The roof must be replaced immediately and the interior repaired. (Paul Braun/ New Earth)

Madonna Hall is beyond repair and has been condemned. (Paul Braun/New Earth)




The northeast corner of Madonna Hall shows structural damage. (Submitted photo)

St. Joseph’s Catechism Center will be demolished. Closing the building has cut heating costs substantially. (Paul Braun/New Earth)

their education gives them a foundation to help them overcome the obstacles they will face as adults in order to succeed. “It gives them hope in their ability to achieve long-term goals,” says Father Eppler. “A faith-based education also helps them realize they have dignity and are special in God’s eyes.” Father Eppler says St. Ann’s students get a comparable education to the public/tribal schools, but the faith-based aspect helps them develop spiritually in the face of family and economic trials and hardships. “The only stability many of them have is Christ, to be able to relate and count on Jesus throughout the whole day,” says Father Eppler. “When students move on to the next grade level in the public schools, many of them excel because they have learned how to study and apply themselves to homework at St. Ann’s school.” Having a secure, steady financial stream is paramount for the school – without it there is no school. Figuring out how to generate that revenue each year is an ongoing challenge. The past few school years there has not been enough money available to keep the school running, but Father Eppler says through it all, somehow God has provided. But constantly worrying whether there will be enough money to keep the school operating through any given year does not bode well for the long-term future of the school. The goal is to have enough money on hand to keep the school operating for two straight years and to keep the funding at that level, which has proven to be difficult. However, the school’s future is not all bleak. When the tribal school system moved out of the newer school building on the mission grounds last year, St. Ann’s School took over the classrooms, cafeteria and gymnasium. The newer building is a great step-up from the old school building, which will now house catechism classes, but it does need work. The gymnasium roof especially needs major repairs very soon. The gym is the center for most school activities. Donations to the Mercy project will have an immediate impact. “The funds that we raise will help St. Ann’s School meet their immediate needs and will also help them to jump start their own fundraising and development efforts,” says Bishop Folda. “After this Year of Mercy appeal, we’ll evaluate where we are and what the ongoing needs are at St. Ann’s. My hope is that we as a diocese can help one of our own parishes to provide a Catholic education to children and families in need. Not only will the children receive an excellent education, but they will have a safe and stable place to grow in their relationship with God and the Church.”


The old St. Ann’s parish school is being remodeled to be used for catechism classes. (Paul Braun/New Earth)

help offset costs. Needless to say, with the economic challenges on the reservation, donations are hard to come by. The St. Ann’s School mission is vital to the area, because Father Eppler believes a faith-based education is critical to the development of the kids attending the school. That aspect of 16


Father Eppler says even though there is such a great need for the parish due to the economic, social (family issues) and health challenges on the reservation, parishioners still have natural gifts to be spiritual, and those gifts need to be cultivated. They are living their faith and doing it heroically every day despite these challenges, reaching out through Christ to others around the diocese through their many ministries, providing retreat teams and other opportunities. They give of themselves so freely around the diocese, and they could use some help to keep these efforts going.


St. Ann’s School is now housed in the former tribal Alternative High School building, which is less than 20 years old. (Paul Braun/New Earth)

“The spiritual future of the parish bodes very well, says Father Eppler. “Traditionally, St. Ann’s has one of the largest confirmation classes in the diocese each year. Kids and adults are taking part in the sacraments, and the adoration chapel is a special addition and is in constant use when it is open. There is a spirituality and sense of purpose among the faithful in Belcourt.” Diocesan faithful received a letter from Bishop Folda in November explaining the Mercy Project and the needs of the St. Ann’s Mission Church and School. The diocese Stewardship

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Despite being a relatively new building on the mission grounds, the school gymnasium is in need of a new roof to fix leaks and prevent further mold growth. (Paul Braun/New Earth)

and Development office is working with St. Ann’s on a broader outreach to help create a sustainable funding stream for the St. Ann’s Mission as well. If you have any questions about the mercy Project or on how to donate, go to the St. Ann’s Mission Church website at www. Donations may also be sent directly to: Diocese of Fargo Mercy Project, c/o Office of Stewardship and Development, 5201 Bishops Blvd, Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104.


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Where peace and suffering met By Kristina Lahr


