Month: April 2018

April 28: The Feast of St. Gianna Molla & AN Invitation from Dr. Gianna Molla


One of the most endearing experiences to be given to the people of Father Kunst’s parish (and several hundred others) was the late October 2017 visit of Dr. Gianna Molla, daughter of St. Gianna Beretta Molla.  She captivated her audience with her deep humility and kindness as she sang the praises of her “Saint Mom–and, in her words, her Saint Dad.”  Her mother died of complications giving birth to her.  It was an incredible couple of days to be in her company.

  And now she has issued an invitation to celebrate Mother’s Day, honoring our mothers, by having flowers sent to her Saint Mom’s shrine in Italy.  Here is the link allowing you to participate in this:







April 30: The Feast of St. Pius V: 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

Meeting Parishioners, Dan Rentschler & Marie Mullen, on Real Presence Radio

Parishioner, Dan Rentschler

On a recent episode of Real Presence Live, hosts, Father Rich & Father Moravitz, interview two of  St. John’s parishioners.  Dan Rentschler presently pilots a ship on the Great Lakes and previously spent close to ten years as a captain  of two others.  How his faith life is incorporated into his work life is part of the interview,  along with many  facts connected to life on a Laker. 


Join the hosts, our very own pastor and Father Moravitz as they explore Dan’s  fascinating career and spiritual journey aboard the Great Lakes ships.  What follows is the interview with Dan Rentschler at the 43 minute mark.




Fr. Rich & Marie Mullen on Real Presence Radio Live

During the second hour of this Real Presence Live, Marie Mullen, one of the chairs of the Built Upon a Rockfest joined the hosts to promote the  Catholic music festival to be held on the campus of Holy Rosary Cathedral for the second year in a row.  The event was so well received last summer and included music by Catholic bands along with Mass, Adoration and Reconciliation–along with a lot of food and camaraderie  in a healthy environment. 

We welcome Marie’s contributions to this event.  A   GoFundMe page exists as they are always looking for financial help in the promotion of this worthwhile event.  Here is the link:

Marie’s interview begins at about the 39 minute mark.



Contact Information for Built Upon a Rockfest:

5:00 Mass (Cathedral)
6:00 Concert gates open
6:15-7:00 Luke Spehar
7:30-9:00 Ike Ndolo
9:30 Benediction (Cathedral)



The Real Presence Radio Logo




Real Presence Radio may be found at 88.1 FM in Duluth



Theology Uncapped: A Real Presence Radio Interview with Pastor Kowitz

Theology Uncapped

The Virgin Mary

Thursday, April 26th at 6:30 PM

St. Benedict Catholic Church

1419 St. Benedict Street

Duluth, MN  55811





Here is the live interview on Real Presence Radio with Father Rich, co-host, Father Moravitz, and the pastor of United Lutheran Church in Proctor, Peter Kowitz.  They will be talking about the third and final Theology Uncapped presentation for this year, to be held April 26th, 6:30 PM,  at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church.  The previous two sessions were so well received, as this one is expected to be, that there’s talk of another series for next year. You must pre-register to participate (link available below).

The interview with Pastor Kowitz begins at about the 23 minute mark:



Here is the link to register:

You must  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. These are rare opportunities to hear  conversations between a Catholic priest and a Lutheran minister about our different faith traditions.

Our Spring topic  will be the “Virgin Mary.”

—Fr. Rich

Here is some information about the organization, Theology Uncapped:

Theology Uncapped


Theology Uncapped is a Catholic group with a dedicated goal of bringing people closer together through educational discussions centered around faith-based topics.
We hold three events a year that are open to men and women of all faiths.  Each event includes an informative speaker(s) that will discuss a topic of faith from differing points of view. A catered meal is included to help facilitate fellowship and hopefully foster new relationships among those that may have opposing viewpoints.
Seating for each event is limited, so registration is required and can be completed through this site. We look forward to seeing you at a future event.
Further Information Needed?  Contact  Deacon John Foucault: