Morning Prayer, Psalm 92 & the Voice of Pope St. John Paul II

It never gets old hearing Saint John Paul II utter the beginning of this beautiful psalm in English in today’s Morning Prayer. 

We are featuring the video that was made of it, and thereby bringing you the opportunity to hear him again.

Saint John Paul II, pray for us this day and all days..

I

It is good to give thanks to the LORD,

to sing praise to your name, Most High,a

To proclaim your love at daybreak,

your faithfulness in the night,

With the ten-stringed harp,

with melody upon the lyre.b

For you make me jubilant, LORD, by your deeds;

at the works of your hands I shout for joy.

II

How great are your works, LORD!c

How profound your designs!

A senseless person cannot know this;

a fool cannot comprehend.

Though the wicked flourish like grassd

and all sinners thrive,

They are destined for eternal destruction;

but you, LORD, are forever on high.

10Indeed your enemies, LORD,

indeed your enemies shall perish;

all sinners shall be scattered.e

III

You have given me the strength of a wild ox;f

you have poured rich oil upon me.g

My eyes look with glee on my wicked enemies;

my ears shall hear what happens to my wicked foes.h

The just shall flourish like the palm tree,

shall grow like a cedar of Lebanon.i

Planted in the house of the LORD,

they shall flourish in the courts of our God.

They shall bear fruit even in old age,

they will stay fresh and green,

To proclaim: “The LORD is just;

my rock, in whom there is no wrong.”j

January 1: The World Day of Peace, Created by Pope Paul VI in 1968

Pope St. Paul VI

In 1968, Pope Paul VI called on all people of the world to  celebrate the Day of Peace on January 1. Since 1968, that day has been celebrated by Catholics and non-Catholics alike and is marked by a special annual peace message from the Holy Father.

According to Church teaching, peace is built on a commitment to love and justice and flourishes when all realize their responsibility for promoting it. True peace can only be attained when the dignity of each human being is respected.

The Church is called to be a sacrament and instrument of peace in the world and must work, along with its members, to promote peace and its foundations: love, justice, development, and reconciliation.

Words from the past:

“Men must always speak of Peace. The world must
be educated to love Peace, to build it up and defend
it.”

– Pope Paul VI, 1968
“If you want Peace, work for Justice.”

– Pope Paul VI, 1972
“Life is the crown of Peace. If we base the logic of
our activity on the sacredness of Life, war is
virtually disqualified as a normal and habitual means
of asserting rights and so of ensuring Peace.”

– Pope Paul VI, 1977
“Paul VI’s phrase – ‘Development is the new name
for peace’ – specifies one of the keys in our search
for peace. Can true peace exist when men, women
and children cannot live in full human dignity?”

– Pope John Paul II, 1987
“To say ‘peace’ is really to speak of much more than
the simple absence of war. It is to postulate a
condition of authentic respect for the dignity and
rights of every human being, a condition enabling
him to achieve complete fulfillment. The
exploitation of the weak and the existence of
distressing pockets of poverty and social inequality
constitute so many delays and obstacles to the
establishment of stable conditions for an authentic
peace.”

– Pope John Paul II, 1993

“Experience shows that disregard for the
environment always harms human coexistence, and
vice versa. It becomes more and more evident that
there is an inseparable link between peace with
creation and peace among men.” Pope Benedict XVI, 2007

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS
POPE PAUL VI
FOR THE OBSERVANCE OF A
DAY OF PEACE

1 JANUARY 1968

We address Ourself to all men of good will to exhort them to celebrate “The Day of Peace”, throughout the world, on the first day of the year, January 1, 1968. It is Our desire that then, every year, this commemoration be repeated as a hope and as a promise, at the beginning of the calendar which measures and outlines the path of human life in time, that Peace with its just and beneficent equilibrium may dominate the development of events to come.

We think that this proposal interprets the aspirations of peoples, of their governments, of international organisms which strive to preserve Peace in the world, of those religious institutions so interested in the promotion of Peace, of cultural, political and social movements which make Peace their ideal; of youth, whose perspicacity regarding the new paths of civilization, dutifully oriented toward its peaceful developments is more lively; of wise men who see how much, today, Peace is both necessary and threatened. The proposal to dedicate to Peace the first day of the new year is not intended, therefore, as exclusively ours, religious, that is, Catholic. It would hope to have the adherence of all the true friends of Peace, as if it were their own initiative, to be expressed in a free manner, congenial to the particular character of those who are aware of how beautiful and how important is the harmony of all voices in the world for the exaltation of this primary good, which is Peace, in the varied concert of modern humanity.

The Catholic Church, with the intention of service and of example, simply wishes to “launch the idea”, in the hope that it may not only receive the widest consent of the civilized world, but that such an idea may find everywhere numerous promoters, able and capable of impressing on the “Day of Peace”, to be celebrated on the first day of every new year, that sincere and strong character of conscious humanity, redeemed from its sad and fatal bellicose conflicts, which will give to the history of the world a more happy, ordered and civilized development.

The Catholic Church will call the attention of its children to the duty of observing “The Day of Peace” with the religious and moral expressions of the Christian faith; but it considers it its duty to remind all those who agree on the opportuneness of such a “Day”, some points which ought to characterize it. First among these is: the necessity of defending Peace in the face of dangers which always threaten it: the danger of the survival of selfishness in the relations among nations; the danger of violence into which some populations can allow themselves to be drawn by desperation at not having their right to life and human dignity recognized and respected; the danger, today tremendously increased, of recourse to frightful weapons of extermination, which some nations possess, spending enormous financial means, the expenditure of which is reason for painful reflexion in the presence of the grave needs which hinder the development of so many other peoples; the danger of believing that international controversies can not be resolved by the ways of reason, that is, by negotiations founded on law, justice, and equity, but only by means of deterrent and murderous forces.

The subjective foundation of Peace is a new spirit which must animate coexistence between peoples, a new outlook on man, his duties and his destiny. Much progress must still be made to render this outlook universal and effective; a new training must educate the new generations to reciprocal respect between nations, to brotherhood between peoples, to collaboration between races, with a view also to their progress and development. The international organizations which have been set up for this purpose must be supported by all, become better known, and be provided with the authority and means fit for their great mission. The “Peace Day” must honour these institutions and surround their work with prestige, with confidence, and with that sense of expectation that will keep alive in them the realization of their most serious responsibility, and keep strong the consciousness of the charge which has been entrusted to them.

A warning must be kept in mind. Peace cannot be based on a false rhetoric of words which are welcomed because they answer to the deep, genuine aspirations of humanity, but which can also serve, and unfortunately have sometimes served, to hide the lack of true spirit and of real intentions for peace, if not indeed to mask sentiments and actions of oppression and party interests. Nor can one rightly speak of peace where no recognition or respect is given to its solid foundations: namely, sincerity, justice and love in the relations between states, and, within the limits of each nation, in the relations of citizens with each other and with their rulers; freedom of individuals and of peoples, in all its expressions, civic, cultural, moral, and religious; otherwise, it is not peace which will exist – even if, perchance, oppression is able to create the external appearance of order and legality – but an unceasing and insuppressible growth of revolt and war.

It is, therefore, to true Peace, to just and balanced Peace, in the sincere recognition of the rights of the human person and of the independence of the individual nations, that We invite men of wisdom and strength to dedicate this Day.

Accordingly, in conclusion, it is to be hoped that the exaltation of the ideal of Peace may not favour the cowardice of those who fear it may be their duty to give their life for the service of their own country and of their own brothers, when these are engaged in the defence of justice and liberty, and who seek only a flight from their responsibility, from the risks that are necessarily involved in the accomplishment of great duties and generous exploits. Peace is not pacifism; it does not mask a base and slothful concept of life, but it proclaims the highest and most universal values of life: truth, justice, freedom, love.

It is for the protection of these values that We place them beneath the banner of Peace, and that We invite men and nations to raise, at the dawn of the new year, this banner which must guide the ship of civilization through the inescapable storms of history to the harbour of its highest destiny.

To you, Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
to you, beloved sons, faithful children of our
Holy Catholic Church,

We extend the invitation which We have already announced: that of dedicating to thoughts and resolutions of Peace a special observance on the first day of the civil year, January the first of the coming year. Such an observance must not change the liturgical calendar, which reserves New Year’s Day for veneration of the divine motherhood of Mary and the most holy Name of Jesus; indeed, those holy and loving religious remembrances must shed their light of goodness, wisdom and hope upon the prayer for, the meditation upon, and the fostering of the great and yearned-for gift of Peace, of which the world has so much need.

You will have noted, Venerable Brothers and beloved sons, how often Our words have renewed considerations and exhortations upon the theme of Peace; this We do, not giving way to a facile habit, nor taking advantage of the mere interesting topic of the moment; but because We believe this is demanded by Our duty as universal Pastor; because We see Peace to be threatened so seriously and with intimations of terrible events, which may prove catastrophic for entire nations, and perhaps even for a great part of mankind; because, during the latest years of our century’s history it has finally become clearly evident that Peace is the only true direction of human progress – and not the tensions caused by ambitious nationalisms, nor conquests by violence, nor repressions which serve as mainstay for a false civil order – We do so because Peace is part and parcel of the Christian religion, since for a Christian to proclaim peace is the same as to announce Jesus Christ: “He is our peace” (Eph. ii. 14) and His good news is “the Gospel of peace” (Eph. vi. 15).

Through His Sacrifice on the Cross, He brought about universal reconciliation, and we, as His followers, are called to be “peacemakers” (Mt. v. 9). In fine, it is only from the Gospel that there can spring forth true Peace, not in order to make men dull and soft, but to replace the impulses to violence and bullying in their minds, by the manly virtues of reasoning and heart characteristic of true humanism. We do so, finally, because We would not wish ever to be rebuked by God and by history for having kept silence in the face of the danger of a new conflagration between peoples, which, as all know, could take on sudden forms of apocalyptic awfulness.

Men must always speak of Peace. The world must be educated to love Peace, to build it up and defend it. Against the resurgent preludes to war (nationalistic competition, armaments, revolutionary provocations, racial hatred, the spirit of revenge, etc.), and also against the snares of tactical pacifism, intended to drug the enemy one must overcome, to smother in men’s minds the meaning of justice, of duty and of sacrifice – we must arouse in the men of our time and of future generations the sense and love of Peace founded upon truth, justice, freedom and love (cf. Pope John XXIII: “Pacem in terris“).

Let, then, the grand idea of Peace, particularly for us, the disciples of Christ, have its solemn Day, the beginning of the new year 1968.

We who believe in the Gospel can pour into this observance a wonderful treasury of original and powerful ideas, such as that of the intangible world-wide brotherhood of all men, derived from the one, sovereign, most lovable Fatherhood of God, and arising from the communion which, whether really or hopefully, unites all of us with Christ, as well as from the prophetic vocation which, in the Holy Spirit, calls the human race to unity, not only in conscience, but in works and in final destiny. From the Gospel’s precept to pardon and to have mercy, we can draw forces which will regenerate society. And above all. Venerable Brothers and beloved sons, we can possess a singular weapon for Peace, that is, prayer, with all its marvellous energies to raise moral tone and to invoke transcendent divine forces of spiritual and political renewal, and also the opportunity offered to each and every one to question himself interiorly and sincerely concerning the roots of rancour and violence which may lurk deep in his heart.

Let us strive, then, to inaugurate the year of grace nineteen hundred and sixty-eight (the year of the faith which is transformed into hope) by praying for Peace; praying all together, in our churches and in our homes-that is what We ask of you for now. Let no voice be missing from the great chorus of the Church and of the world, beseeching Christ Who was immolated for us to “Grant us peace!”.

May Our Apostolic Blessing descend upon you and remain always.

From the Vatican, 8 December 1967.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the Importance of the Holy Hour

Archbishop Sheen:

“The Holy Hour is not a devotion; it is a sharing in the work of redemption. Our Blessed Lord used the words “hour” and “day” in two totally different connotations in the Gospel of John. “Day” belongs to God; the “hour” belongs to evil. Seven times in the Gospel of John, the word “hour” is used, and in each instance itfers to the demonic, and to the moments when Christ is no longer in the Father’s Hands, but in the hands of men.

In the Garden, our Lord contrasted two “hours” – one was the evil hour “this is your hour” – with which Judas could turn out the lights of the world. In contrast, our Lord asked: “Could you not watch one hour with Me?”. In other words, he asked for an hour of reparation to combat the hour of evil; an hour of victimal union with the Cross to overcome the anti-love of sin.

The only time Our Lord asked the Apostles for anything was the night he went into his agony. Then he did not ask all of them … perhaps because he knew he could not count on their fidelity. But at least he expected three to be faithful to him: Peter, James and John. As often in the history of the Church since that time, evil was awake, but the disciples were asleep. That is why there came out of His anguished and lonely Heart the sigh: “Could you not watch one hour with me?” Not for an hour of activity did He plead, but for an hour of companionship. ”

Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Treasure in Clay)

Registration Reminder – Theology Uncapped – Thursday January 17th, 2019 – Register Today

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
 
 
 

If you haven’t registered yet, it’s not too late. 

What a great Christmas gift idea.  Buy someone tickets to this great event.

Added Bonus:

Daily Mass opportunity:  Bishop Sirba will be celebrating the daily Mass at 5:30 pm, prior to the event.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

PAYMENT REMINDER

If you have registered and are paying by check but have not sent in your payment, please do so today. 
All payments must be received by January 14, 2019

 Mail to:

Theology Uncapped

145 Artavia 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

Adoration, P & W, & Reconciliation

Advent Event at St. Lawrence: Dec. 12, 7 PM

COMMUNITY WIDE ADVENT EVENT
ADORATION, WORSHIP, AND RECONCILIATION

YOUTH FOCUSED, BUT ALL ARE INVITED WEDNESDAY TO SAINT

LAWRENCE. COME PRAY WITH OUR YOUNG PEOPLE!!

6+ priests available for confessions.

All religious education programs are coming. Big thanks to all DREs, youth ministers,  and faith formation directors for doing this great evening for our youth and others again this year!

Kali Frederickson: Why Catholic Schools Matter

Kali Frederickson: Guest Commentator

Kali Frederickson, Guest Columnist: Why Catholic Schools Matter

Note: I can only attest to the great education students achieve by attending Catholic schools. I didn’t have this opportunity as a child, but every day I see the truth and beauty of forming young lives. I thought it would be fitting to share with you a perspective from a student who did attend Catholic schools. My daughters both attended Catholic school through grade eight, and this article comes to you from my eldest, who just completed college. — Peggy Frederickson

In college, I taught religious education to tenth-graders. It was evident most believed they had better ways to spend their Sundays than with me. In an attempt to win their trust, after one of the sessions I allotted time for questions about anything. The question that surprised me most was, “Why are you here? Don’t you have better things to do?”

The bluntness of the question initially surprised me, but I realized how raw and honest it was. I can fully attest that my answer to that question and who I am today would not be the same if I did not attend Catholic schools.

Catholic education created space for crucial questions in my pursuit of what is good, true, and beautiful beginning at a young age. Passionate priests, teachers, and faculty members shared the goal of introducing me to a life with Christ. They worked to emulate Christian values in the classroom and offered unique insights to the purpose behind their actions.

The environment allowed for discussion relating to values Jesus taught us through Scripture and tradition, and we were centered on living out these values and truths. It provided space to attend Mass weekly and begin to develop a foundation of faith.

As we got older, the environment allowed for questioning upon that foundation. I remember drilling my seventh-grade religion teacher with a variety of questions that he patiently would answer. Without this opportunity to ask questions, my faith would not be in the place it is.

After middle school, I attended East High School in Duluth. I was surprised by multiple teachers speaking of noticeable differences between students from Catholic schools versus public ones. They often noticed the respect and kindness of these Catholic school students in addition to an increased work ethic.

Catholic education also taught the importance of community. Both students and staff of St. John’s and Holy Rosary continue to hold an important place in my heart. We share something unique because of our backgrounds, and I attribute it to being centered on Christ and his values. We were challenged to think, connect with, and trust each other in a unique way.

My classmates may not all be in the same place in their pursuit of truth, but I do know that they all would still be there for me in any way I needed. We developed a deeper community steeped in Catholic values.

I attribute who I am today to the experiences of my past. I was fortunate enough to learn about values, the Catholic faith, and what it means to be in community with others at a young age. My response to the 10th grader’s question, simply put, was, “because it’s important.”

Though this is a short version of why I believe Catholic schooling is so crucial, I challenge you to consider it for your own children one day. If you believe that this faith is the truth, why would you not want to give your children the best opportunity to know and understand it as such?

Kali Frederickson is an alumnus of St. John and Holy Rosary schools in Duluth and the daughter of Mark & Peggy Frederickson, principal of Holy Rosary Campus, Stella Maris Academy, Duluth.

An Advent Message for the First Week of Advent

 

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

Mary Elsenrath, the Daughter of Ken & Gen Graves, and Their Journey with Ovarian Cancer

Mary Graves Elsenrath’s Journey

Ken and Gen Graves are long time members of St. John’s church.  Gen taught 3rd grade at St. John’s school.  We are honored to share this beautiful family story. 

Mary Elsenrath’s family is sharing their journey with ovarian cancer, to honor and remember her artistic and gracious soul. | Photo: Graves’ Family

From WDIO News on November 26, 2018

It’s been a year since Mary Elsenrath passed from ovarian cancer. A year of firsts without the Duluth woman who loved art, the outdoors, and her family. Her large and close family continues to grieve her loss. And they have used their tears, to tell a story of awareness.

Mary had gone into the emergency room for severe abdominal pain. She’d had some pain off and on for a few months. But this time, it was extreme. She ended up having surgery, and that’s when the surgeons found the cancer. It was everywhere.

Genevieve Graves remembers her daughter’s diagnosis. “Ken and I had been wintering in Puerto Rico. She was supposed to come visit us for a week. And instead, we came home to visit her.”

That was in February of 2016. Mary, with the help of her care team, including Dr. Sande, fought on with chemotherapy and surgeries. A final chemo was on the table in the summer of 2017. “It has a 15% success rate. And she wanted to go for it,” Genevieve shared. She did, but it wasn’t enough to beat the disease.

By then, Mary had moved back home into her parents’ place on Schultz Lake. She had grown weaker. It was time to stop the fight. She didn’t want to be a burden on her family at the very end, so she decided to go to hospice care. “It was a very, very hard day when she left here,” Genevieve said, speaking about their home.

Slowly and deliberately, Mary took in the sights and sounds of the place she loved, the lake and the land. “It’s something you don’t think ever can be replaced. She gave us a gift,” Genevieve recalled through tears.

Less than two weeks later, on October 1st, 2017, she passed away at Solvay House, at the age of 47. She was surrounded by loved ones. 

Genevieve said things were a bit of a blur after that. But that Christmas, mittens made them smile. Mary had so many sweaters, and Michelle made them into mittens. “All the girls in the family got mittens for Christmas, from Mary,” Michelle said.

During those months following Mary’s death, Genevieve began writing down what happened. “It’s helped me a lot. It helps me remember everything.”

The former teacher hasn’t finished her journaling. The story isn’t over yet. Because now they’re sharing about Mary, to help other women. “She said, ‘I just wish I didn’t have to put you through this.’ And I said to her, if it helps us understand what other people are going through, it may help us to help them sometime,” Genevieve said.

This past fall, Genevieve and another one of Mary’s sisters, Melissa, attended their first Light Duluth Teal event. “I could feel her presence there. It was bittersweet. It was also kind of a reality. That this did happen. And it’s part of the grieving. And it was a shared celebration. Now we have something in common with other families,” Melissa said. MOCA, the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance, hosts the Light Duluth Teal event and other fundraisers in Duluth.

Mary had known about the tribute of teal the first year she was sick. By the second, she couldn’t make it down to see the aerial lift bridge or Enger Tower lit teal. So Melissa went down and took a picture, and brought it back to show her.

After her death, there have been many tough days and nights. But they are finding strength and some laughter, as they live through their memories of Mary. 

“I’ve learned a lot about how to give grace through adversity. How to love people and meet them where they are at. That’s who she was,” shared Melissa.

If you want to learn more about MOCA and to donate to help survivors, visit the Trees of Hope banner on our mainpage: http://www.wdio.com

Click here to view the story.

https://www.wdio.com/news/moca-mary-elsenrath-ovarian-cancer/5154855/

An Update from Justin Kostecka, Youth Minister

Justin Kostecka

An Intorduction to Justin Kostecka

Hi, my name is Justin Kostecka. I’ve been the youth minister here at St. John’s for the past 2 years and we are into my 3rd year now! I’m originally from the little town of Pequot Lakes, MN, which is in the Brainerd area. I love music, the outdoors, movies, and spending time with friends! 

 

When I was younger, I went to community college for a few years after high school to get my generals done, and then transferred to UMD here in Duluth to pursue my bachelor’s degree in economics along with a music minor. After becoming very involved at the Catholic Newman Center on campus and going on various retreats and encountering the person of Christ in beautiful ways, my faith and prayer life began to grow and mature. I fell in love with my faith and learning more about Christ, and continued to serve our Newman community through my gift of music and in other ways.

Along with this, I helped at St. Benedict’s as one of their religious ed. teachers and began to learn youth leadership skills.

 

After graduating from UMD I wasn’t sure what to apply my economics degree to, and was quite lost in what to do. After spending a lot of time in prayer and moving back home for a while to spend some time with my family and younger brothers who were still in high school, I found out from Kevin Pilon and others about the opportunity to be a youth minister at St. John’s. It felt like God provided this as the next step in my faith journey and career journey. It has certainly been a wonderful time the last few years. God has been molding me and has been showing me new things and equipping me in my faith and in reaching the hearts of others for Him!

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