Monday, October 30, An Update on This Extraordinary Event at St. John’s: Meet the Daughter of a Saint

St. Gianna Molla & Family

On the evening of Monday, October 30, 2017, Saint John’s will welcome Dr. Gianna Emanuella Molla, the youngest daughter of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla.  

St. John’s is one of only two places in Minnesota to have the privilege of her presence.  

 Tentatively we are planning for Mass,  with veneration of 1st & 2nd class relics of  Saint Gianna, followed by a testimony of The Life, Faith & Sanctity of her mother, and an opportunity to meet and greet Dr. Molla. 

Light refreshments will be served.

 

Daughter of St. Gianna Molla coming to Duluth Oct. 30

Oct 16, 2017

“I like the idea of having a child of a canonized saint here, and having people have as close as they can to a tangible experience of a saint,” said Father Richard Kunst.

His parish, St. John in Duluth, will be offering just that Oct. 30, when it hosts Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla, the daughter of St. Gianna Molla, a patron saint of the pro-life movement.

The saint, canonized on May 16, 2004, by Pope St. John Paul II, was herself a pediatrician. While she was pregnant with her fourth child in 1961 — the young Gianna — she discovered she had a life-threatening tumor.

Among the options her doctors gave her were abortion, which would not have been morally licit, and hysterectomy, which would have been licit but would also have led to the death of the child. Instead, she insisted on a course of care that would put saving the life of her child as the priority.

Despite efforts to save both mother and child, the saint died a week after her daughter was born. She was 39 years old.

“She’s the patron saint of unborn children and the pro-life movement,” Father Kunst said, as well as the inspiration for parents who have given the name to their own children.

Father Kunst said the daughter the saint died saving, herself a physician as well, has become a spokesperson for her mother’s mission. For instance, she was present at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in 2015, with Pope Francis in attendance.

She will also be appearing in the Twin Cities in October, which the Catholic Church in the United States observes as Respect Life Month.

Yet Father Kunst said getting Dr. Molla lined up to come to Duluth was difficult despite the fact that she is coming to Minnesota already.

In fact, at one point, she told Father Kunst it would be “absolutely impossible.” But the next day she wrote again to say she could come for a talk in the parish.

“I’m very excited about it, obviously,” he said.

There is a private fundraising dinner the day before, but the main public event is Oct. 30, with Mass at 6:30 p.m. followed by Dr. Molla’s talk.

This, too, will have a fundraising component. Dr. Molla is raising funds to restore the family home and “make it into a shrine,” Father Kunst said.

“She travels all over the place to share her mom’s story and the vision of what she would like to do in regard to her mother’s ministry in the pro-life movement,” he said.

So he will be asking for a generous freewill donation. But the event is free and is a unique opportunity to meet one of the few people in the world who is a living child of a canonized saint.

“St. Gianna Molla died to save this woman’s life,” he added. “… She’s an integral part of the whole story of St. Gianna Molla.”

He said there are no tickets, it’s just first-come, first-served. There will be closed-circuit TV in the parish’s basement in case there is overflow from the church, which itself can seat quite a few people.

“All they have to do is bring their willingness to support the mission of St. Gianna Molla and the pro-life movement,” he said.

— Kyle Eller / The Northern Cross

 

Here is a link to the work Dr. Molla is accomplishing through the Ponte Nuovo Project to which she is devoting her life.  We are so privileged to have her here at St. John’s and look forward to such a special event.  Here is the link:

OK St. Gianna Ponte Nuovo Project (1)

About Dr. Molla:

About me:
gianna-emanuelaI practiced as a geriatrician at the Geriatric Institute, “Camillo Golgi” in Abbiategrasso, Milan. In 2003, I left my profession to care for my dad Pietro who had serious health problems until he died on April 3, 2010, Holy Saturday, at the age of almost 98.
    Since my dad’s death, I work full time in service of the Saint Gianna Beretta Molla Foundation, which he founded in 1999 in Milan with my uncle Father Giuseppe, my Mom’s brother.
    The Saint Gianna Foundation is a non-profit-making Foundation. Its essential aim is to honor, to perpetuate and to spread out all around the world my Saint Mom’s memory, example, testimony and spirituality. It is a very small Foundation, which has always existed thanks to the Divine Providence’s help. I am the only person who works full time for it, with my siblings’ and my friends’ help.


Pope John Paul II & Dr. Gianna Molla

 

 

Built Upon a Rock Fest: Sunday, September 17th – Mark Your Calendars!

Built Upon a Rock Fest: The Thirsting Band

Built Upon a Rock Fest is a free outdoor Catholic concert to be held on the grounds of the Cathedral, in the field adjacent to Holy Rosary School. There will also be adoration and opportunities for confession in the Cathedral for those who are interested. Come enjoy this event that features stunning on stage musical performances from national and local Catholic artists.

Free live entertainment (and free food!) with the backdrop of beautiful Lake Superior: an exhilarating and breathtaking experience, regardless of your faith background!

Gates open
5:00pm

The Aly Aleigha Band
5:45-6:30pm

The Thirsting 
7:00-8:30pm

Go to builtuponarockfest.com for details about the event, including the schedule, the mission, artist bios and answers to frequently asked questions. Help spread the word about this great event that will appeal to youth and adults alike! Help spread the love of Jesus Christ through authentically Catholic music that ROCKS!

Questions? Contact Marie Mullen at 210-563-8859 or [email protected]

Check out the one-minute video below for a glimpse of what to expect from the headlining act, The Thirsting:

Announcement from the Pastor: Save the Sept.28th Date!

Theology Uncapped

Although it is very early, I want to give you a good heads up about a program I am very excited to be a part of. There is (for now, it may become more) a three-part series called, Theology Uncapped at St. Benedict’s Church.

The three parts are a discussion between  Pastor Peter Kowitz from United Lutheran Church in Proctor, and me.

I have met Pastor Kowitz once so far, and he is a very impressive individual. I look forward to these discussions on the faith. They are not debates, but hopefully constructive conversations, which will include questions from the crowd.

Our first “Theology Uncapped” will be Thursday, Sept. 28, 6:30 pm, at St. Benedict’s, and the topic is called “The Papacy, Necessary or Unnecessary”.

The reason I bring this up so early is that there is need to RSVP,  because space is limited, and there is a cost which includes a catered meal and beverage of wine, beer, or pop.

The cost is $20 per person, and it will fill up.

My hope is that it will fill up with parishioners from our parishes. This is a rare opportunity to hear a conversation between a Catholic priest and a Lutheran minister about our different faith traditions.

Future topics will be the “Virgin Mary” and  “Celibacy in Ministry”.

You can RSVP to Deacon Carl Provost at [email protected]

Or Phone: 218.624.4400

If you do not RSVP you cannot expect to get in. The sooner the better since this will be advertised broadly not only in the Catholic Church but with the Lutheran community as well.

(Fr. Rich)

Fatima Information for September & October 13

Our Lady of Fatima

The fifth time Our Blessed Mother appeared to the 3 shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal was the 13th of September, 1917.

An estimated 25, 000 people were present for the September 13th apparition, as the imprisonment of the children and the “manifestations” of the presence of Our Lady in August, caused many to want to see for themselves what was occurring in Fatima.

Our Lady gave her usual message, “Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war”. Then added, “In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Dolours (Sorrows) and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. St. Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.” She also spoke of the promised miracle in October, “so all may believe”.

A recap of the events in Fatima since before May, 1917, includes:

  • the appearance of the angel to the children 3 times over 2 years to prepare them to experience the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima
  • the revelations of hell and future world events, including WWII, by Our Lady
  • Our Lady’s consistent request to pray the Rosary to obtain the end of WWI and the conversion of sinners
  • Our Lady’s request for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart; and that we make the Communion of Reparation on the 1st Saturdays of 5 consecutive months with the intention of consoling the Immaculate Heart of Mary, offering reparation for the blasphemies and ingratitude of unrepentant sinners, and for peace in the world
  • Our Lady’s consistent message and pattern of apparitions over 6 months; which generated increasing awareness, curiosity, anticipation, and participation at a time and place in the world with limited access to information
  • Building interest and awareness of the apparitions at Fatima, so as many people as possible, including priests, could experience the miracle in October;  allowing the Church to approve Our Lady’s urgent message for the world

The Centenary of Fatima is a wake-up call for us to help Our Lady of Fatima make her message known in our time, as she did so incredibly one hundred years ago.

On Wednesday, September 13th Veneration of Our Lady of Fatima will be held at:

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary: a led Rosary at 7:30 AM before the 8 AM school Mass and a led Rosary at 5:30 PM

St. James Church: a Holy Hour beginning with a led Rosary from 6PM to 7PM

SAVE the Dates:

October 13th at 6:30 PM Jim Kolar, who is very knowledgeable about Fatima, will speak in the Social Hall in the lower level of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary; refreshments will be served.

October 14th there will be a led “America Needs Fatima” Rosary at noon at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, outside in Mary’s garden, weather permitting; the Rosary will be held inside if necessary.

October 14th there is a national Rosary Rally at noon-join in prayer with the Faithful, wherever you are, for Our Lady of Fatima’s intentions.

 

Father Richard Kunst

When I was growing up, my paternal grandmother was the spiritual leader of the extended Kunst family. She had a massive influence over all of us, but especially me. My love and respect for her was almost boundless, because I saw in her what I thought to be a true saint. 

My grand-mother was an active member of what was known as “The Blue Army,” a national group that was dedicated to the spreading of the message of Our Lady of Fatima. I remember many times going with her to various Blue Army gatherings and events. Needless to say, my personal childhood spirituality was heavily tilted towards all things Fatima. 

That has never left me. I still have a deep devotion to Mary under this title, as well as to the important message that was revealed by Our Lady at that time. 

As we all know by now, 2017 marks the centenary of the Fatima event in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to three illiterate shepherd children six times, once a month from May to October. In honor of the 100th anniversary, Pope Francis canonized the two younger children just last month. (I was blessed to have concelebrated at their beatification by St. John Paul II in 2000 in Fatima.) The third seer died just in 2005, so her process of canonization is only in the beginning stages. 

The apparitions of Mary were foreshadowed by an appearance of an angel in 1916, which the children were able to keep secret, but that all changed when Our Lady first appeared to the three children on May 13, 1917. In classic biblical fashion, her first words to the children were, “Do not be afraid, I will do you no harm.” 

St. Jacinta Marto, the youngest of the seers, is the one who spilled the beans to her parents, making the Fatima event a public one from the very beginning, causing much strife for the children, whose families did not believe the children, and causing ever-growing crowds to join the children at each of the successive appearances. 

It was her appearance in July in which Our Lady told the children to add the now famous “Fatima prayer” to the rosary after each mystery: “O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.” In all six apparitions, the primary message, which was repeated by Our Lady, was, “Pray the rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.” 

This message to pray the rosary daily is not something that is relegated to the past. Our Lady wanted that message to be spread for the end of World War I, but it is as pertinent today as it was 100 years ago. World peace is as elusive as ever, with the problems in Syria and North Korea, not to mention terrorism. I suspect if Mary were to appear again, she would ask us to continue to pray the rosary daily for the same cause. Personally, after the Mass it remains my favorite prayer. 

The six months of apparitions that occurred in 1917 had a bit of a detour in August when the three children were arrested and interrogated. The local communist government figured the apparitions were a part of a hoax to discredit their authority. The children were actually thrown in an adult jail and threatened with death if they did not recant, which of course they did not. Instead of the regular appearance on the 13th of that month, Our Lady appeared to them on the 19th. 

The Fatima event is likely most well-known for what happened on October 13, Our Lady’s final appearance, in what is known as “the miracle of the sun.” By the time October rolled around, the word had spread far and wide that some sort of sign would happen to authenticate the apparitions. The crowds had been growing with each successive month, so on the miserably rainy day of Oct. 13, some estimates had the crowd as large as 100,000, including much of the secular media there to cover the event that was supposedly was going to happen.

Photos from that day verify the people’s response to the unique phenomena of the pulsating or dancing of the sun. Not all witnesses explained it the same, but the majority of the people explained it as the sun gyrating or falling to the earth in various different colors. The rain which had been falling all day stopped, and the drenched ground and people were completely dried up in just a few minutes of the sun’s movement. People from many miles away also witnessed the occurrence, which to this day has no satisfactory scientific explanation. What is telling is that the communist newspaper described the whole indescribable event. 

Fatima is as pertinent today as it was 100 years ago, especially with the call to pray the rosary daily. My first international trip as a college student was to go on pilgrimage to Fatima, and I have been back a few times since. From my own observation, of all the shrines I have ever visited, the shrine at Fatima, Portugal, has felt the most spiritual to me, primarily, I suspect, due to the deep faith of the Portuguese and other pilgrims from throughout the world who go to visit and express their love for Our Blessed Mother. 

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us! 

Rosaries

Our Pastor’s Northern Cross Column for May

Father Richard Kunst

We are blessed to share our pastor with our Diocese via the Northern Cross.  Here is Fr. Rich’s column for May.  Enjoy!

Father Richard Kunst: Jesus appeared only to his disciples — for good reasons

May 17, 2017

May 2017 is an important month, because it marks the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance to the three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. I had every intention to write on the subject of Our Lady’s appearance this month, but as I sit at my computer writing this column, it is Easter Monday, so the resurrection is vivid in my brain right now, and since Mary appeared in Fatima for six months, I will have other opportunities to explore this important occurrence.

It is not possible to improve upon Christ’s resurrection and his appearances on Easter Sunday and the 40 days that followed, but that does not mean that I wouldn’t have done it differently. What do I mean by that? Well, there are two things I would have wanted to do differently had I been the resurrected Christ. (I know this sounds heretical, but bear with me.)

Now let’s dissect this a little. How do you suppose Pontius Pilate would have responded, and how do you suppose the Sanhedrin would have responded? What I offer is pure hypothetical speculation, but it is food for thought.Had I been Jesus after the resurrection, one of the first things I would have done is to go and knock on Pontius Pilate’s door: “Hey, Pontius, remember me? I am that guy you had crucified last Friday. Look at my hands and feet. What do you think of that?” Then I would have gone to the next gathering of the Jewish Sanhedrin as an uninvited guest to scare the bejeebers out of them, since they were the ones who spearheaded the crucifixion.

My guess is that the Sanhedrin would have tried to put Jesus to death again. There are clear indications in the Gospels that the Sanhedrin accepted the fact that Jesus was doing some amazing things. For example, they admitted that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but they still killed Jesus and even wanted to kill Lazarus too, since many people were believing in Jesus because of him!

So the majority of the Sanhedrin were completely closed-minded when it came to Jesus. In fact, Jesus even hints at that at the end of his parable of the rich man and Lazarus, when he says, from the mouth of Abraham, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if one should rise from the dead” (Luke 16:31). That being said, I do not think there would have been any benefit to Jesus showing up at the meeting of the Jewish leadership.

How about Pilate? How would he have responded had Jesus shown up at his door after his crucifixion and resurrection? Again this is pure, hypothetical speculation. I think Pontius Pilate would have been awestruck at the appearance of Jesus and his crucifixion wounds and glorified body, but I do not think his response would have been very good.

Remember, Pilate was a pagan. He believed in a whole host of unbelievable mythical characters as gods. I suspect that Pilate would have tried to get the emperor and the Roman Empire to accept Jesus as one of the many gods of their pantheon, and were he successful, what do you suppose would have happened? Christianity would have died out when the Roman Empire ended. Christianity would have become one of those strange Roman mythologies we studied in school, just like Venus and Minerva.

God had a better plan.

Between the resurrection and the ascension, Jesus appeared only to those who were his disciples in life. While on one hand we may question why that was the case, and we may think that it would have been more effective if Jesus appeared to some of his enemies, the fact is Jesus knew what he was doing.

Suppose the Christian message would have had the backing of the Roman Empire from the very beginning. Then the spread and growth of Christianity would have been attributed to human power. The fact that Christianity spread at a miraculous rate despite the furor of the political power of the day is just that: a miracle. The hand of God, not the hand of man, caused its growth. The very disciples who cowered in fear of the Jewish authorities, the very disciples who ran away and showed themselves to be hopelessly dumb during the life of Jesus, were the ones who were emboldened after his death to spread the Good News.

God’s ways are not our ways, and although I think it might have been pretty cool to watch Jesus appear to Pontius Pilate and the Sanhedrin, it was not of God. By appearing only to those who were his disciples before he ascended to heaven, Jesus shows clearly that God’s plan is perfect.

Kindergarten Graduation at St. John’s School

We wish our Kindergartners a safe and happy summer with memories of their first school year filled with blessings, love, skills and fun.  Thank you, Mrs. Tessier!  A terrific teacher and a creative teacher.  She created this video for them and their parents.

 

 

Rediscovering A Beautiful, Ancient Prayer

Father Richard Kunst

October is the month of the rosary, but there is good reason to focus on the rosary in the month of April as well.

The last day of April is the feast day of St. Pius V, A Dominican pope who was very much devoted to the rosary and was the eventual cause for the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7th, and the patronal feast of our diocese.

The rosary is perhaps the most common of the Catholic devotional prayers.  Up until recently it consisted of 15 decades of “Hail Marys” with each decade proceeded by the Lord’s Prayer and followed by a doxology, accompanied by a meditation upon the life of Christ called a mystery.  A few years back Pope John Paul the Great introduced five more mysteries, making the complete rosary twenty decades.  This is the first substantial change to the rosary in nearly 500 years.

When the whole rosary is prayed, it is a virtual epitome of the liturgical year and the Gospels, though ordinarily only five decades are prayed at a time.

Pious tradition states that the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Dominic and gave him the rosary.  Though Dominic and his order really are responsible for popularizing this form of prayer, in fact the rosary pre-dates Dominic by at least 100 years.  In reality, the rosary had a slow development.

It is a form of prayer that did not come from church authority but from the faith of the common people.  Many monasteries at the time would pray all 150 Psalms every day.  Though it was impractical, many lay people wanted to imitate this form of prayer.  Eventually the normative practice became quoting 150 short Scripture passages, hence the fifteen decades.  Through time, the passages became regularized as quotes from the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel: the words of the Angel to Mary, “Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28), and the words of Elizabeth to Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42).

It should be clear to anyone at this point that for the most part the rosary is little more than simply quoting Gospel passages in prayer.  Anybody who does not have a problem praying with the Scriptures should not have a problem praying the rosary.  For this reason, it is unfortunate that it is primarily only a Catholic prayer.

Although the mysteries of the rosary also had a slow development, they were pretty much accepted in their current form by 1483.  In 1573 St. Pius V established the feast of “Our Lady of the Rosary” in honor of the defeat of the Turkish Muslim fleet at Lepanto on October 7, 1571.

Because so many different religious traditions have used beads to help them in prayer, the word itself is actually synonymous with prayer; the Old English word for “prayer” is “bead.”

There is nothing magical about the beads.  They are simply a mechanical device to keep track of where you are in the prayer.  With so many repetitions of different prayers, the beads become almost necessary; they themselves should never be the focus but in fact should help us to concentrate on the prayer.

To pray the rosary appropriately we almost should ignore the beads.  People who go out of their way to find the most beautiful rosary may in fact be missing the point; the beads should very much be of secondary importance.

Although the rosary is not a mantra in the strict sense, it certainly can act as one.  Mantras, mostly a part of Hindu prayer, are a continual repeating of words to “get in the zone” of prayer, to make the prayer as natural as the breath you are taking.  Saying the same prayers over and over again certainly lend themselves to acting as a mantra, all the while meditating on the life of Christ in the mysteries.

It is an unfortunate reality that so many non-Catholics have a problem with the concept of praying a rosary.  There is no reason to shy away from this prayer anymore than there is reason to shy away from the Gospels.  The rosary quotes the scriptures and traces the entire life of Jesus in prayer and meditation.

Catholics, too, should be more accustomed to praying this beautiful and ancient prayer.

I often will tell parishioners to pray the rosary often enough so that it will not look out of place in their hands in the casket.

 

Pope St. Pius V

A Message from Father Rich about Holy Week

Relic of the True Cross of Christ belonging to Pope Clement XI

Reiquary of the True Cross

Reiquary of the True Cross of Christ

 

Father Rich

 

 If You Skip Holy Week Liturgies, You’re Truly Missing Out

For a long time I referred to Easter Monday (the day after Easter) as my favorite day of the whole year.  When asked why, my tongue-in-cheek answer was always, “Because it is the farthest away from Holy Week.”

At the risk of sound scandalous I used to say that all the time because I was so stressed by the Holy Week schedule.  The Catholic liturgy for Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil is a very different animal from all the other liturgies of the year, and for a long time I really had to re-learn what the heck I was doing for these important days of commemoration.

Now that I have several years under my belt, I have gotten to the point where I really get into Holy Week and the Triduum celebrations.  They really are the most beautiful thing the Catholic Church does in its liturgy, and if you don’t normally make it a habit to go to your parish for these days, you are truly missing out.

Holy Week has been known by other names throughout history.  It has been called “Major Week,” “Greater Week,” “Passion Week,” “Paschal Week,” “Authentic Week” and also “Painful Week.”  All of them are accurate titles, but “Holy Week” captures them all.

As can be figured by the name, it is the holiest time of the year for all Christians, and for the Catholic Church the three days of the Triduum (which literally means “three days”) act as one single liturgy.

This is why at the end of the Holy Thursday Mass there is no final blessing and dismissal and why Good Friday is technically not a Mass but a threefold liturgy of the Word, Adoration of the Cross and Eucharist, again with no dismissal.

And then of course the supreme day and liturgy is the Easter Vigil, taking place after dark, the day on which new members are added to the church by baptism and confirmations.

Interestingly the early church believed that the second coming of Christ would happen on the evening of the Easter Vigil, and who knows?  It could still happen.

One of the “apologetics”-type questions I have been asked over the years has to do with the three days Christ was in the tomb.

The questioner will ask, “How do we figure it to be three days when we commemorate his death on Friday and then on Saturday night we celebrate his resurrection?  It seems more like 30 hours than it does three days.”

Liturgically speaking, the Catholic Church has adopted the ancient Jewish concept of the day.  According to the Jewish concept, a day does not start at midnight, it starts at sundown.  This is why since the second Vatican Council we have had vigil Masses on Saturday evenings that count for the Sunday Mass.  Ask any old-timers and they will tell you there was no such thing as a Saturday evening Mass when they were growing up.

So going back to the three days Christ spent in the tomb, he was buried on Good Friday soon after he died, he remained in the tomb Saturday, and after sundown on Saturday it was officially Sunday, the first day of the week.  This accounts for the three days and for why the Easter Vigil starts late, to make time for the third day and allow for the darkness, which is washed away by the light of the Paschal Candle and individual candles that we each hold during this most solemn celebration.

Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday, which is April 9th  this year.  I always try to cajole you,  my parishioners,  to go to as many of the Holy Week liturgies as  possible.  

As I mentioned above, if you don’t traditionally make it a habit of taking advantage of Holy Week, you really do not know what you are missing.  Easter has so much greater meaning for us personally when we do Holy Week right.

Come to our  parishes  and enter into these beautiful celebrations that have no parallel.  I do not think you will regret it.  —Father Rich

 

A Commentary about the Relic of the True Cross, from the Papal Artifacts’ Collection:

The spirituality of the Popes, just like the rest of us, will take different forms. And some Popes have been really engrossed in things, such as relics. And this artifact is a relic of the True Cross of Christ owned by Pope Clement XI. He was Pope from 1700-1721, just to give you an idea of the time we are referring to.

Of course there are a lot of spurious relics of the True Cross out there. But I’m totally convinced that St. Helena brought back the original true cross. The mother of Constantine traveled to the Holy Land and found the True Cross, and she brought it back to Rome. However, over time, a lot of people have produced fake relics of the cross and pawned them off as real.

The best bet we have of authenticating this one, as a relic of the true cross, is that it was actually owned by the Pope, and he actually prayed with it.

And so what we have here is a relic of the true cross. It’s in a silver case, a very nice silver case. On one side it says, in Latin, “Lignum S. S. Crucis”, meaning it is a portion of the True Cross.

On the other side it has an image of the Pope’s coat of arms, and the date, 1703. And then when you open it up, there is a beautiful crystal cross that is sewn together with gold threading and small slivers of the cross are on the inside.

It’s just a beautiful item. And the fact that it was owned by one of the Holy Fathers makes it quite unique as well.

The fact is that this relic is so sacred and important to our spirituality and to who we are as Christians. It makes me not want to leave it in a box somewhere, so I have often used it for catechesis.

I keep this close to myself to use for my own prayer life. It’s a way of having that connection to Christ crucified. Obviously, but also, it’s another way of being connected to a pope who was also praying with it.

So it’s a very unique piece that I personally used in my own spirituality, and it is one of these humbling things to have one of these.

If there’s a relic of the True Cross that’s authentic, then this one is with the highest level of certitude, because the Pope owned it. It’s a very beautiful item and very precious.

The Vatican is the organization that has the care of the true cross that came from St. Helen, mother of Constantine, in the 4th century. So the Vatican always had a portion of the true cross.

The fact that this was owned by the Pope with the reliquary in his own personal possession lends credence to the authenticity of this item. — Father Rich

 

 

 

Diocese of Duluth Announces Name of New School: Stella Maris Academy

Duluth’s Catholic schools are unifying into one citywide school with multiple campuses under the new name beginning next school year. Stella Maris is a name for Mary meaning “Star of the Sea.” According to the diocese, “star of the sea” has a special significance to Duluth residents and emphasizes Mary’s role as a sign of hope and a guiding star for Christians.

Bishop Paul Sirba considered more than 20 names submitted by students, parents, staff and clergy. He decided on the name after spending time at each of the campuses and local parishes, according to the diocese.

“After careful consideration and prayer, like St. Peter in the Acts of the Apostles, I trusted the Lord to help us choose from between two beautiful names, the providential one to share with our school community,” Sirba said in a statement. “The choice places the school under the patronage of Stella Maris and speaks to our legacy of academic excellence and commitment to preparing lifelong learners who lead, love and serve as Jesus taught. This process overall will bring vitality and stability for the next generations.”

Students and families will have input in the colors and mascot as the new school identity is formed, according to the diocese. The plan calls for St. James Catholic School to become the western campus for elementary and middle school students, Holy Rosary School to become the eastern campus elementary school and St. John’s School to become the eastern campus for middle school and a new high school. St. Michael’s Lakeside School is slated to close.

Here is a link to St. John’s School’s website with more information about registering your child for the Fall semester:

http://www.duluthareacatholicschools.org/

And here is another look at the beautiful children at the St. John’s campus:

 

 

Father Rich’s Ramblings in the Bulletin: Visit St. Joseph’s in Gnesen

Here is a challenge to members of St. John’s Parish. When is the last time you have gone to Mass at our sister parish of St. Joseph’s in Gnesen? Although I rarely speak of St. Joseph’s in the context of my bulletin ramblings, it is well worth the drive to go to Mass there.

After the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960’s, many of our beautiful Catholic parishes were raped of what made them beautiful. In many churches the statues were taken out and the worst of it was that most of them had their high altars taken out as well, but that did not happen at St. Joseph’s. Though it’s a small church, it retains all the charm of an old country church, and I love going there to do Mass.

All the former pastors have told me the same. In my many conversations with past priests they all loved the opportunity of going to Gnesen for Mass not only because of it being a beautiful little church, but also because of the strong and healthy community that worships there.

It is also the oldest Catholic Church in the city of Duluth!

An added plus is that if I am the priest out there the weekend you go, Mass tends to be brief because I have to break the speed laws to get back to St. John’s in time for the 10:30 Mass!

On a completely unrelated note, I want you to know of two additional times we will be having for confessions this week. I will be in the “sin bin” this Wednesday and Thursday, April 5th & 6th, from 6:00- 7:30 pm.

Lent is a proper time to go to confession and we all need it, so please keep me busy for those times. (Fr. Rich)

Click on these photos to view larger images:

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

St. Joseph Catholic Church Grotto

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

St. Joseph Catholic Church