went to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland in July 2016 in order to experience the unity that exists in the world. With everything that seems to divide us overseas and even in our own neighborhoods, I hoped to see Christ in those around me whether they were my fellow pilgrims from the U.S. or pilgrims from Poland, China, Australia or Syria. The first time I experienced this unity was during the week with my host family. I connected deeply with them despite our language barrier. It took me three days to understand that the man and woman I was staying with were not married but were actually brother and sister. As we laughed through failed translations, I found myself growing to love these people. We were from opposite sides of the world. Yet we were together, brought together by Christ to see something in each other in order to draw us closer to him. My host family’s lifestyle was very simple and despite the stress I was experiencing traveling with a large group and seeing a lot of sites throughout the day, at night I came home to a family that made me feel at home. The day we left our host families, we drove to the area known as the Calvary Paths near Krakow, where St. Pope John Paull II would frequently visit. There are over 40 chapels on these paths, many of them depicting the Stations of the Cross. The original image of Our Lady of Calvary is here as well. The timing of my visit was quite fitting, as my stomach was experiencing its own kind of Calvary during our bus ride there. That evening I discovered I had food poisoning and spent the next day in bed. From that point on, the days became more strenuous, and I hadn’t fully recovered from whatever made me sick. When we returned to Krakow, the city was bursting at the seams. Suddenly this city of 800,000 people had an extra two million people rooming its streets, packing its trams and making every line a mile long. It was hard to do anything, but since most of these people were teens and young adults, it was filled with unbelievable energy. Despite how exhausted I was, I found strength in the Lord, who reassured me that he would take care of me and everyone else around me who shared similar stresses through traveling and illness. We were united in this suffering, a reality that seems foreign in my everyday life. The grand finale of our pilgrimage was Mass with Pope 20


Francis. For two million people to be in the same place at the same time means there is little to no transportation. We walked eight miles carrying whatever we needed to camp under the stars the night before Mass the next morning. Now, I want to share a side of World Youth Day that I find difficult to explain. I experienced countless moments of joy and awe while I was in Poland, but the main reason those moments were so great was because there were hardships along the way. By this point I’d been trying to recover from my sickness for about a week while experiencing the most incredible areas I’d ever seen in my life. I saw the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa (The Black Madonna), the childhood home of St. Pope John Paul II, tons of churches and shrines, and attended increasingly bigger and brighter celebrations with people around the world. These are experiences I’ll never forget, where I experienced God’s love for me in a way that was heartwarming and peaceful. But that eight-mile hike was a different sort of package. I drank all the water I was carrying, praying we could get water again, but with the size of the crowds, nothing was certain. And just when I needed water again, someone from the neighborhood had a water hose available for us. Never in my life have I been in desperate need of something as crucial as water. As difficult as it was to keep moving forward, I could see Christ so plainly when my need was met. It was only when I had nothing else to depend on that God could show me how closely he was watching over me. I expected the joy and energy, the waving flags, music and chants. What I didn’t realize was that everyone who came to World Youth Day made sacrifices whether physically, financially or, for those coming from Syria or other nations where Christians are severely persecuted, literally putting their lives at risk. During his homily, Pope Francis said, “For us, here, today, coming from different parts of the world, the suffering and the wars that many young people experience are no longer anonymous, something we read about in the papers. They have a name, they have a face, they have a story, they are close at hand.” The unity I experienced was not only to celebrate together but to suffer with each other in the hardest of times too. Even though my sufferings on this pilgrimage are nothing compared to Christ’s suffering on the cross, it was truly a blessing to suffer with him and his followers in this way.



Encountering Christ and his miracles

he most important piece to a Christian life is to encounter Christ’s Love. This is the reason why Jesus came to us. He came to forgive our sins and so that we may encounter the Father’s merciful love. Without this encounter there is no way for us to really understand Christ’s love. If we cannot grasp Christ’s love than we will reject the mercy that he has already given to us. When we desire for an encounter with Christ, we encounter him. We are changed whether we like it or not. Don’t worry, it is for the better! I had an opportunity to talk to a few classes about what it means to encounter Christ and lead them into an encounter. I was able to fly to Baltimore to talk with some middle school students about Jesus.

“[Jesus] is the divine physician. We must give him permission to enter our own wounds, whether they be physical or emotional.” – Corey Baumgartner, Fargo Diocese seminarian The opportunity arose for me to visit a friend who was the teacher at the school. He had mentioned that the students were really searching for the truth and had never encountered Christ as a person. They have always seen him as a grade and a set of rules you have to follow. For them to know that he is an actual person that you can talk to and get close to seemed impossible. So, naturally I was very excited to be able to speak about Christ and his love for us. During my time at the school I talked to three classes of 8th graders. For each class, I felt the Lord had something different for them, but the most impressive one was the last class. When I was talking to them, I would create a curiosity and desire for Christ first, and then allow the Lord to fill the desire that has been made known. I would give about 20 minutes for the students to pray silently and then I led them in a meditation. After a while I would let them know that they can come and pray with me if they felt the need for extra prayer. No one came up at first, but I had given a word of encouragement to take a step of faith and come up if they felt called. When I said this, most of the class came up for extra prayer. I didn’t have time to pray with all of them. So, we prayed together to close the class, and I exhorted to them that they should ask the Lord what was on their hearts the next time they go to Mass. I also told them that I would be available after school, and if they wanted to stop by to please do so! I felt terrible that I couldn’t pray with each of them, but I know that Christ was working in them. After school there were eight or nine students that came running into the classroom wanting prayer. I prayed with each one of them. Each asked for something different and was beautiful. I love the way they desired to be better for Christ and for themselves, choosing Christ first.

One of the students came in with a broken collar bone that had happened Seminarian the weekend prior. I Life had known about it before coming, and Corey Baumgartner had been offering this boy to the Lord, not for a desire for healing to take place but for a conversion in the boy’s heart. When I prayed with the boy there was no more pain. It had left. So, we prayed more for the bone to heal. He started to move it and there wasn’t any pain and there was more movement. So then I asked the boy to take his arm out of the sling to really step out in faith. When the boy had moved his arm, his face lit up like I have never seen before. He could move his arm! The Lord had healed him! It was not a full healing. He could still feel the break, but he was not able to move his arm at all before, and now he was able to move his arm above his head. The boy was ecstatic and told everyone about it! This is the way Jesus touched people in the Gospel. He would walk through the towns and heal the sick. Jesus is drawing us to himself so we can be healed by him. He is the divine physician. We must give him permission to enter our own wounds, whether they be physical or emotional. We all need Jesus to touch our heart and for us to be encountered by him. It is as easy as saying: Jesus I give you permission to enter my heart. Editor’s Note: Seminarian Life is a column written by Diocese of Fargo seminarians. Please continue to pray for them.




Alternatives to Abortion program – fighting poverty and unplanned pregnancies


o r y e a r s , including out-of-wedlock pregnancies and unstable family the state of relationships. The same factors in a woman’s life that lead her North Dakota into an unplanned and crisis pregnancy are often the same has quietly fought factors that lead women and their children into poverty, such Catholic t h e c u l t u re o f as the lack of parental guidance, education, housing, health Action death by caring for care, and work, as well as domestic abuse, absent boyfriends, pregnant women addiction, and substance abuse problems. Each time an abortion Christoper Dodson and their children, alternatives agency provides a woman with life-affirming while at the same alternatives it is also helps ensure that that woman and her time addressing child do not end up in poverty. the root causes of By all measures, the program is a success. The number of poverty. The program is called the Alternatives to Abortion women served has steadily increased through the years. In program. It reimburses pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, and 2011, the state awarded the Village Family Service Center with maternity homes for services to pregnant women and women administering and advertising the program. The number of who think they might be pregnant. It does not cover the full women served soon doubled, serving 1,194 women in the 2015 cost of providing those services. It does not even come close. It fiscal year. Meanwhile, both the percentage of pregnant women does, however, provide the agencies with some revenue to help in the state choosing abortions correspondingly declined and them continue and expand their good work. has reached a historic low. Women accessing the services appear to choose adoption at a surprisingly high rate and almost never choose abortion. By helping women who think they are pregnant, but are not, the agencies also help prevent subsequent “scares” without resorting to demeaning women by throwing contraceptives at them in the manner of Planned Parenthood. Women who have a false pregnancy test are counseled about their needs. It is not surprising, therefore, that the number of teenage pregnancies has declined during the same years the state has funded the program. Two major threats to the program have loomed for several years. One has probably abated. The other is more concerning than ever before. For years, abortion activists have tried to stop states from using TANF funds to help pro-life pregnancy centers. They started with a series of “exposes” that implied, but never proved, that

Using state funds to combat abortion in this way makes sense. For one thing, the official policy of the state of North Dakota is to favor childbirth over abortion. Furthering this policy cannot be done by restrictive legislation alone. We must respond to the factors that contribute to a woman thinking that abortion is an option. In other words, we must go after the “demand” for abortion. Finally, we cannot ignore that there is a war upon children in the womb. Court decisions, federal policies, and cultural trends that threaten unborn lives demand a state response, including expenditures to fight for life. The program uses federal funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, sometimes known as the “welfare block grant.” Congress established TANF so states could have wide discretion to confront the causes of poverty,



the recipients of the funds used lies and high-pressure tactics to persuade women not to have abortions. They also implied that using TANF funds for these purposes took away cash assistance from poor families. In truth, cash assistance is set separately and the money used for abortion alternatives is “extra” money in the TANF block grant. The second prong of attack was a campaign to convince the Obama administration or a future Clinton administration to issue rules preventing TANF funds from being used for abortion alternative programs. With the election of Donald Trump, that threat appears to have gone away for now. The second looming threat comes from the program’s success. As mentioned, the number of women served has doubled in recent years. However, the amount of money allocated for the program has remained the same since 2007. As a result, the administrators had to slash reimbursement rates several times. In the 2015 fiscal year the program actually ran out of money before the end of the year. The state renewed the program for 2016, but only at the same amount as in previous years. Already, the program is on course to serve 150 more women than last year with the same amount of dollars. It is time for the North Dakota legislature to substantially increase funding for the alternatives to abortion program. The state is facing a budget crisis. The alternatives to abortion program is funded with federal dollars that are already available to the state. Moreover, it is one of the smallest budget items in the state budget, coming to only $250,000 a year. The state can afford to at least double that amount. After all, we are talking about real alternatives to abortion. We are talking about real help for women and children in the womb.

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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

Diocesan policy: Reporting child abuse

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

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“Making All Things New”: Stewardship and New Year’s resolutions (Reprinted with permission from International Catholic Stewardship Council)


tewardship is a commitment of mind and heart to the Lord; a way of life that Stewardship needs constant Steve Schons renewal and transformation. This time of year has always been one of looking forward to a new year, reflecting on the changes we need to make in our lives and resolving to follow through on those changes. Perhaps those who seek to make resolutions to be better stewards might find inspiration in the following quick samples:

Commit to being more informed on the issues of the day. Read your Bible. Familiarize yourself with the Church’s social teachings.

Stewardship of Neighbor: Resolve to be a person of

hospitality; to make time and space for others who enter your life. Be more aware of those times when a neighbor, co-worker, fellow parishioner or stranger, needs a moment of kindness, a little attention or an affirming gesture on your part.

Stewardship of the Poor: Resolve to live with more compassion and in solidarity with those less fortunate. Remember the poor in prayer, and commit to helping relieve in some way the plight of those who are impoverished or marginalized.

Stewardship of Prayer: Resolve to strengthen your relationship with the Lord. Notice how often you pray and what hinders you from praying. Commit to short, daily prayer times. Stewardship of Family: Resolve to set aside more time to

stay connected with your family. Eat dinner together, schedule regular dates with your spouse, plan family outings, and go to Mass together.

Stewardship of Health: Resolve to get those medical and dental checkups. Adopt healthier eating habits. Add exercise and other physical activity to your daily routine. Stewardship of Possessions: Resolve to possess a little more “lightly” this year. Consider ways you can reduce the amount of all that stuff you own. Distinguish between those items that are necessary and those that are considered luxurious and unnecessary.

Stewardship of the Parish Family: Resolve to serve your faith community in some way this year such as at liturgy, in the parish’s outreach or education and formation efforts. Stewardship of Money: Resolve to render sacred your annual budget. Reprioritize your financial goals to ensure that the Lord comes first in your spending. Take positive steps to improve your financial health.

Stewardship of Work: Resolve to be faithful to your daily, work-related tasks and offer them up to the Lord. Cultivate your skills. Deepen your knowledge. Be mindful of how you are building the Kingdom of God. Stewardship of Mind: Resolve to keep your mind active. 24


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Prayer box taps into spiritual hunger

he box went up on a Monday evening in August, a plain white box nestled inside a little wooden tent, mounted atop a fence and beneath the outermost reach of a maple. “Prayer requests,” reads the side of the tent in black, all-caps lettering. The box has a slot, like one awaiting Valentines, and the message: “Please write down any prayer requests. We would love to be praying for you!” Keanu Krech didn’t know what to expect when he set up the prayer box, tucking in a pen and a rock to hold down scraps of paper. The college senior, 22, positioned the box at the edge of his childhood home, which is on a busy residential road between a highway and a gas station in South St. Paul, Minn.

“The box has a slot, like one awaiting Valentines, and the message: ‘Please write down any prayer requests. We would love to be praying for you!’” ~ Christina Capecchi But Keanu knew he wanted to extend the power of prayer as broadly as he could, with a quiet anonymity. He was putting a twist on the Little Free Library concept that began just 20 miles east, in Hudson, Wis., and now exceeds 50,000 locations worldwide, knitting together neighborhoods with a warm and fuzzy literary fiber. He planned to share the prayer requests, if they came, with his Monday night Bible study, a small group of college-aged students. The next day Keanu peeked inside the box and discovered a handwritten note: “For those who are walking not knowing God, heal those with addictions, and for the men and women overseas fighting for our freedom.” It was a heavy start, covering so much in such little space. The prayer box was off and running. Keanu and his friends began to pray. In three months, the box has amassed about 100 prayer requests. Never a week has passed without someone slipping a note inside. “Please pray for my marriage,” someone wrote. “Please pray for us that we get a roof over our family’s heads before winter comes,” a note stated in round, puffy lettering. “I’m here in town with the show Cabaret. I just ran my first half marathon and have lost 270 pounds. Continue to pray for me on my health journey,” a passerby wrote last month. “Pray for me,” someone wrote with a left-handed slope. “I picked up a bad drug problem and I’ve lost my family and

everyone I love and I don’t know what to do. ...Please pray that God will help me Twenty with my troubles.” Something Others are shorter. “Arleen’s foot to Christina Capecchi heal.” “Amber’s eye surgery.” “For God to place good people in Kelly’s life.” Now Keanu and his friends are praying for Arleen and Amber and Kelly, for the faces they will never see whose hearts have been revealed. “I’m surprised how deep the prayer requests are, how vulnerable they are,” he told me. “I’ve read some and just cried.” As a teen Keanu felt the weight of depression and the tug of life’s big questions. He didn’t attend church, but he’d stay up late, laptop in bed, pouring over YouTube videos from Christians and responses from atheists in an endless loop. His head was spinning and his heart was aching. Finally, his mom called a youth minister at her parents’ Methodist church to field Keanu’s questions. They met at a coffee shop and struck up a friendship over hot chocolate. Soon Keanu was attending Sunday night worship services. Something changed in his heart: For the first time in a long time, he felt hope. As Keanu completes his bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry, he’s letting his faith guide the next chapter. The goal, he says, plain and simple: to love God and love others. And as long as people keep submitting prayer requests, he’ll keep praying for them. Christina Capecchi is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, Minn., and the editor of

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Events across the diocese

Feb. 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Sts. Anne and Joachim Church, Fargo. Dr. Anders will speak on “The Case for Pro-Life: Catholic A benefit for the Randy Harms and Apologetics and the Church’s Pro-Life Mission.” He will offer Cindy Ternes family will be held Jan. guests ways we can inspire our culture to a greater respect for 20 from 4-8 p.m. at Holy Spirit Church, all human life from conception to natural death. Cost is $15/ Fargo. Randy, the family breadwinner, person, registration required. Registration deadline is Feb. 15. unexpectedly died in October from Registration forms can be found at complications from a heart attack. He respectlife or contact Rachelle at rachelle.sauvageau@ leaves behind Cindy and their four or (701) 356-7910. Sponsored by the Fargo children, Seth, Juliana, Aidan and Diocese Respect Life Office. Josephine, who attend JPII Catholic Schools. The benefit will help cover needs as they adjust to life without a father and husband and is a way to give back to a family that has given much to our churches, schools and Participate with others in a retreat at Maryvale Retreat Center community. A dinner, silent auction, kids’ activities and a bake in Valley City designed to assist those who desire spiritual growth. sale are part of the day. Contact Lyn Kotrba at (218) 790-2679 The format for these retreats allows for small group gatherings which enable participants to converse on their prayer experiences for more information. and encounters with God. This retreat is titled Choice-making and will be held Feb. 25 from 1-4 p.m. The aim of this retreat is to help one make adult, Christ-centered choices in life. Register by Feb 13. Suggested donation is $35. Join the Diocese of Fargo Respect Life Office as we observe the 44th anniversary of the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Three parishes in our diocese will be offering an afternoon of Prayerful Remembrance and Intercession as a time for all the faithful to gather on behalf of our nation, seeking forgiveness and healing in God’s merciful love. The hidden wounds of abortion affect each of us either directly or indirectly. Whether it be one’s neighbor, co-worker, friend, relative, or maybe oneself, as a community we have all been touched. The prayer service will include intercessory prayers, Eucharistic Adoration, Sacrament of Reconciliation and Mass. This event will take place at St. John’s Church, Wahpeton on Sat., Jan. 21, from 9 a.m. – noon; St. Stanislaus Church, Warsaw on Jan. 22, from 1-4 p.m.; and Holy Spirit Church, Fargo on Jan. 22, from 2-4 p.m. Sponsored by St. John’s Church, Holy Spirit Church, St. Stanislaus Church and the Diocese of Fargo Respect Life Office. Contact Rachelle at (701) 356-7910 or rachelle.sauvageau@

Support the Harmes/Ternes family Jan. 20

Three-hour retreat at Maryvale

Prayerful Remembrance and Intercession to be held Jan. 21 and 22

Copyright © 2015, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Photo: © Gregorio Borgia/Reuters.

Ignatian Retreat in Valley City Feb. 3-5

The Ignatian Retreat is scheduled for Feb. 3-5 at the Maryvale Retreat Center in Valley City. This retreat is steeped in the Gospels and is based on the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This is a silent retreat where one is able to meet Jesus in the experiences of Jesus’ own life. Conferences and individual direction are a part of the retreat. Registration deadline is Jan. 27, with a suggested donation of $85. Contact Sr. Dorothy at (701) 845-2864.

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

Dr. David Anders, host of EWTN’s “Called to Communion,” will be the guest speaker at a Pro-Life Luncheon event on Tues., 26



Peter’s Pence collection to be gathered Jan. 22

A special collection will be gathered on Jan. 22 for The Peter’s Pence Collection. This collection unites us in solidarity to the Holy See and its works of charity to those in need. The purpose of the Peter’s Pence Collection is to provide the Holy Father with the financial means to respond to those who are suffering as a result of war, oppression, natural disaster and disease. Your generosity allows the Pope to respond to our suffering brothers and sisters.

A Glimpse of the Past - January

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

50 Years Ago....1967

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

Single women ages 17-34 are invited to Carmel of Mary Monastery, Wahpeton, for A Taste of Carmel. Experience the joyful and prayerful lifestyle of the sisters while learning about the beauty of Gregorian Chant, praying with scripture and joining the sisters in prayer. Experience A Taste of Carmel March 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 17765 78th St. SE, Wahpeton. Monastic lunch will be provided. Please contact Mother Madonna if you are interested at (701) 640-0019 or

St. Alphonsus Parish at Langdon probably won’t set any records for size, but the number of religious vocations coming from there has to be a record. To date, 49 former parishioners are either sisters, priests or seminarians – with just about half of them members of the Presentation sisters headquartering in Fargo. Twenty of the 49 participated in a parish “Vocation Day.” Msgr. Vincent Wiederholt, pastor of St. Alphonsus was the celebrant of the Mass opening the special day. Following the Mass, a dinner was served for the religious by the ladies of the St. Alphonsus Altar Society.

20 Years Ago....1997 Parishioners of St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center, Grand Forks, are envisioning a new church after fire extensively damaged the Chapel portion of the building. No one was injured in the January 11 blaze, which started in the back of the church. It was attributed to a shorted-out electrical cord used to illuminate the crèche scene in the center at the University of North Dakota. Fr. Gerard Braun is the pastor. The fire spread rapidly to the Christmas trees surrounding the crèche, the choir loft, supporting beam structure, ceiling and entry way. Smoke heavily damaged the pews, walls and the rest of the chapel area.

10 Years ago....2007 INFORMATION SESSIONS

3 yr old Little Deacons - 5th Grade Monday, January 30 • 6:30 pm at Trinity Elementary School 2811 7th Street E • West Fargo

Tuesday, January 31 • 6:30 pm at Nativity Elementary School

The last Mass for St. Boniface Catholic Church in rural Kintyre was celebrated Sunday, December 31, following a 12-inch snowfall the previous day. St. Boniface will consolidate with St. Philip Neri Church of Napoleon. Fr. Donald Leipon celebrated the Mass and was assisted by Deacon Gary Schumacher. St. Boniface Church was established in February 1905 and parishioners celebrated the church’s 100th anniversary with a Centennial Mass in June 2005.

1825 11th Street S • Fargo

Thursday, February 2 • 6:30 pm at Holy Spirit Elementary School 1441 8th Street N • Fargo

For information or a tour call 701-893-3271 HOLY SPIRIT ELEMENTARY



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LIFE’S MILESTONES Robert and Lois Axtman celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary on Nov. 12. They were married in Nekoma by Father Joe Axtman. They were blessed with three children, seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Robert and Lois are now parishioners of Holy Family Church in Grand Forks. Deacon Arlen and Charlotte Blessum celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary Dec. 26. They were married at Little Flower Church in Rugby have been lifelong parishioners there. They have six children, 24 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. John and Margaret Gross celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in November. They were married by Father Vincent Wiederkolt 16 miles southwest of Napoleon at St. Anthony’s Church. They have five children and 10 grandchildren. They are now parishioners at St. Philip Neri Church in Napoleon. Marilyn (Lorenz) and Lowell Kartes celebrated 67 years of marriage Nov. 10. They were married in St. Alphonsus Church in 1949 in Langdon. They have one daughter, three grandsons and three great-grandchildren.

Elmer and DeLoris Bittner celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in October. They were married at St. Alphonsus Church in Langdon on Oct. 8, 1946. They have been blessed with five children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Elmer is a past State Deputy of the ND Knights of Columbus. They spent many years as parishioners of St. John’s Church in Grafton and now live in Mesa, Ariz. Angie Werner celebrated her 95th birthday on Christmas Eve. She is married to Bill Werner, formerly from Leal. Together they have nine children, 29 grandchildren and 45 great-grandchildren. She is a long-time parishioner of St. Boniface Church in Wimbledon and currently attends St. Catherine’s Church in Valley City.

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World scarred by war, greed must welcome prince of peace, pope says By Junno Arocho Esteves | Catholic News Service

Pope Francis delivers his Christmas blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)


he song of the angels that heralded the birth of Christ urges men and women to seek peace in a world divided by war, terrorism and greed, Pope Francis said. “Today this message goes out to the ends of the earth to reach all peoples, especially those scarred by war and harsh conflicts that seem stronger than the yearning for peace,” the pope said Dec. 25. Migrants, refugees, children suffering due to hunger and war, victims of human trafficking as well as social and economic unrest were also remembered by the pope. “Peace to the peoples who suffer because of the economic ambitions of the few, because of the sheer greed and the idolatry of money, which leads to slavery,” he said. An estimated 40,000 people slowly made their way through security checkpoints into St. Peter’s Square to attend the pope’s solemn Christmas blessing. Heightened security following the Dec. 19 terrorist attack in Berlin, Germany was evident as police cordoned off streets and established multiple checkpoints throughout the area. While police presence is standard for major events in St. Peter’s, the added security was a sign of the times where crowded areas have become a target for terrorists. The pope prayed for “peace to those who have lost a person dear to them as a result of brutal acts of terrorism that has sown fear and death into the hearts of so many countries and cities.” Countries ravaged by the scourge of war were also in the pope’s thoughts, particularly in “the war-torn land of Syria, where far too much blood has been spilled,” especially in the city Aleppo. The pope called on the world to support the people of Syria with humanitarian assistance and to put an end to the conflict. “It is time for weapons to be silenced forever and the international community to actively seek a negotiated solution so that civil coexistence can be restored in the country,” he said.

