Month: August 2018

Bishops Paul Sirba, Robert Barron & Father Michael Schmitz on The Sexual Abuse Crisis Revelations

God Made Us a Family

We need one another.

We love one another.

We forgive one another.

We work together

We play together.

We worship together.

Together we use God’s word.

Together we grow in Christ.

Together we love all people.

Together we serve our God.

Together we hope for heaven.

These are our hopes and ideals.

Help us to attain them, O God,

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Aug 22, 2018

I know the answer is Jesus Christ. Hope is found in the dying and rising of Jesus. The day of restoration and renewal will happen through the mercy of Jesus and our full cooperation in the work of the Redemption of Jesus Christ. I can also hear Jesus saying, “I’ve got this.”

For the past five years, in a more intense way — the first revelations go back to the 1980s and 1990s — Catholics in the state of Minnesota have been exposed to the sins of the Church’s priests and bishops. Now the Church in Pennsylvania and across the nation has had to look at the horrendous sin of sexual abuse of minors and the failures of the Church in protecting the people of God, yet again.

When it comes the crime of the abuse of minors, our hearts break open as sordid details call for independent investigations and the work of very trusted lay faithful to assist the bishops within the Church to remedy the problems. In the tumult, we must never lose our focus of providing healing for the victims and help for those who have been hurt and preventing this sin in the future.We need to name the shame, anger, and sadness. The sexual abuse of minors, episcopal failures, cover-ups and enabling behaviors, homosexual subcultures in the priesthood, and sins against celibacy must be confessed, rooted out, and repaired. To quote Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB, “We are faced with a spiritual crisis that requires not only spiritual conversion, but practical changes to avoid repeating the sins and failures of the past that are so evident in the recent report.”

Our experience of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Diocese of Duluth is unique to us in some ways, but the underlying sinful human condition is universal and will be brought to light across our nation and our world. While we have been living with the crisis most recently through our bankruptcy, we have to be spiritually prepared for whatever new revelations may come to light in other parts of the Body of Christ, as well. This purification, although excruciatingly painful, is necessary for healing. The light of Christ scatters the darkness of sin and evil.

The Scriptures that come to mind for me are: “It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin” (Luke 17:2), the parable of the weeds among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30), the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-8). These and other sacred texts provide ample reflection for my personal conversion and institutional change.

I have said that the protection of our youth and providing the safest environment for our young people is the work of our lifetime. I know our efforts in the Diocese of Duluth have made a difference. As a diocese we will continue to offer prayers for healing and reparation. I ask the clergy, religious, and lay faithful to pray and fast so as to lead the Church to enact canonical changes that hold bishops accountable, protect men discerning a call to the priesthood, and lead to new mechanisms of holding bishops accountable that have never been in place before to safeguard our children and restore trust.

I apologize and humbly ask your forgiveness for what I and my fellow bishops have done or failed to do. I am sorry for anyone who has been hurt and the scandal caused in the Body of Christ.

Bishop Paul D. Sirba is the ninth bishop of Duluth.


We invite you to listen to Bishop Robert Barron & Father Mike Schmitz, Diocesan priest, chaplain at UMD’s Newman Center, and nationally renowned speaker, on the horrific news of the Pennsylvania sex abuse scandal.  His heartfelt message imploring us to, “lead, not leave, our Church is gut wrenching and moving.  Please listen.




The Parishes of St. John & St. Joseph Welcome Fr. Drew Braun

Father Drew Braun

Hello Parishioners of St. John and St. Joseph!!

In this first of many columns that you will see from me, I just want to say first and foremost that I am excited to be here!! I’m excited to live in Duluth and get to know all of you over hopefully many years of service.

Much of what I would like to say at this point will also be spoken of in my first homily. But I just wanted to highlight a few things. First, I want to thank Fr. Rich. He has been very good to me as we both transition to new parishes.




 I also know that he is loved by many here at St. John’s and St. Joseph’s. He is a good friend of mine and I know him to be a remarkable priest and man (aside from any lies he may have already told about me).

But in all seriousness, I know you will miss him dearly. There is likely some grief in your hearts as you see him go. And so while I’m excited for my arrival I acknowledge that there may be some sadness amongst those he has served for many years.

Second, I already mentioned that I look forward to meeting all of you. Honestly I think one of the best ways to meet people is through food. I just so happen to love food. So, if you’d be willing to have me over for dinner or take me out sometime, I would absolutely LOVE IT! (I also welcome food just dropped off on my doorstep 🙂 ).

 Finally, just a little about me. I was ordained in 2012. I love being a priest. It’s been the wildest ride that I never could have imagined. When I do get some free time I enjoy fishing Lake Superior, hunting, playing hockey, and most especially I enjoy cooking.

I also enjoy watching sports, the Minnesota Vikings, and pretty much any NHL hockey team. May God bless all of you as we walk together on this journey of life.  —Fr. Drew

Rev. Drew Braun……………724-6332
E-mail ……………… [email protected]



Built Upon a Rock Fest: Ike Ndolo Sept. 15, 2018, Holy Rosary Campus

Here’s the official Built Upon a Rock Fest 2018 concert poster. Ike Ndolo and Luke Spehar will be rocking it on Sept 15th!

Built Upon a Rock Fest 2018 Official Poster

SEPTEMBER 15, 2018

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)

Built Upon a Rock Fest is a free outdoor Catholic concert to be held on the grounds of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth, MN. After the 5:00pm Mass in the Cathedral, head across the street to enjoy the stunning on-stage musical performances from nationally known Catholic artists Ike Ndolo and Luke Spehar. Free live entertainment (and free food!) with the backdrop of beautiful Lake Superior: an exhilarating and breathtaking experience, regardless of your faith background. Eucharistic Adoration will take place in the Cathedral, coinciding with the concert, and there will be opportunities for Confession.




August 14: Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe

Saint Maximilian Kolbe: First Class Relic

A First Class Relic of St. Maximilian Kolbe:

This is a first-class relic, in the form of hairs from his head and beard, preserved without his knowledge by two friars at Niepolkalanow who served as barbers in his friary between 1930 and 1941.  

Since his beatification in 1971, these relics have been distributed around the world for public veneration.

Second-class relics, such as his personal effects, clothing and liturgical vestments, are preserved in his monastery cell and in a chapel at Niepokalanow and may be viewed by the faithful who visit

A document authenticates the 1st class relic of hairs from St. Maximilian Kolbe’s beard.  The barber, who shaved his beard, was supposed to burn the hair, but the fire went out, and as a result the barber kept these hairs.  They are now a 1st class relic of a martyred saint.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.

Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Martyr (1894 – 1941)

St. Maximilian Kolbe

The Franciscan friar, Maximilian Mary Kolbe, died in the Auschwitz concentration camp on August 14, 1941. Two weeks earlier, a prisoner had gone missing. The commandant, Karl Fristsch, announced the penalty to the entire camp: ten men would die in the starvation bunker. As his name was called, Franciszek Gajowniczek cried out, “My wife, my children!” Father Maximilian stepped forward and offered to take his place. He and the other nine men were tossed naked into a concrete hole in Building 13.

Francixzek Gajowniczek is pictured below at the canonization of Maximilian Kolbe.  The saint saved his life and he was privileged to be a part of the canonization


The camp prisoners waited to hear the howls of anguish coming from the bunker. Instead, they heard feeble voices raised in prayer and hymns of praise. Maximilian was encouraging the men. A Pole assigned to serve at the bunker later told how at each inspection the priest was always in the middle of them, standing or kneeling in prayer. After two weeks, only Maximilian remained alive. When the SS men entered the cell, he offered his arm for their lethal injection.

One prisoner later said his death was “a shock filled with hope, bringing new life and strength…It was like a powerful shaft of light in the darkness of the camp.” Maximilian is a patron of families, for he gave his life for the father of a family. He is a patron of prisoners, for he gave hope to the condemned. —Lisa Lickona, The Magnificat Year of Mercy Companion, page 320 Maximilian Kolbe died, August 14, 1941.


Franciszek Gajowniczek & Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II in the Cell of Fr. Maximilian Kolbe











The Mass in Red, & Its Significance

To His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, who, attentive to truth, to justice, and to the voice of the people, proclaimed the martyrdom of Maximilian Kolbe.

(On the day of the canonization of Maximilian Kolbe) his brother Franciscans prayed fervently that his fellow countryman would be proclaimed a martyr by John Paul II.His hopes hesitated between joy and fear.

Right up to the end, difficulties were posed by experts.  They cast no doubt on the sanctity of Kolbe, whose heroism they had acknowledged.  A man dedicated to the Gospel, imprisoned at Auschwitz, gave his life to save a fellow prisoner; he was condemned to starve to death.  Theologians wanted his canonized as a confessor and not a martyr.  Since he hadn’t been interrogated by his executioners about the Faith, did he qualify?  Would John Paul feel bound by the opinion of theologians, or would he pass over it to respond to universal expectation and his own desire.

Sunday, October 10,1982:  200 thousand people assembled for the canonization.  Confessor?  Martyr.  John Paul, the genius of communication had said nothing, and let God be his only confidant.

The altar was ready, banked with flowers.  All was ready. the coat of arms of John Paul was displayed.  A portrait of Maximilian Kolbe in his black, Franciscan robe.  Confessor?  Martyr?  No one knew.Would John Paul pass over contrary opinion and proclaim himself in favor of the verdict of martyrdom?

The crowd only found out when the Pope appeared in red vestments, and after a moment of silence, there was a great murmur of ratification.  When the officials approached John Paul to ask him to inscribe Kolbe in the canon of saints, the Pope did not reply right away.  After  they knelt to recite the Litany of the Saints, all rose to hear the Pope’s reply:  To the glory of the most Blessed Trinity, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith and the growth of Christian life, by the authority of Jesus Christ, the Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority…after having reflected at length, we declare and decree that the Blessed Maximilian Kolbe is a saint; and that he shall be inscribed the the canon of saints and throughout the Church, piously honored among the martyrs.

In the homily, John Paul continued, “There is no greater love than that a man give his life for those he loves.”

It is true that theology can argue about martyrdom, love cannot.  Thus, on that October Sunday, in that place where the Church has always invited to pardon and called for mercy, one generous heart celebrated another.  —-Forget Not Love,  by Andre Frossard, The Passion of Maximilian Kolbe.

Saint John Paul II & Saint Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!