An Update from Justin Kostecka, Youth Minister

Justin Kostecka

 

 

St. John’s 6th-12th grade Religious Ed is off to a great start! We have about 50 youth in the program. We are so thankful for all the help from parents and teachers this year.
We are also enjoying having Father Drew at classes and are excited to have his priestly guidance.
Keep us all in your prayers as we continue to learn about our faith this year!

 

Religious Ed at St. John’s

Religious Ed at St. John’s

Faith Formation from the DRE of St. John’s: Morgan McCleary

Morgan McCleary

 
 Our classes began on Oct 3rd this year at St John’s! Our program serves 20 students on regular class nights and 30 on sacramental prep nights. We have 15 2nd grade students preparing for their First Reconciliation coming up in December! 
 
 We have been learning about how much God loves us through the sacraments, the Bible, prayer, and what an awesome example of virtue He has given us through the lives of the Saints! Soon we will be talking about Advent and preparing for the arrival of baby Jesus at Christmas.
   
We are also still in need of a teacher or two to serve the kids on Wednesday evenings. 
 
 Please keep our program, the teachers, and the students in your prayers!

 

2017 First Communiton

2017 First Communion

 

Faith Formation Calendar (K-5)

All classes are held 6 pm-7:15 pm

Please drop off & pick up in St John’s Parish Basement

2018

Oct 3rd (Classes Begin)

Oct 10th

Oct 17th (No Class- MEA)

Oct 24th

Oct 31st (All Hallow’s Eve)

 

Nov 7th

Nov 14th

Nov 21st (No Class- Thanksgiving)

Nov 28th

 

Dec 5th

Dec 12th

Dec 19th

Dec 26th (No Class- Christmas Break)

 

2019

 

Jan 2nd

Jan 9th

Jan 16th

Jan 23rd

Jan 30th

 

Feb 6th

Feb13th

Feb 20th (No Class- Winter Break)

Feb 27th

 

March 6th (No Class- Ash Wednesday)

March 13th

March 20th

March 27th

 

April 3

April 10th (No Class- Spring Break)

April 17th (No Class- Holy Week)

April 24th

 

May 1st

May 8th (Last Day of Class)

 

 

 

 

 

Faith Formation from the DRE of St. Joseph’s Parish: Pauline Russell

Circle of Grace Logo

Hello!

 

We are off to a great start with Sunday Youth Faith Formation!  Thank you very much for being a part of the amazing community at St. Joseph’s.  Our program is growing and our children are fantastic!

 

There will be no Sunday School this Sunday, Oct. 21st.  There will be a Coffee Sunday on that day.  I’ve attached a calendar so that you can view future classes, and arrange your schedules.  

 

When we return on Sunday, October 28th we will be teaching the Circle of Grace.  This is the teaching of the Catholic Church which explains “we are meant to respect ourselves and everyone else as persons created and loved by God”.  “God gives each of us a Circle of Grace where He is always “present”.  The goal of Circle of Grace: “to educate and empower children and young people to actively participate in a safe environment for themselves and others”. 

 

I have attached a PDF for your reference, so that you may better understand this teaching.  Last night I attended a seminar on Circle of Grace at Holy Family Catholic Church with a few of our teachers.  We agreed that this is an excellent program for guiding our children and providing a safe and protective environment.  Please read the attachment.  It explains a great deal.  And please don’t hesitate to call me with any questions. 

 

Enjoy a beautiful weekend!  God Bless!

 

Sincerely, 

Pauline Russell
Religious Ed Director – St Joseph’s Gnesen

218-409-5719

 

Here is a link to all information about Circle of Grace & our calendar for the year

St Joseph’s Sunday School Schedule

October 7, 2018

9:45 – 11:00 a.m. / Meet & Greet, Parents Welcome

October 14, 2018

ert

9:45 – 11:00 a.m./ Regular Classes

October 21, 2018

 

No Sunday School Classes / Coffee Sunday

October 28, 2018

9:45 – 11:00 a.m./ Circle of Grace Lessons

 

November 4, 2018

9:45 – 11:00 a.m./ Regular Classes

 

November 11, 2018

9:45 – 11:00 a.m./Regular Classes

 

November 18, 2018

9:45 – 11:15 a.m./Regular Classes & Christmas Rehearsal

 

November 25, 2018

No Sunday School Classes/ Coffee Sunday

 

December 2, 2018

9:45 – 11:15 a.m./ Regular Classes & Christmas Rehearsal

 

December 9, 2018

9:45 – 11:15 a.m./ Regular Classes & Christmas Rehearsal

 

December 16, 2018

10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Sunday School Christmas Program Party to follow in church basement

 

December 23, 2018

9:45 – 11:00 a.m. / Regular Classes

 

SSES

December 30, 2018

No Sunday School/ Coffee Sunday

 

January 6, 2019

9:45 – 11:00 a.m. / Regular Classes

 

January 13, 2019

9:45 – 11:00 a.m./ Regular Classes

 

January 20, 2019

No Sunday School/ Coffee Sunday

 

January 27, 2019

9:45 – 11:00 a.m. / Regular Classes

 

February 3, 2019

9:45 – 11:00 a.m./ Regular Classes

TBD 9:45 –11:00a.m./ Regular Classes – First Reconcikelon) TBD TBD 9:45 – 11:00 a.m./ Regular Classes
( First Reconciliation)

 

February 10, 2019

 

February 17, 2019

No Sunday School/Coffee Sunday

 

February 24, 2019

9:45 – 11:00 a.m./ Regular Classes

 

March 3, 2019

9:45 – 11:00 a.m. / Regular Classes

 

March 10, 2019

9:45 – 11:00 a.m./ Regular Classes

 

March 17, 2019

No Sunday School/ Coffee Sunday

 

March 24, 2019

9:45 – 11:00 a.m. / Regular Classes

 

March 31, 2019

9:45 – 11:00 a.m./ Regular Classes

 

April 7, 2019

9:45 – 11:00 a.m./ Regular Classes

 

April 14, 2019

9:45 – 11:00 a.m./ Regular Classes

 

April 21, 2019

No Classes – EASTER SUNDAY!

 

April 28, 2019

9:45 – 11:00 a.m. LAST SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS

 

May 5, 2019

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION!!

 

Stella Maris Academy, St. John’s Campus Newsletter for Nov. 16, 2018

Stella Maris Academy Logo

 

Dear Parents and Students,

This newsletter includes elective information for November and December.  A hard copy was given to each student today and a link is included in this newsletter as back up!  Also included as a must read:

  • Circle of Grace Parent Resources
  • Winter Sports Sign Up
  • Winter Closure Update Information
  • Highlight – Fr Rich goes undefeated in his first Foosball challenge

Mr. Murray

 

Here is a link to the November 16th newsletter from Stella Maris/St. John’s campus:

 

St. John the Evangelist Campus Newsletter 11.16.2018

St. John the Evangelist Campus Newsletter 11.02.2018

St. John the Evangelist Campus Newsletter 10.18.2018

St. John the Evangelist Campus News 10.05.18

Wolf Ridge 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesse Murray, Principal, St. John’s Campus

 

Mission Statement

Commissioned by the Catholic Church, the Stella Maris Academy community prepares lifelong learners who lead, love, and serve as Jesus taught—transforming our world one student at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights From The First Weeks of School

The students are into their daily class routines. Special events during the first few weeks have highlighted our mission in action. Check them out. Great things are happening at Stella Maris Academy.

Student Service

We have received multiple compliments and thank you’s for our students’ involvement in volunteering at the Built on a Rock Concert, Donut Sunday, and the Cathedral’s fall parish picnic. Most recently, students relocated the 300+ reams of paper, Kleenex and Clorox wipes, and tons of wood chips (of which multiple hours came from students coming after school to make this happen). Students work toward achieving fifteen hours of service during a year, five hours of service for their church, their school, and their community!

 

Wood Chip Project

Wood Chip Project

Wood Chip Project

 

 

 

Sentinels Cross Country Running

The first race of the year was held at Hermantown Middle School. Sixteen of our forty two racers were ready to compete in the 7th and 8th grade divisions last week. Ava Revoir (7th Grade), John Meyer (6th Grade), and Owen Hayden (7th Grade) raced in the top 25 of the their age group. Upcoming races include the LCA Invite on October 2, the Swain Invite (7th/8th Grade) and Harvest Run (5th/6th Grade) on October 6.

 

 

Formation Retreat

With the theme “strength in numbers”, the upper middle schoolstudents of Stella Maris Academy focused on the role of friendship in their faith and life. The day in- volved talks, games, small groups and time for pray- er. This was a great way to kick off the new year with Christ at the center of all relationships! This retreat was lead by the National Evangelization Team.

 

 

Formation Retreat

Formation Retreat

 

Formation Retreat

 

Other News

Stay Connected—as we venture through the first trimester, you may want more information about Work-thon, Chromebooks use, volunteer opportunities, daily routines, Rediker access/functionality, and elective options. Once a Trimester, Mr. Murray will be hosting a morning and evening open session to share highlights, discuss upcoming events, and answer questions to make sure new and current families are connected. Although very beneficial for new families, all parents are welcome to attend. The first trimester event will be October 10th following our 8:30am morning Mass and then again at 5:30pm that evening. An agenda will be emailed the week before the event.

Homework and weekly student progress — Students progress is updated every Thursday night by your child’s teacher. Friday is a great time to check in on weekly progress, student participation, and responsibility. Three im- portant windows you can monitor are the calendar (for daily homework), progress (current grade for each class), and recent scores (chronological log of student work). Click here for a generic image. Log into your Rediker account to view your child’s progress.

After School Study Sessions—On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday each week, a classroom has been dedicated to a quiet and focused study room. This room will be supervised by a teacher and is available for students to complete their homework, make up tests and quizzes. An activities bus will depart at 4:00pm to take students to Ordean to pick up their homebound route . There is no charge for the study session. Students must have homework, class- work or independent work to attend these sessions. Call the office or send a note with your child to attend one or more of the study sessions.

Work-A-Thon —The first fundraiser of the year starts today! Student packets (letter, pledge sheet, and sponsor let- ter) were sent home yesterday with all the information about the Work-A-Thon. The students will be participating in service projects in our community on Friday, October 12th. NEW this year: we have an online option for donations called Give Now. Copy this link and email to friends and families. This is a great way to have friends and families from outside of Duluth to support the students and this great service project. It is easy to give. You can also direct them to the SMA website and scroll down to “Give Now”. Please have donors add the student’s name for whom they would like the donation credited.

Family Association News—The Family Association meets monthly on campus. The next two meetings will be Oc- tober 11th and November 8th. Meetings are from 9:00am-10:00am. The Family Association is currently working on the upcoming dance dates and theme, donut Sunday events at our parishes, lunchroom support and upcoming teacher appreciation events. Be on the look out for details on these events. If you signed up at Parent Night using the helping hands sheets, you will be contacted directly by the coordinator of these events.

You are invited! – Stella Maris Academy all campus Mass will be held on Tuesday, October 2 at 10:00 am. Join us for Mass at 10:00am and stay for coffee and rolls following Mass to welcome new families to the Stella Maris Acad- emy community. This special Mass will be held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary with Bishop Sirba pre- siding. Please join us in this awesome celebration.

School Pictures—Picture day is scheduled for Monday, October 8, 2018. Information from Lifetouch will be going home next week with your child. All students will have their pictures taken, but only those with orders will receive pictures. You must turn in the envelope with payment to order pictures. All students will be dressed in uniform for fall pictures.

St. John the Evangelist Campus Newsletter

St. John the Evangelist Campus Newsletter

Uniform Message—Just a reminder that pants and shorts with outside sewn pockets are not part of our uniform. The teachers have seen students in black jean-like pants. The policy states, “black or grey chino or dress pants in full -length style with internal seams and internal pockets.” View the uniform policy here.

Land’s End Uniform Sale—Friends and Family Sale—40% off regular priced items. Enter the promotional code LESUFRIEND and PIN 1470 at checkout to receive the discount.

Bishop’s Scholarship Dinner Volunteers The Bishop’s Scholarship Dinner is scheduled for Sunday, October 7, and the group responsible for planning the event has requested a few volunteers to help out during and after the event. Greeters, coat checkers, and thank you note writers are needed. The event is on a weekend, and the note writing can take place outside of the school day. This is a good opportunity for a flexible and evening/weekend volunteer opportunity. If you’d like to support this event, please follow the link Scholarship Dinner Sign Up. If you are interested in attending the event, contact Terese Kenny ([email protected]).

13th Annual Diocesan Assembly Have trouble discussing complex moral topics with your kids and others? Want to better understand God’s plan for love? Want to know why Humanae Vitae is important (and how to pronounce it)? Join the club!

Your opportunity to pray, learn, and worship with your Church family is on Saturday, October 13th at the Annual Di- ocesan Assembly. Join Bishop Paul Sirba at Marshall School in Duluth as international speaker Colin MacIver, LIVE from Ascension Press, presents “Made in His Image… Made to Love.” If you’ve heard of Theology of the Body (TOB) for Teens, Colin is an author and presenter in the videos. You can see his biography from the link on the Assembly website at www.dioceseduluth.org/Assembly2018.

Newly added: Mothers’ Room with live-streaming video of the auditorium in case babies need extra attention. Also added is a Rosary for reparation for our Church led by Bishop Sirba and others at the end of the lunch hour.

Upcoming Events

The Work-a-thon: Look for kids asking for support for the Academy.  Our service day will be October 12th 8:30-11:00 am

Thursday, 9/27 7th Grade Laurentian Information Meeting

Tuesday, 10/2 SMA Mass at 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday 10/2– Friday 10/5 7th Grade Laurentian Field Trip

Thursday 10/4– Friday 10/5 8th Grade Earth Science Field Trip

Sunday, 10/7 Bishop’s Scholarship Dinner

Monday, 10/8 School Pictures

Wednesday 10/10 Parent Orientation with the Principal

Thursday 10/11 Family Association Meeting

Friday, 10/12 Work-A-Thon

Saturday, 10/13 Diocesan Assembly Day

Thursday & Friday 10/18 & 10/19 No School

 

Here is a link to the Stella Maris Newsletter from Holy Rosary Campus

 

Peggy Frederickson, Principal, Stella Maris Holy Rosary Campus

5-20-16_Weekly_News

 

Stella Maris Academy, Holy Rosary Campus Newsletter for November 2, 2018

First graders had the opportunity to learn all about different saints during the fourth graders’ Saint Report Presentations last Friday. The students worked hard on their posters and they turned out fabulous.

 

Sharing Saint Reports

Sharing Saint Reports

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing Saint Reports

 

 

     

 

      

 

 

Please enjoy the Stella Maris newsletter from our Holy Rosary Campus!  Follow the link below.

Holy Rosary Campus News 11.2.2018

Holy Rosary Campus News 10.17.18

Holy Rosary Campus News 10.5.18 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

                   

 

 

October 14, 2018: Celebrating One of History’s Most Refined, and Recognizably Human, Popes

Pope St. Paul VI

 

St. John’s celebrates the canonizations of Pope St. Paul VI & St. Oscar Romero, martyr on Sunday, October 14, at 10:00 am, Rome time (beginning at 3:00 am, CST).  Please refer to EWTN for up to the minute coverage of this event!

ROME – According to the Catholic theology of sainthood, canonization amounts to a judgment that a particular individual is already in heaven enjoying the beatific vision, meaning the unmediated presence of God – to quote St. Paul in 1 Corinthians, no longer seeing the splendor of God “indistinctly, as in a mirror, but face to face.”

As such, canonization means very little for the person getting the halo. A formal papal declaration does not “make” anyone a saint; it always comes ex post facto. By the time it rolls around, the saints are well beyond such earthly considerations.

Instead, canonization is for the rest of us. It’s a way of holding a particular figure up as an exemplar, someone whose example is worthy of being followed and whose intercession can be of help along the way.

A canonization, in other words, is a “teaching moment.”

It’s always instructive to ask, therefore, what exactly is being taught with any given canonization. It’s an especially apt question when the new saint is a pope, since it may be hard for ordinary folk to imagine there’s much they could emulate in someone whose life was, almost by definition, highly extraordinary.

Yet Pope Paul VI, the pontiff who famously described the Catholic Church as an “expert in humanity” in a 1965 address to the United Nations, was one of the most recognizably human figures ever to sit on the Throne of Peter – a pastor who both rejoiced and grieved in public, a man who felt deeply and thought widely, and a leader who sometimes struggled but, in the end, always found his inner compass.

Summing it all up, there are at least three lessons from Pope Paul’s life that would seem to be of broad application in the countdown to his canonization along with Archbishop Oscar Romero and five other new saints on Sunday.

1. Passion for humanity

Although the story is apocryphal, it used to be said of Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) that when he would use the telephone to contact one of his subordinates in the Vatican, the other person would drop to his or her knees to receive the call. The mere fact that myth caught on in many circles illustrates how popes used to be seen – almost as particles of divinity, somehow lifted out of the human condition.

All that began to change with St. Pope John XXIII (1958-1963), “Good Pope John,” who came across as an unpretentious peasant’s son from Bergamo who wanted to be the whole world’s beloved uncle.

In many ways, Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, the man who would become Paul VI, was an unlikely choice to continue this humanizing trend. He was born in 1897 into rarified circles, with a father who was a journalist and a member of the Italian parliament and a mother who came from rural nobility. He studied in Milan and Rome, entering the Vatican’s powerful Secretariat of State at the age of 25.

From there, Montini became the quintessential court mandarin, never once holding an appointment as a parish priest in his entire life. He founded a publishing house, became a patron of Italian intellectuals and university students, and a friend and admirer of renowned thinkers such as the French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain.

He was the sostituto, or “substitute” under Pius XII, wielding power from the very pinnacle of the ecclesiastical system, yet Montini was also a thinker of the first order. When he was elected pope in 1963, the story goes that Montini had some 250 boxes of books shipped to Rome from Milan, where he had been the cardinal-archbishop.

The “common man,” in other words, Montini really wasn’t.

Yet Montini was also a deeply gracious soul, famed as a conversation partner with the widest possible range of people precisely because of his keen interest in the concrete individual in front of him, no matter what station in life or worldview they embodied. Monsignor Guido Mazzotta, a consultor to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints who worked on Paul VI’s case, said the most beautiful testimony they collected during the process came from people who had Montini as their spiritual director.

Because of his deep culture, Paul VI had a genius for being able to relate to what the outside world was feeling in a given moment. Consider, for instance, his famous July 1969 message for the Apollo moon landing: “Honor, greetings and blessings to you, conquerors of the moon, pale lamp of our nights and our dreams.”

(The line is also a reminder that Paul VI was just a flat-out terrific writer, the true son of a journalist father.)

Despite his restrained veneer, Paul VI also gave the world occasional glimpses of his own heart. That was never more dramatically true than towards the end, when, in effect, he became the first pope to all but rebuke God in public.

On May 9, 1978, Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro was executed by a left-wing Italian terrorist movement called the “Red Brigades.” Moro was a close friend of Pope Paul VI, who had made great efforts to save him, and he was devastated by the loss.

Three days later, the pope addressed himself directly to God in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, saying: “You did not grant our plea for the safety of Aldo Moro, of this good and gentle man, wise and innocent … who was my friend.” The question he left hanging, unstated but clear to everyone present, was, “Why didn’t you help?”

If that isn’t a recognizably human question, it’s hard to know what is. Paul VI showed the world not only that even popes wrestle with such existential doubts, but also that holiness and heartbreak sometimes go hand in hand.

2. Balance

As Mazzotta put it recently, “Probably if there had been no Montini, the council wouldn’t have happened,” referring to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), over which Paul VI presided and whose conclusions it fell to him to implement.

Beyond anything else, it was Vatican II which marked the real drama of Paul’s papacy, and which today represents the cornerstone of his legacy.

It may have been his predecessor John XXIII who once said “I have to be pope both of those with their foot on the brake and those with their foot on the gas,” but Paul VI was the one who really lived the motto amid the tensions unleashed during the council and which threatened to split everything to pieces afterwards.

All that, of course, played out against the backdrop of the upheaval of 1968 and everything that followed, from race riots and student protests to the ugliness of the Vietnam War and the disillusionment of Watergate, a time when, to quote Yeats, it seemed “things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”

In that context, the fact that Paul VI managed to hold the Church together now seems, all by itself, something of a miracle. Perhaps more than anything else, he pulled it off due to his keen sense of balance.

Facing a seeming intractable stalemate between progressives and conservatives, between aggiornamento and ressourcement (“updating” and a “return to the sources”), Paul VI always tried to do justice to the wisdom in both instincts.

The most celebrated example of that approach came in November 1964, when he issued his Nota Praevia, or “preliminary note,” prior to the vote in the Vatican over its dogmatic constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium. In effect, the note reasserted the core principles of papal primacy, thereby balancing the document’s emphasis on collegiality. To put it all in crass political terms, publishing the note addressed the concerns of the conservatives; allowing the vote on the document to go forward satisfied the liberals.

Mazzotta described the note as Paul’s way of “ensuring the unanimity of the council’s vote” and a reflection of his “passion for unity.”

One measure of Paul’s success is that Vatican II was the lone ecumenical council in the history of the Church which wasn’t immediately followed by a schism. (Whatever one makes of whether the traditionalist Lefebvrist movement is or isn’t “schismatic,” the formal breach didn’t come until 1988 under St. Pope John Paul II.)

As another expression of that belief in balance, Paul VI was a man of dialogue to the very core. The classic expression came in the 1964 encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, in which he described patient, respectful dialogue not merely as a hallmark of good governance but an expression of God’s very nature.

“No physical pressure was brought on anyone to accept the dialogue of salvation,” Paul wrote. “Far from it, it was a tremendous appeal of love.”

Though the point may seem obvious, it may be worth spelling out anyway: In a polarized and angry culture, Paul VI’s gift for balance, as well as patience, may be more relevant than ever.

3. Courage

Paul VI was often described as a “Hamlet pope,” wracked by doubt and indecision, anguishing over every choice, with critics suggesting that he sometimes lost his nerve when walking up to the brink of making a significant decision.

Before his death in 2006, Archbishop Pasquale Macchi, who had been Pope Paul’s personal secretary, told me he rejected that image of his mentor as fundamentally false. Paul VI was perfectly capable of being resolute, Macchi insisted – and the fact that he didn’t disappoint people or cause them pain casually, he insisted, hardly should count against him.

In fact, one could make the argument that no pope of the modern era showed greater courage over the years than Paul VI, given the nature of the choices he faced and the deep uncertainty of their consequences.

That courage, for instance, was manifest in the way Paul VI consistently backed the liturgical reforms called for by Vatican II, despite the depth of opposition they aroused. On all the points that mattered, he never wavered from the council’s basic vision, and the renewed worship in the vernacular languages that three generations of Catholics now take for granted is the result.

Most famously, that courage was the basis for Humanae Vitae, Paul’s 1968 encyclical letter reaffirming the traditional Catholic opposition to artificial birth control.

Contraception was hardly the only concern of Humanae Vitae, which admirers describe as a compelling and original treatment of both the unitive and procreative aspects of marriage. Still given the cultural currents of the late 1960s and the sexual revolution, it hardly seems fair to describe a pope willing to buck all of that as timid or lacking fortitude.

Paul VI also had the courage to break the mold in a staggering variety of ways, despite being a consummate man of Catholic tradition. He became the first pope to travel overseas, the first pope to meet an Orthodox patriarch and begin the process of ecumenical healing, the first pope to renounce the papal tiara, and on and on.

It likewise required courage in 1967 to release Populorum Progressio, his social encyclical on development, which he knew full well would be criticized in some circles as a way of sprinkling holy water over socialist, liberationist and anti-colonial movements across the Third World. Yet Paul was unwavering, even plaintive: ““The hungry nations of the world cry out to the peoples blessed with abundance …[they] ask each and every person to hear his brother’s plea and answer it lovingly.”

It also required a bold leader to stick to his policy of Ostpolitik, despite ferocious opposition from those who saw it as a form of appeasement and capitulation in the face of the Soviet Empire.

Most fundamentally, Paul VI had the courage to see Vatican II through to its completion, even though many observers thought the council might die with John XXIII, the pope who had summoned it, and the fact that Montini himself once told a trusted friend that his predecessor had “no idea what a hornet’s nest he’s stirring up.”

None of these were the actions of a weak-kneed, do-nothing pontiff. Far from being Hamlet, in other words, Paul VI actually could be seen as a profile in courage, and a reminder that doubt and weakness are not always the same thing.

A legacy of decency

In the finale of Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series “Newsroom”, the beloved veteran director of the news division has died and his protégé, the anchor of the main nightly news show, delivers a tribute. Perhaps the most moving line comes when he says of his mentor, “His religion was decency, and he spent a lifetime fighting its enemies.”

Pope Paul VI’s religion, of course, was not decency. He was an ardent Roman Catholic, profoundly convinced that Jesus Christ is the key that unlocks the mystery of the human heart. He believed, in tandem with his good friend Maritain, that “it is impossible for a Christian to be a relativist.”

Yet at the same time, Giovanni Battista Montini was a model of decency to all. He had an abiding respect for people with convictions that differed from his own, whether he found them inside or outside the Catholic Church. He was curious, attentive, and unfailingly gracious, whether addressing the Red Brigades or traditionalist opposition in his own fold. He was a “gentleman” in the fullest, most etymological sense of the term.

To be honest, that didn’t always serve him well. Paul VI reminds one of Pope Benedict XVI a bit in that regard, a leader who just never seemed to catch a break in PR terms. Ironically, he was often mocked for possessing qualities in abundance people typically say they admire – patience, forbearance, an unwillingness to close doors or end conversations until the very last possibility had been exhausted, and a deep confidence that some piece of the truth can be found virtually anywhere if one has but eyes to see.

The world of his day didn’t always want to see. So bad were things by 1967, even before Humanae Vitae appeared, that when the Beatles released “Fool on the Hill,” some rock critics actually thought it was a reference to the pope:

His head in a cloud
The man with a foolish grin is talking perfectly loud
But nobody wants to hear him
They can see that he’s just a fool

Had those same critics been able to anticipate how Paul VI would seem in retrospect, however, it might have been another couplet from the ballad that caught their attention:

And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

Paul VI not only saw the world spinning around, but spinning out of control, fueled by the trajectories of ideological warfare and personal animosity as a spectator sport which have come to full flower in our day, in the era of Donald Trump in America, Matteo Salvini in Italy, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, and on and on.

Paul VI leaves behind a vast legacy for the Church he led, beginning with the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the vast transformation in Catholic life that flowed, and continues to flow, from it. This month is a reminder of that heritage in Rome, as bishops from all around the world are participating in an event called a “synod,” designed to give them a voice in governance of the universal Church, founded by Pope Paul in 1965.

For the wider world, however, if Paul VI offers nothing else, perhaps it’s the example of a decent man who refused to lose himself in an increasingly indecent age. By now, that alone might be enough for many even outside the Church to join Pope Francis on Sunday in hailing him as a saint.

ROME – According to the Catholic theology of sainthood, canonization amounts to a judgment that a particular individual is already in heaven enjoying the beatific vision, meaning the unmediated presence of God – to quote St. Paul in 1 Corinthians, no longer seeing the splendor of God “indistinctly, as in a mirror, but face to face.”

As such, canonization means very little for the person getting the halo. A formal papal declaration does not “make” anyone a saint; it always comes ex post facto. By the time it rolls around, the saints are well beyond such earthly considerations.

Instead, canonization is for the rest of us. It’s a way of holding a particular figure up as an exemplar, someone whose example is worthy of being followed and whose intercession can be of help along the way.

A canonization, in other words, is a “teaching moment.”

It’s always instructive to ask, therefore, what exactly is being taught with any given canonization. It’s an especially apt question when the new saint is a pope, since it may be hard for ordinary folk to imagine there’s much they could emulate in someone whose life was, almost by definition, highly extraordinary.

Yet Pope Paul VI, the pontiff who famously described the Catholic Church as an “expert in humanity” in a 1965 address to the United Nations, was one of the most recognizably human figures ever to sit on the Throne of Peter – a pastor who both rejoiced and grieved in public, a man who felt deeply and thought widely, and a leader who sometimes struggled but, in the end, always found his inner compass.

Summing it all up, there are at least three lessons from Pope Paul’s life that would seem to be of broad application in the countdown to his canonization along with Archbishop Oscar Romero and five other new saints on Sunday.

1. Passion for humanity

Although the story is apocryphal, it used to be said of Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) that when he would use the telephone to contact one of his subordinates in the Vatican, the other person would drop to his or her knees to receive the call. The mere fact that myth caught on in many circles illustrates how popes used to be seen – almost as particles of divinity, somehow lifted out of the human condition.

All that began to change with St. Pope John XXIII (1958-1963), “Good Pope John,” who came across as an unpretentious peasant’s son from Bergamo who wanted to be the whole world’s beloved uncle.

In many ways, Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, the man who would become Paul VI, was an unlikely choice to continue this humanizing trend. He was born in 1897 into rarified circles, with a father who was a journalist and a member of the Italian parliament and a mother who came from rural nobility. He studied in Milan and Rome, entering the Vatican’s powerful Secretariat of State at the age of 25.

From there, Montini became the quintessential court mandarin, never once holding an appointment as a parish priest in his entire life. He founded a publishing house, became a patron of Italian intellectuals and university students, and a friend and admirer of renowned thinkers such as the French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain.

He was the sostituto, or “substitute” under Pius XII, wielding power from the very pinnacle of the ecclesiastical system, yet Montini was also a thinker of the first order. When he was elected pope in 1963, the story goes that Montini had some 250 boxes of books shipped to Rome from Milan, where he had been the cardinal-archbishop.

The “common man,” in other words, Montini really wasn’t.

Yet Montini was also a deeply gracious soul, famed as a conversation partner with the widest possible range of people precisely because of his keen interest in the concrete individual in front of him, no matter what station in life or worldview they embodied. Monsignor Guido Mazzotta, a consultor to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints who worked on Paul VI’s case, said the most beautiful testimony they collected during the process came from people who had Montini as their spiritual director.

Because of his deep culture, Paul VI had a genius for being able to relate to what the outside world was feeling in a given moment. Consider, for instance, his famous July 1969 message for the Apollo moon landing: “Honor, greetings and blessings to you, conquerors of the moon, pale lamp of our nights and our dreams.”

(The line is also a reminder that Paul VI was just a flat-out terrific writer, the true son of a journalist father.)

Despite his restrained veneer, Paul VI also gave the world occasional glimpses of his own heart. That was never more dramatically true than towards the end, when, in effect, he became the first pope to all but rebuke God in public.

On May 9, 1978, Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro was executed by a left-wing Italian terrorist movement called the “Red Brigades.” Moro was a close friend of Pope Paul VI, who had made great efforts to save him, and he was devastated by the loss.

Three days later, the pope addressed himself directly to God in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, saying: “You did not grant our plea for the safety of Aldo Moro, of this good and gentle man, wise and innocent … who was my friend.” The question he left hanging, unstated but clear to everyone present, was, “Why didn’t you help?”

If that isn’t a recognizably human question, it’s hard to know what is. Paul VI showed the world not only that even popes wrestle with such existential doubts, but also that holiness and heartbreak sometimes go hand in hand.

2. Balance

As Mazzotta put it recently, “Probably if there had been no Montini, the council wouldn’t have happened,” referring to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), over which Paul VI presided and whose conclusions it fell to him to implement.

Beyond anything else, it was Vatican II which marked the real drama of Paul’s papacy, and which today represents the cornerstone of his legacy.

It may have been his predecessor John XXIII who once said “I have to be pope both of those with their foot on the brake and those with their foot on the gas,” but Paul VI was the one who really lived the motto amid the tensions unleashed during the council and which threatened to split everything to pieces afterwards.

All that, of course, played out against the backdrop of the upheaval of 1968 and everything that followed, from race riots and student protests to the ugliness of the Vietnam War and the disillusionment of Watergate, a time when, to quote Yeats, it seemed “things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”

In that context, the fact that Paul VI managed to hold the Church together now seems, all by itself, something of a miracle. Perhaps more than anything else, he pulled it off due to his keen sense of balance.

Facing a seeming intractable stalemate between progressives and conservatives, between aggiornamento and ressourcement (“updating” and a “return to the sources”), Paul VI always tried to do justice to the wisdom in both instincts.

The most celebrated example of that approach came in November 1964, when he issued his Nota Praevia, or “preliminary note,” prior to the vote in the Vatican over its dogmatic constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium. In effect, the note reasserted the core principles of papal primacy, thereby balancing the document’s emphasis on collegiality. To put it all in crass political terms, publishing the note addressed the concerns of the conservatives; allowing the vote on the document to go forward satisfied the liberals.

Mazzotta described the note as Paul’s way of “ensuring the unanimity of the council’s vote” and a reflection of his “passion for unity.”

One measure of Paul’s success is that Vatican II was the lone ecumenical council in the history of the Church which wasn’t immediately followed by a schism. (Whatever one makes of whether the traditionalist Lefebvrist movement is or isn’t “schismatic,” the formal breach didn’t come until 1988 under St. Pope John Paul II.)

As another expression of that belief in balance, Paul VI was a man of dialogue to the very core. The classic expression came in the 1964 encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, in which he described patient, respectful dialogue not merely as a hallmark of good governance but an expression of God’s very nature.

“No physical pressure was brought on anyone to accept the dialogue of salvation,” Paul wrote. “Far from it, it was a tremendous appeal of love.”

Though the point may seem obvious, it may be worth spelling out anyway: In a polarized and angry culture, Paul VI’s gift for balance, as well as patience, may be more relevant than ever.

3. Courage

Paul VI was often described as a “Hamlet pope,” wracked by doubt and indecision, anguishing over every choice, with critics suggesting that he sometimes lost his nerve when walking up to the brink of making a significant decision.

Before his death in 2006, Archbishop Pasquale Macchi, who had been Pope Paul’s personal secretary, told me he rejected that image of his mentor as fundamentally false. Paul VI was perfectly capable of being resolute, Macchi insisted – and the fact that he didn’t disappoint people or cause them pain casually, he insisted, hardly should count against him.

In fact, one could make the argument that no pope of the modern era showed greater courage over the years than Paul VI, given the nature of the choices he faced and the deep uncertainty of their consequences.

That courage, for instance, was manifest in the way Paul VI consistently backed the liturgical reforms called for by Vatican II, despite the depth of opposition they aroused. On all the points that mattered, he never wavered from the council’s basic vision, and the renewed worship in the vernacular languages that three generations of Catholics now take for granted is the result.

Most famously, that courage was the basis for Humanae Vitae, Paul’s 1968 encyclical letter reaffirming the traditional Catholic opposition to artificial birth control.

Contraception was hardly the only concern of Humanae Vitae, which admirers describe as a compelling and original treatment of both the unitive and procreative aspects of marriage. Still given the cultural currents of the late 1960s and the sexual revolution, it hardly seems fair to describe a pope willing to buck all of that as timid or lacking fortitude.

Paul VI also had the courage to break the mold in a staggering variety of ways, despite being a consummate man of Catholic tradition. He became the first pope to travel overseas, the first pope to meet an Orthodox patriarch and begin the process of ecumenical healing, the first pope to renounce the papal tiara, and on and on.

It likewise required courage in 1967 to release Populorum Progressio, his social encyclical on development, which he knew full well would be criticized in some circles as a way of sprinkling holy water over socialist, liberationist and anti-colonial movements across the Third World. Yet Paul was unwavering, even plaintive: ““The hungry nations of the world cry out to the peoples blessed with abundance …[they] ask each and every person to hear his brother’s plea and answer it lovingly.”

It also required a bold leader to stick to his policy of Ostpolitik, despite ferocious opposition from those who saw it as a form of appeasement and capitulation in the face of the Soviet Empire.

Most fundamentally, Paul VI had the courage to see Vatican II through to its completion, even though many observers thought the council might die with John XXIII, the pope who had summoned it, and the fact that Montini himself once told a trusted friend that his predecessor had “no idea what a hornet’s nest he’s stirring up.”

None of these were the actions of a weak-kneed, do-nothing pontiff. Far from being Hamlet, in other words, Paul VI actually could be seen as a profile in courage, and a reminder that doubt and weakness are not always the same thing.

A legacy of decency

In the finale of Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series “Newsroom”, the beloved veteran director of the news division has died and his protégé, the anchor of the main nightly news show, delivers a tribute. Perhaps the most moving line comes when he says of his mentor, “His religion was decency, and he spent a lifetime fighting its enemies.”

Pope Paul VI’s religion, of course, was not decency. He was an ardent Roman Catholic, profoundly convinced that Jesus Christ is the key that unlocks the mystery of the human heart. He believed, in tandem with his good friend Maritain, that “it is impossible for a Christian to be a relativist.”

Yet at the same time, Giovanni Battista Montini was a model of decency to all. He had an abiding respect for people with convictions that differed from his own, whether he found them inside or outside the Catholic Church. He was curious, attentive, and unfailingly gracious, whether addressing the Red Brigades or traditionalist opposition in his own fold. He was a “gentleman” in the fullest, most etymological sense of the term.

To be honest, that didn’t always serve him well. Paul VI reminds one of Pope Benedict XVI a bit in that regard, a leader who just never seemed to catch a break in PR terms. Ironically, he was often mocked for possessing qualities in abundance people typically say they admire – patience, forbearance, an unwillingness to close doors or end conversations until the very last possibility had been exhausted, and a deep confidence that some piece of the truth can be found virtually anywhere if one has but eyes to see.

The world of his day didn’t always want to see. So bad were things by 1967, even before Humanae Vitae appeared, that when the Beatles released “Fool on the Hill,” some rock critics actually thought it was a reference to the pope:

His head in a cloud
The man with a foolish grin is talking perfectly loud
But nobody wants to hear him
They can see that he’s just a fool

Had those same critics been able to anticipate how Paul VI would seem in retrospect, however, it might have been another couplet from the ballad that caught their attention:

And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

Paul VI not only saw the world spinning around, but spinning out of control, fueled by the trajectories of ideological warfare and personal animosity as a spectator sport which have come to full flower in our day, in the era of Donald Trump in America, Matteo Salvini in Italy, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, and on and on.

Paul VI leaves behind a vast legacy for the Church he led, beginning with the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the vast transformation in Catholic life that flowed, and continues to flow, from it. This month is a reminder of that heritage in Rome, as bishops from all around the world are participating in an event called a “synod,” designed to give them a voice in governance of the universal Church, founded by Pope Paul in 1965.

For the wider world, however, if Paul VI offers nothing else, perhaps it’s the example of a decent man who refused to lose himself in an increasingly indecent age. By now, that alone might be enough for many even outside the Church to join Pope Francis on Sunday in hailing him as a saint.

John Allen, Jr.: Editor, Crux

Blesseds Paul VI and Oscar Romero are two of seven new saints Pope Francis will canonize Oct. 14 at the Vatican. They are pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/Equipo Maiz, courtesy CAFOD, Just One World)

A Message from the Pastor

Father Drew Braun

 

Fr. Drew’s News

 I will be away attending our annual Diocesan Clergy Conference from October 15th-19th. Our location for the conference this year is Grand Rapids, MN. I always enjoy the clergy conference. I enjoy it for a number of reasons.

First, the accommodations are usually pretty nice. It is also one of the few opportunities we get for continuing education. As someone who teaches on a daily basis, it’s nice to have a time where we can just be taught.

But most importantly, I treasure the Clergy Conference because it is an opportunity for all of us priests to be together. I cannot tell you how meaningful that is. The Band of Brothers united. I could never do what I do alone. It is my fellow priests and deacons who help encourage, challenge, and support me. I’m looking forward to this week.

I hope that you will stop and say a little prayer for all of your priests and deacons. Maybe even say one right now. Pray that we will be the Shepherds God wants us to be. And know that I will be praying for you all week.

Please note that we do not have daily Mass Monday thru Friday that week and this will probably be true in most parishes in Duluth. So be sure to check their schedule before heading to Mass.

–Fr. Drew

OKTOBERFEST –

Saturday, October 20th,
5:30pm at St. John’s. All parishioners of St.
John’s and St. Joseph’s are welcomed.
Check the insert for all details.

 

Fr. Drew’s News

 Just a note about some upcoming events: FIRST, I’m excited to announce that we will be having an OKTOBERFEST celebration here at St. John’s on October 20th!!

I mentioned in my first homily that one of my goals would be to host various events or celebrations throughout the year. I firmly believe that such events are so good and so healthy for the life of a parish.

 It helps create greater community among all of us. So I hope that you will join us after Mass on Saturday, October 20th, for some fun and festivity!!

Look for more information to come in the future, but get the date on your calendar and come join us!!

SECOND, we will be having a representative from the Medical Missionaries of Mary at our Masses on the weekend of October 6th & 7th. Sr. Kathie Shea will be present at all the Masses to speak about their mission.

I am grateful for all of the work that the Medical Missionaries of Mary do, and it will be a blessing to have Sr. Kathie here at our parishes.

Thank you in advance for your support of this great mission. (Fr. Drew)

Theology Uncapped with Two Bishops

 

Bishop Thomas Aitken, ELCA

Bishop Paul Sirba

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Bishop’s Role as a Shepherd of Christ’s Flock
Thursday, January 17th, 2019 at 6:30 pm
St. Benedict Catholic Church
1419 St. Benedict Street
Duluth, MN 55811
Theology Uncapped is a Catholic group with a dedicated goal of bringing people closer together through educational discussions centered around faith-based topics.
We hold three events a year that are open to men and women of all faiths.  Each event includes an informative speaker(s) that will discuss a topic of faith from differing points of view. A catered meal is included to help facilitate fellowship and hopefully foster new relationships among those that may have opposing viewpoints.
Seating for each event is limited, so registration is required. We look forward to seeing you at a future event.

Theology Uncapped

A Note from Jenny Boran, Director of Faith Formation at Stella Maris Academy: An Update

We’re back! On September 4th we kicked off our second year as Stella Maris Academy and welcomed 125 students to our St. John’s campus. We’ve had a wonderful first three weeks of school and would love to share a few happenings with you! 
 
The students and Fr. Drew have been working on enhancing our student liturgies on Wednesday mornings. We’ve added music to these liturgies and have a team of students who are preparing to take a greater role in leading these liturgies through serving, lectoring, cantoring and providing musical accompaniment.  
 
We had the NET Ministries team in town to host a special retreat for our 7th & 8th grade students. NET, which stands for the National Evangelization Team, is a ministry that is comprised of young adults who dedicate a year of their life to traveling the country as young Catholic missionaries who are responsible for leading parish and school retreats. The retreat’s theme was “strength in numbers” and focused on the role of friendship in our faith and life. The day involved talks, games, small groups and time for prayer. Throughout the day the leaders of the retreat referenced a powerful verse from Sirach that proclaims, “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter: he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life; and those who fear the Lord will find him,” (6:14-16). This was a great way to help kick off the year and be reminded of the importance of strong friendships during this sometimes very challenging time of life known as middle school. For more information about NET Ministries check out netusa.org!   —Jenny Boran

Update from Theology Uncapped: Correct Address for Sept. 27th Presentation

We were notified today that a bulletin announcement had an incorrect location listed for Thursday’s event.

The location where the event is being held is 

Grace Lutheran Church
5454 Miller Trunk Highway
Hermantown, Minnesota 55811
We apologize for the confusion this may have caused. 
As a reminder, the doors will open at 6:00pm at Grace Lutheran Church.
We look forward to seeing you Thursday
Sincerely,
Theology Uncapped Coordinators

 

 

 Word has come from Deacon John Foucault that another session of Theology Uncapped will be offered by Fr. Rich and Pastor Peter with registration for the Sept. 27th event opening on August 1.  The event is always very well attended, so pre-registration really is necessary in order to reserve your spot.  It’s always a lot of fun. 

 

The Topic for September

Confession

Thursday, September 27th at 6:30 pm

Grace Lutheran Church

5454 Miller Trunk Highway

Hermantown MN 55811

Here is the link to register:  

 

http://www.theologyuncapped.org/

 

Theology Uncapped is a Catholic group with a dedicated goal of bringing people closer together through educational discussions centered on faith-based topics.

We hold three events a year that are open to men and women of all faiths.  Each event includes an informative speaker(s) that will discuss a topic of faith from differing points of view. A catered meal is included to help facilitate fellowship and hopefully foster new relationships among those that may have opposing viewpoints.

Seating for each event is limited, so registration is required and can be completed through this site. We look forward to seeing you at a future event.

 

Deacon John Foucault

 

 

 

Note: Deacon John Foucault was recently interviewed on Real Presence Radio during their annual fund drive regarding Theology Uncapped.  Here’s your opportunity to listen to this information in between plugs to support this Catholic radio station.  The interview begins at the 13: 43 minute mark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theology Uncapped

 

 

A Tribute to Carol Marx, Kindergarten Teacher at St. John’s for 24 Years

Carol Joan Marx

DECEMBER 29, 1930 ~ AUGUST 30, 2018 (AGE 87)

Carol Marx

 

The parishes of St. John and St. Joseph offer our sincere sympathy to the family of Carol Marx, a woman who gave so much to so many of our children during her tenure as kindergarten teacher at St. John’s for 24 years.

 

After her retirement, she continued to make her presence known, volunteering at St. John’s school and the newly formed Stella Maris Academy.  The students loved her.  She could always be counted on to assist in the kindergarten classrooms.  We’d like to thank her family for sharing her with us for all this time.   

May eternal rest be yours, Mrs. Marx, and thank you for all you gave to your parish family.

Carol Joan Marx, 87 of Duluth, died August 30, 2018 at Benedictine Health Center Marywood Assisted Living surrounded by her loving family.  Carol passed away after a short battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.   

Carol was born in High Bridge, Wisconsin on December 29, 1930 to Albert and Minnie Katon.  Carol graduated from Ashland High School, received her teaching degree from Ashland County Normal School and bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin Superior.

It was at the Ashland County Normal School where Carol met the love of her life Calvin Marx.  Carol and Cal were married on May 31, 1952.  Cal passed away in 1985 and Carol begana new chapter in her life. 

Carol was a dedicated and loving teacher for 31 years.  She began teaching in Duluth at Sacred Heart School and then took time off to raise her four children.  What followed was teaching for 24 years at St. John’s School.  She had a passion for teaching and working with children. 

Throughout the years she made many friends and touched many lives.  

Carol was a devoted member of St. John’s Church.  After retiring she loved volunteering, reading stories, & doing art projects with the children at St. John’s School & Stella Maris Academy. She loved attending her grandchildren’s sporting activities, watching Huskies, Dukes and Twins baseball.  She enjoyed the Wheel of Fortune and Hallmark Channel, making cut-out cookies, and spending time with family all of whom she loved dearly. 

The family would like to thank the caring staff at Marywood and Essentia Health Hospice.

Carol was preceded in death by her parents; husband; sisters Ardith Pufall and Florence Markee; brothers, Albert Katon Jr and John Katon; and brother-in-law Orrin Marx.Carol is survived by her children Mary (David) Lundeen, Colleen (Paul) Hultman, Kevin (Kristen) Marx, and Kathleen (Bruce) Mars; sister Janice (Raymond) Michel; sister-in-law Betty Marx; 11 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

 

Visitation was held on Friday September 7, 2018, from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m.

The Mass of Christian Burial was at St. John’s Church, 1 West Chisholm St. Duluth, MN 55803. 

Arrangements were by Dougherty Funeral Home.  600 E. 2nd St. Duluth, MN 55805.  218-727-3555. 

Burial will be in St. Agnes Cemetery, Ashland, WI. 

Memorials may be made to St John’s Church and Stella Maris Academy.