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New March 2018 | Vol. 39 | No. 3


The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo

“I am willing”

Fifty years of the diaconate in the United States


From Bishop Folda: The Eucharist: the heart of Holy Week and Easter

Ask a Priest: Should Sunday be different from any other day of the week?

Immaculée Ilibagiza invites all to experience the power of prayer and forgiveness NEW EARTH MARCH 2018 1




March 2018 Vol. 39 | No. 3

ON THE COVER 16 Fifty years of the diaconate in the United States Fifty years ago, in 1968, the United States Conference of

Catholic Bishops petitioned the Vatican to allow bishops to establish permanent deacon formation in the United States. Eleven years later, Bishop Driscoll ordained the first 11 permanent deacons in the Diocese of Fargo on December 29, 1979. Since then the permanent diaconate ministry in the Fargo Diocese has been growing.



The Eucharist: The heart of Holy Week and Easter



Pope Francis’ March prayer intentions


Ask a priest:

Should Sunday be different from any other day of the week?



Humanae Vitae and the single girl


Finding Hope Ministry supports grieving families after child loss

10 Immaculée Ilibagiza invites all to experience the power of prayer and forgiveness 11 Sr. Winifred (Una) Murphy, PBVM, passes away after lifelong service

16 10


12 Be transformed as a disciple

23 Stories of Faith

13 The daughter of a saint, Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla, to visit Diocese of Fargo

24 Sister’s Perspective


19 Catholic Schools Week celebrates faith and

education Jan. 29-Feb.2


22 Tattered Pages

God’s healing touches Giawndra I heard the call from God, the gift of religious vocation

25 Catholic Action

Anti-Muslim acts have no place in Christian life

26 Stewardship

The gift that gives back

28 Seminarian Life

An evening with Jesus in the tomb

A review written by Joshua Gow for “The Power of Silence” 29 Catholic Charities Corner Charity in aid and action by Robert Cardinal Sarah

30 Word on Fire




Black Elk and the need for catechists

ON THE COVER: Deacon James McAllister of St. Bernard’s Church in Oriska proclaims the Gospel at a recent Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Fargo. (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.





31 Events across the diocese 31 Life’s milestones 32 A glimpse of the past U.S. AND WORLD NEWS 34 Marriage Encounter movement celebrates 50 years of strengthening marriages SIDEWALK STORIES 35 Even in an imperfect world, each life perfect to God

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 April issue is March 21, 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 MARCH 2018



The Eucharist: the heart of Holy Week and Easter


n a short time, the Church will celebrate its holiest days and recall the paschal mystery of our Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection. However, there is one event or reality that encompasses the whole celebration of Holy Week and Easter: the Eucharist. These mysteries in their entirety are contained in that greatest sacrament, which we celebrate throughout the year. In the Eucharist, the fullness of our faith is present, because Jesus himself is present. On Holy Thursday, Jesus gathered his closest compan-

paschal mystery, his saving death and glorious resurrection. By receiving the Eucharist, we are made one with Christ, who even now lives in glory at the right hand of the Father. It’s no secret that the number of those attending Sunday Mass has declined, and thus fewer of the faithful are receiving the Eucharist. The reasons for this are many, but one reason is surely a misunderstanding of what the Eucharist truly is. Some see the Eucharist merely as a symbol and the Mass as a ritual that represents in some way what Jesus did for us. But this is not what the Church believes. Pope Francis tells us: “It is not merely a remembrance, no. It is more: it is making present what happened twenty centuries ago.” The Church has always taught the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist, that the Eucharist is a re-presentation of the sacrificial death and glorious resurrection of Christ. It is the real presence of Christ himself under the appearances of bread and wine. When we participate in the Mass and receive the Eucharist, we receive the same Christ who died on the cross and rose on Easter morning. This is why initiation into the Church at Easter culminates in the reception of the Holy Eucharist. It is the completion of our union with Jesus. “Through the Eucharist, we are formed and drawn The Holy Father has been speaking in recent weeks about the Eucharistic liturgy, and he pulls no punches about attending together as the Church, the family of those whom and participating in the Mass. It is not enough, he tells us, to our Lord has called as his disciples. We might come to live a good life and treat others well. We must also remain in the church by ourselves and even sit by ourselves, communion with Christ through the Eucharist. “How can we but through the Eucharist we are always part of practice the Gospel without drawing the energy necessary to something bigger than ourselves.” – Bishop John Folda do so… from the inexhaustible source of the Eucharist? We do not go to Mass in order to give something to God, but to receive ions together at the Last Supper. During that Passover meal, he what we truly need from him.” We need the Eucharist “because gave them the customary bread and wine, but forever transformed only with Jesus’ grace, with his living presence within us and that ritual when he said, “This is my body…This is my blood.” among us, can we put his commandment into practice, and thus As he gave the Eucharist to his apostles, he was anticipating his be his credible witnesses.” sacrificial death, the gift of his life that he would offer for the Through the Eucharist, we are formed and drawn together salvation of the world. On Good Friday, Jesus gave us his body as the Church, the family of those whom our Lord has called and blood on the cross, and he forever united his crucifixion and as his disciples. We might come to the church by ourselves and death to the sacrament of the altar that we celebrate at every even sit by ourselves, but through the Eucharist, we are always Mass. Pope Francis says, “As we enter the church to celebrate part of something bigger than ourselves. We are members of the Mass, let us think about this: I am going to Calvary, where Jesus mystical Body of Christ, joined to God and our fellow believers by gave his life for me.” Finally, on Easter Sunday, he rose from the paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. Through the dead to glory, and the Eucharist becomes the sacrament of the Eucharist, we are sent out just as the apostles were sent forth his resurrection as well. As our Holy Father says, “Every celfrom Jerusalem after Easter. ebration of the Eucharist is a ray of that never setting sun that is the Risen Jesus.” When we receive the Eucharist, we unite As we approach the days of Holy Week and Easter, I hope each ourselves to the whole saving mystery that unfolded in those one of us will enter more deeply into these mysteries through sacred days, and more importantly, Jesus unites us to himself. the Eucharist. It will be our portal into the fullness of Christ’s love. But that portal doesn’t close on Easter Sunday; it is open Is it any wonder then, that Jesus told his apostles to “Do this to us always. Through the Mass and the Eucharist let us live in memory of me?” He commanded them to continue what he the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection throughout the has done, to carry on this sacramental celebration in his body year. If we have been sporadic in our attendance at Mass, now and blood so that all who believe in him might be personally is the perfect time to start anew, to keep the Lord’s day holy by united with him. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man making time for him every week. Even after Easter has passed, and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my the Eucharist will still join us to the Risen Christ every day of flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him the year. May this Holy Week and Easter be for all of us an up on the last day” (Jn 6:53-54). He urges us to celebrate the encounter with the love of Christ in the Eucharist. Eucharist so that we might always experience the grace of his 4


Bishop Folda’s Calendar Mar. 8 | 7 p.m.

Red Mass, Sts. Anne and Joachim, Fargo

Mar. 9 | 6:30 p.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, St. Helena, Ellendale

Mar. 10 | 10 a.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, St. Charles Borromeo, Oakes

6:30 p.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, Basilica of St. James, Jamestown

Mar. 11 | 2 p.m.

Confirmation and First Eucharist, St. Philip Neri, Napoleon

5:30 p.m.

Myriam Dinner, St. Philip Neri, Napoleon

Mar. 13 | 11:30 a.m.

Catholic Charities Caritas Award Banquet, Sts. Anne and Joachim, Fargo

Mar. 15 | 8:30 a.m.

Mass for Nativity School, Nativity, Fargo

Mar. 16 | 5 p.m.

Mar. 20 | 3 p.m.

Diocesan Finance Council, Pastoral Center, Fargo

Mar. 23 | 8:30 a.m.

Mass for Holy Spirit School, Holy Spirit, Fargo

12 p.m.

Diocesan Staff Retreat, Sts. Anne and Joachim, Fargo

Mar. 25 | 10 a.m.

Palm Sunday Mass, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Mar. 27 | 11 a.m.

Chrism Mass, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Mar. 28 | 3 p.m.

St. JPII Schools Board Meeting, Pastoral Center, Fargo

Mar. 29 | 7 p.m.

Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Mar. 30 | 10 a.m.

Stations of the Cross at the abortion facility, Fargo

3 p.m.

Confirmation and First Communion, Sacred Heart, Carrington

Good Friday Service, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Mar. 17 | 10 a.m.

Mar. 31 | 8:30 p.m.

Confirmation and First Communion, St. Joseph, Devils Lake

5 p.m.

Confirmation and First Communion, Holy Family, Grand Forks

Mar. 18 | 2 p.m.

Confirmation and First Communion, Holy Cross, West Fargo

Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Apr. 1 | 10 a.m.

Easter Sunday Mass, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Apr. 7 | 9:30 a.m.

Redeemed 2018 Conference, Scheels Arena, Fargo

Apr. 8-10

Spring Education Days, Carrington



Diocese of Fargo Official Appointments/ Announcements March 2018 Most Rev. John T. Folda, Bishop of Fargo, has made the following appointments, announcements, and/or decrees: Reverend Daniel Mrnarevic has resigned as pastor of St. Timothy’s in Manvel for health reasons. Bishop received this resignation effective January 12, 2018. Reverend Troy Simonsen is assigned as pastor of St. John the Baptist parish in Wyndmere and St. Arnold’s in Milnor. This appointment is for a six year and five month term, effective February 1, 2018. Reverend William McDermott is assigned as administrator of St. Timothy’s in Manvel, effective January 12, 2018, and continuing ad nutum episcopi. Reverend Thomas Feltman is assigned as chaplain to Sacred Heart Convent of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fargo with other duties, effective January 28, 2018, and continuing ad nutum episcopi. Reverend Anthony Welle, a priest of the Orlando Diocese, is assigned as parochial vicar at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo, effective February 1, 2018, and continuing ad nutum episcopi. Reverend Joseph D’Aco has been released to work in New York, where he will be able to assist his mother in her increasing age.

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Prayer Intention of Pope Francis March

Formation in Spiritual Discernment: That the Church may appreciate the urgency of formation in spiritual discernment, both on the personal and communitarian levels.



Should Sunday be different from any other day of the week?

ime is an interesting study of planetary movements and the world of religion. For Christians, time has been radically changed since Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week (Sunday). Death is no longer the last word of human existence. With Christ’s resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) on the first day of the week, life with the Resurrected One in the realm of heaven is the new norm that shapes all time. For Christians, Sunday is the spiritual fulfillment of all the Sabbath was meant to be for the Jewish people. In two places in the Hebrew Scripture (the Old Testament), God commands the Israelites to keep holy the Sabbath, which is the seventh day (Saturday). It was on the seventh day of creation that God rested, blessing it and making it holy (Gen 2:3). Secondly, the Sabbath is to be a memorial of God freeing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt in the Exodus story (Deut 5:15). What is the theological meaning or significance of the Sabbath, which has been elevated and fulfilled in Sunday? It seems three truths are captured in these days of Sabbath/Sunday. First, in the creation story, it says God rested. Why does God need to rest? God is almighty. God should be able to go on forever without resting. God rests because the rest of creation needs to catch up and speak to God and acknowledge to God and with God that “all is good.” This “catching up” to God and speaking to God of his goodness is called worship. Some commentators have spoken of this as God having property rights and worship is the way we pay rent, or it is a protest against a servitude to work or the worship of money. It gives testimony of our belonging to God, or the non-affirmation of self all the while acknowledging God’s sovereignty in all things. Therefore, not to celebrate the Sabbath and rest from work (as God did) is to say it is all about human activity and our self-sufficiency. As such, Sabbath observance or lack of observance, is a measure of either faith or unbelief. Secondly, the Exodus story is about God forming a people to be his very own through a 40-year sojourn in the desert. Scripture says the Sabbath is meant to memorialize this coming-of-age of the chosen people. In Jewish history, the Sabbath was a day of rest for all people, even slaves and aliens. As such, the Sabbath was a day when all were equal. There was no domination. The Sabbath presents a vision of what God desires life to be like among people in the world. The Sabbath reminds us of the work yet to be done if the love of God is to ever see the “light of day.” Thirdly, with the resurrection of Christ on the first day, Sunday has become the day that captures and completes all the Sabbath was meant to be. Rest in the creation story is now the eternal rest of heaven. The liberation of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt is now the liberation of the human race from the bonds of death. On Sunday, the eternity of God’s love is seen in all its glory. Keeping it holy is the least people can do. The themes of these three great acts of God – Creation, Exodus,

Resurrection – should still reverberate in the ways we keep holy the Lord’s Day. Sunday is the Ask a Priest day we “catch up” Father James Ermer to Christ and give thanks in Eucharistic worship and praise. Sunday is the day we build up the Body of Christ by gathering in love of family, by resting in the company of friends, and by visiting brothers and sisters who find themselves alone and disconnected from the wellsprings of love. Sunday is the day we pause in quiet rest only to be taken up into God’s glory as we immerse ourselves in the beauty of creation, ponder the lives of the saints and are renewed by the innocence of children and the wisdom of the elderly. As such, the work of Sunday is not shopping, housekeeping or a sundry of other things that can be done Monday through Saturday. The work of Sunday is to catch up to God at the altar of his love and be fed with his life. Such divine life impels us to seek out family and friends in a fellowship of love and become enthralled “that eye has not seen and ear has not heard... what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9). This work of Sunday is what feeds the work of Monday through Saturday and the cycle of keeping Sunday holy goes on until heaven and earth meet in the dance of eternal life. Such is the commandment “to keep holy the Lord’s Day.” Father James Ermer serves as pastor of St. Leo’s Church in Casselton and St. Thomas Church in Buffalo. 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.

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.



Bill Donaghy (submitted photo)

[Humane Vitae]


Humanae Vitae and the single girl


By Sara Perla

read Humanae Vitae in college to see what all the fuss was about. I’d learned that I was attending the university where “the resistance” had largely taken place (Catholic University) and figured that the document must be an interesting and controversy -filled one. My teaching assistant at the time seemed to think so anyway. I was ready to be shocked. I was shocked, but not in the way I expected. I was shocked that it was so… boring. The document said nothing that I found unusual, unexpected, or problematic. It talked about what marriage is and should be, based on who the human being is and what love should be. I felt like I already knew all that stuff, because I had been fairly well educated in the faith and witnessed the love of my own parents. I thought, “Is that it?” Blessed Pope Paul VI writes simply; he is not a poet (like St. John Paul II) and Humanae Vitae is an easy read for someone familiar with theological language. The pope points out some simple facts of human existence, such as the fact that sex does two things at the same time—unites a man and a woman and potentially “makes” a baby. He speaks of the importance of love in marriage (and really loving anyone, ever, is harder than it sounds) and the temptation to wrest control over things (like fertility) away from God and for ourselves. Neither of those things were surprising to me—that love requires sacrifice and that human beings always want to control things that are out of our control. The calls to self-discipline, chastity, respect, governmental restraint, and scientific advancement are all still as valid today as they were 50 years ago, and none of them seemed out of place. The oft-quoted “prophecies” of section seventeen (about what would happen in society and culture if birth control became normalized) are so obviously correct that it would be hard to argue that birth control is “no big deal.” 8


As a single woman, most of Humanae Vitae is, for me, a simple affirmation of the Church’s teaching on the human person, human sexuality, and marriage. People could convincingly argue that the teaching in the document regarding birth control does not really affect my life. But I live in this culture, and you cannot tell me that the contraceptive mentality and the “general lowering of moral standards” has not changed the way that men and women relate to one another. Fifty years ago, was there an expectation of sex by the third date? Was pornography so ubiquitous that a single woman today must presume that every man she goes out with has viewed it at some point, and that if he says he hasn’t, he’s probably lying? Or did people have to have the remote close by when they watched a mainstream television show because there would probably be a graphic sexual scene when they least expect it? I don’t think so. Humanae Vitae is a reassuring sanity-check for single Catholics. It says (implicitly) that love is possible and can be expected, and that it’s worth sacrifice. To a single woman like me, it says that I am worthy of respect and love and that no man has the right to intimacy without marital commitment. Intimacy means accepting who the other person really is as male or female in their totality, and that includes their capacity to become a father or a mother, respectively. This bears upon personal identity, and as a single woman, I can hope that a man will see me as not just beautiful and feminine but as worthy of reverence because of the way I was designed by God. Sara Perla is the Program Specialist for the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She is the host of the new USCCB podcast “Made for Love.” Sara attended the Catholic University of America and received her Masters degree in Theological Studies at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C. She is also a baker, a ballet dancer, and an avid listener of NPR podcasts.


Finding Hope Ministry supports grieving families after child loss


urely, one of the most exhilarating and miraculous moments for a woman is when she discovers she is pregnant. Depending on the woman’s situation, the moment may include negative emotions, but the wonder and shock that there is a new creation now growing inside her cannot be overlooked. Woman was created and designed to bear life. Not always in a physical capacity, but certainly Finding Hope Ministries invites you to a Day of Hope, a day to having a baby is one of the remember and to serve others physical manifestations of who are grieving the loss of a child every woman’s vocation on April 28 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at to bring life to the world. Blessed Sacrament Church, West It is devastating, then, for Fargo. (Emily Dieter) a woman to discover that the very life she was created to bear and protect has died within her womb or shortly after birth. As I lost three of my children through miscarriage over the span of three years, it crushed me and made me doubt my very goodness as a woman and as a mother. It took, and still is taking, time and healing to find hope and meaning through these baby’s deaths. That is how and why Finding Hope Ministry was born. Another mother and I, who have experienced the conception of 15 children between the two of us, eight of whom died in the womb, came together and discerned the need to reach out to women and families who have gone through losses such as ours. Since the conception of our ministry, Kelsey Lako and I have hosted a few events and met with women one-on-one to offer a listening ear, but our main work has involved creating and bringing grief baskets to families after the loss of a baby. We hope and pray that these baskets show compassion to families that have lost a child and will be a sign that we are suffering with them in their grief, yet also rejoicing with them in the eternal life of the child they have brought into the world. We are excited to open our ministry to others who, like us, have been deeply impacted by the loss of a child and who desire to share compassion with others experiencing the loss of a baby. On Saturday, April 28, we will be hosting a Day of Hope. All

By Katie Eskro

women who have been affected by loss, whether they are the mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, etc. of a baby gone too soon, are invited. This Day of Hope will be a time to come together and create grief baskets to be used throughout the year as we encounter families who are going through a loss. Participants will be able to personalize their basket if they desire, and even write a letter to the family who will be receiving their basket, if they desire. After assembling our baskets, we will enjoy a simple lunch together. Lunch and all materials will be provided at no cost. We are also accepting donations to help cover the cost of materials to put in the baskets. Each basket costs $30. If you are interested in donating monetarily or if you’d like a list of needed items that you could donate, just contact us. Please register by calling or texting Katie at (320) 980-5368 or emailing us at




Immaculée Ilibagiza invites all to experience the power of prayer and forgiveness By Kristina Lahr


s a young Catholic woman in 1994, Immaculée Ilibagiza hid for 91 days with seven other women in a 12 square foot bathroom. Meanwhile, Rwandan Hutus killed most of her family and nearly one million Rwandan Tutsis out of racial hatred. The bathroom was concealed in a room behind a wardrobe in the home of a Hutu pastor. In that bathroom, Immaculée recalls praying 27 rosaries and International author and speaker, 40 Divine Mercy chaplets a day. Immaculée Ilibagiza will be leading Now Immaculée travels a retreat at St. Anthony’s Church internationally to lead retreats in Fargo on May 4-5. There she and share how her faith guided will share her testimony of prayer her through her ordeal and led and forgiveness after enduring the her to eventually forgive her horrors of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. (submitted photo) family’s killers. “One of my desires is that people know that God is part of their daily lives,” she said in an interview with New Earth. “He’s in the middle of peril, tears, and war. I want to share my prayers, my struggles to forgive, and the human experience.” Immaculée will be leading a retreat at St. Anthony’s Church in Fargo on May 4-5. There she will share her life story and touch on many vital themes such as the power of prayer and the power of forgiveness. She promises, “No one will leave this retreat the same as when they came.” Thirteen years prior to the genocide in Rwanda, Mary appeared to eight young people in the village of Kibeho, Rwanda. Mary warned about the violence to come. However, if the Rwandans opened their hearts to God and embraced his love, the devastation could be averted. Our Lady of Kibeho is now the first and only Vatican-approved Marian site in Africa. “The rosary is the greatest weapon in the world,” said Immaculée. “Mary told the people of our country that what happened wouldn’t have happened if we would have prayed the rosary.” Mary especially encouraged praying the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, which helps us to meditate on the passion of Jesus and the great sorrows of his mother. The structure of the prayer is similar to a rosary. One meditates on Mary’s seven sorrows: Simeon announces to Mary that a sword will pierce her heart, the escape to Egypt, the disappearance of the child Jesus in Jerusalem, Mary meets Jesus carrying the cross, Mary at the foot of the cross, Mary receives the inanimate body of her son, and the burial of Jesus 10


“The more you think about our Lady, the more you think about your own pain and sufferings and you slowly bring those sorrows to God,” said Immaculée. “It’s a sad experience yet helps you understand God’s love and makes you feel so light.” More than anything, Immaculée wants everyone to understand the power of forgiveness in a personal and practical way. Through God’s grace, she was able to forgive those who committed the worst of crimes. God can help us to forgive anyone if we humble ourselves enough to ask for his help. “The power of forgiveness is real. I went through hell. If you are holding anything against a friend, coworker, or family member, work through the obstacles and doubts. It’s such a gift to forgive. Pray that the grace to forgive may flow through you. Like scripture says, prayer moves mountains. As much as we eat to feed our bodies, we should pray all the more to feed our souls.” Immaculée assures that her retreat is for everyone, both adults and children. Everyone can benefit from the message of the power of prayer and forgiveness. “I’m only a messenger, all credit goes to God,” she said. “There’s a great hope that comes out through these speeches. Many people find the strength to forgive. I’ve had people come up to me and say that they called their mom or dad for the first time in 20 years. They laughed and cried and it was over. I’ve seen many miracles of forgiveness like this one. “But more than anything, I’ve seen people be fired up about prayer. They realize there’s nothing impossible with God. It’s like they really believe in God again.” To register for Immaculee’s retreat, go to www.immaculee. com/collections/retreats/products/fargo-nd-retreat-may4-5-2018-with-immaculee. For more information, contact Joe Hendrickx at or (701) 237-6063.

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Sts. Anne and Joachim church retires building debt Father Jayson Miller, Parochial Vicar of Sts. Anne and Joachim Church in Fargo, and Rob Asheim, parish Business Manager, set fire to the last remaining note of the mortgage held on their church and parish hall at a social gathering on Jan. 28. The event marked the retirement of the church debt. A vespers service was held before the social, with Bishop Folda presiding. Sts. Anne and Joachim paid off the $18 million total building debt in just 22 years. (Paul Braun | New Earth)


Sr. Winifred (Una) Murphy, PBVM, passes away after lifelong service

ister Winifred (Una) Murphy died Feb. 4 at Sanford Hospital in Fargo. She was born in Borris, Co. Carlow, Ireland to John and Winifred (Lee) on Jan. 15, 1943. She received her early education in Inch National and Secondary Schools and embarked on her journey as a Presentation Sister when she entered Presentation Convent, Wexford, Ireland on Oct. 3, 1961. She made her First Professions as a Presentation Sister on July 12, 1964 and her Final Profession on July 12, 1967. In August of 1964, she arrived in Gulfport, Miss. where she remained until 1981. In 1970 she graduated from Dominican College, New Orleans, La. with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. She taught in St. John’s Elementary School until she transferred to St. Patrick’s Elementary School, Robertsdale, Ala. In 1990, she headed to Globe, Ariz. where she continued teaching in Holy Angel’s School. Her next assignment was Pastoral Associate in St. Thomas Catholic Church, Long Beach, Miss. Her missionary spirit called her to respond to invitations by the community, and in 2003 she headed to Oakland, Calif. as a parish sister. The call of

the Congregation once again beckoned and in 2003 she responded by transferring to Shaw, Miss. During many of these years, her health deteriorated, and in 2013, she arrived in Phoenix, Ariz. for rest. An extended stay in St. Joseph Hospital and the introduction of dialysis forced her to remain there years beyond her initial plan. After a brief visit to Sacred Heart Community in Fargo, and much deliberation, she requested to make one more move. She arrived in Fargo in March 2016. Last year she was blessed with a kidney transplant that ended the continuous trips to dialysis. For this she was grateful, but it appears her weakened body could not handle the trauma of the surgery. Besides teaching and pastoral ministry, Una enjoyed writing poetry and sketching. She loved to read and prepare prayer services. She is preceded in death by her parents; brother, John; and her sisters, Mary and Margaret. Una is survived by her Presentation Sisters; her brothers, Thomas and Patrick; her sister, Nellie, and numerous nieces and nephews. The Mass of Christian burial was on February 9 at Sacred Heart Convent, Fargo. NEW EARTH MARCH 2018



Be transformed as a disciple By Dr. Edward Sri


r. Sri is a theologian, author and well-known Catholic speaker who regularly appears on EWTN and travels around the world to address clergy, parish leaders, catechists and laity. He will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming Redeemed conference at the Scheels Arena in Fargo on April 7. Go to www. for more information and to register. In a small church near the Piazza Navona in Rome stands a famous painting by the Baroque artist Caravaggio. I like to take pilgrims there, not just to admire the beautiful masterpiece, but to enter the mystery of what it means to be a disciple. The painting depicts Jesus inviting Matthew the tax collector to follow him. In Caravaggio’s portrayal, Jesus enters the world of Matthew and his tax collector friends. Light pours through a window behind Jesus and streams into the darkness of the tax collector’s hole. The symbolism is clear: Jesus, the Light of the World, is entering the darkness of Matthew’s life. He looks Matthew in the eye, and points at him. He calls, “Follow me.” Some of Matthew’s colleagues next to him don’t even notice what’s happening. These are men who are too caught up in themselves—unaware of others and oblivious to the fact that Jesus is in their midst. One older man stares at the money on the table, touching his glasses in a miserly way, wondering, “How much money did I make today?” Meanwhile, a youthful tax collector sits at the table forlorn, his head facing downward and his fingers stroking his coins. He has all the money in the world, but he is still empty, unfulfilled, searching for something more. These men are unaware of who just entered the room. But there is one who does notice. It’s Matthew. The look on his face tells it all—multiple conflicting emotions torment him all at once. On one hand, Matthew is completely shocked that Jesus is pointing at him: “You want me, a tax collector, a sinner, to follow you? You must be thinking of someone else!” On the other hand, Matthew’s expression suggests he’s considering the new possibility: “I wonder what it would be like to follow this Jesus? What would my life be like if I made this change?” In the same instant, Matthew also looks terrified. “There’s no way I could do that! I don’t want to leave my job, my career, my reputation, my friends.... I don’t want to let go of my money bags!” Caravaggio’s painting beautifully captures Matthew at the point of decision—that pivotal moment between Matthew the tax collector and Matthew the disciple. What will Matthew do?

thing. It may not be an extraordinary spiritual experience—like seeing visions or having angels appear to you—just a subtle sense that you’re supposed to do something or not do something. You wonder if you should make a small change (call your mom, give extra attention to one of your children, visit a friend, or join a Bible study). Those subtle promptings of the Holy Spirit, are moments when Jesus is inviting you to follow him more closely. And they often happen in midst of ordinary life. The same Jesus, the Light of the World, knocks on the door of our hearts. He wants to enter our lives and shine his light on any areas of darkness that keep us from a closer relationship with him. Caravaggio’s painting invites us to do just that: to welcome Jesus into our lives more, to put ourselves in Matthew’s shoes and experience anew Jesus’s call to follow him more closely as disciples.

Me, a disciple?

Unfortunately, many Christians don’t view themselves as disciples. “I’m just a normal Christian. I go to church. I believe. I try to be a good person. But I’m not good enough to be a disciple.” Too often, we view “ordinary Christians” and “disciples” as being in two separate categories. Disciples are those superChristians, those who are part of an elite group of religious leaders or exceptionally spiritual people. Bishops, priests, Mother Teresa, lay leaders, and those “very religious” people who show up at every event at the parish—those are disciples. “But I’m just an ordinary guy in pew number 16. I could never be a disciple.” But what if being a disciple is not beyond you and that it’s something you’ve probably already begun experiencing in your relationship with God? What if I told you that learning how to live intentionally as a disciple can make all the difference in your spiritual life? If you desire a closer, more intimate relationship with Jesus —if you desire your spiritual life to grow more profoundly and go beyond the humdrum existence of going through the motions—then join us for the upcoming Redeemed Conference in Fargo on April 7 and consider what it means to follow Jesus Maybe you’ve been there before. Maybe you’ve experienced intentionally as a disciple. certain moments when you sense God is calling you to do some-

Holding on to our money bags




The daughter of a saint, Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla, to visit Diocese of Fargo By Mary Pat Jahner | Executive Director of Saint Gianna’s Maternity Home

at the age of 39, sacrificing her own life for her unborn daughter, Gianna Emanuela. Gianna Emanuela will be in the Dioceses of Fargo and Bismarck in April. The following events are planned:

April 17:

La Bella Serata Gala – This event is a major fundraising evening for people from all over the country who are able to help substantially with the Ponte Nuovo restoration in Italy. We are blessed to welcome not only Gianna Emanuela, but also Raymond Cardinal Burke to this event at Sts. Anne and Joachim Church in Fargo. This gala is an adult only event, and formal attire is requested. Tickets are needed to attend; however, there are a limited number still available. Additional information may be found at

April 18: Gianna Emanuela and Father Christensen outside Saint Gianna’s Maternity Home, Warsaw, when Gianna visited in May of 2015. (submitted photo)


Gianna Emanuela will receive the Lumen Vitae award at the University of Mary in Bismarck and give the keynote address. Registration is encouraged at or contact Ed Konieczka at (701) 355-8102 or

April 21: Mass will be celebrated at 1 p.m. at St. Stanislaus

Church in Warsaw, followed by an opportunity to hear a brief testimony from Gianna Emanuela. This is a family event; all are welcome to attend. April 21 is also Gianna Emanuela’s birthday! We encourage people to bring her a monetary gift for the restoration of the holy places of her parents and/or a spiritual gift.

r. Gianna Emanuela, daughter of St. Gianna, has been traveling the United States for several years now, raising funds to restore the holy places of her parents, St. Gianna For more information, contact Mary Pat Jahner at Saint Gianna’s Beretta Molla and Pietro Molla, in Ponte Nuovo, Italy. Ponte Nuovo is a small village near the city of Magenta, where Maternity Home at (701) 248-3077, Father Joseph Christensen, St. Gianna, as wife and mother, lived with her husband, Pietro, FMI at (701) 248-3020, or email saintgiannamaternityhome@ and their children for six and a half years and where she died

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Rite of Election sends candidates and catechumens on their Lenten journey

Candidates and catechumens gather around Bishop John Folda following the Rite of Election ceremony at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fargo on Feb. 18. The Rite of Election occurs on the first Sunday of Lent each year as a time for candidates (those baptized in another Christian church) and catechumens (those who are unbaptized) to declare their intention of receiving the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)

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Deacons James McAllister, Oriska, left, and Paul Schneider, Fargo, right, assist Bishop Folda during Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Fargo. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

“I am willing”

Fifty years of the diaconate in the United States By Paul Braun


o the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and funds to the poor. Many held positions of what we would and said, ‘It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to identify today as vicar general, judicial vicar, finance officer, etc. serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable In modern times, under current canon law, priests fill most of men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this these positions. task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry However, in the early years of the church, the position of of the word.’ The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so deacon was looked upon with so much esteem that of the 37 they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also men elected pope between 432 and 684 A.D., 34 were deacons Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, and not priests. Sometime after the fifth century, there was a a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles who gradual decline in the permanent diaconate in the Roman Catholic prayed and laid hands on them” (Acts 6: 2-6). Church, and the diaconate became a “transitional” step on the This passage from the Acts of the Apostles is the biblical way to priesthood. reference to the establishment of the diaconate in the church. Although there were some who started to study re-establishing This passage is in the spirit of how the diaconate is understood the permanent diaconate back in the 19th century, it wasn’t until to this day. 1957 that Pope John XXIII spoke out in favor of restoring the In the early days of the church, at least up until the fifth century, position as a permanent order, but concluded the timing wasn’t deacons were considered the “right hand men” of bishops and quite right. carried immense responsibility. They became the eyes and ears During deliberations of the Second Vatican Council, Pope of the bishop and were responsible for the distribution of food Paul VI called for the restoration of the permanent diaconate. 16


COVER STORY That decree was implemented in 1967 through the Second Vatican Council’s Lumen Gentium, which states: “At a lower level of the hierarchy are deacons, upon whom hands are imposed not unto the priesthood, but unto a ministry of service.” Fifty years ago, in 1968, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops petitioned the Vatican to allow bishops to establish permanent deacon formation in the United States. Eleven years later, Bishop Driscoll ordained the first 11 permanent deacons in the Diocese of Fargo on December 29, 1979. Since then the permanent diaconate ministry in the Fargo Diocese has been growing. This year on Feb. 3 at St. Anthony of Padua’s Church in Fargo, eight men proclaimed before God and Bishop Folda that they were ready to take the next step towards ordation to the permanent deacons in the Catholic Church. “To serve the Server, that has been near and dear to me since I was an altar server and throughout my life,” said Dr. Jeff Vaagen of St. Joseph’s Church in Devils Lake, one of the candidates currently discerning and studying for the permanent diaconate ministry. “It’s truly a calling from the Holy Spirit through prayer, the intercessions of people close to you, and more prayer.” The diaconate in the Catholic Church today contains reminders of its past. Transitional deacons are seminarians who have completed most of their formation to the priesthood, and are ordained transitional deacons a year before their priestly ordination. Permanent deacons are men, usually married with families, who are ordained to serve in many roles in the church while still maintaining their professional vocations and family life. They proclaim and preach the Gospel at Mass. They also witness marriages, conduct baptisms, and preside at burial vigils and cemetery services. “One of the greatest things I see is that they are brother clergymen,” said Father Chad Wilhelm, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Devils Lake. ”With the current shortage of priests, the diaconate is necessary, and it’s also one of the things that is imperative so that I can help my parishioners in the visiting of the sick and those in need. As there are less priests, the diaconate

is taking more of a formal role in the parish than it used to. Now they are seen as a living part of the daily life of a parish.” “The permanent deacons of our diocese have been a real blessing to our parishes and people,” said Bishop Folda. “They assist our priests in serving the needs of parishioners, and they often can reach people that our priests cannot. Last fall, I had the opportunity to lead the annual retreat for our deacons and their spouses, and I was deeply impressed by their prayerfulness and their desire to serve Christ and his Church.” Formation training and discernment for the permanent diaconate is about a six-year process. Candidates attend weekend formation classes several times a year, alongside their wives if they are married. In fact, discerning men may not enter the diaconate formation program or continue to ordination without the support and permission of their spouses. “I pretty much said yes right away, but then later found out more of the details of what was coming up,” said Leanne Ripplinger of St. James Basilica in Jamestown, who is married to deacon candidate Kirk Ripplinger. “I had no idea how involved the wives are. We attend all of the same formation weekends together, which is wonderful for the building of our own faith and knowledge, and to support our husbands. We do all of the same studying right alongside of each other. I foresee it continuing, and if, God willing, he is ordained, that I am there to support him in whatever way I can either within his direct service or as his wife backing him up.” “I wasn’t surprised she said yes due to her great faith,” said Kirk Ripplinger. “One of the things we are reminded of as a married couple is that the voice of God comes to you quite often through the voice of your spouse, so a yes from her is, in a way, a yes from God. That in turn resulted in my yes, but we both know that if for any reason Leanne discerns that this isn’t for her, then we’re done. If the church discerns this isn’t for us as a couple, we’re done. If I discern this isn’t a calling for me anymore, we’re done.” Deacons are also called to other ministries, such as assisting

Five of the candidates currently in formation and discernment to the permanent diaconate proclaim their willingness to serve before Bishop Folda at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Fargo on Feb. 3. (Paul Braun | New Earth)



Deacon Bruce Dahl of Nativity Church in Fargo prepares the altar at the AllSchool Mass at Shanley High School on February 1. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

Deacon Stu Longtin distributes food from the St. Anthony of Padua food pantry as part of Christ’s call to minster to the poor. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

local Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) faith instruction maturing in our faith where we’re able to say yes to being present, courses, marriage preparation classes, and pastoral counseling. so it’s all circumstance and age and maturity that brings us to They also have duties across the diocese like campus ministry, this point. It’s a feeling of great joy, and also humility, to be able nursing home and hospital ministry, and other social service to be here and be able to say yes.” work – all of this while often holding a daytime job and, in most “I think the diaconate is going to become more and more cases, being husbands and fathers. The extra time involved can be vital to the existence of the church in the future,” said Father a determining factor on whether a man can and should submit Wilhelm. “It will be especially important in the outlying areas himself to a life of service to Christ and his Church. where priests cannot administer the parish, so I think a lot of “It does come down to circumstances, and very happy the deacons will be out even more helping in the daily life of circumstances, that lead a person to a time in their life where the parish. The priest, of course, will come in and offer the Mass, they are able to do that,” said Dr. Vaagen. “Also, I suppose the but the deacons will be the day-to-day administrators of parishes across the prairies if we don’t have enough coverage from priests. I pray for more deacons, more priests, more religious, and more holy marriages.” “Select from among you (seven) reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6: 3). Grand Forks, ND | | 701.746.4337

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Catholic Schools Week celebrates faith and education Jan. 29 – Feb. 2

Students from St. Catherine Elementary in Valley City work on STEM electric circuit kits for their science class on pajama day. (submitted photo)

Bishop Folda visited St. John’s Academy in Jamestown where he celebrate Mass and toured the classrooms. In this photo, he visits Mrs. Fox’s first grade class. (submitted photo)

Bishop Folda celebrated Mass for over 1,200 students, teachers and family members at Shanley High School on Feb 1. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

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It is with great joy that we ask you to be a part of this special evening for Saint Gianna: a woman who in life lived her faith and spread joy to so many.


To provide financial support to restore the holy places of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla and her husband, Pietro Molla, in Ponte Nuovo, Italy.

APRIL 17, 2018 4:00 PM MASS Saints Anne and Joachim Catholic Church, Fargo

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Encounter God in the silence By Joshua Gow


A review of Catholic books, movies, music


even to our very survival. Ultimately, the soul on this journey seeks to hear the voice of the Beloved calling out to him, a voice that, Cardinal Sarah urges, can be heard. In outlining the need for silence, Cardinal Sarah also spends a thorough amount of time speaking on the need for the sacred and grand silence within the liturgy. His words are strong, and could provide a stumbling block for some, but are spoken in a spirit of charity and truth and invite a prayerful response on behalf of the faithful. Having identified the problem and the solution, the reader will find himself or herself now steadily immersing themselves in silence. But what happens when God is silent? How can the God who loves us leave us to suffer in silence? This question is no easy one and has bothered both theologians and philosophers for centuries. Cardinal Sarah, drawing upon this rich tradition of writings, offers a thorough response to the difficulty we all will face in the road to silence: the silence of God the Father. The reflection thus far forms the substantial majority of the work and offers a beautiful outline for a person seeking a spiritual journey to living a better life. The concluding portion of the work involves a detailed interview conducted with Cardinal Sarah and Dom Dysmas de Lassus, the prior general of the Carthusian Order based out of Le Grand Chartreuse in the French Alps. I cannot offer any words that will do justice to the dialogue between these two men, but to the one who has consumed and seeks to live out Cardinal Sarah’s work, this conversation will provide great food for the journey. In short, I cannot recommend this work by Cardinal Sarah enough. I encourage reading the work slowly and meditatively, taking opportunities to practice the silence it preaches. Keep this work on your one bookshelf, in a place where it can be revisited often.

hen I am able, which is usually during the summer months when school is not in session, I frequently find myself listening to Dr. Ray Guarendi on Real Presence Radio. I have learned a great deal from Dr. Ray on parenting and life in general. One piece of advice that Dr. Ray gave really struck a chord with me. He suggested rather than keeping heaps and piles of books that you have read (or, more accurate for me, are hoping to read), we should instead only hold on to the books that we have read and were so profoundly moved by that we would read them again. As a bibliophile myself, this notion initially struck me as blasphemous. As I get older and return to this idea, I see a great deal of brilliance in adhering to this form of radical poverty. The book I review for this month, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise by Cardinal Robert Sarah stands as one of the few books I believe belongs on everyone’s single bookshelf. This work truly is a masterpiece and a powerful invitation for reflection and self-examination. If the reader follows deliberately and patiently, he or she will find this work to be a silent retreat compiled in a single volume—a means for retreating from the world and effectively integrating encounters with the living God into our daily lives. Written in response to a world that is growing increasingly Josh Gow is married to his best friend, Jackie Gow, and enjoys family life with noisy (and in a United States that seemingly respects the sacred their two born and one unborn children. He is in his fifth year of teaching at noise rather than the sacred silence), Cardinal Sarah’s work Shanley High School and will graduate with a M.S. in Bioethics in April. serves as a stark reminder of our Christian tradition of silence by delivering a wake-up call for our minds, grown dull from the cacophony surrounding us. As the first move of this spiritual retreat, Cardinal Sarah paints a vivid picture of the world, showing emphatically the trouble that we are in. We have abandoned silence all together, ABOUT THE BOOK: preferring the noise of music, instant streaming videos, and the bright lights of backlit cell phones and computer screens. When “The Power of Silence” we take in the keen insight of the world Sarah offers, it becomes by Robert Cardinal Sarah. easy to see how we have fallen for a culture of noise, one that offers little time for reflection and listening to the voice of God. Published by Ignatius Press After offering this image of the world, Cardinal Sarah proceeds 249 pages to give the prescription to the problem: a return to silence. This return is not easy. Our brains are so acclimated to noise that entering into silence has become quite a chore and a bore. But the need to enter into this sacred state of receptivity is essential,



STORIES OF FAITH God’s healing touches Giawndra By Father Dennis Mary Dugan, SOLT


n our community of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, God has manifested his great power and love for a little Indian girl. Seven years ago, Giawndra Martel of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Dunseith was a three-year-old diagnosed with a tumor. Despite the doctors’ heroic efforts, the tumors kept growing for many years until Giawndra was sick of the side effects of the medication and decided to stop taking them. Her grandmother, Gail, approached me about the need for a miracle. She was encouraged to go public with Giawndra’s need for prayer. We made a poster of Giawndra and placed it all over the towns, in churches and work places. The poster had Giawndra’s school picture with her dazzling pink hair. The poster encouraged people to pray for the healing of Giawndra through the intercession of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. It was our hope that Blessed Elizabeth would intercede with God to give this little Indian girl a miracle. Giawndra received permission and was prepared to receive Confirmation and First Holy Communion a year earlier than her age allowed. Her faith grew with frequent visits to her home by sisters and priests, who shared the faith with her. She was regularly visited with the Blessed Sacrament, the Anointing of the Sick, and Confession especially prior to her many trips to the doctor. She was encouraged in faith by the story of Bartimaeus the blind man of Jericho in Mark’s Gospel 10:46-52. Bartimaeus heard about Jesus’ miracle cures. He knew that if he met Jesus, he would see. He was excited when that day came, and Jesus was walking by. He shouted out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus called him over. He asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus said, “I want to see.” Giawndra was told that Jesus’ next words to Bartimaeus were very important. Jesus said, “Your faith has saved you.” Giawndra was told that she should have the faith in Jesus like Bartimaeus. If she truly believed that Jesus could cure her – he would cure her.

In April 2016, we mourned the death of the founder of Our Lady’s Society, Father Jim Flanagan. At his funeral, we gave Our Lady’s Society missionaries the posters of Giawndra. Her poster and prayers went global, as these missionaries serve in 13 nations for Our Lady’s Society missions. We encouraged people to place the posters in their churches and storm heaven with prayers for Giawndra. In October of 2016, I went on a pilgrimage to Rome. By God’s grace, it happened to be the same time when Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity would be canonized a saint. After the canonization Mass, we met the Holy Father and asked for his prayers for the Native American people. Giawndra now had the prayers of Pope Francis. Upon our return home, we heard that Giawndra had received a cure. The doctors considered a year without the tumors growing as a cure. I met Giawndra in the church one day shortly afterward. She ran up to me with a hug. I told her, “I hear that God is doing some incredible things in your life.” And she agreed by saying “He is!” Then we praised God together. God’s healing touch reached this little one in need. Her need for prayer was raised to heaven by many people of faith – by our community of believers here in the Turtle Mountain, by Father Jim Flanagan and the missionaries of Our Lady’s Society in 13 nations, by Pope Francis, by the new St. Elizabeth of the Trinity… and the prayers of a little Indian girl in need. God saw her faith and smiled upon our prayers and made a new Bartimaeus in our Giawndra. Father Dennis Mary Dugan, SOLT is the pastor of St. Ann’s Church in Belcourt and St. Anthony’s Church in Alcide. 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




I heard the call from God, the gift of a religious vocation


idyou really call Sister’s me, Lord? I am still quite young, Perspective but then I guess you call women Sister Marlyss to Religious Life at Dionne, SMP any age! Yes, I do want to follow you in Religious Life.” I remember when the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation, SMP were teaching summer religion classes at my parish in Thorne, N.D. I was so impressed by them and eager to learn more about God through these sisters. I remember that my parents invited the sisters to our home for a meal and I thought that was wonderful. The seed of vocation was planted. Later, I wanted to go to high school at Notre Dame Academy in Willow City. The teachers there were the same group of sisters who taught me during summer religion classes, and I know my parents made sacrifices to send me so far from home. How grateful I am for that special privilege to go to the Academy! I lived with friends of mine at the home of a family in Willow City for the first year of high school. The second year I lived at the Academy. I enjoyed having a variety of sisters as my teachers. As my call to religious life deepened, I spoke to my mother, wondering if it was okay with her if I joined these sisters. She said yes, so I asked her to ask Dad for me, but she encouraged me to talk to my dad myself. I was so pleased with my dad’s response. “We want you to be happy. If being a sister will make you happy, then go for it!” Wow! During the summer, after completing my sophomore year, I went with another sister by train to Spring Valley, Ill. where the formation house, or novitiate, was located. The years of study in preparation for becoming a sister were about to begin! There were six other young women in my group, besides 14 other young women already in various stages of preparation. Those were happy times as a community – studying, praying, eating, and recreating together. During these years, I was also able to finish high school and one year of college at St. Bede College. After three years of study and preparation, the great day of my religious profession came! There were seven of us to profess vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, dedicating our lives to Christ and to the ministry of the Church. How wonderful it was to become a real sister! In September of that year, I was asked to teach 6th grade at St. Catherine School in Valley City. I enjoyed being a teacher of all subjects, but I especially loved to teach Religion, which is taught daily in Catholic schools. There were 25 students in my class. It was a wonderful first year of teaching! The next year I was assigned to teach at St. Joseph School in Wild Rice. I would be teaching three grades in one room—grades 3, 4, and 5. It was a challenge to handle three grades, but I was able to combine grades for certain subjects so it all worked out well. 24


It was also an honor to teach at the first school our sisters had started in the United States in 1903 when they came over from France. I enjoyed living community life with the other six sisters with whom I lived and worked at St. Joseph School. We supported and encouraged one another at our daily meals and recreations together. It was a delight to play softball outdoors with the children at recess times! Every summer of those early years of teaching I went to college to complete my education and higher certification for teaching. After about 30 years of teaching in Catholic schools in Valley City, Wild Rice, Oakwood, Lisbon, and in Princeton, Ill., I was chosen to serve on the leadership team for our province of sisters for a number of years. These were enriching times. Presently I reside at Maryvale, Valley City, and serve as Director of Hospitality, Local Leader for the sisters living here, and I serve on our SMP Health Care Ministry’s Boards of Directors at St. Aloisius Medical Center, Harvey; St. Andrew Health Center, Bottineau; Presentation Medical Center, Rolla; and the SMP Long Term Care Board. God has blessed me in wondrous ways! I believe one of his greatest gifts to me has been the gift of a religious vocation as a Sister of Mary of the Presentation.

Hurley’s Religious Goods Inc

Serving our faith community Since 1951

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


Anti-Muslim acts have no place in Christian life


et us not beat around the bush. Anti-Muslim acts and sentiment have no place in the Christian life. For that matter, neither does anti-semitism, racism, ethnocentrism, and nationalist exceptionalism. It is, however, anti-Muslim viewpoints that most often creep into Facebook posts, tweets, conversations, and even legislation without challenge. The Church’s teaching on Islam is clear. St. John Paul II expressed the teaching of Vatican II when he said, “We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection...” This does not mean that Islam is equal to the Catholic faith. The fullness of the faith is contained within the Catholic Church and her evangelical mission extends to all. It does mean, however, that we must reject claims that Muslims worship a different God. In fact, the very notion is illogical within the Christian understanding of who God is.

“Muslims, like Christians, have the same inherent rights to life, basic needs, family, education, work, peace, migration, and practice of religion. Indeed, the Church teaches that ‘any discrimination against people or any harassment of them on the basis of… religion’ is ‘foreign to the mind of Christ.’” – Christopher Dodson The Gospel is also clear about the dignity of all human persons. It calls us to a new way of life, one that rejects separation and respects the inherent human dignity that exists in all persons by virtue of being a child of God. That dignity is not dependent upon a person’s religion. Muslims, like Christians, have the same inherent rights to life, basic needs, family, education, work, peace, migration, and practice of religion. Indeed, the Church teaches that “any discrimination against people or any harassment of them on the basis of… religion” is “foreign to the mind of Christ.” Catholic Christians either know this or should know it intuitively. We would like to think that no Christian would publicly defend racist ideologies or acts. Why, then, do we tolerate or justify discrimination toward Muslims? Some communities have worked to prevent the building of mosques. People have protested when Muslim students are given space for daily prayers. We have seen calls to ban Muslims from immigrating to the United States. Some North Dakotans have even supported banning recognition of all “religious laws” as part of an effort to prevent Islamic practices, despite the fact that such legislation is unneeded and a “slap in the face” to our constitutional principles. People take to Facebook to scorn the practice of head covering but are, for good reason, upset when schools ban the carrying of rosaries. Why the double standard? The history of relations between Christian and Muslim nations is complicated and marked by hostilities and conflicts. It

contributes to a sense of distrust. In our own time, we have seen terrorist attacks by the soCatholic called Islamic State, Action Al-Qaeda, Taliban, and lone wolves Christoper Dodson claiming to act in the name of Islam. Meanwhile, immigration by choice and forced migration from war and persecution have brought Muslims from different countries and backgrounds to the United States. Some people see some of the cultural practices common in Muslim majority countries as strange and even incompatible with American life. Finally, we cannot discount that too many people believe the false stories about Islam, Muslims, and Sharia law that circulate on the internet. Christians, however, must never discriminate against a people. “Avoid giving offense, whether to Jews or Greeks or the church of God,” said St. Paul. Today, we could substitute “Muslims” for “Greeks.” The first Christians were Jewish and were raised and immersed in a world of not only Jewish laws and rituals, but also a social and political culture infused with a sense of separateness from, if not distrust of, the non-Jewish (Greek or Gentile) world. The Holy Spirit, however, revealed to them that Christ came for all, the Jew and the Greek. Acceptance of the old law by Gentiles was not necessary for salvation. Theology, however, is one thing. Practice and culture is another. Jews and Gentiles usually did not eat meals with each other. When Peter was in Antioch, he ate with the Gentiles, respecting the equality of all revealed by Christ. When Jewish Christians arrived, however, he retreated to his old ways. One by one, other Christians followed. Even Barnabas, who, with Paul, primarily preached to the Gentiles, joined Peter in the act of separation. Some scholars, including Pope Benedict XVI, think that Peter was driven by a desire not to offend the Jewish Christians. From Paul’s perspective, Peter “drew back” and “separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised.” Whether it was because of fear, retreat to habit, or political compromise to the Jewish Christians, what Peter did was seen by Paul as inconsistent with what had been revealed to them by the Holy Spirit and an act of hypocrisy. Paul publicly called him on it. The question before us is whether we will, like Peter and Barnabas, slip into ways of tribalism or will we, like Paul, remind our brothers and sisters of the new, better, and true way of Christ? Christopher Dodson is executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference. The NDCC acts on behalf of the Catholic bishops of North Dakota to respond to public policy issues of concern to the Catholic Church and to educate Catholics and the general public about Catholic social doctrine. The conference website is NEW EARTH MARCH 2018



The gift that gives back


magine making a gift to your own Church and then open Stewardship ing the mail a few months later and Steve Schons finding a check from your church made out to you. If you didn’t know better, you might call your church and say, “Hey, what’s going on here? I gave you people some money a while ago and now you’re giving money back to me. What’s wrong? Did my gift bounce?” You wouldn’t call your church because you would have in your possession a signed agreement with the Catholic Development Foundation entitling you to a specific amount of money every year for the rest of your life. This agreement is called a Charitable Gift Annuity and it is one of the most popular ways to support the ministries in our parishes throughout the diocese. Here’s how it works. Mrs. Smith is 76 years old. After reviewing the information provided by the Catholic Development Foundation, and consulting with her advisor, she writes a check for $25,000 and informs the Catholic Development Foundation that she wants the donation to support her Catholic church. Mrs. Smith also requests that she wants the gift annuity payments to come to her on a quarterly basis. According to the gift annuity rates recommended by the American Council on Gift Annuities, Mrs. Smith’s age entitles her to receive a quarterly check in the amount of $375. This represents an annual annuity rate of 6% percent. Payments will be made for the entire lifetime of Mrs. Smith. In addition to receiving regular fixed payments (partially tax-free), Mrs. Smith will also receive an income tax charitable

deduction. Additionally, Mrs. Smith lives in North Dakota and will qualify for a 40% state income tax credit. How does Mrs. Smith’s church benefit from this arrangement? The Catholic Development Foundation takes the $25,000 and invests it in a special annuity fund, expecting not only to have enough to make the quarterly payments to Mrs. Smith, but also to have enough left over after Mrs. Smith is gone to benefit her Catholic church. The Catholic Development Foundation has been issuing gift annuities for many years, as have thousands of other charities throughout the country. It is a wonderful way to benefit those who support these charities, as well as set funds aside for future use. Gift annuities can be obtained for the donor, or by the donor for someone else. They can run for one-life or for two-lives. They can be funded for any amount over $5,000 with cash or stocks. Payments can begin soon after the gift is made, or years later. It’s all up to the donor. To learn more about the gift annuity program at the Catholic Development Foundation, complete and mail the simple form below, or call me at (701) 356-7926. I would be more than happy to answer questions. You can also obtain information at Steve Schons is Director of Stewardship and Development for the Diocese of Fargo.

(Please complete and return this reply form.)

Catholic Development Foundation:

_____ Please send me free information about a Charitable Gift Annuity

Name:_________________________________________________ Address:______________________________________________ City:___________________________________________________ State:________Zip:________Phone:______________________ Mail this form to: Catholic Development Foundation, Attn: Steve Schons, 5201 Bishops Blvd, Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104. 26


SUMMER ADVENTURE CAMP Weekly May 29 - August 10

Fun filled activities, field trips, & learning in a faith centered environment Summer Adventure for grades K-6th St. John Paul II Catholic Schools * Holy Spirit * Nativity * Trinity Campuses For registration information call 701.893.3271 or visit us online at




An evening with Jesus in the tomb


hen I w a s younger, I used to judge Seminarian the apostles on Life their inability to stay awake during Eric Seitz Jesus’ agony in the garden. But after my experience of an all-night prayer vigil in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, I now understand what they went through.

“Then Jesus returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open…” Mark 14:40

midnight, my focus had shifted from contemplating God to forcing myself to stay awake. This was the hardest all-nighter of my life. There was no movie to watch, no videogame to play, no fun diversion to engage in—even brief conversations with my brothers were whispered quietly. The only noise was the sound of the Orthodox monks chanting the Divine Liturgy, and my Greek is not nearly good enough to understand it all. I was reduced to pacing around the Church to keep awake, and I did that only because I heard the monks whack sleepers with sticks. Even this painful experience was not without fruit. Facing my weak humanity was a good exercise in humility. Young men often imagine themselves as invincible. Struggling to stay awake helps to cure that thought. The fruit of humility is sympathy for the apostles, and an even greater awe of Christ. Jesus frequently prayed throughout the night. His soul was strong, strong enough to push the body far past anything I am capable of right now. His love for the Father was stronger than his bodily weakness. He even shares this power with his saints—I think especially of St. John Vianney, who worked like a strong man on maybe two hours of sleep a night. God’s power is truly incredible. Eventually, it was 4 a.m. I fell into bed at our hotel and slept most of the day (our bus left for the airport at 12:30 a.m. the next day). Nevertheless, I will never forget my evening in the tomb.

From January 1-25, my class at the St. Paul Seminary was on pilgrimage in the Holy Land. We took this incredible opportunity to visit many holy sites and to practice preaching. Before our last day in Israel, seven of us decided to do the prayer vigil in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We had heard about the vigil Seitz is a Theology III seminarian at St. Paul Seminary in St.Paul, Minn.. from previous classes. I knew that I would regret it if I did not take the chance. Editor’s Note: Seminarian Life is a column written by Diocese of Fargo seminarians. Please continue to pray for them. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is found in the old city district of Jerusalem. The crusader-era church contains the tomb of Jesus, Calvary, the site where St. Helen found the true cross, and more. Six different groups of Christians control this unique site, an interesting history in itself. During the winter, the door is locked at 7 p.m. and opened again at 4 a.m. Pilgrims can add their name to a list to be locked in all night. My seven classmates and I arrived at 6:45 p.m. The porter was already clearing the church when we arrived. We had a chance to chat with some of the other pilgrims there, and then one of the Franciscan fathers gave us the ground rules: No sleeping, no singing or loud praying, and the tomb of Jesus will be closed by 11 p.m. Armed with my bible, rosary, breviary, and three energy drinks, I was ready to face the night. The first half of the night flew by quickly and joyfully. I prayed with Genesis chapters 2-3 at the tomb of Adam, the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary at an altar dedicated to Mary, the Passion of Jesus at Calvary, and the Resurrection in the tomb. I am firmly convinced that the veil between heaven and earth is less firm at these holy places, where Jesus, in his great wisdom, chose to accomplish his mission. My prayer during this time Eric Seitz with eight prayer warriors at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the was serene and fruitful. But this was not to last. Holy Land. During the winter, pilgrims can choose to be locked in the church for “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Even with the the duraction of the night. (submitted photo) aid of caffeine, the flesh can only accomplish so much. By





or many local nonprofits, Giving Hearts Day is so important in keeping the doors open. For Catholic Charities ND, it is one of our biggest events of the year, along with the Catholic Charities Sunday. Gifts received from Giving Hearts Day make up a significant portion of all the donations we receive throughout the year. Just as importantly, the news coverage leading up to Giving Hearts Day gives an unmatched opportunity for us to share our positive stories of helping people in need beyond our typical audience. The event reminds people of the great work nonprofits do. Not only does the day help financially, but it helps advertise what we do to those in need of counseling or other services we offer. Giving Hearts Day lends itself particularly for people of different faiths or no faith affiliation to learn about and consider supporting our work, especially younger generations who may be more inclined to give online. According to the Impact Foundation’s website, impactgiveback. org, this year more than $13.1 million was raised for local nonprofits through online donations and checks. Such generosity shows the power of many individuals working together. In fact, more than 28,000 participants, giving to more than 400 causes. Catholic Charities ND, Catholic Schools, local pro-life organizations, healthcare providers, and many other organizations thank all who participated this year. At Catholic Charities, we were blessed to reach our goal with over $50,000 in total donations, which is greatly needed for our growing counseling and adoption programs. If the results of Giving Hearts Day are any indication, we can remain confident that the good people of North Dakota will continue to help the less fortunate by providing aid and assistance through their favorite charities. The hosts of Giving Hearts Day believe not only will we continue to support our neighbors, but that “Together, we are becoming the most generous region on the planet!” As important as your support is, the call to charity requires more than financial aid. It has been said that journalists should “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Often repeated, this phrase was traced back more than 100 years to Finley Peter Dunne of the Chicago Evening Post. Later this phrase encouraged Christians and others to help those in need and to be a voice for the voiceless. In particular, this phrase has been attributed to Catholic convert Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement. Along with Peter Maurin, Dorothy Day opened homes for the working poor, started a newspaper to give the poor a voice, and created a lasting effort that began during the Great Depression and continues today. In nearby Moorhead, Minn., we have both a Dorothy Day House and a Dorothy Day Food Pantry for hungry and homeless guests, and a Dorothy Day West Food Pantry at Holy Cross Catholic Church in West Fargo. Yes, when we think of charity, we usually think of helping those in need. Yet charity is much more. Charity also requires justice. Dorothy Day is both a servant and an advocate, and the Catholic Social Teachings upon which our work rests require us equally to speak up against injustice and to offer our deep

Charity in aid and action tradition of thought as a guide for solutions respecting the dignity of persons. Why stand up for those who are sufCatholic fering? Beyond our Charities Christian duty to Corner love our neighbor, if we don’t stop perChad Prososki secutions of others now, who will stop them if they happens to us? Thank you to all who make financial sacrifices to give to charity! This is incredibly important, but doing so does not absolve us from working to solve problems. Who is responsible for making the world a better place? Each of us are—you, me, everybody. 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 or (701) 235-4457.

Dianne Nechiporenko dresses up to promote Giving Hearts Day on Feb. 8, a day when the Dakota Medical Foundation (DMF) and Impact Institute encourage online donations for numerous non-profit organizations in North Dakota. (submitted photo)




Black Elk and the need for catechists Originally published at


write these words as the annual November meeting of the United States bishops comes to a close. We bishops discussed many significant matters—from racism and immigration

holiness and prayerful connection to God, even more than his learning, that brought his people closer to Christ. My prayer is that, if the cause of Black Elk moves forward, we might one day invoke him as a real icon for catechists in Word on Fire the Catholic Church. There is an army of volunteers across our Bishop Robert Barron country who give generously of their time to pass on the faith to our young people, but I wonder how many of these laborers in the vineyard of the Lord truly realize the sacredness of their task. Without good catechists, more and more of our young people will fall into secularism and indifferentism. And as these unaffiliated in ever greater numbers come of age, our society to the liturgy for the baptism of children. will be adversely affected, for Christian ideas and values will But I would like to emphasize one theme in particular that be less and less at play. came up frequently in our conversations, namely, the catechesis So what can catechists today take from the example of Nicholas of our young people. I have a rather intense personal interest Black Elk? First, they can commit themselves to the assiduous in the topic since, at the conclusion of this gathering, I officially study of the faith. As I have argued before, huge numbers of became chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Evangelization the young identify intellectual problems and questions as the and Catechesis. reasons they are leaving the faith: religion in relation to science, In his formal address to us at the commencement of the conference, the existence of God, the objectivity of moral values, etc. Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United Without smart catechists, the kids abandon the faith. It’s as States, reiterated statistics that I have often remarked regarding blunt and as simple as that. My nephew, who is starting his the growing number of “nones” or religiously unaffiliated in first year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) our country. this fall, went through religious education as he was coming He especially noted the rise of this cohort among people under of age. To be frank, he found the vast majority of his training thirty years of age. For every one person who joins the Catholic superficial and remembers almost none of it. But one year stays Church today, he reminded us, six are leaving. We must make in his mind. In his sixth grade religious education class, he had a renewed commitment, he concluded, to the indispensable a catechist who had a master’s degree in theology and who work of handing on the faith. The Archbishop’s intuition in this took the young people, with some rigor, through a study of the regard was confirmed, over and again, by bishops who spoke, Bible. Please don’t tell me that the kids can’t handle that sort of in various sessions and forums, of a crisis of catechesis in our church. challenge; on the contrary, it’s what they remember—and savor. I had this wake-up call from the Pope’s representative very Secondly, they can see their work as a true vocation, a sacred much in mind as my friend, Bishop Robert Gruss, the bishop of calling, a mystical obligation. As Pope Paul VI put it so memorably, Rapid City, S.D., rose to speak on the second day of the meeting. men and women of today listen to witnesses more than to Bishop Gruss’ happy task was to present to us the case for the teachers, and to teachers in the measure that they are also beatification and canonization of Nicholas Black Elk, a Lakota witnesses. Or as the cliché has it: the faith is caught more than Indian medicine man who, at midlife, converted to Catholicism. taught. Some years ago, I read a study that indicated what drew After hearing the bishop’s impassioned presentation, we young people to the faith were not gimmicks or histrionics or enthusiastically voted to approve the advancement of Black the pathetic attempt to be “relevant” to them. What drew them Elk’s cause. were teachers who knew their subject matter and were obviously What especially struck me in Bishop Gruss’ brief biographical committed to it. sketch is that Black Elk, after his conversion, eagerly took up the Catechists, the Church needs you! We’re losing our kids to task of catechesis within his community. Due to his impressive secularism. If anyone of sharp mind and faithful heart is reading memory and acute mind, he was able to convey the complexities these words, take seriously the possibility that God is calling of the Bible and Church teaching to his fellow Lakotans who you to this sacred work. And I pray that one day catechists can had embraced the faith. And very much in line with the Catholic look to Nicholas Black Elk as exemplar and heavenly friend. conviction that grace builds on and perfects nature, Black Elk endeavored to incorporate his mystical sensibility and healing Bishop Barron is a theologian and evangelist, known for his Word on Fire power into the fuller context of his Catholicism. It was his ministry. He serves as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.



Events across the diocese Good Friday Stations of the Cross at Fargo abortion facility March 30

Bishop Folda will lead the faithful in Good Friday Stations of the Cross on March 30 at the Red River Women’s Clinic, North Dakota’s only abortion facility, 512 1st Ave. N, Fargo at 10 a.m. Please join us as we commemorate our Lord’s Passion and Death and pray for the conversion of those who promote abortion and for God’s healing forgiveness to be received by all person who have been wounded by the abortion experience. For more information, contact Rachelle at (701) 356-7910.

Head to Maryvale Convent, Valley City for a Women’s Retreat

Pope Francis speaks about how important it is for the Church, the people of God, to accompany others through their struggles and challenges. This means more than just being with people. It involves a profoundly deep listening and support which we find through Jesus’ own example of accompaniment in the scriptures. This retreat April 6-8, concentrates on “Walking with Jesus.” Suggested donation is $85. Contact Sister Dorothy Bunce at (701) 845-2864 or

SEARCH retreats draw young people closer to Christ and others

SEARCH or “Search for Christian Maturity” is a weekend retreat helping youth and young adults ages 16 and older on their journey to discover God and Christian community. It is a time to experience a loving, supportive community of young people who want to learn and experience a closer relationship with God and with others. The next SEARCH retreat is April 13-15 at Maryvale Convent, Valley City. Deadline to register is March 26. For more information or to register, contact Dori Picard at (952) 210-2219 or search4cm@, or visit


Life’s milestones Ray and Joanne Mickelson will celebrate their 50th anniversary on May 11. They were married at Sacred Heart Church in Cando. Joanne is a parishioner at Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church in Fargo. They are blessed with two daughters and two granddaughters. Marguerite Hammerschmidt celebrated her 95th birthday on Feb. 15. She was a longtime parishioner of Holy Spirit Church in Fargo until she moved to CHI Riverview in Fargo.

Donna Waltz will celebrate her 90th birthday on March 22. She is a parishioner of St. Alphonsus Church in Langdon.

Experience Ignatian Retreats at Maryvale Convent, Valley City

The Ignatian Retreat is steeped in the Gospels and is based on the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This is a silent retreat where one is able to meet Jesus in the experiences of Jesus’ own life. Conferences and individual direction are part of the retreat. This retreat is April 27–29. Register by April 20. Suggested donation is $85. Contact Sister Dorothy Bunce at (701) 845-2864 or dorothy.

Journey to Jordan and the Holy Land this spring ​

Join Father John Cavanaugh on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land from May 7-15. Cost is $4,394 based on double occupancy and airfare from Fargo. An optional pre-tour to Jordan is available May 3-7 for an additional $899. For full itinerary and more information, go to NEW EARTH MARCH 2018


We celebrate


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


A Glimpse of the Past 50 Years Ago....1968 The 150th anniversary of the first parish in North Dakota, Assumption Church, Pembina – will be observed this year. Plans are being made by the Archdioceses of St. Boniface and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, the Diocese of Fargo and the city of St. Boniface, for the observance. Bishop Leo Dworschak has appointed Fr. Gerald Weber, pastor of Assumption Church, as general chairman for the diocese to collaborate with the two Canadian Archdioceses. The celebration for the Diocese of Fargo has been scheduled for the latter part of September.

20 Years Ago....1997

The Math team from Fargo placed first among Cass County Schools in “Math Counts” competition in Fargo. Rose Olson coaches St. Anthony’s team which includes Zach Pieri, Michael Foster, Travis Kerbaugh and Mark Eaton. More than 350,000 students from 7,000 schools nationwide participated this year.

10 Years ago....2008

Janine and Donald McAllister, who own and operate Hurley’s Religious Goods in Fargo, have been separating and distributing palms to churches for Palm Sunday for the past 31 years. This year, they, with the help from family members, separated 325



bundles of 25 heads per bundle into approximately 200,000 palms. That’s enough to supply 400 churches in North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota and Montana with palms they need for Palm Sunday Masses and services. The majority of the churches served are Catholic, but they also supply some Lutheran and Presbyterian churches. All of the palm separating takes place in the McAllister’s garage at their home and is completed in one week. These news items, compiled by Dorothy Duchschere, were found in New Earth and its predecessor, Catholic Action News.

Diocesan policy: Reporting child abuse

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


It’s a miracle: Lourdes healing officially declared supernatural By Catholic News Agency


miracle was officially Lourdes in 2008. She had been suffering from spinal complications, recognized at the Marian which had rendered her wheelchair-bound and fully disabled shrine of Our Lady of since 1980. She also said she had been taking morphine to control Lourdes in France last month, the pain. the 70th Lourdes miracle “I felt a [surge of] well-being throughout my body, a relaxation, recognized by the Catholic warmth…. I returned to my room and there, a voice told me to Church. ‘take off your braces,’” recalled the now 79-year old nun. “Surprise. I The miracle was officially could move,” Moriau said, noting that she instantaneously walked declared by Bishop Jacques Benoit-Gonin of Beauvais, France away from her wheelchair, braces, and pain medications. on Feb. 11, the World Day of the Sick and the feast day of Our Moriau’s case was brought to the attention of the International Lady of Lourdes. During Mass at the shrine’s basilica, Bishop Medical Committee of Lourdes, who extensively researched the Nicolas Brouwet of Lourdes announced the miracle. nun’s recovery. They eventually found that Moriau’s healing The miraculous event involved a French nun, Sister Bernadette could not be scientifically explained. Moriau, who went on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of


USCCB launches new mobile responsive website By United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

n conjunction with the start of National Marriage Week USA, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) launched a new mobile responsive website on Feb. 7, 2018.  Originally launched in 2007, is an initiative of the USCCB that began as the communications component of the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage. It continues to play a key role in advancing the USCCB’s priority on marriage and family.

B offers numerous resources on the meaning and beauty of marriage in God’s plan and provides support to couples at every stage of their journey. There are sections dedicated to dating, marriage preparation, mixed marriages, parenting and family, natural family planning, the stages of marriage, among others. A marriage resource section offers daily marriage tips, marriage help and support links, and solutions to common challenges. Finally, questions specific to planning a Catholic wedding as well as related Church documents and teachings are available on the website.

Bishop Rhoades: ‘I strongly disagree’ with Notre Dame contraception decision

ishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend issued a statement criticizing the University of Notre Dame’s recent decision to provide “simple contraceptives” on its insurance plans for faculty and students. In the Feb. 8 statement, published on the diocesan website, Rhoades said that he “strongly disagree[d]” with Notre Dame’s decision to provide funding for contraception, and that the school is now “even more directly” contributing to immoral behavior. “The Catholic Church clearly teaches that contraception is an immoral action that contradicts the truth of marital love,” Rhoades wrote.

By Catholic News Agency

Previously, the university worked with a third-party administrator to provide contraceptives without the involvement of the school, but Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. announced in a letter that this relationship would be ending. Jenkins said he was concerned that the types of drugs covered by the third-party plan included contraceptives that could potentially cause an abortion, so he made the decision to drop this plan altogether. Instead, the school will now pay for a limited range of contraceptive drugs. In the letter, Jenkins cited a concern for respecting the religious beliefs of others who use contraception after prayerful discernment as for why the school would be providing the drugs. Bishop Rhoades rejected this line of thought as misguided, and said that it was wrong for those people to expect the school to fund things contrary to Catholic teaching. NEW EARTH MARCH 2018



Marriage Encounter movement celebrates 50 years of strengthening marriages By Mary Rezac | Catholic News Agency



ick and Diane Baumbach have been married for more than 50 years – but not every year was happy, they say. After something of a whirlwind romance – “We told each other we loved each other after three weeks” – they were married in September of 1966, just nine months after they’d met. Seven years later, they were each at wits’ end in the marriage and were ready to call it quits, just before they found themselves on a weekend retreat with Worldwide Marriage Encounter. Dick was working as a journalist, and had been doing some freelancing for the local Catholic paper in New York, when he and Diane heard about Worldwide Marriage Encounter retreats through an event he’d been asked to cover. Although they weren’t going to Church at the time, the couple decided to sign up for a weekend. “From then on our lives were totally different, we put God in our relationship and it’s made all the difference,” Diane told CNA. Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME) began as a Catholic movement in Spain in the 1950s when a priest, Father Gabriel Calvo, began developing a series of conferences aimed at strengthening marriages. By the late 1960s, the marriage enrichment weekends were also being offered to couples in the United States, and continue to be offered today in nearly 100 countries throughout the world. The encounters typically begin on a Friday evening and end on Sunday afternoon. Couples who attend the retreats are encouraged to turn off their cellphones, and are guided through various aspects of their relationships through a series of talks by couples and priests. They are also given time to discuss everything they’ve learned privately with their spouses. Priests are also encouraged to attend a WWME weekend, to gain new insights and perspectives on marriage, in order to better pastor married couples. This year, the movement is celebrating the 50th anniversary of marriage encounter retreats in the United States, with a special anniversary convention with the theme “We Remember, We



Celebrate, We Believe.” As many as 500 couples are expected to attend the June 22-24 weekend in Lombard, Ill. Since their life-changing weekend 45 years ago, the Baumbachs have been helping with the movement in some capacity ever since, giving presentations and now serving as the North American media relations coordinators. Diane said that after nearly every weekend, there are amazing stories of transformations in the couples that have attended. One of the highlights of the WWME 50th anniversary event will be highlighting the stories of couples or priests who have impacted, or have been impacted by, a WWME weekend. Diane said that she particularly remembers the story of one couple who were planning to get divorced the day after their marriage encounter retreat – they had an appointment with their lawyer on Monday and the divorce papers already filled out. “They had told their children: we’re going away for this weekend, this is our last try, but while we’re gone you need to decide which person you’re going to live with – mom or dad,” Diane recalled. But by the time the couple left their marriage encounter weekend, “they had torn up their divorce papers and they were going home to their kids as a couple,” she said. Diane said she thinks the structure of the weekend, as well as the intensive focus on the relationship away from distractions, makes marriage encounter weekends particularly powerful. “You’re away from the busyness of the world; you’re in a protected setting. We ask them just to focus on each other,” she said.  The basic message of the weekend hasn’t changed much in 50 years, she noted, but “the atmosphere of nurturing support, and a lot of prayers, and the fact that the Holy Spirit is really with them on that weekend” can often provide what some couples are unable to find in counseling or therapy. Dick and Diane said their involvement in WWME has also made them hopeful about the future of marriage – they said they see many couples who recognize the challenges that marriages and families face in today’s society, and they are earnestly seeking to strengthen their marriages. Dick said if he could offer couples today any advice, it would simply be, “Love one another.” Diane added, “Love is a decision.” Upcoming WWME are April 20-22 in Fargo at Expressway Suites and Nov. 9-11 in Medora at Rough Rider Hotel. Register at www. For questions regarding the weekend or for more information email or call (701) 347-1998.   Couples who have already attended at least one WWME weekend can find more information about the 50th anniversary event this June in Illinois at Couples interested in attending a WWME weekend can find more information at

Sidewalk Stories By Roxane B. Salonen

Even in an imperfect world, each life perfect to God


s he approached from across the street, I sensed another wanderer was about to give us a piece of his mind. Ignoring the crude edges in the telling of his story, I tried listening to the heart of it. “Her mom didn’t want to keep our baby, but I said, ‘No way you’re gonna do that,” he said. “She’s 20 now,” he continued, admitting it’s been tough – he’s still behind on child support. “But she’s here. She’s here!” The smile on his face as he spoke life about his daughter, and his gratitude, revealed his heart and made us smile. This middle-aged soul from the street reminded us that though few of us are perfect parents, that we are parents at all is a divine gift. And even when a child comes into the world in less than ideal circumstances, that doesn’t make them any less than fit for life in God’s eyes. Yes, the ideal would have been for him to be with his daughter, to be fully supporting the family, for them to be intact. But God, like this dad, still saw that where there’s life, there’s hope. “I’ll pray for your daughter, and for you,” I said as he strode on. These stories that come forth from the mouths and hearts of those who pass by the corner where abortions happen each Wednesday in Fargo are raw and real. Those who share them often have seen the worst of life, so all pretenses are gone. In their survival mode, it seems, truth springs forward. And the truth, as they reveal to us on the sidewalk time and again, is this: life is everything, and it is good. Not long after he swept past us, a young couple approached the facility. Watching them slip through our grasp, our hearts broke. They were young and beautiful, possibly college students with grand plans, but an obstacle they couldn’t get past: a life within. In keeping their eye on a worldly prize, it seemed likely, they couldn’t deal with the divergence. They were blinded, possibly, toward the reality that the life already turning within would have been their most amazing accomplishment; worth more than any diploma, sparkling internship, shining career, or white-picket-fenced home. The week prior, another beautiful couple, professional in

attire, sneaked past us and into the facility. We hadn’t even had a chance to give them our literature or words of hope; their appearance had thrown us for a loop. Juxtaposing these three scenarios, I can’t help but see how having more can hold us captive; how riches and lofty dreams might interfere with God’s plan for our lives, causing us not to see more, but less. It reminds me of my own life, and how, as our family was growing, some around us grew nervous with each new-baby announcement. We had our perfect family – first a boy, then a girl. It couldn’t be more ideal, so why push it? But with each child, our faith had grown, and with it, our hearts. I found it harder to share our news with friends and family, knowing we’d be judged. Many did, but my father was the exception we could always count on. Having grown up poor in a family of eleven, the youngest boy of nine kids, he had a deep sense of life’s inestimable value. We could always call him with the news of life without fear and trepidation. “That’s great!” he’d say. “Wonderful news.” And I’d cling to that, even in my fear of how we’d make it work. Of course, we don’t have to grow up poor or be in a destitute situation to appreciate life. God always puts forth a life-giving vision. But, through sheer observation on the sidewalk and in examples from my own life, I’m seeing how abundance or comfort may impede our ability to zero in on the essence of God’s pure plan by making it harder for us to be flexible; thus, to trust in God. Perhaps we would do well to ask God not for riches, but for just what is needed to do his will—no more nor less. As I continue my Lenten journey—fasting, praying and almsgiving—I will ask God to give me just what is needed to carry out his plan, so that I can see through his eyes, like the broken, but wise middle-aged man whose path crossed with ours, for just a few moments, on the sidewalk. 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 April New Earth.

Where in the diocese are we? 36


Last month’s photo is from inside St. Jude’s Church in Thompson.

New Earth March 2018  
New Earth March 2018  

The official magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND