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New January 2018 | Vol. 39 | No. 1


The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo

National Catholic Schools Week SmartLabs help prepare students for future high-tech careers


From Bishop Folda: Blessed are the peacemakers

God and the bedroom: 50 years of celebrating Humanae Vitae

Pope Francis: Think ‘being good’ is enough? It’s not.






January 2018 Vol. 39 | No. 1

ON THE COVER 14 SmartLabs help prepare students for future high-tech careers National Catholic Schools Week is January 28 through

February 3. In the last two years, the John Paul II Catholic Schools Network has rolled out a new initiative called SmartLabs.



Blessed are the peacemakers



Ask a priest:

What does scripture mean by “call no man father?”


God and the bedroom: 50 years of celebrating Humanae Vitae


Pope Francis’ January prayer intentions



10 REDEEMED 2018 offers something for everyone in the family 12 Sister Mary Ruth, C.K. professes perpetual vows


13 Decora a place for young women to discover feminine genius


18 Tattered Pages

A review written by Matt Komprood for “To Light a Fire on the Earth: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age” by Bishop Robert Barron and John L. Allen Jr.




19 Stories of Faith

“Jesus boat” reminds us we are all called

20 Sister’s Perspective

Air Force was a way to a vocation, the path to fullness of joy in his presence

21 Catholic Action

The face of Christ around us

22 Seminarian Life

Fathering a future Father

23 Catholic Charities Corner

What will you do in the New Year?

24 Twenty Something



History and humility: an old man’s plea to young adults

ON THE COVER: Fifth grade students at Trinity Elementary School, West Fargo, work on a mechanical project at the Trinity SmartLab. (Paul Braun | New Earth)



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


Most Rev. John T. Folda Bishop of Fargo


Paul Braun

Assistant editor Kristina Lahr


Stephanie Drietz - Drietz Designs


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





25 Events across the diocese 27 Life’s milestones 27 A glimpse of the past U.S. AND WORLD NEWS 30 Pope Francis: Think ‘being good’ is enough? It’s not. SIDEWALK STORIES 31 Intoxicated ‘drifter’ speaks clearly about life

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 17, 2018. All submissions are subject to editing and placement. New Earth is published by the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, a nonprofit North Dakota corporation, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S, Suite A Fargo, ND 58104. (701) 356-7900. Periodical Postage Paid at Fargo, ND and at additional mailing offices. Member of the Catholic Press Association NEW EARTH JANUARY 2018



Blessed are the peacemakers


very year on January 1, the world observes New Year’s Day, and the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. But for over 50 years, the Church has also called January 1 the World Day of Peace. This is fitting since it is the octave day of Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. And this year it seems more necessary than ever that we pray faithfully and fervently for the cause of peace in the world. Peace is more than the absence of war. St. Augustine tells us that peace is “the tranquility of order,” and the Second Vatican Council teaches that peace is “the work of justice and the effect of charity.” Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ. We desperately need peace at this moment in history. Terrorist attacks around the world and in our own nation have become the new normal. How easy it is to become indifferent to acts of violence and the indiscriminate killing that we see every day in the news. And in recent months, the threat of war with North Korea has become even greater. Such a war would be unthinkably violent, and yet the danger grows. Other parts of the world are already embroiled in conflict, civil war, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. To this darkened and troubled world, our Lord offers the gift of peace. Peace of heart is more than freedom from problems and worry; it actually comes through a right relationship with God. He calls each of us to abide in his peace, and to abide in peace with one another. Jesus entered into this world to reconcile us with God, but also to reconcile us with each other. Each of us, therefore, is called to foster peace through forgiveness, charity, justice, and prayer. As individuals, we may not be able to bring a halt to the geo-political conflicts of our world, but we can sow seeds of peace in our own personal ways. The well-loved Prayer of St. Francis teaches us how: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is

injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” In his annual message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis this year draws our attention to the plight of migrants and refugees. He asks us to look toward the millions who have fled their homes because of warfare, violence and poverty, and who cry out for understanding, compassion, and assistance. Like all of us, they seek only a place where they can live their lives in peace. The massive displacement of peoples might be seen as a threat, but it is also an opportunity to extend hands of welcome and peace to brothers and sisters in the human family. Jesus tells us, “Whatsoever you did to the least of my brethren, you did to me.” Prayer for peace need not be limited to places far away and unknown to us. Peace is needed everywhere. We can pray for peace in our own homes, in our workplaces, and in our schools. We can pray for individuals and communities. We can pray for our parishes and diocese, as well as the universal Church. Our prayers can reach wherever peace is most sorely needed. In a special way, peace is needed in our families too. It seems that families in our time are experiencing greater stresses and challenges, and even the concept of the family has come under fire. Sr. Lucia of Fatima recognized that the “final battleground” between the Lord and Satan would be over marriage and the family. But the Lord has created the family to be the place where peace is taught, learned, and nurtured. Peace in the family is essential for the good of spouses, for the upbringing and protection of children, and for social stability. So, prayer and support for families is most certainly a pathway towards greater peace in Christ. In his great Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Ultimately, lasting peace will only be found in Christ, who calls us to holiness and union with his father. The World Day of Peace occurred on January 1, but prayer and work for peace must be ongoing. In this new year of 2018, let us take time to spend with the one who is the true source of our peace, our healing, and the fulfillment of our deepest desires. May each of us be the peacemakers that Christ calls blessed, and may God bless our world with his gift of enduring peace.

“Prayer for peace need not be limited to places far away and unknown to us. Peace is needed everywhere.” – Bishop John Folda 4


Diocese of Fargo Official Appointments/Announcements January 2018

Diocese of Fargo Official Appointments/Announcements Most Rev. John T. Folda, Bishop of Fargo, has made the following appointments, announcements, and/or decrees: Rev. Richard Fineo has been appointed by the bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Center as temporary administrator of the Church of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Lake Ronkonkoma, NY effective November 1, 2017. Deacon Arlen Blessum is granted retirement effective December 1, 2017 from active ministry as a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Fargo and specifically at St. Therese Little Flower Parish in Rugby and its mission parish. As a retired deacon, he will retain all faculties and rights provided to permanent deacons in the Diocese of Fargo. 

Bishop Folda’s Calendar Jan. 6–12

Jan. 27 | 11 a.m.

Candidacy Mass for Permanent Deacons, St. Anthony, Fargo

Jan. 28 | 8:30 a.m.

Region VIII Bishops Retreat, Los Angeles, Calif.

Mass at St. John the Baptist, Wyndmere

Jan. 14 | 10:30 a.m.

Mass at St. Arnold, Milnor

Jan. 15

Evening prayer and debt retirement celebration, Sts. Anne & Joachim, Fargo

Mass at St. Michael, Pingree Martin Luther King Day, Pastoral Center closed

Jan. 18–19

March for Life, Washington, D.C.

Jan. 21 | 9 a.m.

Mass and Blessing of new Pastoral Center, St. Michael Church, Grand Forks

5:30 p.m.

Myriam Dinner, Fargo

Jan. 23 | 9 p.m.

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

Jan. 24 | 3 p.m.

JPII Schools Board Meeting, Pastoral Center, Fargo

10:30 a.m. 7 p.m.

Jan. 29 | 6 p.m.

Catholic Man Night, Holy Cross, West Fargo

Jan. 30 | 10 a.m.

Mass for St. John’s Academy, Jamestown

6 p.m.

Moorhead Knights of Columbus Clergy Appreciation Dinner, Hjemkomst Center, Moorhead, Minn.

Feb. 1 | 9:30 a.m.

Mass for JPII Schools, Shanley High School, Fargo

5:30 p.m.

Operation Andrew Dinner, Devils Lake

Feb. 2 | 9:30 a.m.

Mass for St. Joseph School, Devils Lake NEW EARTH JANUARY 2018


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What does scripture mean by “call no man father?”


couple of months ago I was introduced by a Catholic friend to one of his friends who was Protestant. He introduced me as “Father Parks” and after one look at the collar, the man pulled back from a welcoming gesture. My friend caught the slight and mentioned out-loud, “Oh, call no man father, I understand.” It was one of those awkward moments that should have been put to rest years ago but still lingers in the minds of both Protestants and Catholics alike. In Matthew 23:9 Jesus says, “Call no man on earth your father, for you have one father in heaven.” Therefore, those who interpret that passage literally believe that calling a priest “Father” violates a direct command of Jesus. I think the quick and easy answer to this is that Jesus was using, in this instance and on others, what we would call figurative speech, or hyperbole (exaggeration to make a point) in order to correct a serious error on the part of the men he is addressing. This passage can be compared to Matthew 5:29 where our Lord says “and if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away.” I do not think anyone really believes that our Lord expects us to do that, otherwise most of us would be blind. Our Lord is overemphasizing this point because he is talking about the seriousness of sin, which could mean the difference between heaven and hell for a soul who has strayed far from obeying his commandments. He wants us to understand that there can be severe consequences for our actions. We know that this literary device is also used in Matthew 23 because there are passages in both the Old and the New Testament where God contradicts “Call no man on earth your father” if it were to be taken literally. In Exodus 20:17, God commands man to “Honor thy father and mother” as one of the commandments. He repeats these words in the New Testament in Matthew’s Gospel when the rich young man asks what he must do to be saved. Therefore, it is safe to say that God himself considers others to be fathers, and Jesus presents this commandment to “Honor thy father” as a prerequisite for attaining eternal life. In Luke 16:24, Jesus will use the term “Father Abraham” in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. St. Paul will also use this same term for Abraham in Romans 4:16 to show us that Abraham is a spiritual father to all of us. St. Stephan, who the Bible said was “filled with the Holy Ghost,” will use the term “father or fathers” some 20 times in his defense speech right before he is stoned to death.     When you take Matthew 23 in context, as was done with “plucking your eye out” in Matthew 5:29, we see that Jesus is having the original and proverbial “come to Jesus” moment with the Pharisees and the scribes who had positioned themselves in the place of God. Jesus is condemning their actions in the strongest possible terms for their severe disobedience in terms of love of God and neighbor. This severe correction by Jesus is a “pluck your eye out” moment of truth for these men who sit on the seat of Moses, but

use their authority for their own gain and profit. This, then, is a condemnation of their actions and Ask a Priest not the term “father.” Otherwise Father Patrick Parks we would have to say that the Bible is full of contradictions, which cannot be the case since God cannot contradict himself. Jesus is warning people against attributing fatherhood, or a particular degree of fatherhood to those who do not have it. When you take the Bible as a whole, it is clear that it is proper and biblical to call priests “Father.” The New Testament is clear in its teaching of a spiritual fatherhood. In the Holy Gospels, Jesus commissions the twelve apostles, and future bishops of the Church, to go out in his name and with his authority from the Father. Those who would accept them were accepting him and his Father. Jesus, the High Priest, at the Last Supper, will institute the ministerial priesthood to act in his person with the authority of the Father to beget spiritual children through the sacraments of grace. Insofar as they uniquely participate in the spiritual begetting of God’s children, their successors, today’s bishops and priests are our spiritual fathers. We can see this in St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 4:14-15: “I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” Paul is referring to the Corinthians as his children and himself as a father to them spiritually through the Gospel. Paul expands on this spiritual fatherhood in 2 Timothy 2: 1-2: “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Paul is affirming “spiritual fatherhood” over Timothy again, but also speaks of Timothy’s spiritual fatherhood over others and the passing on, or succession, of spiritual fatherhood from him to others. Priests, then, are instrumental in bringing God’s people into a life of grace through the Eucharist and the forgiveness of sins. From the beginning of the spiritual life to its end, they are the fathers who nurture and sustain that life and therefore ought rightly to be called “father.”

Father Parks serves as the parochial vicar of St. John’s Church in Wahpeton. He can be reached at Editor’s Note: If you would like to submit a question for consideration in a future column, please send to or mail to New Earth, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S, Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104.



Bill Donaghy (submitted photo)

[Humane Vitae]


God and the bedroom: 50 years of celebrating Humanae Vitae By Bill Donaghy

Preface: This article launches a series on the 50th anniversary of Humane Vitae a prophetic writing on a critical issue of our time. Recognizing the strong reactions it can stir up for those struggling with this teaching of the Catholic Church, we encourage readers to spend time prayerfully reading the actual document, Humanae Vitae (a short 30 pages), found at en/encyclicals/documents/hf_pvi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae. html.

But since the time of the Enlightenment (17th/18th century), humanity had been on a concerted path of separating things, faith from reason, God from science, theology from biology, objective commandments from subjective consciences. In the case of contraception, we need to calmly set aside all subjective desires and intentions for a moment. We’re divorcing the pleasure of the act from the procreative gift that’s designed to flow organically from it. Today, the splintering goes even further by pulling our very identity away from our biological sex to the point of an inner war against “the sex I was assigned at birth.” To quote from the classic Police song, “We are spirits in a material world,” drifting, disintegrated, with no roots in the actual bodies we were gifted with in our beginning. We think today that sex is only something you do, forgetting that first our sex is who we are. But as Pope Emeritus Benedict n this coming year of 2018, the Catholic Church will honor XVI once wrote, “The human dimension of sexuality is insepthe 50th anniversary of Blessed Pope Paul VI’s prophetic and arable from the theological dimension.” powerful letter, Humanae Vitae (HV). It’s a surprisingly brief No matter how well-intentioned the best defenses of using document that tenderly, beautifully, and pastorally highlights contraception might be (preventing teen pregnancies, easing the what human life is all about and what human love is meant tensions of marital life, alleviating financial stress for families, to reflect. addressing the health risks when a pregnancy might endanger I say “surprisingly brief” because of the massive reams of the life of the mother), using contraception literally creates a negative responses it’s generated from 1968 and even up to wall between people engaged in what should be a place withthis day. HV dropped like a lead balloon on a world that was out walls. The sanctuary of the marital bed should be a place expecting the Catholic Church to “adjust” with the modern age without fear, without “protection,” but rather a place where a in the realms of a new sexual liberation. What the world heard heart can sing, be safe, be vulnerable, and be reverently awed about HV from second-hand interpretations and news blurbs by the power of the embrace of man and woman. (most having not read the actual text) was not liberation but As we celebrate the anniversary of the courage of Blessed Paul constriction, regulation, and prohibition. VI and his words in Humanae Vitae to a disintegrating world, What the Holy Father wrote regarding the Catholic Church’s let’s recall the wonder of the language of the body and how stance on birth control in light of the newly developed contra- it is meant to speak this integrated and incarnational word of ceptive pill shouldn’t have been a shocker. He simply taught love and of life. May we finally see the seamless garment that what the Church has always taught. In a nutshell: “What God is woven from the fabric of sexual intercourse, fertility, pregnancy, motherhood and fatherhood up into the very image of God has joined together, let man not separate” (Mark 10:9).




it images. For “the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:31-32). The beauty of our sexuality and the wonder of making love is truly a sign of the divine in our midst. Human life and love, first born and nurtured in the garden of marriage and the family, are like beacons of light for our confused and broken world. Blessed Paul VI knew this and tried to tell us all. The tragic rejection of Humanae Vitae was said to have broken his heart. May our time resurrect his hope, clarity, and charity in proclaiming the truth! “This love is above all fully human, a compound of sense and spirit. It is not, then, merely a question of natural instinct or emotional drive. It is also, and above all, an act of the free will, whose trust is such

that it is meant not only to survive the joys and sorrows of daily life, but also to grow, so that husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul, and together attain their human fulfillment.” – Blessed Paul VI, HV 9 Bill Donaghy is an internationally acclaimed speaker, teacher, and curriculum specialist for the Theology of the Body Institute. For nearly 20 years, he has served the Church as a lay evangelist, giving talks and retreats to bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, and the lay faithful across the United States and the world. He is also the co-author with Chris Stefanick of the new RISE: 30 Day Challenge for Men program. He and his wife, Rebecca, near Philadelphia, Pa. with their four children.

Prayer Intention of Pope Francis January

That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practice their faith in full freedom.

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REDEEMED 2018 offers something for everyone in the family By Paul Braun

Gerald and Denise Montpetit and their five children, founders and creators of Cat.Chat Productions. (submitted photo)


edeemed 2018 is set for Saturday, April 7 at Fargo’s Scheels For more information or to register for Redeemed 2018, go Arena and Shanley High School in Fargo. The program to, or call the Fargo Diocese is a family-friendly event and will feature activities for at (701) 356-7900. everyone from kids to adults. One of the highlights of the day will be a fun-filled adventure for kids ages 5–12 held at Shanley High School. The Cat.Chat Get Connected family has captivated children with their musical concerts for 16 years. Gerald and Denise Montpetit are the founders and Find more stories and information about the diocese at: creators of Cat.Chat Productions and have five children actively involved in the ministry. Their desire to find great Catholic resources for kids that would catechize and captivate their young listening audience along with their families’ musical talent led to the creation of Cat.Chat. Diocesan policy: Reporting child abuse The Diocese of Fargo is committed to the protection of youth. “There just wasn’t the space needed to accommodate Cat. Please report any incidents or suspected incidents of child abuse, Chat concerts along with the Redeemed Conference at Scheels including sexual abuse, to civil authorities. If the situation involves a arena,” said Mary Hanbury, Director of Catechesis for the Diocese member of the clergy or a religious order, a seminarian or of Fargo. “We worked it out so that parents could drop off their anemployee of a Catholic school, parish, the diocesan offices or other Catholic entity within the diocese, we ask that you also children for the day at Shanley High School and then attend the report the incident or suspected incident to Monsignor Joseph Redeemed conference at Scheels. The children will get to see P. Goering at (701) 356-7945 or Larry Bernhardt at (701) 356three Cat.Chat concerts and a magic show by Jeffrey Salveson, 7965 or and enjoy lunch and some games. The children will then be For additional information about victim assistance, visit bused to the Scheels arena in the afternoon to be picked up by their parents attending the conference.” 10





Sister Mary Ruth, C.K. professes perpetual vows


he School Sisters of Christ the King rejoiced as Sister Mary Ruth, C.K., professed perpetual vows during the Mass when the community was officially established as a Religious Institute of Diocesan Right. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop James D. Conley on the Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 26, at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln, Neb. Bishop John Folda and several priests from the Diocese of Fargo were also present to celebrate this historic Mass. Sister Mary Ruth is the daughter of Cory and Barb Jones of Sts. Anne and Joachim Church in Fargo. She graduated from Fargo South High School in 2002 and attended NDSU, studying engineering. Before entrance, Sister was involved in several diocesan activities in Fargo, including Young Disciples, Eagle Eye Retreats and Search Retreats. After making her first profession of vows in 2010, Sister Mary Ruth completed her studies in elementary education at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. Sister currently teaches a fifth and sixth grade combination class at St. James School in Crete, Neb. Sister Mary Ruth of Fargo made her final profession as a religious sister for the School Sisters of Christ the King in Lincoln, Neb. on Nov. 26. From l to r: Father Brian Bachmeier, Bishop John Folda, Sister Mary Ruth, Father James Cheney, and Father Matthew Kraemer. (submitted photo)

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Decora a place for young women to discover feminine genius By Lia Coyle


Lia Coyle (submitted photo)

ethical, and moral issues. Sister Mary Madeline will present two keynote presentations based on John Paul II’s book, Vocation and Dignity of Women. The first will guide women through the process of discovering their dignity in Christ. “Many competing voices try to tell us who we are and what makes us successful as women,” said Sister Mary Madeline. “Christ came to reveal the surprising and liberating truth that each of us is a beloved daughter of a very good Father who has a beautiful plan for her life.” The second talk will inspire women to believe they are called to life-giving love. “Each of us has unique and amazing gifts,” said Sister, “but we all share a common calling: to place those gifts at the service of life-giving love. The world becomes richer, and we become happier to the extent that we discover and live this call.” In addition to Sister Mary Madeline’s keynotes, the agenda includes breakout sessions, a fashion show, lunch, and a guy panel. The breakouts will be centered on physical and spiritual self-care, fertility, and hospitality. The fashion show will feature numerous young women modeling modest, but extremely stylish apparel. Toward the end of the day, a panel of young men of differing relationship statuses will answer various questions about relationships, how guys perceive women, or other issues of particular interest. Decora participants can anonymously send their questions to Decora is for college-aged women and for High School girls and their mothers. Come rejoice in your feminine genius, learn how beauty can save the world, and discover the truth about authentic feminism! For more information and registration, head to

ecora is an amazing retreat experience for women coming to Fargo on Feb. 24. “Decora” is the Latin adjective for “beautiful.” This event is designed to inspire women to understand their authentic beauty and immense value as daughters of Christ. Decora enlightens them in their feminine vocation and dignity through the teachings of St. John Paul II and the Catholic Church. The day is full of educational experiences, including two talks from a phenomenal keynote speaker, breakout sessions, and various activities. Decora empowers women through a holistic (body, mind, soul) approach to health and fertility. This event especially focuses on educating women using evidence-based science on the beauty of the female cycle and fertility care by a Lia Coyle is a sophomore at NDSU majoring in social studies education. nurse and nurse practitioner. She works as a peer minister at the St. Paul’s Newman Center in Jenna, an NDSU senior and a participant in Decora 2016/2017, Fargo. As a peer minister, she helps coordinate bisonCatholic events, explained the importance of Decora. “Telling women who they assists the development team, and is involved in outreach activities are is very needed in this society.” on the NDSU campus. Christy, an NDSU alumni and former participant in Decora stated, “Decora has shown me that I don’t have to be afraid of what the world tells me about my womanhood, because I am beautiful, I am loved, and I am enough.” Sister Mary Madeline, a member of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia and a renowned speaker on Christian living, will be the keynote for the day. She holds a Master’s Degree in Theology For Baptisms, First Holy from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a Doctorate in Communion, Confirmation, Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas weddings and special occasion in Rome, and a Master of Arts in English from the University gifts and books. of Memphis. She is a regular member of the Catholic Women’s Forum of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and an invited Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. speaker for the International Seminar “Toward an Integral To Know God... (701) 241-7842 toll free (888) 682-8033 To Love God... Feminine Theology” based in Rome. Sister Mary Madeline 1336 25th Ave. S., Fargo 58103 (south of K-Mart) To Serve God... currently travels the world presenting on various theological,





Matthew Glende, Sullivan Middle School SmartLab instructor, talks through a computer programming issue with two students. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

National Catholic Schools Week SmartLabs help prepare students for future high-tech careers

By Paul Braun


earn, serve, lead, succeed. That is the theme for National “Our Technology Advisory Committee had been exploring Catholic Schools Week, observed this year from January 28 to various options for 21st century-learning, including SmartLabs,” February 3. Since 1974, the National Catholic Educational said Michael Hagstrom, President of the JPII Schools network. Association has dedicated a week each year to promote the “An anonymous donor offered to fund a SmartLab at Nativity benefits of a Catholic education, and to highlight the progress School for the 2016-17 school year. We gratefully installed it and made and successes achieved by Catholic schools throughout our students and staff truly embraced it last year.” the nation. SmartLabs are technology-based learning centers that Catholic schools across the Diocese of Fargo will also join incorporate the STEM approach – science, technology, engineering and in on the annual observance, and that includes the St. John mathematics. Hagstrom said the immediate results were encouraging Paul II Catholic Schools Network (JPII Schools) in Fargo, which enough to look at setting up SmartLabs across the network. operates Shanley High School, Sullivan Middle School, and the “Our science standardized scores shot up,” said Hagstrom. elementary schools of Holy Spirit and Nativity in Fargo, and “We saw the many benefits and wanted to extend that to our two Trinity Elementary in West Fargo. One initiative the JPII Schools other grade schools and our middle school. Last spring, thanks network is boasting about is the creation of new SmartLabs in to major lead gifts in memory of James Wold, a lead gift from their schools over the past year and a half. another anonymous donor, and a very generous auction special 14


Two Trinity School fifth graders learn basic mechanics through a pulley mechanism they created. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

project bidding, we were able to secure funding for the new labs, staffing, and training. Now across our JPII Schools Network, we are seeing the benefits of the new labs. It all goes back to that first donor’s investment in our children’s learning and how giving begets more giving and unanticipated blessings.” Students in kindergarten through 8th grade utilize the labs. The lessons taught and programs used vary with each grade’s skill level, but they range from basic keyboarding and computer skills to working with animation, coding video games, circuitry projects and building simple machines and pulley systems. “When they are playing games on the computer, they actually have to code the programs,” said Sarah Floyd, who teaches the SmartLab at Trinity Elementary. “They’re using skills that are really common today because of all of the new technology-based jobs out there. Therefore, what they’re really doing is computer coding, programming, a lot of engineering and making simple machines and circuitry. We haven’t gotten to everything, but they’ll be able to create and design 3-D objects on the computer. It’s really not video games, but in fact it’s more fun than video games.”

Part of the purpose of the SmartLab is getting kids excited about science and engineering, eventually equipping them for jobs that use technology, an important skill to have with the prominence of technology in today’s work environment. “I feel that it provides my students a background with STEM,” said Davonne Eldredge, Principal at Trinity Elementary. “It helps them learn how to problem-solve, and as they go through trials of different things it helps them learn that sometimes things don’t work out the first time and you have to come back and make a new plan. The other part of it that’s really great is that they are learning to make presentations through PowerPoint and use them, which they will be doing the rest of their life.” While the STEM curriculum is important, the JPII Schools network is adding an extra dimension to the technology-centered aspect of the SmartLabs through religion and the arts. According to Michael Hagstrom, these project-based, collaborative STEM learning labs are cutting edge for our 21st century learners. “We are one of a handful of school networks in our region to obtain even a single SmartLab, and by enhancing these labs with religion and the arts, we will have a STREAM flowing through our schools!” “Something I saw the last time I was in the lab was that they were doing a presentation on recycling and taking care of the environment,” says Eldredge. “When we look at our faith, one of the things we are called to do is take care of God’s creation and our environment, so that is one way our Catholic faith was brought in.” For the students, the chance to get on to a computer during the school day to play a game they helped to design, or to get their hands and minds wrapped around a simple machine they are building, brings with it a sense of independence. “I see a lot of participation when they come in here,” said Floyd. “They get started right away and they’re doing a very good job of being in charge of their own learning. In fact, when I try to help them out, they don’t really want my help. I think Sarah Floyd, Trinity Elementary School SmartLab instructor, gives advice to a fourth-grade student. (Paul Braun | New Earth)




