October 22: Feast of St. John Paul II

First Class Relic of St. John Paul II

A Reliquary Containing the Blood of Pope St.  John Paul II

In May of 1981 papal travel protocol was changed with the assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II. Because of the Pope’s rare blood type there was concern of a shortage for his needs when he lost so much blood from the gunshot wounds.

After he healed his doctors decided to draw his own blood so as always to have a fresh supply in case there was another emergency. So after 1981 everywhere the pope traveled so did a few pints of his own blood just in case. After his death  these spare pints of his blood became relics of a saint.

The Church has allowed distribution of some of his blood to various churches and dioceses throughout the world for veneration. I am humbled to have been chosen to received a relic of Saint John Paul’s blood through the assistance of my friend, Archbishop Schnurr of Cincinnati.  —Father Richard Kunst

Caring Bridge Site for Father Ben Hadrich October 22 —Change of Address & A Message from Him!

Fr. Ben Hadrich-patient
Patient Care Unit-Generose 4E 
Mayo Clinic Hospital,  St. Mary’s Campus 1216 2nd St. SW
Rochester, MN 55905

Journal Entry by Hadrich Family — 1 hour ago

October 20, 2020

Journal Entry by Hadrich Family — October 20, 2020

Thursday Oct.20 

Fr Ben:
”Thank you for your prayers.

The neurological team: doctors, nurses, and therapists are especially appreciated for helping me make brain/ body connections. This enables me to make a lot of progress. 

Progress with moving my left leg can be observed on my Facebook page.”

Sunday, Oct 18, 2020

Day 29

Fr. Ben is now posting comments on his Facebook site. However, we were asked to continue making a weekly update on this site and are happy to do this.

Fr. Ben asked that we share the following:

1. It was emotional yet gratifying to view the live stream internet  Mass from St. Thomas Aquinas this morning and getting to observe parishioners and visitors of all ages coming forward to receive Holy Communion. 

2. He is grateful for your prayers, and he wants you to know of his prayers for you. He sent a ”digital blessing.” 

3. He is one with those experiencing medical challenges amid covid policies resulting in isolation and loneliness. 

Praise God! Father Ben’s family has informed us he is now posting his own updates via his FB account! You can reach him there. Please keep all of them in your prayers! God bless you, Fr. Ben.

Wednesday, October 14
Day 25

”Powerful day,” said Fr. Ben referring to concelebrating Mass with Fr. Franklin in a beautiful chapel at St. Mary’s Hospital In Rochester.

Fr. Ben posted a video on his Facebook page. Check it out.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Day 20

Fr.Ben had a good night’s rest, followed by several productive Therapy sessions.

A significant accomplishment: He sat upright without assistance using his strong right side, visual focus, and balance.

With much assistance,  he took guided walking steps to encourage muscle memory. 

He received Holy Eucharist and had Chipotle for lunch.

He ended the day with an online Mass,  Facetime with his nieces, and enjoying his mail.

God’s will be done.

You are a priest forever!! A blessing to us!

Thursday, October 8, 2020
Day 19

Today Fr. Ben transitioned from puréed foods to solids by eating a McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries! He’s still on thickened liquids, so no Coke, yet.

Progress is slow but steady!

Wednesday, October 7
Day 18

Fr. Ben had his fullest day yet.
Following a morning of Physical and Occupational Therapies, he was able to concelebrate Mass with Fr. Frankin.

This! Was! The! BEST!

An equally busy afternoon followed. 

He got approval for a room “upgrade” AKA, a room with two windows facing outdoors- trees and blue sky. (His previous room faced an indoor open area.) He asked if he might shoot a goose from his room. (In addition to world-renowned medical care, Rochester is noted for a very high goose population.)

***Photo: Fr. Ben is reading the Gospel during Mass.

You’re an inspiration, Father Ben Hadrich & we send our prayers for you!

If you’ve ever wondered what God looks like, now you know. The artist is a primary school student at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in International Falls. The  “gift” from heaven resulted in a  belly laugh from Fr. Ben. “Kids are the best!”

Monday, October 5
 Day 16

As you know, the left side of Fr. Ben’s body has been without feeling since his stroke on September 20th. Praise God- Today, some neurons began to fire!

1. Fr. Ben gained back his old “two-sided” smile. 

2. He was able to feel touches to his left foot.

WONDERFUL developments!

A message from Fr. Ben:

Dear parents, family, and friends,

Thank you for the prayers, cards, and messages. I am slowing healing and growing.

Get back to Mass! And, send money for St. Thomas Aquinas School.*

God is the best!
Fr. Ben

*Those of you who know Fr. Ben also know that NOTHING stops him from fundraising for St. Thomas Aquinas School in International Falls.

Sunday Oct 4, 2020

Day 15 

Fr. Jose said Mass today. He is the priest who brought Fr. Ben Holy Communion  yesterday. 

No therapy today- A day of rest for Fr. Ben.

He’ll be back to a full schedule tomorrow.


Grant us, almighty God,
that we may be refreshed and nourished
by the Sacrament which we have received,
so as to be transformed into what we consume.
Through Christ our Lord.

October 2, 2020

Journal Entry by Hadrich Family — 10 hours ago

Friday, October 2nd

The days in the hospital become blurred one into the next as we try to balance and organize incoming information with outgoing emotional responses.

Fr. Ben had an uplifting telephone conversation with a brother priest today. We continue to grow in gratitude for the brotherhood of priests to which Fr. Ben belongs.

Part of Morning Prayer Today: Psalm 92 & St. John Paul Singing the Pater Noster

St. John Paul, Pray for us!

September 30, 2020

Journal Entry by Hadrich Family — 9 hours ago

Sept 30  Day 12 
9:00 pm

Fe. Ben worked hard today. The staff has been wonderful to us. Fr. Ben is ”training in” the staff with his upbeat sense of humor. 

Fr. Ben appreciates all the mail- beautiful cards, heartfelt messages, and comments and pictures from kids that bring joy. 

A few of many:

From his cousin’s young child,  Mic:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

Humpty Dumpty had a great stroke.

All of the doctors, all of the nurses

COULD put Humpty Dumpty together again.

A young student from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School (Fr. Ben’s school in Falls)

”I miss you, Fr. Ben, and not just for the candy.”

A voice message to Fr. Ben’s parents tonight said she is praying for us and went on the say the Memorare Prayer as part of the voice message. Priceless.

We are experiencing God’s powerful Grace through all of you.

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

September 30, 2020

Journal entry by Hadrich Family — 5 hours agoSept 30 Day 11

Fr. Ben often compares experiencimg life challenges with running a marathon. He started In-patient therapy this morning, so one might say the starting gun has sounded.

The ”Forward, always forward…”

He had about 5 hours of sleep last night- the most yet!

If anyone from International Falls has a trip planned to Rochester in the near future, please let us know. (Or, if anyone is planning to be in the Mcgregor area over the next two days, please let us know.) Thank you.

More later…Read Moreof the journal titled “September 30, 2020”

September 29, 2020

Journal Entry by Hadrich Family — 5 minutes ago

Day 10

Great news: Fr. Ben was transferred to the in-patient rehabilitation unit today. Praise God!

He was told ”beginning tomorrow, be prepared to work.” To which Fr. Ben a gave a thumbs up. 

The hospital staff is more than impressed with the amount of mail Fr. Ben is receiving. Keep it coming. Thank you.

Fr. Ben’s address has changed slightly with his move to rehab:

Fr. Ben Hadrich-patient
Patient Care Unit-Generose 4E 
Mayo Clinic Hospital,  St. Mary’s Campus 1216 2nd St. SW
Rochester, MN 55905

September 28, 2020

Journal Entry by Hadrich Family — 12 hours ago

Monday, September 28th
Day 9

Fr. Ben had 
-OT worked with him swallowing
-PT worked with him on balance and staying upright in his chair, where he remained throughout lunch.

He has been awake for most of the day with the hope of more consistent sleep tonight.

The in-patient rehab people met with Fr. Ben and his dad about options for the next step in his rehabilitation plan. 

Many thanks for prayers, cards, and wonderful messages from the kids.

Fr. Ben just finished evening prayer with his family over the phone.

God bless.

September 27, 2020

Journal Entry by Hadrich Family — 38 minutes ago

Author uploaded image

Sept 27
Day 8

Fr. Ben appreciates the cards he has received, and he especially loves the pictures from the kids!!!


Fr. Ben Hadrich- patient
Mayo Clinic Hospital St. Mary’s Campus
1216 2nd St SW
Rochester MN 55995

Fr. Ben got some quality sleep today; however, he needs to get more during the night.

He had his first real physical therapy session. Because the stroke has affected the left side of his body, he needs to use his right side differently to balance and stabilize. With the assistance of the PT and nurse, he sat on the edge of his bed and stood up. He was able to do this three times. Assisted by the therapist and Hoyer Lift, he sat in a chair for ten minutes. His brain and muscles have to work hard to do this.

His headache has lessened. 

Listening to ”Lord of the Rings” audible book helps him relax.

Hondo continues to spent visiting hours (8:00 am to 6:00 pm) with Fr. Ben. His mom had the pleasure of Facetiming and then ending the day by reading Evening Prayer and saying the Rosary over the phone.

We will be sharing some comforting and encouraging words and quotes from a unique book given to us recently. 

”Forward, always forward, everywhere forward! We must not be held back by debts, bad years, or by difficulties of the times. Man’s adversity is God’s opportunity.”  ~Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B.

Regarding a photo his dad took today- he looks pretty upbeat, doesn’t he?


Fr. Ben Hadrich- patient
Mayo Clinic Hospital St. Mary’s Campus
1216 2nd St SW
Rochester MN 55995

Sept 26  
Day 7
-Fr. Ben’s first full day in ”step down.” (Out of ICU)
-He has had all lines removed.
-He is monitored every four hours, down from every two hours allowing him his first good nap.
-He remains on a pureed menu.
-He is feisty
Please Pray for:
-continued overall progress and acceptable blood pressure levels
-getting his days and nights regulated

About the Second Set of Photos

I had the privilege of talking with Brenda Hadrich yesterday about Fr. Ben’s progress. Several years ago I was given the rosary shown here, which was created by Fr. Michael Garry’s mother. Brenda is part of a group, Mothers of Priests, Diocese of Duluth. The rosary came with a prayer card indicating the intentions on all the beads. I asked Brenda to take a photo of that card. What you see in this photograph is the reflection of Brenda taking the photo. The reflection shows her image with what appears to be her hands embracing those intentions.

The second photo includes the rosary and the Shepherd with his sheep and my caption, “Simon, do you love me? Feed my lambs.” Although I am not a mother of a priest, I love them all! The sand dollars appear to be hosts which I gave to first communicants of the 2020 class at the Holy Rosary campus of Stella Maris Academy (with the legend of the sand dollar).

Lastly the statues of Mary & Joseph were given to Mary & Joseph Sitek by the parents of the Moravitz brothers at the time of Fr. Brandon’s ordination.

Please continue to pray, not only for Father Ben, but for his family, his brother priests and their families—and for all of us who love them so! And pray for an increase in vocations.

——Mary Claire Sitek

Today’s Message: September 23, 2020:

Please send cards! This time around he can read!!!

Fr. Ben Hadrich- patient

Mayo Clinic Hospital

St. Mary’s Campus

1216 2nd St SW

Rochester, Mn 55905

September 22, 2020 

Journal entry by Hadrich Family — 30 minutes ago. 6:00 pm
Fr. Ben is back in his room after surgery. The doctors shared that the procedure went well. 
Prayers are powerful. Please keep them coming

A Caring Bridge site has been set up by Father Hadrich’s family in order to keep people informed about his health and progress.  The link is below.  As of yesterday, Father Hadrich has been transferred to the Mayo Hospital in Rochester, and is awaiting possible surgery.  Please continue to keep Father Hadrich and his family in your prayers.  


October 15: Feast of St. Teresa of Avila

When one reaches the highest degree of human maturity, one has only one question left:  How can I be helpful?  
–St. Teresa of Avila

About St. Teresa of Avila:

Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul. –St. Teresa

Born to a noble family on March 28, 1515, Teresa was on of nine children born to Alonzo Sanchez de Cepeda. When she was twelve years old, her mother died. An oft told story about her is that at the age of seven, desiring martyrdom, she ran off to find the Moors, who, she hoped, would cut off her head, thereby granting her wish. Later, she imitated the anchorites by building hermitages in her family’s garden.

“Great sins” awaited her: reading novels, flirting and frivolous chatter–the common practices of the young.

Not common, however, for Teresa. By age sixteen, she boarded at an Augustinian convent and remained there for eighteen months. Later, after a conversation with an uncle, she embraced her vocation to be a nun.

In 1534, Teresa took her vows at the Carmelite convent in Avila. She was allowed to receive guests there, and for twenty years, she tried to enjoy both the delights of prayer and the pleasures of secular conversation. But something was amiss: the gift of her whole self to God had not yet been realized. When it was given, her life consisted in prayer, apparitions of Christ, sufferings, and ecstasies.

In 1562, Teresa set out to reform the Carmelite order. This resulted in innumerable persecutions and sufferings. She established convents in Avila, Toledo and many other sites in Spain. Teresa and three ducats and God are sufficient to make a success of everything, she said, while attempting with meager means to open a convent in Toledo while having next to nothing.

Teresa was aided by St. John of the Cross and Father Jerome Gratian who helped her reform all branches of the Carmelite order.

St. Teresa is one of the most universally admired of women. Her intelligence and charm, her chivalrous spirit, her talent as a writer, and her experience with mystical connections to God have won her a privileged place in the hearts of many.

She died in ecstasy at the convent of Alba, her head supported by Mother Anne of St. Bartholomew, her eyes fixed on the crucifix, on the night of October 4-5, 1582.

In 1970, Teresa of Avila was made a Doctor of the Church, along with St. Catherine of Siena.

Yet it is as a mystic that she is best remembered.

October 7: 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.

Learn More: http://ascensionpress.com/t/category/… The Battle of Lepanto was a pivotal moment in the history of the Catholic Church. Learn the dramatic story of how Our Lady interceded for the Christian fleet in their victory over the Turks. www.catholictimeline.com Subscribe: http://www.youtube.com/c/ascensionpress

September 30: The Feast of St. Jerome & The Vulgate Version of the Bible

In a special way, we remember Father Jerry Weiss, long-time pastor of St. John & St. Joseph, whose feast day it is today. God bless you, Fr. Jerry!

St. Jerome, pray for us!

It was Saint Jerome who translated the Hebrew scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, the language of the common people.  His was a great gift to the Catholic church, and we celebrate the gift of his life to our Church.

Saint Jerome, pray for us!

Wednesday, October 1st: Feast of Therese of Lisieux & Message from Fr. Seth

After next Tuesday, October 6th, the only Masses to be videoed are the Wednesday school Mass & Sunday at 10:30. This will also be in the Sunday bulletin! Thank you!

Reminders: There is plenty of space for people to attend Wednesday school Masses on the side aisles. You can still socially distance & are more than welcome to attend.

Feast of Therese of Lisieux

On the Feast of the Archangels
Father Seth Gogolin’s Homily

This is one of my favorite feasts days because it really shows how God works, not only with the angels, but, in turn, with us.  You can hear this in our first reading today in the book of Revelations. You notice that at the end of the Bible, some things that precede even the creation of man.

We hear what happened when Lucifer and the other angels decided to rebel against God.  And notice that the angel who is spoke of who is defending God is Michael the Archangel.  And we pray the prayer to Saint Michael, and we see images of Michael who was a pretty strong angel.

And, yet, if you take a look at the choirs of angels, archangels are the second lowest of the angels.  We don’t know, perhaps, with certainty,–we don’t have any Biblical reference—which choir Lucifer belonged to, but we have evidence from the church fathers that he probably was one of the top two—either the Cherubim or Seraphim.  We think the Seraphim, not only because of his name, Lucifer, “Light,” which is closest to God, but also because of the fact that he did not want to see God become man.

And so we have this battle then raging between Lucifer and his angels and the workers of God led by St. Michael the Archangel and Lucifer and the Seraphim defeated by the Archangels.

And we see it wasn’t St. Michael’s power as an archangel defeating the great Seraphim, but it was God’s power working in him.

I think sometimes for us we take a look at ourselves and think we have so little to offer in the mission of the Church.  We think, “I don’t have much, I’m lowly, I think there are other people who’d be better suited to do the work of God.”  But we look today at St. Michael.  Yes he was an Archangel, but lowly in the choir of angels, but look what God did through him?  He cast out Satan and all of his fallen angels with him. 

And he does the same with us.  He does such great things with us, even if we think we’re of such lowly stature, even if we think we don’t have much to offer, even if we think there’s someone more highly qualified to do something for the Lord.

The Lord has chosen us for a specific purpose.  Let us open our hearts to the Lord’s Grace that we may do His work in and through us.

Seraphim, which means “the burning ones”: Lucifer was a seraphim, but we will save that for another apologetics column.

Cherubim, which means “fullness of wisdom”: This is where we get the word “cherub,” but, as I said, they are not fat babies; they are among the highest of angels.

Thrones: They contemplate God’s power and judgments.

Dominions: They are the commanders of the angels below them.

Virtues: These run the heavenly bodies of the universe.

Powers: They fight the evil influences that oppose God’s providence.

The final three levels of angels are the ones who deal directly with human affairs:

Principalities: These care for earthly principalities like countries. Did you know that the United States has its own angel?

Archangels: These are the ones that are actually named in the Bible: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. These are the ones who carry God’s most important messages, like the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary.

Finally, the lowest level of angels are our guardian angels.

Sept. 29th: Feast of the Archangles


St. Michael: Defender in Battle

St. Gabriel: God’s Messenger at Pivotal Moments in Salvation History

St. Raphael: Bearer of God’s Healing

The Truth About Angels, God’s Messengers
The Northern Cross

Very often, saints and angels are thought of being very similar, but in fact they are very different — two totally different species on God’s list of creation. The Catholic Church honors the three biblically named archangels on September 29. It will honor our guardian angels next month on October 2.

The whole concept of what angels are has taken a beating over the past few years. Angels are not fat babies with wings. They are not gold lapel pins. In fact, the word “angel” is not even what they are; it is what they do!

The word “angel” means “giving a message, a messenger.” And, in the angels’ case, they are messengers from God. What they do is bring messages; what they are, are spirits. They are spirits who are fearsome and formidable; they are warriors. Nearly every time angels appear in the Bible, they first say, “Do not be afraid.”

The lowest of angels has a more brilliant mind than 100 Einsteins put together. They have power far beyond the most fantastic fictional character. Superman would not have a chance. (And to think that we each have our own personal guardian angel, but more about that later.)

Angels are all of this, but in reality they are nothing — they have no parts, no physical energy; there is nothing about them that is physical or tangible. They do not belong to the universe; they are guests.

When angels appear in the Bible, the appearances are not the angels themselves, but disguises they take on. Contrary to greeting cards and garden statues, angels do not have wings or harps; these are all images created by human artists.

If we believe in Jesus, then we have to believe in angels because he mentions them several times. If they don’t really exist, then Jesus was not telling the truth, and if Jesus was not telling the truth, then he is not divine, he is not God.

In fact, all three monotheistic religions have a firm belief in angels. Angels are repeatedly mentioned in the Jewish and Christian Bible, as well as in the Muslim Koran.

According to Sacred Tradition, there are nine choirs of angels. This is not a dogma of the faith, but it is scripturally based and steeped in Sacred Tradition. Without going into much detail, here they are in order from highest to lowest:

Seraphim, which means “the burning ones”: Lucifer was a seraphim, but we will save that for another apologetics column.

Cherubim, which means “fullness of wisdom”: This is where we get the word “cherub,” but, as I said, they are not fat babies; they are among the highest of angels.

Thrones: They contemplate God’s power and judgments.

Dominions: They are the commanders of the angels below them.

Virtues: These run the heavenly bodies of the universe.

Powers: They fight the evil influences that oppose God’s providence.

The final three levels of angels are the ones who deal directly with human affairs:

Principalities: These care for earthly principalities like countries. Did you know that the United States has its own angel?

Archangels: These are the ones that are actually named in the Bible: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. These are the ones who carry God’s most important messages, like the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary.

Finally, the lowest level of angels are our guardian angels. As I stated above, this hierarchy of angels is not dogma, but it has been the belief of the church from very early times, at least to St. Gregory the Great, who was pope in the sixth century. But the person most responsible for fleshing out the details of the angels was St. Thomas Aquinas.

The angels most important to us personally are the guardian angels. Jesus himself refers to our guardian angels (Matthew 18:10). Our guardian angel is first and foremost concerned with our spiritual well-being, not our physical well-being. If someone survives a terrible car accident without a scratch, very likely a guardian angel had something to do with it, but only for the purpose of eternal salvation in mind. Our angel is always with us, never leaving our presence. If we keep this always in mind, it might help us live a more virtuous life.

Even though angels are always with us, it is at the Mass where they are most present. We have statues of angels in our churches to point to the reality that where God is, so, too, are the angels; when the Eucharist is present, so, too, are the angels. Our churches are packed with them.

St. Alphonsus de Liguori once wrote that when we receive Communion, twelve angels surround us, worshiping the Eucharist we have just consumed. A little food for thought the next time the devil tempts us to leave Mass early.

With Thanks to Our Wonderful Choir

Ana Beier gifted me this morning with this beautiful Totus Tuus music which was sung at Sunday Mass. Pope St. John Paul II, pray for us!

Totus Tuus sum, Maria, Mater nostri Redemptoris, Virgo Dei, Virgo pia, Mater mundi Salvatoris. Totus Tuus sum, Maria!

Mary, I am completely yours, Mary, Mother of our Redeemer. Virgin Mother of God, blessed virgin, Mother of the world’s Savior. I am completely yours, Mary!

St John Paul II’s apostolic motto Totus Tuus, by which he gave everything to Jesus through Mary, was from St Louis-Marie:

“Tuus totus ego sum, et omnia mea tua sunt”
– I am all yours, and all that I have is yours, O most loving Jesus, through Mary, your most holy Mother
” (Treatise on True Devotion, n233).