Category: News

The Effects of the Clergy Abuse Scandal on Our Adult Children

This article appeared in the June 2019 issue of the Northern Cross. It was written in response to several conversations with my own and other of our adult children. —-Mary Claire Sitek

And if, indeed, your hearts must break now, let them break
Wide Open. 

The Broken Chalice

When You’re Finally Forced to Confront How the Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal Has Affected Your Own Adult Children

In the wake of this terrible crisis presently affecting my Church, a new wound is opening up within my own family. It is forcing me to try to justify to my adult children why I remain in the Catholic Church while the sex abuse crisis looms larger now than a decade ago. I must have been oblivious to the fact they, too, were inhaling all this news and experiencing revulsion as a result in proportions I was unaware of.

As it encompasses more and more communities and countries the horror of it grows to an even greater degree than the numbers. (I realize even ONE case would be too much.)  Dealing with my own personal abhorrence, however, pales in comparison to becoming aware of  how it has affected my own (and perhaps all our) children as the news bombards us with its immensity. And the fact that the number of clergy crimes is relatively small compared to the general population’s level of abuse does nothing to alleviate the pain this crisis has inflicted upon all of us—none more so than practicing Catholics: cradle Catholics so to speak.

.
How do you justify to your children—to our children— your decision to remain in the church as we struggle to live with such scandal, such crime, such diabolical evil?   I was recently faced with this question and realized I have to address it, try to answer it as best I can. Let me start with the peripheral reasons why I stay, so I can end with the central one.

According to Matthew Kelly in his 2010, Rediscovering Catholicism, “There are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, 67 million in America alone…And every single day the Catholic Church feeds, houses, and clothes more people, takes care of more sick people, visits more prisoners, and educates more people than any other institution on the face of the earth…..(before the Church) no one cared for the sick: the essence of health care emerged through the Church—through religious orders….Education for the common person also emerged through the Church—more than 230 colleges and universities are in the U.S. alone.  To say nothing of the thousands of parishes that grew up around religious communities opening up Catholic elementary schools…”

I could go on, but you get my point.  Let me come back to it.


It is impossible to express my grief that every one of us experiences because of being touched by this horror, particularly victims of these crimes. If any of you are reading this, know how sorry I am for your pain. I pray your wounds heal and are heard—and in some ways you are compensated. I hope you know my sorrow for you and helplessness to alleviate your pain break my heart—Wide Open.   We can only stand with you in your suffering.  We can only give you our support as you are brave enough to come forward.


For those of us who have only known faithful and holy priests, you are the other side of the coin, with a shadow hovering over you, a suspicion you never deserved. I recall a priest telling me an encounter he experienced while at lunch with his family after his ordination.  Dressed in his clerical attire, a group of guys in the restaurant taunted him as, “one of those pedophiles:” this occurrence on the happiest day of his life.  The ache in my heart over all of this can be measured by how this affects you, and how I now realize it has affected my own (and all our adult) children.

When one of my own, (not abused) adult children confronted me with the HOW I can remain a faithful Catholic despite this I realized all along they’ve all expressed this judgement. The pain of this confrontation brings on a new stage of pain. Why DO I stay? What constitutes my love for my church, a love that seems to grow the more muddled and messy this all becomes.

I would say discovering the statistics available in Kelly’s book, cited previously, humbled me beyond anything I’ve ever seen concretely regarding our Church.  They made me realize, beyond my personal gripes over some of our behaviors in our 2000 year history, just what and who we really are. These stats truly are our behavior.  They make me proud to have been a part of this history of alleviating so much suffering in our world.


Why DO I stay?  Ultimately it all goes back to family. God made us a family, and when we least deserve to be loved, there is a mother’s heart that cradles us with comfort and forgiveness. The Church is our Mother and this is her heart— to gather us together in joy and sorrow and most especially the nourishment of Eucharist. And if you’re not someone who perceives the reality of the Real Presence of God in the Eucharist I cannot help you! But I can tell you that worse than the evil inherent in this crisis is the possibility I’d have to deal with it without the daily reception of our God.

The fact that the Church is our Mother makes the reality of this pain even greater: mothers lay down their lives for their children.  Mothers are “she-bears” if you hurt one of their own.  Mothers nurture and protect!  How could this have happened within this framework of, “Mother Church?”

If, indeed, our hearts are breaking now, let them break, wide open!


To those of you who are wandering in the darkness of this time, these thoughts may not comfort or console you or salve the wound my refusal to leave my church has become for you.  It’s difficult to apologize for doing the best I can in the circumstances in which I’ve found myself: loving my/our children, for they are all our children, and loving my church.

Northern Cross flag

A Pilgrimage to Poland & Eastern Europe with Fr. Rich

Father Richard Kunst

St. John Paul II is one of the great saints of our time! What would it be like to follow in his footsteps? Fr. Richard Kunst will take you on a tour of this holy man’s life and share how you can walk where this saint has walked!

We all know of Father Rich’s love and devotion to Pope St. John Paul II from his time as our pastor. A testament to that love is the beautiful statue of the saint that adorns St. John’s church.

Today, on Real Presence Radio, while being interviewed about this pilgrimage, he issued a special invitation to join him to his former parishioners of St. John’s & St. Joe’s.

If you are interested, you can contact him through the information on the brochure featured above. This is an incredible opportunity, so don’t wait too long to take advantage of it!

Seven Church Pilgrimage: A 15 Mile Walk Lasting for Almost 500 Years in the Eternal City

The “Seven Church Pilgrimage,” is a 15-mile route to the four great basilicas of Rome. These are St. Peter’s Basilica, St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside the Walls and St. Mary Major. It also stops at three other churches Holy Cross, St. Lawrence and St. Sebastian. These are the seven most important churches in the Eternal City.

Fr. Simone Raponi, from the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, says St. Philip Neri began promoting this pilgrimage as an alternative to carnival parties.

FR. SIMONE RAPONI C.O.
Oratory of St. Philip Neri
“St. Philip Neri brought this pilgrimage back to the scene during the mid-16th century. Soon after, it became famous. He reinstated its penitential nature, its devotion to the Holy Spirit, and encouraged the importance of the sacrament of reconciliation. Moreover, St. Philip Neri knew how to present it with a touch of joy and humor, transforming this religious excursion into a ‘festive journey of pilgrimage.’”

This map shows the route traced by St. Philip, who started it himself. Each year, more pilgrims joined, reaching 6,000 participants during Pius IV’s pontificate.

FR. SIMONE RAPONI C.O.
Oratory of St. Philip Neri
“People from all classes and walks of life: the rich, the poor, cardinals and princes all participated in the seven church pilgrimage.”

Since 1575, those who do the “Seven Church Pilgrimage” can gain a plenary indulgence under the necessary conditions. Fr. Simone and other priests of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri organize a nocturnal pilgrimage every year around May 26, the saint’s feast day.

FR. SIMONE
Oratory of St. Philip Neri
“The Oratory priests accompany the pilgrims during this visit to the seven churches. We are in charge of catechesis, formation and meditations on the Christian virtues and life.”

The pilgrimage takes place at night to avoid the hustle and bustle of Rome during the day. The aim of this nocturnal pilgrimage is to provide a more powerful and solemn atmosphere. This year around 850 people attended this event.

Around the Diocese: Catholic Family Camp: August 25-September1

catholic family camp

The Diocese of Duluth Office of Marriage and Family Life is sponsoring a Catholic family camp this summer at the Sugar Lake Lodge, 37584 Otis Lane, Cohasset.

Dates are above. Enjoy all the lodge has to offer, as well as daily Mass, adoration times and confession. f

For more information on the recreational activities that are available and information on food and lodging offerings go to 222.sugarlakelodge.com. Stay for a night, or the whole week–call the lodge at 218.203.8919 to register. Discounted rates apply.

Cardinal Newman to be canonized October 13, 2019

The quote in the you tube  are the words of the soon to be canonized Cardinal John Henry Newman. Born in London on February 21st, 1801, Newman was the first of six children born to John Newman, a banker, and Jemima Fourdrinier, a descendant of French Huguenot refugees in England. Considered to be a leading intellectual of the 19th century, John Newman was ordained an Anglican priest on May 29th, 1825. Twenty years later, after a long struggle to incorporate Roman Catholic theology into Anglican theology, Newman converted to Catholicism and was ordained a Catholic priest on May 30th, 1847. Pope Leo XIII (1878 – 1903) elevated him to the cardinalate on May 12th, 1879, although he was never consecrated a bishop.

At his beatification on September 19th, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI referred to his personal motto.

Cardinal Newman’s motto, Cors et cor loqvitvr, (Heart speaks unto heart) gives insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness experienced as a profound desire of the human heart to enter into explicit communion with the heart of God. One of the most important intellectuals of his time, he is an example to both Anglicans and Catholics. 120 years later, great crowds have assembled once again to rejoice in the Church’s solemn recognition of the outstanding holiness of this much loved father of souls.

Among his many achievements, Newman was instrumental in the founding of the Catholic University of Ireland, which became University College, Dublin, and Ireland’s largest university. The many biographies and editions of his published works still available attest to the esteem in which he is held by Catholics and Anglicans alike.

Cardinal Newman died on August 11, 1890, at the age of eighty-nine. His feast day is celebrated on October 9th.

John Henry Newman was beatified in September of 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Saying Goodbye to Fr. Jeremy

Fr. Jeremy Bock

Stella Maris Folks, here’s your chance to say goodbye to Fr. Jeremy and to wish him well in his new assignement in Hibbing. It’s a chance to thank him for his faithfulness to our children!

Fr. Jeremy, we wish you all the best!

Diocese of Peoria Prepares for Fulton Sheen’s Beatification

Archbishop Fulton. J. Sheen

Preparing for the Beatification to be Held in Peoria, Illinois

Pope Francis approved the miracle attributed to Archbishop Fulton Sheen Friday, making possible the American television catechist’s beatification.

The Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints promulgated the decree approving Sheen’s miracle on July 6.

The miracle involves the unexplained recovery of James Fulton Engstrom, a boy born apparently stillborn in September 2010 to Bonnie and Travis Engstrom of the Peoria-area town of Goodfield. He showed no signs of life as medical professionals tried to revive him. The child’s mother and father prayed to Archbishop Sheen to heal their son.

A seven-member panel of medical experts advising the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints gave unanimous approval of the miracle attributed to the famous television personality and evangelist in March 2014.

Archbishop Sheen was a beloved television catechist during the 1950s and 60s in the United States. His Emmy-award winning television show “Life is Worth Living” reached an audience of millions.

Sheen was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois at the age of 24, and was appointed auxiliary bishop of New York in 1951, where he remained until his appointment as Bishop of Rochester, New York in 1966. He retired in 1969 and moved back to New York City until his death in 1979.

On June 27, Sheen’s remains were transferred from the Archdiocese of New York to Peoria, Illinois following a long legal battle over the late archbishop’s burial place that had put Sheen’s sainthood cause on hold.

The Peoria diocese opened the cause for Sheen’s canonization in 2002, after Archdiocese of New York said it would not explore the case. In 2012, Benedict XVI recognized the heroic virtues of the archbishop.

In September 2014, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria suspended Sheen’s cause on the grounds that the Holy See expected Sheen’s remains to be in the Peoria diocese.

Fulton Sheen’s niece Joan Cunningham filed a legal complaint in 2016 seeking to have her uncle’s remains moved to the Cathedral of St. Mary in Peoria. The Archdiocese of New York repeatedly appealed the attempt to transfer Sheen’s remains to Peoria.


Stella Maris Academy Kindergarten Graduation

Sending heaps of love to our Holy Rosary Campus kindergarten teachers, Amanda Tessier & Sonya whose expertise in teaching and love for these children are an exceptional gift to us. Thank you with all our hearts!

New Ministry Schedule: June 15 – September 1

St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church

The schedule for June 15th-September 1st is now available.   Please print this schedule and post it for ready reference. It will also be available on the bulletin board in back of church, in the sacristy and on our website. 

 This being a summer schedule many of our ministers are not available.  You may find that you are scheduled more than normally.  And you will also see that there are Masses without a minister.  If you are at one of these Masses, please be willing to help Father.

Thanks to all of you who sent in your summer availability.  Much appreciated.  Have a wonderful summer.  Feel free to email or call if you have any questions.  Anny ([email protected])

Here is the link to the schedule.

https://web4ucorp.com/ministries/schedule-public.php?org=johnmn&schedule_logID=2498

http://web4ucorp.com/ministries/johnmn

A Note from Anny Goeb, Secretary

Further information on how this scheduling works, but the info is shown above.

Log on to “web4ucorp.com/ministries/johnmn

You do not need a user name or password.  Click on “Schedules,” then click on the current schedule. 

You can request a sub if you are scheduled at a time not convenient for you.  Simply click on “Find a sub,” fill in your email address, choose the date and time and send an email.  Both you and I will receive an email when someone fills your request.

We probably still have some glitches to figure out, but I hope this new program works for both you and us.  Feel free to call if you have a problem.  Once I send the schedule, I will be able to see what you are looking at and can hopefully help you.   —Anny

A Message from Fr. Drew

Parish Mission: May 2019

Fr. Drew’s News

We’re wrapping up a few things as we approach the summer months. Soon school will be out, and we’ve finished our year of religious education, and this Wednesday, May 22nd, 6:30 p.m., Bishop will be coming to confirm those young men and women who have been preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation.

But before you head out to the cabin to enjoy your summer break, I hope that you will come join us for our 40 HOUR PARISH MISSION!!

The flyer above has all the details for the weekend.

I am extremely excited to have my good friend, Fr. Brandon Moravitz, lead us on this weekend retreat. Fr. Brandon is an incredible speaker and preacher! Don’t miss it!

The weekend will be packed with inspiring talks, beautiful music, and time for prayer and reflection. We will also have some time for confessions.

Please come join us for this spirit filled weekend. I promise you’ll walk away with a heart set on FIRE!

We all need a good retreat sometimes. I remember someone once telling me we are like balloons that have a continuous leak, and we need to be filled up from time to time, or else we just go spiritually flat.

I really wanted to offer this weekend to help fill us up! Come be filled up! May the Holy Spirit set our parishes ablaze! – Fr. Drew