Our Former Bishop, Dennis Schnurr, Sends His Condolences

Last week, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati, who previously served the Diocese of Duluth, sent his condolences to the faithful of the Duluth Diocese:

December 2, 2019

Dear Friends in the Diocese of Duluth,

It is with great sadness that I write to assure you of my heartfelt sympathy and prayers following the sudden death of your beloved shepherd, Bishop Paul Sirba.

Like myself, all of you know Bishop Sirba as a faithful servant, a clear teacher of the faith, and a courageous leader during a difficult period in the history of the diocese. On a personal level, I will always remember Bishop Sirba’s warmth and graciousness whenever we had the chance to interact.

Death can be especially difficult to deal with when it is sudden and unexpected, which it certainly was in this instance, claiming a man so young and full of life. As Catholics, we take consolation in our firm belief that life is changed, not ended. I will be celebrating Mass asking our Lord to grant Bishop Sirba eternal rest and each of you His comfort and hope.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati

Bishop Paul Sirba May you Rest in Peace

Bishop Paul Sirba may you rest in peace
Bishop Paul Sirba may you rest in peace


We anticipate that many mourners, both from the Diocese of Duluth and from outside of our diocese, will wish to attend our beloved Bishop Paul Sirba’s funeral Friday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, and that the resulting crowd may well far exceed the available seating at the Cathedral. Therefore we are grateful to announce that WDIO TV has graciously offered to have the liturgy livestreamed on the Internet, making it accessible to all across the region and beyond who wish to see it.

The stream will be available on WDIO.com.

We hope this will enable as many people as possible to be united in prayer for the repose of Bishop Sirba’s soul and for his family and our local church and all who mourn.

As a reminder: Public visitation for Bishop Sirba will take place from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Cathedral, which is another opportunity to say goodbye and pray for him. The visitation will then resume at 8 a.m. Friday morning and continue until the 11 a.m. funeral Mass.

Please share this information widely so that as many people as possible can be made aware of it.

Bishop Paul David Sirba, Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Duluth, MN, beloved shepherd of the people of the Diocese of Duluth, dear son, brother, uncle and great-uncle died of apparent cardiac arrest at his home in Proctor, MN on Sunday morning, December 1, 2019, the First Sunday of Advent. Bishop Sirba was born in Minneapolis, MN on September 2, 1960, to Norbert and Helen Sirba. He attended Nativity of Mary Grade School in Bloomington, Academy of the Holy Angels in Richfield, and the College of St. Thomas and St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul. Bishop Sirba received his Master of Divinity degree from St. Paul Seminary as well as a Masters in Arts from the Notre Dame Apostolic Catechetical Institute in Arlington, Virginia. Paul Sirba was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on May 31, 1986 and served in the following parishes: St. Olaf, Minneapolis; St. John the Baptist, Savage; and Maternity of Mary, St. Paul. He also worked in the Spiritual Formation Department at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul and was a Spiritual Director at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul. He was appointed Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on July 1, 2009, and was subsequently appointed by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, as the Ninth Bishop for the Diocese of Duluth. He was ordained Bishop of Duluth on the feast of St. John of the Cross, December 14, 2009.

While a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Sirba was a member of several committees including the Priority and Plans Committee, Administrative Committee, and the Catholic Home Missions Committee. Bishop Sirba was also an active member of the St. Paul Seminary Board of Directors and the Episcopal Advisory Board for the Institute on Religious Life. He also served as the state chaplain of the Knights of Columbus.

An Advent Message for the Second Week of Advent from Father Drew: A Teaching Mass

Father Drew’s News: Father Mike Schmitz to Preside at a Teaching Mass 

I just wanted to say a word about our Wednesday evenings of Faith Formation.  I have been so happy with how things have gone so far this year.    I think our program has improved immensely.

Beginning the night with a meal and having the parents there has been such a beautiful thing to witness for me as your pastor.  I look out during those dinners and see so many wonderful families sitting together, mingling, laughing, chatting, and eating until they can’t eat any more.  Watching fills me with such joy and happiness. 

I think it’s beautiful that you join together as families and eat and learn as families.   I know that requires some time and energy from all of you parents, and so I want to thank you for committing and being a part of these evenings.   

I truly believe that walking together with your kids on their faith journey will be so much more impactful than simply dropping them off and picking them up when it’s all over.  So, thank you.  Those Wednesday evenings have truly become something special to me.

This Wednesday, the 11th, at 5:30 p.m., Fr. Mike Schmitz will be here to do a “Teaching Mass”!    Everyone is welcome to come and take part in this! 

Fr. Mike is truly gifted.  Those who attend this Mass will learn so much about why we do what we do at Mass and what everything means.

So if you attend Mass and find yourself unsure of why we say “The Lord be with you”… “And with your spirit,” or why we genuflect, Fr. Mike will explain all of that and more to us. 

Perhaps another great thing for you to do for your spiritual life during this Advent Season is to join us for this Teaching Mass.

See you there.  

Father Mike Schmitz


The Gift
Give me whatever enabled you to give it to me.

            Once upon a time, a monk, in his travels, found a precious stone worth a great deal of money.  The monk kept it wrapped in a cloth in his traveling bag.

            Along the way, the monk met another traveler.  As was the custom among the brothers, he offered to share his provisions with the stranger.  As the monk opened his bag, the traveler saw the jewel.  The traveler departed, overjoyed with the unexpected gift of the precious stone that would provide him and his family wealth and security for the rest of their lives.

            But a few days later, the man sought out the monk at his abbey and returned the stone, begging the good brother: “I have come to ask for something much more precious than this stone.  Give me whatever enabled you to give it to me.”

            To be able to give not from our treasure but from our need, to see others as if they were Christ, to take without hesitation the first step in being reconciled with someone from whom we are estranged, to love and trust and console and raise up another regardless of the cost to us—this is the “ruler” against which Christ calls us to live our lives, the “yardstick” of compassion by which we will one day be measured.   —Jay Cormier

On Pearl Harbor Day: One Voice

This holiday season The USAF Band offers the beautiful song, “One Voice”…a reminder that together we can create a better world. Watch until the end as one voice becomes a chorus inside the stunning Washington National Cathedral. Let the power of unity light the way throughout this season.

The Pope Francis Commission

The Pope Francis Commission is a committee of St. John’s Church members seeking ways of bringing our Catholic Faith in words and deeds to those in our community in need of basic necessities.

Food Shelf

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

Giving Tree

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

E-mail Sarah with an offer of much needed help: [email protected]

Union Gospel Mission

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

For more information, call the parish office or contact Bruce Mars at [email protected]

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

Reminders about the New Mass Schedule & UCA News

Saint John’s

Monday thru Friday………………..8:00 am

Saturday ……………………………. 4:30 pm

Sunday……………………………    10:30 am

Saint Joseph’s

Sunday………………………………………….9:00 am

Fr. Drew’s News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 14, 2018: The Canonization of Oscar Romero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Parents of Pope St. John Paul II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Canonization of John Henry Newman: Oct. 13

Saint John Henry Newman Pivotal Players’ Series

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

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

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

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

Watch Bishop Barron’s full feature length film right here: https://wordonfire.institute/newman

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

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

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

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