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New September 2015 | Vol. 36 | No. 8


The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo

Passing the light of Christ

Parents share their path to passing on the faith


within different school settings

From Bishop Folda: Family draws strength from Pope Francis on the Environment annual Carmelite pilgrimage

Year of Marriage and Family: Parents: First teachers of the faith NEW EARTH SEPTEMBER 2015 1




September 2015 Vol. 36 | No. 8

ON THE COVER 14 Passing the light of Christ

As students across the diocese return to the classroom, we not only reflect on how schools educate our children but how our families educate children in the faith. This month’s story includes three families who have each taken a different route in their children’s education by choosing either Catholic school, public school or to home school.



Pope Francis on the Environment



Ask a priest: What is liturgy?


Pope Francis’ September prayer intentions



Diocesan employee graduates with canon law degree jubilee


‘Fore’ a purpose


Seminarians move one step closer to priesthood

14 9

10 Outdoor Mass and rosary draw pilgrims to Shrine of Our Lady of the Prairies 11 Family draws strength from annual Carmelite pilgrimage


19 Teens on a mission in Hankinson community 20 Trinity Elementary opens doors for first day of school in West Fargo


21 Tattered Pages: A review of Catholic books and literature


A wakeup call on new technology: A review of Nicholas Carr’s ‘The glass cage: automation and us’


22 Stories of Faith

The faith story this month explores how one couple’s powerful faith guided them through an uncertain time.

24 Catholic Action

Christopher Dodson discusses Planned Parenthood and what we’ve come to know about the abortion industry.

25 The Catholic Difference

Guest columnist, George Weigel reflects on ‘The Church and the new normal.’

26 Stewardship

In this month’s column, Steve Schons shares the benefits of placing property in a charitable trust.

27 Seminarian Life




Seminarian Riley Durkin Grossman reflects on his time in Mexico and the lessons he learned through the people he met there.

ON THE COVER: Students return to the classroom for the 2015-2016 school year. Top left: Students from Holy Spirit Catholic School, Fargo, listen to a story. Top right: St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Devils Lake, students get down to business. Bottom left: Boys from St. John’s Catholic School in Wahpeton enjoy a break for recess. Bottom right: Sixth graders from St. John’s Academy in Jamestown pose for a class photo. (submitted photos)



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

Publisher Most Rev. John T. Folda Bishop of Fargo

Editor Aliceyn Magelky

Staff Writer Kristina Lahr

Designer Stephanie Drietz - Drietz Designs

Subscriptions 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.




28 Happenings around the diocese 29 Events Calendar 29 Milestone announcements 30 Fall festivals 30 A glimpse of the past


32 Meet the monks who decided to go green years before ‘Laudato Si’ YMF 2015 34 Parents: First teachers of the faith

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

Contact Information Use the following contact information to contact the New Earth staff: (701) 356-7900 Deadline to submit articles, story ideas, advertisements and announcements for the September issue is Aug. 26, 2015. All submissions are subject to editing and placement. New Earth is published by the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, a nonprofit North Dakota corporation, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S, Suite A Fargo, ND 58104. (701) 356-7900. Periodical Postage Paid at Fargo, ND and at additional mailing offices. Member of the Catholic Press Association NEW EARTH SEPTEMBER 2015



Pope Francis on the Environment


od looked at abuses of the environment. The unbridled desire for profit has everything he driven individuals and larger organizations to exploit this earth, had made, and often at the expense of others. A spirit of consumption and waste he found it very good” (Gen has become commonplace in our modern culture, which Pope 1:31). During the months of Francis often calls the “throwaway culture.” And, although he spring and summer, I have does not claim to make scientific conclusions, he also cites the travelled across the Diocese findings of environmental science that bring to light the looming of Fargo and often marveled threats to this common home of ours. at the beauty of the land. Pope Francis notes in a particular way that wounds to the Especially in recent weeks, natural environment harm us all, and in particular they harm the crops have ripened and the poor. Those who live in developing countries are most the harvest has begun. One vulnerable to the effects of damage to the earth. Thus, there is can’t help but praise God for a need for a new mindset, a new understanding of solidarity the grandeur of his creation among the peoples of the earth. We cannot be indifferent to those and for his generosity in who suffer from environmental degradation, even if they live on entrusting it to us. the other side of the world. We also must consider the kind of It was this same sense world we wish to hand on to our children and to the generations of divine grandeur that that will follow. This world is not ours alone to do with as we moved St. Francis of Assisi please. It has been given into our care and must be protected to compose his Canticle of and cherished by those who live in it now. The Pope says: “Let

“Pope Francis notes in a particular way that wounds to the natural environment harm us all, and in particular they harm the poor. Those who live in developing countries are most vulnerable to the effects of damage to the earth. Thus, there is a need for a new mindset, a new understanding of solidarity among the peoples of the earth.” – Bishop John Folda, Diocese of Fargo the Creatures, a hymn of praise to God for all his creation: the us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed sun, the moon, the wind, the waters, and all God’s creatures. in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our sister, Mother Earth, Some commentators have read this encyclical with a hope that who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit Pope Francis will give his approbation to their take on reality. with colored flowers and herbs.” This refrain of praise also gives But the Pope’s encyclical rises above political and ideological the title to the recent encyclical letter of Pope Francis, “Laudato agendas. He certainly challenges certain currents of culture, Si,’ On Care for Our Common Home.” This widely anticipated economics and politics throughout the document. He says some document offers a challenging meditation on the sacredness and provocative things about fossil fuels and climate change. But beauty of God’s creation and our responsibility to it. he seems primarily to challenge us. He calls us to recognize The Holy Father builds this letter upon the biblical writings that the earth is our “common home,” the divinely constructed on God’s creation and our place within it. This “Gospel of dwelling that God has given as a gift to all of humanity. Creation” begins with the creation accounts of Genesis, when So what exactly does Pope Francis ask of us? Among other our first parents were called to “till and keep” the earth. And things, he asks us to be aware of an “integral ecology” of things. then, in the mystery of God’s plan, he sent his only Son into this In other words, he reminds us that everything is connected. We created world, and he became flesh (Jn 1:14). As the Pope says, are intimately connected to all of creation. “We are part of nature, “From the beginning of the world, but particularly through the included in it, and thus in constant interaction with it” (par.139). incarnation, the mystery of Christ is at work in a hidden manner Our decisions have an effect on the environment and on each in the natural world as a whole…” He also writes in continuity other, so we must act in a way that is always reverent toward with the earlier teachings of his predecessors: Popes Paul VI, St. the created world and the brothers and sisters who share it John Paul II and Benedict XVI. with us. He also urges us to rediscover a simpler way of life, But the Holy Father also pointedly tells us that all is not one that does not rely merely on acquisition of possessions and well. The creation that God has given us is threatened, largely profit, but that looks to the needs of others and to our eternal because of our disregard for its goodness and for God’s law. In destiny. He urges against rampant consumption and waste, not recent decades, the human family has increasingly behaved as if only because this harms the environment, but also because it there were no limits on our activities in the world. Technology disregards the needs of others who are poor. He points out that has given us great powers for good, but it also has led to tragic Christian spirituality through the ages has been marked by 4


“moderation and the capacity to be happy with little” (par.222). The Pope also encourages us to make our own small contributions to the preservation of our common home in the everyday actions of our lives. In short, he calls us to “ecological conversion,” a change of heart and renewed awareness of the links we have with God and his creation. Here in North Dakota, where working the land is such a singular part of the culture, the Pope’s encyclical should be received with open minds and hearts. Who could deny the common relationship we share with the land, no matter our state in life? Those who are directly involved in agriculture already know that the land and its fruits must be cared for. And the rest of us should remember this too. Obviously these brief thoughts are insufficient to do justice to the words of our Holy Father in Laudato Si,’ and I hope to return with some further reflections in this space at a later date. But in the meantime, taking our cue from Pope Francis, let us be mindful of God’s earth and how we live in it. And let us always be mindful of each other.

Bishop Folda’s Calendar Sept. 14-16 USCCB Administrative Meetings, Washington D.C.

Sept. 18-20 Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN

Sept. 22-27 Papal Visit to USA and World Meeting of Families, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia

Oct. 3 | 5 p.m. 25th Annual HOPE Dinner and Auction St. John’s Academy, Jamestown

Oct. 4 | Noon Diocese of Fargo Official Appointments/Announcements September 2015

Walk with Christ for Life, Mass with Procession following, Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo

Oct. 5-7 Presbyteral Days, Jamestown

Oct. 8 | Reverend Timothy Johnson is appointed to special ministry in

the Diocese of Fargo. He will provide the Extraordinary Form Liturgy in the Fargo area and provide various other support ministries as specified by the Bishop of Fargo. This appointment is effective July 1, 2015 and continues ad nutum episcopi. He will reside at Holy Spirit parish rectory in Fargo.

Reverend Chinnaiah Konka is appointed Parochial Vicar at Holy Cross Parish in West Fargo with residence at the Holy Cross parish rectory. This appointment is effective August 22, 2015 and continues ad nutum episcopi.

Reverend William Ovsak is appointed administrator of St.

Augustine’s Parish in Fessenden, St. Patrick’s Parish in Hurdsfield and Holy Family Parish in McClusky. This appointment is effective August 1, 2015 and continues ad nutum episcopi.

Deacon Kenneth Votava is appointed to serve as a permanent

6 p.m.

Superintendent’s reception for Major Donors, Holy Cross Rectory, West Fargo

Oct. 10 | 10 a.m. Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Nostra aetate, Temple Beth El, Fargo

Oct. 10 | 4 p.m. Parish Visits to Verona and Dickey

Oct. 11 | 10 a.m. 125th Mass and Celebration, LaMoure

Oct. 18 | 4 p.m. 50th Anniversary of St. Maurice’s Parish, Kindred

deacon at the Basilica of St. James and its mission parishes in Buchanan, Pingree and Windsor, effective August 1, 2015 and continuing ad nutum episcopi.

Deacon Kenneth Votava has accepted a full-time pastoral care

position at Ave Maria Village Nursing Home in Jamestown. Bishop John Folda consents to Deacon Votava accepting this position.




What is liturgy?


ave you ever been to a Sunday service at a non-denomAsk a Priest inational Christian church, or watched Father Matthew a megachurch worship Kraemer service on TV? The worship of God in such services is simple and spontaneous. The songs that are sung, the prayers that are said, and the scripture passages that are preached on are usually up to the choice of the pastor or members of the congregation. This kind of service is sometimes called ‘non-liturgical worship.’ There are other protestant denominations that have a more elaborate and clearly delineated structure to their worship. This is often referred to as ‘liturgical worship.’ Speaking in such terms, a free and spontaneous way of worshiping God is non-liturgical, and more delineated and elaborate forms of worship are liturgical. But as Catholics we have a much more exalted view of liturgy. Liturgy is not a distinction of style but rather the sure means of being saved by Jesus Christ and offering true worship of God. The word ‘liturgy’ originally had nothing to do with the elaborateness or simplicity of ritual: “The word ‘liturgy’ originally meant a ‘public work’ or a ‘service in the name of/on behalf of the people.’ In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in ‘the work of God.’ Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church” (CCC 1069). In ancient Greece, the word ‘leitourgia’, which we translate in English as ‘liturgy,’ meant a public duty or work. The Jews in the Greek Old Testament used the word ‘leitourgia’ to refer to the service of the priest in the temple, that is, his role in the worship of God. In the New Testament the word is used to refer to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. “But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry (leitourgias) which is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6). Christ’s work on behalf of the people, that is, his death on the cross, resurrection from the dead, and ascension into heaven, is far superior to the animal sacrifices offered by the Old Testament priests. His sacrifice on the cross offers perfect worship to the Father, brings about the forgiveness of our sins, and unites us to God so we can worship him with Christ. The liturgy, put very simply, is the way that Jesus Christ gives us the fruits of his sacrifice on the cross.



“The Church was made manifest to the world on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Spirit ushers in a new era in the ‘dispensation of the mystery’ the age of the Church, during which Christ manifests, makes present, and communicates his work of salvation through the liturgy of his Church, ‘until he comes’” (CCC 1076). Through the liturgy of the Church, which has been given to us by Christ himself and developed through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Christ brings us into contact with the mystery of his cross and resurrection. For instance, in the liturgy of baptism, as we go down into the water, we sacramentally descend into the tomb with Christ and die to sin. Coming up from the water, we receive the first fruits of his resurrection which is the promise of eternal life (Romans 6:3-4). At Holy Mass, Jesus Christ, through the person and prayers of the priest, makes present his sacrifice on the cross. We are able to see with our very eyes his body which he laid down for us and his blood which he poured out for us. Christ, who died for us and who rose again, gives us his life when we receive him in Holy Communion (John 6:54). The liturgy is celebrated through the public prayers of the Church. Anyone who has been to Mass knows that these prayers are formulaic, and a brief study of their history will reveal that there were significant periods of history when they were also quite elaborate. But, once again, the elaborateness or simplicity, structure or freedom of the prayers is not what makes liturgy what it is. Rather, it is their origin that makes these prayers liturgical. The public prayers of the Church, which the liturgy consists of, were first given to the apostles by Christ himself in order to continue his work of salvation in the world (Sacrosanctum concilium 6). He is the one who has given them their power and their efficacy. It is according to his will that these prayers have been handed down through the centuries to continue his work in the Church. As Catholics, we are truly privileged to possess the liturgy in its fullness. Through the witness of the Sacred Scriptures and the tradition of the Church, we can be sure that the liturgy really is the work of Christ on our behalf and that it is continued through the prayers of the Church. How can we keep such a great gift to ourselves? Father Kraemer serves as the Secretary to the Bishop, Master of Ceremonies, Vice Chancellor, and Director of Liturgy for the Diocese of Fargo. He can be reached at Editor’s Note: If you have a question about the Catholic faith and would like to submit a question for consideration in a future column, please send to with “Ask a Priest” in the subject line or mail to New Earth, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S, Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104, Attn: Ask a Priest.


Prayer Intentions of Pope Francis September Universal intention: Opportunities for the Young. That opportunities for education and employment may increase for all young people. Reflection: How do economic systems that do not place the human person at the center contribute to the culture of death? Scripture: Genesis 2: 15 and John 5: 17. The dignity of work by which we follow God’s direction. Evangelization intention: Catechists. That catechists may give witness by living in a way consistent with the faith they proclaim. Reflection: In what ways am I a living Gospel that others can read? Scripture: Matthew 21: 28-32. What matters is action not words. Provided by Apostleship of Prayer,

Living Reflections of God’s Love a celebration of marriage and family

You and your family are invited to a marriage and family conference hosted by the Diocese of Fargo.

Keynote speakers

Saturday, October 24, 2015 | Fargo Civic Center

© Monastère des Bénédictines & CHOISIR”

Bishop John Folda

Jeff and Emily Cavins

Monsignor James Shea

Doug Tooke

This conference, designed for the whole family, will feature speakers and activities for all ages. For more information and to register, visit or call (701) 356-7901. No registration fee, BUT registration is REQUIRED. Deadline to register is October 2.




Diocesan employee graduates with canon law degree By Kristina Lahr

Tim Olson graduated with a JCL degree from The Catholic University of America at the end of July. With this degree, Olson is qualified to serve as a judge in the tribunal in regards to marriage cases. (Kristina Lahr/New Earth)


im Olson always knew he wanted to serve the church. After three years in seminary and discerning God wasn’t calling him to the priesthood, he traveled as a missionary. Later he realized he wanted to raise a family and thought it best to find something more stationary. With degrees in philosophy, classical education and continued education in theology, he was already on track to becoming a

canon lawyer. Attending law school had also crossed his mind, but using those same skills in a way that served the church was more appealing. “I wrote a letter to then Bishop Aquila every year saying I wanted to study canon law for the diocese,” Olson said. After three years, Bishop Aquila invited him to intern in the Tribunal in 2012. Olson found he enjoyed the detailed, meticulous and “quirky nuances.” “The thing I enjoy most about canon law is applying it,” he said. “There are 1,752 canons… what do they actually mean to the church? When do I fulfill my Sunday Mass obligation, how many times can I receive communion in a day, who’s considered a Catholic… all those things always interested me.” This summer, Olson earned a JCL degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. A JCL degree is a graduate degree in the Roman Catholic Church that qualifies an individual to serve as a judge in the tribunal with regards to marriage cases. “The school of canon law was a big thrill, which sounds very strange, but I loved going to school,” he said. “The foremost English-speaking minds of cannon law teach at The Catholic University of America, so it’s a real honor to work with those people. They’re the experts. “Before I could do some preparatory work for cases, but I couldn’t carry them out all the way. Now that I’m a cannon lawyer, I’ll be acting as a judge.”

‘Fore’ a purpose

More than 110 golfers from across the diocese gathered on Aug. 4 at Rose Creek Golf Club in Fargo for the eighth annual Putt 4 a Purpose golf scramble. The event raised about $14,500 in support of seminarian education and youth programming. Bishop John Folda is pictured with the winning team from St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, Valley City. From left to right: Monsignor Dennis Skonseng, Dave Jenson, Bishop Folda, Nick Jenson and Jake Varriano. The four-man team scored a gross of 56. For more photos from the event, visit (Aliceyn Magelky/New Earth)




Seminarians move one step closer to priesthood By Aliceyn Magelky


s the Church celebrated the Assumption of Mary on the eve and day of Aug. 15, the Fargo Diocese also celebrated seminarians moving another step closer to following God’s call to Holy Orders. On Aug. 14, Chris Savageau and Eric Seitz, both of Fargo, were accepted as theologian candidates for the Diocese of Fargo during the Rite of Admission to Candidacy. This rite allows the seminarians to publicly and formally declare their aspirations to become priests. And, it allows their bishop, Bishop John Folda, to formally accept and support their intentions. “Blessed is she who heard the word of God, and kept it,” Bishop Folda adjusting a quote from Luke 11:28 in reverence to Mary’s example during his homily. “Mary always and only said ‘yes’ to her son, and she leads others to him… might be the key lessons we can learn from her, especially those who today petition for candidacy,” he continued. “…So, my dear sons, as you are called today to be candidates for Holy Orders, resolve with Mary always to say ‘yes’ to our Lord, and to do whatever he tells you.” The following morning, Aug. 15, Bishop Folda installed three seminarians into the ministry of acolyte during the Rite of Institution of Acolytes. The men receiving this ministry include: Scott Karnick, Vesleyville; JT (James) Kennelly, Fargo and Jayson Miller, Lawton. These men are entrusted with caring for the altar and distributing the Eucharist. Receiving the ministry of acolyte is the last step before being ordained a transitional deacon. “You will draw near to our Lord in a special way, an intimate way. You will bear him to others, just as Mary bore him and gave him to us,” said Bishop Folda during the Mass. “Never cease to gaze on him with wonder, and with the same love that Mary had for her son. Enter into his presence as often as you can, just as Mary did. In this step on the journey towards the priesthood, it becomes more and more important that we look to the needs of our brothers and sisters, even before our own. And once again, Mary is our model.” Both Masses were held at St. John the Evangelist’s Catholic Church, Grafton and were the culminating point of the annual, week-long seminarian gathering. Each year, the seminarians gather together at a different location in the diocese following their summer assignments and prior to returning to their respective schools. This event is one of the limited opportunities these discerning men can all be together for prayer, fellowship and community service.

Chris Savageau (left) and Eric Seitz (right) were accepted as theologian candidates for the Diocese of Fargo Aug. 14 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Grafton, during the Rite of Admission to Candidacy. This rite allows seminarians to formally declare their desire to join the priesthood. (submitted by Jennine Seitz)


Quotable “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” – St. Francis of Assisi

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Outdoor Mass and rosary draw pilgrims to Shrine of Our Lady of the Prairies By Mother Madonna, O.Carm.


Despite rain and cool temperatures, faithful gathered for the annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Prairies near Wahpeton Aug. 16. Pilgrims prayed the rosary on the Carmel of Mary Monastery and celebrated Mass outdoors with a picnic afterward. (Kristina Lahr/New Earth)

ilgrims gathered at the Carmelite Monastery, rural Wahpeton, on Aug. 16, for the 59th annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Prairies to honor Mary, the Mother of God, and to show their gratitude for the bountiful harvest. These pilgrimages have been held annually since 1957. This year’s was sponsored by St. Mary’s parish in Breckenridge, Minn. The Knights of Columbus and the parish supplied a picnic lunch for the pilgrims after the Mass. An outdoor Rosary procession preceded the Mass with the pilgrims walking from station to station where pictures of the rosary mysteries were mounted on trees. The pilgrimage had a new element this year: a slight drizzle began before the outdoor Mass celebrated by Bishop Folda, with about 170 people in attendance. Half were able to gather under a tent set up previously by Hank Weber, caretaker at the monastery. The others sat on benches in the light rain. Were they thinking: “Well, we have been praying for rain and here it is, so let’s enjoy it!” Some had umbrellas. In his homily Bishop Folda spoke about the tremendous mystery of Divine Love manifested in the Holy Eucharist. The hosts for the Eucharist are baked from wheat flour, a strong link to Our Lady of the Prairies in this wheat-growing area. Near the end of the Mass a sheaf of wheat was placed in the arm of the statue of Mary in the Shrine. The wheat sheaf, donated by farmers, is changed each year as a symbolic request for Mary’s intercession.”

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Rachel Gowin from St. Mary’s parish in Breckenridge gives Mary a sheaf of wheat. The wheat is given to Mary each year as a request for her intercession. (Kristina Lahr/New Earth)



The readers of New Earth are cordially invited to a beautiful inexpensive lakeside retreat of wonderful relaxation and spiritual rejuvenation. The theme for the retreat is “Sowing Seeds of Mercy.” For a free brochure please call 763-682-1394, email, or visit us at


Family draws strength from annual Carmelite pilgrimage

By Aliceyn Magelky

The Frolek family from Lidgerwood comes to the Carmel of Mary Monastery each year for the annual pilgrimage there. By taking the time to honor Mary each year, it gives them clarity and rejuvenates them to see what is important in their lives. (Kristina Lahr/New Earth)


ain and cooler-than-average temperatures didn’t keep away the more than 170 people who participated in the 59th Annual Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Prairies. Each year, the Carmelite Sisters, living in the Carmel of Mary Monastery near Wahpeton, invite faithful from across the diocese to journey to the shrine to honor and thank Mary, Mother of God. Among those present were Aaron and Tonia Frolek, Lidgerwood, and their ten children: Peyton, 16; Broden, 14; Drew, 12; Dreah, 11; Olivia, 9; Blaise, 7; Berlin, 6; Ava, 5; Gianna, 3 and Paisley, 2. For nearly a decade this family has made the annual trek to pay homage to our Blessed Mother. It’s a trip they value to help strengthen the faith within their family. “It’s so neat,” commented Tonia. “You really can feel our Blessed Mother’s presence. It means a lot to be able to be with other people who share your faith and to show your children how important it is. It’s powerful.”


Aaron, born and raised in Lidgerwood along with his 11 brothers and sisters, met Tonia of Barnesville, Minn., while both were students at North Dakota State University in Fargo. As a kid, Aaron recalls that the Catholic faith, prayer and the

pilgrimage were intrinsic components to his upbringing. “When we were growing up, Mom and Dad, especially Mom, preached the power of prayer. We always said prayers,” he said. “Both of my parents are strong Catholics. Faith was who you were. It was very important that our family went on the pilgrimage.” “Praying the rosary was always important,” Aaron added. “Our family would pray the rosary on Sunday. And, if we got in trouble, we would be sent to our room to pray the rosary.” Despite his parents’ encouragement and their witness, Aaron, like many college-aged individuals, began to attend Mass less frequently and started falling away from the Church. Then, he met Tonia. Tonia grew up in a family where little emphasis was placed on church, faith and prayer. “Before I met Aaron, I wasn’t really going to church,” she said. “I remember one time going to Mass with a friend when I was a sophomore in high school. I said to the statue of the Blessed Mother, ‘if you are real, then you will make me Catholic some day.’” As the couple’s relationship grew deeper, they started attending Mass regularly and taking RCIA classes at NDSU’s Newman Center with Father Paul Duchschere. “I knew I needed something, so I told him, ‘let’s just go.’ I went into it with a lot of stubbornness. But, from my first class, I just got pulled in. I wanted to learn more and more,” said Tonia. For Aaron it was the work of the Holy Spirit tugging him back to his Catholic roots. “When I started going to RCIA classes, I was back on course,” he said. “During RCIA, I learned probably as much as she did. You do learn what’s behind a lot of the things that we believe.” The couple completed RCIA classes, Tonia came into full communion with the Church, and they wed in 2000.


Though hooked on her new faith life, Tonia still questioned the importance of saying the rosary. It was a long stay on bed rest during the pregnancy of her daughter Olivia that her heart and mind opened up to the power and purpose of this prayer. “For me there is nothing more horrible than being taken away from my family. I felt lonely, homesick. So, I started saying the rosary to help pass the time. I took the time to learn about it and our Blessed Mother. Looking back, if I had not been on bed rest, I wouldn’t have taken the time. It was a blessing in disguise,” she said.


As the Frolek family grew from just two to many more, they decided to participate in their first pilgrimage to Our Lady of the NEW EARTH SEPTEMBER 2015


AROUND THE DIOCESE Prairies when their daughter Olivia was two and their youngest son, Blaise, was a baby. At the time, Tonia was pregnant with their daughter Berlin. Because of complications in her previous pregnancy, Tonia began agonizing over the health and safety of her unborn child. It was Mary’s presence during their first pilgrimage that brought her peace. “When I was pregnant with Blaise, my placenta erupted. I was worried about my pregnancy with this new baby. But, while at that first pilgrimage, I just felt her [Mary] saying everything was going to be okay,” recalled Tonia. “We’ve gone every year since.” It’s highly likely the Frolek family will continue to honor Mary through frequently praying the rosary and attending the annual pilgrimage. For them, it gives clarity and priority to the important things in life. “I always need those constant reminders that I need time to slow down. This lets me slow down and remember what’s important,” said Aaron. “It’s so important for our children to start [focusing on faith, prayer] when they are little. If they ever lose sight of the faith, it will always be in the back of their mind, you hope, throughout life. The pilgrimage is a way to strengthen that. If we show it’s important to us, it becomes important to them.”

Thank you sponsors! Thank you to all who sponsored the eighth annual Putt 4 a Purpose golf scramble held Aug. 3 at the Rosecreek Golf Club in Fargo. 111 people participated with $14,500 raised to benefit seminarian education and youth programs throughout the Diocese of Fargo.

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Family-friendly service event!

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Passing the light of Christ

Parents share their path to passing on the faith


he school year is in full swing once again. This means the return of routine, early mornings and busy schedules. It’s also a time to reflect on school itself, what our children are learning and how our decisions for them impact our families. While Catholic school students are more likely to pray daily, attend Church more often, retain a Catholic identity as an adult and donate more to the church, not all families in our diocese have access to these schools or have chosen to home school. Still, vocations and healthy families continue to arise from all areas. Three families throughout the diocese shared their experience with their educational choices for their children. The Vonesh family goes to St. Michael’s Catholic School in Grand Forks, the Haley family from New Rockford to New Rockford/Sheyenne Public School, and the Lahlum family from Marion educates their children through home school.



By Kristina Lahr

within different school settings

When it comes to passing on the faith to our children, it’s not just about schools but a holistic family lifestyle.

Catholic Schools

Sending their children to Catholic school wasn’t an obvious choice for Jonathon and Nichole Vonesh. The closest Catholic school is St. Michael’s in Grand Forks, a 30 minute drive from their home in Buxton. “At first it was very much Nichole’s idea. I didn’t feel I should have to pay for our kids’ tuition,” said Jonathon. He attended Central Valley Public School near Buxton. Nichole however attended Catholic schools from kindergarten through college and never went to a public school. Catholic schools were naturally her preference for their children. Jonathon and Nichole discussed their education options before

COVER STORY they were married, but it wasn’t until they had children that the conversation held more meaning. By then, Jonathon had taught junior high sciences at Sacred Heart Catholic School in East Grand Forks, Minn.

Finding peace in Catholic school

and adoration throughout the year, students learn that these prayers are a priority not just in their academic life but in their life outside of school as well.

The family benefits, not just students

Nichole feels comfortable knowing that the morals she is “After teaching at Sacred Heart, I saw that the respect you teaching her children at home are reinforced at school. The get from the kids and teachers is different than in public schools. Voneshs always include prayers at meal time, bedtime and for So at first it was all Nichole’s idea, but as I got in the system “those stranded on the roadside kind of situations,” said Nichole. and teaching, I saw the value. It can be hard to pay the tuition “St. Mike’s is an extension of our home. We wouldn’t be who sometimes, but I see it going to a good cause. You don’t find we are as a family if we didn’t have that belief in God.” yourself fighting with morals and values as much.” “There’s a very welcoming and laid back community to “It’s comforting to know they’re not going to be frowned Catholic schools,” said Jonathon. “The structure and

The Vonesh family lives 30 minutes from the nearest Catholic school but have found the reward worth the sacrifice. They commute from Buxton to St. Michael’s Catholic School in Grand Forks. The Vonesh family appreciates the family aspect of the school and feels attention is given to the whole family, not just the students in school. (submitted photo)

upon if they say a prayer,” said Nichole. “For kids who have a personal relationship with Christ, they can feel he is in school with them. He’s not just present at Sunday Mass. It’s a constant for them. I think it’s important for children to grow up knowing that if they don’t know how to act in a situation or how to respond to a friend, saying a silent prayer can always help the situation.” Dr. Michael Smith, Superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Fargo, said that faith instruction doesn’t just happen in one piece of the day, but throughout the day, encouraging students to do just as Nichole hopes, praying and seeing God in every situation of the day. “We hope to inspire exceptional student achievement by teaching the total person, so we’re teaching the whole person all day. So in a math class, math is the main topic, but there may be a time in there to add that faith component whether it’s when a student forgets their homework or is struggling or needs that extra push. Faith can always be a part of those moments.” By celebrating Mass and including time for reconciliation

administration are good too. They get parents involved in their children’s education.” “And not just the parents, but the whole family,” added Nichole. “Our two youngest aren’t in school yet, but they are just as much a part of the school’s mindset as those in school. They want to make sure our whole family is taken care of, not just the kids in school.” Dr. Smith said that one of the major benefits of Catholic schools is the influence they have on the parents. “Catholic schools, in a way, are just as much for the parents as the students because you’re surrounding yourself with other parents who are on a similar journey. Also, your children are doing things that are connecting them to the faith that you might not be doing in your daily life, so there are these other connections bringing parents to the faith. It’s a positive peer pressure.” St. Michael’s Elementary teaches through fifth grade, which means their oldest daughter will be continuing her education at Sacred Heart Catholic School in East Grand Forks, Minn. While NEW EARTH SEPTEMBER 2015


COVER STORY it may have been easier to go to a closer school, Jonathon and Nichole believe the sacrifices are worth the outcome. “There’s always the financial sacrifice,” said Jonathon. “You have to make the sacrifice to pay the tuition, so the extravagant vacations and easier living are out for us. But, that Catholic mindset is brought into every part of our children’s day, in education, sports and our life at home. We get to have that every day.”

basketball, baseball, track, cross country and volleyball, giving Todd and Allison plenty of bleacher time. “Todd and I always joke that if we can sit in the bleachers for so many hours, we can certainly sit in a pew for an hour.” Whenever the family travels for games, their faith always comes with them, even though it can sometimes be a struggle to keep Christ as a priority when others around are not doing the same.

A family photo for the Haley is family is taken on their farm near New Rockford. The Haley kids attend New Rockford/Sheyenne Public School where Allison is a teacher. The Haleys are active volunteers in their parish and have found ways to infuse the faith in their everyday life. (submitted photo)

Public Schools

As a teacher at New Rockford-Sheyenne Public school, Allison Haley has a front row seat to what her four children’s lives are like at school. By teaching REFF (Religious Education Faith Formation) at St. John the Evangelist parish in New Rockford as well, she sees the education that they are receiving there too. Allison and her husband Todd have four children, two attending New Rockford-Sheyenne and two now studying at NDSU. Without a Catholic school nearby, the Haley family may not have the same kind of community a Catholic school provides but have found ways to infuse the faith in the lives of their family.

Lessons through sports

“There’s a lot of travelling with sports but we always include our faith,” said Allison, “We’re always that family looking for a church when we’re out of town for the weekend. That’s always been a thing for us. Everyone knows we’re are Catholic. Other kids at the motel don’t always get why we make sure to get to Mass on Sunday.” “We always are sure to pray before meals too. Sometimes when we have friends over they’ll look at us funny. But I think that says something. It shows others what kind of family we are.” Allison says that both sports and athletics have helped her children spiritually because their relationship with God is something they’ve managed to intertwine in their lives when it’s not always easy. They’ve shown they aren’t just interested in sports or athletics but in their faith as well. “I see my kids having a lot of success. They show you can be fully rounded spiritually, academically and athletically. You don’t have to limit yourself. Their faith is a part of who they are, and that’s been a positive thing.”

Allison feels that through sports there has been many opportunities for her children to learn lessons of faith and to evangelize. “We’re a real sports orientated family. It’s taught them good values that they’ll take with them the rest of their lives. They learn about being a team player, a leader and caring about others. If they lose a game, they learn it’s just a game and walk it off… there’s bigger things in life. You try to live out those lessons in Carrying the light of Christ your faith life too.” Despite the success of her children, Allison says that if Todd and Allison’s four children have been involved in football, Catholic school was an option, she would definitely consider 16


COVER STORY it. She attended St. James Academy in New Rockford through As more and more homeschooling families were placed in 8th grade before it closed. her path, her desire to home school grew. She saw very positive “I would absolutely consider Catholic School if it was still examples of family and spiritual life with older children in the an option. It was a very homey atmosphere. Holy days were family looking after younger children and a great love for the observed, and we had prayer every day. I truly believe they faith starting early in the children’s lives. would be more exposed to prayer and religious beliefs in Suzie and her husband Eric were living in Fargo at the time academics with their peers at a Catholic School.” when their oldest was five and Suzie felt strongly that God was The Haley family has always been involved in their parish, calling her to home school.

Eric and Suzie Lahlum’s children study in their home school classroom in Marion. Through the experiences of friends, Suzie felt called to teach her children at home, similar to how one is called to a vocation. Suzie is also the Director of Religious Education at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in LaMoure. (submitted photo)

St. John the Evangelist in New Rockford as altar servers and Eucharistic ministers. Allison says that’s been a positive influence on other students, especially those who are also at Mass. “It means something to other kids when they see the quarterback serving at Mass, as an example. It shows their faith is something they take seriously.” Though indirectly, still Allison feels she and her children can bring Christ to their school through example. “I’m not able to talk about religion much, but through being a good example and dealing with issues the right way, I can show what it means to be a Christian.”

Home School

“During my last conversation with Eric in deciding this, I said to him, ‘you know I still feel really called to home school and I need to know how you feel’ and he said, ‘okay, we’ll do it.’ We had a great sense of peace after that.” She follows the Mother of Divine Grace school books but as she became more comfortable and flexible with teaching, she started to recognize that some homeschooling resources were better at explaining some subjects than others and started piecing together the best ways for each of her six children to learn. “I want my children to learn how to learn. I want them to branch out and figure out how to solve problems on their own. You’re not always told what you need to do in life, so I don’t always tell my children the answers, I say, ‘go figure it out.’ “My favorite memories are when kids have a break-through, get really excited about something and go beyond what’s asked of them. Seeing your kids read for the first time is really exciting.”

Homeschooling had been on Suzie Lahlum’s heart for a long time, even before she had children. Her first impression of homeschooling was when she saw the classroom of a close family friend. Keeping the faith “I was always intrigued by their classroom. It was so color- It’s also important to her that her children know and practice ful. It seemed like the kids were so knowledgeable, and they their faith. “When you home school, you’re around your kids could study what interested them most. I loved the way they twenty-four seven, so it’s much easier to form them in the faith.” did things together as a family. The way they related with each At the same time, Suzie feels that the challenges she has in other had a big impression on me.” teaching her children to be good Christians isn’t much different NEW EARTH SEPTEMBER 2015


COVER STORY than for parents whose children are in traditional schools. With that the steps she’s taken are good for her family. extra-curricular activities and volunteer opportunities, she feels “It’s interesting that when our family is challenged how her kids are just as exposed to the ways of the world as anyone. sometimes my husband will be the strong one and sometimes One of the challenges her family faces with homeschooling is I’ll be the strong one. Through prayer and talking through it, knowing that not everyone is supportive of it. we’ve always come back to the conviction that homeschooling “It’s not that some people are negative towards home schooling, is what we are supposed to be doing. If we were both weak at but they don’t fully understand,” said Suzie. “You always get the the same time, we’d start wondering if it’s hurting our family, socialization card thrown at you. It’s a misnomer because we’re but it’s a decision that has continued to be a blessing.” so involved in our community and the church, and I don’t see it being an issue at all. If you’re going to spread the faith, that’s where you need to be. You need to go out and meet people.”

Homeschooling as a vocation

While the joys of home schooling certainly outweigh the trials for Suzie, she knows it isn’t a path for everyone. “Some people assume that in order to home school you have to be extra patient. That’s a pedestal a lot of us, home school moms in particular, get put on and it’s just not true. You don’t have to be extra patient to home school… we’re normal parents who sometimes loose our tempers or make the wrong decision. Homeschooling is like a vocation that’s placed on you. It’s not for everyone. That’s why we have Catholic schools and public schools. But homeschooling is an option. It’s a calling.” Overall she feels homeschooling has improved her family life and her faith. When doubts about home schooling enter her mind, she feels God always counsels her and assures her

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Teens on a mission in Hankinson community By Aliceyn Magelky


lot can be learned about the power of prayer and spending time with Jesus,” said 18-year-old Jamestown resident, Jessica Vandal about her motivation to attend M.I. Camp annually. Every summer, the Diocese of Fargo hosts the Mission of the Immaculate (M.I.) Youth Camp for students ages 13-17 in Hankinson. The purpose of the camp is to be on a “mission to pray to Mary and get close to her as she points all of us directly to Jesus.” Resistant at first, Vandal attended her first camp session at the urging of her best friend. “The first year I went, I had a spiritual awakening. I was hooked,” she said. “I love the community, of being surrounded by people with the same values.” Now an adult, Vandal has transitioned from being a camper to a small group leader. As a small group leader, Vandal guides her charges through activities, discussion and Mass. She ensures her group members work together and support each other. “I love my group. The girls I work with remind me of my first year. I experienced a lot of camaraderie,” said Vandal. At camp the students are exposed to the teachings of St. Maximilian Kolbe and four main areas of focus: Catholic, Apostolic, Marian and Eucharistic. New this year, the campers invested time each morning to service projects around the Hankinson community. According to Kathy Loney, camp director, the students thoroughly enjoyed going out into the community to their assigned projects and helping others. Franciscan Sisters of Dilligen OSF, Sister Jean Louise Schafer and Sister Mary Ruth Huhn, graciously helped plan camp with themes and activity ideas, hospitality and many prayers for all involved with camp. The camp was held July 12-17 at the Franciscan Retreat Center in Hankinson. The theme was “Answer the call…live justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God.” Next year’s camp session will be June 26-July 1, 2016.

St. Gerard Volunteers – pictured from front to back: Tameka Steinwand, Edgeley; Jaydee Bach, Climax, Minn. (formerly Lidgerwood); Eve Dahlin, Fargo and Hope Bach, Crookston, Minn. (formerly Lidgerwood). (Aliceyn Magelky/New Earth)

Two teens from Jessica Vandal’s small group, Bethany Anderson, Harvey and Teresa Vanyo, East Grand Forks, Minn. volunteer at Hankinson Cemetery as part of MI camp. (Aliceyn Magelky/New Earth)

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Trinity Elementary opens doors for first day of school in West Fargo By Aliceyn Magelky


oungsters from preschool age to 5th grade, all clad in crisp, new uniforms, paraded into the newly constructed Trinity Elementary School in West Fargo on Aug. 25. The day marked the first day of school for the kids and the first time students would use the new learning center. The facility, the latest addition to the St. John Paul II Catholic Schools Network in Fargo, is the home to 188 elementary students primarily from West Fargo and Horace. “As one of the fastest growing areas in the state, and by far the fastest growing in the Diocese, we saw a real need for a Catholic presence in the southwest corner of the metro area, specifically in West Fargo,” said Bishop John Folda. “Catholic education is a mission of the Church, has been, and will continue to be a priority of the Fargo Diocese. It makes perfect sense to meet the needs of families in that area.” Davonne Eldredge, Trinity Elementary principal agreed saying, “Several students are coming into the school because the choice is now available to them. As I’ve talked to parents, they want their children to be a part of a faith-infused community in which to learn. And, they wanted this option close to home.” Groundbreaking and construction on the new school began last

April. Additionally, more than $13.5 million has been raised through the “Together Campaign” to pay for the project. “This is the result of the efforts of the eight parishes in the Network. It really shows what we can accomplish when we put forth our best effort,” said Dr. Michael Smith, JPII Catholic Schools Network superintendent. This build not only meets the needs of the West Fargo area, but garners long-term growth for the entire JPII Catholic Schools Network. According to Smith, more than 100 new families have registered their children. Last year about 60 children were enrolled in kindergarten across the entire school network. That number jumped to 102 this year. Network-wide, the total enrollment reaches 1,132, the highest level since the 2006-2007 school year. “Catholic education is an important way to pass the faith onto the next generation,” said Smith. “With higher numbers it will allow us to operate more efficiently, keep costs down and to offer more opportunities,” he added. Bishop Folda blessed the new school during a ceremony held later that evening.

Trinity Elementary in West Fargo opened its doors for its first ever first day of school August 25. The latest addition to the St. John Paul II Catholic Schools Network has 188 elementary students enrolled. (Aliceyn Magelky/New Earth)




A wakeup call on new technology

A review of Nicholas Carr’s ‘The glass cage: automation and us’ By Dr. R. Jared Staudt

TATTERED PAGES A review of Catholic books and literature

“Carr’s book not only provides a wakeup call for society, urging us to evaluate and use well the new tools at our disposal, but in relation to our faith, it provides an important reminder that we must remain focused on communion with others, especially in our relationship with God…” – Dr. R. Jared Staudt


different and lose our capability to place ourselves as easily in the world. Carr’s examples continue to mount: computer driven stock market crashes, weapon systems that operate more quickly than human decision making, and the ethics of programming automated cars (having to decide what to crash into when a crisis emerges—a tree, another car, a pedestrian?). And more personally, turning back the iPhone, the omnipresence of the glass screen has made us “lose the power of presence” (200). Our mobile computers make it difficult to concentrate on the world, the people surrounding us, and (I would add) on prayer. So far it may seem that Carr acts the part of a doomsday prophet or a Luddite who only sees the negative ramifications of technology. His conclusions, however, are positive and illuminating. First, he shows us how to make good use of new technology by developing people centered automation— making sure that our tools serve us and not vice-versa. Second, he urges us to return to a more profound understanding of work, encouraging us to be active, rather than passive agents by interacting directly with the world around us. Carr’s book not only provides a wakeup call for society, urging us to evaluate and use well the new tools at our disposal, but in relation to our faith, it provides an important reminder that we must remain focused on communion with others, especially in our relationship with God, rather than allowing ourselves to become distracted and even dominated by the rise of new technology.

o you ever feel like you’re becoming the tool of your tools? Does your iPhone dominate your time? Can you travel without a GPS? And most importantly, are you able to stop your daily routine and enjoy the silence of prayer or a deep conversation without the distraction of the latest email or text? Bestselling author, Nicholas Carr first showed us in his book The Shallows how the internet has fundamentally changed the way we read, think and process information. Now his most R. Jared Staudt is Director of the Catholic Studies Program at the recent book, The Glass Cage, awakens us to the reshaping of University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. He earned his BA and MA in our society by the rapid automation of work, transportation, Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and his PhD in Systematic Theology from Ave Maria University warfare and social interaction. Carr helps us to stop and think about the role of technology in Florida. Staudt served as a director of religious education in two in our lives. For example, have you noticed that doctors focus parishes, taught at the Augustine Institute in Denver for five years, on you less in the office? Now that records are digital, doctors and served as co-editor of the theological journal Nova et Vetera. He spend more time looking at screens, not only with your and his wife Anne have five children, and he is a Benedictine oblate. pre-entered information, but also with suggested diagnoses. Medical care has quickly become less personal. Another major shift in technology has been the presence of computers and autopilot on planes. Carr examines recent crashes About the Book: and noticed something astonishing. Many of the crashes could have been avoided, but when pilots took back the controls they “The glass cage: automation weren’t able to react quickly and accurately to the crisis. They and us” by Dr. R. Jared Staudt. had become passive to the technology controlling the flight and Published by W. W. Norton and thus less attentive and able to take charge. Company. The technological revolution has reached even the Igloolik Hardcover 276 pages. Available hunters of the Nunavut territory of the far north in Canada. via Barnes and Noble, Amazon. Long known to be the best navigators in the world, capable com and other book resellers. of reading the slightest signs of weather and topography, the Igloolik have now experienced a number of disastrous and even deadly hunting trips in their harsh climate. The culprit? GPS. It turns out that with a reliance on GPS we imagine space NEW EARTH SEPTEMBER 2015



STORIES OF FAITH By Mary Rezac Catholic News Agency/EWTN

A gruesome accident, a powerful faith one Catholic couple’s story


t was a cold December day in Nebraska, and Ashley Stevens was riding in a car with four other women. She and her FOCUS team were headed to a retreat center near Gretna, Neb. when a large truck smashed into their car on Highway 6 near the Platte River, several miles east of Lincoln. While the other women had minor injuries, Ashley was life-flighted to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha in critical condition. She sustained major head trauma and significant swelling and bleeding in her brain among other injuries. Brad Stevens, Ashley’s fiancé of just a few weeks, got the call to get to the hospital right away. Father Robert Matya, the chaplain for the UNL Newman Centerwas able to be with the women at the scene, praying with them and comforting them. He then rushed to the hospital to be with Brad, a former student he’d known for years, and was with him to receive the grim diagnosis. “I remember very distinctly arriving at the hospital, and Brad and I went in to sit down with the doctor, who told us that he didn’t think it was going to be possible that Ashley would survive at that point,” Fr. Matya recalled. “He was just trying to be honest with us.” That was around 10 in the morning. By 3 p.m., Ashley was heading to surgery. Father stayed with Brad and Ashley in the ICU that night. From the very first moment, Father said, the way Brad handled the situation was remarkable. “What was beautiful about watching Brad in that experience was that he was just unwavering from the first moment on, in terms of being at her side. There was never a question of his 22


dedication to her throughout the whole experience,” he said. Brad’s faith in God had been what initially attracted Ashley to him. They were both working as Residential Assistants in the Husker Village dorms, and during the long walks patrolling the halls on duty nights, she would pepper him with all of her questions about Catholicism. A devout Protestant, Ashley was amazed at how well Brad could defend and explain his faith using scripture. She became “like a little sponge,” she said, soaking up knowledge about the Catholic Church. A few years after they became friends, and in the early phases of their dating relationship, Ashley became Catholic after taking classes at the Newman Center and developing strong friendships there. The day of the accident, dozens of friends from the Newman Center and beyond had arrived at UNMC, offering meals and prayers and support. Word spread quickly, and prayers poured in from UNL students and the Catholic community around the state – and even the world. Ashley, who does not remember “literally a single day” of the entire month she spent at UNMC, said she has only heard and read of the tremendous outpouring of love that occurred within those first days and weeks. “I was submerged in prayer,” she said. “From holy hours at the Newman Center, across the country, people I didn’t even know were surrounding me with prayer that I’m so thankful for.” Slowly, Ashley started making improvements, though for a long time it was uncertain exactly how healed she could be. She had a stroke while at UNMC, and it was uncertain for a while whether she’d ever be able to walk, or hold a job or take care of future children.

OUR CATHOLIC LIFE “I can’t even imagine Brad, just three weeks after getting engaged, and my parents just sitting by, not knowing if I’m going to make it and if I did, what would be the end result? How much of Ashley would they get back, would he get back?” she said. Even the tiniest glimpses of hope, however, made Brad “just giddy excited,” Ashley said. “Even if I was just able to squeeze his hand or open my eyes and look at him, or just try to smile, anything gave him glimpses of hope that I was going to make it,” she said. After UNMC, Ashley was flown down to Atlanta to continue her treatment – it was closer to her parents, who live in Knoxville, Tenn., and was highly recommended for brain trauma recovery. Brad kept his job as an aide to a state senator in Nebraska, but flew down to Atlanta every Thursday through Sunday to be with his fiancé. “That was beautiful to me and exactly what I needed to keep fighting and to keep doing frustrating therapies,” Ashley said. But May 16th, the day they had originally planned for their wedding, was harder than most. Brad flew down to be with Ashley, and they went to a church to pray. “I’m not a crier, I’m just not, but that day we went to the chapel and I just broke down, and I walked out of the church and he came after me and he said ‘What’s wrong? I’m still here, we’re still going to get married,’” Ashley recalled. She told Brad about all the doubts she had – doubts, she thinks now, that came from Satan. “We didn’t have our wedding rescheduled, I didn’t know when or if I would go back to work, I still wasn’t approved to drive, and I just kept thinking: Am I worth it?” “I remember he took my hands and said, ‘Ashley, I still love you, I love you just as much as when I asked you to marry me, I’m going to marry you, and it’s not going to be today, but it will be as soon as it makes sense, as soon as you get back and we get in our rhythm, it will be then.’” And it was. The next week, Ashley found out her release date. She entered a driving program, and was approved to start working again part-time. As the improvements kept coming, Ashley and Brad started re-looking at wedding dates. They settled on Dec. 12 – exactly a year after the accident. “It was Ashley’s idea,” Brad said. “She wanted to conquer a sad day and remember it with joy, or in her words ‘kick the accident in the face.’” It was a cold December day in Nebraska again. There had been a blizzard the day before Dec. 12, 2009, the day of Ashley and Brad Stevens’ wedding. “Seeing the church surrounded by people that had stood by our sides whether its prayers, meals, visits, and just having a party, it was a way of saying I’m still here, that God healed us, healed me,and performed a miracle,” Ashley said. The Stevens have now been married for almost six years, with two beautiful little girls. They still have their ups and downs, like any couple, but in large part because of the accident, Ashley never doubts that Brad is in it for the long haul.

“Marriage is hard,” Ashley said, “but it’s part of the cost, and when you sign the marriage license you know that. The vow, ‘in good and in bad, in sickness and in health,’ obviously Brad’s already lived the in sickness and in health vow out before we even walked down the aisle.” There are reminders of the accident – Ashley permanently lost hearing in her right ear, she suffered nerve injuries and lost partial control of her right hand. But at the end of the day goodness prevailed, Ashley said, which is why she is working on a book telling her story. “God gives us all different gifts,” Ashley said. “And I don’t have the gift of musical ability, or anything artistic, at times I don’t have the gift of extraversion, but I do have the gift of a cool story. And I have the gumption to share it.” “The point (of the story) is that God always wins,” she said. “And that may not look like the win that has always played out in your head, but he’s faithful, and he works miracles in our lives, and we can’t forget all he’s done in our life.” Editor’s Note: Stories of Faith is a recurring feature in New Earth. If you have a faith story to tell, contact Father Bert Miller at bert.




Revealing the facts about Planned Parenthood


alls to defund Planned Parenthood renewed after the Catholic Center for Medical Action Progress released a series of videos Christoper Dodson that shows Planned Parenthood staff engaged in the collection and distribution of tissue and organs from aborted unborn children. The center claims that the videos show Planned Parenthood engaged in illegal activity, including the sale of unborn body parts for profit. Planned Parenthood claims that its actions were not for profit, were legal, and that defunding Planned Parenthood will deny access to women’s health and increase abortions. When we examine the facts, it becomes clear that Planned Parenthood’s claims do not justify continued funding with our tax dollars.

Planned Parenthood does abortions and lots of them

That might be true, but it does not change the substance of the videos. Planned Parenthood claims that the people behind the videos are extremists. Once again, who made the videos and what connections they might have had to other organizations is irrelevant. It does not change the substance of the videos.

It does not matter that it was legal

Perhaps the most used distraction technique is the claim that what Planned Parenthood did is legal under federal law. The Center for Medical Progress alleges that the videos show Planned Parenthood engaged in the trafficking of fetal body parts for a profit, something that is illegal under federal law. The legal system will have to determine whether Planned Parenthood violated federal laws. In the meantime, we should not lose sight that even what Planned Parenthood admits to doing is unconscionable, even if legal.

Possible good does not make it right

Planned Parenthood and its defenders have resorted to the consequentialist argument that, no matter how you feel about abortion, what was shown in the videos is actually good because it may lead to cures. That is another distraction technique and one that relies on a flawed moral analysis. A good outcome cannot justify an evil act. The intentional killing of human life is evil and no amount of resulting “good” can make the killing morally acceptable.

Planned Parenthood claims that only three percent of its services are abortions. It arrives at this figure by counting every little service it provides, such as a pregnancy test, a Pap test, and tests for STDs. Suppose that a woman comes in for an abortion. Tax dollars support Planned Planned Parenthood first tests if she’s pregnant, tests for STDs, Parenthood’s abortion agenda conducts the abortion, and hands her contraceptives on the Planned Parenthood likes to point out that no federal dollars way out. By Planned Parenthood’s figuring, only one-fourth pay for abortions. This is partly true. Federal law prohibits the of the activities conducted involved abortion. Rich Lowry of use of federal funds to directly pay for most abortions. Tax the National Review noted that with this reasoning, “Major dollars can, however, pay for abortions due to rape, incest or League Baseball teams could say that they sell about 20 million to save the life of the mother. More importantly, all money is hot dogs and play 2,430 games in a season, so baseball is only somewhat fungible. Tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood .012 percent of what they do.” help support its agenda in other ways, an agenda that includes Three percent of Planned Parenthood’s business comes to abortions and anti-religious freedom activity. about 330,000 abortions a year. That is 330,000 too many. The mere fact that something is legal does not mean that citiPlanned Parenthood is anti-religious freedom zens should have to disregard an organization’s involvement in It is tempting to say that Planned Parenthood is all about the activity when it comes to deciding whether to fund another abortion, but the truth is that the organization has included activity by the organization. In other words, even if our tax hostility toward religious freedom in its activities. When North dollars do not directly pay for abortions, Planned Parenthood’s Dakota voters considered a religious freedom measure, Planned provision of abortion should exclude it from receiving our Parenthood affiliates from around the nation contributed $1.2 tax dollars. million toward its defeat. They did this despite the fact that Space does not permit discussion of Planned Parenthood’s Planned Parenthood does not have a clinic in the state, the never disavowed racist and eugenic history. It should be clear, measure had nothing to do with “reproductive rights,” and even without that information, that the time has come to defund many Planned Parenthood clinics operate in states with similar Planned Parenthood and send it to the ash heap of history. laws with no problems. Christopher Dodson is executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference. The NDCC acts on behalf of the Catholic bishops of North Planned Parenthood’s distraction defense Dakota to respond to public policy issues of concern to the Catholic Planned Parenthood claims the videos were edited. Actually, Church and to educate Catholics and the general public about Catholic the unedited versions were posted at the same time. Planned social doctrine. The conference website is Parenthood claims that they were secretly and illegally filmed.





Consenting to the unconscionable

n recent years, scientists in industry and academia have come to rely on freshly obtained human tissue specimens for certain types of research and experimentation. Sometimes these tissues and organs can be obtained after routine surgeries like gall bladder removal from adults or foreskin removal during the circumcision of newborns. The use of such tissues and organs can be morally acceptable if the patient (or the parents of the newborn) provide informed consent. The use of cells and tissues from fetuses can also be morally acceptable when those cells are obtained from a natural miscarriage, and the parents provide consent. This would be equivalent to consenting to an organ donation from their deceased child. Recently, however, a phenomenon has come to light that involves the partnering of biomedical researchers with abortionists, for the purpose of securing a reliable supply of human tissues and organs. In these cases, parental consent (usually from the mother) may be sought prior to using the aborted child’s remains. Researchers claim this consent is necessary to enable the ethical use of the cells or tissues. This procedural detail is frequently described in the section called “Materials and Methods” found in scientific research papers, as, for example, in this February 2015 article on brain research in the journal Science: “Human fetal brain tissue was obtained from the [clinic], following elective pregnancy termination and informed written maternal consents, and with approval of the local University Hospital Ethical Review Committees.” Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the United States, also seeks maternal consent prior to procuring fetal body parts from direct abortions, as chronicled by the Center for Medical Progress in their bombshell 2015 video exposé in which the sales of fetal heart, lungs, brain and liver were discussed and negotiated. The strong public outcry that followed these revelations of harvesting fetal organs was understandable on the one hand, yet difficult to explain on the other, since there hadn’t been a parallel outcry when it came to the more offensive act of terminating the life of the unborn child itself. As one commentator observed, “Maybe it is not enough to be outraged at abortion on its face because, I don’t know, killing is somehow worse if body parts are sold.” Despite this inconsistency, it is nonetheless clear that the use of tissues and organs from direct abortions raises significant moral concerns, even if the mother’s signature may have been sought and obtained. Typically when we serve as a proxy for someone and give consent on their behalf, we act simply as their agent and

provide an affirmation of their original wishes (“Yes, he told me he wanted to doMaking Sense nate his kidneys.”). Alternatively, if we of Bioethics do not know the wishes of the de- Father Tad Pacholczyk ceased patient, we do our best to make a reasonable decision based on the specifics of their situation, using a “best interest” standard (“Based on my friendship with him and concern for him, I think he really would have wanted to donate his kidneys.). When we serve as a proxy decision maker for a fetus, an infant, or a deceased child prior to the age of reason, it is incumbent on us to make a “best interest” decision on their behalf. The assumption is that as we cared for them in life, and had their best interests in mind while they were living, we can continue to exercise that “best interest” decision-making capacity later when they are deceased. But if the mother of an aborted child were to sign the dotted line granting permission to utilize fetal cells and organs, that consent would necessarily be void, because she would have already categorically demonstrated that she does not have the best interests of her child in mind, having arranged for the taking of that child’s life. From the ethical point of view, she has disqualified herself from being able to give valid informed consent on behalf of her now-deceased child. In the absence of proper informed consent, taking organs or tissues from the corpse would represent a further violation of the integrity of the child’s body and constitute a failure to respect the remains of the dead. Thus, the tissues and organs of the directly aborted child should not be utilized for research, transplantation or the development of therapies, but instead should be given a proper and respectful burial. In the final analysis, maternal consent cannot provide moral clearance for researchers to utilize fetal remains from direct abortions in their research. Such permission from the mother is not, objectively speaking, an authentic form of consent but is rather a type of “sham consent” that secures the veneer of legitimacy for what is ultimately an unconscionable research practice. Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, MA, and serves as the Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. See

“…if the mother of an aborted child were to sign the dotted line granting permission to utilize fetal cells and organs, that consent would necessarily be void, because she would have already categorically demonstrated that she does not have the best interests of her child in mind, having arranged for the taking of that child’s life.” – Father Tad Pacholczyk




Before you sell Author ’s Note: Steve Schons is director of stewardship and development for the Over the years, there Diocese of Fargo and president of the Catholic Development Foundation. have been many He can be reached at or (701) 356-7926. creative ways people have financially sup Stewardship ported their parish Dear Friends at the Catholic Development Foundation: Steve Schons or other Catholic Please send me information about charitable program. In this remainder trusts. article, you’ll learn that a Charitable Name: Remainder Trust provides excellent benefits to both you and the Catholic entity/ Address: program you want to support. Are you thinking of cashing in some of your stocks or bonds? City: Do you have a farmland, a vacant lot or some other piece of real estate you may sell soon? Whether its securities or real estate, State: Zip: Phone: if you’ve owned the asset for more than a year and the value is higher than your cost, you may want to consider placing the Mail this form to: property in a charitable trust. Diocese of Fargo / Attn: Steve Schons Here’s the big benefit: the trustee of a charitable trust can sell 5201 Bishops Blvd South, Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104 appreciated assets without incurring tax on the capital gain. Then the entire proceeds, less selling costs, can be invested to provide a “flow of income” to you as an income beneficiary of the trust. At the end of the trust, normally upon the death of the TRINITY income recipient(s), whatever is left will then will be distributed ELEMENTARY to your parish or other Catholic program. If you sell your property yourself, a significant amount of Now Open! the sale proceeds could be lost to taxes. But with this trust, the full value (less selling costs) is invested to meet the goals of the trust. Think of the extra income this could mean to you during your lifetime. Because the trust is irrevocable (you can’t undo it) and the remainder eventually goes to your parish or other Catholic program named, you receive an immediate income tax deduction when you establish the trust. And, if you can’t use all of the deduction the first year, the government allows you up to five additional years. The beautiful thing about a charitable remainder trust is that it allows you to make a deferred gift now to your parish A Community Inspiring Excellence Through Faith, Learning and Service. or Catholic program and yet retain a lifetime “flow of income” Educating the Total Person to help you through your retirement years. Through the Prism of Faith And, like icing on the cake, if you are a North Dakota resident Little Deacons (age 5) - Grade 12 and make a planned gift to a ND qualified charity (such as your FOR MORE INFORMATION OR PERSONAL TOUR parish) of $5,000 or more, you are eligible for a 40% tax credit Lori Hager, Admissions Director on your ND taxes. Tax credits are much different than a tax 701.893.3271 HOLY SPIRIT ELEMENTARY deduction because they reduce your tax liability dollar for dollar. The maximum tax credit is $10,000 for individuals or $20,000 NATIVITY ELEMENTARY for married filing jointly. However, credits can be carried over for up to three years. TRINITY ELEMENTARY To learn more about the charitable remainder trust, please contact me. SULLIVAN MIDDLE SCHOOL/







Satisfied with less

Time in Mexico teaches what it means to be a good priest

ne of my favorite parts of being in seminary is the chance to do things and go places that I wouldn’t normally get to go. For example, every summer my seminary sends a group of men to a school in Cuernavaca, Mexico for six weeks to study Spanish. I jumped at the chance to learn another language and immerse myself in a different culture. I knew going into this trip that I would be paired with one of the other ten seminarians from Sacred Heart and live with a local family. The woman I lived with was named Elsa. She is an older woman who doesn’t speak any English. My housemate and I had a hard time communicating at first, but it was an excellent chance to practice what we learned! Elsa was married when she was 17 years old and very quickly became the mother of five boys. After high school, the oldest boy – whose name is Octavio – entered the seminary and became a priest several years later. Shortly after Padre Octavio’s ordination, Elsa’s husband died suddenly. In the wake of this

We came with cards, balls, games and coloring sheets to occupy them for the Seminarian afternoon, but they Life didn’t even need that much. The love and Riley Durkin gratitude the kids showed us for merely paying attention to them was humbling. Even with my broken Spanish, it wasn’t long before I had toddlers begging me to pick them up and teenagers wanting us to play soccer. My seminary classmates and I spent the afternoon playing, laughing and joking with the kids. During lunch, all 500 kids from toddlers to age 17 lined up and patiently waited for their turn to be served.

“It was the job of the older kids to take care of the younger kids and everybody was cared for and loved. These kids were being trained to be servants and help those less fortunate, even though many people would consider them to be such!” – Riley Durkin, Fargo Diocese seminarian tragedy, Elsa called Octavio the family’s pillar. He never forgot his mother or brothers while still being completely dedicated to his priestly ministry. Many of the Catholics I talked to in Cuernavaca had heard of how great a priest Padre Octavio was even though many had never met him. About 10 years after the death of his father, Padre Octavio died from surgical malpractice. While this nightmare may have made others question their faith and whether or not God was active in their lives, Elsa’s faith didn’t falter. It was shortly after his death that she began hosting Sacred Heart seminarians in the summers. On many occasions Elsa said to us, “Now I have many sons who are priests!” It was a great encouragement to see how such a wonderful woman with a tragic life story could remain so close to God. It made me consider my own life and what I have made habits complaining about. Yet here is a woman who has faced horrible tragedies in her life, yet never questions whether or not it is God’s will. She takes every opportunity to offer up her sufferings while she strives to be a saint. More memorable experiences came from what we called our Weekend Excursions. Every Saturday my group and I would go on excursions to different parts of Mexico and popular tourist attractions. Some of these included visiting cities such as Puebla, Taxco, the widest pyramids in the world, but my favorite was a nearby orphanage called Nuestra Pequeños Hermanos, or, Our Little Brothers and Sisters. Due to adoption laws in Mexico, once a child enters an orphanage, it is very hard for them to leave. Because of this, there were nearly 500 kids up to the age of 18 living there. Our job for the afternoon was to simply entertain the kids.

On the drive back to our houses at the end of the afternoon, we all had a sobering conversation about what we take for granted in the United States. All these kids had were one another. Nobody had any electronics, and the few possessions that were owned by the orphanage were shared among the kids. It was the job of the older kids to take care of the younger kids and everybody was cared for and loved. These kids were being trained to be servants and help those less fortunate, even though many people would consider them to be such! I believe that this is who Jesus was referring to when He called us to serve “the least of these.” Not everything a seminarian learns about being a good priest happens in the classroom. At the end of my six weeks in Mexico, I came back with a better understanding of the Spanish language, but I learned so much more than that. Elsa taught me by example of how to be a true suffering servant. Her faith and love of the Church is certainly something to be modeled in the life of the priest and laity alike. The kids at the orphanage taught me something that I should have learned a long time ago - that relationships are more important than money and toys. These lessons were things I wouldn’t have learned in the walls of a seminary. St. Paul calls priests to be “all things to all people.” The lessons that I learned in Cuernavaca will help me fulfill this calling to be the man God is calling me to be. Riley Durkin is a College IV student studying at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Mich. Originally from Inkster, Durkin enjoys traveling and trying new adventures. He has one younger sister and one younger brother. Durkin credits his former pastor, Father James Goodwin, with providing him the encouragement to discern priesthood. NEW EARTH SEPTEMBER 2015



Happenings Around The Diocese Renew your relationship with the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit parish in Fargo is hosting a Life in the Spirit retreat from Friday, Sept. 18 at 6 p.m., to Sunday, Sept. 20 at 3 p.m. Eight speakers will share their personal testimony about an encounter with the Holy Spirit, how the Lord has impacted them in their life or how they have cooperated to discern the gifts and talents that God has given them in their life. There will also be time for small groups of people to pray with you, as you ask God for the gifts that you desire or want awakened in your heart. All meals will be provided. The cost of the retreat is a free-will offering. We are also in need of parishioners to open up their homes for our out-of-town guests. To register for the retreat or to open your home for guests, call Katie Dubas at (701) 3567908, or register online at Registration deadline is Sept. 16.

North Dakota ‘40 Days for Life’ begins Sept. 23

The faithful of the Fargo Diocese are encouraged to participate in the National 40 Days for Life campaign that will take place Sept. 23 to Nov. 1. The “40 Days” of continuous prayer will begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23 in front of the abortion facility located at 512 First Ave. N. in Fargo. The event is a three-fold effort of prayer, fasting and vigilance that will be conducted in all 50 states across our nation and internationally. Sign-up to take an hour vigilance at the state’s only abortion facility by contacting the Pregnancy Help Center at (701) 356-7979 or To learn more about the 40 Days for Life campaign, visit

Catholic Charities Sunday set for September 27

A video presentation will be shown in each parish Sept. 27 for Catholic Charities Sunday. Parishioners will join together in prayer for clients, staff and supporters of Catholic Charities North Dakota. Parishioners will also have an opportunity to learn more about this ministry and support the work of putting our faith in action to serve those in need. Catholic Charities ND helps find forever families for children in foster care, offers free birth counseling and parenting support for women and men, provides comprehensive adoption services for those desiring children, offers guardianship services for adults with intellectual disabilities, and provides individuals, couples and families with professional, faith-based counseling services for relationships, stress and anger, or anxiety and depression. You can contact and access their services from anywhere in the state by calling 1-800-450-4457 or visiting online at www.

and confidential weekend retreat for anyone: women, men, grandparents and siblings who struggle with the feelings of loss that can accompany an abortion experience. The weekend begins on Friday evening, Oct. 2 and concludes on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 4. For more information, or to register, please call Ruth Ruch at (701) 219-3941 or email her at All calls are confidential.

Walk with Christ for Life on Respect Life Sunday, October 4

Bishop John Folda invites the faithful of the diocese to join him in the annual Eucharistic procession, Walk with Christ for Life, on Respect Life Sunday, Oct. 4. The day’s events begin with Mass at noon, at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo followed by a prayerful, peaceful procession to the state’s only abortion facility. A short prayer service will be held outside the abortion facility with Benediction at the Cathedral to follow. The walk is sponsored by the Diocese of Fargo Respect Life Office. For more information, call Rachelle Sauvageau at (701) 356-7910.

October 10 marks celebration of the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate

October 28 marks the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions entitled ‘Nostra aetate.’ This brief document has had a positive effect on Catholic-Jewish relations and today can be a starting point for fruitful dialogue. Please join members of both the Catholic and Jewish communities in the Fargo-Moorhead on Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. at Temple Beth El Synagogue, Fargo, as they reflect on the role Nostra aetate has had in forming good relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people. Bishop Folda will be present and will give a talk entitled “Contemporary Catholic Thinking on Nostra aetate.”

Youth called to March for Life

Youth in grades 9-12 are invited to pilgrimage to the

annual March for Life in Washington D.C. on Jan. 22, 2016. The pilgrimage will begin in Fargo on Jan. 18 and return Jan. 23. Father Greg Haman, Parochial Vicar for St. Michael’s Church, Grand Forks will be our spiritual director. In addition to participating in the March for Life and Vigil Mass for Life at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, youth will also travel to Emittsburg, MD to visit the Mother Seton Shrine and see the sights of Washington D.C. The cost for the 6-day pilgrimage is $830 and includes air and ground travel, lodging, meals and tour fees. Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat offers Registration deadline is Oct. 15. To obtain a registration form contact Rachelle at (701) 356-7910, rachelle.sauvageau@ healing for abortion experiences If you or someone you know has suffered from the physical, or go to emotional and spiritual effects of a past abortion, there is hope for healing. Rachel’s Vineyard offers a safe, non-judgmental,




Events Across The Diocese Mark your calendar for events around the diocese

Maryvale Deacons Retreat.

Maryvale Convent, Valley City. Thursday, Sept. 17 to Sunday, Sept. 20. Father John Kleinschmidt will lead a series of conferences on marriage, Mary and Joseph and more. Contact Deacon Ken Votava at (701) 840-3081.

Friends of Chimbote 4th Annual Fall Gala Fundraising Celebration.

Holiday Inn, Fargo. Friday, Sept. 18 at 5:30 p.m. This year’s theme “Passport to Peru” will transport attendees to Chimbote, Peru via virtual visits including a Peruvian craft market, a trip to the soup kitchen and real-life examples of life in Chimbote. A special presentation will honor Sister Peggy Byrne and her life’s work in Chimbote. Contact Susan Trnka at (701) 364-0162.

Women’s THIRST Conference. University of

Mary, Bismarck. Saturday, Sept. 19 at 9 a.m. The guest speaker will be Father Scott Traynor, and he will deliver three presentations on healing, prayer and relationship with God. Contact Holly Krumm at (701) 2014-7223 ext. 223 or

Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend.

St. Mary’s parish, Bismarck. Friday, Sept. 25 to Sunday, Sept. 27. A retreat for married couples. Contact Rob and Angie at (701) 3471998 or visit Early registration is highly recommended.

Holy Rosary 125th Anniversary. Holy Rosary

parish, LaMoure. Sunday, Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact Bonnie Christianson at (701) 883-5987.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend.

East Grand Forks, Minn. Friday, Oct. 16 to Sunday, Oct. 18. A retreat for married couples. Contact Rob and Angie at (701) 347-1998 or visit Early registration is highly recommended.

Year of Marriage and Family Celebration.

Fargo Civic Center Auditorium and Radisson Hotel. Saturday, Oct. 24. To celebrate the Diocese of Fargo’s Year of Marriage and Family, a conference titled “Living Reflections of God’s Love” will be held for the whole family. Bishop John Folda, Jeff and Emily Cavins, Monsignor James Shea and Doug Tooke will be featured speakers. Separate tracks will be held for children and youth. Contact Jennie Korsmo at (701) 356-7901 for more information or to register. 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 October New Earth is Sept. 23. The earliest that issue will reach homes is Oct. 12.

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

James and Gloriann Roach celebrate 60th anniversary

James and Gloriann Roach of St. Aloysius Catholic Church, Lisbon, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary Aug. 22. They were married at St. Aloysius by Monsignor O’Donahue. Both James and Gloriann attended grade school at St. Aloysius Catholic School and were both baptized and confirmed at St. Aloysius.

Marcella Schuler celebrates 100 years

Marcella Schuler, former parishioner of St. Boniface parish in Calio (near Munich) and later parishioner of St. Joseph parish in Devils Lake, will celebrate her 100th birthday Oct. 2. She currently resides at Rosewood on Broadway in Fargo. Marcella (Helten) married Werner Schuler on Nov. 29, 1933. The couple lived in the Calio area and had five children. Today she has 14 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.

Marjorie Sweeney celebrates 90 years

Marjorie Sweeney celebrated her 90th birthday at a Mass in her honor at St. Timothy’s Church in Manvel July 26. Many of Marjorie’s family, friends and parishioners were there to celebrate. Marjorie was blessed with 47 years of marriage with her late husband, Gerald, and is blessed with six children, 21 grandchildren and 41 great-grandchildren.

Share Life’s Milestones As a way to celebrate life and love, we encourage parishioners throughout the Diocese of Fargo to send photos of anniversaries of 60 or more years, or birthdays of 80 or more years to: New Earth, Diocese of Fargo, 5201 Bishops Blvd. S., Suite A, Fargo, ND 58104-7605 or NEW EARTH SEPTEMBER 2015



Fall festivals coming soon


all events are great opportunities to connect with parish communities. The following is a listing of fall dinners and festivals submitted to New Earth.

Medina: Medina School, Medina. Sunday, Sept. 20 from 11 a.m.

to 1:30 p.m. Turkey, ham and all the trimmings will be served along with Country Store baked goods and craft items. Contact Elly Rau at (701) 486-3414.

Grand Forks: St. Mary’s parish, Grand Forks. Sunday, Sept. 27

from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The menu is chicken and dressing, meatballs, potatoes and gravy, green beans, coleslaw, rolls, beverages and dessert. Contact Mary Thompson at (701) 772-6947.

Ellendale: St. Helena parish, Ellendale. Sunday Sept. 27

from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Turkey and all the trimmings, salad bar, homemade pie served family style. Raffle tickets for quilt and cash also available. Contact Father Jason Asselin at (701) 349-3297.

Fargo: St. Anthony of Padua parish, Fargo. Sunday, Sept. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include dinner, a raffle, silent auction, bingo, plant and craft sale, baked goods, used book sale, homemade apple pies, costume jewelry and fun games for kids. Contact Linette Knoll at (701) 232-5441.

Dazey: St. Mary’s parish, six miles east of Dazey. Sunday, Oct. 4 from 4-7 p.m. Contact Nancy Bryn at (701) 733-2292 or

Argusville: Argusville Community Center, Argusville. Sunday, Oct. 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Turkey dinner with all the trimmings will be served with bake sale, raffle and country market available as well. Contact parish at (701) 484-5211.

Verona: St. Raphael parish, Verona. Sunday, Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Bonnie Christianson at (701) 432-5625.

West Fargo: Holy Cross parish, West Fargo. Sunday, Oct. 18

from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The day will include a kids’ tractor pull, games, raffle, chance baskets, bingo, country store, baked goods, jewelry, silent auction and more. All are welcome to the new location at 2711 7th St. East. Contact the parish at (701) 282-7217.

West Fargo: Blessed Sacrament parish, West Fargo, Sunday,

A Glimpse of the Past

These news items, compiled by Dorothy Duchschere, were found in issues of the Diocese of Fargo newspaper, New Earth, and its predecessor, Catholic Action News.

50 Years Ago....1965

The fourth session of the Second Vatican Council will open on September 14. Bishop Leo F. Dworschak will leave Fargo on August 30 for a short visit to the Holy Land before going on to Rome for the opening session. Twelve matters await the Council fathers upon their return. The answer to the question: “What is the Church and what does the Church do?” will very likely occupy the Council for a good part of the fourth and expected final session. -September 1965 Catholic Action News

20 Years Ago....1995

The 35 permanent deacons of the Fargo Diocese, along with their wives, will launch a four-year Continuing Education program this fall focusing on the new “Catechism of the Catholic Church.” The deacons will meet four weekends a year at the Maryvale Retreat Center, Valley City. Each weekend will include seven and a half hours of instruction from Fr. Greg Schlesselmann of St. Anthony of Padua, Fargo. “It’s important that we, as deacons, keep up our educational activities,” Deacon David Eblen said. “The Church is dynamic and the times are always changing.”-September 1995 New Earth

10 Years ago....2005 St. William Church of Maddock is planning a Friday,

September 9 celebration to honor its 50th dedication anniversary. Bishop Samuel Aquila will preside at the 6:00 p.m. Mass, followed by a light lunch in the church basement. For at least 50 years before the church building was completed in 1955, Maddock Catholics were served by priests who would travel from Fort Totten, Carrington, New Rockford and Minnewaukan. Bishop Leo F.Dworschak attended the dedication on September 9, 1955. -July/August 2005 New Earth

Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will include a basket silent auction, jewelry shop, country store, games and bingo. Contact the parish at (701) 282-3321.

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Meet the monks who decided to go green years before Laudato Si By Matt Hadro | Catholic News Agency

Monks at the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Va. began embracing environmental stewardship described in Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ in 2007. Through their efforts, they’ve begun to see the communal and spiritual goodness of intentionally caring for God’s creation.


ears before Pope Francis’ recent ecology encyclical was published, a Trappist monastery in Virginia went back to its spiritual roots by embracing environmental stewardship. “This really is a re-founding,” Father James Orthmann of Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Va. told CNA, a “real renewal and a re-founding, and in a real sense getting back to our traditional roots.” Since 2007, the community has taken concrete steps to be better stewards of the earth in the tradition of the Cistercian Order, while also reaching into the outside world to draw more Catholic men to their monastic life. The abbey was founded in 1950 after a planned Trappist abbey in Massachusetts burned down. The Diocese of Richmond offered to accept the monks and they procured 1,200 acres of pasture on the Shenandoah River in Northwest Virginia, just in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east. However the community has shrunk along with the overall number of religious priests and brothers in the U.S. The community’s Father Immediate – the abbot of their mother house – suggested in 2007 they start planning how to sustain the abbey for the long-term. The monks discussed their most important resources and “literally everybody talked about our location, our land,” Father James recalled. “As monks who follow the Rule of St. Benedict, we have a vow of stability. So we bind ourselves to the community and to the place that we enter.” The Trappists have a long history of settling in valleys and caring for the land, dating back to their roots in the Cistercian 32


Order and their mother abbey in Citeaux, France, founded in 1098. Monks at Holy Cross Abbey began farming the land in 1950 but as the community grew older, they leased out the land to local farmers and made creamed honey and fruitcake for their labor. “We live a way of life that’s literally rooted in the land,” Father James explained. “The liturgical life reflects the succession of the seasons, and the more you become sensitized to that, the symbolism of the liturgy becomes so much more compelling.” So what specifically have the monks done to become better environmental stewards? First, they reached out to the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment to author a study on how the abbey could be more environmentally sustainable in the Cistercian tradition. A group of graduate students made the project their master’s thesis. The result was a massive 400-page study, “Reinhabiting Place,” with all sorts of recommendations for the monks. With these suggestions as a starting place, the monks took action. First, they turned to the river. They asked the cattle farmer to whom they lease 600 acres of their land to stop his cattle from grazing in the river. This would protect the riverbanks from eroding and keep the cows from polluting the water, which flows into the Potomac River, past Washington, D.C., and eventually feeds the massive Chesapeake Bay. They fenced off tributaries of the river and planted native hardwoods and bushes on the banks as shelter for migratory animals and to attract insects and pollinators to “restore the proper biodiversity to the area,” Father James explained.

U.S. AND WORLD NEWS They also leased 180 acres of land to a farmer for natural vegetable farming. Most of the abbey’s property was put into “conservation easement” with the county and the state. By doing this, the monks promise that the land will forever remain “fallow,” or agricultural and undeveloped, and they receive a tax benefit in return. The county provides this policy to check suburban sprawl and retain a rural and agricultural nature. The community also switched their heating and fueling sources from fossil fuels to propane gas. They had a solar-fed lighting system installed in two of the guest retreat dorms, and they pay for the recycling of their disposable waste. The monks stopped making fruitcake for a year to install a new more energy-efficient oven and make building repairs. They have even started offering “green burials” at Cool Spring Cemetery in the Trappist style. Normal burials can cost well over $7,000 with embalming fluids and lead coffins that can be detrimental to the soil. A Trappist burial, by contrast, is “rather sparse” and “rather unadorned,” Father James explained. A monk is wrapped in a shroud and placed directly on a wooden bier in the ground. The Trappist burials, while quite different from a typical modern burial, actually have an earthy character to them that’s attractive, Father James said. After the “initial shock” at seeing such a sparse burial for the first time, “oddly enough, it’s very cathartic and you have a real sense of hope,” he said. The burials are “a lot less formal” and “people [in attendance] are more spontaneous,” he noted, and there’s “even a certain joyfulness to it.” With their “green burials,” the body is wrapped in a shroud or placed in a biodegradable container like a wooden coffin and buried in the first four feet of the soil. By one year, just the skeleton may be left, but it’s a harkening back to the Ash Wednesday admonition, “Remember man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.” And this contrasts with the complicated embalming process of normal funerals where chemicals like formaldehyde can seep into the ground.

The monks have already touched lives with their example of stewardship. Local residents George Patterson and Deidra Dain are producing a film “Saving Place, Saving Grace” about the monastery’s efforts to remain sustainable. Once they fundraise the film’s budget of $300,000, it will air next year on a local PBS affiliate station. The affiliate’s general manager looked at the story and thought everyone needed to hear it. “At the end of the day, I can open up ‘Laudato Si’ and say to myself ‘Ah, this is worth it. We should keep doing this. I’m going to keep putting up with the nonsense to get this done,’” Father James said. The community hopes too that it can be a sustainability model for developing countries that might not be able to afford high-tech and expensive solutions to environmental problems. Their facilities are simple by nature and not sophisticated, and the monks’ consumption is already low because they take a vow of poverty. The monks follow an intense daily schedule of prayer, contemplation, and work that includes 3:30 a.m. prayer and a “Great Silence” beginning at 8:15 p.m. They don’t leave the abbey grounds and don’t own private property. “It’s a lifestyle that very much will develop one’s interiority, spirituality, relationship with God,” he said. “It’s a vocation of adoration, done in community, and offered to the world around us through hospitality here in this place.” And the modern world offers special challenges to a man discerning this vocation, he admitted. “There’s not much in the pop culture to invite a person to even think about interiority. And in fact it can be rather threatening to people,” he said. “Initially,” when one begins to seriously cultivate an interior life, “it’s the negative stuff that comes up.” However, “with guidance you realize that’s the negative face of very important, unrecognized resources. And our vulnerability is perhaps the greatest resource we have in life. (Even if) that’s not the message you’d get from watching Oprah.”

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First teachers of the faith By Katie Dubas Evangelization and Catechesis Coordinator, Diocese of Fargo


hen is the last time you were at a baptism? It’s been nine months since I’ve attended a baptism, but I paid close attention since I was chosen to be the godmother. The duty of the godparent is to help the parents in raising the child to know and love Jesus and His Church. The formal wording in the ceremony declares: “You have asked to have your child baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training them in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring them up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?” Parents respond: “We do.” The parents’ promises take place in a blink of an eye during the rite of baptism, but it is serious stuff indeed, just as serious as wedding vows. And the good news is that with this obligation comes the grace necessary to fulfill the obligation. Part of the final blessing is specifically designed for the mom and dad to be given the grace that they need to raise their child in the faith. The celebrant prays: “God is the giver of all life, human and divine. May he bless the fathers of these children. With their wives they will be the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith. May they be also the best of teachers, bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do.” And everyone says “Amen.” Yes, Lord, please let it be so! In this concluding prayer, Holy Mother Church is entrusting the newly baptized to the care of his or her parents and expects them to do their best in witnessing to and raising them as disciples of Jesus. Disciples beget disciples and thus parents are indispensible in handing on the faith to their children. From infancy, children pay close attention to what their parents say and do. Their lives are a testimony to what their parents believe. What do you believe? Have you wrestled with the big questions such as ‘what is the meaning of life’ and ‘are heaven and hell really real’ and ‘what is the source of true happiness?’ I sincerely hope you’ve spent time pondering questions like these because they matter. “Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.” - attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907-1991). God is perfect love. He matters. Does your heart burn with his love? Once we encounter his love, we are given a choice to return that love or reject it. The more we fall in love with God, 34


the more we have the capacity to love others. And the more we can fulfill those promises made at baptism to raise our children in the faith. It makes me angry and a little sad when I hear parents give the excuse, “I’m not qualified to teach my children about the faith, so I’ll just let the church/Catholic school do it for me.” No! It’s time to man-up and take responsibility. You have the capacity to study the faith, to pray and grow in your relationship with the living God. Lead by example in your home. There are so many good resources available today like prayer books, various DVD studies, websites and even Smartphone apps to help understand our rich Catholic faith. Here are some ideas to get you started. 1) Talk to your pastor or another vibrant Catholic friend who could mentor you. 2) Spend at least ten minutes in prayer each day. Read the bible. Reflect in silence. Talk to the Lord from your heart. Be vulnerable and share your experience with your spouse and when appropriate, even share with your children. 3) Study your faith – Catholic Lighthouse Media kiosks and Real Presence Radio are great starting places. 4) Start new family traditions such as gathering together each morning/evening to pray together, thanking God for his blessings and asking him for help. 5) Reserve the traveling icon kit from your parish and implement some of the ideas permanently. The Blessed Trinity lavishly loves us. We are His beloved children. He equips us with the graces necessary to raise our own children in the faith if only we’d receive His love, His help. Turn to Him. And then roll up your sleeves and get busy creating little ‘teachable moments’ in your home. The faith was ‘caught’ more than ‘taught’ in my home. Knowing, loving and serving Jesus Christ in the midst of His Church was a way of life for my parents and they handed it on to me. I remember my dad sitting in bed at night reading his bible and the little booklet called ‘The Word Among Us.’ He was reviewing the scripture readings that he would hear the next day at Mass. When I’d pass by his room and catch him reading his bible, he’d sometimes ask me if I wanted to join him. I’d hop up on the bed and he’d read aloud to me and clarify words that I didn’t understand; he was patient with my questions. This time of scripture reading was part of my dad’s nightly routine and thus I observed as a child that studying scripture was important to him. Mom had her bible, study notebook and yellow highlighter sitting in the same spot of our living room next to ‘her’ chair. She often underlined and highlighted inside her bible and would stop to close her eyes to think and pray about something she had just read. I also remember my dad letting me help him put twenty dollar

bills into the church envelopes and lick them shut. It was part of his Sunday morning routine and thus I observed that tithing money to the church was important to him. As a teen about once a month, I remember my dad asking me if I wanted to join him in walking two blocks to the church and go to confession. Mom went too, but I don’t recall her asking me to join her like I remember when my dad asked me. Rather, I remember my mom being good at consoling me in my turbulent teen years when something made me sad, and she would end our talks with prayer – using her own words to ask Jesus to help me. I knew that a personal relationship with Jesus was

possible because of the personal and confident way in which my mom prayed aloud with me. My home life wasn’t immaculate, so don’t think that my parents walk on water, but I hope you realize that my parents do the things that they do as a result of knowing and loving Jesus Christ and seeking to be intentional disciples who raise children to be disciples. Handing on the faith in the home really is possible, and I want to encourage you to foster your own relationship with Jesus first so that these type of things will come naturally to you too.

The Dubas family poses for a photo on Thanksgiving in 1991. Katie Dubas remembers how her parents were her first teachers of the faith and how parents today can fulfill their promise at their children’s baptism to raise them to be disciples of Christ.

The Fargo Diocese’s Year of Marriage and Family kicked-off Dec. 28, 2014. Each month New Earth will feature an article related to a particular theme of the month during the year-long celebration. The following lists each month’s theme.





Our Children and Youth

Spousal Love

Natural Family Planning






The Blessed Virgin Mary

St. Joseph, Spouse and Father

Familial Love

“May I?” “Thank you” “I’m Sorry”





Parents: The First Teachers of Faith

Respect Life

Communion of Saints

Domestic Church

If you have a story idea related to these topics, please contact us at or (701) 356-7900 to let us know about it.





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



New Earth September 2015  

Magazine for the Diocese of Fargo

New Earth September 2015  

Magazine for the Diocese of Fargo