Month: June 2016

Coming Soon to Our Parish Library: Liberating a Continent

Liberating a Continent John Paul II

Liberating a Continent
John Paul II

St. John’s library will soon acquire this documentary about Saint John Paul’s role in the collapse of communism.  Please take a moment to view the trailer featured below.  And if you’re interested in viewing this production, either with a group or individually, let our secretary, Anny, know you’d like to be on a list.  722.6332

One of history’s greatest examples of the triumph of spiritual power over violence and oppression is vividly recounted in Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism, a new documentary film that poignantly captures the intricate role played by John Paul in the collapse of communism and the liberation of Central and Eastern Europe.

Featuring the unique insights of intellectual and cultural leaders such as papal biographer George Weigel, esteemed Polish historian Norman Davies, Pontifical John Paul II Institute Vice President Carl Anderson, John Paul’s lifelong assistant Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Reagan National Security Advisor Richard Allen, and many others, this inspiring film gives an inside look at the improbable downfall of one of history’s most brutal regimes.

Narrated by Jim Caviezel (Passion of the Christ, Person of Interest) and with original music by Joe Kraemer (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Jack Reacher) this is the incredible story of one man’s unwavering faith born of deep personal suffering, his steadfast defense of the dignity of the human person amidst the horrors of Nazi and Soviet Occupation, and his unyielding belief in the spiritual unity of Europe. Liberating a Continent convincingly reveals how these convictions toppled an evil empire and how they remain today the moral foundations for a prosperous and free Europe.


Here is a link to the home page of this production:




Liberating a Continent

Liberating a Continent

A Message from Father Rich about a Great Summer Read!

Father James Martin, S. J.

Father James Martin, S. J.

Jesus A Pilgrimage

Jesus A Pilgrimage

I read a lot.  I think I have made that clear over the years.  In fact when people ask me what I enjoy doing, reading is always on the list.  Now that might very well make me sound like a nerd, and I am okay with that.  What’s weird for me to say, is that as much as I read, as many books as I read in any given year, very few books would I say are great.  I feel like I read a lot of good books and mediocre books but very few great ones.  When I do come across a great book I want others to know about it  and others to read it.

Several weeks ago a parishioner bought a book for me with high recommendations,  Jesus, a Pilgrimage,  by James Martin S.J.  This book falls into the rare “great” category.  Martin is a Jesuit priest who writes about his pilgrimage in the Holy Land, and in doing so he describes the sites associated with the life of Jesus,  and then describes them and gives light theological insight and reflection on the site and the event associated with the life of Jesus from that site.

For me it is a particularly good book because I have had the opportunity to spend extended amounts of time in the Holy Land, and this brings it back to life for me.  But believe me, you don’t ever have had to spend a day in Israel to get a lot out of this book.  Martin has so much great insight into the historical life of Jesus and that is what really makes this book stand out.

A few weeks ago in a homily I encouraged you to get a good Catholic book to read for the summer.   I highly suggest you check this one out.

A Virtual Tour of the Sistine Chapel

Here is a link to the newly constructed Vatican website where you can find all kinds of information about the Sistine chapel as well as all other Vatican news.  It truly is one of the finest websites out there!  Enjoy!

In the first stage of the visit, our guide explains that the Conclave, where Cardinals elect a new Pope, takes place right before Michelangelo’s  Last Judgment frescoes. Through the chimney installed at the Chapel, they communicate with the world. Black smoke means a candidate has not yet been elected and white smoke means there is a new Pope.

The second stop is in front of the Chapel’s frescoes. Anywhere they look, visitors are surrounded by biblical episodes. The north wall illustrates different passages in the history of Jesus Christ, including His Baptism, the Sermon on the Mount and the Last Supper. On the opposite side, the south wall features scenes from the life of Moses. To the east, one can view the resurrection of Jesus and the dispute over the body of Moses.

But undoubtedly, the third and final stop in the tour is the most impressive. Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Last Judgment. The biblical scene recounts the end of time, when Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead. All of humanity is depicted in front of the High Altar.

The guide also explains the history of Creation, through nine scenes from the book of Genesis, which are depicted on the Chapel’s ceiling. It’s the end of a relaxing and detailed 3D virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel.

The website’s creators are already working on their next project, which includes a virtual tour of Saint Peter’s Basilica.


Life in the Womb: I Am 15 Weeks Old & I Am the Size of an Apple!

“For a child’s arrival is God’s invasion, love’s renewal and a joy celebration…”

We are happy to share the news that Saint John’s is following  a pregnancy in a series entitled,  “Life in the Womb.”  Each week we will share information about the momentous events happening in utero until, at Christmas, we will welcome a child we have slowly gotten to know over a 9 month period. 
During this time of waiting, may we pray together as a parish family for all  unborn children and for all people desiring a child.
Oh Lord!
You formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, because I am wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works!
My very self you know.
My bones are not hidden from you,
When I was being made in secret,
fashioned in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw me unformed;
in your book all are written down;
my days were shaped, before one came to be


Our baby is  15 Weeks Old:

Entering the second trimester

In this illustration, you can see how big – and yet, how tiny still – your baby is as you begin your second trimester.

Our growing baby now measures about 4 inches long, crown to rump, and weighs in at about 2 1/2 ounces (about the size of an apple). She’s busy moving amniotic fluid through her nose and upper respiratory tract, which helps the primitive air sacs in her lungs begin to develop. Her legs are growing longer than her arms now, and she can move all of her joints and limbs. Although her eyelids are still fused shut, she can sense light. If you shine a flashlight at your tummy, for instance, she’s likely to move away from the beam. There’s not much for your baby to taste at this point, but she is forming taste buds. Finally, if you have an ultrasound this week, you may be able to find out whether your baby’s a boy or a girl! (Don’t be too disappointed if it remains a mystery, though. Nailing down your baby’s sex depends on the clarity of the picture and on your baby’s position. He or she may be modestly curled up or turned in such a way as to “hide the goods.”)!

Look how tiny I am!!

Look how tiny I am!!

I am 15 weeks old!

I am 15 weeks old!

At 15 Weeks I am the size of an apple!

At 15 Weeks I am the size of an apple
















How I Am Growing: At 13 Weeks:

This is the last week of your first trimester, and your risk of miscarriage is now much lower than earlier in pregnancy.

Next week marks the beginning of your second trimester, a time of relative comfort for many women who see early pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and fatigue subside.

Birth is still months away, but your breasts may have already started making colostrum, the nutrient-rich fluid that feeds your baby for the first few days after birth, before your milk starts to flow.


13 Weeks Old: Fingerprints

13 Weeks Old: Fingerprints

Week 13: The Size of a Peapod

Week 13: The Size of a Peapod











infant feet 3 best



Welcoming Our Newest Priests & Deacons to the Diocese of Duluth!

Congratulations to Deacons Jeremy Bock and Beau Braun, who were ordained yesterday for the Diocese of Duluth.  

Congratulations,  Father Charles Friehbohle & Father Paul Strommen!

The ordination of two men to the priesthood took place at  the Cathedral today at 4 p.m. June 3, 2016.

Jeremy Bock, Bp. Sirba & Beau Braun: Transitional Deacons, June 2, 2016

Jeremy Bock, Bp. Sirba & Beau Braun: Transitional Deacons


Congratulations, Fr. Charles Friehbohle & Fr. Paul Strommer!

Congratulations, Fr. Charles Friehbohle & Fr. Paul Strommer!

On the Feast of the Sacred Heart: The Jubilee for Priests–The Mass & Pope Francis’s Homily

Pope Francis: Homily for the Jubilee for Priests on the Feast of the Sacred Heart

Pope Francis: Homily for the Jubilee for Priests on the Feast of the Sacred Heart

