Say Hello to Our Music Minister, Michelle Kessler

One of those magnificent voices you hear every weekend exalting God in song is none other than our Music Director, Michelle Kessler. A native Minnesotan, Michelle was raised in a Protestant family, entering the Church soon after she married her husband, David. Today they enjoy their family of five children and nine grandchildren and look forward to welcoming more over the coming years.  

Michelle has “a million” favorite hymns and finds that through music she can express the love and longing for God in our hearts that sometimes words cannot, and if she could ask each of you a question, it would be this: “What can I do to help you get to heaven?” 

Her  favorite saint (at last count 100 and climbing) is Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. “He promises to wait at the gates of heaven to welcome his spiritual children,” she says. “And now YOU are one of St. Pio’s spiritual children, because you are dear to me.” St. Pio also promises that our loved ones and anyone dear to us are also his spiritual children, and she encourages you to check out the books written on Padre Pio. (Formed.org has great content as well.) 

Life hasn’t always been one happy song after another. Her conversion to Catholicism was not well received by every member of her Protestant family, leading to estrangements and separations. Time, patience, and God’s grace slowly knit the family fractures back together, a reminder to us all that discipleship has its costs, but that all things work together for good for those who love God (cf Rom. 8:28).  

She would love to get to know all of you better, and after the end of COVID (which will happen, by the way) looks forward to meeting and talking with you personally. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to her via text or phone at 218.259.9698, or by email at [email protected]

Next time you celebrate Mass and revel in the music that draws you closer to Christ, give thanks for the gifts He gives and the people like Michelle who share them with us.

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

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.

A Prayer for a New Bishop

Because of Covid we are unable to print copies of this prayer for you. Please feel free to copy this so you can share in our prayer for a new bishop.

God our Father,

In Jesus your Son, You have given to Your Church 
the perfect model of priest, prophet and King,
and so You have blessed us through His sacrifice,
taught us through His Word,
and guided us through His rule.

We thank You for the previous bishops
who have cared for the people of the Diocese of Duluth.
We ask You, Father, to guide and enlighten
those who will be tasked with helping to choose the next bishop of our diocese.
May the man they choose be a man of deep and true prayer,
a man of compassionate heart and firm resolve,
and a  man of joy and peace, who desires above all to do Your will.

We entrust our prayers to our Patroness, Mary, Queen of the Rosary,
and ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

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

Archangels

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.