News from Fr. Seth

Fr. Seth Goglin

I have now been here as your pastor at St. John’s and St. Joseph’s for a little over a month, and I am feeling very much at home.  I have been delighted to meet many of you – even if briefly – after Masses, and I have loved the opportunities to meet you at your homes as well.  I am very open to invites to come over for a meal, drinks, a cup of coffee, or really anything at all.  There are several things I’d like to talk about in this bulletin article. 

The first thing concerns daily Masses.  Beginning with Labor Day (Monday, September 7) all daily Masses will go back to 8 AM.  This decision comes for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I need to be mindful of Fr. Petrich and his schedule as he is the one who offers Masses on Mondays; the second is that although we do not know what Wednesday evening schedules with faith formation are going to look like yet, I needed to have that evening open for whatever might be decided.  I am still open to evening Masses, but I need to see how the schedule this fall shakes out.  With other meetings like Finance Councils and deanery meetings, I am hesitant to set a new evening Mass on the schedule before I have a clearer picture of what other evening commitments I will have.  I will revisit this later in the fall.

Speaking of Masses, I am currently looking at getting the rest of the pews refinished that are in the choir loft and a couple other places in the church.  The plan is to look at moving the choir back to the choir loft and restore the space where the choir currently is to more seating with pews.  There are a couple of reasons for looking into this.  The first has to do with school Masses.  The school has strict protocols that they are following during this time in regard to COVID-19.  In order to be able to accommodate those protocols and have Masses available both for students and for our daily Mass goers it is important to have more seating available in areas that can allow for one-way traffic which the choir loft as it is does not.

The second reason for looking into this is in regard to strategic planning for the diocese.  You probably haven’t thought about the diocesan strategic plan in a long time especially since it was a five year plan that was promulgated in 2012. However there is one piece that was never finished, and that piece is the east side of Duluth.  Fr. Jim Bissonette, our diocesan administrator, has asked the four pastors on the east side of Duluth to work together to come up with a plan that can save us one priest (go from 4 pastors to 3 on the east side).  With upcoming retirements in the diocese, we need to be ready for this to take place soon, maybe by next spring. Even if the plan simply involves a re-clustering on the east side, it is likely that the parishes that are not clustered with anything right now would at a minimum have less Masses.  This means that parishioners from other parishes might choose St. John’s as their destination for Mass, and it is important to have more seating available that is welcoming and have those pews as a visible part of the congregation.  I will keep you updated as we get more information on this potential project.

While keeping to our COVID protocols given by the diocese, we are trying to make Masses feel more like they have, and so one thing we are doing is bringing back ushers in some limited capacities.  If you have been an usher or would like to be an usher (we could use your help) please contact us so we can get a list together.  Men and women alike are welcome. Please contact Michelle Kessler in the office, and let her know which parish you usher at or would like to begin ushering at.  I will be in contact with all of the ushers as I’d like to begin ushering again the weekend of August 29/30.

Lastly, if you know any parishioners that are home-bound, living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, please call the office and let us know. I’d like to have a compiled list so that I can visit these parishioners who otherwise would not have the opportunity to meet with their priest.  Please don’t assume we already know who they are.  Contact us to help us with this important ministry to our home-bound parishioners.

 God Bless. – Fr. Seth  

The Diocesan Vocation Calendar: Pray for Priests: Fr. Seth: The 11th of the Month

If you are not familiar with the brochure in our diocese that lists all our priests, deacons and religious and the designated days to pray for each of them, we would like to share with you that the 11th day of the month is the special day to pray for our pastor. Please join with our parishioners to make the 11th day one we not only pray for him but offer the day for the needs of his heart!

God bless you, Father Seth, and thank you for the gift of your life to our Church.

DULUTH DIOCESAN PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS

Almighty Father, we beg You for an increase in religious vocations and holy marriages in our diocese.

Help us to be generous in our response to Your call. Choose from our homes those who are needed for Your work and strengthen us with the courage to say “yes” and to follow You.

Help us as a diocese, as a parish, as families to encourage and foster vocations to the priesthood, permanent diaconate, and consecrated life. We commend our prayers to our patroness, Mary, Queen of the Rosary, and ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

– Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr

The Feast of St. Helena–& The True Cross

Relic of the True Cross of Christ belonging to Pope Clement XI


St. Helena, Mother of Constantine

The mother of Constantine the Great, born about the middle of the third century, possibly in Drepanum (later known as Helenopolis) on the Nicomedian Gulf; died about 330. She was of humble parentage; St. Ambrose, in his “Oratio de obitu Theodosii”, referred to her as a stabularia, or inn-keeper. Nevertheless, she became the lawful wife of Constantius Chlorus. Her first and only son, Constantine, was born in Naissus in Upper Moesia, in the year 274. The statement made by English chroniclers of the Middle Ages, according to which Helena was supposed to have been the daughter of a British prince, is entirely without historicalfoundation. It may arise from the misinterpretation of a term used in the fourth chapter of the panegyric on Constantine’s marriage with Fausta, that Constantine, oriendo (i.e., “by his beginnings,” “from the outset”) had honored Britain, which was taken as an allusion to his birth, whereas the reference was really to the beginning of his reign.

In the year 292 Constantius, having become co-Regent of the West, gave himself up to considerations of a political nature and forsook Helena in order to marryTheodora, the step-daughter of Emperor Maximinianus Herculius, his patron, and well-wisher. But her son remained faithful and loyal to her. On the death of Constantius Chlorus, in 308, Constantine, who succeeded him, summoned his mother to the imperial court, conferred on her the title of Augusta, ordered that all honour should be paid her as the mother of the sovereign, and had coins struck bearing her effigy. Her son’s influence caused her to embrace Christianity after his victory over Maxentius. This is directly attested by Eusebius (Vita Constantini, III, xlvii): “She (his mother) became under his (Constantine’s) influence such a devout servant of God, that one might believe her to have been from her very childhood a disciple of the Redeemer of mankind”. It is also clear from the declaration of the contemporary historian of the Church that Helena, from the time of her conversion had an earnestly Christian life and by her influence and liberality favoured the wider spread of Christianity. Tradition links her name with the building of Christian churches in the cities of the West, where the imperial court resided, notably at Rome and Trier, and there is no reason for rejecting this tradition, for we know positively through Eusebius that Helena erected churches on the hallowed spots of Palestine. Despite her advanced age she undertook a journey to Palestine when Constantine, through his victory over Licinius, had become sole master of the Roman Empire, subsequently, therefore, to the year 324. It was in Palestine, as we learn from Eusebius (loc. cit., xlii), that she had resolved to bring to God, the King of kings, the homage and tribute of her devotion. She lavished on that land her bounties and good deeds, she “explored it with remarkable discernment”, and “visited it with the care and solicitude of the emperor himself”. Then, when she “had shown due veneration to the footsteps of the Saviour”, she had two churches erected for the worship of God: one was raised in Bethlehem near the Grotto of the Nativity, the other on the Mount of the Ascension, near Jerusalem. She also embellished the sacred grotto with rich ornaments. This sojourn in Jerusalem proved the starting-point of the legend first recorded by Rufinus as to the discovery of the Cross of Christ.

Her princely munificence was such that, according to Eusebius, she assisted not only individuals but entire communities. The poor and destitute were the special objects of her charity. She visited the churches everywhere with pious zeal and made them rich donations. It was thus that, in fulfillment of the Saviour’s precept, she brought forth abundant fruit in word and deed. If Helena conducted herself in this manner while in the Holy Land, which is indeed testified to by Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, we should not doubt that she manifested the same piety and benevolence in those other cities of the empire in which she resided after her conversion. Her memory in Rome is chiefly identified with the church of S. Croce in Gerusalemme. On the present location of this church formerly stood the Palatium Sessorianum, and near by were the Thermae Helenianae, which baths derived their name from the empress. Here two inscriptionswere found composed in honour of Helena. The Sessorium, which was near the site of the Lateran, probably served as Helena’s residence when she stayed in Rome; so that it is quite possible for a Christian basilica to have been erected on this spot by Constantine, at her suggestion and in honour of the true Cross.

Helena was still living in the year 326, when Constantine ordered the execution of his son Crispus. When, according to Socrates’ account (Church History I.17), the emperor in 327 improved Drepanum, his mother’s native town, and decreed that it should be called Helenopolis, it is probable that the latter returned from Palestine to her son who was then residing in the Orient. Constantine was with her when she died, at the advanced age of eighty years or thereabouts (Eusebius, Life of Constantine III.46). This must have been about the year 330, for the last coins which are known to have been stamped with her name bore this date. Her body was brought to Constantinople and laid to rest in the imperial vault of the church of the Apostles. It is presumed that her remains were transferred in 849 to the Abbey of Hautvillers, in the French Archdiocese of Reims, as recorded by the monk Altmann in his “Translatio”. She was revered as a saint, and the veneration spread, early in the ninth century, even to Western countries. Her feast falls on 18 August. Regarding the finding of the Holy Cross by St. Helena, see CROSS AND CRUCIFIX.

The Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Martyr

Saint Maximilian Kolbe: First Class Relic

The Franciscan friar, Maximilian Mary Kolbe, died in the Auschwitz concentration camp on August 14, 1941. Two weeks earlier, a prisoner had gone missing. The commandant, Karl Fristsch, announced the penalty to the entire camp: ten men would die in the starvation bunker. As his name was called, Franciszek Gajowniczek cried out, “My wife, my children!” Father Maximilian stepped forward and offered to take his place. He and the other nine men were tossed naked into a concrete hole in Building 13.

Francixzek Gajowniczek is pictured below at the canonization of Maximilian Kolbe.  The saint saved his life and he was privileged to be a part of the canonization

The camp prisoners waited to hear the howls of anguish coming from the bunker. Instead, they heard feeble voices raised in prayer and hymns of praise. Maximilian was encouraging the men. A Pole assigned to serve at the bunker later told how at each inspection the priest was always in the middle of them, standing or kneeling in prayer. After two weeks, only Maximilian remained alive. When the SS men entered the cell, he offered his arm for their lethal injection.

One prisoner later said his death was “a shock filled with hope, bringing new life and strength…It was like a powerful shaft of light in the darkness of the camp.” Maximilian is a patron of families, for he gave his life for the father of a family. He is a patron of prisoners, for he gave hope to the condemned. —Lisa Lickona, The Magnificat Year of Mercy Companion, page 320 Maximillian Kolbe died August 14, 1941.

Forget Not Love
Ignatius Press has said of it,

The famous French author’s unique writing style captivates the reader with the heroic story of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, a modern apostle of Catholic evangelization, Marian spirituality, and a martyr of charity. With the encouragement of Pope John Paul II and the help of documentation (some unpublished) given to him by the Vatican, Frossard chronicles the dramatic and moving life of this Polish Franciscan who volunteered to die in place of a fellow prisoner in Auschwitz.

While his heroic martyr’s death is well known, Frossard shows how Kolbe’s whole life was one of extraordinary generosity in devotion to his ideal of “love without limits.” Kolbe was that rare combination of mystic, intellectual genius, theologian, and down-to-earth practicality. His tremendous creative energies (despite constant bouts of tuberculosis and less than one lung) enhanced the lives of all those who knew him, the millions who read his publications, and the countless persons inspired by his example. Forget Not Love reveals the interesting and impressive details of Kolbe’s childhood, vision of Mary, brilliance in his studies, his founding of the largest monastery in the world (700 Franciscans), massive printing apostolate, missionary journeys to Japan, and his final act of love in Auschwitz. Frossard has captured the heart of the man whom Pope John Paul II declared “the patron saint of this difficult century.”

On the Feast of St. Jean Vianney: Patron Saint of Parish Priests

Happy Feast Day, Father Seth!

St. Jean Vianney

How Good It Is to Love You

My Jesus, from all eternity you were pleased to give yourself to us in love. And you planted within us a deep spiritual desire that can only be satisfied by yourself. I may go from here to the other end of the world, from one country to another, from riches to greater riches, from pleasure to pleasure, and still I shall not be content. All the world cannot satisfy the immortal soul. It would be like trying to feed a starving man with a single grain of wheat. We can only be satisfied by setting our hearts, imperfect as they are, on you. We are made to love you; you created us as your lovers. It sometimes happens that the more we know a neighbor, the less we love him. But with you it is quite the opposite. The more we know you, the more we love you. Knowledge of you kindles such a fire in our souls that we have no energy left for worldly desires. My Jesus, how good it is to love you. Let me be like your disciples on Mount Tabor, seeing nothing else but you. Let us be like two bosom friends, neither of whom can ever bear to offend the other.  –Saint Jean Vianney

Bio Information from Our Pastor, Fr. Seth Gogolin

We invited Fr. Seth to share some of his journey with us, and he sent us the following information!

It is a great joy to be with you at St. John’s and St. Joseph’s as your new pastor.  I’d like to give a little bit of information about me to help you to get to know me.  

I was born in Brainerd, which is also where I lived until I graduated high school.  My parents are Jim and Patti Gogolin who still live in the Brainerd area (Baxter).  They are both retired teachers. 

My dad was a high school social studies teacher, and my mom was a 1st grade teacher.  I am the youngest of four children.  My three siblings are Mike, Rachel, and Bridget.  They are all married and have children. Mike lives in Duluth, Rachel in St. Joseph (near St. Cloud), and Bridget in Hopkins.

I graduated from Brainerd High School in 2004 and began studying at St. Cloud Technical College pursuing a degree in computer networking. It was during that year I came to believe God was calling me to discern the priesthood at seminary.  The following year I began studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Duluth, and I enrolled at St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. 

Through my years in college seminary the call to the priesthood began to become clearer in my prayer time with Jesus.  I graduated from St. Thomas in 2008, and continued to major seminary at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana.  I finished my education and formation there and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Duluth on June 22, 2012.

My first assignment as a priest was as an associate pastor for the parishes in Ely, Tower, and Babbitt where I served for two years.  In July of 2014 I was named pastor of the parishes in Nashwauk and Coleraine where I followed Fr. Dennis Hoffman who had just retired.  I was pastor there for four years until Fr. Jerry Weiss retired as pastor from the parishes in Grand Rapids and Cohasset in 2018.  I was named pastor in those parishes in 2018 and served there until July of 2020.  I moved here to St. John’s and St. Joseph’s on July 15, 2020, and I look forward to my time here serving you as your pastor. 

I hope to get to know all of you better.  I would love to come to your homes to share conversation over a meal, a cup of coffee, or even just a glass of water.  I know that during this time of COVID it will be difficult to see all of you, but know that I am praying for you, and I ask for your prayers for me as well.  

God Bless,

Fr. Seth  

We continue to offer our gratitude for you and thank you for the gift of your life to us and to our Church! And God bless you, too!

Mr & Mrs Goglin & Their Son!

Masses to Resume at St. Joseph’s on August 2, 9:00 AM, & the Rest of Schedule

We are happy to announce the resumption of Mass at St. Joseph’s on Sunday at 9:00 AM.

Schedule for the week of July 27th –

August 2nd Monday, July 27th – 6 pm Mass @ St. John’s

Tuesday, July 28th – 8 am Mass @ St. John’s

Wednesday, July 29th- 6:00 pm Mass @ St. John’s

Thursday, July 30th – 8 am Mass @ St. John’s

Friday, July 31st – 8 am Mass @ St. John’s

Saturday, August 1st – 3:30 pm, Confession available 4:30 pm Mass @ St. John’s

Sunday , August 2nd – 9:00 am Mass @ St. Joseph’s

Sunday, August 2nd – 10:30 am Mass @ St. John’s

July 24: The Feast of St. Charbel Makluf

St. Charbel Makluf

St. Charbel, A Role Model About Preparation for Eucharist

When Pope John Paul the Great was criticized for canonizing so many saints, he acknowledged that he did, indeed, deliberately raise more saints to the altar than any of his predecessors, because he believed we are living in a time that needs saints as witnesses more than ever.  There have been books written about the people he canonized and beatified, and it is quite refreshing to read about many of them, because we can identify with people from our own era who lived a heroic faith life. 

As much as I like hagiography, the study of the saints, I have to admit that many of them, living in a different era, seem to be a bit untouchable, or even unreal.  In many cases they became “kitsch,” entering so much into the piety of worldwide Catholicism that they became little more than statues.  I am reminded of St. Therese of Lisieux who has rightly been called the greatest saint of modern times.  Her statue seems to be in a majority of churches, but I’d like to know how many people in the pews actually know anything about her life. 

I very much enjoy reading about those who lived seemingly normal yet holy lives.  They were simply examples of the Gospel, lived.  However, we can also learn something from the “untouchable” saints, those who for whatever reason seem otherworldly to us.  In the month of July we have one such saint.  On October 9th, 1977, Pope Paul VI canonized a Lebanese Maronite Rite monk, Charbel (or Sharbel)) Makhlouf.  While very few saints are honored with a place on the universal liturgical calendar, St. Charbel is one who is so revered that he does, indeed, have a feast day, which we celebrate on July 24th.

St. Charbel was born in 1828 in Northern Lebanon.  In 1859 he became a priest with particularly strong devotions, both to the Blessed Mother and even more so for the Eucharist.  For the last decades of his life, he was a hermit, living in the mountains in complete poverty. This austere behavior is one of the reasons he seems to be untouchable: how many of us can identify with a Lebanese Maronite monk, living in complete solitude, eating hardly anything, and all the while performing miracles?  Probably not many of us.  Yet it is St. Charbel’s prayer practice that makes him even more unique, while at the same time giving us an incredibly relevant example.

St. Charbel’s life was centered on the Eucharist and the celebration of Mass, and this devotion intensified in his last twenty years.  He would regularly celebrate Mass at noon, but he would awaken eight to ten hours beforehand to pray continuously in preparation for receiving Christ in the Eucharist.  Imagine!  Ten hours of prayer in preparation to receive Communion!    But it doesn’t end there.  Afterwards, he would spend another eight to ten hours in a prayer of thanksgiving for having received the Eucharist! 

The Eucharist was literally the center of his life, and everything else revolved around it.  This seems to add to his otherworldly status; who among us could do something like that, day in and day out for decades?  Who among us would want to?  And yet, what a beautiful example!

Reflecting on the life of St. Charbel calls to mind a common frustration among my brother priests and me.  On a regular basis, many people come into Mass late.   Often they are so late they miss one or two of the readings.  It is even more common for whole portions of the church to be empty after communion.  While we are happy that these people at least come to Mass, think of the contrast between our experience and that of St. Charbel, who would spend hours in prayer both before and after receiving communion. 

We would never go to a movie late, or leave before the story was over.  Why in the world, then, would we do that with the Divine Liturgy where heaven and earth meet?

St. Alphonsus de’ Liguori (1696-1787), born 130 years before St. Charbel, believed that if we didn’t receive our first communion until we turned 100, we would still not have sufficient time to prepare.  At another time, he said that once we receive communion, twelve angels surround us, worshipping what we just consumed.  Obviously, that is not dogma, but it is food for thought if we are tempted to leave Mass early.

The saints are always icons of having lived the Gospels, including those who seem to be so different from us.  St. Charbel is a great example of this.  I pray to him that through his intercession more people will grow in awe and reverence for Christ’s Eucharistic presence.

St. Charbel, pray for us!

For more information, here is a link to his congregation.

Wednesday Evening Mass: 6:00 PM & Information

Dear Parishioners,

Just a note to ask you to bear with us as we navigate this newer home page of the parish website: We’ve discovered if changes have to be made to the Facebook page, they will not automatically correct on the home page!

It’s a bit of a challenge, and we’re working on it. Please refer to this information (Masses are Monday & Wednesday EVENINGS at 6:00 until further notice) in case there is a blip elsewhere!

Thanks for your patience!

Schedule for the week of July 20th – July 26th

Monday, July 20th – 6 pm Mass @ St. John’s
Tuesday, July 21st – 8 am Mass @ St. John’s
Wednesday, July 22nd- 6 pm Mass @ St. John’s
Thursday, July 23rd – 8 am Mass @ St. John’s
Friday, July 24th- 8 am Mass @ St. John’s
Saturday, July 25th – 3:30 pm Confession available
4:30 pm Mass @ St. John’s