Where is this mystery The difference Easter makes steeple? — Page 10
September 2011 May 2014 Vol.35 No. 32 No.58 Vol.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth” — Rev. 21:1
‘O, Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May’ Photo reprinted with permission from Archdiocese of Seattle
Image of Mary was crowned with flowers during a May Crowning event held at St. James Cathedral, Seattle Wash. During the month of May, Catholics display extra devotion towards the Blessed Mother.
May: The month of Mary, our Blessed Mother
raditionally, the Catholic Church has dedicated each month of the year to a specific devotion. In May, we pay extra homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary. May is considered the season of the beginning of new life. May 1 was considered the beginning of growth. Since medieval times, Catholics have combined devotion to Mary with the month of May. Among the earliest witnesses is Alphonsus X, King of Castille, Spain with his “Cantigas de Santa Maria”. This devotion increased among Jesuits in Rome in the late 18th century and quickly spread throughout the Western Church. By the time of Pope Pius IX, it had become a universal practice. May crownings and other special May
events, such as public recitation of the rosary, intended to honor Mary stem from that time. Today, There are many ways to celebrate this particular devotion. Many parishes in the diocese include a special crowning of Our Lady during a special Mass. May crownings became popular in the United States prior to Vatican II. During the crowning, a statue of Mary is honored with a wreath of blossoms to indicate Mary’s virtues, virtues that should be imitated by all faithful. Through the selfless “yes” of our Blessed Mother, Jesus Christ was brought into our world. Just as we offer special attention to our mothers this month, it would be appropriate to show our love and devotion to Mary with ad-
ditional prayer. We can take this month of May as an opportunity to renew our own devotion to the Mother of God by dedicating time to Marian prayers in our daily routine. Parents, in particular, may want to encourage Marian devotion in their children by incorporating the rosary in their family prayer or performing a May crowning ceremony in their home. The following prayers are a sampling of some that you may want to mix into your daily prayer this month: n The Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary – In the Western Church, the rosary is the greatest form of prayer to Mary.
Please turn to MAY on page 12
2 ew nEarth May 2014 N
NewEn arth May 2014 1
Two new saints A banner shows new Sts. John Paul II and John XXIII during a Mass of thanksgiving for the canonizations of the new saints in St. Peter’s Square. Bishop John Folda writes, “Although separated by decades and very different backgrounds, St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II are united in their joyful and courageous living of the faith and their desire to share that faith with the world.”
Bishop’s Message Bishop John Folda
n Sunday, April 27, the church celebrated a historic event that was unprecedented in its 2,000year history. On that date, Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II were canonized by Pope Francis as saints of the church, the first time that two popes have been canonized concurrently. The vast crowd that gathered at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican and the millions who also participated in this event by television, radio or internet testify to the great love that these two shepherds of the church inspired among the faithful. But, each of them would undoubtedly clarify that the love of the faithful should first be directed to God, not to themselves. And, that is perhaps the most important characteristic of these two very different men. Each of them, in his own unique way, was an image of Christ to the world. Each of them taught, sanctified and governed the church after the example of Christ, but they also made Christ visible in their own persons through their manifest love and com-
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” Revelation 21:1
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Serving Catholic parishes as the official newspaper of the Diocese of Fargo, N.D. Member of the Catholic Press Association Bishop John Folda Bishop of Fargo Publisher Aliceyn Magelky Editor email@example.com Published monthly by The Catholic Spirit Publishing Company, a non-profit Minnesota corporation, 244 Dayton Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102. (651) 291-4444. Periodicals postage paid at St. Paul, MN and additional post offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to New Earth, 5201 Bishops Boulevard, Suite A, Fargo ND 58104-7605. (701) 356-7900. Personal subscription rate for 11 issues of New Earth per year: $9.
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passion for all people. St. John XXIII is, of course, most widely known for his calling of the Second Vatican Council. When he was elected pope at the age of 77, it was widely believed that he would be a transitional pope, a placeholder for another, younger pope soon to come. But, his wide experience as a priest, bishop and papal diplomat helped him to recognize the church’s need to reach out to a rapidly changing world.
‘Good Pope John’ He had a deeply traditional piety and reverence for the apostolic faith of the church. But, by reading the “signs of the times,” Pope John could also see the need for renewal in the church, a renewal for the sake of evangelization. Pope John’s openness to the movements of the Holy Spirit gave him the courage to call the Second Vatican Council, which set the church upon a path of renewal and allowed her to propose the Gospel in all its fullness to the world. Pope John also had a warm, approachable manner that communicated the love of God and the joy of discipleship. His down-to-earth personality and willingness to reach out to others outside the faith was a reflection of his earlier experience in non-Catholic nations and his desire to share the love of God with all peoples. Although his papacy lasted less than five years, he was quickly embraced by the world and commonly known as “Good Pope John.” In a time of rising global tension and conflict, Pope John also urged the peoples of the world and their leaders to set aside the instruments of war and to embrace the ways of peace. His encyclical letter Pacem in Terris, or Peace on Earth, was a challenge to the world to turn aside from a path of destruction and toward one of love. His message and prayer for peace are as timely today as they were 50 years ago.
Tradition breaker St. John Paul II came on the scene in 1978 as a little known Polish cardinal who surprisingly was elected as the first non-Italian pope in more than four hundred years. But, he soon became one of the most recognized persons in the world.
His youthful, athletic persona exuded confidence in Jesus Christ and his mother Mary, to whom he had great personal devotion. At his inauguration as pope, he said to the gathered crowd, “Do not be afraid to open wide the doors to Christ.” He often repeated this call to put aside fear and to open the way for Jesus Christ to enter our lives. In his very first encyclical letter, Redemptor Hominis, Pope John Paul offered Jesus Christ to the world once again as the one and irreplaceable redeemer of all humanity. Pope John Paul became a tireless missionary for the faith, travelling to 129 countries during his long pontificate. At every stop, he spoke out for the dignity of every human person, especially the most vulnerable, the needy and the sick. He decried the “culture of death” that has become so entrenched in the modern world, and he offered instead the “Gospel of Life” that maintains the sacredness of human life and a true understanding of human freedom in the light of Christ. He also strongly defended marriage and the family, and Pope Francis has said that he is “the pope of the family.”
Started World Youth Days In line with this dedication to the family was Pope John Paul’s enthusiasm for youth. As a young priest and bishop, he worked closely with young people, and later as pope had a remarkable ability to relate to them and their needs. The international World Youth Days, which were begun by Pope John Paul, continue to draw huge crowds of young people and remind the world that the church is vibrant and young. Another of Pope John Paul’s most lasting legacies will almost certainly be his devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus. He preached the mercy of God at every opportunity, and said that Divine Mercy “is the Easter gift that the church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity.” His own offer of forgiveness to a would-be assassin was a magnificent example of the charity and mercy that God had placed in his heart. At the Mass of canonization, Pope
Francis described the two new saints this way, “These were two men of courage, filled with the boldness of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy.” Pope John XXIII boldly called the Second Vatican Council and set it in motion before his death. Pope John Paul II attended and actively contributed to the work of the Council as a young bishop. He later worked diligently to implement the Council in his own diocese of Krakow and later throughout the universal church. Each, in his own way, was an integral participant in the Council, which was arguably the most important event in the life of the Church in the last hundred years.
Nonpolitical act Some commentators have tried to put a political spin on the joint canonization of the two popes, alluding to a mythical contrast between the progressive Pope John XXIII and the conservative Pope John Paul II. To say the least, this is a rather simplistic representation of the important role both of these men have played in the life of the church. Rather than being some sort of political act, the canonization of these two saints is a simple recognition of what believers and non-believers have know for many years: that they were holy men and heroic witnesses of Christ in the world. Although separated by decades and very different backgrounds, St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II are united in their joyful and courageous living of the faith and their desire to share that faith with the world. The example of virtue and inspired leadership that we see in the two popes is a great sign of hope for the church. God continues to raise up saints who manifest his holiness and grace at work in the world. He also continues to bless the church with humble and holy shepherds who lead his people with the loving heart of Christ. Following the example of these great popes, let us turn to Jesus Christ with confidence, and let us serve his church with holiness and charity. St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, pray for us.
Diocese of Fargo Office of the Bishop
May 2014 n 3 1
Easter Letter to the Diocese from Bishop John Folda Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, “The Lord is Risen! Alleluia!” This joyful acclamation has been proclaimed in the Church for centuries, and how blessed we are to proclaim once again this year that Jesus Christ is truly risen!
To the Clergy, Religious, and Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Fargo:
This annual celebration of our Lord’s resurrection fills our hearts with joy and hope, as we rejoice in the victory of Christ over sin and death. The darkness and sorrow of Good Friday have given way to the light and joy of Easter morning. With the holy women who approached the tomb, and with the apostles who waited in the upper room, we are filled with wonder at the marvels of God’s love. The same love of God that led Jesus to give his life on the cross now has brought forth life out of death. The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation
of our hope and a foretaste of our own resurrection. I pray that the grace of this solemnity will help all of us to continue on the road to conversion that we embarked upon during the holy season of Lent. May the risen life of Christ give us the courage to persevere on our journey to eternal life in heaven. Be assured of my prayers for you and your loved ones as I celebrate Mass on this solemnity of Christ’s resurrection. May our Risen Lord bless each of you and your households with spiritual riches and the promise of eternal happiness in his Kingdom. Wishing you the blessing of a happy Easter, I am. Sincerely yours in Christ, +John T. Folda Bishop of Fargo
Bishop Folda’s Calendar May 9
Confirmation/First Eucharist, St. Ann, Belcourt
Confirmation/First Eucharist, St. Mark, Bottineau
Confirmation/First Eucharist, St. Therese the Little Flower, Rugby
Confirmation/First Eucharist, St. Cecilia, Harvey
Good Shepherd Chapel Blessing, Ave Maria Village, SMP Health System, Jamestown
Confirmation/First Eucharist, Nativity, Fargo
Confirmation/First Eucharist, St. Alphonsus, Langdon
Only trust in God can transform doubts into certainty, evil into good, night into radiant dawn. APRIL 11
Confirmation/First Eucharist, St. Stanislaw, Warsaw
Tweet from Bishop Folda:
Confirmation/First Eucharist, St. Mary’s, Grand Forks
Mass for Young Disciples, Pastoral Center, Fargo
Baccalaureate Mass for Shanley Students, Holy Spirit, Fargo
Shanley Graduation, Shanley High School, Fargo
Ordination of Transitional Deacons, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo
Confirmation/First Eucharist, St. Charles Borromeo, Oakes
Confirmation/First Eucharist, St. Anthony of Padua, Fargo
Memorial Day Mass, Holy Cross Cemetery, Fargo
Confirmation/First Eucharist, Blessed Sacrament, Fargo
Confirmation/First Eucharist, Holy Family, Grand Forks
Vespers and Program for Father Dale Kinzler’s 40th Anniversary, Griggs County School, Cooperstown
Confirmation/First Eucharist, Our Lady of Peace, Mayville
Confirmation/First Eucharist, St. Michael’s, Grand Forks
Confirmation/First Eucharist, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo
USCCB Conference, New Orleans, La.
For more stories and information visit:
Here’s what Pope Francis @ Pontifex is tweeting: Each encounter with Jesus fills us with joy, with that deep joy which only God can give. APRIL 21
“During these days of Holy Week, let us open our hearts to the saving love and mercy of Jesus. As we walk with him on the way of the cross, may we prepare our hearts for the joy of the resurrection!” APRIL 14
Follow the Diocese of Fargo on Twitter: www.twitter.com/fargodiocese Here’s a highlight of what’s been posted: Don’t miss the top 10 list of jokes by Pope John XXIII in anticipation of his canonization next Sunday! Which one is your favorite? APRIL 23
Today priests in the diocese gather at St. Mary’s Cathedral to renew their priestly vows and bless the chrism used throughout the year! Please continue to pray for our priests, that they always be exuberant examples of Christ to all. APRIL 15
St. John XXIII
Like the Diocese of Fargo on Facebook: www.facebook.com Use the video, Being Catholic is Cool: U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults, produced by the United States Conference of Catholic, to help individuals, parish groups and classes deepen their understanding and practice of the faith. For this video and others, visit USCCB’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/usccb.
4 1 n May 2014
N New ewEarth
At 2014 Junior High Youth Rally
Speaker uses unique approach to illustrate social justice By Aliceyn Magelky
For more than 25 years, John Donahue-Grossman, dressed here as a character named “Ray,” has used that persona and his personal stories to illustrate “Jesus in Distressing Disguise.” He gave his presentation during the 2014 Junior High Rally April 5.
The New Rockford-Sheyenne School gym in New Rockford buzzed with excitement as more than 300 sixth through eighth graders, volunteers and chaperones from across the diocese gathered together to kick-off the annual Junior High Rally sponsored by the Diocese of Fargo. This one-day event held April 5 focused on social justice with a keynote speaker and breakout sessions dedicated to that subject. “I’ve been pushing for eight years to focus on social justice and I finally found a speaker that met our needs,” said Kathy Loney, Youth Ministry Director for the Fargo Diocese. “It’s hard to find good speakers for kids on this topic.” This year’s speaker that Loney referenced is John Donahue-Grossman. Grossman uses a character named “Ray” to help transform the way we approach individuals unlike ourselves and to see Jesus in everyone. “I come here to help you see things differently,” said Grossman during his presentation.
Aliceyn Magelky / New Earth
Acting in character As students, chaperones and organizers bustle through the halls of the school, Grossman is dressed as “Ray,” a dubious looking character wearing tattered clothing, carrying a crumpled bag and shuffling through the crowd. He doesn’t say much to anyone, but Grossman watches the reactions of individuals and groups he encounters. Later, he uses those responses as examples in his presentation. “I have been invited to Mass as ‘Ray,’ but then been asked to leave by ushers not knowing who or why I was there,” Grossman says. As the assembly convened in the gym and the morning program began, Grossman stays in character. The masters of ceremony introduced “Ray” and invited him to tell his story. Grossman approaches the lectern and,
speaking in a raspy voice, launches into a retelling of Ray’s life. Slowly, Grossman removes his disguise, returns to his regular voice and commences with his story. “Everyone has a story underneath,” Grossman said. “To quote Mother Teresa: if you’re too busy judging people, you have no time to love them.”
Fear gets in the way of loving Grossman explained how he has traveled all of the country with “Ray” to share this experience. Often, he said, there is no reaction or compassion from the people he encounters as “Ray.” Grossman shared the story of how his own mother was fearful of “Ray.”
“I first tried the disguise of ‘Ray’ on my mother. I came to her door and could see that she wasn’t sure she should answer the door. When she finally did come to the door, I asked for a can of soup. But, my mom, a devout Catholic who volunteers to hand out bags of food at the local pantry, turned me away out of fear,” Grossman said. “Fear keeps the best of us from acting out the Gospel. God gave us fear to protect us, but we can’t let it get in our way.” Grossman highlighted how participants at the rally responded to him. Many, he said, did nothing or looked at him with empathy. Everyone avoided him, except one young student,
Makenna, who said “Hi.” “How we talk and treat people may be the only way people hear the Gospel,” Grossman said. “Thank you, Makenna, for sharing the Gospel with me today.” Grossman wrapped up his presentation with a call to “train our hearts and minds to reach out to others” and to start today. “Today is training day at this rally,” Grossman said. “Social justice starts at home. Show gratitude to your family for what you have. After you start doing it at home, then you can cross the street to help your neighbors or work at a homeless shelter. From there you can go around the world.” Grossman left some of the audience in tears, and the assembly stood in ovation as he departed. Participants proceeded to classrooms for additional presentations and hands-on projects geared towards the social justice theme. For example, some students made blankets and greeting cards for homeless shelters. Another group of students took the theme a step further and walked door-to-door collecting food for food pantries. “I think the kids were nervous about asking people for food, but once they told their story I think they were surprised and excited about what they accomplished,” Loney said. “When you look at our culture, especially young people, it’s all about me. I wanted the kids to see that it doesn’t have to be big to make a big difference. I think they were able to see that with these projects,” she continued. “It’s important to plant those seeds of service in young people’s minds, to live the Gospel message, to go out to the margins and care for and love one another,” Loney added. “John did a great job setting the tone for the day. I will definitely have him come back for senior high day.” The day concluded with Eucharistic adoration and procession followed by Mass celebrated with Bishop John Folda.
Beckman to lead two Magnificat retreats Our Lady of the Lakes Chapter of Magnificat will be offering two events featuring international author and speaker Kathleen Beckman at St. Agnes Church in Walker, Minn. The first event Friday, June 13, will include Beckman’s presentation and a meal. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Cost for this event is $15. Beckman will appear again at St. Agnes Saturday, Beckman June 14, for a healing retreat called “With Mary, Putting on the Armor of God.” The day will start at 8 a.m. with fellowship followed by 8:30 a.m. Mass and a continental breakfast. A light lunch also is included. Cost for this event is $20. Registration and pre-payment is required for both events. For more information contact Lorri Henning at (218) 547-1054.
May 2014 n 5 1
Eighth in series
Trust in God leads to a blessing for a mother and a son By Father Bert Miller
Just a few weeks ago I wound my way through the streets of a North Dakota city to a location I would not have found without directions. Tucked behind the garage was a townhouse; the front door was on a porch. Ramona, (not her real name) came to the door and invited me in for tea. Ramona seemed to be a little nervous on this bright, sunny Sunday. She was trying to find the green tea. Soon, I had a steamy cup of tea. And before I knew it, Ramona was showing me two pictures of her grandchildren: a girl and a boy, cute little children filling the frame of the pictures. Ramona said she had just returned from a mountain state where she had visited with the children and her son, Richard (not his real name). I had not ever known anything about Ramona’s personal life. I knew her only as a parishioner from a previous parish and as a friend of many of my other friends. So, this was a bit of a surprise. I had never heard talk of a husband or a child. I am sure she could sense my surprise. Then her story started to unravel. About ten years ago, she had gone to the door to meet the postman. He had a registered letter for her. The return name and address was not one she recognized, but she sensed what the letter was about. She signed for the letter, closed the door, went to the dining room table and slowly opened the envelope. It was a letter from her son, Richard. The child she had given up for adoption almost 32 years earlier was looking for his birth mother. He had found the right woman. Ramona was his birth mother.
Soon, mother and son were united in phone conversations and visits; Richard to her home and Ramona to the mountain state where Richard lived.