Hands-on learning is a big part of the SmartLab experience. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

they like the fact that they are in charge of their projects. There’s “Each of our Catholic Schools has a pastor and a governing no lecturing in here. The most I say to them is giving them board,” said Hagstrom. “That step would be for their discernment reminders to journal or to leave their launchers, which is kind of priorities for future initiatives. We would gladly assist any of their instructions for their activities. If they have questions, schools that would like more information and assistance in that they have to go to three sources before coming to me, which discernment process. Funding would be a key determination, could be online, re-reading, or asking a friend for help, which I’d think. Perhaps there are donors out there who would be they think is cool. They like being in charge.” glad to help with that.” The plan in the near future for the JPII Schools network is to Events like National Catholic Schools Week are the perfect build an even more advanced lab for students at Shanley High opportunity for schools to reach out to parents, the community School. Funding, not desire, appears to be the limiting factor at large and potential donors in order to set a course for the when trying to establish SmartLabs at other Catholic Schools future of our Catholic schools, so they can best meet the needs across the diocese. Hagstrom said if the money can be found, of students and prepare them for their futures as prosperous, there’s no reason why other schools across the diocese can’t faith-filled adults. have a SmartLab of their own. 16


Million dollar fundraiser returns to Catholic Schools in January


he Catholic Schools Raffle returns this winter to select schools in the Diocese of Fargo, giving you the opportunity to turn $5 into a brand new car or $20,000 in cash while raising piles of money for Catholic schools. Starting January 12, 368 students in the diocese will join other students across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota in selling the $5 tickets. Each ticket purchased gives ticket buyers the opportunity to win a 2018 Chevy TRAX (or $20,000 in cash), or other great prizes totaling $40,000 in value. Best of all, every penny of every ticket sold stays at the school, thanks to raffle sponsor Catholic United Financial. The St. Paul-based company provides all the prizes and promotional materials for the raffle resulting in 100% profit for the schools. “Catholic United’s mission since our founding 140 years ago has included supporting Catholic education, and we couldn’t be happier or more proud to support our schools with the Catholic Schools Raffle,” explained Catholic United President Harald Borrmann. “Keeping all the monies raised with the schools is something unique which ultimately, so greatly benefits the children and their teachers.” Now in its ninth year, the Catholic Schools Raffle has raised $105,755 in the Diocese of Fargo alone. Participating diocesan schools hope to add $27,500 to that total this year. Money raised from the raffle allows schools to provide tuition assistance, update their technology systems, or cover the cost of special learning opportunities like hosting a guest speaker or taking a field trip. Since its first year, the Catholic Schools Raffle has raised over

We celebrate

$6 million for Catholic schools in the upper-Midwest. This year Catholic United is challenging the 84 participating schools to collectively raise $1 million during the six week selling period, a goal they have achieved each of the last four years. Ticket sales begin January 12 and run thru February 25. Tickets are only available at participating schools (see list below). The Grand Prize drawing ceremony takes place on Wednesday, March 7 at the Catholic United Financial Home Office in St. Paul, Minn. Raffle updates can be followed on Facebook at www. Participating schools in the Diocese of Fargo: • St. Johns Academy, Jamestown • St. Alphonsus, Langdon • St. John’s School, Wahpeton

About Catholic United Financial

Catholic United Financial is one of the largest fraternal life insurance associations in the Upper Midwest, serving more than 80,000 members in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa. Catholic United offers life insurance, annuities, and retirement savings products to its members while providing fraternal benefits for Catholic parishes, schools and religious education.


Riverview’s th Anniversary


Independent Living’s the friendships and sense of community here that make Riverview home.

We all appreciate the comforting things in life…a warm bed, great food, beautiful gardens. Our residents enjoy all of those wonderful things, but it’s the friendships and sense of community here that make Riverview home. We share stories, laughter, and smiles, and are committed to honoring the Catholic traditions on which our community was founded.

At Riverview you have everything you need… and everything you love.

Assisted Living

5300 12th Street South Fargo, North Dakota 58104 701.237.4700

Riverview NEW EARTH JANUARY 2018



To Light a Fire on the Earth; the state of modern evangelism in America By Matt Komprood


A review of Catholic books, movies, music


If the theme of the first half of To Light a Fire concentrates on the philosophy of faith in God and what our attitude toward evangelization should be, the second half focuses on specific problems encountered when evangelizing in the modern world, specifically looking at the Bible, prayer, and more detailed objections to the faith, such as those posed by the so-called “new atheists.” “I’ll tease them, saying, ‘You drop the question right when it gets really interesting’…You get to a question such as ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ and… just drop it. And I’m the one doing the magical thinking here?” Observations like this are peppered throughout To Light a Fire and give a lot of help to readers, as well as new ways to address some of the most common questions from nonbelievers they’re likely to encounter. One critique might be that To Light a Fire tries to do a bit too much: to give Barron’s biography, touch on the problems and challenges of evangelizing, and rebut various popular arguments against Christianity. You’re certainly left wanting more, but also wishing that the book had concentrated on one of these themes exclusively. However, while the book doesn’t treat any one topic in depth, it gives enough “aha” moments throughout to concentrate the mind and reveal new areas for study. To Light a Fire is a quick and encouraging read, and should be recommended to anyone who wants to better know how to give, as St. Peter says, “a reason for hope” (1 Peter 3:15).

nyone who has been paying attention to the Catholic media world in the last few years has come across Bishop Robert Barron. Currently serving as an Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Los Angeles, Bishop Barron made a splash several years ago with his video series Catholicism. Co-written with John L. Allen Jr., a well-known Catholic journalist, To Light a Fire is written in an interview style, with Allen supplying background and commentary throughout. For those familiar with Barron’s previous work, this book provides more background into his life, thought, and evangelical philosophy. While not organized around any specific theme, the book is best read as both the biography of one of the seminal figures currently serving the American Church as well as an introduction to the state of modern evangelism. Barron and Allen outline the current evangelization problem: 12.9% of American adults are ex-Catholics. If they formed their own denomination, it would be the second-largest in the country. Matt Komprood is the Business Manager at St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Reading Barron’s book, I came away with a renewed hope and Center in Grand Forks. excellent ideas for how to speak with others about the faith. The power of To Light a Fire lies in the ability to treat it as a field manual for evangelization. Are all the answers there? No, but it serves as a wonderful guide and introduction for how to reach people who have grown up with little or no exposure to Christianity. The theme of the first half of To Light a Fire is that there are three ways to win people over to the faith: truth, goodness, and beauty. However, it is Barron’s repeated appeals to the beauty of the faith that made the book a compelling read. Critics will point out that Barron appears to deemphasize some of the moral requirements of the faith saying, for example, that it isn’t necessarily productive to keep emphasizing the Church’s moral teachings on sexuality when you’re dealing with a culture that treats the very existence of God and objective morality itself as absurd. He’s not saying that these teachings should be deemphasized or sidelined, but that their importance grows in relevance in concert with one’s love for and understanding of “To Light a Fire on the Earth: the faith. Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age” To use Barron’s analogy, you have to come to love the game of baseball first before you’ll get excited about understanding by Bishop Robert Barron and John L. Allen Jr. its rules, and before you can understand why those rules are Published by Image Publishing. there at all. Once you come to understand this, it’s easy to see how the rules and structures contribute to the elegance of the game. 262 pages.





(submitted photo)

STORIES OF FAITH “Jesus boat” reminds us we are all called


By Rev. Bert Miller

n the third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B, we hear about Jesus choosing his disciples. First, it is Simon and Andrew, two brothers, and then later that afternoon Jesus chooses James and John. All four are fishermen. They leave their nets and relatives and follow Jesus wherever he goes! They probably borrowed fishing boats often to get from one side of the lake to another. We know that once, Jesus was asleep and the boat was being tossed about. He woke up and calmed the storm. And once, the “guys” were out on the boat and Jesus was on shore. He came walking to them on the sea, they thought it was a ghost, and Peter walked on the sea until he doubted. In 1986, two archeologists discovered a boat on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee (about two kilometers north of the town of Magdala). That year, the sea was particularly low due to drought and drainage of water to the city of Jerusalem. The boat was found sticking out of the mud. It was hard to move to a shelter because every time someone touched it, it would crumble. Therefore, they had to devise a way to float the boat out of the mud and into a laboratory. They dated the boat to 1 AD. It had been a fishing boat on the sea at the time of Jesus. It is today known as the “Jesus boat.” Whether Jesus ever rode in the boat is unknown. It is housed at an interpretative center not far from where it was found. Today, nearby tour groups ride modern motorized boats out on the sea. These are huge compared to the “Jesus boat.” When you have a chance this month, ask your priest: How did Jesus call him? When was he called? What did he leave behind to follow Jesus? I bet there are some great stories, but only a couple about fishermen!

Father Bert Miller serves as pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Park River and St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Veseleyville. Editor’s note: Stories of Faith is a recurring feature in New Earth. If you have a faith story to tell, contact Father Bert Miller at




Air Force was a way to a vocation, the path to fullness of joy in his presence


served my country for four years, Sister’s now I want to serve God with Perspective my whole being Mother Madonna, 24/7. O.Carm. Turning back the clock to explain a few things, I’ll begin by first sharing my earliest memories of “falling in love.” Yes, it might be hard to believe, but my first love was and still is Jesus Christ!

“My life felt complete the day I entered the enclosure, and it has been one continuous romance. The romance consists of giving of myself just as [Jesus] continuously gives of himself to me.” – Mother Madonna, O.Carm

Way back in the first grade we were given a catechism book and on the front cover was a drawn picture of Jesus. The moment I saw that picture it was “love at first sight.” I can still see that picture in my mind, clear as day. And yes, my heart still skips a beat when I think of that picture. The other memory I had very young was going to church and when the priest would open the tabernacle I would think how neat it would be to shrink to the size of my Barbie doll and run into the tabernacle and be locked in with Jesus! As the years went on my heart fell more and more in love with Jesus. Not only with him but with everyone and everything he created. How could I contain the love I experience for him except by giving back to him all he has given to me? My only desire was to give myself totally to him because he created me in my mother’s womb and he is the one sustaining me. Since my desires were not in accord with my parents’ desires for my life, there was the difficulty. My parents wanted me to have an earthly spouse while I wanted a heavenly spouse, Jesus Christ. Not wanting to disobey my parents, I started dating and looking into career options. During my senior year, I prayed even harder as my graduation was quickly approaching and I still did not have any definite future plans. Then one day on my way home from school, I felt an inner inspiration to drive into a parking lot unknown to me. When I looked up, there before



my eyes were the four military recruiting offices. To make a long story short, I joined the Air Force and was stationed in England near London for three years, and my last assignment was in Tennessee. Indeed I had a “way of life” in the Air Force and enjoyed my single life working an 8:00–5:00 office job in U.S.A.F. Military Pay department and traveling all over Europe. What more could a single young women want in life? Well, I can answer my own question – fullness of joy in his presence! Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and it is him we long for all our days on Earth. My life felt complete the day I entered the enclosure, and it has been one continuous romance. The romance consists of giving of myself just as he continuously gives of himself to me. The giving from one to another is fruitful in the spiritual children we assist in and through our prayers. What better life could there be in the world than to give oneself to God? Seminaries, monasteries and convents should be overflowing with new members. Hopefully this article will ignite the flame of love hidden within many young men and women to answer their calling. Will you join us in praying for this special intention? And will you also encourage vocations wherever you are? We know God answers prayers because he surely answered my childhood prayer. There may not be a tabernacle large enough for me, but Carmel’s cloister suffices, considering Jesus and I are under the same roof day and night. Your prayer intentions are welcome 24/7 either by mail, email or telephone. No prayer intention is too big nor too small for us because we treasure each one in our heart’s prayer. We hope to hear from you and know that we love you and thank you! Mother Madonna, O.Carm is the Prioress of Carmel of Mary Monastery near Wahpeton. She can be reached at (701) 642-2360, carmelofmary@ or 17765 78th St. S.E. Wahpeton, ND 58075.

Job Opening

Director of Music/Liturgy Ministry Watertown, SD

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



The face of Christ around us

hristmas has arrived. Christ is among us. It would be folly to claim to know all of the implications of that statement of truth. Through revelation, however, we know slivers of the truth. We know that Christ is in the sacraments and in the church that receives and celebrates them. We know that Christ is in our daily lives, never abandoning us on our earthly journey. We know that where two or more are gathered in his name, he is there. All this is true, but sometimes these examples paint a picture of Christ as a mere fellow traveler or ride-along buddy. Christ is not just standing at our bedside at night or looking over our shoulder as we conduct business. Rather looking at him as a spirit among us, we should look for him in each other. The human person is the greatest sign of Christ among us. In fact, Christianity stood out as unique in that it saw that the human face and body were reflections of God. At times the church had to fight against those who would remove and destroy all icons and statues not only from church life but society in general. The church rightly denounced this iconoclasm as a heresy, but like all heresies it had a grain of truth. The iconoclasts, like some Muslims, Jews, and even some eastern religions, understood that if a person could create an image of man in painting, a coin, or a statue it meant that the person was attempting to create an image of something sacred. They were right up to a point. St. Teresa of Calcutta saw the face of Christ in the poor she and her fellow sisters served. To celebrate Christmas we should do the same. Christ is there, in the face of the unborn child in the womb, one of the most dangerous places in our country. Christ is in the face of the person on death row. Christ is in the faces of those in prisons, jails, and immigration detention centers. Christ is working in the fields, factories, and office buildings. Christ is in the migrants and refugees crossing seas and borders everyplace across the globe. Christ is in the newcomer trying to establish a safe and stable life. Christ is in the emergency rooms, the nursing homes, and clinics. Christ is in the politically oppressed and those persecuted because of their beliefs. Christ is in the faces of those trafficked for labor, sex, and bodily organs. Christ suffers in those caught in conflict, war, famine, and fear. Christ is in those bullied, sexually harassed, and discriminated against. Christ is in the face of those with whom we disagree, our opponents, and our enemies. The list could go on and on, for Christ is in all. This is one

of the messages of Christmas. It is a reminder of Christ’s true presence here on earth. Catholic Too often some Action brands of Christianity want to treat Christ Christoper Dodson like a piece of personal property that is only held by the select who receive it. You have to be in the club. At best, these groups are confusing the Gospel with Christ himself. At worse, they are engaging in an exercise of factionalism or gnosticism.

“Seeing Christ among us means seeing Christ in those whom we do not expect to see him.” – Christopher Dodson Seeing Christ among us means seeing Christ in those whom we do not expect to see him. This fact has social and political consequences. It is tempting to think that seeing Christ in others and responding to their needs is a matter of charity, but that thought is just that — a temptation. In many cases, the needs of a person are due to them as a matter of justice because they are created in the image of God and Christ is there. The Catechism warns against giving in charity what is really due as a matter of justice simply because they are human persons. Justice is a matter of public policy, not charity. Professing “Christ is among us” means engaging in a politics of love. It means that issues like abortion, poverty, violence, homelessness, migration, and even taxation are not mere political issues with human consequences. It means they are, first and foremost, human issues involving Christ himself, for whatever we do or fail to do to the least of these, we do or fail to do to him. This focus may seem depressing, especially during the Christmas season. Christianity, however, is a religion of paradoxes. We celebrate Christmas because we know now that Christ is there among the poor, the vulnerable, and the downtrodden. We celebrate Christmas because we know that Christ is there. We celebrate Christmas because we have the privilege of being Christ’s hands and feet, serving him as we serve others. 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




Fathering a future Father


his year has brought many new and exciting changes in my life: a new seminary, new friends, new classes, new professors, and last but not least, a new church, and

This has continued to inspire me and helps me to keep going when the going gets rough. The two priests at my parish have different personalities, but they still get along great and that helps inspire me to grow in Seminarian my friendships here at the seminary. I also love the time I get Life to pray when I’m in the car driving there and back, praying my daily rosary for my parish, and thanking God for all I learned Kevin Lorsung during my visit that day. I recently met some parishioners of my parish that are related to a fellow seminarian, and I hope to deepen those relationships as I continue in formation. All of this helps me to continue to by that I don’t mean the seminary chapel. follow God’s will and to grow in his love so that I may serve What I mean is at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity, all of you with a true shepherd’s heart as Christ did! God bless we have a special pastoral program where we are assigned a you, and please keep us seminarians in your prayers! particular parish for the four years we are in seminary. This is part of our ongoing formation here, so we are able to gain Lorsung is a Theology I seminarian at St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. important knowledge about what happens at a parish. Editor’s Note: Seminarian Life is a column written by Diocese of I remember discussing with my classmates where we would Fargo seminarians. Please continue to pray for them. possibly be assigned, and we couldn’t wait to find out. I was assigned to my parish on September 22, and that very evening I went to their first annual parish festival (my parish is very new). What great timing! I met the priests and most of the staff, and overall I enjoyed the evening. I was very impressed with the place. The people were welcoming. I’ve continued to visit about once a week, and I always enjoy it. One of my favorite things about going to my parish is spending time with the priests and better understanding the life of diocesan priesthood. In a very real way, they father me, and I look up to them, learning from both their words and actions. I’ve assisted at baptisms, and those have been special. I’ve also watched the priests minister to people and educate the youth of the parish. I’ve felt God’s guiding presence in them as they’ve shown me what it is to be a loving and caring father for their parishioners.

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

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

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



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



What will you do in the New Year?

ccording to the Department of Labor statistics on time use in 2016, Americans spent on average 5.13 hours each day in leisure and sports. Of that time, 2.73 hours were spent watching TV. Yet Americans spent only an average of 1 hour per week directly helping others (“Volunteering in the United States – 2015,” Bureau of Labor Statistics). Americans also spent 1.13 hours a week in religious activity, such as prayer. If they attend church on Sunday, that leaves only a few minutes to say grace a couple times a week. In short, Americans easily dedicate five times as much of each day to recreation as they do in an entire week to faith or service.  As we look back at 2017 and consider both our accomplishments and failures, it helps to examine how we spend our time. Have you ever seen a breakdown of your time in a day or week? It can be an eye-opening exercise. For instance, a week seems like a long time until you realize it is only 168 hours. Consider we spend around 67 of those hours for sleep and personal care (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Include another 8 hours for eating and almost 13 hours for cooking and housework. Add 5 more hours shopping. That brings us down to 75 hours already. If we work at least 40 hours in the office and maybe 5 more with the commute, that leaves us about 30 hours of flexible time for all other activities during the week. Even if we don’t spend as much time watching TV as others, we may have children or others to care for that need those remaining hours. No wonder we are such a busy society today. Our time is also one of the key components of stewardship, along with our talents and treasure. Most of us are aware of the biblical tithe of 10%, traditionally taught to Catholics as giving 5% to your parish, 4% to other good works, and 1% to your diocese. Judging by recent giving statistics, this is a big challenge for many of us. If you aspire to give 10% of your treasure, look at what you are giving already and make a gradual plan to work your way to 10%. Before you know it, you may be more generous than you can imagine. What would happen if we applied this same tithing principle to our time? Consider if we dedicated the same amount of our waking hours to faith and service as we aim to with our money. Could you imagine if each person in your parish gave 5 hours a week to help others through their church, 4 hours in other charitable works, and 1 hour to assist in diocesan projects? Parish and nonprofit leaders might wonder what to do with all these volunteers! Lack of time is the biggest reason Americans don’t volunteer more. We might only exercise real control over our time a couple hours a night, and a free weekend can be rare. But if that is the case, doesn’t it matter even more what we do with each minute we have? Indeed, it is up to each one of us to consciously choose what we do with our precious time. This fall we completed a newly redesigned, mobile-friendly website for Catholic Charities North Dakota because that is where people spend much of their time now. Note that the internet and smartphones are not inherently bad for us. They can be used effectively for our benefit to find good information or to our detriment if we’re not careful. Even if these are harmless pastimes

or escapes, do they steal our precious time away from us? Is there something holding you Catholic back or robbing you of the time Charities that could be spent Corner better with family, friends, or serving Chad Prososki others? While we can never recapture moments already robbed from us, we can make small changes here and there that can make a difference. We can do better than 5 hours a day entertaining ourselves and 5 minutes on our faith and those in need. There is no better time to begin than the New Year. Ask your parish staff and local nonprofits how you can get involved. Why not start today? Chad Prososki is the Director of Development and Community Relations for Catholic Charities North Dakota. For more than 90 years, Catholic Charities North Dakota and its supporters have been putting their faith in action helping people, changing lives. You can reach Chad at info@ or (701) 235-4457.

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History and humility: an old man’s plea to young adults Originally published at


he old man with the typewriter would like a word Twenty with us texters and tweeters: Don’t be Something a blockhead. Christina Capecchi David McCullough’s bestselling new book, “The American Spirit,” takes up a cause he has long championed, lends it added urgency and aims it squarely at young adults. “We are raising a generation of young Americans who are by and large historically illiterate,” McCullough writes. At 83, the prize-winning historian has ample evidence. His preferred mode is to be holed up in his writing studio, a tiny shed in the backyard of his Martha’s Vineyard home with no running water or working phone. To keep from startling him, visitors whistle as they approach. But McCullough is even more shocked when he’s on the speaking circuit. A Missouri college student, for instance, once thanked him for coming to campus and said “until now, I never understood that the original 13 colonies were all on the East Coast.” Another student asked him, “Aside from Harry Truman and John Adams, how many other presidents have you interviewed?” The trouble, McCullough writes, is that we don’t know who we are or where we’re headed without a sense of where we came from. Peppered with the kind of anecdotes that make his biographies spring to life, this book – a collection of his speeches – is different. It is an unabashed love story, McCullough’s ode to history, “an antidote to the hubris of the present,” a pleasure that “consists in an expansion of the experience of being alive.” Here’s where I must admit that my summer reading had gotten a bit light, reduced to the bleary-eyed boomerang of blogs and Instagram feeds. I was surprised how good it felt to hold this book and entertain its ideas. It illuminates the footbridge from knowledge to character, and it offers a clear takeaway for the Catholic Church. To learn our nation’s history is to be inspired by the likes of Abigail Adams, who penned 2,000 letters. “Great necessities call out great virtues,” she wrote to her 11-year-old son, a future president, setting sail across the Atlantic. “When a mind is raised and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.” McCullough dedicates the book to his 19 grandchildren and



doles out plenty of wholesome advice. Read widely. Be generous. Take an interest in people. He also borrows Abigail Adams’ admonition to her son and directs it at modern-day history-illiterates: “How unpardonable it would be for us – with so much that we have been given, the advantages we have, all the continuing opportunities we have to enhance and increase our love of learning – to turn out blockheads.” We must never take for granted the work of those who went before us, McCullough writes. “To be indifferent to that isn’t just to be ignorant, it’s to be rude.” Then he throws his sharpest barb – cushioned, as it is, by a Mr. Rodgers cardigan: “And ingratitude is a shabby failing.” When it comes to our religion, the oldest Christian faith, so many of us young Catholics risk drifting down the path from ignorance to ingratitude. McCullough’s caution applies: “We have to value what our forebears – and not just in the 18th century, but our own parents and grandparents – did for us, or we’re not going to take it very seriously, and it can slip away.” I love my faith and my family, which intersect in deep, fascinating ways. To learn more of Catholicism’s rich history – our saints and our sacraments, our symbols and our songs – brings a wellspring of appreciation. It is to discover, in the words of McCullough, an “inexhaustible source of strength.” Christina Capecchi is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

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


Events across the diocese Experience Ignatian Retreats at Maryvale Convent, Valley City

Support Holy Family-St. Mary’s Catholic Schools with annual dinner, dance

The Ignatian Retreat is steeped in the Gospels and is based Holy Family-St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School in Grand on the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This is a silent Forks is having its 13th annual dinner, dance, and silent auction retreat where one is able to meet Jesus in the experiences of Jesus’ on Feb. 9. The theme of this year’s event is “Written in the Stars,” own life. Conferences and individual direction are part of the a prom dance theme. Purchase dinner tickets by contacting the retreat. Two weekend retreats are available: Jan. 19–21 (register school at (701) 775-9886. Visit for more information. by Jan. 12), and April 27–29 (register by April 20). Suggested donation is $85. Contact Sister Dorothy Bunce at (701) 845-2864 or

St. John’s Church in Wahpeton hosts Mardi Gras celebration

On Sunday, Feb. 11, St. John’s Church in Wahpeton will host St. John’s Mardi Gras from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Mardi Gras event will provide a wonderful dinner, theme basket silent “Choice-Making:” Jan. 27 from 1–4 p.m. (register by Jan. 13), auction, carnival games and a bake sale. Everyone is welcome. Any questions, please contact St. John’s Church in Wahpeton and March 10 from 1–4 p.m. (register by Feb. 24). “Emptying Your Cup:” Feb. 10 from 1–4 p.m. (register by Jan. at (701) 642-6982. 27), and May 12 from 1–4 p.m. (register by April 28).

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

The format for these retreats allows for small group gatherings that enable participants to converse on their prayer experiences and encounters with God. Suggested donation is $35. Contact Sister Dorothy Bunce at (701) 845-2864 or dorothy.bunce@

Real Presence Radio banquet brings Teresa Tomeo to Fargo

Real Presence Radio is excited to welcome Teresa Tomeo as its keynote speaker for its annual fundraising banquet in Fargo on Monday, February 26. Teresa Tomeo is host of EWTN’s “Catholic Connection,” as well as a best-selling author and print, radio, and television journalist St. John’s Church in Wahpeton will be offering a Morning with more than 30 years of experience in of Prayerful Remembrance and Intercession on Jan. 20, from media. When Teresa reverted to the Catholic 9 a.m. to noon, as a time for all the faithful to gather in prayer faith, she brought her broadcasting experience with her, and and intercession on behalf of our nation, seeking forgiveness she now uses these skills to advance the mission of Jesus Christ. and healing in God’s merciful love. The hidden wounds of abortion affect each of us either directly For more information about the events, or to become a or indirectly. Whether it be one’s neighbor, co-worker, friend, sponsor, host a table, or register to attend as a guest, please relative, or maybe oneself, as a community we have all been visit, call (877) 795-0122, or email touched. The prayer service will include intercessory prayers, Eucharistic Adoration, Sacrament of Reconciliation and Mass. A light lunch will be served following the prayer service. For more information, contact Connie at (701) 642-4312. St. Stanislaus Church in Warsaw will be offering an Afternoon When most people think of the media and its consistent of Prayerful Remembrance and Intercession on Jan. 28 from promotion of the culture of death, they sometimes limit the 1–4 p.m., and will be based on the same theme as the event in spin to the news media alone. Teresa Tomeo will point out in Wahpeton. For more information, contact Mary Pat at (701) 248-3077. this eye-opening presentation how the corruptive campaign promoting abortion, birth control, euthanasia, and sexual promiscuity is insidious. She will also show us the depth of this problem, and how we can engage rather than give in to the culture of death. All Masses Jan. 20-21, will gather a special collection for Join Teresa Tomeo for lunch on Mon., Feb. 26, from 11:30 Peter’s Pence. The Peter’s Pence Collection supports the a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sts. Anne and Joachim Church in Fargo. Cost Pope’s philanthropy by giving the Holy Father the means is $15 per person Registration is required, and the deadline is to provide emergency assistance to those in need because of Feb. 20.  To register go to or natural disaster, war, oppression, and disease. call (701) 356-7910. Sponsored by the Diocese of Fargo Respect Life Office.

A morning and afternoon of Prayerful Remembrance

Bringing America back to life… join Teresa Tomeo for lunch!

Peter’s Pence collection set for Jan. 20-21




Carrying Christmas into the New Year By Anne Mcguire | United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Visit to download a free app for your Android or iPhone or to sign up for daily emails or text messages. Printable versions of each day’s content will also be available from there. To receive daily text updates, send 9DAYS to 55000*. You can even download a special cover photo and profile picture for Facebook to stand in solidarity and raise awareness. The daily intentions will be posted on social media with the hashtag #9DaysForLife. Follow People of Life at, and join the event to be notified of the daily postings. s we witness suffering in the world around us, we know As we begin the New Year, let us remember the brokenhearted that many do not have carefree, merry Christmases. With and the suffering in our prayers and, remembering Christ’s own this awareness, one Christmas song, “O Holy Night,” love for each of us, reach out to be with others in support and in love. Though we may not see the immediate effects of our particularly stands out to me: prayers and good works, we can trust in God’s power to work Long lay the world in sin and error pining, through us. ‘Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.


    The world is broken. There is suffering. And God himself comes into that suffering to be with us. This is the true nature of compassion – to suffer with. But awareness of the brokenhearted and God’s great gift of himself could easily become just another insight that comes and goes. So in the New Year, how do we carry the message of Christmas in our hearts? How do we live its truth in our lives, rather than pack it away with the ornaments?              We are called to love one another as Christ has loved us, to enter compassionately into the suffering of others, and to share Jesus’ love with them. One important way we can do this is through prayer. A specific invitation to prayer surrounds January 22, when our nation will mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in the U.S. throughout the nine months of pregnancy. Since that tragic decision, more than 57 million children’s lives have been lost to abortion, and many women and men experience – often in silence – deep and lasting suffering due to their involvement. The U.S. Catholic bishops are inviting the faithful to participate in 9 Days for Life, a period of prayer, penance and pilgrimage set aside from January 18-26 to observe this anniversary by taking part in local events and by joining Catholics across the country united in prayer. Each day of the novena includes simple prayers and different brief intentions, reflections and actions. Along with prayers for the end to abortion, the novena also includes prayers for other intentions related to human dignity, such as the end to the use of the death penalty, for those nearing the end of their lives, and for all who are on the path of adoption.           



Hurley’s Religious Goods Inc

Serving our faith community Since 1951

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


Life’s milestones Adam and Barbara Keller celebrated their 70th anniversary on Jan. 5. They are lifetime parishioners of St. Anthony’s Church in Selz. They have seven children, 20 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.

Clarabell Demers celebrated her 107th birthday on Nov. 3. She has been a lifelong parishioner of Sacred Heart Church in Oakwood and has been blessed with three children, 19 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and eight great-great grandchildren. Clarabell was married to Fred Demers.

Selmer (Dave) and Katharine Syvertson celebrated their 57th anniversary on Jan. 7. They were married at St. John’s Church in Grafton and are now parishioners at Holy Cross Church in West Fargo. They have five children, 10 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

George Allen Forward, Oakes, celebrated his 90th birthday during the Thanksgiving holiday. He is a lifetime parishioner at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Oakes, and serves as a minister of Holy Communion. He and his wife of 66 years, Marjorie, have eight children, 24 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.

Frances Bjornstad will celebrate her 95th birthday on Jan. 29. She was a long-time parishioner of Sacred Heart in Aneta. She is now a parishioner at Sts. Anne & Joachim Church in Fargo. She was married to Osborne Bjornstad until he passed away in 1977. She has six children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A Glimpse of the Past - January

Isabel Niswonger will celebrate her 90th birthday on Jan. 20. She is a parishioner of Sacred Heart Church in Minto, where she has been a daily Mass lector for 28 years. She has seven children and nine grandchildren. She was married to Clarence Niswonger for 39 years until he passed away in 1990. These news items, compiled by Dorothy Duchschere, were found in New Earth and its predecessor, Catholic Action News.

50 Years Ago....1968

Three diocesan elementary schools will be closed after this school year, according to Wayne F. Krebsbach, Diocesan Superintendent of schools. They are St. Cecelia’s, Harvey; St. Philip’s, Napoleon, and St. Elizabeth, Sykeston. Action to close the schools was taken at the January meeting of the Diocesan School Board in Fargo and followed a year and half survey and study. A shortage of staff members compelled closing of the schools.

20 Years Ago....1997

People who attend the 9 a.m. Sunday Mass at Holy Spirit, Fargo, may notice a very young parishioner dressed in his Sunday best. Corey Bower, age 8, dresses that way every Sunday when

he comes with his family to Mass because he has assisted the ushers in presenting the gifts to the altar for the past year.

10 Years ago....2008

Benedictine Father John Odermann, known for the distinctive crosses he shapes from wood, is retiring from active ministry January 31. Fr. Odermann’s ruggedly simple crosses are made from branches of various species of trees that have been stripped of bark, roughly band-sawed and belt-sanded into shapes of heads, torsos, arms and legs, uprights and cross beams. They are joined together to create the tortured body of Our Lord nailed to a tree. Fr. Odermann began making his crosses in 1984. He estimates he has completed more than 10,000 pieces of woodwork. The crosses can be found in every country in Europe, China, and Japan. NEW EARTH JANUARY 2018



Pope puts John Paul I on path to sainthood, declares him ‘venerable’ By Junno Arocho Esteves | Catholic News Service


ope Francis recognized to the late pope’s intercession in order for him to be beatified, that Pope John Paul I, the next step toward sainthood. A second miracle would be who served only 33 days needed for canonization. as pope, lived the Christian Stefania Falasca, vice postulator of Pope John Paul’s sainthood virtues in a heroic way. cause, said one “presumed extraordinary healing” had already The Vatican announced been investigated by a diocese and a second possibility is being Pope Francis’ decision Nov. 9. studied, but the Vatican does not begin its investigations until It marks the first major step on a sainthood candidate is declared venerable. the path to sainthood for the Although his was one of the shortest papacies in history, Pope pope who died in 1978 at the age of 65, shocking the world and John Paul I left a lasting impression on the church that fondly a church that had just mourned the death of Blessed Paul VI. remembers him as “the smiling pope.” Pope Francis would have to recognize a miracle attributed

With prayer and aid, Catholics rally around California wildfire victims By Kevin Jones | Catholic News Agency


he massive wildfires of California have drawn calls for prayer and assistance from the U.S. bishops, as Catholic Charities affiliates in the state work to aid victims. “I am sure all the faithful join me in saying: we stand ready to help in the recovery,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, said Dec. 8. Dan Grimm, Santa Barbara/Ventura regional director for

Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, also called for prayers. “We are praying for a quick end to this ‘trial by fire’ but so grateful for the generosity of so many coming to the aid of their brothers and sisters in Christ,” he told CNA. As of Dec. 13, six fires have affected the state, burning nearly 160,000 acres. About 190,000 people have been forced from their homes as over 5,700 firefighters combat the flames. Calling for prayer, Cardinal DiNardo noted that on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Catholics “commit ourselves to the loving protection of Mary the Mother of God and patroness of America.”

