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The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo

One Year Later:

A Reflection on Bishop Folda’s First Year in the Diocese June 2014 | Vol. 37 | No.6

PLUS From Bishop Folda: The many works of the Spirit Two ordained, prepare for priesthood Pope visits Holy Land



June 2014 Vol. 37 | No.6

TABLE OF CONTENTS ON THE COVER 16 ONE YEAR LATER : A Reflection on Bishop Folda’s First Year in the Diocese

For several months, the people of the diocese prayed for a shepherd, a teacher and a leader to guide the Diocese of Fargo. Those prayers were answered on April 8, 2013 when Pope Francis appointed then Monsignor John Folda to become the eighth Bishop of Fargo. Two short months later, Bishop Folda was ordained on June 19, 2013. Read about his experiences this past year and his aspirations for the next.




In his letter to the diocese, Bishop Folda reminds us to nurture and allow the gifts of the Holy Spirit to work within us.







7 BIOETHICS A panel comprised of a priest, lawyer and physicians

discuss the Church’s approach to end of life care.

AROUND THE DIOCESE Find out about the people, news and events happening in the diocese.





13 AND THEY’RE OFF Training for the Young Disciples has finished. Now, this group

of eleven will take their ministry on the road. Through the end of July, they will lead 24 summer camps throughout the diocese, especially focusing on rural and mission parishes.





Award-winning artist and the Bishops’ unofficial portrait painter, Elizabeth Schwankl, shares her story and passion for using her God-given talents.




In this month’s “Glimpse of the Past,” Dorothy Duchschere, shares Father George Mehok’s story of the first time celebrating Mass facing the people after many years turned away from the assembly.



ON THE COVER: Bishop John Folda takes his first steps as Bishop of Fargo and blesses the crowd gathered for his ordination on June 19, 2013. At the end of the Rite of Ordination of a Bishop, the newly ordained bishop is escorted throughout the assembly by the co-consecrating bishops to impart his blessing. During his ordination remarks, Bishop Folda declared, “I am all yours, and I promise to give all that I have and all that I am in your service.” (Photo by Dave Arntson, Milestones Photography)



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


Aliceyn Magelky

Copywriter Kristina Lahr


Stephanie Drietz


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.




In this month’s “Seminarian Life,” newly accepted seminarian, Bob Suszka, shares the ups and downs he encountered on his way to seminarian life. His story reminds us all that God calls us on his time not ours.


In this month’s “Catholic Action” Christopher Dodson reminds us we all need to play a part in the fight against human trafficking, despite our differences.


“In-Memorandum,” what does that mean and how can it be a powerful tool in leaving a legacy for your loved ones?


This month’s guest columnist, Sister Constance Veit of the Little Sisters of the Poor, asks us to contemplate how we can know God “by heart.”


In his ninth article for this series, Father Bert Miller relays a woman’s miraculous story of a saint’s healing prayer.



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

Contact Information

Use the following contact information to contact the New Earth staff: (701) 356-7900 Deadline to submit articles, story ideas, advertisements and announcements for the July/Aug issue is July 9, 2014. 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, Ste. A, Fargo, ND 58104. (701) 356-7900. Periodical Postage Paid at Fargo, ND and additional cities. ISSN# 10676406 Member of the Catholic Press Association


Bishop Folda’s Calendar

The Many Works of the Spirit


n the Solemnity of Pentecost, the

Church celebrated once again the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the earth. From my personal vantage point as bishop, I can say that I have seen the Spirit at work in a wonderful variety of ways in the life of our local Church. Over the last several weeks, I have had the opportunity to travel throughout the diocese to administer the sacrament of Confirmation in our parishes. Confirmation is, of course, the preeminent sacrament of the Holy Spirit, and it is nearly impossible to be unmoved as our young people step forward to receive the sacramental anointing. Their eagerness is heartwarming, even when it is mixed with a bit of nervousness. In these admittedly challenging times, it is so important for these youngsters to have the grace of the Spirit as they grow into adolescence and young adulthood. The gifts of the Spirit - wisdom, fortitude, piety, and the rest - are essential graces that enable all of us to live in Christ and grow as his disciples. It has been delightful to give the sacrament of Confirmation to hundreds of our young people, knowing that the Holy Spirit will be active in their lives as they grow up. But, of course, the gifts of the Spirit cannot be taken for granted. They must be protected and nurtured by parents, families and parish communities. We all have a responsibility to help these young people keep the faith alive even after they receive this great sacrament of the Spirit. Another beautiful manifestation of the life-giving Spirit came at the annual celebration of Easter. In parishes throughout the diocese, many men and women received the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Holy Eucharist as new members of the Church. As I presided at the Easter Vigil in the Cathedral of St. Mary, I was touched by the spirit of joy and peace that I saw

“...I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit is already touching many other souls; helping them to experience the mercy and love of Jesus our Savior, assisting them in their own journey of grace and conversion and preparing them for their own reception into the Church.” in the faces of those who received the sacraments for the first time. And, it was clear to me that the Holy Spirit was present and active in the Church, first by opening their minds and hearts to the truth of the Gospel, and then by gently drawing them into the embrace of the Church. And even now, I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit is already touching many other souls; helping them to experience the mercy and love of Jesus our Savior, assisting them in their own journey of grace and conversion and preparing them for their own reception into the Church. The day of ordination is always a joyful occasion in the life of a diocese. On May 24, I had the privilege of ordaining two fine young men as transitional deacons, and now they are spending the summer in parish assignments,

JUNE 2014



10 a.m. Confirmation/First Eucharist, St. Michael’s, Grand Forks 5 p.m. Confirmation/First Eucharist, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo


10 a.m. Mass of Pentecost, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

JUNE 10-13

USCCB Conference, New Orleans, La.


10 a.m. Jubilee Celebration of Religious Professions Sisters Rebecca Metzger and Genevieve Merrick OSF, St. Francis Provincial House, Hankinson


ND Catholic Conference, Jamestown Diocesan Finance Council, Fargo

JUNE 19-22

Family wedding, Lincoln, Neb.


10:30 a.m. Final Mass, St. Thomas Catholic Church, St. Thomas


Priests’ Council, Fargo


12 p.m. Field Mass with Knights of Columbus, International Peace Gardens


10:30 a.m. Mass at Riverview Place, Fargo

JULY 22-23

Native American Ministry Orientation, Ramada Inn, Fargo

JULY 23-27

Tekakwitha Conference, Ramada Inn, Fargo


5 p.m. Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Carrington


9 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Carrington 11 a.m. Mass at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, Sykeston


OFFICIAL APPOINTMENTS/ ANNOUNCEMENTS Most Rev. John T. Folda, Bishop of Fargo, has made the following appointments, announcements, and/or decree. Rev. Phillip Ackerman has been appointed Pastor of St. Alphonsus’ Parish, Langdon, St. Edward’s parish, Nekoma, and St. Michael’s parish, Wales for a six-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Kevin Boucher has been appointed Pastor of Nativity parish, Fargo for a five-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. John Cavanaugh has been appointed Pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish, Reynolds, and St. Jude’s parish, Thompson for a five-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Philip Chacko has been appointed Pastor of Sacred Heart parish, Rolette, Holy Rosary parish, Bisbee, and Notre Dame des Victoires parish, Willow City for a fiveyear term beginning June 25, 2014. Msgr. Brian Donahue has been appointed Pastor of Holy Family parish, Grand Forks for a six-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Arogyaiah Gadagotti has been appointed Pastor of Bernard of Clairvaux’s parish, Oriska, Sacred Heart parish, Sanborn and St. Agatha’s parish, Hope beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Thomas Graner has been appointed Pastor of St. Therese the Little Flower parish, Rugby and St. Mary’s parish, Knox for a five-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Michael Hickin has been appointed Pastor of St. Mark’s parish, Bottineau, and St. Andrew’s parish, Westhope for a six-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Jerome Hunkler has been appointed Pastor of St. Francis de Sales’ parish, Steele, St. Mary’s parish, Medina, and St. Paul’s parish, Tappen for a third six-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Jared Kadlec has been appointed Pastor of St. Benedict’s parish, Wild Rice, and St. Maurice’s parish, Kindred for a second six-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. John Kizito has been appointed Pastor of St. Helen’s parish, Ellendale, and St. Patrick’s parish, Fullerton for a five-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Leonard Loegering has been appointed to continue as Pastor of St. John the Baptist parish, Wyndmere and St. Arnold’s parish, Milnor beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Prasad Marneni has been appointed as Pastor of St. John Nepomucence’s parish, Pisek, Sts. Peter and Paul’s parish, Bechyne and St. Joseph’s parish, Lankin beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. William McDermott has been appointed Pastor of St. Stephen’s parish, Larimore for a six-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Continued on page 6

receiving some of the pastoral experiences that will help them prepare for their ordination as priests next year. Once again, the Spirit was powerfully at work in the ordination liturgy as Deacons Kyle Metzger and William Slattery were conformed to Christ himself, who came “not to be served, but to serve.” Through their diaconal ordination, they received the grace of the Holy Spirit in a particular way that will enable them to preach the Gospel, administer baptism, and serve the needs of God’s people in many other ways. With the help of our prayers and support, the Spirit will continue to bless these men with the grace they will need as they approach their ordinations as priests of Jesus Christ. And through the gentle working of the Spirit, we pray that other men too will hear our Lord’s invitation to “Come, follow me.” These are just a few of the more noticeable signs of the Holy Spirit at work in the Church, but there are many others as well. As we celebrate Pentecost this year, hopefully we will be aware of the Spirit’s presence in our own souls and promptly accept the grace that he offers. The Spirit is within us opening our minds to the truth whenever we read and pray with the Sacred Scriptures. The Holy Spirit constantly moves us to respond with generosity to our brothers and sisters in material or spiritual need. The Spirit is always drawing us to receive the grace of Christ in the sacraments, especially through participation in the Holy Eucharist at Mass and through the healing of reconciliation. And, the Holy Spirit never fails to show us new avenues for evangelization, new ways to offer the Gospel to those who await a relationship with Christ. “...the gifts of the Spirit cannot be taken for granted. They

must be protected and nurtured by parents, families and parish communities. We all have a responsibility to help these young people keep the faith alive even after they receive this great sacrament of the Spirit.”

Opportunities to share the faith are all around us. Perhaps, the Spirit is asking us if we have taken advantage of these opportunities and personally accepted the mission of evangelization given to the Church. Pope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, calls all the faithful to be “spirit-filled evangelizers,” that is, evangelizers “fearlessly open to the working of the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost, the Spirit made the apostles go forth from themselves and turned them into heralds of God’s wondrous deeds…The Holy Spirit also grants the courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel with boldness in every time and place… Let us call upon him today, firmly rooted in prayer, for without prayer all our activity risks being fruitless and our message empty.” By the grace of our baptism, and strengthened in confirmation with the Holy Spirit, each of us is called to be a “spirit-filled evangelizer.” Our daily prayers should certainly include a prayer to the Holy Spirit, asking for the grace and guidance to share the gift of faith with those we encounter in ordinary daily life. The work of evangelizing doesn’t belong only to the so-called professionals but is the work of all the faithful. And, if we are open to the gifts of the Spirit, who “helps us in our weakness” (Rom 8:26), we will never lack the grace we need to share the gift of faith, a gift we ourselves have received. When St. John XXIII announced more than fifty years ago that he would call the Second Vatican Council, he stated his hope that the Church would experience a “new Pentecost,” a new experience of the Spirit’s grace given to the Church. Pope John rightly understood that the Church was facing new challenges and new opportunities for sharing the faith, and that the gifts of the Spirit would be needed more than ever. I pray that all the faithful in the Diocese of Fargo will experience anew the grace of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Spirit that will allow us to live faithfully and joyfully in Christ.

JUNE 2014


Continued from page 5 Rev. James Meyer has been appointed Pastor of Holy Cross parish, West Fargo for a second six-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Brian Moen has been appointed Pastor of Holy Spirit parish, Fargo for a six-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Bernard Pfau has been appointed to continue as Pastor of St. John the Evangelist parish, New Rockford and Sts. Peter and Paul’s parish, McHenry beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Scott Sautner has been appointed Pastor of St. Philip’s parish, Hankinson, and St. Anthony’s parish, Fairmount for a second six-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Timothy Schroeder has been appointed Pastor of Sacred Heart parish, Oakwood for a two-year term, beginning June 25, 2014. This appointment is in addition to his current assignment was Pastor of St. John the Evangelist parish, Grafton. Rev. Paul Schuster has been appointed Pastor of St. Michael’s parish, St. Michael for a six-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Peter J. Sharpe has been appointed pastor of St. Cecilia’s parish in Velva and Sts. Peter and Paul’s parish, Karlsruhe for a six-year term effective on June 25, 2014. Rev. Robert Smith has been appointed to continue as Pastor of St. Boniface’s parish, Lidgerwood, Sts. Peter and Paul’s parish, Cayuga and St. Martin of Tours’ parish, Geneseo beginning June 25, 2014. Msgr. Jeffrey Wald has been appointed rector of St. James Basilica, Jamestown and pastors of St. Margaret Mary’s parish, Buchanan, St. Michael’s parish, Pingree, and St. Mathias of Windsor, Windsor for a six-year term beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Thomas Feltman has been appointed to continue as administrator of St. Boniface’s parish, Walhalla and Sts. Nereu and Achilleus’ parish, Neche beginning June 25, 2014. Rev. Richard M. Fineo has been appointed Parochial Vicar of Holy Cross parish, West Fargo, beginning June 25, 2014, and continuing ad nutum episcopi. Rev. James Gross has been appointed Parochial Vicar of St. Anthony of Padua parish, Fargo beginning June 25, 2014 and continuing ad nutum episcopi. Rev. Gregory Haman has been appointed Parochial Vicar of St. Michael’s parish, Grand Forks beginning June 25, 2014 and continuing ad nutum episcopi. Rev. Christopher Markman has been appointed Parochial Vicar of St. John’s parish, Wahpeton beginning June 25, 2014 and continuing ad nutum episcopi. Rev. Thanaiah Marneni has been appointed to continue to serve as Parochial Vicar of Holy Family parish, Grand Forks beginning June 25, 2014 and continuing ad nutum episcopi. Rev. Daniel Musgrave has been appointed Parochial Vicar of St. Alphonsus’ parish, Langdon, St. Edward’s parish, Nekoma and St. Michael’s parish, Wales beginning June 25, 2014 and continuing ad nutum episcopi. Rev. Thondappa T. Paulraj has been appointed Parochial Vicar of St. Therese Little Flower parish, Rugby and St. Mary’s parish, Knox beginning June 25, 2014 and continuing ad nutum episcopi. Rev. Neil Pfeifer has been appointed Parochial Vicar of Holy Spirit parish, Fargo beginning June 25, 2014 and continuing ad nutum episcopi. Rev. Reese Weber has been appointed Parochial Vicar of Nativity parish, Fargo beginning June 25, 2014 and continuing ad nutum episcopi. Rev. Longinus (Al) M. Bitz has been granted retirement as of June 25, 2014. Rev. James Lauerman has been granted retirement as of June 25, 2014. Mr. Jack Kennelly has been appointed a member of the Diocesan Review Board as well as chairperson of the same board.  This is effective May 20, 2014. Ms. Patty Carew has been appointed a member of the Diocesan Review Board effective June 1, 2014. Dr. Emmet Kenney has been appointed a member of the Diocesan Review Board effective June 1, 2014.


General Intention: Unemployed. That the unemployed may receive support and find the work they need to live in dignity. Reflection: How does unemployment relate to my duty to respect human life from conception to natural death? Scripture: Isaiah 58: 1-12 If you satisfy the afflicted, then light shall rise for you in the darkness. Mission Intention: Faith in Europe. That Europe may rediscover its Christian roots through the witness of believers. Reflection: What are ways that I give “hidden witness” to the faith in my daily life? Scripture: Matthew 7: 15-20 Every good tree bears good fruit. Provided by Apostleship of Prayer,

THE BUZZ Find more stories and information about the diocese at Here’s what Pope Francis @Pontifex has been tweeting: May 13 Let us read the Gospel, a small section each day. This way we will learn what is most essential in our lives: love and mercy. May 19 The one who listens attentively to the Word of God and truly prays, always asks the Lord: what is your will for me? May 24 Dear friends, please pray for me during my pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Follow the Diocese of Fargo on Twitter at Here’s a highlight of what’s been posted on Facebook: May 16 Congratulations to Fr. William Sherman who will receive an Honorary Degree from UND tomorrow! Fr. Sherman was pastor of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Grand Forks from 1976-2003. St. Michael’s is hosting a public reception for Fr. Sherman on Saturday, May 17, at 6:00 p.m. May 25 Today, we celebrate two men of the diocese as they reach another milestone towards priesthood. Kyle Metzger and William Slattery were ordained transitional deacons by Bishop Folda this morning. Thanks be to God! (Photo album)

Like the Diocese of Fargo on Facebook at Check out the video, Memorial Day: A Catholic Perspective, produced by CNS, Catholic News Service, to help individuals, parish groups and classes deepen their understanding of the Catholic overtones of serving our country. For this video, visit CNS’s YouTube channel at: and search for the title.


WHAT DOES THE CHURCH SAY ABOUT THAT? Panel including priest, lawyer and physicians discuss end of life decisions By Kristina Lahr


edical decisions can be complicated, especially for end of life decisions that we may not be prepared to encounter when unexpected situations occur. When health decisions were mostly made by a doctor, this wasn’t the case, but nowadays, due to more attention given to patient autonomy, decisions are either made by the patient or the patient’s family. This shift is a great opportunity for us as Catholics to live out our faith during a very impactful moment of our loved ones’, as well as our own, lives. A panel of the Fargo Guild of the Catholic Medical Association gathered earlier this year to discuss the importance of knowing where the Church stands on end of life decisions. Father Luke Meyer, Jack Kennelly, Dr. Paul Carson, Dr. John Beauclair and Dr. Walter Johnson were a part of the panel to discuss the need to be informed and to discuss these decisions in advance since it’s challenging to come up with a plan in the midst of the moment and emotion of a sudden accident or illness. “These decisions represent important intersections,” said Johnson. “The Catholic Church has many resources to help us understand that true compassion means allowing for a reasonable effort for a patient’s recovery. At the same time, it helps draw the line when it is clear that no further treatment will serve this purpose.” “We also need to be careful,” added Kennelly. “The Church sometimes conflicts

with cultural thinking. What is legal might not necessarily be moral.” While it’s impossible to predict every medical situation, there are some specifics that are helpful to know to have an understanding of what the Church teaches. “In general, the big picture is to cure when we can and to alleviate suffering whenever we can,” said Carson. A few common guidelines include a presumption in favor of providing someone with nonmedical or medically assisted nutrition and hydration if he or she will benefit. There is no moral objection to using palliative medication

disproportionate means is not the equivalent of suicide or euthanasia; it rather expresses acceptance of the human condition in the face of death” (The Gospel of Life, paragraph 65, March 1995). In addition, when one is considered terminally ill, and death is imminent and inevitable, they should be informed, even if the news is bad, so that they may prepare themselves for death and have accommodations made to see a priest and receive the sacraments of reconciliation, anointing of the sick and the Eucharist. Carson mentioned that sometimes there is a desire

“The Catholic Church has many resources to help us understand that true compassion means allowing for a reasonable effort for a patient’s recovery. At the same time, it helps draw the line when it is clear that no further treatment will serve this purpose.” or procedures necessary for comfort and the alleviation of pain even if they may indirectly and unintentionally shorten life. If death is imminent, treatment may be forgone or withdrawn if it is futile in the face of death, unless those responsible for the care judge at that time that there are reasons why such treatment should continue. Pope John Paul II wrote about the courage to accept and surrender to our own death when it comes. “When death is clearly imminent and inevitable, one can in conscience ‘refuse forms of treatment that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation of life… to forego extraordinary or

to try to extend life as long as possible and at any cost. While it is at times acceptable to use very aggressive medical treatments, medical treatments may be withdrawn if they do not offer a reasonable hope of benefit or are excessively and disproportionately burdensome to the patient. Another topic of discussion presented was the Church’s teaching on “death with dignity.” “This is one of those areas where the laws don’t reflect the church,” said Johnson. “We believe we have dignity because we are, we exist. We have inherent dignity. But the ‘death with dignity’ ideas mean that I am upright and articulate when I die. It’s a

whole different idea of what dignity is.” “Death with dignity has two interpretations,” said Father Meyer. “The first, which the world gives us, is that I die with dignity when I am in control, when I have no pain and I do it on my own terms. Version two is that I have dignity in so far that I can still evoke love from other people. That’s our Catholic definition of dignity. It’s amazing to notice throughout the dying process how much good can come from it through people being drawn together to care for the one they love and accompany them with faith to a holy death.” “We don’t end suffering by ending the sufferer,” said Carson. “That’s euthanasia. We work toward alleviating suffering in other ways.” Because of the unique and particular circumstances that come with end of life decisions, the Bishops of North Dakota have drafted a Health Care Directive that can be used as a planning document for end of life decisions. This Catholic Health Care Directive outlines common medical principles based on human dignity and provides an easy way to appoint a health care agent who can make prudential health care decisions in the moment when the patient may not be able to. For more information about the Church’s teachings on end of life decisions, visit To obtain a copy of a Catholic Health Care Directive for North Dakota, visit www.ndcatholic. org/chd. JUNE 2014





n May 24, the remain celibate, proclaim the Diocese of Fargo faith and enter a deeper prayer received a gift of two life including a commitment new deacons as Bishop John to praying the Liturgy of Folda celebrated Mass and the Hours. ordained two young men as Later, in an expression of transitional deacons at the total dependence on God, they Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo. prostrated themselves in front The newly ordained deaof the altar while the assembly cons, Deacons Kyle Metzger, prayed the litany of saints. Fargo and William Slattery, The bishop consecrated each Sylvania, Ohio, will comman for the Church’s ministry plete seminarian studies this by laying his hands on them. fall and are expected to be Then, the men were vested ordained priests next sumwith the stole and dalmatic by a mer. This summer Deacon priest of significant influence in Metzger will serve alongside Newly ordained Deacons Kyle Metzger (Left) and William Slattery (right) his life. The bishop presented Father Dale Lagodinski at St. stand with Bishop John Folda after celebrating Mass and being ordained each new deacon with a Book John’s in Wahpeton and Dea- transitional deacons. Still seminarians, the men will spend the summer at of the Gospels and extended con Slattery will assist at St. parishes in Valley City and Wahpeton before completing their final year the kiss of peace which was re of study. (Photos by Aliceyn Magelky) Catherine’s Catholic Church peated by their fellow deacons. in Valley City with Monsignor A deacon’s duties include Dennis Skonseng. Seminarians are customarily ordained to the proclaiming the Gospel at Mass and delivering homilies. In transitional diaconate before their last year of preparation for addition, he may administer Holy Communion, the sacrament ordination to the priesthood. of baptism, and he may witness weddings. Deacons also are Surrounded by family, friends and area faithful, the seminari- active in Christian outreach and ministry in a variety of places ans received the sacrament of holy orders and joined in service including parishes and hospitals, as well as service to the poor. and brotherhood with the permanent deacons of the diocese. Transitional diaconate is one of the final steps before being After each one was formally presented to the bishop to receive ordained to the priesthood. Typically, a seminarian is ordained the sacrament and move forward in their journey, these men a deacon after his third year in a school of theology. placed their hands into Bishop Folda’s, promising respect and Additional photos from the ordination can be found on the diocesan obedience to him and his successors. Also, they promised to website,

JUNE 2014


Bishop John Folda bestows the sacrament of Holy Orders onto seminarian William Slattery during the diaconate ordination Mass. By this ritual, Bishop Folda invokes the Holy Spirit to come down upon the one to be ordained, giving him a sacred character and setting him apart for his diaconate ministry.

Seminarian Kyle Metzger kneels before Bishop John Folda during his transitional diaconate ordination on May 24. Bishop Folda asked Metzger for his promise to proclaim the faith, remain celibate and to commit to praying the Liturgy of the Hours in accordance with his role as deacon.




ach year priests of the Fargo diocese dedicate the two days following Divine Mercy Sunday as Spring Ed Days. Annually located in Carrington, these days are packed with conference talks, presentations and priestly fellowship. This year about 80 priests attended. Father Raymond Courtright, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua in Fargo has gone to Spring Ed days every year since he became a priest 22 years ago. “It’s a joy to be together with the other priests,” he said. “It’s always very uplifting with such great speakers and having Mass with the other priests.” The speaker each year is decided based on a list of information gathered from questionnaires and evaluations about what priests would like to see from the

previous Spring Ed days. This year’s main speaker was Ralph Martin, professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Mich. where several seminarian students from the Fargo diocese are currently studying. His presentations focused on the New Evangelization since he was appointed by Pope Benedict to be a consulter on the pontifical council for the New Evangelization. Some of his presentations during Spring Ed days included: “What’s New about the New Evangelization,” “The Mission of Catholic Lay People,” “The Eucharist as the Memorial of our Redemption” and “What Did Jesus Ask Us to Tell People?” Martin is also the author of several books including The Urgency of the New Evangelization – Answering the Call, The Fulfillment of all Desire – A

Guidebook for the Journey to God and Will Many be Saved? Another event that takes place at Spring Ed days is what Father Courtright calls the “state of the church address” where the Bishop will let the priests know what’s new and what his desires are for the diocese. The bishop also will typically preach at the two Masses held during Spring Ed days, but since Bishop Folda recently preached to all the priests on April 15 at the Chrism Mass earlier this spring as part of Holy Week, he passed the responsibility to Father Courtright and Father James Ermer, pastor at St. Leo’s in Casselton. “It was pretty wild,” said Father Courtright. “I don’t remember preaching at a Pontifical Mass before. It was a great experience, exciting yet very nerve racking.”

Spring Ed days are very similar to Presbyteral Days that take place in the fall. Presbyteral Days will focus on marriage and family this year in preparation for The Year of Marriage and the Family beginning this fall. Beyond having an awareness of where all the priests disappear to a few times out of the year, Father Courtright would like the Catholic community to know that we are very blessed to have Spring Ed days and other retreats for our priests. “Rejoice and be glad that our priests can take time out to go back and learn,” he said. “Pray for your priests, while they are gone. These days reform some of the things we’ve been preaching about. I’ve never walked away from any of our conferences in the last 22 years disappointed.”

JUNE 2014





t’s going to be exciting, humbling and scary,” said Les Noehre as he finishes his last preparations for the diaconate this summer. “It’s an awesome responsibility. But, it’s also a joy to serve the bishop, priests and all the people in the diocese.” On May 1, Bishop Folda installed Les Noehre of Holy Family Catholic Church in Grand Forks into the Ministry of Acolytes during Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo. Acolyte is a stepping stone in formation to becoming a deacon. Preparation for the Acolyte includes studying sacred Scripture, sacred theology, Church history, Vatican II, the Gospels and how to proclaim the Word of God. “An acolyte serves at the altar, is an assistant to the

JUNE 2014


Les Noehre stands with Bishop Folda after his installation as an acolyte May 1 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fargo. Noehre hopes to complete his studies this summer to be ordained a permanent deacon.

priest of the Mass and is also an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion,” said Noehre. Noehre’s road to becoming a deacon started seven years ago with an EPS (Education

for Parish Service) course to learn more about the Catholic faith. From there his path grew to a calling to eventually be a permanent deacon. “It takes work and study, but in the end, the rewards received are enormous beyond the work that is required,” said Noehre. And not just for Noehre, but for his wife Annette of 33 years, two sons and two grandchildren. “The deepening of the faith and the closer relation-

ship with Jesus and the couple involved are blessed along with the community they serve,” added Noehre. As Noehre learns more about the faith and grows closer to Jesus, he says that he sees God in his family, the community and the faith of the people both during Mass and outside of Mass. “First and foremost I see God in the Eucharist and the people coming together in community and communion in God the Father in the sacrifice of the Mass,” said Noehre. “I also see God in their need, whatever it may be, needing someone to listen to them, give assistance or bring communion to them.” After three years of EPS classes, four years of formation including one spiritual year of learning more about how to pray, practicing prayer and deepening a relationship with Jesus, Noehre hopes to be installed as a deacon this upcoming fall after finishing an oral exam. Then, installation as permanent diaconate is up to the the bishop.


LOVE, UNITY CENTER OF MINISTRY FOR RETIRING PASTOR Parishioners to say ‘goodbye’ to long-term priest By Aliceyn Magelky

Father Al Bitz, retiring pastor of St. James Basilica, Jamestown, stands

in the sanctuary of the parish he has worked in for the past 11 years. He will retire from full-time service to the Diocese of Fargo at the end of June. (Photo by John M. Steiner – Jamestown Sun)


fter 45 years of service to the Diocese of Fargo, Father Longinus “Al” Bitz has been granted retirement from service in our area. Although serving in several different roles including pastor of a number of parishes, a part of the Diocese Tribunal office and as a member of several committees, most of his time was spent as pastor of St. James Basilica, Jamestown. For nearly 11 years, he used his “openness and honesty” to help bring to fruition his pastoral goal of unifying people and parish to the mission of the Church. “I was completely happy as Pastor of St. Leo’s in Casselton and St. Thomas in Buffalo. Then, I was approached about coming here. They were looking for a pastor that could be a unifier. Thus, I came with the mission of being a unifier,” said Father Al Bitz. For Father Bitz, having a real love of the people of the parish was required to achieve that mission. To love the people was a gift he prayed God would send him. And, it was a gift he felt he received soon in his ministry at the Basilica. “I knew that it indeed was a gift; a gift that was essential for an effective ministry of unity,” said Father Bitz. “My ministry began in love.” Indeed, some who have worked directly with Father Bitz have experienced elements of that love. Said Deacon Tom Geffre, chaplain for Ave Maria Village, Jamestown, “It always seems like no matter how difficult the problem is or may seem, he approaches it in a very loving manor. I have never heard him raise his voice about anything.” “He believed in me and had so much confidence in my abilities, especially when I doubted or questioned myself. Whenever I needed guidance, advice or simply needed someone to talk to as a friend, he was always there and no matter what, I always left his office feeling uplifted,” added Mark Wiest, principal for St. John’s Academy, Jamestown. Not only did Father Bitz tackle issues in a loving way, he used the respect and love he has for the people in the parish

and community to help them see their gifts. “My greatest joy has always been to help people see their gifts and develop them,” he said. “Furthermore, I invite people to use their gifts in the service of others so that our parishes really become participative, not only in liturgy, but also in daily life.” Addressing long-term building plans and developing a vision for the parish were among the many things, Father Bitz hoped to achieve in his time in Jamestown. But, his first concern was the liturgical life of the parish. “Vatican II had stated that the ‘participation of the people in the liturgy’ was the first principle in reforming the liturgy. It was from this experience of the one unifier and reconciler – Jesus Christ – that a unifying and reconciling parish would evolve. Our unity would be a great way of evangelizing the greater community,” Father Bitz stated. Another primary focus for Father Bitz during his tenure was encouraging each person at the parish to experience a retreat. “My next step was to help people have a retreat experience. Through these experiences, they would personally get to know Jesus, as well as their own giftedness,” commented Father Bitz. “I’m proud of the people that have availed themselves of a retreat experience. Many have become involved in weekly groupings and part of our faith formation, which has excellent leadership.” Also, Father Bitz is pleased with the continual growth seen annually at St. John’s Academy, the Catholic elementary school in Jamestown. He praised the administration at the school and the strong support of the community. Father Bitz has been eligible for retirement for six years, but had been putting it off until he made a final decision in midMarch to request retirement from the bishop. “It’s a bit of a double-edged sword,” said Father Bitz of retiring. “Once you realize you just have to slow down, you feel a great peace to accept and move on with that. The hard thing is always the people; people I wanted to get involved but didn’t quite get a chance to.” Father Bitz will be moving to Bismarck and work part-time with the University of Mary in the development office and with the Benedictine Sisters. Also, he will be on-call to assist with liturgies. “I will miss his energy. He seems to be going all the time,” commented Deacon Geffre. “I will miss the sense of unity that he accomplished here, not to say that won’t continue, but it still will be different.” In his farewell letter Father leaves these words to the parishioners he served, “May God the Eternal Father keep you in love with each other so that the peace of Christ may stay with you and always be in your domestic churches. May you always bear witness to the love of God in this world, so that the afflicted and the needy will always find in you generous friends and welcome you into the joys of heaven.” JUNE 2014





n May 17, Father William Sherman, pastor of St. professor emeritus there. Michael’s Catholic Church in Grand Forks from 1976- Father Sherman is also recognized for his interest in North 2003, received an honorary degree from the University Dakota’s ethnic history. He has written many books on the of North Dakota during its general spring commencement subject as well as others including: Prairie Mosaic: An Atlas of ceremony at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. St. Michael’s Rural North Dakota, Plain Folk: North Dakota’s Ethnic History, Catholic Church also hosted a public reception for Father African Americans in North Dakota, Prairie Peddlers: Sherman that evening. Syrian-Lebanese in North Dakota, Valerian Paczek: Polish Priest, This award is given to honor someone who spent many War Hero, A Written Celebration of Its Centennial, Wagons North: years in a specific field. Father Minnesota to Oregon, Selz, RusSherman was nominated by sia: Home Colony and Scattered the Department of SocioloSteeples: the Fargo Diocese. gy, an area which he studied, “One of things that taught as a professor and surprised me about North wrote many books. During Dakota is that there are so the ceremony he marched many Catholics here,” said before the graduates and was Father Sherman. “Oregon given the title Father Doctor is the least religious state in Sherman. the country. Religion is very “I admire and respect him,” private. When I was going said Pete Bouley, longtime to school in North Carolina, friend of Father Sherman there were 600 students in my since Father Sherman preclass. There were two Cathsided at Bouley and his wife olics, me and my brother. I Beth’s wedding in 1979. “He’s spent the rest of my life in a very genuine and warm perthis wide open space trying to Father William Sherman receives his honorary Doctor of Letters degree son. He’s become a very good from University of North Dakota by President Robert O. Kelley during figure out what made it differpersonal friend.” ent. Why would people come Spring Commencement held at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks on “Father Sherman is a pastor May 17. (Photo by Jacki Lorentz, University of North Dakota) here, why would they stay, of the people,” said Father how would it affect them, Gerald Braun, current pastor how would their thinking “Father Sherman is a pastor of change… I had very sharp students at St. Michael’s. “He continues to influence many people’s lives me research and dig into the people…. He continues to helping through his visits and weekly archives.” influence many people’s lives coffee outings at Perkins. He’s Further contributions to public good at calling people to reconservice and achievements include, an through his visits and weekly honorary doctorate of Leadership ciliation on the spot. He’s well coffee outings at Perkins.” known for that, whether they’re degree from the University of Mary, at a restaurant or his home.” the North Dakota State Historical Father Sherman was born in Detroit, and attended school in Society’s Heritage Profile Award, Service to Mankind Award Oregon, North Carolina and North Dakota. After high school, from the Greater Grand Forks Sertoma Club, and a stint as the he joined the Army when he was 17, serving in the Philippines National Chaplain for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. and Japan. When he returned, he went to St. John’s University He previously served as pastor in Sheldon, Alice, Enderlin, in Collegeville, Minn. It was there where he started thinking Fargo and Verona and most recently Grand Forks for 27 years. about becoming a priest. After his retirement, Father Sherman has kept active of He graduated from St. John’s University with a B.A. in sofering daily Mass in his private chapel at 4:00 p.m. every day. ciology and philosophy in 1951 and a Divinity Degree in 1955. People are welcome to attend Mass with him there. Each year Also in 1955, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Farhe leads a book study at UND during four weeks of Lent. Like go. Later, he earned a Master of Arts degree in sociology from any sociology professor, Father Sherman looks for input from the University of North Dakota in 1965. He taught Sociology those who attend by asking questions about what people would of Religion and Sociology of the Great Plains at North Dakota be like and what their life was like. State University in Fargo from 1971 to 2001, and is now a

JUNE 2014




Young Disciples launch into summer camps led across the diocese By Kristina Lahr


s summer approaches and schools come to a close, Young Disciples leapt into action May 26 to begin a series of week-long summer camps for elementary school children and evening teen missions for rural parishes and reservations throughout the Diocese of Fargo. This year there are 11 young adults on three different teams from North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Maryland. While these camps are certainly fun and educational, they also bring the energy and hope of the New Evangelization to young hearts that may not have many chances to encounter Christ on a level that speaks to them. “Our job is to proclaim the church and her teachings and to do it with such great love, gentleness and humility that these children that are searching for these truths can receive them and come to know the Lord,” said Katelyn Rogers from Ellicott City, Md. This year will be her second summer with Young Disciples. “What we’re doing this

summer is giving hope to parishes that have every reason to believe they’ve been forgotten about in rural areas,” said Chris Finneman, Fargo. “If you didn’t know

Gospel is alive and moving and not just something we have to keep the kids busy on Sundays.” “It’s not something old or something that doesn’t apply

Young Disciples take a break from their studies during their training held May 15-26 at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Fargo. Eleven young adults will form three teams this summer. (Photo by Anna Vanyo)

any better or have any direct vision of hope, you would come to believe that the church is dwindling, but that’s the biggest joke and the biggest lie ever. There’s a whole revival of young, beautiful, devout Catholics springing up. There’s a springtime in the Church, and we can’t even see it often times, so it’s our job to show that love and that the

to them,” agreed Rogers. “It affects them right here and right now. It’s their lives.” A typical camp day starts with the Young Disciple team in prayer for the students that will be participating that day. As the children arrive, they play a game that anyone can jump into at any point so everyone feels welcome and involved. Each day the chil-

dren have multiple lessons, pray a rosary, celebrate Mass and walk through the Mass stations to teach them about the different objects and statues in the church. “If there’s something in the church that they see every week and have no clue what it is, we can tell them. They need tangible things to learn,” said Rogers. Praying a rosary and attending Mass everyday might seem like too much to ask for a group of elementary aged children, but Chris and Katelyn disagree. “I think we can underestimate what children can understand and perceive,” said Finneman. “I don’t think anyone can really understand the grace of God, but children are very sensitive and intuitive to the presence of the Lord. As adults, we may not be pulling each other’s hair and making noises at Mass but often times we fade out and aren’t mentally there. Children often take things at face value. When they are in tune, they are really there.” Young Disciples will lead 24 summer camps through the end of July.

“HE’LL REMAIN WITH YOU, IF YOU REMAIN WITH HIM” During the JPII Baccalaureate Mass, Bishop John Folda encourages the 2014 graduating class of Shanley High School to enjoy faces and places they encounter as they embark on the next chapter of their life, but to remember these things, “…they can change, they can come and go, and yet Jesus stays the same. If you remain in him, if you walk with him, come what may, you will be on solid ground…” Bishop Folda’s entire homily can be found on the diocese website, (Photo by Aliceyn Magelky)

JUNE 2014




Principal Ralph Dyrness as his alter ego, the happy leprechaun, on St.

Patrick’s Day at St. Catherine’s in Valley City. He started the tradition of dressing up on St. Patrick’s Day for the kids to bring a little extra cheer to the community. Being part Irish, his mother always insisted that he celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. (Submitted photo)


fter 40 years of service to the Diocese of Fargo, St. Catherine Elementary School in Valley City will say goodbye to its principal, Ralph Dyrness as he retires at the end of June this year. Dyrness began his career in 1974 at St. James Elementary in New Rockford where he taught seventh and eighth graders. He then moved to St. Anthony in Fargo where he taught Religion and Social Studies in the Junior High. He returned to St. James in 1981 as the Principal and classroom teacher and in 1986 went to St. Catherine in Valley City, as principal. The last 28 years of his career were in Valley City. “Each parish I worked in brought similar memories with the faculty, students and parents,” said Dyrness. “In New Rockford I knew the family names from when I was a youth in the town. I recall when I interviewed for the position most of the questions were inquiries of how my parents, brothers and sister were doing. Some of my students were children of families that were close to my family and some were children of relatives of mine which made them my relative. It was a very loving and caring group of school families.” Dyrness added, “Teaching at St. Anthony was unique in that the community was much larger. You would think there would be little personal connections, but there was a closeness to fellow teachers and to families that still remain. Another

uniqueness being there was the opportunity to get involved with Diocesan level organizations. I recall learning much about Liturgy by being on the Diocesan Liturgical Commission.” Dyrness spent the larger part of his career as principal at St. Catherine’s where he was also involved in the Religious Education program. During this time he grew deeply in his faith because of a number of retreats, marriage enrichment, Cursillo groupings and Life in the Spirit seminars. Besides his wife, Jean who will also be retiring in June, and his children, Dyrness says the biggest impact on his life has been the men and women of faith that have helped him grow and continue to live out his faith on a daily basis. “I have been influenced by pastors and religious which have also impacted how I try to live my life as a husband and father which impacted how I managed in a school setting as teacher and administrator,” he said. Some of his best memories of being in the Catholic Schools’ system are of families, students and alumni that have shown his family love and care. He also remembers fondly the times when he has seen the benefits of attending Catholic schools beyond academics. “I believe we continue to do an exceptional job of educating the children who attend St. Catherine Elementary,” Dyrness said. “However, what most brings me to tears and a smile is the love that is shown and the faith that is growing among the families directly involved with this parish school. I had a young man leave me a phone message several years ago on his memory of St. Patrick’s Day at St. Catherine School. I still have that message on my phone and when I need a lift I play that message. He had to have experienced something more than just academic success to leave the heartfelt message that to this day brings a big smile to my face.” Dyrness and his wife plan to stay in Valley City upon retirement. They hope to give back to the parish and community that has welcomed and given them much love, friendship and compassion over the last 28 years. Their four children and two granddaughters live within driving distance and will now become a greater focus for them as well. “I am confident that there is nothing more important in the life of a child than to begin developing a faith life that can grow,” Dyrness said. “This must be integral to any Catholic education program. The greatest gift and duty of a parent and educator, as one of my daughters pointed out, is to help the children develop a relationship with Christ.” Dyrness leaves this piece of advice for principals, teachers and anyone who works in education. “The only advice I would leave involves two words, love and service. We must constantly be at the service of our colleagues, our children and parents and it must be service out of love, unconditional love that models a love relationship with Christ. Praise Him!”


JUNE 2014





uperintendent Dr. Michael Smith and the nine member Principal Search Committee, recently appointed Sarah Crary as the new principal of Shanley High School. Crary replaces Ed Mitchell who had been with the school for about a year. Mitchell has accepted a position as the Technology Director for the West Fargo School district. A native of Fargo and a 1998 alumna of Shanley High School, Crary received her Bachelors of Science from Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), Moorhead, Minn. Later she received her Masters in Science from MSUM, and now she is pursuing her Doctorate from University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. Crary comes to Shanley after seven years of service to Fargo Public Schools where she taught in the Social Science Department at South High including courses in AP Psychology and AP US History. She has served as a Using

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By Aliceyn Magelky


A reflection of Bishop Folda’s first year in the diocese


Bishop John Folda attended the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishop’s Conference for New Bishops Sept. 10 through 19 in Rome. The biggest highlight of the trip was the opportunity to meet Pope Francis. (Photo by L’Osservatore Romano)


une 19 marks the one-year anniversary of the day the Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt, Archbishop of St. Paul & Minneapolis, laid his hands on then, Monsignor John Folda of the Diocese of Lincoln, invoking the Holy Spirit and consecrating him to service as the Bishop of Fargo. Several hundred Catholics and non-Catholics alike witnessed, either in person or through television and Catholic radio this glorious scene which they had been praying to experience for months. “From the first moment of my arrival, I was touched by your kindness, your promises of prayers – keep those up please – and for your deep faith,” commented Bishop John Folda during his ordination remarks. “I am truly

looking forward to our journey together as we make our way through the joys and challenges of this still new century and millennium and strive to draw always closer to our Lord Jesus Christ. I am all yours, and I promise to give all that I have and all that I am in your service.” “…I look forward to joining everyone here in walking with Christ, building with Christ and proclaiming Christ to all. I cannot think of a more wonderful privilege, or a more joyful adventure.” And, what an adventure! During his first year, Bishop Folda set out to accomplish several things including “getting around to as many parishes as possible, meeting the people of the diocese, letting them get to know me and

beginning a relationship with the faithful.” In one of his first acts as bishop towards reaching those goals, Bishop Folda sent a letter to each priest of the diocese inviting them to get in touch with him. In that letter he offered each one of them an opportunity to visit either in person or via phone or email. “I was delighted that many did come forward and made arrangements quickly to meet, said Bishop Folda. “I felt like I was starting to develop a relationship and a friendship with the priests, which is very important to me.” Additionally, Bishop Folda made immediate arrangements to reach out to the people of the diocese in their hometowns and parishes. “I really wanted to get to know the diocese, not just on paper from a distance, but really start to get around the diocese. I had asked before my ordination that regional Masses be scheduled, first Jamestown, Devils Lake and then Grand Forks.” Since those first regional Masses, Bishop Folda has traveled to the far reaches of the diocese visiting parishes, attending deanery meetings, presiding during Masses and celebrating Confirmations and other milestones. Still, he desires to do more. In particular, Bishop Folda has enjoyed the interaction with young people. “A lot of what I’ve been doing is getting around the diocese and meeting as many people as I can. I’m now in the middle of confirmation celebrations. That’s been a beautiful opportunity for me to see and meet more people. I’ve done a number of school visits both in Fargo and outside the metro area. Having been a teacher in the past, those opportunities have been great because I’ve always enjoyed

Left Photo: As a strong advocate for Catholic education, Bishop Folda made a point this first year to visit Catholic schools of the diocese. Here, he greets fourth grade students from Holy Spirit School, Fargo.

Right Photo: Bishop John Folda shares a laugh with golfers Jack Kennelly and Monsignor Joseph Goering before they embark on the annual Putt 4 a Purpose golf scramble. The event raises money to support seminarian education and youth programs within the diocese. (Submitted photos)

working with young people. It’s nice to continue that.” Additionally, Bishop Folda has been able to use that teaching background his first year by presenting on the life of the church from the Middle Ages to Reformation during the Faith through the Ages series held last summer. Also, he presented a session on Spirituality and the Church in which he discussed the “riches of Catholic spiritual life for the ordinary believer and the Catholic community” during the Catholic Collage held this past February in Fargo. “I enjoy that part of my ministry. You see the desire to learn more and the curiosity, the questions. My love for the faith and desire to share it with others makes that experience wonderful. I love being able to foster the faith of our people.” Another highlight for Bishop Folda this past year was a 10-day colloquium sponsored by the Holy See in Rome with other newly appointed bishops. During that visit, he

had a chance to interact with other bishops, learn from current cardinals and bishops and celebrate Mass at the Tomb of St. Peter. “It was a marvelous way to be initiated into this new service to the church. I felt a real sense of solidarity with other bishops.” The brightest spot from that trip for Bishop Folda was an audience with Pope Francis. “He’s exactly as we’ve

come to know him in public media – he’s very prayerful, warm and open, but he can be very serious. He challenged us but clearly communicated his support for us as bishops. It was a real privilege to gain his counsel and his wisdom.” Later, Bishop Folda had an opportunity to further his connection and brotherhood with fellow bishops by attending the fall meeting of the United State Conference

of Catholic Bishops. While there, he was appointed to the Administrative Committee. This past March he attended his first committee meeting. “It has given me a broader perspective on the activities of the Church, and I have an opportunity to deal with issues more immediately. It’s nice being able to bring the perspective of the Diocese of Fargo to those meetings.” Unfortunately, not all of Bishop Folda’s experiences this past year were positive. Not long after returning from Rome, Bishop Folda started feeling sick and experiencing flu-like symptoms. Medical tests confirmed he had contracted Hepatitis A, likely from contaminated berries served during his Rome visit. “For three to four weeks, I was pretty much out of commission,” he said. That meant cancelling appointments and postponing work. And, what might have been a private period in someone else’s life, turned into a media frenzy. Although frustrated by his inability to get things accomplished as planned, Bishop Folda’s greatest

Left Photo: Bishop John Folda with three seminarians, from left to right, JT Kennelly, Jayson Miller and Scott Karnik after celebrating Mass during a retreat held this past August.

Right Photo: Bishop John Folda prays with a group of North Dakota students during the March for Life rally on Jan. 22, 2014. This trip was the first time Bishop Folda attended the event since his days as a seminarian. (Photo submitted by Gretchen Noah)

JUNE 2014


COVER STORY concern during that time was that someone he had encountered may contract the illness. Thankfully, no one has become sick. And several months later, Bishop Folda says he feels no residual effects. “All things considered I could have been far sicker, and I am grateful that I recovered so quickly. People were extraordinarily kind. I know I was the recipient of many, many prayers and kind thoughts. People were very concerned for my well-being and that was very humbling.” Although frustrated by this delay in his ministry and work for the first year, Bishop Folda was reminded we are not in total control of our lives, and we may need to give up our control of certain things. “It forced me to slow down, which I wasn’t crazy about because the last thing I wanted to be doing was sitting around. But, it did teach me patience. And, it reminded me that there are many, many people praying for me.” What didn’t catch the secular media’s attention were some of the very positive things happening around the diocese such as celebrating the sanctity and beauty of life first on a local level during the annual Walk for Life Eucharistic procession held in Fargo this past October, and then on a national level during the annual March for Life commemorating the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade in the nation’s capital. “I have mixed emotions about these events. No one is happy that we have to carry on with them year after year, because no one is happy that abortion still continues. But, it is very uplifting, that so many are willing to stand up to witness for life. I was very inspired by the young people JUNE 2014


and the adults that attended.” Secondly, Bishop Folda is very excited about the work going on in Catholic education this past year, specifically the new Catholic elementary school being built in West Fargo. “Trinity School is the first new elementary school that’s been established in many decades. Catholic education is very close to my heart, and I want to encourage it in any way I can.” Furthermore, Bishop Folda continues to stay involved with seminarians of our diocese as much as possible. “My love for seminarians was well established before I came here. It was a blessing to have an immediate opportunity to spend time with them. It gave me a chance to be with zealous and prayerful young guys.” With the first year nearly behind him, Bishop Folda looks forward to fulfilling the things he started on his first day as bishop. “I really am committed to visiting every parish in the diocese, not only the main parishes but mission parishes too. I want to celebrate Mass in every one.” Also, this coming year plans are developing to celebrate marriage and family, especially as it pertains to the upcoming Synod of Bishops meeting scheduled for October on that subject. “It seems like an opportune moment for our diocese to grow in our own understanding of the Church’s teachings on marriage and family life and to address the challenges we are facing. It’s a pretty significant initiative to take on.” In addition to a celebration of marriage and family, the Diocese of Fargo will commemorate the 125th

Bishop John Folda greets Mathias McAllister, 8, during Confirmation Mass held May 7 at Holy Spirit parish, Fargo. He celebrated several Confirmation Masses and 1st Holy Communion throughout the diocese. (Photo by Mark McAllister)

Bishop John Folda greets a member of the S.O.L.T. community during the Solemn Vespers the eve of his ordination. His smile reflects the joy he has meeting the people of the diocese. (Photo by Dave Arntson, Milestones Photography)

Bishop of Fargo John Folda is wrapped in a star quilt that was given to him as a gift from the Tekakwitha conference organizers. The star on the quilt symbolizes Jesus’ mother Mary, the “morning star.” Being wrapped in the quilt symbolizes being wrapped in the loving and protective mantle of Mary. (Photo by Deacon Joe Krupinsky, Diocese of Bismarck)

anniversary of its establishment. Bishop Folda hopes the people of the diocese “can observe that anniversary in a way that will help us know our heritage as a diocese and share the faith with others.” Furthermore, Bishop Folda anticipates work surrounding the Human Life Amendment, which will appear before North Dakota voters in November. “I think the church’s involvement in that movement will continue to grow in the months to come. It’s not strictly a religious issue, but the Church has had a long history of supporting the right to life.” The work surrounding Catholic education and the

completion of the new Trinity Elementary School will continue to be a priority for Bishop Folda as well. Along with Catholic education, Bishop Folda will focus his energy on supporting and encouraging vocations to the priesthood and religious life. “To be able to focus on religious and priestly vocations will be paramount on my list of priorities for as long as the Lord gives me. It’s very important to me. I especially want to do everything I can to support our seminarians as they approach their own ordination to priesthood.” Most importantly, all of these endeavors feed into Bish-

op Folda’s role in the New Evangelization. Bishop Folda hopes this effort “will show the richness of our faith to the people of our community, those within the Church and beyond. Hopefully the New Evangelization will also invite people of every walk of life to become part of our community of faith and allow them to discover for themselves the faith in Christ that we have received as a gift.”

Bishop John Folda operates an excavator during the ceremonial groundbreaking of Trinity Elementary School and Holy Cross parish, West Fargo, this past April. “This is not something they teach you in seminary,” joked Bishop Folda.

Bishop Folda Invites You To

Bishop’s Charity Golf Classic Monday, August 4, 2014 Rose Creek Golf Course • Fargo, ND

On Oct 6, 2013, Bishop John Folda led his first Walk with Christ for Life Eucharistic procession through downtown Fargo. Bishop Folda intends to continue to strongly reinforce the “church’s long history of supporting a right to life.”

In the background you see Bishop John Folda sitting between Bishop David Kagan, Bismarck Diocese and Bishop Paul Zipfel, Bishop Emeritus of the Bismarck Diocese participating in a prayer service lead by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York seen in the foreground. Cardinal Dolan was the keynote speaker and honored guest at the 2013 THIRST Conference co-sponsored by the University of Mary and Bismarck Diocese. Monsignor James Shea, president of the university, also is pictured here.

11:00 a.m. – Registration 12:30 a.m. – Shotgun Start 5:30 p.m. – Social 6:00 p.m. – Banquet

Proceeds will benefit seminarian education and youth programs within the Diocese of Fargo. For more information, please contact: Brenda Hagemeier • 701.356.7928 Visit

Bishop Folda is looking forward to meeting and greeting all golf participants!

JUNE 2014


“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.” ~Psalm 103:13

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

JUNE 2014




Portrait painter uses God-given talent to ‘bring joy and beauty to the world’ By Aliceyn Magelky

Elizabeth Schwankl sits in her basement studio surrounded by projects. As the owner of ARTrends Gallery, Schwankl provides a vast array of services using a wide variety of media, including painting the bishops’ portraits. Most recently, she has been working to restore discarded and damaged Catholic statues such as the one of St. Joseph pictured behind her. (Photos by Aliceyn Magelky)


rowing up in Barnesville, Minn., artist Elizabeth Schwankl and her four siblings led what she calls an idyllic life. “I have lots of very positive memories of the farm and living on the edge of town,” said Schwankl. “Mom and Dad were always there. Mom had meals ready for lunch and dinner. Everyone was home for it. It was such a tight knit family unit.” And, at the center of that close family was the Church. “My parents gave me the most important thing in life, the faith. I went to a Catholic grade school in Barnesville. We said the Rosary together every night as a family.” But, that world changed

for Schwankl at a young age. Both her parents had passed away from cancer before she started college. “We stayed in my parents’ house. My brother, who had been living on his own in Fargo, came back home and was legal guardian of my youngest sister. I took on the mother role of cooking and cleaning,” Schwankl recalled. Although she had a solid foundation in her faith, her parents’ death, and, like many other people, the subsequent disappointments in life produced a cloud of doubt. But, she says she has never lost her faith thanks to a miracle she said she experienced during her first reconciliation. “I was sitting in a pew by

myself when a woman sat next to me. When I looked closer, it was my grandma who was in California at the time. She asked if it was my first confession. I said, ‘yes,’ and she said, ‘let’s pray together.’ After our prayer, I had no apprehension and said my confession. After I left the confessional I looked for the woman. I asked my sister, who had brought me there, ‘where’s Grandma?’ She said, ‘Grandma’s not here.’ After that, I could never lose my faith.” It’s that divine inspiration and perhaps a bit of her father’s entrepreneurial spirit that allowed Schwankl to take chances and grow into her artistic vocation. A self-taught artist, Schwankl hadn’t planned on a career as an artist. But, when her boys were young she started painting watercolor pieces for herself as a hobby. As a friend asked about them, she started thinking about the possibility of making art her profession. She started selling small pieces to galleries in Fargo and area art shows. “I had my very first show in Battle Lake, Minn. I got commissioned for a big piece while there. My in-laws drove by and I screamed ‘I sold a piece’ then I got instantly embarrassed.” Her success continued and her career started to take flight. “God had given me a talent; I needed to use it,” commented Schwankl. Early on, she was creating watercolor paintings for

individuals. Never had she thought she would be painting portraits. But, God had other plans. “My aunt used to ask me, ‘wouldn’t you like to paint people?’ My response was always ‘no.’ But, one day I got a call [from the diocese] asking if I would be willing to paint the bishop. I knew I needed to do it. So, I said, ‘ok, Lord give me the grace to do this.’ My aunt had passed, but I knew she was smiling down on me,” Schwankl remembered. The subject for that painting was Bishop James Sullivan. Schwankl went on to complete a portrait of Archbishop Samuel Aquila. And, on May 8, 2014, she unveiled her third bishop painting of Bishop John Folda during the annual Shanley High School, Fargo, student art show award ceremony. Schwankl helped judge the competition. Overtime Schwankl continued to let the Holy Spirit work in her, and she accepted an invitation to serve on the Core Building and Liturgical Devotional Committees for the building of Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church, Fargo. Schwankl spent nearly four years serving on those committees to help make decisions on every design aspect of the building. “Every meeting was very exciting for me. What a very historical thing to be part of,” said Schwankl. After serving on those committees, God presented another opportunity to allow

cont. on page 22 JUNE 2014



Bishop John Folda stands next to his portrait painted by local artist, Elizabeth Schwankl. The painting was unveiled on May 8 at Shanley High School, Fargo. This portrait is the third one of its kind that Schwankl has been commissioned to complete for the diocese.

ARTIST PROFILE -cont. from page 21

her talents to flourish. She was asked to paint the mural that appears in the parish’s Grief Shrine. This project came at a particular difficult time in Schwankl’s marriage, and the work provided solace and healing. “I told Father that it was the best job that I ever had,” continued Schwankl. “I worked when Tim Mosser would play his heart out and sing. It was like having my own private concert. My only complaint was I had tears coming down my cheeks and couldn’t see to work.”

Earlier, another project for the church led her to discover another way to use art to enrich lives; repairing worn and damaged statues. “Father asked me to repaint a statue of Mary,” said Schwankl. Eventually more and more people and parishes turned to Schwankl to repair their beloved statues. “I got commissioned to repair a large Sacred Heart statue,” noted Schwankl. “After that [project] people started coming to me to fix their statues. I had a year and a half worth of work. I love the work, and I’m good at it.

Without having people do what I do in this restoration, statues have been taken out, buried and forever lost.” Currently, Schwankl is working on the restoration of a statue of St. Joseph and the Sacred Heart of Jesus for Holy Cross parish, West Fargo. Despite trials in her life, Schwankl knows God continues to be with her in her art and her life. “God inspires me in all I create. I don’t know how else to describe how ideas come into my head out of seemingly nowhere,” com-

mented Schwankl. Schwankl’s work has earned much recognition in regional and national art exhibitions. Though her list of accomplishments goes on and on, Schwankl recognizes the simplicity in the gift she has been given. “Anything that is beautiful is divinely given to us. If we don’t have it to enrich our life, there is a hole in our heart. God intends us to see beauty. If anyone is called to a career in art, they have a responsibility to check it out. The arts bring joy and beauty to the world.”

Schwankl has been commissioned to create many things around the diocese, including this pictured 15’x19’ mural. The mural is part of the Grief Shrine inside Sts. Anne and Joachim parish, Fargo.

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

JUNE 2014


Or, IN MEMORY OF: Name________________________________________________ I would like this listed at the end of the TV Mass on this date(s): ______________________________________________________



Stay up to date with what’s going on around the Diocese June 10, 24 and July 8, 22 (Tuesdays)

Piano Talk Concerts performed by Brent Hermans. He will be playing the piano with some vocal cameos and often plays popular music from different eras. The performances will be from 7:30 p.m. at St. John the Evangelist, Grafton. A free will offering helps keep faith formation costs low. Email Brent Hermans at:

June 13 (Friday)

Magnificat Retreat. Come strengthen your life in Christ through Kathleen Beckman’s witness and teaching as she prepares us to “put on the armor of God” at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:00 p.m. at St. Agnes Parish, 201 Division St. Walker, Minn. Cost is $15.00.

June 14 (Saturday)

Healing Retreat. Kathleen Beckman will offer a healing retreat at St. Agnes Parish 201 Division St. Walker, MN. The day will start with fellowship at 8:00 a.m.; Mass at 8:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast and light lunch. Cost is $20.00.

June 14 (Saturday)

Prayer and Discernment Day.

For single men and women ages 16 and older. Come to Maryvale where you will be in an atmosphere of prayer and discernment to vocation and other decisions in your life. Suggested donation $25. Email dorothy.bunce@ or call (701) 845-2865.

June 14-21 (Saturday-Saturday) June 21-27 (Saturday-Saturday)

JMI Summer Camp in Warsaw. The Franciscans of Mary Immaculate will be hosting the JMI Summer Camp for faith, friends and fun all in one! For ages 10-17. The boys camp will be held June 14-21 and girls camp June 21-27. No cost, free-will donation. See, email at or call Father Joseph at (701) 248-3020.

June 21 (Saturday)

Corpus Christi Celebration in Dazey. Come to St. Mary’s in Dazey to celebrate Corpus Christi Sunday. Contact Margaret Wieland at (701) 733-2253.

June 22 (Sunday)

Corpus Christi. St. John Nepomucene Church, Pisek will celebrate Corpus Christi with a 10:30 a.m. Mass followed by an outdoor Corpus


Alice Puhr, a long time resident of Fingal and a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church celebrated her 95th birthday on May 21. She was married to John C. Puhr for 58 years until his passing in 1999. Today, she resides at her apartment in Enderlin. She raised six children on a farm near Fingal. Her family feels blessed to have “Mom” living close as she enjoys visits from all relatives and friends.

Christi procession and potluck dinner.

June 25 (Wednesday)

Welcome for Nigerian Bishop. St. John Nepomucene Church, Pisek will welcome Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor at 6:00 p.m. Mass followed by supper and social time.

June 29 (Sunday)

Sts. Peter and Paul Feast. The parish of Sts. Peter & Paul of Bechyne, will celebrate the feast of their patron saints as well as the 128th anniversary of the rural Lankin Parish. A Heritage Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m., followed by a meal of Czech ethnic food and old time music at the Bechyne Heritage Hall.

July 11-13 (Friday-Sunday)

Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat in Hankinson. Rachel’s Vineyard offers a safe, non-judgmental, and confidential weekend retreat for anyone: women, men, grandparents and siblings who struggle with the feelings of loss that can accompany an abortion experience. For more information, or to register, please call Ruth Ruch at (701) 219-3941 or email her at All calls are confidential.

July 18-20 (Friday-Sunday)

Women’s Retreat in Maryvale, Valley City. During this weekend we will meditate on the experience of the Samaritan woman who comes upon the man, Jesus, at the well. As we pray the Gospel of John 4:442, we will declare Jesus as the Messiah and the Savior of the world. Suggested donation: $85.00.

July 20 (Sunday)

Love and Life Celebration at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Grand Forks for engaged and married couples. The celebration will begin with Mass at 5 p.m. followed by a potluck dinner. Please bring a dish to share; meat, buns and beverage are provided. Father Jason Lefor will provide a presentation on male/female complimentarity. Childcare provided during the presentation. For more information contact Cheryl Granger, 701-8473093 or mamagranger4u@ To submit events for New Earth and the diocesan website, send information to: New Earth, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S., Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104-7605 or email The deadline for the July/August New Earth is July 9.


As a way to celebrate life and love, we encourage parishioners throughout the Diocese of Fargo to send photos of anniversaries of 60 or more years, or birthdays of 80 or more years to: New Earth, Diocese of Fargo, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S., Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104-7605 or

For more news and events, visit the “News and Events” section of the diocesan website:



Catechists across the diocese are invited to experience

The Joy of the Catechist during one of two, one-day retreats presented by Father Andrew Jasinski. Father Jasinski will direct the group on a series of talks on the joy of the catechists taken from Pope Francis’ exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium or Joy of the Gospel. This retreat is for anyone who is involved with Catechesis, who directs or coordinates religious education programs or who teaches children and adults. Choose one of two dates to attend: Aug. 16 at Park River Bible Camp just outside Park River or Aug. 22 at the Maryvale Provincial Center, Valley City. Each day will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. It will include Father Jasinski’s presentations as well as Mass, lunch and time for sharing and reflection. Please register online at and be sure to select desired retreat location. A minimum of 12 participants must register for each retreat or it will be cancelled. Deadline for the retreat at Park River Bible Camp is Aug. 1. And, the deadline for the retreat at the Valley City site is Aug. 7. Registration fee is $20 per person. Credit cards can be accepted for payment.


Join Father Ross Laframboise through the Diocese of Fargo Young Disciples Apostolate for a young adult pilgrimage to France this summer. This pilgrimage is open to all young adults ages 19-40. The dates are August 3-11 with a price of $2,282. The pilgrimage includes Paris, Lisieux, Versailles, Lourdes and a hiking day trip in the Pyrenees mountains. Call Mary Hanbury at 701-356-7909 or check out the Young Disciples web site at for more details.


Youth in grades nine through 12 from across the Diocese of

Fargo are invited to participate in the 42nd annual March for Life in Washington D.C. on Jan. 22, 2015. This is a special year for youth to pilgrimage for life as they will have the privilege of carrying the lead banner for the 2015 March for Life along with other students from our state’s Catholic high schools. The pilgrimage will begin in Fargo on Jan. 18 and return Jan. 23. Father Kurt Gunwall, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Fargo, will be the spiritual director. In addition to participating in the March and the Vigil Mass for Life at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, youth will also travel to Emmitsburg,

JUNE 2014


Md. to visit the Mother Seton Shrine and see the sights of our nation’s capital. The cost for the six-day pilgrimage is $830 and includes air and ground travel, lodging, meals and tour fees. Registration forms can be found at Deadline for registration is Oct. 18. For more information, contact Rachelle at (701) 356-7910 or


The following news item, compiled by Dorothy Duchschere, was found in the April 1964 issue of Catholic Action News, the predecessor to New Earth. Father George Mehok was pastor of St. John’s parish in Wahpeton from 1948 to 1987, the year he retired. He passed away in 1994 at the age of 82.

50 Years Ago....1964 Versus Populum - A New Experience -

By Father George Mehok We offered Mass recently facing the people or versus

populum, as they used to say. It is an enlightening experience all the way around - for the priest, people and servers. None of the problems we had anticipated materialized. To be sure, one of the parishioners, coming in at the Offertory, stood immobilized, with a slight droop to her handbag, to find the celebrant facing her when he should have properly had his back turned. We had expected to be distracted by the youngsters up front, within reach of our bifocals. One had the feeling that one was being watched, but this is where we have been trying to center attention for years. Not even the lady with the droopy handbag caused any sidelong glances, although this may have been her scheduled time of entrance. At any rate it was a calm congregation from second-graders to septuagenarians. Being a practical people, one wonders, after such an experience, why we are so impractical in our public worship. We shroud the people’s Mass in mystery by huddling at one end of the church like football players afraid of revealing their signals. Then we have a “dry” Mass for the study groups to explain the Mass. We proclaim the gospel in Latin and then duplicate the effort by proclaiming it in English. We appeal for money in the vernacular and ask the people to praise God in a language which, while God understands it, is beyond the comprehension of most worshippers. Children are quite perceptive in these matters. When asked their impression of a Mass facing them, they noted that for the first time they witnessed the breaking of the bread - the entire Eucharistic Service. The altar servers, apprehensive about some new rubrics, quickly made the adjustment, as the young usually do. A limited experience and some observation indicate a ready and enthusiastic acceptance by the congregation, of a Mass facing the people. The people we talked to are pleased with such an arrangement.


PATH TO SERVE GOD, PRIESTHOOD OFTEN NOT LINEAR One seminarian’s journey filled with lots of ups and downs Seminarian Life - Bob Suszka


y vocation came in the form of a question. I was traveling with my grandpa and was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up. Well, I was showing an interest in the priesthood. I served Mass and went to religion classes. My love for the faith was being fed and even took the tractor to class when there was no ride.  The innocence of my youth prompted me to apply for my home diocese at 19. I was a farm kid with faith, but the simplicity of faith was rejected with no explanation. That lack of an explanation put my life in a tailspin. I had a bout with depression and a complete lack of direction.  After I picked up the pieces, I went to the barn and milked cows, learned more about my faith and got involved in parish life. After almost three years of working on various farms, I applied to attend NDSU. When I got to college, I got involved with St. Paul’s Newman Center and met Father Paul Duchschere.  My time at the Newman Center was great! I met people who are still my friends to this day. My life in faith was going well, but my academic life was the total opposite. I made the remark that if drinking vodka and playing blackjack was a class, I would have made the Dean’s list. After leaving Fargo the first time, I went back to the barn. Those two years passed and life was pretty ordinary. I farmed for others and for myself, but low milk prices and frustration brought me back to Fargo. My second tour of NDSU was better than the first. I suppose time changes everything. Most of my friends had moved on, Father Paul had moved, and I met Father Cheney.  The second tour was easier than the first, but the immaturity from the first tour sunk me again. However, in the time spent there, I was moved by a monk of Assumption Abbey and became interested in their life. I visited the abbey in February of 2006 and participated in a live-in weekend there. The seeds of a vocation were being watered, but “where?” was the question. I finished out that year of school and started working retail. Later, I went home and spent my days on the farm; helping my dad and working out. The farm had more than enough work but not enough for two incomes. I called on a herdsman’s job and got it at double the pay of retail. I kept living a life in faith. I liked my work and my life. Then, I got offered what most farming sons would want, a chance to come home. I went home and farmed through the lowest prices. My faith life was shaken; I could have gone to Mass and chose not to. Eighteen months later with a broken spirit and a broken relationship with Dad, I quit. I did some traveling, but nothing was going well. I did not like Dad’s behavior and hated what was going on in the west. I came back and picked up a herd of cows and started over as a herdsman. I still liked milking, but it was not satisfying any-

more. In that time, a deacon friend of mine and another friend came to see me. I had some personal issues to tend to, but the visit from my two friends lead me to a place called Blue Cloud Abbey. Benedictine life had appeal to me, and it was a small place. I applied to be an associate and was accepted. I lived there three months and felt drawn to the community, so I applied. However, the attraction has to be mutual, and the community did not accept me. After the monastery, I went home and took a part-time job near Rollag. This decision meant moving to northwest Minnesota, but the work was easy, and I was alone. I loved my work, but I desired more. After a month in my new job, I went to Mass in Hawley and found a parish that filled my spiritual life again. When I saw the schedule, I was excited to see a chance to go to daily Mass. And, there was a bible study and people who were excited about their faith. After being back in the area a few more weeks, I called Father Cheney and went to lunch with him. We had a great visit. During our visit, he asked me if he could contact Father Kurt Gunwall, Diocese of Fargo Vocation Director, for me. I consented. Father Kurt and I visited, prayed for my vocation and kept in touch. I had learned of a trip planned to visit Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. I had a snowmobile trip planned earlier in the year, so I wasn’t sure how I was going make both trips. Fortunately, after a short discussion, my boss gave his consent to go on both trips. Five of us made the trip. When I left, I was nervous. I was taking a step into the unknown. But, Sacred Heart answered my concerns and fears. I could not wait to go back. After the trip, I called Father Gunwall and asked to apply on behalf of the Diocese of Fargo. The seeds that were planted as a child fell on good ground after all. I have never regretted applying to the diocese. The process brought my fears to an end, made me look back on my past to which I shed a few tears. My application took a bit longer than most as we experienced a change in bishop, but it only made me realize more fully that God calls on his time and not ours. Suszka will be a first year seminarian at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Mich. He is originally from Little Falls, Minn and now lives in Hawley, Minn. Editor’s Note: Seminarian Life is a monthly column written by current Diocese of Fargo seminarians. It gives New Earth readers an opportunity to get a glimpse of what these discerning young men are experiencing. Let us know if there is something you would like to know about the life of a seminarian. Perhaps, it will inspire an article from one of them.

JUNE 2014




As part of their formation and preparation for priesthood, Diocese of Fargo seminarians spend summers working alongside priests in our parishes. Seminarians not assigned have an opportunity to work summer jobs or attend other formation programs throughout the summer.Please welcome the following seminarians to your parish. And, continue to pray for them. Deacon Kyle Metzger, Theology III, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md. – assigned to St. John’s Catholic Church in Wahpeton. Deacon William Slattery, Theology III, Pontifical North American College, Rome – assigned to St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Valley City. Robert Keller, Theology II, St. John Vianney Seminary, Denver, Colo. – assigned to St. John the Evangelist’s Catholic Church in Grafton. Paul Kuhn, Theology II, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md. – assigned to St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Valley City. Patrick Parks, Theology II, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md. – assigned to St. James Basilica in Jamestown. Steven Wirth, Theology II, St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. – assigned to St. Philip Neri’s Catholic Church in Napoleon.




Lord Jesus, I ask your special blessing on all young men preparing for the priesthood in our seminaries. I pray that they will grow in faith, hope, and charity. May their hearts overflow with your compassion, understanding, and generosity, and may their desire to serve you inspire others to answer your call. Lord, give our seminarians the grace to follow you more perfectly. When they are lonely or discouraged, fill them with your peace. Jesus meek and humble of heart, make the hearts of our seminarians like yours. Amen.

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EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE INVOLVED IN FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING Don’t let competing ideologies get in way of action Catholic Action – Christopher Dodson


vents overseas, like Concerned Women of America, an organization that opposthe kidnapping of es abortion and perceived as leaning “politically right” has been schoolgirls in Nigeria, a leader in the fight against human trafficking. Its presence and and troubling news of forced resources should be welcomed by women’s groups that support prostitution occurring around abortion rights and lean “politically left.” Labor unions conNorth Dakota’s oil fields have cerned about the exploitation of workers should find common brought renewed attention ground with libertarian-leaning activists opposed to the denial to the problem of human of liberty posed by traffickers. Feminist groups should find trafficking. Human trafficking common ground with Evangelical Christians troubled by the is a modern form of slavery. It pervasiveness of pornography, especially involving children, is the recruitment, harboring, that fuels the human trafficking machine. transportation, provision or As it happens too often in politics, however, competing obtaining of a person by force, ideologies and agendas can get in the way. Some groups refuse fraud or coercion, for the pur- to work with each other because of differing views on legalpose of sexual exploitation, ization of prostitution. Differences on whether sex-selection forced labor or the taking of abortions contribute to sex trafficking cause some groups to human organs. It is an issue that must be fought at every level, view each other with suspicion. Some individuals insist that not just locally and internationally, but also across every aspect addressing human trafficking cannot move forward unless the of life, whether including law, culture or religion. problem of illegal immigration is solved, although the two are The Catholic Church has long condemned human traffickseparate issues. ing and established social services to help its victims. At the Perhaps the most troubling example of politics and ideolosame time, she has called for laws against human trafficking gy interfering with fighting human trafficking was committed and changes in social systems to address the root causes of by the Obama Administration. For years, the United States human trafficking. The Fathers of the Vatican II, reaffirmed Conference of Catholic Bishops received a federal grant to the Church’s historic concern about forced labor, stating “slav- provide needed services victims of human trafficking. In 2011 ery, prostitution, the selling of women the Administration, however, refused “An estimated 17,000 men, women to renew the grant solely because the and children, and disgraceful working and children are trafficked across our USCCB (United States Conference of conditions where people are treated as borders each year. Voices are calling for Catholic Bishops) would not provide mere tools for profit, rather than as free new legislation at the federal and state abortion referrals and contraception to and responsible persons” are “infamies” levels. Let’s pray that we can put petty the victims, something that was never because they are an affront to the very nature of the human person. The U.S. differences aside and work together to previously required. Conference of Catholic Bishops played The USCCB used its expertise to end modern slavery.” an important role in getting the Traffickstart a new program, one more foing Victims Protection Act of 2000 passed and implemented, cused on identifying and helping victims within their commuand contracted with the federal government to provide services nities, unencumbered by politics. It also allows them to work to the victims of human trafficking. with other religious and social organizations in the type of In 2008 the North Dakota Catholic Conference first apcooperative spirit that should permeate the effort. proached Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem about legislation An estimated 17,000 men, women, and children are traffor the 2009 legislative session to ensure that our state’s laws ficked across our borders each year. Voices are calling for new addressed human trafficking to the fullest extent possible. The legislation at the federal and state levels. Let’s pray that we can conference and the Attorney General reached out to other input petty differences aside and work together to end modern terested parties, including legislators from both parties and the slavery. Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons (ITEMP) Dodson is executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference. for support. The result was the state’s first law specifically The NDCC acts on behalf of the Catholic bishops of North Dakota addressing human trafficking. to respond to public policy issues of concern to the Catholic Church and Fighting human trafficking is also an opportunity for groups to educate Catholics and the general public about Catholic social doctrine. and organizations that rarely, if ever, find common ground to The conference website is cooperate, support and learn from each other.

JUNE 2014




Leaving a lasting memory for your loved ones through the Church Stewardship - Steve Schons


he term “in memorandum” suggests an act performed or a gift given in memory of, or as a memorial to, someone held in high esteem. For example, a person may establish a named endowment fund at ABC Charity as a means of perpetually honoring the memory of a loved one. You know about the term “in memoriam,” but what does “in memorandum” mean? Don’t reach for a dictionary because you won’t find a definition there. It’s a term that suggests an estate planning idea you may want to consider - something in addition to funeral suggestions, instructions regarding the distribution and use of personal effects, and other such matters. By “memorandum,” I mean a very personal and lasting collection of thoughts. With your will and other estate planning documents finalized, you may want to take some time and prepare a memorandum or letter to your loved ones expressing your thoughts of love and concern. You may want to write a different letter to each family member. Another possibility is to sit in front of a video camera and tape your personal comments. However you do it, this final communication from you will probably be cherished more than any bequest you may leave behind. It will likely be handed down from generation to generation as a priceless family heirloom. Unlike other estate-planning “documents,” this personal memorandum goes beyond any legal or probate requirements. You can write it and rewrite it as often as you wish. It can be completely confidential.

Here are some things you may want to include: • Expressions of love and endearment; • A summary of your philosophy of life, including your faith, values and beliefs; • Thoughts concerning your hopes and expectations for your loved ones; • An explanation of why you chose to give to your church or other charity. Explaining your motives can be a powerful way to communicate your values and to help your children and grandchildren understand why you supported certain causes during your life. It can be a means to inspire them to follow your example. A final communication to your loved ones, thoughtfully and lovingly prepared, will serve as a lasting reminder of your life and love. It may also help them through the difficult grieving process. And, it will help them explain to children yet born who you were and what you valued.


At the Diocese of Fargo, we have an excellent booklet called

“A Guide to Planning Your Will and Trust” that helps people organize their personal documents, as well as their mind. For some folks, this process can seem overwhelming. This guide is designed to help you move forward with a plan that writes a very good chapter in the book of your life. It walks you through some of the terminology and encourages you to think about how you want your assets to be distributed at death and to assist you in gathering the information you will need. If you would like a complimentary copy of this guide, please email me at, or mail a request to: Steve Schons, Diocese of Fargo, 5201 Bishops Blvd, Fargo, ND 58104. Steve Schons is director of stewardship and development for the Diocese of Fargo and can be reached at or (701) 356-7926. Trips to Scotland, France, Ireland, Shrines of Europe, and much more… ranging from $3,599-$4,899 for 2014.

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HEART OF CHRIST, GIVE US YOUR HEART Guest Columnist - Sister Constance Veit, LSP - Little Sisters of the Poor


n the church’s tradition, the month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is a special time for us Little Sisters of the Poor because our foundress, Saint Jeanne Jugan, had a deep devotion to the Heart of Christ. As a young woman, she was schooled in the teachings of Saint John Eudes, a giant of 17th century French Catholicism and a great apostle of the Heart of Jesus. Because his writings date back nearly four centuries, they might seem a bit old fashion to our modern “sound-byte” culture, but there is nothing outdated about the Heart of Christ. It is difficult to think of a symbol richer in meaning than the human heart. Referred to over 1,000 times in the Bible, the heart signifies the center and wellspring of physical life, and – perhaps more importantly for the human experience – the source of spiritual life. The heart is our hidden center, the seat of decision and truth, the place of encounter and covenant.   Pope Francis obviously favors the image of the heart, for he used it over 100 times in his recent exhortation on the new evangelization, Evangelii Gaudium. In this document, he speaks of the heart of the risen Christ, the heart of man, the heart of the church and the heart of the Gospel message. The Heart of Jesus, he said last year on the feast of the Sacred Heart, is the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy, the source from which our salvation gushed forth. The mercy of Jesus is not just a warm sentiment, but a force that gives life and raises us from the dead.   When we say that someone knows something “by heart,” we mean that they have an intimate knowledge of a subject, that they know it completely and can recite or perform it effortless-

ly. What would our world be like if we all knew Jesus Christ by heart? Not in order to recite Scripture verses, but to know the virtues and sentiments of Christ in the very depths of our hearts and to live them as a well-practiced habit in our everyday lives. This is exactly what Pope Francis is challenging us to do in Evangelii Gaudium, as he calls us to light a fire in the heart of the world, to be a spring that spills over to refresh others. What a difference it would make in our world if we all took to heart the following words of our Holy Father, “My mission of being in the heart of the people is not just a part of my life or a badge I can take off; it is not an ‘extra’ or just another moment in life. Instead, it is something I can­not uproot from my being without destroying my very self. I am a mission on this earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world. We have to regard ourselves as sealed, even branded, by this mission of bringing light, blessing, enliven­ing, rising up, healing and freeing.” The vision of Pope Francis resonates deeply with the teachings of Saint John Eudes. Jesus gives us his Heart, Eudes wrote, in order to be our heart, so that we may love with his great heart. “Do not be satisfied with loving God with your human heart, for that is too little, it is really nothing at all. Love him rather with all your heart and willingly… with all the love of your great heart, Jesus.” How can we thank God for the precious gift of his heart? “We must render love for love,” Saint John Eudes said. Our actions must be a continuation of Jesus’ actions. “We must be so many other Jesuses on earth, in order to continue here his life and work.…” This, no doubt, is what Francis means when he calls us to be a mission on earth!   Heart of Christ, give us the true heart of an apostle! Give us your heart that we may love with your love and set the world on fire! Sister Constance Veit, LSP is director of communications for the Little Sisters of the Poor in the United States. For more information about Little Sisters visit .

A PRAYER FOR PEACE Pope Francis stops in front of the Israeli security wall in Bethlehem, West Bank on May 25. Israeli officials argue the wall is necessary to protect civilians from Palestinian terrorism. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano - May 25, 2014)

JUNE 2014



SAINT’S HEALING PRAYERS KEEP ON GIVING Holy Water blessed by Saint John Paul II never ‘recedes’ By Father Bert Miller

Author’s note: When one of my parishioners at Blessed Sacrament in West Fargo got the April 2014 issue of the New Earth with the front page pictures of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II and the caption “Declared ‘With God’ to become Saints April 27,” she said “Wow! Would I love to be there!”In her own words, Rosemary Lee Bernadetta Maria Dimmer Coleman has written about her connection to Saint John Paul II. See, in June 2011, I was diagnosed with the Big “C”, cancer. I felt like I had been whacked with a baseball bat. After a couple of days in chaotic turmoil, I calmed down enough to forge ahead and take my turn at bat. Up to that time, I was in good shape for the shape I’m in. I’ve dealt with a couple of chronic illnesses since childhood, but I was too busy living my life to leave time to feel sorry for myself. When my late husband and I were still living in a tiny mission parish in the Deep South, some friends took a trip to the Holy Land and Vatican. Upon returning, they

brought gifts for the whole parish, all 39 families. The gift was a small clamshell-shaped plastic bottle with “Holy Water” applied in gold. It had been blessed by Pope John Paul II. I had long

I also offered a blessing to anyone around. Quite soon I noticed that the level of the water in the bottle was not receding. It maintained the same level between “Holy” and “Water”

since drained the contents of my bottle, but my husband’s half-full bottle was still setting on the night stand. I started using his JPII Water for my daily blessing, along with asking for prayers from John Paul II. My father-in-law’s name was also John Paul, but I just called him Poppy. As time and the cancer treatments progressed, I was blessing myself two or more times a day and in communication with John Paul II.

where it had been since my husband died in 2008. I told many of this occurrence, and they were also in awe. One of my brothers replied, “Let me know if it starts filling up.” I truly believed that JPII had a hand, or should I say prayer, in my recovery. But, still there was that bit of skepticism in me that kept thinking, “Really?” So, last Easter, on my first anniversary being cancer-free, I topped off the bottle with

newly blessed water and continued my daily blessing, giving thanks for good health. Yes, the water level has receded in the past year … right back to where it was in June 2011, midway between “Holy” and “Water.” Now at Easter 2014, I am two years cancer-free. Am I going to “top it off ” again? No. I’m going to offer it for the blessing of the new Trinity Elementary School in the Saint John Paul II Catholic School Network of the Fargo Diocese. What will I do without my JPII Water? Not to worry. I’ve poured a couple of drops in my other Holy Water bottle. So, as long as I never let it go empty, I can keep on keeping on. Yeah, God! Father Bert Miller is a pastor at Blessed Sacrament Church in West Fargo. Editor’s note: This article is the ninth in this series: Stories of Faith. If you have a faith story to tell, contact Father Bert Miller at bert.miller@

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POPE’S HOLY LAND TRIP RAISES HOPES, QUESTIONS By Francis X. Rocca - Catholic News Service


ATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Given the Holy Land’s long and complex history of military, religious and cultural conflict, the run-up to Pope Francis’ May 24-26 pilgrimage was inevitably marked by fears it would be marred by controversy -- or worse. Now that the pope’s second international trip is over, so are those fears. The suspense is not, however. With a number of surprising gestures and remarks over three busy days, the pope left Catholics and others around the world wondering what comes next on a range of important questions. THE POPE AND THE PEACE PROCESS Pope Francis made headlines on the second day of his trip by inviting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres to join him at the Vatican to pray together for peace. Most observers have set low expectations for that still-unscheduled event, as Peres’ term expires in July. Conversely, Pope Francis would no doubt say pessimists underrate the power of prayer. Practical results aside, Pope Francis’ bold initiatives have earned him the role of pre-eminent voice for peace in the Middle East. That distinction could have more than symbolic importance for local attitudes toward the Christian minorities. During his trip, the pope told Abbas and Peres that Christians contribute to the “common good” in their

the churches as a more realistic goal.

Pope Francis boards an airplane at Ben Gurion airport outside Tel Aviv on May 26. The pope ended a three-day Holy Land pilgrimage prevalent with calls for bridging divisions. (CNS photo/Oliver Weiken, EPA - May 27, 2014)

countries and deserve to be treated as “full citizens.” No speech could make that point more eloquently than news photos of Jewish and Muslim political leaders praying for peace, side by side in the Vatican. ECUMENISM The original reason for Pope Francis’ Holy Land trip was a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic encounter between their predecessors. The earlier meeting led the Catholic and Orthodox churches to lift mutual excommunications imposed in 1054 and opened the modern period of ecumenical dialogue. Not surprisingly, this year’s

event did not yield any comparable breakthroughs, but there were hints of progress to come. The pope told reporters on the flight back to Rome that he and Patriarch Bartholomew discussed possible collaborative efforts to protect the environment. They also talked about prospects for resolving differences in how the churches set the date of Easter every year. Pope Francis, with his characteristic frankness, called the latter a “ridiculous” problem. Yet reconciling the timing of Christianity’s most sacred feast could have a big impact on ordinary Catholics and Orthodox, leading many to view full communion between

VATICAN REFORM During an inflight news conference on the way back to Rome, the pope was asked about reports that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a former Vatican secretary of state, mishandled 15 million euros in funds held by the Institute for the Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican bank. Without naming the cardinal, the pope said the matter was “being studied, it’s not clear.” The results of the investigation, if it finds the cardinal at fault, would have implications beyond the case itself. Few actions by the pope could do as much to show his seriousness about reforming the Vatican bureaucracy as publicly disciplining or rebuking the man who, until just last October, served as the Vatican’s highest official. PRIESTLY CELIBACY The pope told reporters the door is open to allowing more married priests in the Catholic Church, in the Latin rite as well as the Eastern Catholic churches, where the practice is already established. “Celibacy is not a dogma of faith,” he said, which should not have surprised anyone familiar with the church’s discipline. But he added pointedly: “Not being a dogma of faith, the door is always open.” Given how controversial this issue already is in parts of the Catholic world, the pope’s comment is likely to prompt only more discussion. JUNE 2014




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New Earth June 2014 magazine  

New Earth June 2014 magazine

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