This celebration of the Jubilee for Priests on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus invites us all to turn to the heart, the deepest root and foundation of every person, the focus of our affective life and, in a word, his or her very core. Today we contemplate two hearts: the Heart of the Good Shepherd and our own heart as priests.
The Heart of the Good Shepherd is not only the Heart that shows us mercy, but is itself mercy. There the Father’s love shines forth; there I know I am welcomed and understood as I am; there, with all my sins and limitations, I know the certainty that I am chosen and loved. Contemplating that heart, I renew my first love: the memory of that time when the Lord touched my soul and called me to follow him, the memory of the joy of having cast the nets of our life upon the sea of his word (cf. Lk 5:5).
The Heart of the Good Shepherd tells us that his love is limitless; it is never exhausted and it never gives up. There we see his infinite and boundless self-giving; there we find the source of that faithful and meek love which sets free and makes others free; there we constantly discover anew that Jesus loves us “even to the end” (Jn 13:1), without ever imposing.
The Heart of the Good Shepherd reaches out to us, above all to those who are most distant. There the needle of his compass inevitably points, there we see a particular “weakness” of his love, which desires to embrace all and lose none.
Contemplating the Heart of Christ, we are faced with the fundamental question of our priestly life: Where is my heart directed? Our ministry is often full of plans, projects and activities: from catechesis to liturgy, to works of charity, to pastoral and administrative commitments. Amid all these, we must still ask ourselves: What is my heart set on, where is it directed, what is the treasure that it seeks? For as Jesus says: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mt 6:21).
The great riches of the Heart of Jesus are two: the Father and ourselves. His days were divided between prayer to the Father and encountering people. So too the heart of Christ’s priests knows only two directions: the Lord and his people. The heart of the priest is a heart pierced by the love of the Lord. For this reason, he no longer looks to himself, but is turned towards God and his brothers and sisters. It is no longer “a fluttering heart”, allured by momentary whims, shunning disagreements and seeking petty satisfactions. Rather, it is a heart rooted firmly in the Lord, warmed by the Holy Spirit, open and available to our brothers and sisters.
To help our hearts burn with the charity of Jesus the Good Shepherd, we can train ourselves to do three things suggested to us by today’s readings: seek out, include and rejoice.
Seek out. The prophet Ezekiel reminds us that God himself goes out in search of his sheep (Ez 34:11, 16). As the Gospel says, he “goes out in search of the one who is lost” (Lk 15:4), without fear of the risks. Without delaying, he leaves the pasture and his regular workday. He does not put off the search. He does not think: “I have done enough for today; I’ll worry about it tomorrow”. Instead, he immediately sets to it; his heart is anxious until he finds that one lost sheep. Having found it, he forgets his weariness and puts the sheep on his shoulders, fully content.
Such is a heart that seeks out. A heart that does not set aside times and spaces as private, is not jealous of its legitimate quiet time, and never demands that it be left alone. A shepherd after the heart of God does not protect his own comfort zone; he is not worried about protecting his good name, but rather, without fearing criticism, he is disposed to take risks in seeking to imitate his Lord.
A shepherd after the heart of God has a heart sufficiently free to set aside his own concerns. He does not live by calculating his gains or how long he has worked: he is not an accountant of the Spirit, but a Good Samaritan who seeks out those in need. For the flock he is a shepherd, not an inspector, and he devotes himself to the mission not fifty or sixty percent, but with all he has. In seeking, he finds, and he finds because he takes risks. He does not stop when disappointed and he does not yield to weariness. Indeed, he is stubborn in doing good, anointed with the divine obstinacy that loses sight of no one. Not only does he keep his doors open, but he also goes to seek out those who no longer wish to enter them. Like every good Christian, and as an example for every Christian, he constantly goes out of himself. The epicentre of his heart is outside of himself. He is not drawn by his own “I”, but by the “Thou” of God and by the “we” of other men and women.
Include. Christ loves and knows his sheep. He gives his life for them, and no one is a stranger to him (cf. Jn 10:11-14). His flock is his family and his life. He is not a boss to feared by his flock, but a shepherd who walks alongside them and calls them by name (cf. Jn 10:3-4). He wants to gather the sheep that are not yet of his fold (cf. Jn 10:16).
So it is also with the priest of Christ. He is anointed for his people, not to choose his own projects but to be close to the real men and women whom God has entrusted to him. No one is excluded from his heart, his prayers or his smile. With a father’s loving gaze and heart, he welcomes and includes everyone, and if at times he has to correct, it is to draw people closer. He stands apart from no one, but is always ready to dirty his hands. As a minister of the communion that he celebrates and lives, he does not await greetings and compliments from others, but is the first to reach out, rejecting gossip, judgements and malice. He listens patiently to the problems of his people and accompanies them, sowing God’s forgiveness with generous compassion. He does not scold those who wander off or lose their way, but is always ready to bring them back and to resolve difficulties and disagreements.
Rejoice. God is “full of joy” (cf. Lk 15:5). His joy is born of forgiveness, of life risen and renewed, of prodigal children who breathe once more the sweet air of home. The joy of Jesus the Good Shepherd is not a joy for himself alone, but a joy for others and with others, the true joy of love.
This is also the joy of the priest. He is changed by the mercy that he freely gives. In prayer he discovers God’s consolation and realizes that nothing is more powerful than his love. He thus experiences inner peace, and is happy to be a channel of mercy, to bring men and women closer to the Heart of God. Sadness for him is not the norm, but only a step along the way; harshness is foreign to him, because he is a shepherd after the meek Heart of God.
Dear priests, in the Eucharistic celebration we rediscover each day our identity as shepherds. In every Mass, may we truly make our own Christ’s words: “This is my body, which is given up for you”.
This is the meaning of our life; with these words, in a real way we can daily renew the promises we made at our priestly ordination. I thank all of you for saying “yes” to giving your life in union with Jesus: for in this is found the pure source of our joy.

Hats Off to Our Kindergarten Graduates & Their Fabulous Teacher, Amanda Tessier

Kindergarten Graduation 2016

Kindergarten Graduation 2016

FullSizeRender (19)

FullSizeRender (18)

On June 2nd, St. John’s School celebrated a “graduation” ceremony, complete with hats and gowns, a cake and punch and parents and grandparents in attendance.

Thank you to their teacher, Amanda Tessier, for the beautiful ceremony, tables and memorabilia she created for each child.  More importantly, thank you for the gift you are to St. John’s School.