The pope appealed for peace for the people of Ukraine, “who to this day suffer the consequences of the conflict.” The Vatican announced Dec. 23 that the first installment of 6 million euro ($6.3 million) would be distributed on Christmas Day to assist in relief efforts in Ukraine. Earlier this year, the pope called for a collection across churches in Europe to help the people of the war-torn country. Iraq, Libya and Yemen, “where their peoples suffer war and the brutality of terrorism,” were in the pope’s prayers so that they may “be able to once again find unity and harmony.” The pope also remembered Africa, especially Nigeria where fundamentalist terrorism “exploits children in order to perpetrate horror and death” as well as South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, calling on their leaders to choose the path of dialogue rather than “the mindset of conflict.” He also prayed for peace in the Holy Land and that Israelis and Palestinians turn away from hate and revenge while having “the courage and determination to write a new page of history.” Praying for an end to current tensions, the pope also called for peace in Venezuela, Colombia, Myanmar and the Korean peninsula. Christ’s birth, he said, is a sign of joy and a call for the world to contemplate “the child Jesus who gives hope once again to every person on the face of the earth.” “’For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.’ He is the ‘prince of peace;’ let us welcome him.” After his address, the bells of St. Peter’s rang loudly, pealing throughout the square as they did in the evening Dec. 24 following the proclamation of Jesus’ birth during Christmas Mass.   The darkness of the night sky over St. Peter’s Basilica was broken by the bright lights emanating from the colonnade and the Christmas tree from the square. In his homily, the pope said the love of God is made visible at Christ’s birth on a night of glory, joy and light “which would illuminates those who walk in darkness.” The shepherds are a witness to “the enduring sign” of finding Jesus when they discover him wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger;” a sign that is given to all Christians today, the pope said. “If we want to celebrate Christmas authentically, we need to contemplate this sign: the fragile simplicity of a small newborn, the meekness of where he lies, the tender affection of the swaddling clothes. God is there,” he said. This sign of humility, he added, also reveals a paradox: God who chose not to reveal himself through power, but rather through the “poverty of a stable” and “in the simplicity of life.” “In order to discover him, we need to go there, where he is: we need to bow down, humble ourselves, make ourselves small,” the pope said. NEW EARTH JANUARY 2017



Final resting place: Vatican releases instruction on burial, cremation By Cindy Wooden | Catholic News Service

An urn containing cremated remains is seen in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery mausoleum in Coram, N.Y. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)


rofessing belief in the resurrection of the dead and affirming that the human body is an essential part of a person’s identity, the Catholic Church insists that the bodies of the deceased be treated with respect and laid to rest in a consecrated place. While the Catholic Church continues to prefer burial in the ground, it accepts cremation as an option, but forbids the scattering of ashes and the growing practice of keeping cremated remains at home, said Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “Caring for the bodies of the deceased, the church confirms its faith in the resurrection and separates itself from attitudes and rites that see in death the definitive obliteration of the person, a stage in the process of reincarnation or the fusion of one’s soul with the universe,” the cardinal told reporters Oct. 25. In 1963, the congregation issued an instruction permitting cremation as long as it was not done as a sign of denial of the basic Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead. The permission was incorporated into the Code of Canon Law in 1983 and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches in 1990. However, Cardinal Muller said, church law had not specified exactly what should be done with “cremains,” and several bishops’ conferences asked the congregation to provide guidance. The result, approved by Pope Francis after consultation with other Vatican offices and with bishops’ conferences and the Eastern churches’ synods of bishops, is “Ad resurgendum cum Christo” (“To Rise with Christ”), an instruction “regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the



case of cremation.” Cremation, in and of itself, does not constitute a denial of belief in the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body, the instruction says. Nor does it “prevent God, in his omnipotence, from raising up the deceased body to new life.” However, the Catholic Church wholeheartedly recommends continuing the “pious practice of burying the dead,” Cardinal Muller said. It is considered one of the corporal works of mercy and, mirroring the burial of Christ, it more clearly expresses hope in the resurrection when the person’s body and soul will be reunited. In addition, he said, when a person is buried in the ground, and, at least to some extent, when the urn of the person’s ashes is placed in a columbarium or tomb, the final resting place is marked with the person’s name, the same name with which the person was baptized and by which the person is called by God. “Belief in the resurrection of the flesh is fundamental,” he said. “A human cadaver is not trash” and an anonymous burial or scattering of ashes “is not compatible with the Christian faith. The name, the person, the concrete identity of the person” is important because God created each individual and calls each individual to himself. In fact, when asked if there was any way to rectify the situation when a person’s ashes already had been scattered, Cardinal Muller suggested making a memorial in a church or other appropriate place and including the name of the deceased. What is more, he said, labeling an urn or tomb in a public place is an expression of belief in the “communion of saints,” the unending unity in Christ of all the baptized, living and dead. “Other believers have a right to pray at the tomb” and to remember deceased members of the Catholic Church on the feast of All Saints and All Souls. Keeping ashes at home on the mantel, he said, is a sign not only of love and grief, but also of not understanding how the loved one belonged to the entire community of faith and not just to his or her closest relatives. “Only in grave and exceptional cases,” the instruction says, local bishops may give permission for ashes to be kept in a private home. Cardinal Muller said it was not up to him, but to local and national bishops’ conferences to determine what those “grave and exceptional” circumstances might be. Placing the ashes in a sacred place also “prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten or their remains from being shown a lack of respect,” which is more likely to happen as time goes on and the people closest to the deceased also pass way, the instruction said.

Sidewalk Stories By: Roxane B. Salonen


Salonen shares motivation for pro-life activism in inaugural ‘Sidewalk Stories’

ecently, I noticed a newcomer to the sidewalk in front of The Red River Women’s Clinic, our state’s only abortion facility. As a regular prayer advocate who spends time there most Wednesdays, when abortions take place in Fargo, I find it easy to distinguish the “regulars” from those who are new. This particular gentleman was, for one, not dressed for the weather. Those who come often and stay a while know in winter especially, toes and fingers can grow numb quickly out there. Sporting a blue, corduroy blazer, but no thick coat, the nice-looking man with the raven hair and azure eyes puffed on a cigarette, appearing a bit aimless. Curious, I approached him to see what was up. “I’m neutral, just observing,” he said, explaining that, as the owner of a tech company, he was conducting “research” to discern social behavior habits. Particularly, he wanted to know what motivates people to actively protest a certain issue; in this case, what prompts those who are strongly pro-life to speak out and others equally strong in their convictions to remain silent? Offering him my thoughts, I found myself challenged, because though I have explored my motives for what brings me to the sidewalk when I’d rather be doing so many other things instead, it’s difficult to explain in secular terms. And from what I could gather, his study was purely “scientific.” But I did my best, divulging how, initially, the accounts of post-abortive women, forever wounded by abortion, had moved me to do more than just pray. I told him, too, how it took me a while – many years – to summon the courage to commit to showing up with my rosary beads to witness love and hope to the women who go there to end the lives within them, lured by the empty promise that their world will be restored to how it was before. I explained how being a mother myself had stirred me, knowing on a deep level how attached we are as mothers to our children, and how unnatural it is to cut ourselves off from the lives within us, even when they come at an inconvenient time. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of logistics, I said. Not everyone can leave work or other obligations to follow up on their passions. Simply put, the season we’re in often dictates our priorities.

I couldn’t tell from his expressions whether my revelations were helpful. Finally, as a last resort, I brought up the reality of faith, and how that, most of all, had brought me to the sidewalk. At that point, the conversation trailed off. Either he didn’t find that reason credible, or he just didn’t understand. The connection seemed lost. As he began talking to another gentleman, I felt frustrated at the ever-widening gap between the supernatural and natural worlds. How can one explain the reality of a mostly invisible spiritual battle that is perhaps more intense at this corner than anywhere else in our city, and how palpable it feels? Or the grace I’ve felt God extend when I’ve connected with one of the mothers or their partners in some small way? I can’t precisely explain what it feels like each Wednesday night when I bring the faces I’ve seen there during the day into the Adoration chapel to present them to God, long after the clients themselves have gone home. Even if he were willing to hear my story through, would it matter? What could I offer his research on human behavior that can only be measured in tangible terms? There is much the heart cannot explain. And although I might not have contributed very much to his research, I’m convinced all is not lost. Perhaps something I said began working on his soul hours, or even days, later, not for research purposes, but something much greater: the Lord’s salvific purposes for him. Only God knows, but to me, he’s more than a business man looking to make a buck. I see him as a child of the Father, lost and looking for hope and life, whether he knows it. It’s as much for this stranger that I go each week to the sidewalk, which is ripe for conversion stories. I don’t want to miss the chance for God to work through me. Humbly, I pray he will. I look forward to sharing more “Sidewalk Stories” soon. Meantime, I’d be grateful for your prayers for those who gather on the sidewalk each week, whatever the reason. Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five, is a local writer as well as a speaker and radio host for Real Presence Radio. Co-author of the pro-life memoir, Redeemed by Grace: A Catholic Woman’s Journey to Planned Parenthood and Back, and a contributor to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, Roxane also writes weekly for The Forum newspaper and monthly for She serves in music ministry as a cantor at Sts. Anne and Joachim parish. NEW EARTH JANUARY 2017




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

Where in the diocese are we?

This is a new feature for the back cover page of New Earth Magazine. Each month we will publish a photo from a church somewhere in the Diocese of Fargo. This month features this statue, taken on the grounds of one of our diocesan churches. Where in the diocese are we? The answer will appear in the February New Earth back cover page, along with another photo from somewhere else in the diocese. 32


New Earth January 2017  

Magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND

New Earth January 2017  

Magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND