Month: December 2019

December 27th: Wishing Fr. Drew Braun a Very Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Father! A Happy Birthday Song!

Father… It’s your Day! Have a wonderful Birthday! Just for you… a special greeting, on a Special Day! Wishing you a Happy Birthday!

December 27th: The Feast of St. John the Evangelist

Who was Saint John the Evangelist?

December 27th is the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, frequently referred to as “the Beloved Disciple” in the Gospels. He was one of the first disciples called by Christ and is considered the author of the Gospel of John, at least the first of the Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation. He was also the only apostle not to die a martyr’s death even though the emperor Domitian tried very hard to make it twelve for twelve.

We remember in love and gratitude the life & work of the Beloved Disciple of Christ, John the Evangelist, the patron saint of our parish.

John was the son of Zebedee and Salome and made his living fishing in the Lake of Genesareth with his brother James “the greater”. He and other disciples, including Peter and Andrew, had originally been followers of John the Baptist but immediately followed Christ when called (John 1:35-42) . In between his travels throughout Jordan and Galilee with Jesus, John and some of the other apostles maintained their fishing business as can be seen from the accounts of Jesus calming the storm while on a fishing trip with the apostles.

Saint John the Evangelist

St. John receives prominent placement throughout the Gospels as one of the three apostles at the transfiguration, one of the apostles sent to prepare a place for the Last Supper, one of the three apostles present in the Garden of Gethsemane when Christ was arrested, the first to arrive at Christ’s tomb following the Resurrection and the apostle to whom Jesus entrusted His mother from the Cross. He was also the apostle who first recognized Christ standing on the lake shore following the Resurrection.

After the Ascension St. John traveled to Samaria and was thrown in prison with St. Peter (Acts 4:3). He also traveled to Ephesus and is credited with founding the church there, and Ephesus is considered the location of his death when he was about 100 years old. Based on visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, the home of the Blessed Virgin Mary is said to be located in Ephesus. She is thought to have traveled there with St. John sometime during the persecutions of Herod Agrippa I and spent the remainder of her life there.

Tradition holds that Emperor Dometian had him beaten, poisoned and thrown in a pot of boiling oil but that he emerged unscathed. The emperor then banished him to the island of Patmos where he wrote the Book of Revelation.

Some of the events mentioned in the Gospels featuring St. John are also key to apologists for the truth of the Catholic Faith. For example, Jesus’ last words to Mary at the foot of the Cross, “Woman, behold your son,” (John 19:25-27 ) are considered a strong case that Jesus was an only child. Also, John was the first apostle to reach the tomb following the Resurrection but he let Peter enter the tomb first pointing to a hierarchy among the apostles with Peter as the head apostle (John 20:2-10).

In art St. John the Evangelist is frequently pictured with an Eagle or represented as an Eagle in images with the other Gospel writers. He is also pictured with a chalice from which a serpent is rising in reference to the attempted poisoning by Dometian. Upon being given the cup of wine he blessed it and the poison rose out of the cup in the form of a serpent.

-This article used information from the Catholic EncyclopediaButler’s Lives of the Saints, and the Patron Saint Index.

Our Former Bishop, Dennis Schnurr, Sends His Condolences

Last week, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati, who previously served the Diocese of Duluth, sent his condolences to the faithful of the Duluth Diocese:

December 2, 2019

Dear Friends in the Diocese of Duluth,

It is with great sadness that I write to assure you of my heartfelt sympathy and prayers following the sudden death of your beloved shepherd, Bishop Paul Sirba.

Like myself, all of you know Bishop Sirba as a faithful servant, a clear teacher of the faith, and a courageous leader during a difficult period in the history of the diocese. On a personal level, I will always remember Bishop Sirba’s warmth and graciousness whenever we had the chance to interact.

Death can be especially difficult to deal with when it is sudden and unexpected, which it certainly was in this instance, claiming a man so young and full of life. As Catholics, we take consolation in our firm belief that life is changed, not ended. I will be celebrating Mass asking our Lord to grant Bishop Sirba eternal rest and each of you His comfort and hope.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati

Bishop Paul Sirba May you Rest in Peace

Bishop Paul Sirba may you rest in peace
Bishop Paul Sirba may you rest in peace


We anticipate that many mourners, both from the Diocese of Duluth and from outside of our diocese, will wish to attend our beloved Bishop Paul Sirba’s funeral Friday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, and that the resulting crowd may well far exceed the available seating at the Cathedral. Therefore we are grateful to announce that WDIO TV has graciously offered to have the liturgy livestreamed on the Internet, making it accessible to all across the region and beyond who wish to see it.

The stream will be available on

We hope this will enable as many people as possible to be united in prayer for the repose of Bishop Sirba’s soul and for his family and our local church and all who mourn.

As a reminder: Public visitation for Bishop Sirba will take place from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Cathedral, which is another opportunity to say goodbye and pray for him. The visitation will then resume at 8 a.m. Friday morning and continue until the 11 a.m. funeral Mass.

Please share this information widely so that as many people as possible can be made aware of it.

Bishop Paul David Sirba, Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Duluth, MN, beloved shepherd of the people of the Diocese of Duluth, dear son, brother, uncle and great-uncle died of apparent cardiac arrest at his home in Proctor, MN on Sunday morning, December 1, 2019, the First Sunday of Advent. Bishop Sirba was born in Minneapolis, MN on September 2, 1960, to Norbert and Helen Sirba. He attended Nativity of Mary Grade School in Bloomington, Academy of the Holy Angels in Richfield, and the College of St. Thomas and St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul. Bishop Sirba received his Master of Divinity degree from St. Paul Seminary as well as a Masters in Arts from the Notre Dame Apostolic Catechetical Institute in Arlington, Virginia. Paul Sirba was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on May 31, 1986 and served in the following parishes: St. Olaf, Minneapolis; St. John the Baptist, Savage; and Maternity of Mary, St. Paul. He also worked in the Spiritual Formation Department at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul and was a Spiritual Director at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul. He was appointed Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on July 1, 2009, and was subsequently appointed by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, as the Ninth Bishop for the Diocese of Duluth. He was ordained Bishop of Duluth on the feast of St. John of the Cross, December 14, 2009.

While a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Sirba was a member of several committees including the Priority and Plans Committee, Administrative Committee, and the Catholic Home Missions Committee. Bishop Sirba was also an active member of the St. Paul Seminary Board of Directors and the Episcopal Advisory Board for the Institute on Religious Life. He also served as the state chaplain of the Knights of Columbus.

An Advent Message for the Second Week of Advent from Father Drew: A Teaching Mass

Father Drew’s News: Father Mike Schmitz to Preside at a Teaching Mass 

I just wanted to say a word about our Wednesday evenings of Faith Formation.  I have been so happy with how things have gone so far this year.    I think our program has improved immensely.

Beginning the night with a meal and having the parents there has been such a beautiful thing to witness for me as your pastor.  I look out during those dinners and see so many wonderful families sitting together, mingling, laughing, chatting, and eating until they can’t eat any more.  Watching fills me with such joy and happiness. 

I think it’s beautiful that you join together as families and eat and learn as families.   I know that requires some time and energy from all of you parents, and so I want to thank you for committing and being a part of these evenings.   

I truly believe that walking together with your kids on their faith journey will be so much more impactful than simply dropping them off and picking them up when it’s all over.  So, thank you.  Those Wednesday evenings have truly become something special to me.

This Wednesday, the 11th, at 5:30 p.m., Fr. Mike Schmitz will be here to do a “Teaching Mass”!    Everyone is welcome to come and take part in this! 

Fr. Mike is truly gifted.  Those who attend this Mass will learn so much about why we do what we do at Mass and what everything means.

So if you attend Mass and find yourself unsure of why we say “The Lord be with you”… “And with your spirit,” or why we genuflect, Fr. Mike will explain all of that and more to us. 

Perhaps another great thing for you to do for your spiritual life during this Advent Season is to join us for this Teaching Mass.

See you there.  

Father Mike Schmitz


The Gift
Give me whatever enabled you to give it to me.

            Once upon a time, a monk, in his travels, found a precious stone worth a great deal of money.  The monk kept it wrapped in a cloth in his traveling bag.

            Along the way, the monk met another traveler.  As was the custom among the brothers, he offered to share his provisions with the stranger.  As the monk opened his bag, the traveler saw the jewel.  The traveler departed, overjoyed with the unexpected gift of the precious stone that would provide him and his family wealth and security for the rest of their lives.

            But a few days later, the man sought out the monk at his abbey and returned the stone, begging the good brother: “I have come to ask for something much more precious than this stone.  Give me whatever enabled you to give it to me.”

            To be able to give not from our treasure but from our need, to see others as if they were Christ, to take without hesitation the first step in being reconciled with someone from whom we are estranged, to love and trust and console and raise up another regardless of the cost to us—this is the “ruler” against which Christ calls us to live our lives, the “yardstick” of compassion by which we will one day be measured.   —Jay Cormier

On Pearl Harbor Day: One Voice

This holiday season The USAF Band offers the beautiful song, “One Voice”…a reminder that together we can create a better world. Watch until the end as one voice becomes a chorus inside the stunning Washington National Cathedral. Let the power of unity light the way throughout this season.