Category: News

The Pope Francis Commission

Bruce Mars is the Chairman of the Pope Francis Commission

The Pope Francis Commission is a committee of St. John’s Church members seeking ways of bringing our Catholic Faith in words and deeds to those in our community in need of basic necessities. For more information, call the parish office.

Food Shelf

Non-perishable food items can be dropped off in the designated boxes at the entrances of the church. Cash donations can be placed in the collection or mailed to the parish office. Your envelope should be marked “Food Shelf Donation”. Cash donations will be mailed directly to the Food Shelf and non-perishable food items will be brought to the Food Shelf by a volunteer driver.

Giving Tree

Sarah Serre chairs the Giving Tree

St. John’s helps out families from the parish and surrounding area that may not be able to purchase gifts during the holidays because of financial or some other hardships with our Giving Tree. The weekend of Thanksgiving a tree is put up decorated with ornaments made by the Religious Education and School children. Tags are attached to the ornaments with requests for gifts and food. These gifts are collected until the week before Christmas. Second collections are held during Advent to help purchase larger gifts, food baskets or any tags remaining on the Giving Tree. Gifts and food are distributed by parish volunteers the weekend before Christmas.

E-mail Sarah with an offer to much needed help.

Union Gospel Mission

This ministry involves serving lunches and dinners to patrons of Union Gospel Mission several times a month. E-mail Bruce Mars if you are interested in serving. They also serve a Christmas dinner on December 17 and are looking for members to help with that particular time–from about 3:30 – 7:00.

E-mail Bruce Mars with an offer to serve meals and/or to help with the Christmas dinner.

Reminders about the New Mass Schedule & UCA News

Saint John’s

Monday thru Friday………………..8:00 am

Saturday ……………………………. 4:30 pm

Sunday……………………………    10:30 am

Saint Joseph’s

Sunday………………………………………….9:00 am

Fr. Drew’s News

 I am always amazed at how generous you are here at St. John’s and St. Joseph’s.  Our monthly second collections are a major sign of that generosity.  We give a great deal to the organizations we support, and they are extremely grateful for it.

Your support to your respective parishes is also significant.  Thank you for that as well. But  I’m  reaching  out  to  you  today  to  draw  your attention to our annual UCA (United Catholic Appeal).  

Each year we are assessed a particular number and in one way or another we are responsible to pay our portion of the UCA.  With the end of the year less than two months away, I have looked at St. John’s UCA money collected, and we are just barely over halfway towards our goal.  We still need $30,441. (Assessed $71,271.) 

And St. Joseph’s has collected $9,600 of their assessed $15,387 goal. Years ago we were very good about paying our UCA, but more recently we have fallen further and further short of our assessment.  I think it’s time that we turn this trend around. 

I believe that many are just simply unaware that we even are this short in our collection, and so I hope to just raise an awareness of what we still need. I think we have an opportunity here to join together as parishes and take pride in the fact that we meet our UCA goal each year. 

I have been a part of parishes in the past who redoubled their efforts and strived to meet their goal when maybe in past years they hadn’t.  I found it very inspiring and telling of the life of those parishes that they would commit to this goal.  In the end it raised the entire spirit of the parish when they had begun to collect the necessary money well ahead of schedule.  I hope to do that here at St. John’s and St. Joseph’s. 

I would ask all of us to focus our efforts on our UCA.  Let’s really try to meet our goal.  And be proud to do so.                -Fr. Drew

October 14, 2018: The Canonization of Oscar Romero

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

From CNA: Polish Bishops Open Beatification Process for Parents of St John Paul II

The Parents of Pope St. John Paul II

Krakow, Poland, Oct 10, 2019 / 04:01 pm (CNA).- The Polish bishops’ conference has agreed to begin the canonization process for the parents of Saint John Paul II.

The Polish episcopate made the announcement Oct. 10, setting in motion the first steps for the beatification of John Paul II’s father, Karol Wojtyla, and mother, Emilia nee Kaczorowska.

The next step will be to ask the Holy See to initiate the process of sainthood at the level of the Archdiocese of Cracow.

Karol, a Polish Army lieutenant, and Emilia, a school teacher, were married in Krakow Feb. 10, 1906. The Catholic couple gave birth to three children: Edmund in 1906; Olga, who died shortly after her birth; and Karol Junior in 1920.

The family was known to be faithful Catholics and rejected the increasing anti-Semitism of the time.

“The immediate family strongly influenced spiritual and intellectual development of the future Pope,” the bishops’ conference said.

Emilia had received a formal religious education. Before she died of a heart attack and liver failure in 1929, the mother was a staple of faith for the house. At the time of her death, Karol Jr. was a month away from his ninth birthday.

“Emilia Wojtyła graduated from the monastery school of the Sisters of Divine Love. With full dedication and love, she ran the house and looked after the sons Edmund and Karol,” the conference said.

His father raised his sons alone until his death 12 years later. According to Catholic Online, Karol was a prayerful man and pushed Karol Jr. to be hardworking and studious. The father also took on family chores such as sewing his son’s clothes.

“Karol Wojtyła senior as a father was a deeply religious, hard-working and conscientious man. John Paul II repeatedly mentioned that he had seen his father kneeling and praying even at night. It was his father who taught him the prayer to the Holy Spirit which accompanied him to the end of his life,” the conference said.

The Canonization of John Henry Newman: Oct. 13

Saint John Henry Newman Pivotal Players’ Series

In anticipation of John Henry Newman’s upcoming canonization on October 13th, Bishop Barron’s John Henry Newman: The Convert film is FREE to watch for a limited time!

In this beautiful feature length film, travel through England where Newman left his mark and sparked an English Catholic revival.

You’ll discover how he used his prodigious intellectual gifts to help the Church better understand its identity and mission and engage the challenges of a secular age.

It’s the perfect opportunity to learn about this brilliant theologian as he’s canonized a saint!

Watch Bishop Barron’s full feature length film right here:

October 7: The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary & The Battle of Lepanto

The Battle of Lepanto was a pivotal moment in the history of the Catholic Church.

A great concern of Pius V’s pontificate and one that occupied his final years was the encroachment of the Turks with their victory over the Venetians in Cyprus. This led to the high point of his foreign policy. He was able to form an alliance against the Turkish fleet at Lepanto, defeating them, thereby putting an end to their influence in the Mediterranean. The Battle of Lepanto took place in October of 1571. 30,000 Turks were killed, 10,000 were taken prisoner, 90 ships were sunk, 180 were captured, and 15,000 Christian slaves were set free.

Pius V attributed this victory to Mary and established a feast in her honor to commemorate it. Eventually it became the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the month of October became dedicated to her. In his Apostolic Constitution on Praying the Rosary, 1569, Pius outlined his great faith in Mary and his devotion to her through this prayer dedicated to her.

Theology Uncapped – “Special Edition” – Save the Date – Thursday November 7th, 2019

Bishop Sirba and Bishop Aitken

Invite you to..A Special Edition of Theology Uncapped: “Caring for Our Common Home”

Thursday November 7th at 6:30 pm

Greysolon Ballroom

231 East Superior StreetDuluth, MN

Parking Available in Ramp on 1st Street

Registration Opens October 1st

Bishop Paul Sirba Bishop Aitken

Professor Kevin Vaughan, Director of Catholic Studies at the College of St. Scholastica, & Pastor David Carlson of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Duluth

An Announcement from Fr. Drew

Fr. Drew’s News

In my time here as pastor of St. John and St. Joseph, I’ve had a number of people approach me and request that we have the Precious Blood (NOT “Wine”) available for reception at Mass.  While each parish is different and some don’t have the Precious Blood available for various and good reasons, I’ve decided I’d like to have the option available to you here at our parishes. And so, starting the weekend of October 19th & 20th, we will have the precious chalices from which you can receive.

HOWEVER, this change will require a greater number of Eucharistic Ministers.  And so I ask you to please consider helping us out in this capacity.  I know many will say to themselves, “I am not worthy,” but none of us are worthy, yet God still wants you and needs you for this mission. 

If you are interested, please call the parish office and let Michelle or Anny know. We will have a training for ALL Eucharistic Ministers, new and old, after the 4:30 Mass on October 12th, and an additional training after the 10:30 Mass on October 13th.  You only need to attend one of these trainings. I’m just giving you a couple options.

St. Joseph’s – ALL Eucharistic Ministers will have a training session immediately following Mass on October 20th.

Note that during the “flu season” and the winter months we will not have chalices available so as not to spread any sickness.    Thank you for your           understanding.

I am excited to offer you a fuller expression of receiving Communion by having the Precious Body and Precious Blood of our Lord at Mass!!  Praise Him for these great gifts!  The very gift of Himself.   —Father Drew

When Flies on the Altar “Bug” the Presider, Fr. Drew

Chalice Covered with Pall

This week, at daily Mass, Fr. Drew got hit with the pesky flies written about by Fr. Rich in the September issue of the Northern Cross. What follows is his column, which was referenced by Fr. Drew in “light” of the pests dropping close to his chalice–thankfully covered with a “pall.”

Spinning Flies Give Insight into How to Think of Satan
September 2019
, Northern Cross

Father Rich

This is the time of the year when flies become weird. The summer has wrapped up, colder weather is upon us, and flies just don’t know how to be flies anymore. They don’t know how to move fast, unless it is on their back spinning a hundred miles per hour.

When I was a kid, I used to think that was really cool, but now I just step on them when they are spinning. Flies that once were a nuisance in the spring become a different kind of nuisance in the fall and early winter.

This might seem like an odd transition, but stick with me. One of the things that has become increasingly popular for priests over the past several years is the use of the pall at Mass. For centuries palls (the small cardboard-like square placed on chalices) were an ever-present part of the Mass, but following the Second Vatican Council, they fell out of favor with most priests and thus were abandoned.

In fairness to the priests who stopped using them, palls came into practical existence a long time ago to prevent “creepy-crawly” things from getting into the chalice, but for the vast majority of us in this part of the world, there is not a great risk of that happening. So letting the use of the pall go by the wayside was in some ways understandable.

So here is the connection. In my last parish assignment, at St. John’s in Duluth, I had an ongoing issue that made the pall suddenly become practical again. Right above the altar, way up high on the A-framed ceiling, were four lights directed down to the altar. These lights were very bright, and mostly during the fall and spring, flies that were not thinking right (or not thinking at all) would fly up into the lights.

The problem was that these lights produced a lot of heat, so when these little critters hit the lights, they would get singed, and they would literally drop like flies, because they were flies.

Being that the lights were right above the altar, at any given time fly carcasses would randomly drop near the chalice, so that pall that once was practical became practical again!

If it were not for the pall on my chalice, there was a great risk of my having to consume these cooked flies along with the Precious Blood. To say the least, these little creatures of God were a big nuisance, but that is all that they were — a nuisance.

At this point I am sure I am trying your patience with this column, but here is my big point. Several times throughout three of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the Pharisees and even Jesus refer to the devil as “Beelzebul,” most famously when the Pharisees accuse Jesus of using the dark and evil power of Beelzebul to cast out lesser demons. So in the New Testament, Beelzebul in essence becomes the name for the prince of demons.

Now, I suspect that the vast majority do not use that name in our common day-to-day conversations, since in English the prince of demons is called either Satan or Lucifer.

A closer look at the name “Beelzebul” kind of makes the prince of demons a lot less scary. The original spelling of Beelzebul in something called the “Masoretic text” was “Beelzebub,” which literally means “Lord of the Flies” or even “Lord of Dung.”

So here is the connection: Flies are nothing more than a nuisance, just like they were at my Masses when I was pastor at St. John’s. They really do not pose a threat in any way whatsoever. Dung is also a nuisance, especially when you step in it, though that does not help me make my point.

Even the great Italian poet Dante presents Lucifer or Beelzebul as a pretty pathetic creature, in his epic work “The Divine Comedy.” In the 34th Canto of the “Inferno,” as Dante is about to leave his tour of hell, he finally sees the prince of demons and realizes he is not really that scary. Satan is portrayed as frozen in ice from the waist down while crying profusely because he is so lonely. This, of course, makes sense, since hell is the complete absence of God.

In either instance, Satan is nothing to be afraid of. He is both a pathetic creature and nothing more than a nuisance. The devil only has the power we allow him to have. We become “low hanging fruit” for him to snatch away when we stray from the sacraments and virtuous living and prayer.

St. Teresa of Avila once said that, “People who do not pray do not need the devil to tempt them.” So as we proceed closer to the colder months and you see those pathetic little flies spinning on their backs, know that you have the same power to crush them with your feet as you do to crush Satan with the power of Jesus, since in essence those crazy flies and Satan have so much in common.

The Feast of Maximilian Kolbe & A Message from Fr. Drew

Saint Maximilian Kolbe: First Class Relic

In the spirit of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, on his feast day, do something sacrificial for someone. —Father Drew Braun

Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Martyr (1894 – 1941)

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 Maximillian Kolbe died, August 14, 1941.

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.

The Mass in Red

(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.

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