In US, abortion rates reach new low By Catholic News Agency


report from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that abortion rates in the country are at a historic low since the nationwide legalization of abortion in 1973. According to the study, abortion rates have fallen 22 percent between the years of 200514. In 2014, the CDC cited 653,639 performed abortions, while over 1.4 million abortions took place in 1990. The study included both surgical abortions and chemical 28


abortions, which include abortifacient pills that end a pregnancy before 8 weeks gestation. A number of different factors are playing into the overall decline in abortions. The CDC reported, “the proportion of pregnancies in the United States that were unintended decreased from 51 percent in 2008 to 45 percent during 2011–13.” It pointed to increased use of long-acting contraceptives such as IUD and hormonal implants as one reason for this decrease. However, another factor is the declining birthrate in the U.S. The National Center for Health Statistics found that 3,941,109 babies were born in the U.S. in 2016, which was 37,388 fewer babies than were born in 2015.



Faith leaders affirm the inherent beauty and dignity of being created male or female

ollowing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) General Assembly in November 2017, a group of ecumenical and interfaith partners gathered with bishops of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage to discuss gender ideology. As a result, faith leaders on Dec. 15, 2017, issued an open letter entitled “Created Male and Female.” “We hope this letter communicates to the public our shared understanding of the goodness of the creation of humanity as male or female and underscores our commitment to service of this truth with both clarity and compassion,” said Bishop James Conley, of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. The religious leaders stressed the importance of acknowledging

By United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

the reality of sexual identity, noting, “Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can ‘change’ their sex or, further, given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults. Parents deserve better guidance on these important decisions, and we urge our medical institutions to honor the basic medical principle of ‘first, do no harm.’” The leaders close with a hope: “We hope for renewed appreciation of the beauty of sexual difference in our culture and for authentic support of those who experience conflict with their God-given sexual identity.” The letter is available at marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-ofmarriage/created-male-and-female.cfm.

Celebrating Our Faith Everyday inFormation sessions 3yr old Little Deacons – 5th Grade monday, January 29 6:30 pm at Trinity Elementary School 2811 7th Street E • West Fargo

tuesday, January 30 6:30 pm at Nativity Elementary School 1825 11th Street S • Fargo

thursday, February 1 6:30 pm at Holy Spirit Elementary School 1441 8th Street N • Fargo

Parents and children are invited to learn about our schools and additional programs For more inFormation or personaL tour Lori Hager Admissions Director 701-893-3271









Pope Francis: Think ‘being good’ is enough? It’s not. By Hannah Brockhaus | Catholic News Agency

(Catholic News Agency)


(CNA/EWTN News) – ccording to Pope Francis, a Christian can’t just be a good person and skip Mass on Sundays, because it is the Eucharist that provides the nourishment needed to truly live the Gospel well in our daily lives. “How can we respond to those who say that there is no need to go to Mass, not even on Sundays, because what is important is to live well, to love our neighbors?” the Pope said Dec. 13. “It is true that the quality of the Christian life is measured by the capacity to love,” as Jesus says in the Gospels, he said. “But how can we practice the Gospel without drawing the necessary strength to do it, one Sunday after another, from the inexhaustible spring of the Eucharist?” Pope Francis spoke during his Wednesday general audience, during which he continued his weekly catechesis on the Mass and Eucharist, focusing on the reasons why we must go to Mass every Sunday, besides the fact that it is a law of the Church, which he said is important, but “not enough alone.” Instead we must go deeper: “We Christians need to participate in Sunday Mass because only with the grace of Jesus, with his living presence in us and among us, can we put into practice his commandment, and thus be his credible witnesses,” he said. The Eucharist and Mass, he said, are where we find our strength for daily life. Without it, Christians “are condemned to be dominated by the fatigue of everyday life.” Often consumed by worries and fears, this weekly meeting is where Christ gives us the strength to live each day with courage and with hope. 30


He explained how participating in the Eucharistic communion with Jesus here on earth helps us to anticipate heaven, where it will be “Sunday without sunset”: no more tears, grief, or pain, but only “the joy of living fully and forever with the Lord.” At Sunday Mass we rest from the busyness and work of the week, which teaches us to place our trust in the Father, not in earthly things, the Pope said. In this same way, abstaining from unnecessary labor on Sundays helps us to live out our identity as sons and daughters of God, and not slaves. The Pope also noted an important distinction about Mass, which is that Christians do not go in order to give something to God, “but to receive from Him what we really need.” This teaching is evoked in a prayer from the Roman Missal, which addresses God, saying: “You do not need our praise, but for a gift of your love you call us to give you thanks; our hymns of blessing do not increase your greatness, but they obtain for us the grace that saves us,” Francis said. Pope Francis then noted that there are some Christian communities which are not able to celebrate Mass every Sunday, but they are still called to gather together in prayer, to listen to the Word of God, and to nurture their desire for the Eucharist. Alternatively, there are many secularized societies which have entirely lost the Christian sense of an “illuminated Sunday,” he said. In this case we must help revive and recover the meaning of the day, he said, which should be celebrated with joy, with community, and with solidarity; as a day of rest “that restores the soul and the body.”

Sidewalk Stories By Roxane B. Salonen


Intoxicated ‘drifter’ speaks clearly about life

nyone who frequents the sidewalk of our state’s only abortion facility to pray eventually comes to understand there’s more there than meets the eye. It’s not just about the people who enter the facility, and what we can do through our prayers and messages of hope. It’s also about what we can bring those who pass by that desolate pathway – or perhaps more importantly, as I recently discovered – what they can bring us. I’m talking about the homeless, often intoxicated individuals who drift by each week. They’ve become part of the reason I, and others, feel so committed to keep showing up. Of course, one must be discerning. Downtown isn’t a place for the naive. But by paying attention, I’ve also seen God show up in disguise. Many of these drifters – the great majority I’ve witnessed or met – are pro-life, and, perhaps because their inhibitions are lowered, they’re not afraid to make it known. Sometimes, they’re almost too vocal, and we find it necessary to encourage them toward a more charitable stance. Recently, though, one came wandering by and, in stopping to chat, changed the whole tenor of the sidewalk, and left me practically skipping away with joy in my heart. It might sound crazy, but it was as if – through someone with breath heavy with the stench of hard liquor – God himself spoke to me. He first paused near the escorts, who turned away from him. He then pivoted from them toward me, giving me a questioning look, like, “What?” And I looked back and shrugged, as if saying, “I don’t get it, either.” He then approached my friend and I who’d been praying, making his intentions clear. “I’m pro-life,” he said. “I’ll come stand with you.” And he did. Repeating over and over his regard for life, he shared why he feels so strongly about it. What struck me was his passion, and clarity, through slurred words. With zeal, he declared, “Every day, children are born into the world. Every day, some of our elders leave. Those babies are a sign that God hasn’t given up on us yet.” I gulped. It was a profound insight that had never, not in quite that way, occurred to me before. He persisted, saying that if God hasn’t given up on us yet,

why would we? It’s plain wrong, he said, to diminish the hope that God wants to bring us. After telling me his name, he shared some of his story. “I’m from Arizona,” he said. “I’m Navajo.” “Why are you here in the cold country?” I asked. “I’m here to cool off. It can get 115 degrees there.” We laughed at him needing to escape to North Dakota for relief. He was abandoned by his parents as a baby, he continued, and raised by his grandparents, who taught him, firstly, to speak in his Native tongue. Then he returned to talking about his life convictions, how each child born is a miracle, and that we should never take away what the Creator gives us. It’s not our right to do so. “Yes,” I said. “You are so right!” He told me about his job, apartment, and vehicle, which he said he won’t drive when he’s been drinking, because he can’t bear the thought of hurting another human life. Then he showed me his tattoo, which, written into the insides of his arms, stretched from one end of his hand to the other. The first word, in Navajo, meant “Creator,” he explained. The rest: “Hear my prayers.” “I don’t have anyone,” he said, “no wife, no kids.” And yet he told me how he prays four times a day in gratitude to God. I believed him, and I assured him God loves him, and affirmed how spot on his ideas were. We had a great conversation, and I promised I would pray for him – and I’ve kept that promise. I am thankful for the chance to converse with this lonely man who simply wanted to let the world know, “Life is hard, but it is good, because it came from a God who loves us.” If only we could all be so wise. Just a short time before he arrived, another prayer advocate had said, pointing to other drifters on the sidewalk, “You see them over there? They are the ones who will be first to enter the Kingdom of God. Just you wait.” I have a hunch she’s right. Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five, is a local writer, and a speaker and radio host for Real Presence Radio. Roxane writes for The Forum newspaper and for Reach her at





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

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

Where in the diocese are we? 32


Last month’s photo is of outside St. Michael’s Church in Grand Forks.

New Earth January 2018  
New Earth January 2018  

The official magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND