Month: July 2020

Bio Information from Our Pastor, Fr. Seth Gogolin

We invited Fr. Seth to share some of his journey with us, and he sent us the following information!

It is a great joy to be with you at St. John’s and St. Joseph’s as your new pastor.  I’d like to give a little bit of information about me to help you to get to know me.  

I was born in Brainerd, which is also where I lived until I graduated high school.  My parents are Jim and Patti Gogolin who still live in the Brainerd area (Baxter).  They are both retired teachers. 

My dad was a high school social studies teacher, and my mom was a 1st grade teacher.  I am the youngest of four children.  My three siblings are Mike, Rachel, and Bridget.  They are all married and have children. Mike lives in Duluth, Rachel in St. Joseph (near St. Cloud), and Bridget in Hopkins.

I graduated from Brainerd High School in 2004 and began studying at St. Cloud Technical College pursuing a degree in computer networking. It was during that year I came to believe God was calling me to discern the priesthood at seminary.  The following year I began studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Duluth, and I enrolled at St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. 

Through my years in college seminary the call to the priesthood began to become clearer in my prayer time with Jesus.  I graduated from St. Thomas in 2008, and continued to major seminary at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana.  I finished my education and formation there and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Duluth on June 22, 2012.

My first assignment as a priest was as an associate pastor for the parishes in Ely, Tower, and Babbitt where I served for two years.  In July of 2014 I was named pastor of the parishes in Nashwauk and Coleraine where I followed Fr. Dennis Hoffman who had just retired.  I was pastor there for four years until Fr. Jerry Weiss retired as pastor from the parishes in Grand Rapids and Cohasset in 2018.  I was named pastor in those parishes in 2018 and served there until July of 2020.  I moved here to St. John’s and St. Joseph’s on July 15, 2020, and I look forward to my time here serving you as your pastor. 

I hope to get to know all of you better.  I would love to come to your homes to share conversation over a meal, a cup of coffee, or even just a glass of water.  I know that during this time of COVID it will be difficult to see all of you, but know that I am praying for you, and I ask for your prayers for me as well.  

God Bless,

Fr. Seth  

We continue to offer our gratitude for you and thank you for the gift of your life to us and to our Church! And God bless you, too!

Mr & Mrs Goglin & Their Son!

Masses to Resume at St. Joseph’s on August 2, 9:00 AM, & the Rest of Schedule

We are happy to announce the resumption of Mass at St. Joseph’s on Sunday at 9:00 AM.

Schedule for the week of July 27th –

August 2nd Monday, July 27th – 6 pm Mass @ St. John’s

Tuesday, July 28th – 8 am Mass @ St. John’s

Wednesday, July 29th- 6:00 pm Mass @ St. John’s

Thursday, July 30th – 8 am Mass @ St. John’s

Friday, July 31st – 8 am Mass @ St. John’s

Saturday, August 1st – 3:30 pm, Confession available 4:30 pm Mass @ St. John’s

Sunday , August 2nd – 9:00 am Mass @ St. Joseph’s

Sunday, August 2nd – 10:30 am Mass @ St. John’s

July 24: The Feast of St. Charbel Makluf

St. Charbel Makluf

St. Charbel, A Role Model About Preparation for Eucharist

When Pope John Paul the Great was criticized for canonizing so many saints, he acknowledged that he did, indeed, deliberately raise more saints to the altar than any of his predecessors, because he believed we are living in a time that needs saints as witnesses more than ever.  There have been books written about the people he canonized and beatified, and it is quite refreshing to read about many of them, because we can identify with people from our own era who lived a heroic faith life. 

As much as I like hagiography, the study of the saints, I have to admit that many of them, living in a different era, seem to be a bit untouchable, or even unreal.  In many cases they became “kitsch,” entering so much into the piety of worldwide Catholicism that they became little more than statues.  I am reminded of St. Therese of Lisieux who has rightly been called the greatest saint of modern times.  Her statue seems to be in a majority of churches, but I’d like to know how many people in the pews actually know anything about her life. 

I very much enjoy reading about those who lived seemingly normal yet holy lives.  They were simply examples of the Gospel, lived.  However, we can also learn something from the “untouchable” saints, those who for whatever reason seem otherworldly to us.  In the month of July we have one such saint.  On October 9th, 1977, Pope Paul VI canonized a Lebanese Maronite Rite monk, Charbel (or Sharbel)) Makhlouf.  While very few saints are honored with a place on the universal liturgical calendar, St. Charbel is one who is so revered that he does, indeed, have a feast day, which we celebrate on July 24th.

St. Charbel was born in 1828 in Northern Lebanon.  In 1859 he became a priest with particularly strong devotions, both to the Blessed Mother and even more so for the Eucharist.  For the last decades of his life, he was a hermit, living in the mountains in complete poverty. This austere behavior is one of the reasons he seems to be untouchable: how many of us can identify with a Lebanese Maronite monk, living in complete solitude, eating hardly anything, and all the while performing miracles?  Probably not many of us.  Yet it is St. Charbel’s prayer practice that makes him even more unique, while at the same time giving us an incredibly relevant example.

St. Charbel’s life was centered on the Eucharist and the celebration of Mass, and this devotion intensified in his last twenty years.  He would regularly celebrate Mass at noon, but he would awaken eight to ten hours beforehand to pray continuously in preparation for receiving Christ in the Eucharist.  Imagine!  Ten hours of prayer in preparation to receive Communion!    But it doesn’t end there.  Afterwards, he would spend another eight to ten hours in a prayer of thanksgiving for having received the Eucharist! 

The Eucharist was literally the center of his life, and everything else revolved around it.  This seems to add to his otherworldly status; who among us could do something like that, day in and day out for decades?  Who among us would want to?  And yet, what a beautiful example!

Reflecting on the life of St. Charbel calls to mind a common frustration among my brother priests and me.  On a regular basis, many people come into Mass late.   Often they are so late they miss one or two of the readings.  It is even more common for whole portions of the church to be empty after communion.  While we are happy that these people at least come to Mass, think of the contrast between our experience and that of St. Charbel, who would spend hours in prayer both before and after receiving communion. 

We would never go to a movie late, or leave before the story was over.  Why in the world, then, would we do that with the Divine Liturgy where heaven and earth meet?

St. Alphonsus de’ Liguori (1696-1787), born 130 years before St. Charbel, believed that if we didn’t receive our first communion until we turned 100, we would still not have sufficient time to prepare.  At another time, he said that once we receive communion, twelve angels surround us, worshipping what we just consumed.  Obviously, that is not dogma, but it is food for thought if we are tempted to leave Mass early.

The saints are always icons of having lived the Gospels, including those who seem to be so different from us.  St. Charbel is a great example of this.  I pray to him that through his intercession more people will grow in awe and reverence for Christ’s Eucharistic presence.

St. Charbel, pray for us!

For more information, here is a link to his congregation.

Wednesday Evening Mass: 6:00 PM & Information

Dear Parishioners,

Just a note to ask you to bear with us as we navigate this newer home page of the parish website: We’ve discovered if changes have to be made to the Facebook page, they will not automatically correct on the home page!

It’s a bit of a challenge, and we’re working on it. Please refer to this information (Masses are Monday & Wednesday EVENINGS at 6:00 until further notice) in case there is a blip elsewhere!

Thanks for your patience!

Schedule for the week of July 20th – July 26th

Monday, July 20th – 6 pm Mass @ St. John’s
Tuesday, July 21st – 8 am Mass @ St. John’s
Wednesday, July 22nd- 6 pm Mass @ St. John’s
Thursday, July 23rd – 8 am Mass @ St. John’s
Friday, July 24th- 8 am Mass @ St. John’s
Saturday, July 25th – 3:30 pm Confession available
4:30 pm Mass @ St. John’s

On the Feast of St. Mary Magdaline: July 22

St. Mary Magdalene

Pope Elevates Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene to Feast
July 2016: The Northern Cross

Recognizing St. Mary Magdalene’s role as the first to witness Christ’s resurrection and as a “true and authentic evangelizer,” Pope Francis raised the July 22 memorial of St. Mary Magdalene to a feast on the church’s liturgical calendar, the Vatican announced.

A decree formalizing the decision was published by the Congregation for Divine Worship June 10 along with an article explaining its significance.

Both the decree and the article were titled “Apostolorum Apostola” (“Apostle of the Apostles”).

In the article for the Vatican newspaper, Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the congregation, wrote that in celebrating “an evangelist who proclaims the central joyous message of Easter,” St. Mary Magdalene’s feast day is a call for all Christians to “reflect more deeply on the dignity of women, the new evangelization and the greatness of the mystery of divine mercy.”

“Pope Francis has taken this decision precisely in the context of the Jubilee of Mercy to highlight the relevance of this woman who showed great love for Christ and was much loved by Christ,” Archbishop Roche wrote.

While most liturgical celebrations of individual saints during the year are known formally as memorials, those classified as feasts are reserved for important events in Christian history and for saints of particular significance, such as the Twelve Apostles.

In his apostolic letter “Dies Domini” (“The Lord’s Day), St. John Paul II explained that the “commemoration of the saints does not obscure the centrality of Christ, but on the contrary extols it, demonstrating as it does the power of the redemption wrought by him.”

Preaching about St. Mary Magdalene, Pope Francis highlighted Christ’s mercy toward a woman who was “exploited and despised by those who believed they were righteous,” but she was loved and forgiven by him.

Her tears at Christ’s empty tomb are a reminder that “sometimes in our lives, tears are the lenses we need to see Jesus,” the pope said April 2, 2013, during Mass in his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Pope Francis also mentions her specifically in the prayer he composed for the Year of Mercy: “Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured paradise to the repentant thief.”

Archbishop Roche explained that in giving St. Mary Magdalene the honor of being the first person to see the empty tomb and the first to listen to the truth of the resurrection, “Jesus has a special consideration and mercy for this woman, who manifests her love for him, looking for him in the garden with anguish and suffering.”

Drawing a comparison between Eve, who “spread death where there was life,” and St. Mary Magdalene, who “proclaimed life from the tomb, a place of death,” the archbishop said her feast day is a lesson for all Christians to trust in Christ who is “alive and risen.”

“It is right that the liturgical celebration of this woman has the same level of feast given to the celebration of the apostles in the general Roman calendar and highlights the special mission of this woman who is an example and model for every woman in the church.”   

On the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, A Rome Report

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Optional Memorial

“So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel, and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. And Elijah came near to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him;…’” [1]

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the name given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. Mount Carmel is a mountain range along the northern coast of Israel. It’s here that God publicly answered the prophet Elijah’s prayer, consumed the offering, and confirmed He was a living God. Centuries later, in the 12th century after Christ, a group of hermits gathered on the mountain and committed their lives to prayer and penance, forming the Carmelite Order. The Carmelite Order encouraged devotion to the Blessed Mother as a model of ‘complete fidelity to the Lord.’  [2][3][4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti

Cancellation of September 2020 Event Due to Covid-19

Theology Uncapped

Due to the recommendation of local, state and federal authorities; and in order to reduce the potential health risks, we are cancelling the September event.
We will continue to monitor the situation and make a decision on the January event in the coming months.