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New July/August 2017 | Vol. 38 | No. 7


The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo

Faith and farming:

Rural communities are the life-blood of North Dakota


From Bishop Folda: A Convocation of Catholic leaders

Sister Margaret Mary and the Heart of Jesus – 60 years later

Diocese to implement a single textbook series for religious education






July/August 2017 Vol. 38 | No. 7

ON THE COVER 16 Faith and farming: Rural communities are the life-blood of North Dakota

With the rise of corporate farming, the life of the family farm has undergone considerable changes. So what is the state of the family farm today in eastern North Dakota? How does the changing state of farms affect the lives and faith of our rural communities?



A Convocation of Catholic leaders



“Old” Young Disciple reflects on graces then and now


Pope Francis’ July and August prayer intentions


Ask a priest: Should my Health Care Directive be the Catholic one? Is the state prepared one okay?



Sister Margaret Mary and the Heart of Jesus – 60 years later


10 Director of Religious Education retiring after 35 years of service 10 Sister Carol Jean Kuntz, Sister of Mary of the Presentation, passes away age 65 11 New principal hired for 2017–2018 school year at Nativity School in Fargo 11 St. John Paul II Catholic Schools in Fargo recognize retiring staff 12 Rosary stone walk dedicated at former St. Boniface Church site 12 St John’s Church in Wahpeton hopes to spread patriotic rosary 13 Little Flower School in Rugby celebrates 75th anniversary


20 Tattered Pages

A review written by Ashley Grunhovd for “Strangers in a Strange Land” by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.



21 Diocese to implement a single textbook series for religious education


24 Stories of Faith

What direction does our faith train take?

25 Catholic Charities Corner

Who are our neighbors?

26 Catholic Action

Being a missionary disciple

27 Seminarian Life

Home is a state of mind and heart

28 Stewardship 2


You can give a gift annuity

ON THE COVER: Father Al Bitz blesses the farm of Mike and Pat Clemens near Wimbledon on June 15. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)



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


Most Rev. John T. Folda Bishop of Fargo


Paul Braun

Assistant editor Kristina Lahr


Stephanie Drietz - Drietz Designs


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


Send address changes or subscription requests to: New Earth 5201 Bishops Blvd S., Suite A Fargo, ND 58104



29 Little Sisters of the Poor

Who is ready to stand up for religious liberty?


30 Events across the diocese 31 Life’s milestones 32 A glimpse of the past


34 USCCB draws over 3,500 Catholic leaders to “once-in-a-lifetime” event


35 This is how we welcome immigrants, refugees?

Contact Information

Use the following contact information to contact the New Earth staff: (701) 356-7900 Deadline to submit articles, story ideas, advertisements and announcements for the September issue is August 23, 2017. All submissions are subject to editing and placement. New Earth is published by the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, a nonprofit North Dakota corporation, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S, Suite A Fargo, ND 58104. (701) 356-7900. Periodical Postage Paid at Fargo, ND and at additional mailing offices. Member of the Catholic Press Association NEW EARTH JULY/AUGUST 2017



A Convocation of Catholic leaders


ver the weekend of July 4, an extraordinary event took place. A Convocation of Catholic Leaders assembled for four days to pray, celebrate, and collaborate on a simple but important theme: The Joy of the Gospel in America. Taking our lead from Pope Francis, the bishops of the United States invited leaders from every diocese to gather and dig deeply into the Holy Father ’s exhortation to be missionary disciples. It seems apparent that the Church is entering into a new era of challenges and opportunities, and so we need to consider the way forward in light of Christ’s commission to “Go and make disciples.” I was blessed to be joined by a team of 12 lay leaders and priests from the Diocese of Fargo, people who are deeply involved and committed to the work of the Church in our diocese. Frankly, I could have asked many other equally committed members of our diocese, and it was very difficult to narrow down the list for our delegation. Together with 3,500 others from around the country – the vast majority lay men and women – we heard many testimonies on the current spiritual and cultural landscape in our nation. We discussed the challenges and opportunities of our time with other bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and lay members of the Church. And, most importantly, we prayed for the grace to embrace the call of our Holy Father to carry on the mission that Jesus has entrusted to his Church, to live “the joy of the Gospel.” As our Holy Father tells us, the Church must be “permanently in a state of mission.” In other words, the Church is always on the move, looking outward and reaching out to those on the peripheries. But that mission is not only the responsibility of those who have an official title. We are all responsible for the mission of the Church, and every single believer must be an evangelizing disciple. During the convocation, there was a unanimous sense that we cannot be concerned only with maintaining things as they are. In an era of new challenges, we must be ready to adopt a new

spirit of mission, a more determined effort to extend the love of Christ to others, wherever they might be. And in keeping with the title of the convocation, we must convey to our neighbors the joy that comes with following Christ. In one of the keynote addresses, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. described several characteristics of “evangelizing disciples,” and I would like to share a few of his thoughts. He said first that the evangelizing disciple is marked by boldness. He must be ready to strike out into the unknown, even if this means simply addressing the anonymous neighbor who lives next door. As followers of Christ, we have been anointed with his Spirit, and so have no reason to be fearful. We might feel unequal to the task of teaching the faith to others, but any one of us can give witness to others by living the faith fervently. This will always be the first step of evangelization: to show by our lives what it means to follow Christ. Through our witness and our friendship, we can build bridges for our neighbors to Christ and his Church. The evangelizing disciple also has a “connectedness” to the Church. Christ founded his Church as a community of believers, and he continues to abide with his Church. In fact, the Church and Christ are inseparable. It stands to reason then that we must remain in communion with his Church if we wish to be true evangelizers. We all have individual talents, gifts, and experiences, but when we join these to the wisdom, experience, and mission of the Church, our own work of evangelization becomes even more fruitful. We are never alone when we are one with Christ and his Church. The Cardinal also said an evangelizing disciple has a sense of urgency. One specific challenge that we face is the rise of the so-called “nones,” those who do not identify with any religious group, or those who have become distant and disengaged from the Catholic faith and community. Some statistics show that for every one person who enters the Catholic Church, six others leave or stop practicing their faith. This has become especially evident among the younger age group. Needless to say, there is much work to be done, and we cannot be complacent while so many remain distant or even separated from our Lord. The evangelizing disciple also has a quality of compassion and mercy. Charity and mercy have always been hallmarks of the Church, and the saints show us the way of compassion toward those in need. Even if we cannot yet reach our neighbor with the Gospel itself, we most certainly can reach him with kindness and with mercy. It is often said that the greatest evangelist of the last century was not a pope or a preacher, but a humble

“The true follower of Christ has every reason to be joyful, and such joy can invite others to be one with our Lord.” – Bishop John Folda, Diocese of Fargo 4


religious sister, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. No one else has shown One of the most beautiful aspects of the convocation was the compassionate and merciful face of Christ better than she, the spirit of unity that pervaded the entire event. As our who spent her life serving the poorest of the poor. Each one of nation struggles with political and cultural divisions, the Church us can share the Gospel as Mother Teresa did, by living a life of manifested a profound sense of unity around the mission we compassion and mercy toward those most in need. have received from Christ. There is no doubt that we would And finally, Cardinal Wuerl told us that an evangelizing have disagreements about certain matters, but ultimately we disciple is a person of joy. Our culture is preoccupied with are all united in our common desire to share with others the passing pleasure, but the follower of Christ has an abiding gifts we have received. joy, knowing that he is loved eternally by God. Pope Francis Only in time will we know the fruits of this convocation and often warns against a dour, joyless type of Christianity, which the efforts of the Church in the work of evangelization. But we attracts no one. The true follower of Christ has every reason know already that God is at work, moving among his people, to be joyful, and such joy can invite others to be one with our offering his grace to all who will receive it. May we all be Lord. Leon Bloy wrote that “…joy is the most infallible sign of missionary disciples, ready and eager to share the joy of being God’s presence.” So, let us be joyful missionary disciples in a followers of Christ. sometimes joyless world.

July 17 | 4 p.m.

Catholic United Financial Priest Golf Outing, Edgewood, Fargo

July 21 | 7 p.m.

Healing Service, St. Ann, Belcourt

July 24-25

Priest and Deacon Summerfest, University of Mary, Bismarck

Aug. 1-3

Aug. 16 | 5 p.m.

JPII Schools Staff and Family Picnic, Bonanzaville, West Fargo

Aug. 23 | 3 p.m.

JPII Schools Board of Directors Meeting, Pastoral Center, Fargo

Aug. 24-26

Region VIII Bishop Meeting, Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Aug. 27 | 11 a.m.

Knights of Columbus 135th Supreme Convention, St. Louis, Mo.

St. Rose of Lima 125th Anniversary Mass, Hillsboro

Aug. 7 | 11 a.m.

Catechists Training, Ramada Inn, Grand Forks

Putt for a Purpose, Rose Creek Golf Course, Fargo

Aug. 9 | 10 a.m.

JPII Schools Board and Council Meeting, Pastoral Center, Fargo

Aug. 11-12

Aug. 29 | 6 p.m.

Aug. 30 | 6:30 p.m.

Catechists Training, Holiday Inn, Fargo

Sept. 4

Labor Day, Pastoral Center Closed

Sept. 5 | 3 p.m.

Seminarian gathering, Napoleon

Diocesan Finance Council, Pastoral Center, Fargo

Aug. 13 | 5 p.m.

Sept. 9 | 5 p.m.

Field Mass, Carmel of Mary, Wahpeton

Mass for Centennial at St. John, Kensal

Aug. 15 | 2 p.m.

Sept. 10 | 11 a.m.

Mass, First Profession of Vows, Br. Francis Reineke, FMI, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Mass at St. Boniface, Wimbledon

Feast of Assumption, Pastoral Center Closed NEW EARTH JULY/AUGUST 2017



“Old” Young Disciple reflects on graces then and now By Tacita Splonskowski

A Young Disciples team in 2007 recently reunited in Lisbon, Portugal for their 10-year reunion. From l to r: Joseph Glatzack, (now) Father Paul Kuhn, Father Thomaz Fernandez, Kim Beaubien, and Tacita Spolonskowski. (submitted photo)


our non-denominational Pentecostals rang my doorbell the other day. Alone at home, and needing to be some place in 20 minutes, I groaned inwardly as I decided whether or not to answer. I did, and I am glad, because they were so sincere in their desire to proclaim the Gospel to me. After all, “How can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?”(Romans 10:14). I admire their courage to go door-to-door, peddling what they believe. You see, I too had the joy of proclaiming the Gospel to others ten years ago when, right out of high school, I joined the Fargo Diocese’s Young Disciples Team. For two weeks, nearly 20 of us underwent a quick course in catechesis, pedagogy, evangelization, teamwork, and more at the Pastoral Center in Fargo. Stella Jeffrey, Mary Hanbury, and their crew watched us interact and prayerfully selected teams. When they did, they ended up with five odd ducks: Thomaz Fernandez, from Lisbon, Portugal; Kim Beaubien, from Michigan; Joseph Glatzack, from Wisconsin; Paul Kuhn, from Harvey, N.D.; and myself, from Minnesota. We were sent out to various parishes, leading camps for K-6th graders during the day, and teen missions in the evening. Though we were “odd” together, we soon discovered that our differences were many and varied. Thomaz, with his love for physical exercise, discipline, and Our Lady of Fatima was our team leader. Kim, quiet and prayerful, but insistent, nervous, and at times stubborn, was our prayer leader. Joe, an ardent lover 6


of all things Wisconsin, an avid photographer, and admirer of modern ecclesiastical art, was our drama leader. I, the youngest, came well equipped with my memorized Baltimore Catechism and a guitar to be our music leader. Paul, the tall, gentle giant among us, was our community outreach coordinator – otherwise affectionately known as the “flunky” position. When the summer of 2007 ended, none of us could have put into words the effects of the personal graces each of us had received. We went back to our lives that autumn outwardly unaltered, except with perhaps a few odd habits like fun grace before meals, impromptu meditations on the mysteries of the Rosary with family, or phrases like, “Praised be Jesus Christ!” to which we then had to teach the response, “Now and forever!” to whoever was willing to indulge our whim. The next 10 years saw many changes in our lives. Thomaz entered the seminary for his home diocese of Lisbon and was ordained a priest. Kim entered the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, discerned her call to marriage, and returned home, finding employment with an aviation insurance company. Joe finished his business degree and volunteered with the youth program in his parish, eventually taking a job with Fleet Farm. Paul entered the seminary, studying for the Diocese of Fargo, and was ordained to the priesthood this past June. I entered the Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen in Hankinson, discerned Jesus calling me elsewhere, and am now living in Fargo running a business sewing, altering, and repairing vestments, altar cloths, etc for priests and parishes. In the autumn of 2015, I suggested we four Americans converge

on Father Thomaz in Lisbon and go on pilgrimage together to Fatima for the centennial celebration, as well as for our 10-year anniversary in 2017. Our Lady arranged the details beautifully, and we reunited for the first time in a decade on April 25, at the home of Father Thomaz’ parents in Lisbon. Father Thomaz, as pastor of his parish in Queluz, was only able to take a limited time away from his duties to spend with us. We were glad to meet his parishioners, friends, and parents, and go with Father on a few excursions into the beautiful Portuguese landscape. Father arranged for the four of us to have a guided tour of Lisbon with Joana Matela, as well as accommodations for three days with the Community of the Servants of Mary from the Heart of Jesus in Fatima. Here we rediscovered the beauty of praying together, our enjoyment of praising God with unabashed simplicity, and the mystery of the love of God at work in our lives as individuals united in Christ. In preparation to write this article, I visited with the members of my team for feedback on the graces of our pilgrimage. The reverential silence with which my inquiries were met, and my own experience of being so small in the face of such great blessings is the same as I experienced at the end of Young Disciples in 2007. Only time has revealed the ways God has chosen to use that experience to draw us into intimacy with him. So, I expect this pilgrimage will have long-lasting effects, which will only be discovered in eternity. The joy, or at least the desire of proclaiming the Gospel, is something that still motivates us in our daily lives. We learn from each other and have grown through encounter together with Christ. We won’t be ringing your doorbell any time soon, but a Young Disciple only becomes an “old” Young Disciple, and the Gospel we proclaim is as fresh as the first day Jesus proclaimed, “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15).

Prayer Intention of Pope Francis July / August

Lapsed Christians:

That our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the merciful closeness of the Lord and the beauty of the Christian life.


That artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation.

Join us for Catholic Charities North Dakota’s Caritas Award Luncheon

Honoring Mike & Shawn Hagstrom For inspiring youth to live out their faith through service to others.

Tuesday, September 12 11:30am - 1:00pm

Photo of the Young Disciples team back in 2007. (submitted photo)

Sts. Anne & Joachim 5202 25th St. S. Fargo, ND 58104

Cost for lunch is $10 with scholarships available. Please RSVP to, call 701-235-4457 or visit




Should my Health Care Directive be the Catholic one? Is the state prepared one okay?


n our May issue of New Earth, I responded to a reader ’s question about care of the Ask a Priest dying, and menFather tioned we would Dale H. Kinzler visit the question of advance health care directives in a future article. I addressed the question on nutrition and hydration, arguably the most difficult topic among the items of concern in preparing a health care directive. I mentioned that we encourage you to visit the North Dakota Catholic Conference web site, There you will find a version of a health care directive that satisfies both the requirements of state law and the ethical principles of our Catholic teaching on end-of-life care. The NDCC site also provides a helpful guide to the directive. It gives advice on how to complete the directive, and has a page on the fundamental principles that should guide us in our health care decisions. In summary, these principles are: 1. Human life is a precious gift from God; every person has a duty to preserve his or her life and use it for God’s glory.

In completing the directive provided by the Catholic Conference, we are to designate a health care agent who can work with the care providers and family to discern the best course of action in each particular circumstance on behalf of a patient who has become unresponsive. We should discuss our values and preferences with our chosen agent, so that he or she can apply them to the actual current situation. The North Dakota state document also provides for the designation of your agent. This is by far preferable to a “living will” document in which we specify a fixed approach to treatment in advance, rather than entrusting the decisions to our health care agent. Most secular hospitals and attorneys with whom we may work on advance directives are not likely to have, or be familiar with, the Catholic Conference version. No doubt, the majority of our area’s Catholic population who have worked on a directive will have used the version provided by the State of North Dakota or Minnesota. We are not suggesting that you tear up that directive and start over. However, there are some special items of concern to watch for, and you will want to review your document in light of these concerns. For example, the North Dakota directive takes a “value neutral” approach to the various choices regarding the level of treatment we want, including assisted nutrition. If you have completed a state-provided document or are working on one, you may want to review it with your pastor or the Respect Life Office, or one of us whom the diocese delegates as liaison. I am pleased to have worked 2. We have the right to direct our own care, and the responsibility with a number of our pastors who called us for consultation to act according to the principles of Catholic moral teaching. with a parish member working on their advance directive. (Principle of Autonomy) We have the subsequent right It was a little over a decade ago that Christopher Dodson, to clear and accurate information about a proposed course director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference, and others of treatment and its consequences to make an informed worked very diligently to prepare our Catholic Health Care decision whether to accept or decline the treatment Directive and guide, ensuring that it fulfills the requirements (Principle of Informed Consent). of state law as well as our moral principles. No law actually 3. Euthanasia, by direct action or omission intended to cause requires that a person use the North Dakota statutory form. In death, and assisted suicide, are never morally acceptable. fact, state law makes it clear that the form is optional. 4. Death need not be resisted by any and every means. In the Meanwhile, our culture is being influenced by a number of Christian perspective, death is not an end but a beginning groups actively promoting assisted suicide and coating it with of eternal life. A person may refuse extraordinary means of more compassionate-sounding language in their literature. treatment. Extraordinary means are those that offer little That is why we urge our readers to consider our version of the or no hope of benefit, or cannot be provided without undue directive or to take another look at the state version you have burden, expense or pain. prepared. Catholics and all persons of good faith will want to 5. There should be a strong presumption in favor of providing take our general principles of morally responsible health care into account. a person with food (nutrition) and hydration (water) even if medically assisted. These should be considered ordinary Father Kinzler serves as the pastor of St. George’s Catholic Church care except when a person is no longer able to assimilate in Cooperstown as well as pastor of Sacred Heart, Aneta; St. Olaf’s nourishment, or when death is so imminent that with parish, Finley; and St. Lawrence’s parish, Jessie. He can be reached drawing food and water will not be the actual cause of death. at 6. We have the right to comfort and to seek relief from pain. This is true even if the treatment indirectly (unintentionally) shortens life. However, a dying person should not be deprived of consciousness without a serious reason. 8



Sister Margaret Mary and the Heart of Jesus – 60 years later

By Kristina Lahr

Bishop Folda congrats Sister Margaret Mary of the Sacred Heart, O.Carm on June 23 at Carmel of Mary Monastery. Sister Margaret Mary celebrated her 60th jubilee as a consecrated sister. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)


e need nothing but God. We need nothing but to lose ourselves in the Heart of Jesus.” These words from Bishop John Folda’s homily on June 23 captured the spirit of the day’s celebration at Carmel of Mary Monastery near Wahpeton. Sister Margaret Mary of the Sacred Heart, O.Carm. celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for her 60th jubilee. The faithful gathered in the Monastery’s chapel for Mass on

that breezy day, while birds sang through the open windows. While the congregation couldn’t see the cloistered sisters, they could hear their voices lead each of the Mass parts blending with familiarity. While Sister Margaret Mary professed her final vows on Feb. 11, 1957, she chose June 23 to celebrate because it was Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion that she carries in her very name. Her patron saint is St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who was also a cloistered sister. In 1673, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque received visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jesus invited her to receive this revelation of love and share it with the world. “He could have chosen someone in the world,” said Bishop Folda, “someone more able to go out and spread the word, but instead he chose one who was already deeply devoted to him, who had a heart burning with love.” For 60 years, Sister Margaret Mary has carried this name, spreading the love and devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the same way that St. Margaret Mary did in a monastery. Only God knows how the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has spread through Sister Margaret Mary’s prayer and witness. “For 60 years, Sister Margaret Mary has prayed for us, and we hope she’ll keep those prayers coming,” Bishop Folda said. At the end of her life, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque said, “I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus.” Sister Margaret Mary’s life and vocation carry that same message today. Congratulations, Sister Margaret Mary and the Carmelite community! Thank you for your great witness and prayers for us here in the diocese and around the world. Thank you for teaching us that we need nothing but God and to lose ourselves in the Heart of Jesus.

Sister Margaret Mary’s family, friends recollect The recent diamond jubilee honoring Sister Margaret Mary offered loved ones a chance to share memories. Two of her nieces, who helped with Mass music, talked of annual visits to the cloister as children. “We’d come see her, then go on to Minneapolis for a baseball game,” noted Arvy Smith, Bismarck.“That was our summer vacation.” Danita Sticka, Buffalo, Minn., remembered her aunt and godmother’s face.“The peacefulness I would see in her eyes was just amazing to me.” Family friend Theresa Huber said she was always struck by “how warm and inclusive she always was, and welcoming… she’s such a gentle soul.” As a little girl, Smith said, she’d study photographs of the nuns behind the iron “grille,” or what she thought were cages or

By Roxane B. Salonen

bars. “I thought maybe she wasn’t really a walls for the first monastery in Wahpeton, cloistered nun but was in prison, and they the aluminum nails kept bending as they just didn’t want to tell me.” hammered away. “We got so many nails wrong, and knew the inspector would not Sticka and Smith, daughters of Sister Margaret Mary’s brother Ignatius – one of be impressed.” 11 siblings in the family from New England, While picking long, wieldy weeds once, N.D. – even slipped up a few times, calling she said, they tried to pile and transport them by wheelbarrow, only to have them her “Tillie,” for her birth name, Ottilia. They mentioned how much “Tillie” topple over, prompting an explosion of giggles. enjoys tending the monastery flowers, as The Reverend Peter Anderl, who serves shared earlier by the prioress, Mother Ma- as the Carmelites’ confessor, marveled at donna, who told them that even with bad how Sister Margaret Mary was “the first knees, she “gets a stool out there” anyway. vocation from our state,” entering the Sister Joseph Marie arrived at the clois- monastery nearly at its founding, and has ter just a year after Sister Margaret Mary, been a leader within. and said the two, who are very close, live “She’s borne her share of the cross… a joyous life, often laughing “at things oth- but you would never know it, because she ers might not find funny,” like “Ma and Pa exudes such joy and peace,” he said. “She just radiates, always, and has such a great Kettle” comic-film episodes. In the earliest years, while helping build love of wanting to pray for others.” NEW EARTH JULY/AUGUST 2017 9


Sister Carol Jean Kuntz, Sister of Mary of the Presentation, passes away age 65


ister Carol Jean Kuntz was born April 10, 1952 in Rugby to Frank and Barbara Kuntz. She attended first grade at Long Lake #1, and from second grade through high school, she attended Drake Public School, Drake, graduating in 1970. She entered the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation in 1978, professing her vows Aug. 8, 1980 in Valley City. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Eureka College, Eureka, Ill. in 1983. She earned a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from Gonzaga University, Spokane, Wash. in 1994. Sister Carol Jean taught elementary education at St. Louis Catholic School, Princeton, Ill. from 1983–88 and 1993–96; and at St. Patrick’s Catholic

School, Washington, Ill. from 1988–93. She served her Religious Community in leadership 1996-2017. She died on May 3, 2017. She is survived by her Religious Community, the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation; her mother Barbara, brothers Mike (Cindy), Frank, Larry, Bill, Ken, Darryl (Mary Jeanne), and Wayne (Hilda), and sisters, Betty Bachmeier, Barbara (Kip) Berentson, Mona (Mario Cano) Kuntz, and Candy (Troy) Munyer and numerous nieces and nephews. Sister Carol Jean was preceded in death by her father Frank, her infant brother Neil, brother-inlaw Peter Bachmeier, sister-in-law Nita Kuntz, and nephew Myles Kuntz.

Director of Religious Education retiring after 35 years of service Joanne Becker works at her desk at Sacred Heart Church in Carrington. Becker retired May 30 after 35 years as DRE. (submitted photo)

24 in the Sacred Heart Parish Hall. A catered dinner was served and a program was presented honoring and thanking her for 35 years of commitment and service to Sacred Heart and the religious education program. We wish Joanne many blessings from God in her retirement years. Well done, faithful servant!

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t all started in 1982 at Sacred Heart Church in Carrington, when Joanne Becker volunteered to oversee the religious education program, rather than see no program offered. She started as a volunteer principal of grades P-8 and eventually the position became a paid position and her title changed to Director of Religious Education for all grades P-12. Sacred Heart has been her parish family for many years. She and her husband, Lloyd, married here in 1958, raising six children. Over half of their children remain in the area and she saw her grandchildren all go through the CCD/CYO program with her last grandchild in the area graduating in May of 2017. Her tenure included six priests: Fathers Felix Preske, Leo Kuhn, Lawrence Haas, David Syverson, William Callery, and Terry Dodge. The last few priests asked Joanne to stay on as DRE and, because of her dedication to the program, she agreed. Even though the demands of the position were getting more involved, she didn’t want to leave the new priest coming in with no one to assist him with the program. She stayed on until this past fall, when Susan Thompson applied for and was hired for the position. Susan job-shadowed Joanne throughout the year. Joanne officially retired May 30, but because of her dedication to Sacred Heart, stated she will help out if needed An appreciation retirement party in her honor was held May 10


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St. John Paul II Catholic Schools in Fargo recognize retiring staff By Sherri Simon | St. John Paul II Catholic Schools

Pictured with St. John Paull II Catholic Schools President Mike Hagstrom are (l to r) back row: Cindy Hutchins, Kristi Grafton. Front row: Mary Jo McClellan and Gail Ringey. (submitted photo)


t. John Paul II Catholic Schools, Fargo, announces the retiring of four staff members with a combined total of 161 years in education, 159 of those years of service to Catholic education. Cindy Hutchins will be retiring as Principal from Nativity Elementary School, serving her 41-year career all at Nativity. When Cindy first started teaching, she was energized by the delight of children and the opportunity to help them grow into the potential God had planned for them. This energy continues today as Cindy has been doing what she loves. Cindy says, “Nativity has been my second home and will remain dear to me in the years to come.” Kristi Grafton will be retiring from Sullivan Middle School with 39 years of service to Catholic education. Kristi started teaching in Missouri with second graders. She moved to Fargo in 1980 and started teaching sixth grade at Holy Spirit Elementary school (the school went up through eighth grade at that time). She transferred to St. Anthony School, which eventually became Sullivan Middle School as it moved south to its present location. Kristi said, “I have never looked back from my decision to teach


in the Catholic Schools. The students have been a gift with their enthusiasm and energy! I have enjoyed both the academic aspect of teaching, as well as the gift of sharing the faith with countless students and staff.” Mary Jo McClellan will be retiring from Nativity Elementary School. Mary Jo started as a third grade teacher in 1979. She and her husband moved to Minneapolis for a brief time and she taught at a Catholic School in Edina. When Mary Jo and her family moved back to Fargo, she was delighted to hear of a position opening up at Nativity and jumped right back in. Mary Jo feels blessed to have had the opportunity to teach for 38 years in a caring, supportive environment, which has been her dream job. Gail Ringey will also be retiring this year from Shanley after 43 years in education, with 41 of those years in Catholic education. Gail took her first teaching job in 1974 at St. Joseph School in Dickinson teaching third grade. Gail moved to Menoken to a country school, taught grades 3-5, and was the principal for two years. She moved back to Dickinson and taught Math. Gail and her family finally settled in Fargo where she taught numerous courses, coached various sports, and advised many activities, including Shanley Cheerleading, taking the group on to win State Spirit awards and State Pep Rallies. Gail says, “Shanley was a family affair for me. Our three daughters graduated from Shanley and my husband, Leo, was Development Director and spearheaded raising the funds for the new Shanley building. I believe that God gives us talents and then steers is to the best place to share them.” St. John Paul II Catholic Schools expresses the deepest gratitude to these four educators for their example of commitment to Catholic education, and wish them many blessings in their retirement and future endeavors.

New principal hired for 2017–2018 school year at Nativity School in Fargo

t. John Paul II Catholic Schools, School in Wahpeton and graduated from Wahpeton High School Fargo, is pleased to announce the in 1992. She and her husband, David, have been married for 17 hiring of Kimbra Amerman as the years and have two daughters, Mackenzie, and Avery. Kimbra new principal at Nativity Elementary received her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from St. Cloud School. Kimbra has spent the last two State University in 2003 and a Master of Science in School Counseling years as the counselor for Holy Spirit from the University of Mary in 2015. Kimbra is currently working and Nativity Elementary Schools. She towards her Master’s in Education Administration. brings enthusiasm, a commitment to Kimbra said in her interview, “I am truly blessed to be part Catholic culture, and compassion for of the JPII Catholic Schools and their commitment to inspire students to the position. excellence in faith, learning, and service.” Kimbra attended St. John’s Elementary NEW EARTH JULY/AUGUST 2017



Rosary stone walk dedicated at former St. Boniface Church site By Terry Schwartzenberger – Napoleon Homestead (Reprinted with permission)


olks with ties to the former St. Boniface Catholic Church, 12 miles southwest of Napoleon, as well as others, gathered on the grounds on June 5 where the former church once stood and which had its last Mass Dec. 31, 2006. The occasion was to dedicate the newly placed step stone walking rosary path. The afternoon of events and activities for the roughly 125 people in attendance started with an outdoor Mass under a tent, in honor of the feast day of St. Boniface, followed by the blessing of the stepping stone rosary by Father Neil Pfeifer, along with Deacons Gary Schumacher and Allan Baumgartner as well as seminarian Eric Seitz. The attendees recited the rosary, led by leaders Danny Schmidt and Lori Gross, while folks stood on the walking path stones for each Hail Mary. Former St. Boniface parishioners and musicians Margaret Wald and Tony Wangler also offered a song in German. An outdoor meal was provided to all while Larry and Doreen Fettig offered horse drawn wagon rides, which included a trip to the nearby farm of Mitch and Doris Leier, where the children had the opportunity to view farm animals, while others viewed the gravesites in the St. Boniface Cemetery.

The sun beams down on the statue of Mary and the finished step stone path of the Rosary at the St. Boniface Cemetery. (Photo courtesy of Napoleon Homestead)

Father Neil Pfeifer, Pastor of St. Philip Neri’s Church in Napoleon, blesses the new Rosary Stone Walk at the St. Boniface Cemetery on June 5. (Photo courtesy of Napoleon Homestead)

St. John’s Church in Wahpeton hopes to spread patriotic rosary By Father Patrick Parks


hen the election was approaching in November 2016, Many in the group wonder if there are ways to spread this some parishioners expressed an interest in praying for devotion not only in our diocese but throughout the nation. It the results of the election. Since we had been praying is only through the grace of God and the intercession of Our the Patriotic Rosary at the abortion facility during the 40 Days Lady that this nation can be renewed in the faith the way our for Life, a core group of parishioners gathered to promote an Lord would have us. all-night vigil with the Patriotic Rosary prayed throughout the To obtain booklets, call (205) 672-2000 ext 315. With questions, night and up to 5 p.m. the next day. contact Connie at (701) 642-4312. We had a good turnout and everyone felt the power of this particular rosary. After the election, we agreed that, more than September 23 - 24 ever, this rosary needed to be prayed for the future of this country that seems to be more and more divided by political, racial and religious lines. We decided to come together on Tuesdays during adoration one hour before Mass. The rosary is for the consecration of our nation with the understanding that no nation can abuse God’s precepts, with the consequence of losing his divine protection, and expect to survive. The consecration is for the renewal of the nation through Join us for humble submission to the Father. In this rosary, we plead the precious blood of Jesus down upon every soul in all 50 states, Catholic Charities bringing awareness & support one state at a time in each decade of the rosary. Each decade North Dakota to the services we provide ends with five of our most patriotic hymns such as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “America the Beautiful.”