In time for a wedding Due to Richard’s timely find of his mother, Ramona was invited to his wedding. She met his wife (also an adopted child) and Richard’s “real parents.” Ramona calls the man and woman who gave Richard everything she couldn’t, Richard’s real parents. Friends of Richard told Ramona how proud they were of the choice she had made all those long years ago. She also learned what a great, helpful, giving man her son had become. Since the wedding, Ramona has made many trips to visit Richard and his family and to hold her grandchildren in her arms. It has now been more than 40 years since Ramona gave Richard up for adoption. She explains, “It was a difficult time.” She was a young professional; she was not married. Roe vs. Wade was being argued in the Supreme Court. Abortion was not legal yet, but doctors told her they could arrange one for her. She says she did not ever consider having an abortion. Although she feels she had hurt her parents and the church, she says her parents and especially, the parish priest, helped her the most in this trial. The priest listened and when she said she wanted the child to have a mother and father, the priest suggested she give the child up for adoption. Ramona prayed and prayed about what to do, for the health of the baby, and for the future well-being of the baby. Her doctor gave her the name of a lawyer and the search for good parents
“She prayed she would be able to hold the baby for a few minutes — just a few minutes.” File photo
began. Ramona had a deep faith and she prayed some more. She prayed she would be able to hold the baby for a few minutes — just a few minutes. When Richard was born, the nurses refused to let Ramona see him. But, the doctor put Richard in Ramona’s arms. Ramona got her five minutes and then Richard was taken away. Because of Ramona’s strong prayer and faith life and the fact that God had allowed her to hold the baby, she told
God she would never look for the baby. However, if he came looking for her, she would welcome him. Ramona says she trusted God. God took her difficult situation and made it good for a lot of other people. Editor’s Note: This article is the eighth in this series: Stories of Faith. If you have a faith story to tell, contact Father Bert Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Father Bert Miller is a pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in West Fargo.
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6 1 n May 2014
Instead of a specific career, sister encourages young people to aim for a life with purpose By Kristina Lahr
Sister Lillian Long felt a call to greatness at a young age when she thought about being a sister in elementary school. Having entered the community of the Sisters of St Joseph in St. Paul, Minn., 35 years ago, she continues to serve and encourage young people to listen to God’s call in their hearts. She currently lives with her mother in Berlin, N.D., and is a member of Transfiguration Church in Edgeley. She recently spoke at St. Aloysius Parish in Lisbon about her experience as a sister and the incredible joy that has come from it. She began her talk by asking the common question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Rather than directing the question toward a career path, Sister Lillian encourages a call to consider purpose and greatness. “Most of us know that we want our
lives to matter,” she said. “We want to live our lives in a way that makes a positive difference in our world. As Catholics we learn that our reason for being is to know, love and serve God in this world and be happy with God in the next. By living our lives with purpose, we are loving and serving God.”
Attracted to a lifestsyle To Sister Lillian, living the life of a Sister of St. Joseph was a way that she would live her life fully. What drew her to the sisters wasn’t their interest in the latest style, fanciest homes or best parties. Instead they focused on justice for United Farm workers in California, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and land mines and shelters for homeless and abused women. That was in the early 1970s. Now their interest is on awareness of our oneness with all others, which leads them to work for protection of the
“As Catholics we learn that our
reason for being is to know, love and serve God in this world and be happy with God in the next. By living our lives with purpose, we are loving and serving God. Sister Lilllian Long water supply and degradation of the environment, human trafficking, immigration, racism, homophobia and cuts to SNAP for the hungry. As the world changes, so does the sisters’ focus to respond to current needs. Sister Lillian encourages anyone in discernment of vocation to talk to someone who is living the lifestyle they are considering. “For example,” she said, “If you are thinking of getting married, seek advice from a married couple that has a good marriage and lives the values you would like to see in a marriage. As is the case with each couple, each religious community is different. You may not find a fit with one community, but, that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be called to religious life. It may just be that you are
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not called to religious life in that particular community.” In considering a religious vocation, Sister Lillian explored a variety of communities when she was in high school and college by going on retreats and watching sisters she knew. When it came time to decide if she would enter into St. Joseph’s community, she was told from a friend to consider what her life would be like in five or ten years if she entered the community or if she made a different choice. After reflecting on those words, she said the decision was easy. “In my 35 years as a Sister of St. Joseph, I have never had any doubts that I am in the right place,” she said. “My CSJ community has always felt like home to me.” Sister Lillian has lived in El Paso, Peru and Mexico serving as a nurse practitioner at shelters for homeless immigrants, working with sisters in the missions and working with immigrants who had been injured in their attempts to get from Central America to the United States. When asked what she wanted more people to know about the Sisters, she said she wished others could see what they are doing all over the world. Sister Carol Zinn, who is the Sister of St. Joseph representative to the United Nations once said, “One voice, when united with others and fueled by Gospel compassion, can change the world in which we live. The change may not always seem earth-shattering. Indeed, the change may not even be noticed, but the result of working from the heart on behalf of others gives witness to the power of unity and the strength of reconciliation.” “There are many ways to live fully,” Sister Lillian said. “I have found that way as a Sister of St Joseph and would invite everyone to explore life as a religious sister, priest or brother. “Just as Jesus said in John’s Gospel, ‘I have come that you might have life and live it to the full,’ so should we not be afraid to pursue a life that we can be proud of, a life that matters.”
Diocesan policy: Reporting child abuse The Diocese of Fargo is committed to the protection of youth. Please report any incidents or suspected incidents of child abuse, including sexual abuse, to civil authorities. If the situation involves a member of the clergy or a religious order, a seminarian, or an employee of a Catholic school, parish, the diocesan offices or other Catholic entity with in the diocese, we ask that you also report the incident or suspected incident to Msgr. Joseph P. Goering at (701) 356-7945 or Larry Bernhardt at (701) 356-7965 or VictimAssistance@ fargodiocese.org. For additional information about victim assistance, visit www.fargodiocese.org/ victimassistance.
May 2014 n 7 1
Bishop blesses site, breaks ground for new parish and school By Aliceyn Magelky
Despite the rain, nearly 300 people joined Diocese of Fargo’s Bishop John Folda, Father James Meyer, pastor at Holy Cross Church in West Fargo and Michael Smith, superintendent of the JPII Catholic Schools Network, to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Trinity Elementary School and Holy Cross Parish. The Holy Cross “bus barn,” normally used for packing and distributing meals for the Daily Bread program, became the site for priests, parish and school representatives, students and community supporters to come together for prayer, singing and levity as they celebrated this positive growth and opportunity in the Diocese of Fargo. In his homily delivered during the ceremony, Bishop Folda, commented on the significance of this groundbreaking by saying, “Today we break ground for the first new school to be established in the Fargo Diocese in many decades. So, this is unquestionably an important moment for Catholic education in our diocese, and in our whole community.” Smith added, “We need to provide Catholic education opportunities for the entire area. And, currently we don’t have a Catholic presence there. With this expansion, we will be able to provide full education programming in-
cluding preschool for 3-year-olds and after-school programs.” Bishop Folda also pointed out the impact this build will have for the parish by saying, “This groundbreaking also moves Holy Cross parish a giant step farther in their plan to establish a new parish home. With the building of offices and a parish hall that will serve as their temporary church, this growing parish will have an even greater opportunity to flourish and welcome the many people who have swelled their ranks in recent years.” Located in West Fargo near Costco, a few blocks west of Veterans Boulevard, the school and parish is positioned in an area rapidly expanding with new homes and businesses and will provide a much needed Catholic presence. Both Bishop Folda and Smith emphasized that Trinity will make it much easier for people living in that area and neighboring communities to provide their children with Catholic, faith-based education. According to Father James Meyer, pastor of Holy Cross, the congregation of Holy Cross has almost tripled in size since the mid-1990s. The church now serves about 1,300 families. When the entire church building project is complete, the church will be able to seat about 1,000 people. The school will have the capacity to hold 300 students from pre-K through fifth grade.
Aliceyn Magelky / New Earth
Surrounded by building committee members, community supporters and other dignitaries, Bishop John Folda and Father James Meyer prepare to take a ceremonial dig into the soil on the site of the new Holy Cross Church and Trinity Elementary School on April 24.
Construction on Trinity Elementary School and the adjoining parish hall is expected to be completed by July 2015. The remainder of the church will be finished at a later date. “We have little doubt that in three or four years it [the school] will be full,”
Smith said. Following the prayer service and blessing, Bishop Folda added a bit of a twist to the traditional groundbreaking by taking his first dig into the soaked soil by operating a Komatsu excavator that will be used in the project.
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Faith formation, confirmation prep take diverse paths Family-centric instruction integral to sacramental prepartion programs used throughout the diocese By Aliceyn Magelky
Throughout the month of May and into June, several parishes in the diocese will celebrate the sacrament of confirmation with their third graders. This one-time event marks the day these youngsters complete their baptism and receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They will be asked to use those gifts to live out a witness to “God’s love and might.” To be confirmed means to make a “covenant” with God. Pope Francis stated, “For this reason, it is important to take care that our children, our young people, receive this sacrament. We all take care that they are baptized and this is good, but perhaps we do not take so much care to ensure that they are confirmed. Thus, they remain at a midpoint in their journey and do not receive the Holy Spirit, who is so important in the Christian life since he gives us the strength to go on.” As with every sacrament received in the church, preparation and commitment are keys to realizing all of its graces. The Diocese of Fargo requires two parent sessions, one retreat, an interview with a parish priest on preparedness and participation in faith formation sessions. “Preparation for any sacrament is a journey of the heart to prepare to meet Jesus Christ. It involves reflection, deeper conversion, prayer and faith sharing with others,” noted Mary Hanbury, evangelization and catechesis coordinator for the Diocese of Fargo. “Getting ready to receive confirmation is a big deal. We should try to be as ready as possible to receive any sacrament. The more ready we are; the more God will be able to work in us,” agreed Diane Dahlin, director of religious education at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo.
Seeing the need Perhaps, it was the willingness of Dahlin and other directors of religious education and faith formation coordinators in the diocese to allow God to work within them to bring a higher level of sacramental preparation to the diocese. Dahlin will say it was a push from her children that got her started in youth catechesis and sacramental preparation. “I’m not an ‘in-front-of-people’ kind of person,” explained Dahlin. “But, my kids were in middle school and the parish had no youth director. I had helped with various things and I love working
with kids. So, my kids talked me into it.” She began working at the cathedral in 2005 as youth director. Later, Dahlin added director of religious education (DRE) to her job description. In her role as DRE, Dahlin says she found it difficult to find resources for third graders and parents. So with the help and review of the priest in the parish, she started writing lesson plans. These plans became more widely known, and with the urging of diocesan staff, she continued to write more. Today, many parishes throughout the diocese use Dahlin’s curriculum. “The desire is that students will come away with an understanding of the relationship between the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit,” Dahlin says in her manual’s introduction. “I grew up not being taught the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit. If we understand the power in our relationship with the Holy Spirit, it will be a life changing relationship, if we let it be.” For Gayle Coles, coordinator for family faith formation at St. Catherine’s parish in Valley City, it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit that drew her to her role in sacramental preparation. She had recently quit working in Valley City’s public schools and kept her promise to friends to join the parish council after she had retired. Once on the council, Coles quickly joined the spiritual life committee. After the first meeting, the pastor there at the time pulled her aside and asked if she would be willing to teach. “If I do this, I want to teach the parents too,” said Coles, immediately recognizing the importance of parental involvement. Coles researched several options for curriculum and landed on the Family Formation program created and distributed by St. Paul’s Church in Ham Lake, Minn. The program originated out of the difficulties parishes were facing using traditional religious education programs. The creators of the program realized early on, without parental involvement in their children’s catechesis, it wouldn’t be successful. “How it works is once a month the family will come together at the church for adult formation aimed at parents and classroom lessons for the children focusing on the same topic,” explained Coles. “Then, the next three weeks, parents take home packets we’ve prepared for the upcoming weeks to complete as a family. Each lesson takes about an hour each week, and it goes along with the liturgical cycle.” Despite the differing origins of the two programs used by Dahlin and Coles, one thing remains a primary element of each curriculum: a high level of parental involvement. Said Coles, “Anytime you can sit
Photo by Gaylord Hibl
Bishop John Folda speaks to newly confirmed third graders from St. John the Evangelist’s Church in Wahpeton on April 26.
down with your child and talk about God, rather than putting them solely in the hands of the catechist, you achieve a greater advantage.” Both women empathize with busy family schedules, but don’t waiver on the integral role they feel family plays in catechizing children. “Having conversations with your kids is priceless. They are looking at us for answers and examples,” said Dahlin. “If we give the impression it’s too difficult or not important, then our kids will look at it as too difficult or not important, as well. We can tell our kids all we want what they should do, but if we don’t tell them why we do it and how to do it, then we lose them.”
Expectations of parents How do some parents feel about this expectation placed on them? “Those of us that are cradle Catholic have learned it [the faith] before, but we don’t always remember it or know how to apply it to our lives,” commented Alicia Hoffarth, whose daughter, Stephanie, received the sacrament of confirmation at St. Catherine’s in Valley City on May 4. “When you go through it with your child it brings up questions and learning opportunities that you might struggle to find time to talk about otherwise. With this you have to set aside the time to be engaged and work together as a family.” Jim and Susan Nelson, parents also of St. Catherine’s agree. “If the parents don’t take time and devotion to prac-
tice their faith with their kids, it’s lost.” Susan added, “What they provide to us is amazing. I think it’s really a challenge to sit down and talk, but the way the materials are given to us, it’s something we can do in the car or anywhere. As my kids get older they could go away [from the church], but if there is a way I can help them embrace their faith and not pull away from the church, then I will do it.” After receiving the sacrament of confirmation, the doors to greater participation in church life should be opened wider. The diocese encourages families and parishes to continue to offer opportunities for the newly confirmed to grow and share in their faith. Says Hanbury, “When your son or daughter is confirmed you may or may not notice a big difference in their behavior or hear them speaking in other languages, but our faith teaches us that a change has occurred; a quiet fire will begin to grow in their heart. This quiet fire will grow by continued formation and your encouragement as you challenge your child in daily life to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit and become more like Jesus Christ.” “With the faith, there is something to learn every day,” commented Nelson. “Even though my son will be confirmed, there is so much more as parents that we can do — introduction to the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, prayers, daily readings.” Dahlin added, “I try to tell parents that when the apostles received the Holy Spirit, it was just the beginning.”
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What is Confirmation?
Confirmation enriches the baptized with the strength of the Holy Spirit so that they can better witness to Christ in word and deed (CCC 1285). Anointed by the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, Christians strengthen their bond with the Church and become better equipped to carry out the Church’s mission of love and service. At Confirmation, our faith and membership in the Body of Christ is strengthened. In the Rite of Baptism, we become new members of the Body of Christ, but our journey does not end there. Baptism is followed by continued growth, learning, and witness as members of the Body of Christ. Our desire to continue to grow and develop as Christians finds expression in Confirmation, when we renew our baptismal promises and receive in a new way the gift of the Holy Spirit, which strengthens our “bond” with the Church and its members (CCC 1316). Confirmation connects us to a larger community. The relationship of the bishop (who presides over the Rite of Confirmation) with the church community in a given area reminds us of our connection to the larger community of the Church, which is global. Thus, Confirmation reminds us that we belong to the Universal Church and to a local parish community (CCC 1309). The sacred Chrism oil used during Confirmation points to the community’s sharing of the Spirit, since the same oil is used during Baptism and to anoint bishops and priests during the Sacrament of Holy Orders. At Confirmation, we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The graces given to us through Confirmation are wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord. In the Gospels, the same Spirit that descended on Jesus during Baptism descends on the Apostles at Pentecost (CCC 1285-1287). At Confirmation, we receive diverse spiritual gifts that work together for the “common good” according to Pope John Paul II, and “the building up of the Church, to the well-being of humanity and to the needs of the world.” The Spirit moves us to imitate the love of Christ and the saints In preparation for Confirmation, we often perform many hours of service to help those in need. In doing so, we imitate the saints whose names we often take at Confirmation. Anointed by the Holy Spirit, we are incorporated into Christ, who is priest, prophet, and king, and called to share in his mission (CCC 1241). We share Christ’s priestly mission by giving of ourselves in union with Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. As prophets, we announce the Kingdom of God in both word and deed. We share the kingly mission by seeking God’s Kingdom of justice in the world. All those anointed by the Spirit at Baptism and Confirmation share Christ’s mission in Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
May 2014 n 9 1
Response to judge’s ruling On April 16, 2014, Christopher Dodson, executive director for the North Dakota Catholic Conference, issued the following statement regarding U.S. District Court Judge Daniel L. Hovland’s decision to strike down a North Dakota law banning abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland struck down North Dakota’s prohibition on abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Though unfortunate, the ruling was expected. The current holdings of the U.S. Supreme Court make it difficult to protect human life before the vague and subjective “viability” stage. No matter what reason abortion advocates conjure up, viability, unlike a heartbeat, tells us nothing about the humanity of the unborn child and should not be used to determine whether a child can live or die.
As frustrating as the U.S. Supreme Court holdings can be, North Dakotans should know that out-of-state abortion rights groups are trying to get state courts to grant a right to abortion that is even greater than the right found by the U.S. Supreme Court. In fact, they have already convinced a judge in Fargo to help with their agenda. The only way to stop this radical agenda to strike down North Dakota’s common sense laws is to pass the Human Life Amendment in November. The amendment was placed on the ballot by a bipartisan vote of the state legislature to protect our existing common sense laws, provide a foundation for future laws based on North Dakota values and to stop judges from fabricating an unfettered right to abortion. To find out more, visit www.ndchooselife.org
Priests renew vows, sacred oils blessed By Aliceyn Magelky
Nearly 115 priests, a dozen deacons and many faithful filled the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo April 15 as Bishop John Folda invited priests of the diocese to renew their commitment to priestly service during the annual Chrism Mass. This once-a-year Mass marks one of the rare times all priests from across the expansive diocese can come together. “For us priests,” Bishop Folda said, “this is a blessed opportunity to return to that sacred moment when the bishop laid his hands upon us, prayed
over us and anointed us with the sacred Chrism. As priests, we belong to Christ, and therefore we belong to you, to the church. We are ordinary men who have been given the privilege to carry out extraordinary works in the name of Jesus. And so, we need your prayer . . . if we are to persevere in living out this anointing of our priestly lives.” During the Mass, Bishop Folda blessed and distributed the three sacred oils — sacred Chrism oil, oil of the catechumens and oil of the sick — to be used in the sacraments and blessings throughout the diocese in the coming year.
“If today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith andare a new evangelization, it is not honor an anniversary, A mother is a person who seeing there only four pieces of pie fortofive people, but because there is more need of it, even more than there was 50 years ago!”
promptly announces she never did care for pie. ― Pope Benedict XVI Tenneva Jordan
1 nnMM ay ay2014 2014 10
The difference Easter made
ne of the striking things about A new ‘presence’ the Easter and post-Easter narThe disciples’ understanding of ratives in the New Testament how the Risen One was “present” to is that they are largely about incomhis brethren changed. For a certain prehension: which is to say that, in the period, the Risen Lord canonical Gospels, the appeared to them in that early church admitted transformed body: in the that it took some time garden and the Upper for the first Christian Room, on the Emmaus believers to understand Road and at the Sea of what had happened in Galilee. But, after that the Resurrection and period ended in what how what had happened we know as the Ascenchanged everything. sion, the Risen Lord reIn “Roman Pilgrimmained “present” to his age: The Station Churchbrethren sacramentally: es” (Basic Books), I draw in the baptism they were on insights from Anto offer the whole world, glican biblical scholar in the Eucharist they celN.T. Wright and Pope ebrated and in their exerBenedict XVI to explore cise of fraternal charity. the first Christians’ George Weigel The disciples’ underunfolding comprehenstanding of their responsion of Easter and how sibilities and their future it exploded their ideas of history and prospects changed. their place in history. The unexpected and expectationSo, what changed after Easter? exploding Resurrection of Jesus also The disciples’ understanding of hisrevealed their own destinies. tory changed. The life-transforming experience of meeting the Risen Lord impelled the The first Jesus community lived in first disciples to mission, after the outexpectation of the “last days,” even pouring of the Spirit had given them while Jesus walked among them in his the words to tell what they had seen public ministry; but, they thought the and heard. And, knowing that what “last days” involved a history-ending had happened in Jesus’ Resurrection cataclysm. was their destiny, too, they could, in After the Resurrection, the disciples the future, embrace martyrdom in witslowly began to grasp that the “last ness to the truth of what God had done days” had already begun at Easter, even in Christ for the salvation of the world. as history continued. The “last days” were unfolding in time, and the entire Sunday worship, not Saturday texture of time was changed because of that. The disciples’ understanding of worship and time changed. The disciples’ understanding of “resurrection” changed. The risen Christ’s The disciples of Jesus were all piresurrection was not like the resuscitaous Jews for whom the Sabbath was a tion of Lazarus, nor did it involve the bottom-line reality of their religious decomposition of the corpse of the identity. Yet the early church quickly Jesus who was crucified, who died, and established Sunday, not Saturday, as the who was buried. The risen Lord had a “Lord’s Day,” because it was on Sunday, body, but it is a transformed body, and the “third day,” that Jesus had been the tomb was empty. raised from the dead.
“Living as we do on the far side of Easter,
it is sometimes hard to grasp just how profoundly shattering an experience the first Easter season was for those who lived it. George Weigel
As Benedict XVI wrote in “Jesus of Nazareth — Holy Week,” “Only an event that marked souls indelibly could bring about such a profound realignment of the religious culture of the week. . . . [The] celebration of the Lord’s day, which was characteristic of the Christian community from the outset, is one of the most convincing proofs that something extraordinary happened that day: the discovery of the empty tomb and the encounter with the Risen Lord.” Living as we do on the far side of Easter, it is sometimes hard to grasp just how profoundly shattering an experience the first Easter season was for those who lived it. That is why we should be grateful to the Gospel writers, and the church that accepted and confirmed their witness,
for including in the New Testament the first disciples’ perplexity about just what had happened. Encountering their confusion, we learn that Christ, raised from the dead, changes everything: time, history, prophecy, hope, the here-and-now, vocational responsibility and right worship all come into clearer focus through the encounter with the Risen Lord. The unity of God’s self-revelation to Israel and in his son is confirmed. The church, witness to the truth of the Resurrection, is born. George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Weigel’s column is distributed by the Denver Catholic Register, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver. Phone: 303-715-3215.
Father Reese Weber baptized May Fuka at the Easter Vigil April 19 at Holy Family Church in Grand Forks. Fuka was also confirmed and received the Eucharist for the first time that day. More than 165 catechumens and candidates across the diocese were baptized, confirmed and received the Eucharist for the first time on Holy Saturday. Photo submitted by Wanda Weber
May 2014 n 11
Catholic Conference supports advance directives ND Measure 1, Human Life Amendment will not nullify those directives
ost families will eventualexpense or pain. ly have to make health care n There should be a strong presumpdecisions for a loved one at tion in favor of providing a person that person’s end-of-life. It can be a with nutrition (food) and hydration heart-wrenching time. (water), even if medically The natural desire to see assisted. suffering end, to attend n We have the right to “unfinished business” to comfort and to seek and not “let go” can afrelief from pain, even if fect decision making. the method or treatment Emotions can cloud indirectly and unintenjudgment. tionally shortens life. For that reason, everyone can benefit by Vote coming in becoming familiar with November some Christian princiI have recently heard ples about life and dying, people say that removadvance care options ing or refusing non-benand relevant factual ineficial extraordinary care formation. is a form of killing. SurLet’s start with some Christopher Dodson prisingly, these people principles. also thought that this n Human life is a prekilling was “okay” because the treatcious gift from God. Every person has ment was without benefit. a duty to preserve his or her life and to This is very confused thinking. Inuse it for God’s glory. tentional and direct killing is never n We have the right to direct our morally acceptable, but the removal of own care and the responsibility to act extraordinary treatment is not killing. according to the principles of Catholic It is letting a person die naturally. moral teaching. n Suicide, euthanasia and acts that In November, North Dakotans will intentionally and directly would cause have a chance to vote on the Human death by deed or omission, are never Life Amendment. The amendment morally acceptable. states: “The inalienable right to life n A person may refuse medical treatof every human being at any stage of ment that is extraordinary because it development must be recognized and offers little or no hope of benefit or canprotected.” not be provided without undue burden, The amendment was put on the bal-
lot by the legislature to make clear that the North Dakota Constitution does not contain an unfettered right to abortion. Opponents of the measure, however, are claiming that the amendment would prevent the use of advance directives and the removal of unnecessary burdensome treatments from a dying a person. The claim is completely false. For one thing, the amendment does not — and cannot — change laws about the care of persons at the end of life. Only the legislature can enact such laws. Secondly, these laws, like the prohibition against assisted suicide, prevent killing. Removing extraordinary care and the use of advance directives is not killing. The North Dakota Catholic Conference strongly supports the Human Life Amendment and also encourages the use of advance directives, especially those that appoint a loved one to make decisions for the patient if he or she cannot speak for themselves. The amendment, which will be Measure 1 on the November ballot, does not conflict with the use of advance directives.
because people could not guarantee that they would not be kept artificially alive against their wishes. But then several court cases, legislation and the use of advance directives showed that fear was unfounded. Then the death advocates started a misinformation campaign to convince people that, despite the law, advance directives and family instructions will not be followed. Now they want us to believe that an amendment to clarify that the state constitution does not give a right to abortion will nullify advance directives. One way to fight the fear-mongering is to make sure you, your family, and your friends discuss what you want done if incapacitated and facing death. Make use of the North Dakota Catholic Conference Health Care Directive. It is straightforward, short and comes with a guide to answer frequently asked questions about the process, the law and Catholic ethics. The North Dakota Catholic Conference will send you as many copies as you’d like at no charge. You can also download them from our website: www.ndcatholic.org/chd
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 ndcatholic.org.
Agents of the culture of death play upon the fears and emotions that come with the end of life. First, they argued that assisted suicide and euthanasia were necessary
The stewardship of mother Top 10 reasons of thanks for my mother born, a mother’s sacrifice for her child is far from over after the birth. The role of the mother is critical in the child’s development — both spiritually and physically — throughout life. Mothers provide the comfort, nurturing and support necessary for their children to become productive citizens and responsible Christians. The job of a mother is not an easy one. This e celebrate the is a fact that Mary, the month of Mary mother of Jesus, knew during May and very well. during this month we also celebrate Mother’s She worried when her Day. It seems fitting that son appeared to be lost we honor our mothers at the age of 12, only during May since Mary to find him later in his is given to us by God Father’s house. She was as the example of true probably concerned as Christian motherhood. Jesus began his public Those who are called ministry — not knowto be mothers have been ing what difficulties and blessed by God and rejections he would encalled to fulfill a very counter along the way. important responsibility. And Mary must have Steve Schons Mothers are the vehiexperienced great ancle through which God guish as she watched her brings new life into this world. son’s body being crucified to a cross. When we talk about Christian stewMay all mothers look to Mary as their ardship we talk about sacrificially remodel for motherhood and ask her inturning to God what we have been tercession as they strive to fulfill their given. What can more clearly be a God-given role in their children’s lives. demonstration of complete sacrifice During the month of May, let us all than the relationship between mother take some time to express our appreand child during the nine months of ciation to our mothers for allowing us growth in the womb? to come into this world, for loving us During these nine months, the and for serving as an example of what child’s life depends on the actions of it means to be a steward for life. the mother as the first portion of her energy and nourishment goes directly Steve Schons is director of stewardship to the growing baby. and development for the Diocese of Fargo Although this relationship may and can be reached at steve.schons@ change to some extent after the child is fargodiocese.org or (701) 356-7926. Each month I am grateful to share my thoughts on stewardship and giving in our diocese. As I was musing over what I wanted to share with you this month, I encountered the following article from the website of St.Peter the Apostle Church in Savanah, Ga. And, I included a list of things that make me the most grateful for my mom. Happy Mother’s Day!
Steve Schons is pictured here with his mother Bev Schons during a Christmas gathering at Myrna and Gerald Rivard’s Fargo home in 1999.
10 reasons I’m thankful for my mother 1. She carried me for nine months and gave me life. 2. She taught me to pray and appreciate my Catholic faith. 3. She assured that I received a Catholic education. 4. She has always provided encouraging words. 5. She took care of me when I was sick, especially when I was young. 6. She always welcomes my family into her home, and especially making the holidays so special. 7. She is always available to visit and gives advice tenderly. 8. She loves her family unconditionally. 9. She laughs at my jokes, even when they are not funny. 10. She makes the best buns —ever!
N 12ewn Earth May 2014
May 2014 NewEn arth 2
Catechists’ summer retreat dates set, registration open online Catechists across the diocese are invited to experience “The Joy of the Catechist” during one of two, one-day retreats presented by Father Andrew Jasinski, interim director of Catholic education and faith formation for the Fargo Diocese. Father Jasinski will direct the group on a series of talks on the joy of catechists taken from Pope Francis’ exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium or Joy of the Gospel. This retreat is for anyone who is involved with catechesis, who directs or coordinates religious education programs or who teaches children and adults. Participants have the option of choosing one of two dates to attend. The first retreat date is Aug. 16, and the event will be held at Park River Bible Camp just outside Park River. The second retreat will be Aug. 22 at the Maryvale Provincial Center, Valley City.
Each day will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. It will include Father Jasinski’s presentations as well as Mass, lunch and time for sharing and reflection. If you would like to stay overnight the eve of the retreat at either of the retreat locations, contact Mary Hanbury at (701) 356-7909 or mary.hanbury@ fargodiocese.org for more details and room prices. Please register online at www.fargo diocese.org/catechistretreat and be sure to select desired retreat location. A minimum of 12 participants must register for each retreat or it will be cancelled. Deadline for the retreat at Park River Bible Camp is Aug. 1; deadline for the retreat at the Valley City site is Aug. 7. Registration fee is $20 per person. Credit cards can be accepted for payment. Directions for the retreat centers are listed on the registration website.
Mark your calendars Transfiguration, Edgeley, planning 125th anniversary celebration Transfiguration Catholic Church in Edgeley will be celebrating its 125th Anniversary in 2014. In 1889, the Transfiguration community started as a station attended from St Helena’s Church in Ellendale and became a parish with a resident pastor in 1915. The parish will be holding a 125th celebration thanksgiving Mass Aug. 10, at 10 a.m. Parishioners extend an early invitation to anyone with connections to the parish to make plans to attend this event. For more information about the celebration and the parish’s history contact the parish office at (701) 493-2387 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Presentation Medical Center in Rolla continues to serve that rural area 75 years after being built. The PMC celebrates its anniversary on May 9. The hospital was started by the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation in 1939.
PMC celebrates 75 years of providing medical care in rural North Dakota By Kristina Lahr
It was 1939 when the first cornerstone of Presentation Medical Center (PMC) was laid and the community of Rolla and the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation began a joint endeavor to make health care available to citizens of northern North Dakota. Presentation Medical Center, a critical access hospital and clinic — part of the SMP Health System — celebrated its diamond anniversary with a special ceremony and supper May 9 at PMC in Rolla. “It’s a significant milestone,” noted Kimberly Samuelson, who has worked in public relations for eight years at Presentation Medical Center in Rolla. “The hospital provides a much needed and appreciated service to the area. It is very rural. The next closest facility is 40 miles away,” she added. When the hospital opened it was appreciated immediately, so by 1956 it had already outgrown its walls. A new building was soon financed by a grant
from the Ford Foundation and money from the sisters. Ten years later the hospital was again too small and an entirely new hospital was built in 1973. The old hospital was renovated into a longterm health care unit for the elderly until 1988 when that building was closed. Today, Presentation Medical Center continues to serve the health care needs of Rolette County, which includes the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. It offers a variety of services including 24-hour emergency care, acute care, swing bed and extended stay as well as a family clinic, specialty clinic and services such as diagnostic imaging, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, cardiac rehab and more. “We serve an area where a significant amount of the population falls below the poverty level. We also have a high percentage of our clientele that are on Medicare and Medicaid,” she added. Presentation Medical Center is a non-profit Catholic healthcare organization that employs about 100 people.
May: The month devoted to Mary Continued from page 1 n Hail Holy Queen — This prayer is commonly said at the end of the rosary and during morning prayers. n Prayer of St. Augustine to the Blessed Virgin – In this prayer, we ask Mary to present our prayers to God for forgiveness of our sins. n Petition to Mary by St. Alphonsus Liguori — St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote this prayer to remind us that just as our mothers were the first to present Christ to us, the Mother of God continues to present her Son to us and us to her Son. n For the Grace of Love — Written
by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, the secretary of state for Pope St. Pius X, this prayer reminds us that Mary is a perfect example of Christian life. n To the Blessed Virgin Mary for May — In this prayer, we ask Mary for her protection and grace to imitate her life and love for Christ. As the Mother of God, we look to her for guidance as we look to our own mothers. n Act of Reparation to the Blessed Virgin Mary — Through this prayer, we offer praise to the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask for reparation of any offenses against her.
Share life’s milestones As a way to celebrate life and love, we encourage parishioners throughout the Diocese of Fargo to send photos of anniversaries of 60 or more years, or birthdays of 80 or more years to: New Earth, Diocese of Fargo, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S., Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104-7605 or email@example.com.
INSERT NOTICE Look for The New Earth advertising insert from the
Great Plains Food Bank in all copies of this issue
A call to higher education Father Anderl graduates from rigorous IPF program By Kristina Lahr
As the last to be accepted into a “singularly unique” Institute of Priestly Formation (IPF) and University of St. Mary of the Lake (USML) program before it was removed from the registrar, Father Peter Anderl has quite an achievement to celebrate. Father Anderl graduated from the pontifical program May 3 with a Sacred Theology Licentiate (STL). The description of the program on the Mundelein Seminary website states, “The licentiate of sacred theology is a research degree in dogmatic theology. In the civil system, the STL would be similar to the course work and exams of a Ph.D. program. It is structured around... in depth study of the Christian theological tradition from the New Testament to the present. Special attention is givFather Peter en to Doctrine of Anderl God, Christology, Theological Anthropology and Sacramental Theology.” Father Anderl was the last to be accepted into this unique hybrid IPF/ pontifical program because it proved to be too difficult for many priests. Only a handful of priests from IPF have ever graduated from this program. “The greatest challenge was readjusting to the classroom setting after having been away from school since the 20th Century,” Father Anderl said. “The courses were much harder than anything I had ever studied before, but so rich.” He describes his 80-page dissertation thesis on the Identity, Spirituality and Mission of the Diocesan Priest: Pastoral Authority of the Spiritual Physician as “a true labor of love.” IPF plans to publish parts of it through various theological journals for priests. The IPF program went from May
Prayer intentions of Pope Francis
2008 through January 2011. Nine priests attended the program from the Fargo Diocese along with Archbishop Samuel Aquila while he served the Diocese of Fargo. “It was a tremendous experience for training to become a spiritual director and to give retreats,” Father Anderl said. “The IPF/USML program required three, 20-page spirituality papers, a 30day silent Ignatian Retreat and giving a preached and directed eight-day Ignatian Retreat, which was joyfully offered to the Carmelite Nuns outside Wahpeton. This counted toward several elective courses in the pontifical program.” Father Anderl started his education at the University of North Dakota intending to become a physical therapist and ultimately a medical doctor. During graduate school, he left to enter the seminary at Cardinal Muench, and then attended Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Md., to become a priest. After being ordained, his spiritual director, Monsignor John Esseff, who was previously spiritual director for Blessed Mother Teresa, told him that God was calling him to complete the three-year IPF program at USML, also known as Mundelein Seminary, near Chicago. He studied at the doctoral level for his Pontifical Licentiate Degree in Sacred Dogmatic Theology. Having passed his oral comprehensives last month with distinction, Father Anderl graduated Summa Cum Laude with the pontifical licentiate degree in systematics from Rome via Mundelein, following the IPF training program with certification in spiritual direction, and giving retreats. He currently is serving as pastor at St. Anthony’s Church in Mooreton and Sts. Peter and Paul’s Church in Mantador.
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Father Kinzler to celebrate 40 years of service Parishioners of St. George Church in Cooperstown invite all in the diocese to join them in celebrating Father Dale Kinzler’s 40 years of priestly service on June 1 at the Griggs County School. The event begins at 3 p.m. with a social hour and includes evening prayer, a special program and dinner. For more information, call (701) 797-2624 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Father Kinzler was ordained a priest on Pentecost Sunday, June 2, 1974 at St. Aloysius Church in Lisbon by Bishop Justin Driscoll. He began his priestly ministry at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Fargo, serving two years with Monsignor Frank Nestor and Father Joseph Huebsch. In 1976, he was assigned to St. Mary’s Church in Grand Forks, where he served two years with Father Joseph Senger. Later, in 1978, he was called back to Fargo to serve with Father David McCauley at the St. Paul’s Newman Center at North Dakota State University. When Father McCauley assumed the pastorate at Nativity of Fargo in 1981, Father Kinzler remained at the Newman Center and took over the role of pastor. Bishop James Sullivan asked FatherKinzler to take the pastorate at St. Alphonsus in Langdon in 1986, following the departure of Father Kenneth Gallagher to work with the Fraternity of Priests. Father Kinzler served in Langdon until 1995 when Bishop Sullivan called him to return to Fargo to become pastor of Nativity Church.
In 2007, after serving Nativity for 12 years, he was assigned to St. Joseph Church, Devils Lake. Today, Father Kinzler serves as pastor of St. George in Cooperstown, St. Lawrence in Jessie, St. Olaf in Finley and Sacred Heart in Aneta. Having completed his masters degree in moral theology at the St. Paul Seminary, Father Kinzler has contributed to the Fargo Diocese education and formation efforts in the diaconate program and the Education for Parish Service. He was also appointed as Bishop Samuel Aquila’s Health Care Liaison to the Fargo Diocese Catholic health care facilities in 2002, and has served as a consultant in bioethical issues. He has also given priestly assistance to the spiritual movements among the laity of the diocese, including Cursillo and Marriage Encounter, Search and Teens Encounter Christ and a number of prayer groups. He still assists in presenting Marriage Encounter weekends, a role he first assumed in 1979. Father Dale Kinzler still holds in his heart, as a personal theme for the priestly ministry entrusted through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, these words of Scripture printed on his ordination card: “It is not ourselves we preach but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts, that we in turn might make known the glory of God shining on the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:5-6
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May General intention: Media. That the media may be instruments in the service of truth and peace. Reflection: How can I better see my neighbor in someone with whom I have strong disagreements? Scripture: Luke 24: 13-35 Jesus speaks to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. That dialogue leads to encounter with truth and love.
Mission intention: Mary’s Guidance. That Mary, Star of Evangelization, may guide the Church in proclaiming Christ to all nations. Reflection: How has Mary been a guiding star in my life? How may she help me do what Jesus asks of me? Scripture: John 2: 1-11 The first revelation of Jesus’ glory, turning water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana. Provided by Apostleship of Prayer, www.apostleshipofprayer.org.
Thanks to the generosity of our parishes, New Earth is made available to every Catholic household in the diocese. However, we ask that you consider supporting this ministry by purchasing a subscription for someone outside of the diocese or making a personal contribution. Thank you! Annual subscription rate for 11 issues of New Earth is $9.
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Youth & Young Adults
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Bikers for the University of North Dakota Newman Center receive some instruction at the starting line in their annual race against their counterparts from the North Dakota State Newman Center.
And the winner is…
NDSU, UND Newman Centers duke it out in annual bike race By Kristina Lahr
After weeks of fundraising, recruiting and a particularly tough 33.7 mile morning bike trek April 26, the 29th annual NDSU vs. UND Bike Race and Ride between the two campus Newman Centers goes to the University of North Dakota. This is the third year in a row for UND to earn the gold. The NDSU Newman team rode from Fargo to Hillsboro while the UND Newman team rode from Hillsboro to Grand Forks. Both teams agreed that a strong east wind made for a tougher race than in the past. “If you can survive this year, you can survive anything,” said Father Jason Lefor of the UND Newman Center. The winner of the event is determined by three categories: the number of riders to finish the race, the number of riders to finish in the top 20 and the amount of money raised. UND won each of the categories, but not by much. Eleven riders pulled in for UND and nine for NDSU for the top 20 fastest riders. The top riders overall were brothers Jake and Sean Cooley for UND with a time of 76.13 minutes. Cooper Bierscheid and Paul Wilburn placed first and second for NDSU. UND recruited 205 finishing riders and raised $118,000, while NDSU brought 190 finishing riders and raised $92,000. The amount raised is about a third of the annual budgets for the Newman Centers. The bike race is their biggest
fundraiser of the year. Although bragging rights are a powerful incentive, prizes are also available to fastest riders, top fundraisers and top recruiters. Jared and Hailey Wineand, riding for UND, won a trip to Jerusalem for raising the most funds. Each year Father James Cheney (NDSU Newman chaplain) and Father Lefor bet a dollar on which of them individually will have the fastest time. This year’s winner was Father Lefor with a time of 143.04 minutes. Father Cheney’s time was 143.10 — just six seconds slower. The bike race is not without creative minds and the highly ambitious. Each year the teams choose a theme to follow which inspires riders to dress up and ride according to that theme. This year’s themes were Superman for NDSU and Duck Dynasty for UND. New challenges were undertaken by some including, Jeremy Sauer for NDSU who biked the entire race on his unicycle, finishing with a time of 156.00. Mike White for UND tossed out wheels all-together and finished the race on foot. The Bike Race and Ride all started in 1986, when Father James Ermer, then pastor at the UND St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center, originated the idea of some healthy “friendly competition” with NDSU’s St. Paul Newman Center to raise funds for their respective organizations. Father Dale Kinzler, in his final year as pastor at NDSU’s Newman Center,
Trinity Youth Camp 2014 A Catholic Camping Experience
MISSION POSSIBLE June 18 - 22: Red Willow Bible Camp, Binford, North Dakota July 9 - 13: Pelican Lake I, Bottineau, North Dakota July 16 - 20: Camp of the Cross, Garrison, North Dakota July 23 - 27: Pelican Lake II, Bottineau, North Dakota Camp is for students entering 4th-8th grade this fall. “Have you ever wondered what it means to be a missionary? Do you know where Catholic missions are around the world? Attend camp this summer and grow in your faith. Learn how to be a missionary in your own home and community.”
www.trinityyouth campnd.com. Check it out — we think it is great!!
TYC staff includes directors, resident camp priest, registered nurse, session leaders, and trained counselors. Activities include Good News, crafts, canteen, water activities, great meals, skits, nightly campfires, daily Mass, and much more. Questions? Call Annette Mears @ 701.477.5270 or email: email@example.com THE REGISTRATION FEE THIS YEAR IS $225 PER SESSION. Mail registration form with a $50 non-refundable deposit that will be applied to your total camp fee to: Annette Mears, PO Box 27, Rolla, ND.
Registration is due two weeks prior to start of each camp session.
Sarah Hellwig photos
Brothers Jake and Sean Cooley of UND claimed the best time overall, finishing the 33.7 mile race with a time of 76.13.
agreed to the challenge. The first race took place in the spring of that year. UND was declared the official winner of that first event, finishing with a faster time and raising the most money. Father Kinzler, a bicycle enthusiast, came in as one of the top two fin-
ishers for NDSU’s Newman Center. Twenty-nine years later, priests, students, alumni and members of the community continue the tradition. While some come to fight for glory, others come for the fun and the hope of survival.
Students from Diocese of Fargo selected to carry lead banner during 2015 National March for Life By Rachelle Sauvageau Respect Life Director, Diocese of Fargo
Earlier this year, Shanley High School students received news that they have been chosen to carry the lead banner for the March for Life that takes place annually in our nation’s capital. The March for Life traditionally is held on Jan. 22 to mark the tragic 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in our nation. To recognize this honor, Shanley High School will bring its entire student body to bear witness to the sanctity of human life as they lead more than 500,000 people who converge on our nation’s capital each year to participate in the event. Additionally, the Fargo Diocese Youth Pilgrimage has opened registration for students in grades 9-12 to
take part in this exciting opportunity to join Shanley students in leading the March for Life. Details about the pilgrimage and registration forms can be found at www.fargodiocese.org/RespectLife. Parishes can reserve spots for students in advance by contacting Rachelle, 701-356-7910 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This honor is not only for Shanley High School students but for all people of good will from across North Dakota to participate in the 2015 March for Life. The North Dakota contingent made up of youth, university students, adults and families will follow directly behind the Shanley High School students to help lead the way to building a culture of life across the country.
May 2014 n 15
Events across the diocese
TV Mass will not air May 25
May 17-18 (Saturday-Sunday) & May 1920 (Monday-Tuesday): Training for Youth Ministry. Two day training sessions for those that work with youth ages 6-12 in the area of youth ministry. The first session (May 17-18) will be at St. Joseph’s Church in Devils Lake and the second session (May 19-20) will be at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Fargo. Contact Kathy Loney at (701) 356-7902. May 21 (Wednesday): Baccalaureate Mass. Bishop Folda will be celebrating Mass at Holy Spirit Church in Fargo to honor graduating seniors at 10 a.m. May 24 (Saturday): Diaconate Ordination. Bishop Folda will be celebrating Mass for diaconate ordination at St. Mary’s Cathedral at 10 a.m.
For more news and events, visit the “News and Events” section of the diocesan website: www.fargodiocese.org
May 26 (Monday): Memorial Day Mass. Bishop Folda will be celebrating Mass at Holy Cross Cemetery, 1502 32nd Ave. N, Fargo at 9 a.m.
on the armor of God” at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6 p.m. at St. Agnes Parish, 201 Division St., Walker, Minn. Cost is $15.
June 1 (Sunday): Pie, Cake and Ice Cream Social. St. Anne’s Guest Home at 524 N. 17th St., Grand Forks will be having their annual ice cream social with live accordion music. Everyone is welcome. Free will offering. For more information, call (701) 746-9401 or email email@example.com.
June 14 (Saturday): Healing Retreat. Kathleen Beckman will offer a healing retreat at St. Agnes Parish 201 Division St., Walker, Minn. The day will start with fellowship at 8 a.m.; Mass at 8:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast and light lunch. Cost is $20.
June 1-3 (Sunday-Tuesday): Prairie Pilgrimage to Winnipeg. Guides from Holy Cross Church in West Fargo will be visiting churches, shrines and other Catholic places of interest in Winnipeg, Canada. Contact Bill or Geri Harbeke for information at (701) 277-9681. June 6-21 (Friday-Saturday): A pilgrimage has been planned through the Youth and Young Adult Ministry office to travel to northern Spain and walk some of the pathways of St. James. The pilgrimage will begin with a short stay in Lourdes, France, a trip to Leon, Spain and then on to a foot excursion from Sarria to Santiago. June 8-13 (Sunday-Friday): Men’s Directed Retreat: Located at St. Francis Retreat Center in Hankinson. Details yet to be determined. Call (701) 242-7195. June 13 (Friday): Magnificat Retreat. Come strengthen your life in Christ through Kathleen Beckman’s witness and teaching as she prepares us to “put
June 14 (Saturday): Prayer and Discernment Day. For single men and women ages 16 and older. Come to Maryvale where you will be in an atmosphere of prayer and discernment to vocation and other decisions in your life. Suggested donation $25. Email dorothy. firstname.lastname@example.org or call (701) 845-2865. June 14-21 (Saturday-Saturday), June 21-27 (Saturday-Saturday): JMI Summer Camp in Warsaw. The Franciscans of Mary Immaculate will be hosting the JMI Summer Camp for faith, friends and fun all in one! For ages 10-17. The boys camp will be held June 14-21 and girls camp June 21-27. No cost, freewill donation. See www.fmifriars.com, email at email@example.com or call Father Joseph at (701) 248-3020. To submit events for New Earth and the diocesan website, send information to New Earth, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S., Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104-7605 or email news@ fargodiocese.org. The deadline for the June New Earth is May 21.
The diocesan-sponsored TV Mass will not air on WDAY-TV Channel 6, Fargo, or WDAZ-TV Channel 8, Grand Forks, on Sunday, May 25, due to a required broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. It will return the following Sunday at its regular time from 10:30 to 11 a.m. The TV Mass can be viewed online at www.thesundaymass.org/video. EWTN-TV also broadcasts Mass at 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. That Mass is one hour and 10 minutes long. The TV Mass Apostolate is an important effort of the diocesan Communications Office. It brings the Mass to people who are unable to attend at their local parishes due to illness or infirmity. It also introduces non-Catholics to the beauty of the Catholic liturgy and the truths of the Catholic faith. For more information, contact the diocese at (701) 356-7900 or news@ fargodiocese.org.
A glimpse of the past These news items, compiled by Dorothy Duchschere, were found in issues of the Diocese of Fargo newspaper, New Earth, and its predecessor, Catholic Action News.
May 50 years ago —1964 Attending a national meeting on Liturgy held last month in Kansas City, MO were four members of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission: Msgr. Allan Nilles, V.G.; Msgr. Petr Lekavy, Warsaw; Father Maurice Mueller, Wild Rice and Father Gerald Potter, Grand Forks. The meeting was held to discuss proximate and practical means for the introduction of the revised liturgy into parish life, in accordance with the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Liturgy and recommendations of the American Bishops, who met earlier in Washington, D.C.
20 years ago —1994 The recent renovation of St. Bernard Church in Oriska was the third in its 86-year history. The rededication of St. Bernard where Father Damien Schill is pastor, followed a three-year, fourphase project that included replacing the roof, tuck-pointing and painting the exterior trim of the church, renewing the stained-glass windows and refurbishing the interior. Parishioners retained as much of the original furnishings of the church as possible.
10 years ago — 2004 A Mass was celebrated and a simple rice dinner was served on Thursday, May 20, at the Church of Nativity in Fargo, in support of the Missionary work of Father Jack Davis. The simple supper expresses solidarity with the people of Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Chimbote, Peru. Father Davis, a Devils Lake native was ordained for the Diocese of Fargo in 1969 and served for five years as associate pastor at Nativity. He visited Peru in 1971 and in 1974 asked Bishop Justin Driscoll to allow him to join the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle and began his missionary service in Peru in 1974. Nativity parish has supported his work in Peru since then.
Sacred Heart Catholic School of East Grand Forks is seeking the following teachers and staff: • Preschool Teacher • Kindergarten Teacher • Sixth Grade Teacher* • Activities Director/teacher* Interest in coaching preferred but not required Send resume, letters of recommendation, transcripts and copy of license to David Andrys, Sacred Heart School, 117 Fourth Street NW, East Grand Forks, MN 56721 or firstname.lastname@example.org<mail Positions open until filled.
Give A Gift to Help Keep the TV Mass on the Air! The best gift for those you love who are nursing home residents, shut-ins, or non-practicing Catholics WDAY, Channel 6, Fargo — WDAZ, Channel 8, Grand Forks 10:30 a.m. Sunday Name _____________________________________________________________________________ Address____________________________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip______________________________________________________________________ Phone _____________________________________________________________________________ A GIFT FOR: Name _____________________________________________________________________________ Address____________________________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip______________________________________________________________________
“I support the TV Mass because it was an important part of my mother’s life. My husband and I would sometimes watch it with her. I’m thankful that the TV Mass was there for her.” — Helen Bye, Fargo
Or, IN MEMORY OF: Name _____________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ I would like this listed at the end of the TV Mass on this date(s):____________________________ MAIL TO: TV Mass, Diocese of Fargo, 5201 Bishops Blvd., Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104-7605
16 n May 2014
fter walking out of a modeling shoot for an international magazine, Leah Darrow, former contestant on America’s Next Top Model, walked to her apartment in New York City, called her dad and said, “Daddy, if you don’t come get me, I’m going to lose my soul.” With those words, Darrow’s journey back home, to the church began. How did this Oklahoma native, born and raised in a Catholic family, stray that far from her faith and then later reclaim her love of the church? Darrow recently shared that story to nearly 350 people of all ages at St. John the Evangelist’s Church in Grafton.
‘Top Model’ turned role model Leah Darrow shares her journey back home, back to the church Story and photo by Aliceyn Magelky
Darrow, the oldest of six children, remembers her parents stressing the importance of prayer. Every night her family prayed the Rosary together. Despite the chaos that may ensue when wrangling six squirming kids, it’s those moments growing up that Darrow cherishes. “I was blessed to have parents that encouraged us to pray together every day,” Darrow said. “Often our prayer time would get loud and distracting, but I was listening. So, I try to tell all parents that prayer matters. Please pray with your children.” At 15, Darrow’s family moved from a farm in Oklahoma to St. Louis. At that age, she was desperate to find her place. For her, that meant getting a boyfriend. Soon, a homecoming dance was coming. Always a fan of fashion, Darrow couldn’t wait to go shopping. Armed with a new dress and shoes, Darrow was ready for the dance until a friend approached her about something very unfamiliar to her.
A prom to remember “So, Leah, are you ready for it?” Darrow recalled a friend asking her about the homecoming dance. Darrow, unsure what he meant, played along with his inquiry. Little did she know that “it” meant sex. When Darrow realized what “it” really meant, she got scared. “All I knew was sex was reserved for husband and wife, but at that point I just wanted to stop talking about it. I swept it under the rug and tried to forget about it,” Darrow said. The night of the dance came and Darrow admitted she had two choices, “choose authentic love, love we’re made for, or choose imitation love, the kind that tries to be the real thing but is filled with lots of empty promises.” Darrow chose a path in life that forever changed it. “I chose imitation love and lost my virginity that night. I fell into those empty promises of love and did something I’m so not proud of,” Darrow confessed. “Sometimes we want love so bad
that we will take the imitation over the real, but it’s time to reclaim love.” For the next several years, Darrow continued on a path that led her further away from God. “I believed the lies of Satan and continued to look to the world for validation,” said Darrow.
On to the big time Throughout high school and college, Darrow had done small modeling gigs. So, when the opportunity to audition for the reality show America’s Next Top Model presented itself, Darrow quickly jumped at the chance. She moved to New York City and got a spot on the third season of the show. There Darrow continued to play into the desires of the world. “When I got on the show, modesty went right out the window. The first thing I noticed was the doors had been taken off the bedrooms and bathrooms. We had no shower curtains. Cameras were everywhere at all times. Every private moment was filmed.” Darrow explained. “But, I had signed a contract that would allow the producers to sue me for $1 million if I refused to do something while filming.” Although eliminated early in the show, Darrow thought she would go forward with modeling and use the fame from the show to catapult her career. “Vanity was all over me,” said Darrow. “Up to that point, I had been doing shoots for high-end clothing and playing it a bit safe. But, then I got a call from photographers for an international magazine asking me to do something a lot different than what I was used to doing. Because my vanity was so thick and I wanted more validation from the world, I agreed to the shoot.” It was during that shoot when Darrow had an encounter with God that would thrust her back toward the church. “I did a rookie move and looked into the flash. It was in that flash that I could see myself in those itty-bitty clothes. And, then I could see a male figure with his hands open and empty,”
Leah Darrow, international Catholic speaker, addresses the audience during a recent presentation at St. John the Evangelist’s Church in Grafton. She shared her story at parishes in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks as well.
Darrow said, recalling a vision of Jesus. “I realized I had used all my talents and gifts for me not for him. It was like something piercing my heart, and I couldn’t finish the shoot.” Darrow left the shoot, walked to her apartment, phoned her dad and waited for him to make the 2,000 mile trip to New York City.
Sister of the prodigal son “You know the parable of the prodigal son, well I’m his sister,” Darrow said. “I waited in my apartment, anxious with knots in my stomach. I was expecting him to lay into me.” Instead of a lecture, Darrow’s father greeted her with the “biggest smile I have ever seen and arms opened wide.” Filled with physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion and ready to leave the city, Darrow started to leave the apartment with her dad to make the trek home. “As we were walking out the door, and I was waiting for him to follow me, he held up his finger at me and said, ‘but first, we go to confession,’ ” explained Darrow. “My dad could see the fear pop on my face, so he continued, ‘You called me to take you home. Church is home. I’m taking you there.’ ” Still trying to avoid God’s call, Darrow tried to pick a church far from her apartment in hopes of giving the impression she had tried and expecting her father to give up. They arrived at a darkened parish, but decided to attempt to find someone. To Darrow’s
surprise and a bit of horror, they found the confessional, the green light was lit and a priest was waiting inside. “It was like God had rolled out the red carpet for me to arrive,” Darrow said. “At first I was very defensive, but then I said to the priest, ‘I don’t know how to be honest with God.’ ” The priest helped guide Darrow through her confession, reminding her of God’s love and mercy. “I gave everything to Christ. I had emptied my pockets of my sin, and Christ made me new!” Darrow exclaimed. From that day forward, Darrow started rebuilding her broken relationship with Christ. Today, she speaks to audiences around the world on topics of mercy, conversion, human dignity, modesty and chastity. She has been seen on EWTN’s Journey Home and headlined several Steubenville Conference sessions. “I know I can’t change my past, but I won’t let it dictate my future. With God’s grace and courage, I’m able to speak to show that change is possible,” Darrow said. “My story is nothing new, but maybe others don’t have the courage to stand with a microphone. I want everyone to know that God is calling us all home to him.” Darrow also shared her message at Sacred Heart Church, East Grand Forks, Minn., and St. Michael’s Church, Grand Forks the day prior to her presentation in Grafton.