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On June 16, St. Anthony’s Church in Fargo celebrated its 100th anniversary. The parish celebrated Mass with Bishop Folda followed by a picnic with live music. Congratulations, St. Anthony’s! Here’s to 100 more years of Masses, baptisms, weddings and more! (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)

Little Flower School in Rugby celebrate 75th anniversary


ast year, during the Year of Mercy, Little Flower School made a pilgrimage to the Holy Door at St. Anne’s in Belcourt and spent some time sledding as well as praying and playing together. In the spirit of hospitality, we returned the invitation for Little Flower Catholic School’s 75th anniversary. The fifth and sixth graders started out the day with a “what it’s like to walk in my shoes” activity, where each student designed a footprint that represented what they liked about walking in their own shoes, and what were some of the challenges they faced. Then all had the opportunity to share about their “shoes.” The third and fourth graders played games together, as did the younger K-2 grades. Students then attended Mass together with Father Tom Graner. It was a special time for us at Little Flower to have our brothers and sisters sharing the time with us. After Mass we all had a great lunch prepared by the cooks, with fresh fruit provided by St. Ann’s and bars and cookies from Little Flower parents. After lunch, the younger students spent time at the Jaycee park, and the older kids played volleyball and soccer. It was a great time getting to know each other. The day flew by and

By Julie Mosher

before we knew it, it was time for our guests to leave. What a special time for two Catholic schools to get together to share in some fun and fellowship. How beautiful it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity. Father Paulraj Thondappa HGN, pastor of the parishes in Rolette, Bisbee and Willow City, shuttles guests between the parking lot, church, and eating building April 28 for the Appreciation Mass and Supper event at the Pioneer Village Museum in Rugby. The celebration marked the end of the yearlong celebration of the 75th anniversary of Little Flower Catholic School. (submitted photo)




The Fargo Diocese had the privilege to host the world-renown symbol of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima from June 11-15. The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima traveled to Mooreton, Fargo, Grand Forks, Devils Lake, and Jamestown. Pictured here, the faithful of St. Joseph’s Church in Devils Lake pray the rosary as they process with the statue outside the church. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)

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On June 18, the Catholic Churches of Grand Forks held their second annual Corpus Christi procession. The day began with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at Holy Family Church. After a short time of Adoration, they began a 2.1-mile procession to St. Michael’s. Throughout the procession, cars slowed down and some even stopped to pay reverence and love to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The Grand Forks Police Department helped by blocking a busy intersection downtown. Afterwards the faithful gathered for an ice cream social and bus transportation back to Holy Family. A special thanks to all priests, deacons and the faithful who made this wonderful day possible. (submitted photo) 14


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Nathan Blessum and his two sons. (submitted photo)

Faith and farming: Rural communities are the life-blood of North Dakota By Kristina Lahr


riting this article first started with finding Catholic families that farm. I knew I had many to choose from in eastern North Dakota, though not as many as I would have some 50 years ago. While driving from Fargo to Rugby to Wimbledon and back to Fargo, the number of empty farmsteads is hard to overlook. This is by no-means an isolated phenomenon. Where the nation once had over five million farms in the 1950s, there are about two million today. Not to mention that the population of the United States has more than doubled in that time. With the rise of corporate farming, the life of the family farm has undergone considerable changes. So what is the state of the family farm today in eastern North Dakota? How does the changing state of farms affect the lives and faith of our rural communities? To answer these questions, I interviewed two farming families – the Blessum family near Rugby and the Clemens family near Wimbledon.

The family farm and its challenges

“True family farms are multi-functional ones: they strive not only to be economically viable, but take the time to be supportive of community needs through their church, their children’s school and various local groups.” These words from the Catholic Rural Life publication explain 16


why the presence of small farms is so important. Large, corporate farms mean fewer families supporting rural communities, which in turn means fewer businesses, fewer families attending rural churches, fewer children attending rural schools and fewer opportunities for social relationships. “All the farms are bigger, so there are just fewer people,” said Brian Blessum, who farms with his brothers Jim and Nathan and their families near Rugby. “That’s a challenge for small parishes too. It’s hard to find people to volunteer. People are more spread out.” Mike Clemens farms corn and soybeans with his family near Wimbledon. Fewer families in rural areas also creates hardship during the transitioning years of family life. “Labor can be a challenge too,” he said. “When my dad was getting to be in poor health, we had the question of ‘do we hire someone to help out? Where are we going to find someone for that?’ If you find your family wants to help out, that solves that. But it’s challenging because you just never know.” The changing landscape of rural America makes it difficult for young farmers to embrace the farming lifestyle, knowing that new challenges will always be around the corner. Then again, farming life has never been new to challenges. Every few years there is a new challenge for farmers, whether its poor weather, poor markets, high insurance rates, high rent costs or the individual challenges each farm family faces. The farming


Elizabeth Blessum wrangles a calf for a photo. (submitted photo)

Four generations of the Blessum family come together for a photo June 14. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)

If I didn’t enjoy being with the cows… well, nobody else would do it so we probably wouldn’t keep the cows.” While the work of the farm can seem daunting at times, the routine and rotation of the seasons can be a fitting place to grow in relationship with Jesus Christ. I grew up on a dairy farm in central Minnesota, and was quite excited to visit farms in North Dakota. Not to my surprise, the lifestyle is more akin to a vocation than a job. While it needs to similarities of the Blessum and Clemens families’ lifestyles to be profitable to support the family, family life is encompasses what I grew up with outweighed the differences. The family is the farm life. It’s a 24-7 occupation and every year brings a new almost always together. The kids each had their chores to do. There’s flexibility in the business and a deep sense of ownership challenge to overcome. of the farm knit within the family. The farm is free to grow in While the term “family farm” once implied an immediate whatever direction is best for the family. family, many farms now work with a bigger network of parents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, creating a larger network in “I didn’t grow up on a farm, and now I say I love my farmwife life,” said Pat Clemens. “I wouldn’t change it for anything. order to stay afloat. It was a great way to raise kids. You have a fellowship and union Yet despite the ever-changing challenges of the farming with the farm. You can make all the money you want by having landscape, the joys of the lifestyle prevail. an off-the-farm job, but if you regret it 20 years later, you can’t “The joy for me every year is seeing how we go from putting take that money out of the bank and buy back those memories. that crop in the ground and then watching it come up and grow,” I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have an off-the-farm job. said Pat Clemens. “It might not always look great to start out, Everyone needs to know where he or she needs to be in life, but but for 35 consecutive years, we’ve never been hailed out 100%. I knew in my heart, it wasn’t an option for me. I would have Not that we’ve never had damage, but in the end it’s never been lived in a box to stay home with my kids.” worse than what we thought it would be. It’s always been better. God always provides. All we can do is give it our best and then Weather, environment, prayer give it to him.” “The other challenge is the weather year-to-year,” said Mike “There’s a real change in the work with each season. Spring Clemens. “Because you remember last year and the year before brings the new life, we get to see the cattle with the little calves but then it gets kind of fuzzy. You never know what the weather is going to throw at you. Last year we were a week behind, but all the way to crop maturity,” said Brian Blessum. then planting went smooth as smooth could be. It took us maybe “I think it’s hard work, but if you didn’t enjoy what you were 10 days to get it all in. But the weather is a constant challenge doing you wouldn’t do it,” said Elizabeth Blessum. “It’s hard because then it was cool for two weeks. It’s always on your mind.” for some people to understand for those who work 9-5, where here you wake up and work all day and sometimes you don’t “So when it starts to get tough,” he continued, “we hint to get into the house until nightfall. You’re tired, but it’s a good the priests that when they’re doing Mass, to say a prayer that kind of tired because you enjoyed what you were doing all day. we could use rain. And then sometimes we come back and say NEW EARTH JULY/AUGUST 2017


A statue of St. Isidore the Farmer at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Lakota. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)

The simplicity of St. Isidore the Farmer

Farmers today can continue to draw wisdom from St. Isidore, the patron of farmers and rural communities. St. Isidore was exceptionally dedicated to prayer, Mass and the sacraments. He was known to be gentle with animals and generous with the poor even though he was poor himself. His wife Maria knew to keep extra stew on the fire because Isidore would often bring beggars home to dinner. When he was a child, Isidore began working for a wealthy landowner from Madrid, and worked faithfully on his estate for the rest of his life. Each day throughout his work, Isidore communed with God. To the annoyance of his fellow workers, he was sometimes late to the field, because he went to daily Mass in the morning. One morning a fellow worker informed their master that Isidore was late yet again. But when the master came to see if Isidore was absent, they found that two angels had taken up his plow, ensuring that the work was done. Isidore died May 15, 1130, and was declared a saint in 1622. We can all draw great strength and wisdom in the simplicity of St. Isidore’s life. There is dignity in physical labor. Holiness is not based on social status. Our level of education does not dictate our relationship with Christ. While I now live in Fargo, there are aspects of farm and rural life I miss. I believe we can all take a lesson from the farm lifestyle and find some way to better unite our family and work. Maybe that’s taking an extra effort to eat supper as a family or calling your spouse or child over a lunchbreak. I believe there’s something to be said for the general need to “get out of the city,” now and then, and it’s not just away from the everyday noise of traffic. It’s something deeper. A need for rest and space to reprioritize what Christ is calling us to. ‘ok, now you can shut it off, we’ve had enough rain.’” We crave simplicity. It’s no mystery why families that work, “I never pray for rain. I just pray for a good growing season,” play, and eat together have healthier relationships. We hunger said Father Al Bitz, formerly a Fargo diocesan priest and now for work that is fulfilling and fairly rewarded. And while it retired in Bismarck. may not be flashy, the farming life is a natural avenue to live “We put the crop in the ground and the good Lord has to take out these healthy desires. care of the rest. We do the best we can, but we have to rely on “Our real goal in life is to get to heaven, so all these little God for our livelihood,” said Brian Blessum. things every day don’t really matter,” says Brian Blessum. “But, Though prices have gone up in supermarkets, the income of it’s God that matters. We’ll get through these good years and farmers has not. As a result, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics bad years and God is still number one in the end.” states that the largest job-loss of any occupation is farmers. When For Pope Francis, small farmers are essential to caring for the the small farms go out of business, often large, agri-businesses earth and safeguarding it for future generations. He said, “In acquire the land and create greater potential for ecological damage the work of farmers there is the acceptance of the precious gift and health risks. For example, a single fast food hamburger may of the land which comes to us from God, but there is also its contain meat from more than a hundred different cattle. appreciation in the equally precious work of men and women, “As farmers and ranchers, we’re the ultimate conservationists,” called to respond to the mandate of tilling and safeguarding said Brian Blessum. “We love the land, the livestock and the the land.” wildlife. We want to take care of it and not misuse it with chemicals The Pope continued by saying, “The labor of those who and fertilizer. We try to take care of the land the best we can and cultivate the earth, generously dedicating time and energy to we want the food that we produce to be the best that it can be it, appears as a genuine vocation. It deserves to be recognized for everyone else.” and appropriately appreciated.” Practical ways that farmers are preserving and caring for the This summer and fall, we pray for farmers. Pope Benedict XVI environment is by planting shelterbelts to prevent erosion from called family farming a “guardian of values and a natural agent the wind and changing farming practices. of solidarity between generations.” May farm families not only “We’ve switched to no-till farming,” said Brian Blessum. “We have an abundant harvest this year, but also see their farm work seed right into last year’s stubble and residue. We don’t disturb as a secondary vocation, called to unite families, generations, the soil at all. It conserves moisture. And the land doesn’t drift and to work the land with great joy alongside our creator. or erode when we get heavy rain.” 18


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Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World A review of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput’s “Strangers in a Strange Land” By Ashley Grunhovd He is insightful, yet blunt. One might ask why a Catholic Archbishop thought it necessary to spend time writing an entire book about the state of American society and culture. One could say it is the fruit of living out his episcopal role. In order for a doctor to diagnose an illness, he examines the symptoms in order to suggest a course of treatment. Similarly, a shepherd knows the land and anything that is endangering the sheep and takes measures to protect the sheep. Archbishop Chaput, as shepherd, wants to A review of Catholic books, movies, music inform his flock so they cannot only avoid falling into today’s his spring Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia disorders, but also to equip them to confront the issues and released an insightful and intriguing book entitled Strangers bring the Gospel to the culture. in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian Hope underlies the Catholic response to the disorders of today, World. The title alludes to how “we may have come to a point a hope founded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Archbishop today where we feel like foreigners in our own country — Chaput does not advocate that Christians exit public life or ‘strangers in a strange land’” (Ex 2:22). The latter part of the title retreat into communities of only Catholic Christians. Instead, includes the jarring phrase “Post-Christian World.” That blunt he points out that the task of the Christian is and always has claim might make some interiorly bristle, but to those people been “to be healthy cells in society.” I would suggest read the book and decide whether or not he We should not despair. Quite the contrary, we are called to effectively justifies the claim. bring joy into our families, workplaces, and communities. We The early sections examine the blend of Christian and are called to be the leaven in the world, by bringing authentic Enlightenment ideas that were woven into the founding of the joy and purpose. And where does this joy come from? Jesus Christ. United States. Our nation was built upon the shared values Chaput concludes by outlining a plan for Christians that might of freedom, justice, and equality. The success of the new form sound familiar: living the beatitudes. At first, his suggestion of government relies on the virtue of its people. In Strangers might seem like a stock response because it is definitely not a in a Strange Land Archbishop Chaput implicitly poses the new suggestion. However, through his explanation, he reveals question, “What happens when the nation is no longer made how they are just as radical of a response in today’s society as up of virtuous people?” People who are no longer self-giving, they were in the times of the early Christians in the Roman patient, unconditionally loving, hardworking, or concerned Empire. Christians are called to radical love and forgiveness. for the poor and vulnerable? What sort of nation will we be? In the end, many of his other suggestions for responding to A quick glance at the news reveals articles on the increasing today’s culture can be summarized in three words: “Be a saint.” influence of the transgender agenda, protests against free speech Sometimes difficult, but necessary. Simple, yet radical. on college campuses, lawsuits against Christian bakers and florists who believe in marriage between a man and woman, and Ashley Grunhovd is the Director of Evangelization for the Diocese of Fargo. increasingly heated political polarization. The Christian needs only glance through the news to recognize that our country is in a different context than it was 50 or even 10 years ago. In some cases, it’s hardly recognizable. About the Book: The first section of the book is sobering and demands further “Strangers in a Strange Land: personal reflection. Archbishop Chaput identifies trends and Living the Catholic Faith in a their pervading effects, such as the fracturing of the family, the rise of relativism, and the litany of other “–isms” that undermine Post-Christian World” by the foundational American values. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. Nevertheless, Archbishop Chaput is not pessimistic. He Published by Henry Holt and Co. states, “candor is not the enemy of love. And real hope begins (February 21, 2017) in honesty.” He thoroughly identifies the symptoms of illness in American society, but then spends the second portion of the book outlining the Christian response. His material is wellresearched. His arguments are both charitable yet convicting.






Diocese to implement a single textbook series for religious education

All parishes and Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Fargo will soon be using the Alive in Christ textbooks for religious education for grades 1-8.


his fall many of our parishes and schools will begin using a new textbook series for grades 1-8 called Alive in Christ by Our Sunday Visitor. The work began three years ago when Bishop Folda asked that a committee to be formed with the intent of recommending a textbook series that would be uniform throughout the diocese. The committee worked for almost three years on revising and rewriting standards, which are essentially basic truths about the faith. The standards were the most important factor in reviewing the textbooks. In addition, there were other factors the committee considered, such as reading level, appropriate images that connected with what was being taught, activities that were meaningful but yet did not require a lot of materials and prep time, layout, design and the ease for which a teacher could use the teacher’s manual. Out of six series reviewed the committee recommended Alive in Christ. One of the bonuses of this new curriculum is its online material. Each grade, both for parishes and schools, has additional resources teachers can use to expand on the lesson or adapt certain activities. For example, almost every chapter has a short video link that can be played in the classroom to enhance the lesson. These short clips range from Pope Francis teaching on Advent, to parts of movie clips that help drive home the main point. There is also additional material to adapt the textbook activities so that children with reading or writing disabilities can easily do them as well. In addition, there is a section of online resources, which includes some fun, family games. Along with the family online resources, the text itself has a tear-out page at the end of each chapter so a student can show their parents what they learned in class that day. Finally, the text incorporates each of the five forms of prayer

mentioned in the Catechism – blessing and adoration, petition, intercession and thanksgiving, Mary Hanbury and praise. Each chapter also begins Director of with a modified Catechesis for form of Lectio Divina Diocese of Fargo as the students begin to learn to pray with scripture and are taught how to discern God’s voice. These are just some of the highlights. The other text that will be introduced in the fall is The Great Adventure Storybook, A Walk though the Catholic Bible by Emily Cavins, Ascension Press. This new book will be used as a supplement in the 5th and/or 6th grade classroom along with the Alive in Christ text. The Storybook is written in a format that children can comprehend while also having them engage with the actual scripture text. Bishop Folda has mandated both of these texts for all parishes and schools in the Diocese with full implementation by fall of 2018. Because there are many facets to the Alive in Christ textbooks, it will be important for catechists to attend a training session on the use of the text. There will be three training sessions with Dr. JoAnn Paradise, Our Sunday Visitor National Catechetical Consultant. For those who cannot make these training sessions, additional training sessions will be offered around the Diocese. For those teaching in Catholic schools there will also be opportunities for training either through one of these sessions or by another speaker from Our Sunday Visitor. Training sessions scheduled: Catechist in-service with Dr. JoAnn Paradise: • Monday, Aug. 28 from 5:30-9 p.m. with supper at 6 p.m., Little Flower Parish, Rugby (both parish and school) • Tuesday, Aug. 29 from 5:30-9 p.m. with supper at 6 p.m., Ramada, Grand Forks • Wednesday, Aug. 30 from 5:30-8:45 p.m. with supper at 6 p.m., Holiday Inn, Fargo School teacher in-service with Katy Maier: • Friday, Aug. 18 at 9 a.m., Trinity School, West Fargo • Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 1:30 p.m., Grand Forks, TBD Catechist in-service with Mary Hanbury: • Wednesday, Sept. 6 from 7-9 p.m., St. Boniface, Lidgerwood • Wednesday, Sept. 13 from 7-9 p.m., St. Patrick, Crystal • Wednesday, Sept. 20 from 7-9 p.m., Napoleon



Bishop Folda joins diocesan altar servers for Baseball Night in Fargo

Over 600 altar servers, parents and priests from around the Fargo Diocese joined Bishop John Folda for a night of baseball with the Fargo RedHawks on June 9. The Knights of Columbus sponsored the event to say “thank you” to the altar servers and the parents and parish priests who support them. Pictured are just a few of the diocesan attendees and Bishop Folda, along with Hawkeye, the RedHawks mascot, who welcomed the group to Newman Field in Fargo. Unfortunately, the Winnipeg Goldeyes got the best of the hometown RedHawks 4-3. (Paul Braun | New Earth)

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What direction does our faith train take? By Father Bert Miller


n my family, there is a love of trains. My mother’s father was our family’s first railroad man, working on the Soo Line (Harvey to Portal, N.D.). Two of my mother’s brothers also worked on the Soo Line. A third brother worked for the Great Northern on the West Coast. My father had a love for model trains. He built three layouts in the basement for my three brothers. By the time I came along, my brothers were gone, but dad was always in the basement making improvements on the train lines and the scenery. None of dad’s sons went to work on the railroad though a granddaughter is a conductor in the Seattle area. Then, there is Timmy, the great-grandson, who loves all things “trains.” The closest I get to trains is that I preached on trains on the Fourth Sunday of Lent in Cycle A (this last spring). The Gospel of that day is John 9: 1-41. In this passage, Jesus cures a blind man. The blind man rides a train from blindness to sightedness. The community can’t believe the now-sighted man is the same man that used to sit and beg. The community rides the train from sightedness to blindness. Each of the trains begin in one place and end the journey in another. While these trains pass one another, the Gospel story takes place. Trains were mentioned throughout the homily – beginning, middle and end. Some are words about Catechumens (those seeking to be baptized at Easter), their journey and whether we, the people praying for them, are sharing the journey or whether we are on another journey. Then, there are trains we ride concerning our Sunday obligation – about following rules such as keeping holy the Sabbath, or about exuberant worship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When I moved to Park River last year, I was relieved to see that there was no train in the town – although every time I went for the mail I had to cross the track. When I returned from Israel, the trains started rumbling and tooting their horns – at five minutes past midnight. I would wake every night! 24


On Saturday night when I gave this homily, I thought I was relatively safe – no trains and no horns! But, guess what? As soon as I said the word “train” at about 5:15 p.m., the big train down the street started “tooting.” I could not believe it! Everyone had big smiles. The train was quiet. I continued. At the next mention of a “train,” the train whistle tooted again. The assembly laughed out-loud. I did too! Then it was quiet again. But, I dared to mention the “train” again and what happened? Yes, the big train tooted again. Laughter abounded. This homily had a great message, but at this liturgy, God was revealing his sense of humor! On Sunday morning, there were no trains. Those assemblies got the message, but with no smiles or laughter. As is so often the case, the first pronouncement of the homily is the best. It sure was that Saturday on the Fourth weekend of Lent/Cycle A. Father Bert Miller serves as pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Park River and St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Veseleyville. Editor’s note: Stories of Faith is a recurring feature in New Earth. If you have a faith story to tell, contact Father Bert Miller at

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Who are our neighbors?

ow often do we hear “it’s a small world” in North Dakota? neighbors as Christ You meet someone and the first thing you do is find commanded us if we out whom you know in common. One of the best (or don’t get to know sometimes worst) parts of living in North Dakota is the way them? everyone seems to be connected. Maybe their friend went to If we truly want to school with your sister or you have a cousin in their hometown. love our neighbors, Catholic If you look, there’s almost always common ground. Charities then let’s take the When Catholic Charities North Dakota was started over 90 time to get to know Corner years ago, the state looked much different. The cities where we them and listen to have our main offices now of Fargo, Bismarck, Minot and Grand Chad Prososki them. If our excuse Forks were nothing like what we see today. In 1920, the city of is that we just don’t Fargo’s population was less than 22,000 residents. Fifty years have time to call, later in 1970, the Fargo population was still less than 54,000. stop by, or help others, why is that? Do we need to make some Compare that to the last census in 2010 with a Fargo population changes in our priorities? Do we have too many activities going of more than 105,000 people. Most of our state is rural, but now on in our lives or are there other changes we can make? What the majority of our population no longer lives in rural areas. do you think would happen if all of us intentionally chose to On the other hand, North Dakota was recently listed as one spend a little less time on our phones and computers and more of a handful of states with more than a 40% recent increase in time with real people? “super commuting,” or people traveling more than 90 minutes to work. Many of us personally know people who travel, for Chad Prososki is the Director of Development and Community Relations example, from Fargo to Grand Forks for work or vice versa. for Catholic Charities North Dakota. For more than 90 years, Catholic Other people are purposely choosing to live farther outside the Charities North Dakota and its supporters have been putting their faith towns they work in. These “super commuters” are just a small in action helping people, changing lives. You can reach Chad at info@ portion of North Dakotans, but they illustrate that distance is or (701) 235-4457. a significant challenge. At Catholic Charities North Dakota, we know this all too well. Currently we have clients in 49 of the 53 counties in North Dakota. This is nearly the entire state. Yet our Guardianship Workers visit their clients with intellectual disabilities (all 449 of them) at least once a month. How is this possible? The answer is many, many miles in the car by the most dedicated staff you could meet. Each year just our Guardianship program alone covers over 110,000 miles by car. This year is the 30th anniversary of our Guardianship Services, and I can’t imagine how many hundreds of thousands of miles they have traveled to see clients in that time. We use phone and email as much as we can, but there is no substitute for that personal contact to develop relationships with each person we serve. North Dakota’s geography also affects who we see as our BE A PART OF THE DEACON TRADITION neighbors. Years ago people had to rely on their neighbors for help. There were big projects like “barn raising” and small Enroll now for 2017-18 school year favors like borrowing a cup of flour. You couldn’t just go to the Providing exceptional faith-based education grocery store or Walmart 24 hours a day. Yet when was the last while inspiring excellence. time you or I lent something to a neighbor? Today do we even know our neighbors next door or across the street? Or are we so 3 yr old Little Deacons - 12th Grade self-reliant we don’t allow others to help or know us anymore? Why is this so important? Jesus taught that the greatest Call 701-893-3271 commandment is “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. The second is like it, to love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). Not everyone has the support of loving family and friends in their lives. Those HOLY SPIRIT NATIVITY TRINITY ELEMENTARY ELEMENTARY ELEMENTARY without this often need their neighbors’ love and help the most. SULLIVAN SHANLEY The first step to help our neighbors in need is to talk to them. Not MIDDLE SCHOOL HIGH SCHOOL just talking, but truly listening to them. How can we love our NEW EARTH JULY/AUGUST 2017



Being a missionary disciple


atholic leaders from North Dakota recently at Catholic tended the Convo Action cation of Catholic Leaders: Joy of the Christoper Dodson Gospel in America. This unprecedented event gathered over 3,500 laypersons, religious, priests, and bishops to examine, discuss, and pray about the call to missionary discipleship. Missionary discipleship, of course, includes the more obvious ministries of the church, such as catechesis, education, religious formation, chaplaincy, and “targeted” ministries such as outreach to migrants, farmworkers, and women facing unexpected pregnancies. What about, however, the less obvious ministries? How do we engage in missionary discipleship in our businesses, our family relationships, our economic activities, our relationship with the environment, and our politics? While there exist formal ministries addressing some of these efforts, the task of evangelizing does not rest with them alone. All baptized Catholics are called to discipleship and evangelization. John Noonan, the Bishop of Orlando — the location of the convocation — prefaced his welcome letter with these words from Our Lord: “You are the light of the world. Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify our heavenly Father” (Mt 5:16). The light of all of us must shine in all that we do. That call is easier said than done, especially in an increasingly secular and even hostile environment. North Dakotans also tend to be reserved people. We are not prone to ask the person next to us at the cafe, “Hey, have you heard the good news of Jesus Christ?” Nevertheless, our light can and should shine in our “good deeds.” Those deeds must extend beyond kindness and acts of charity. Throughout the convocation, people told stories about how conversions came about because people witnessed the joy of Christians in their daily lives. The Gentiles noticed it about the first Christians. At a time when Christendom was old, stale, and corrupting, the people noticed it in St. Francis. Atheists, skeptics, and cynics saw it in St. Teresa of Calcutta. The challenge for us is to live, work, and shape our temporal and political order in a manner consistent with our faith. Business leaders can find assistance with this challenge in Vocation of the Business Leader: A Reflection published by the Vatican ( The reflection includes a discernment checklist for business leaders that includes such questions as: • Do I promote a culture of life through my work? • Am I engaging in anti-competitive practices? • Do I place the dignity of all workers above profit margins? Am I seeking to nourish my business life by learning more about the Church’s social teaching? 26


• Is my company making every reasonable effort to take responsibility for externalities and unintended consequences of its activities (such as environmental damage or other negative effects on suppliers, local communities and even competitors)? Inspired by Vocation of the Business Leader, the International Catholic Rural Association and Catholic Rural Life launched an ongoing project on the Vocation of the Agricultural Leader ( The project includes a must-read reflection statement, but it is also part of a broader education and reflection effort around the country. Catholic Rural Life is available to conduct workshops exploring the question of how to reclaim agriculture as a vocation. The projects goals include: • To affirm the noble and dignified vocation of farming and of the work of men and women involved in agricultural production and getting food to our tables • To retrieve the notion of vocation, that farming is not just an occupation, but a calling from our Creator to a relationship and to till and to keep the earth • To inspire future generations of men and women to see how their faith informs both their work in agriculture and their stewardship of God’s creation These efforts have importance because they remind us that evangelization is not something that happens solely within spaces of worship, parishes, Catholic schools, or diocesan offices. It must become who we are in our being. When we are missionary disciples, people will ask: • “What is it about how he farms?” And the answer will be: “He farms like a Christian.” • “Why does she and her employees have such joy?” And the answer will be, “She runs her business as a vocation.” • “ What was the motivating factor for every vote that legislator cast?” And the answer will be: “Jesus Christ.” Christopher Dodson is executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference. The NDCC acts on behalf of the Catholic bishops of North Dakota to respond to public policy issues of concern to the Catholic Church and to educate Catholics and the general public about Catholic social doctrine. The conference website is

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Home is a state of mind and heart

got into my car and departed from the seminarian gathering They say that in Hankinson. I was excited and eager to begin my theological home is where the studies in Maryland. I drove for two days, going through the heart is, and I think city of Detroit, which had been my home for the four years prior. that’s true. As I think I felt a surge in my heart as I recalled my seminarian brothers Seminarian about North Dakota, back in North Dakota, the ones I had to leave in Detroit and Detroit, Maryland Life anticipated the new friendships I would make in Maryland. My and wherever God heart was full, and I thanked God for the great fraternal bonds Jered A. Grossman may lead me, I know he had blessed me with in my four years as a seminarian. that he is there. It It was a long drive, through which I saw many unfamiliar fills my heart with places, reminding me of the newness of this next chapter of my great joy, great comlife. I drove through Ohio and it began to rain, and rain, and fort, and wondrous rain! There were torrential downpours so heavy I could barely anticipation to know that wherever I go, I will always be going home. see the hood of my car! For a moment, my mind went to Noah, and I prayed that I would make it through safely. As I made my Grossman is a Theology I student studying at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary way through Pennsylvania the skies opened, and as I drove into in Emmitsburg, Md. the parking lot at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg Maryland, I was greeted with a double rainbow. I had arrived Editor’s Note: Seminarian Life is a monthly column written by at my mountain home. current Diocese of Fargo seminarians. It gives New Earth readers I entered the chapel of the seminary to pray evening prayer a glimpse of what these discerning young men are experiencing. with my new brothers. I was exhausted, but it felt like home Please continue to pray for them. instantly in the familiarity of fraternal prayer. I slept so well that first night and awoke eager to meet my new classmates. As I began my theological studies I was drawn into a deeper CHRIST THE KING - BUFFALO relationship with God in many ways. One of these was a closeness through his creation. The seminary is at the base of the Catoctan Mountain Range and I spend many hours hiking in this beautiful ųƕƈƐƌƈƕƌƑƊ place. The trailhead for many different hikes is up through a very old cemetery.  As I hiked on the mountain for the first time, I was reminded     of a meditation I once had where God the Father walked with 0HQ :RPHQ 0HQ :RPHQ me through all the places of nature that had stirred my heart September 22–24 September 8–10 August 25–27 throughout my life. October 27–29 September 12–14* We started in, and ultimately returned to, the Garden of Eden. December 1–3 September 15–17 0DUULHGFRXSOHV My Eternal Father knelt down with me in the dirt. He picked September 26–28* October 13–15 up some of the dirt in his hands and brought it to his nose. He *Midweek Retreat October 10–12* breathed it in deeply and smiled at me, delighting in his creation. November 7–9* I often think about that when I am up on the mountain. I see   him in all the wondrous simplicity of the rocks and trees and I   feel like I am home with him again.   The mountain is a great place to pray. I also love the short,  Christ the King Retreat Center  outdoor walk required to reach the chapel where we celebrate  621 First Avenue South, Buffalo, MN 55313  Mass each morning. In the crispness of the air or the glorious Phone: 763-682-1394   rising of the sun, my heart is filled with a longing for God in   this daily reception of grace.   I often think about my family and friends in North Dakota in these moments, bringing them there with me as my heart FREE $30.00 RESERVATION FEE stretches out across the miles and returns with their love and If this is the first time you are making a retreat prayers. I am also greeted each day by the very large statue of at King’s House, just cut this ad out and mail Our Blessed Mother from The National Shrine Grotto of ​Our it in to fulfill your deposit. Lady of Lourdes. She looks down from her mountain, reminding me to pray my rosary and spend time with her Son. She reminds me that we all share in the familial bond of eternity.

Fall Retreat Schedule Ń





You can give a gift annuity


ou probably know how a charitable gift annuity works. You give Stewardship stock or a check Steve Schons to your church or other charitable Catholic cause, and we sign a commitment to give you for “x” number of dollars every year for the rest of your life. The arrangement benefits you in several ways, including tax relief. Of course, whoever you name as the beneficiary receives a benefit because they obtain funds to help carry out their mission. Gift annuities help both the donor and the church the donor designates. Some folks like charitable gift annuities so well they obtain a new one every year. However, did you know you can give gift annuity payments to someone else? For example, let’s say your mother is 86 years old and lives on a fixed income. She could use some extra money. So you make out a check for $20,000, and we establish a gift annuity, naming your mother as the annuitant. According to our current rates, she would receive guaranteed

payments of $133.34 every month (or $400.02 each quarter) for the remainder of her life. Of course, your church would also benefit from this thoughtful arrangement. Or, consider this scenario: You have two adult children and you want to supplement their retirement programs. So you establish a deferred payment gift annuity for each of them. At the outset, when you provide the initial funds, you determine when the payments to your children will begin. It could be at age 65, or perhaps later. We handle the details and make the payments. Again, the benefits are considerable – for you, for your children, and for your church. Can you give a gift annuity to a non-family member? Yes indeed. In fact, some donors use these gift arrangements to benefit a treasured friend, a longtime employee, a revered teacher or someone else they want to assist. Gift annuities can help just about anyone! And all the while, your church receives a blessing. As Director of Stewardship and Development for the Diocese of Fargo, please know I am available to visit with you about our gift annuity program and how these gift instruments can benefit you and the special people in your life. For a free illustration, you may contact me at (701) 356-7926 or by email at Steve Schons is director of stewardship and development for the Diocese of Fargo.


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Who is ready to stand up for religious liberty?

n college, I grew in my Catholic faith and had a strong experience of religious pluralism. I was involved in the Newman Center daily but I also had many non-Catholic friends and even frequented Hillel House, the Jewish student center. Several of my Jewish friends worked in Hillel’s kosher dining room, and since they couldn’t work on the Sabbath or religious holidays, they got me and some other non-Jewish girls jobs there where we served kosher food and did the dishes on Friday evenings and Jewish holidays. At 19-years-old, I didn’t know much about Jewish traditions. My orthodox friends took their religious obligations seriously and faithfully observed the weekly Sabbath, or Shabbat as I learned to call it. I tried my best to respect their deeply-held convictions, even when I didn’t understand them, since I didn’t want to offend either my friends or their faith. I secretly admired the courage of the orthodox Jewish students who unabashedly proclaimed their religious identity through their yarmulkes, their food choices and other observances. Through these experiences, I learned to approach other faith traditions with reserved curiosity and respectful appreciation. As I learned more about Judaism, while at the same time examining Catholicism in depth, I came to understand that even when we are at a loss to explain the nuances of our faith experiences to skeptics and unbelievers, this does not weaken the sincerity or strength of our convictions. Things have changed a lot since my college days. As the Little Sisters have spent the last several years in the limelight due to our Supreme Court case over the HHS contraceptive mandate, we have received valuable support and encouragement from many sources. However, we have also been the object of mean-spirited hate mails, uninformed critiques and partisan judgments of our supposed hidden motives. The vitriol directed against us has been both disturbing and disheartening. Remembering the mutual respect I experienced during my college days, I am deeply saddened to see our current culture’s disdain for traditional religious values, and its apparent amnesia in relation to the intentions of our Founding Fathers. For me the most jarring moment occurred last year when a major political candidate proclaimed, referring to pro-lifers, “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed!” We claim to live in a pluralistic society that defends human dignity and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Such a society is committed to making room for everyone, including those whose convictions run counter to the mainstream, but who wish to live peaceably with others and contribute to the common good. This does not mean that every individual will find every job or social situation a perfect fit. Nor does it mean that every employer, organization or service provider will be able to satisfy the

desires and aspirations of every person who walks through their doors. In a pluralistic Little of society, religious the Poor organizations like the Little Sisters of Sister Constance Veit, the Poor will inevl.s.p. itably encounter requests for services that run contrary to our beliefs, but refusing to provide such services does not offend the conscience rights of others. Nor does it constitute discrimination or bigotry. It is, rather, a means of safeguarding our personal integrity and the Catholic identity of our organizations. Cardinal Donald Wuerl said it well in Being Catholic Today: Catholic Identity in an Age of Challenge: “There are some things that the Church simply will not do, and it is not discriminatory to say, ‘We do not do that.’ … We must remain true to who we are. We cannot be expected to embrace error and give up our identity which inspired us to form ministries of teaching, healing and charity in the first place.” Let us pray that religious liberty will once again be respected as the most cherished of American freedoms. Let us pray for the freedom to serve in harmony with the truths of our Catholic faith. Finally, let us pray for the wisdom to know how to contribute to a better understanding of this important issue in a way that respects all people of good will. Sister Constance Veit is director of communications for the Little Sisters of the Poor.




Events across the diocese Putt for a Purpose now accepting team registration

40 Days for Life ND starts Sept. 27

Carmel of Mary Monastery to host 61st annual pilgrimage Aug. 13

Walk with Christ for Life on Respect Life Sunday

All are welcome for a day of golf and fellowship with Bishop John Folda. Bishop Folda’s annual Charity Golf Classic (scramble) is scheduled for Aug. 7 at beautiful Rose Creek Golf Course, Fargo. Shotgun start is at 12:30 p.m., with a banquet to follow. Team prizes for best overall score and best score from a team representing a parish. Learn more or register at

All are welcome to the Carmel of Mary Monastery near Wahpeton on Sunday, Aug. 13 for the 61st annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Prairies. The day begins at 2 p.m. with guest speaker Father Peter Anderl on the topic: 100th Anniversary of Our Lady’s appearances at Fatima. The day also includes praying the rosary, confessions, Holy Mass and a picnic. For more information, call (701) 640-6152 or visit

Join the Franciscan Sisters in Hankinson for Mother-Daughter Days

Join the Sisters at St. Francis Convent in Hankinson for their annual Mother -Daughter Days Aug. 17-19. This is an opportunity for mothers and their daughters to get away, spend some special time together, grow in their faith, learn about the life of Sisters and have a little fun. Please contact Sr. Jean Louise at (701) 208-1245 or before Aug. 1.

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

Diocesan policy: Reporting child abuse

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

Pro-life events and ministries this fall 30


Pro-life events and ministries this fall Mark your calendars for the National 40 Days for Life campaign Sept. 27-Nov. 5! You are called to be part of this important prayer effort to end abortion across our nation and world. The North Dakota 40 Days for Life effort will be begin 8 a.m. on Sept. 27, in front of the abortion facility, 512 1st Ave. No., Fargo. Our campaign will provide a peaceful, prayerful presence in front of the abortion facility from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the campaign. Persons can sign up for an hour of prayer by contacting the Pregnancy Help Center at (701) 284-6601 or phc@polarcomm. com or visit Bishop Folda invites the faithful of the diocese to join him for the annual Eucharistic procession, Walk with Christ for Life on Respect Life Sunday, Oct. 1. The event will begin with Mass at noon at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo, followed by a prayerful, peaceful procession to the state’s only abortion facility. A short prayer service will be held outside the abortion facility followed by Benediction at the Cathedral. The Cardinal Muench Council Knights of Columbus will serve lunch. The Diocese of Fargo Respect Life Office sponsors the walk. For more information, call Rachelle Sauvageau at (701) 356-7910. 

Youth called to March for Life!

Youth in grades 9-12 from the Diocese of Fargo are invited to the annual March for Life in Washington D.C. on Jan. 19, 2018. The pilgrimage will begin in Fargo Jan. 14 and return Jan. 20. Father Greg Haman will be our spiritual director. Youth will participate in the March for Life and Vigil Mass for Life at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, travel to Emmitsburg, Md. to the Mother Seton Shrine, Gettysburg, Pa., and tour the sights of Washington, D.C. Cost is $850 and includes air and ground travel, lodging, meals and tour fees. Registration closes Oct. 15. To register, contact Rachelle at (701) 356-7910 or rachelle.sauvageau@fargodiocese. org or go to

Adult pilgrimage to the March for Life

The Respect Life Office is hosting an adult pilgrimage to the March for Life Jan. 15-20 in Washington D.C. Pilgrims will make a one-day bus trip to Emmitsburg, Md. to tour the Mother Seton Shrine, Gettysburg, Pa, and visit the St. John Paul II National Shrine. They will also attend the Vigil Mass for Life, participate in the March for Life on Jan. 19, and tour Washington D.C. Cost is $1,330–$1,880 depending on hotel occupancy and includes airfare from Fargo to Washington D.C., ground transportation, accommodation and tour fees. Registration is open until Oct. 15. To register, visit or contact Rachelle at (701) 356-7910 or

LIFE’S MILESTONES Leo and Loretta Althoff celebrated their 70th anniversary on June 16. They were married in St. Mary’s Church in Breckenridge, Minn. They have two sons and five daughters living. They lived in Mooreton until 2011 when they moved to St. Gerald Community of Care in Hankinson. Edmund and Delores Hager celebrated their 60th anniversary June 17. They were married at St. Boniface Church in Esmond. Delores is a retired teacher and Edmund is a retired farmer and was a member of the Dakota Eagles Band for more than 40 years. They have a daughter and a son, six granddaughters and one great-grandson. They are parishioners of Little Flower Church in Rugby. Lawrence (Larry) and Darlene Kropp celebrated their 60th anniversary June 26. They were the first couple to be married in the new St. Mathias Church in Windsor. They were parishioners of Sacred Heart Church in Fried until its closure in 2004 and are now parishioners of St. James Basilica in Jamestown. They had five children: John (deceased), Larry, Deb, Mike and Dan, 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Neil and Corrine Mack celebrated 50 years of marriage on June 16. They were married at St. Anthony’s Church in Selz and are active parishioners of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Balta, where Corrine is the organist. Neil and Corrine raised three sons and have four grandchildren. Donald J. Lange, parishioner of St. Joseph’s Church in Devils Lake, celebrated his 95th birthday on June 6. All nine of Don’s children and around 80 other relatives and many friends gathered May 27-28 to celebrate Don’s life, one that continues to be lived with gusto and to the fullest!

Tom and Mary Mann celebrated their 68th anniversary June 15. They are parishioners of St. Alphonsus Church in Langdon and have six children, 16 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Tom recently celebrated his 89th birthday April 22 and Mary will celebrate her 90th birthday Aug. 28. They farmed in Alsen for many years before moving to Langdon. Julien and Margaret Pronovost celebrated their 65th anniversary June 11. They were married at St. Benedict’s Church in Wild Rice where they have been lifelong parishioners. They’ve been blessed with four children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Fritz (Ferdinand) Huschka celebrated his 90th birthday in Hope on July 22. Fritz was born in South Heart and moved to Hope in 1937 where he lived with his 11 brothers and sisters. He married Marvyl Christianson (deceased 1997) in 1952 at St. Agatha’s Church. He has three children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Elizabeth Nilles, parishioner of Nativity Church in Fargo, will celebrate her 90th birthday Aug. 4. She married William in 1954 in New York City before moving to Fargo to raise their six children. Betty and Bill were charter members for Nativity. Church. She has 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Parishioners of St. Alphonsus Church in Langdon gather for a photo at Maple Manor Care in Langdon. They are all 100 years old except for Anna Hoffarth, who will celebrate her 109th birthday Aug. 17. From l to r: Roman Michels, Edna Rose, Kathryn Shablow, Lola Lorenz, Majorie Domres and Anna Hoffarth. NEW EARTH JULY/AUGUST 2017


A Glimpse of the Past - June

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

Grand Forks, ND | | 701.746.4337

50 Years Ago....1967

The Holy See in a second instruction implementing Vatican II’s Liturgical Constitution, has opened the door to vernacular throughout the Canon of the Mass and simplified the celebration of Mass. At the same time it emphasized that only the Church itself has the right to alter the liturgy in any way.

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20 Years Ago....1997

The new St. Boniface Church in Lidgerwood replaces the old church of the same name, but there is much of the old in the new. Bishop James Sullivan dedicated the fourth Catholic Church in Lidgerwood’s history on July 13. Fr. Eugene Gilles, pastor, and other visiting clergy accompanied the Bishop as he accepted the keys to the new structure. The new church is a rich blend of modern and traditional and was fashioned to accommodate the art treasures from St. Boniface’s past.

10 Years ago....2007

The Bagg Bonanza Historical Farm was blessed July 9 by Father Peter Anderl, pastor of St. Anthony’s of Mooreton. Fr. Anderl offered a Mass of the harvest to 20 area Catholics in the gathering area of the 1880s bunkhouse. He gave a special blessing to all the buildings and especially the mule barn, which was under construction. The barn was used for more than 100 mules in the 1900s. The barn had been destroyed in 1953 by a strong June wind. After its reconstruction in 2005 it was again destroyed by a June wind.

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

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

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



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

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USCCB draws over 3,500 Catholic leaders to “once-in-a-lifetime” event By Paul Braun

Thirteen attendees made up the Fargo Diocese delegation to the USCCB’s Convocation of Catholic Leaders event July 1-4 in Orlando, Fla. (New Earth)


is Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York, probably put it best when he exclaimed, “I don’t think we’ve ever had one that’s the equivalent of this.” Cardinal Dolan was describing the immense turnout and purpose for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s 2017 A Convocation of Catholic Leaders held July 1–4 in Orlando Fla. The convocation drew over 3,500 Catholic leaders, including five of the six-seated cardinals in the United States, the Vatican’s Papal Nuncio to the United States, 160 bishops, over 350 priests, and about 3,000 deacons, religious, and lay-leaders of dioceses and Catholic organizations from each of the 50 states. Among those attending was Bishop John Folda of the Diocese of Fargo, who brought with him 12 diocesan office directors, pastors and other leaders of Catholic organizations in North Dakota. The purpose of the convocation was to re-emphasize the tenets in Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium,” or, “The Joy of the Gospel,” as well as chart a course for the future of the Catholic Church in the United States. In an exclusive interview with New Earth, Cardinal Dolan expressed his hopes for the convocation’s purpose. “This is a sensitivity of pastors saying ‘you know what, this could be a booster shot to the Catholic community in the United States,’” said Cardinal Dolan. “If we would come together and show people that this Catholic community is one, they are people of joy, their mission is seeking discipleship, and let’s get them aboard, we’ll learn from one another and maybe it will become a regular thing every four or five years.” John Allen, Editor of CRUX, a Catholic News Service that reports on the Vatican and Church issues, summed up the convocation in broader terms, claiming it sent a strong message all across the world. “It (the convocation) provided a less political image of Catholicism, ratified the bishops’ commitment to Pope Francis, and delivered a positive experience of the Church to almost 3,500 people.” Part of that positive experience centered on the call of Pope Francis to go out to the peripheries, outside the boundaries of ourselves, to minister and evangelize. The Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson, spoke to the convocation about the pope’s call to new evangelization. Anderson told New 34


Earth that Catholics need to be energized and to reach out to those not only half-way across the world, but also across the street. “The main point of what the pope is saying is we have to be personally involved,” said Anderson. “We have to commit ourselves personally to whomever we can see is hurting and needs our help. It could be in a corporal way or maybe in a spiritual way, but we need to be brothers and sisters to our brothers and sisters.” New evangelization today is different than it was, according to Cardinal Dolan. He says Pope John Paul II maintained that there are different challenges now because new evangelization doesn’t mean just going to people who have never heard the saving message of Jesus Christ. “Even if they have heard it, it’s becoming a bit lethargic,” says Cardinal Dolan. “So we have to rekindle the faith in those who are maybe nominally Catholic but need to become really Catholic.” How does this affect the faithful in Eastern North Dakota? Bishop Folda says there are all kinds of challenges in our Church and especially in our own diocese and our parishes, but with every challenge there are many opportunities as well. “What we will try to do is identify some of those challenges,” says Bishop Folda. “But we also must grab on to the opportunities and see what steps we can take to really engage more and more people into the life of the faith that we enjoy, and that brings us so much joy. We want to make sure that everyone has the chance that we have to live in the joy of the gospel; to live in the faith of Jesus Christ that we received.” Bishop Folda says he feels the convocation will help to refocus and recapture a sense of energy, commitment and joy of sharing the faith in our own diocese. But, on a larger scale, the convocation will help the faithful to get out into the world and to share the good news; to really take off with the message Pope Francis has given us that we are all called to be missionary disciples. The convocation’s sending message was clear; it’s time to roll up our sleeves as Catholics and get to work. Bishop John Folda prepares to venerate the altar at the closing Mass for the convocation. Bishop Folda participated with 160 of his brother bishops and over 350 priests and deacons. (Paul Braun/New Earth)

Sidewalk Stories By Roxane B. Salonen

This is how we welcome immigrants, refugees?


s they made their way across the street toward our state’s only abortion facility, I noted his strong grip on the car seat that hung between them, with its baby-patterned blanket, along with their colorful clothing and raven hair. Questions immediately arose in my mind. Why are they coming here? They’re already parents, right? Surely, they understand the gift they will lose if they continue in this direction? I knew I had to risk trying to talk with them; to correctly determine my suspicions about why they’d come downtown Fargo on a Wednesday – abortion day – and, if possible, offer them an out. It was the longest I’d ever conversed with anyone at the site where we pray each week in the hopes of redirecting those reeling to another, more hopeful place. Surprisingly, they were open, willing to give me some time, there on the curb. Behind us, the facility loomed large. I knew each second, each word, would count. I told them about our local pregnancy help clinic. I reminded them of the treasure of life. They nodded, and in broken English, assured me, “We don’t want to do it.” “And you don’t have to,” I said, suggesting they consider dropping this appointment, and taking time to think things through with the guidance of those ready to lovingly assist them. I assured them they’d receive help to avoid a regrettable end. As I touched the mama gently on the shoulder, mother-to-mother, I told her I love her. “I know you do,” she said, looking directly into my eyes. Just then, the tall, male escort behind intervened. “Don’t touch her,” he snapped. “It’s okay,” she replied softly. “I don’t mind.” In a short amount of time, she’d sensed my sincerity; I’d earned her trust. My heart sprang alive with hope. But I’ll admit, too, that the amount of energy consumed in these tense situations, when life and death sway together, is incredible. There is no perfect script, and the weight of each word hangs heavy. Will the right words bring life? Will the wrong words hasten death? I did my best, but at some point, the escorts summoned us away from the curb; it was too dangerous, they said. But the danger had just begun. As if a vacuum had been in wait behind us, with them positioned just a few inches closer to the door now, the traction was powerful enough to snatch

them into its dark portal, body and soul. As the sweet trio disappeared inside, my heart sank. I felt stunned, frozen, depleted. I’d come so close, but evil had won. Playing the situation over again later in my mind, I recalled how, at one point in the conversation, they’d said, “We don’t want to, but we have to.” I sensed as they spoke that another force beyond them was at play. I don’t believe they wanted this, either, but am guessing that someone else had convinced them it was imperative and even, perhaps, paid for the dirty deed. Since that sad day, I’ve noticed more and more “sidewalk victims” who are either immigrants or refugees. These “New Americans” seem particularly vulnerable, having arrived in a foreign place where they may be pressured to cave to the demands of a new life to get ahead – even if it means killing their offspring. It’s likely not an ideal they’d brought from their country of origin, but one they’ve been forced to believe is part of their initiation into this new world. My heart breaks each time another abortion-vulnerable woman clearly new to our country enters the sidewalk, ready to surrender her child for the promise of the American Dream. It horrifies me to think of the dichotomy between our Catholic ideal of welcoming the stranger, and the culture of death that simultaneously awaits these dear ones who’ve come here with hopes, only to learn this is the god-awful price they must pay. I don’t know the statistics, but we’re seeing more each week, and it seems a supreme injustice. By coercing New Americans to exchange their children for a chance at “freedom,” we are gravely culpable. I offer this all-too-real scenario as a point of pondering, and an appeal for prayer. Welcoming the immigrant seems a cruel joke if we, in the same breath, lead them to annihilate their young. May we who have eyes to see greet our brothers and sisters from other lands, not with death, but with faith in the living God, and the hope that we, too, have been offered, for life. Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five, is a local writer, and a speaker and radio host for Real Presence Radio. Roxane writes for The Forum newspaper and for She serves in music ministry as a cantor at Sts. Anne and Joachim Church in Fargo. Reach her at





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

This beautiful, contemporary altar serves as the central point of worship for one of our rural parishes. Where in the Diocese are we? The answer will be revealed in the September New Earth.

Where in the diocese are we?



Last month’s photo is of a statue of our Savior atop a monument to our deceased bishops and clergy at their burial site at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Fargo.

New Earth July/August 2017  

The official magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND

New Earth July/August 2017  

The official magazine for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND