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Life Briefs August 2014

The Northern Cross Life Briefs

August 2014

40 Days for Life begins Sept. 24

The 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil for the end of abortion starts Sept. 24 in Duluth. Your presence and prayers are needed to make this another successful event to help end abortion. 40 Days for Life is the largest internationally coordinated pro-life mobilization in history, helping people in local communities end the injustice of abortion through prayer and fasting, community outreach and peaceful vigils. Call Paulette Moreland at (218) 348-1345 to volunteer in Duluth. The opening event is on Tuesday, Sept. 23, with prayers at 7 p.m. in front of the abortion clinic in the Building for Women, 23 E. First St., Duluth. For more on 40 Days for Life visit

Hibbing pro-life group marks Father’s Day

Members of Together in Life, a pro-life ministry at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hibbing commemorated Father’s Day with the sale of homemade caramels. Proceeds from the sale will be used to support life projects of the ministry.


Calendar August 2014

The Northern Cross August 2014


Mass on TV

The Diocese of Duluth sponsors a televised Mass at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., on WDIO-Duluth and WIRT-Hibbing. Donations are welcome and can be sent to TV Mass, 2830 E. Fourth St., Duluth, MN 55812. Please make checks payable to TV Mass. For information, contact the diocese at (218) 724-9111.

Pasty sale

Holy Family Church in Duluth will be taking pasty orders from now until Sept. 7. Pasties available with and without rutabagas. A pick-up date will be given at time of ordering. The pasties are $4 each. Cocktail-size pasties will sell for $2.50. To order call Mickie at (218) 727-7164 or Kathy at (218) 786-0557.

Latin Mass

St. Benedict’s Church, 1419 St. Benedict St., Duluth, prays the Latin ordinary form of the Mass the first Saturday of each month at 8 a.m. Also at St. Benedict’s, the Traditional Latin Mass is prayed the first and third Sundays at 1 p.m.

Rosary for freedom, life, family

The rosary is prayed for religious freedom, respect of life and the family on Saturdays at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, 2801 E. Fourth St., Duluth, at 10 a.m. Contact the Cathedral at (218) 728-3646 with any questions.

KC car show

The sixth annual Knights of Columbus car show (Marv Lutgen Memorial) will be held Sunday, Aug. 3, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at St. James Church, 299 Red Oak Drive, Aitkin. Pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon; brats, hot dogs and root beer floats noon to 2 p.m. All makes and models of cars and trucks welcome. $5 registration. All registration money for prizes. All proceeds go to Knights of Columbus charities. For information call Carroll Janzen at (218) 927-6119 or Bob Smith at (218) 927-4424. Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus 3473, St. James Church in Aitkin.

Anointing of the sick

Anointing of the sick is available the first Sunday of the month at St. Joseph’s Church, 315 S.W. 21st St., Grand Rapids, in the reconciliation room. This sacrament is offered for those struggling with an illness of any kind and also for those caregivers who offer support and comfort to those who are sick. All are welcome to receive this sacrament of healing at any time during an illness or struggle. Anointing is always available during the month by calling the church at (218) 326-2843. Also, healing prayer is offered the second Sunday of every month at 9 a.m. in the church. Handicapped accessible.

Catholic Singles Group

Catholic Singles Group in the Twin Ports hosts weekly events and meets for brunch every other week as well as attends swing dance lessons. Activities for August include Bayfront Blues Festival, Art in the Park at Bayfront Festival Park, Tribute Fest at Bayfront Park, mini golf, dinner out and other activities. For information on the Catholic Singles Group and its activities contact Deborah at (218) 879-6266 or visit

Young adult singles group

If you are or know anyone who is single and between the ages of 25 and 40 years old looking to meet other Catholics in that age group, please contact Deborah at (218) 879-6266 or Mike at (218) 730-7419 to have your name put on a singles group list for young adults. Young adult singles meet Mondays for dinner, pool and darts, call Mike above or Gary at (218) 260-6358. As always, all singles can attend any of the activities of the regular Catholic Singles Group.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy followed by the rosary is prayed for religious freedom, respect for life and family, and freedom of conscience of all people of faith on Mondays at 3 p.m., at St. Mary’s Hospital Chapel, 407 E. Fourth St., Duluth. For any questions call (218) 343-2404.

Monastery experience

Catholic women ages 18-45 wishing to learn more about religious life, to meet sisters, and to pray, work and recreate with them without any pressure are invited to arrange for a visit up to a week or longer, at no charge, according to their work or vacation schedule with the Benedictine sisters at St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth. For more information contact Sister Mary Catherine at (218) 723-6646 or [email protected]. Visit

Communion and Liberation

Communion and Liberation is an international Catholic movement that helps participants have a daily experience of faith. The group meets on Tuesdays in the social hall at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, 2801 E. Fourth St., Duluth, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., followed by sharing appetizers or desserts. For information about this group please contact Kris (218) 428-6197 or Sharon (218) 349-1535 or visit

Rosaries for life

Every Wednesday at 8 a.m., two rosaries are prayed at St. Charles Parish, 308 Central Ave., Cass Lake, for an end to abortion and all crimes against life. Everyone is invited. For more information call Mary Rients at (218) 444-6209.


Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place each Wednesday at St. Mary’s Church, 57 Horn Blvd., Silver Bay. Adoration begins after the 8:15 a.m. Mass and continues until 3 p.m. Call the parish office (218) 226-3100 for information.

Theology on Tap

The Duluth-Superior Catholic Young Adults group will host Theology on Tap with the theme “Why be Catholic?” on the Wednesdays of August. Doors open at 6 p.m., speaker begins at 7 p.m. Held Aug. 6, 13, 20 and 27 at Dubh Linn’s Pub, 109 W. Superior St., Duluth. Call (218) 464-6476 or email [email protected] for information about the group and its activities. Visit or find the group on Facebook.

Golf fundraiser

The St. Francis of the Lakes School Golf Classic will be held Thursday, Aug. 7, at Cragun’s Legacy Golf Club. $100 per person for golf, cart and dinner or $20 per person for dinner only. 10:30 a.m. registration. Lunch available for purchase. 11 a.m. putting with priests; 11:30 a.m. scramble begins; 5 p.m. social and chipping contest; 6 p.m. dinner, awards and prizes. Registration includes one general drawing ticket. Preregister by visiting, go to the golf tournament page.


The rosary will be prayed at Our Lady of Mercy Church, 2002 Minnesota Ave., Duluth, Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. A petition basket will be available for special prayer intentions placed before the Blessed Mother. Call St. Mary Star of the Sea Church for more information at (218) 722-3078.

Holy Hour for vocations

St. Francis Church, 412 Eighth St., Brainerd, has a holy hour for vocations in the Brainerd-area churches the first Wednesday of each month from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Cancer support group

A cancer support group is held at Blessed Sacrament Church, 2310 Seventh Ave. E., Hibbing, on the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. Call Mary at (218) 262-5541 for information. These meetings are for anyone whose life has been touched by cancer.

Tridentine Mass

The extraordinary form of the Roman rite (Tridentine Mass) will be offered at 11:30 a.m., on the second Sunday of each month at St. Andrew’s Church, 1108 Willow St., Brainerd. Booklets with Latin/English parallel text are provided. For more information, call the parish at (218) 822-4040.

NFP introductory sessions

Northland Family Programs will hold free natural family planning introductory sessions at different sites at 7 p.m., on Mondays: in Duluth, Aug. 11, in the Minnesota Room at Essentia Health St. Mary’s Hospital; in Grand Rapids, Aug. 11, in the Grand Oakes East and West Room at the Itasca Medical Center; in Cloquet, Aug. 18, at Community Memorial Hospital; in Hibbing, Aug. 18, in the Board Room at Fairview University Medical Center-Mesabi and in Superior, Wis., Aug. 25, at St. Mary’s Hospital. Preregistration is required. Call (218) 786-2378 or (800) 842-0279. For more information visit

Infertility support group

An infertility support group for Catholic Women is held at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, 325 E. Third St., Duluth, in Msgr. McDowell Hall. The group meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. Led by parish nurse Marianne Fightlin and parishioner Jessica Forsman. Please spread the word to those hurting due to infertility. For more information call the church at (218) 722-3078.

Rummage sale

St. James Church, 299 Red Oak Drive, Aitkin, will hold its annual rummage sale Friday, Aug. 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 17, from 9 a.m. to noon. Glassware; dishes; cookware; furniture; artwork; jewelry; books; linens; adult, children and infant clothes (sorted by size and gender); shoes; sports equipment; toys and more. Directions: from Hwy. 210 and Hwy. 169 in Aitkin, go south on Hwy. 169 to Red Oak Drive. Church is west (behind) Paulbecks’ County Market. For more information contact the parish office at (218) 927-6581 or visit Handicapped accessible.

Breakfast fundraiser

St. Charles Church, 308 Central Ave., Cass Lake, has one young man in the seminary, Beau Braun. The ladies of the parish host a freewill offering breakfast the third Sunday of each month after the 9 a.m. Mass. Proceeds will go toward assisting in his education expenses. For more information call Joan at (218) 335-2359.

Golf challenge, fundraiser

St. James golf challenge and “fun-raiser” will be held Sunday, Aug. 17, at Cuyuna Rolling Hills Golf Course, 20 Golf Course Road, Deerwood. Shotgun start at 1 p.m. Golf and dinner is $85 per person or $340 per team, includes cart, green fees and dinner. Dinner only $25. Four person scramble, putting, driving and closest to the pin prizes and more. All proceeds benefit the St. James Building Fund in Aitkin. Hole sponsorships available for $200. For information and registration call Amanda at (218) 330-6057 or Aggie at (218) 927-6581.

Courage, EnCourage

Do you have a family member or loved one who is experiencing same-sex attraction? Consider joining EnCourage, a support group for Catholics seeking to balance the love of their faith with the love for their family member. The group meets the third Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at St. Mary Star of the Sea rectory, 325 E. Third St., Duluth. Contact Deacon Walt Beier at [email protected] for more information. Are you experiencing same-sex attraction and looking for answers? Contact Deacon Beier at [email protected] for support group information. Also, visit

Duluth-Superior Young Adults

Every third Tuesday of the month, the Duluth-Superior Catholic Young Adults host Adoration and fellowship at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, 2801 E. Fourth St., Duluth, beginning at 6:30 p.m., and every First Friday of the month hosts Mass and fellowship at 5:30 p.m. at a parish in Duluth. If you are a young adult Catholic in the Duluth-Superior area and are interested in connecting with other Catholics between the ages of 18-39 contact the group at (218) 464-6476 or email them at [email protected].

CCW rummage sale

CCW rummage sale at St. Joseph’s Church garage, 315 S.W. 21st St., Grand Rapids, on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 21-22 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. If you have items to donate, bring them to the parish Aug. 11 and 12 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., no purses, shoes, exercise equipment, electronics or books. Call Eileen at (218) 256-6574 for information. Handicapped accessible.

Next-to-new sale

St. Anne’s Circle 592, Daughters of Isabella, of Queen of Peace Church in Cloquet, will hold its annual next-to-new sale Friday, Aug. 22, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the gym at Queen of Peace School, 102 Fourth St., Cloquet. For information about the Circle or the sale contact Regent Bonnie Kloskowski at (218) 879-5805. Handicapped accessible.

Caregivers support group

The caregivers support group of Blessed Sacrament parish, Hibbing, will meet at 3 p.m., in Conference Room 1 at Guardian Angels Health and Rehabilitation Center, 1500 Third Ave. E., Hibbing. The group meets the third Thursday of each month and is open to all area caregivers. For information, call the parish at (218) 262-5541. Frassati group Following in the path of Pier Giorgio Frassati, the Northland Frassati fosters camaraderie among young adults in Minnesota and Wisconsin, encouraging all to discover the true beauty of “nature” through high adventure retreats and “outreach” through compassionately serving those in need. If interested in learning more write to [email protected] or call (218) 384-1590.

Public square rosary

Our Lady of Fatima, Garrison, and Holy Family, Bulldog Lake, hold a Public Square Rosary the fourth Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m., near the big walleye fish at the lookout on Mille Lacs Lake in Garrison (Highway 169). All are invited to join in prayer. The rosary is prayed for the intentions of our Blessed Mother; the conversion of sinners; and to reconcile ourselves, our families and our nation back to God. For more information contact Jean Fetters at (218) 764-2665.

Mass for moms and babies

Mass is offered in the chapel of the Women’s Care Center, 103 E. First St., Duluth, the fourth Tuesday of each month. Mass will be celebrated at 6:30 p.m., with a Holy Hour to follow from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Mass is offered for the work of the center and for moms and babies in crisis in the community. Everyone is welcome. For information call (218) 623-7100.

Ministers’ orientation

Orientation for new DRE’s and youth ministers will be held Wednesday, Aug. 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Diocese of Duluth, 2830 E. Fourth St., Duluth. Information covered will include curriculum standards for catechesis, approved textbooks, safe environment, event policies, youth ministry basics and more. This is also open to any DRE or youth minister who has not previously attended. RSVP to Annette at (218) 724-9111 or [email protected] by Aug. 22.

Shroud of Turin presentation

On Thursday, Aug. 28, at 6:30 p.m., at Immaculate Heart Church social hall, 35208 County Road 37, Crosslake, there will be a presentation on the Shroud of Turin. Presenter Russ Breault, one of the world’s leading experts, has been seen on The History Channel, Discover and CBS. Admission is free. Contact the church for information at (218) 692-3731 or [email protected]. Handicapped accessible.

Grand Breakfast Sunday

Holy Angels Church, 60 Hartman Drive, Moose Lake, will host its grand breakfast Sunday, Aug. 31, from 8 a.m. to noon. All-you-can-eat. Serving pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, egg bake, sausage, whole ham, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, strawberries, juice, milk and coffee. $7.50 per person, children 6 to 12 $4, children under 6 free. Call the church for information at (218) 485-8214. Handicapped accessible.

Kateri Circle

Holy Family Kateri Circle Meeting will be held Sunday, Sept. 7, after the 8 a.m. Mass at the church at 280 Reservation Road, Cloquet.

Spiritual journey to Europe

Join Bishop Paul Sirba of Duluth and Father Tony Wroblewski for 12 days on a spiritual journey to the Czech Republic and Poland from Sept. 8–19. Walk in the footsteps of the newly canonized St. John Paul. The journey will include visits to Prague, Svata Hora, Velehrad, Czestochowa, Krakow, Divine Mercy, Zakopane and more. Cash discount price is $2,999. To receive a free color brochure and registration form, email your name address, phone number (indicate if home, office or mobile phone number please), along with your email address, to Father Tony at [email protected], or simply call the Brainerd Area Catholic Churches office at (218) 822-4040.

Spirit Fest

Spirit Fest at St. Joseph’s Church, 315 S.W. 21st St., Grand Rapids, will be held Saturday, Sept. 13, beginning with Mass at 4 p.m. The activities begin at 5 p.m. Broasted chicken with homemade pie for dessert, quilt raffle. Tickets on sale now. Silent auction, cash bingo and other adult games of chance, live music, big raffle, bake sale, Catholic store and kids games. Held completely outdoors. Call the church for information at (218) 326-2843.

Fall festival

Holy Family Fall Festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kids games, white elephant room, craft booth, bake goods and jams, and lots more to fill two floors. There will also be a silent auction and a basket raffle. Also a meat raffle with meat provided by Old World Meats in Duluth. Pasties will be available. The cafe will have hot dogs, brats, chili, Italian salad and the best hot meatloaf sandwich you will ever have. Drawings will be held at 2 p.m., need not be present to win. Held at Holy Family Church, 2430 W. Third St., Duluth. Completely handicapped accessible.

Shrines pilgrimage

Shrine On with Melissa Stahl and Diana Moravitz of St. Anthony’s parish in Ely. This bus pilgrimage will be Sept. 20-26. Visit five shrines: Our Lady of Good Help, Wis.; Our Lady of Guadalupe, Wis.; The Shrine of Christ’s Passion, Ill.; National Shrine of St. Therese, Ill; and Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill, Wis. For cost and registration please contact Melissa Stahl (218) 235-9329 or Diana Moravitz (218) 365-6249, or email [email protected]. Registration deadline is Aug. 14.

Run for the Mission

Run for the Mission XC race hosted by St. Joseph’s youth of Crosby and Deerwood at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Golf Course, 25039 Tame Fish Lake Road, Deerwood, Oct. 4. All proceeds will go to fund the 2015 mission trip. The distances are 5K, 3K and 1/2K with starting times of 9:30, 10:15 and 10:50 a.m. The fee is $20 if registered by Sept. 20 or $25 after deadline. The 1/2K for kids is free but no T-shirt. All 5K and 3K participants will receive a T-shirt. There is also a spaghetti feed at St. Joseph’s Church, 617 Poplar St., Crosby, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3. Cost is $8 for adults and $5 for kids under 12 years. For more information and to register contact Tammy at (218) 838-0658 or by email at [email protected].

Diocesan Assembly

The Diocese of Duluth’s ninth annual Diocesan Assembly will be held Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Marshall School auditorium in Duluth. The speaker will be Thomas Smith from Ascension Press on “Walking Toward Eternity: Making Choices for Today.” Participants will learn to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ through the daily exercise of love, faithfulness, and prayer. Smith, a former Protestant minister, is an international speaker and a guest on EWTN and Catholic radio. This is a day to gather with the bishop and others from throughoutthe diocese to grow in your faith and to become better equipped to hand the faith on to others. All are invited to attend. Teachers, catechists, parish staff and parish leaders are especially encouraged to participate. Registration deadline is Sept. 22. Registrations after Sept. 22 are not guaranteed lunch and materials. Visit the diocesan website for registration fees. Registration is open at Contact Annette Merritt at (218) 724-9111 for more information. Marshall School is handicapped accessible.

Holy Land pilgrimage

Join Father Justin Fish on a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to the Holy Land for a religious pilgrimage. Tour the places you have heard about in the Gospels making the scriptures come alive. The pilgrimage will be Feb. 2-11, 2015, and is hosted by Nawas International Travel, a renowned tour company with more than 65 years of experience. This will truly be a life-changing experience. For a brochure, send email to Father Fish at [email protected].


Switch to summer proves to be good idea for appeal to support seminarians

By Kyle Eller
The Northern Cross

Parishioners in the Duluth Diocese will likely already have received materials inviting them to participate in the Summer Seminarian Appeal, which directly supports the education expenses of seminarians for the diocese.

From June 2014 ordination
Photo courtesy of Jane MacDougall
The Summer Seminarian Appeal that is currently underway in the Duluth Diocese has multiple benefits. Along with showing seminarians that they have the support of the people of the diocese, it has a practical benefit, too, by helping ensure that men don’t enter the priesthood with a huge amount of student debt. Pictured above is a scene from the June 20 ordination: Bishop Paul Sirba, by the laying on of hands, ordains Father Timothy Lange.

Father Ryan Moravitz, diocesan vocations director, said both the number of donors and the total were improved last year.

“It’s really very striking, actually, for that particular campaign,” he said.

One reason may be the decision to move the appeal to the summer, instead of having it around Thanksgiving. “It’s been a really successful move,” Father Moravitz said.

Moving to the summer presented a couple of advantages. “The reality is we have more people around in the summer than we do in the winter,” Father Moravitz said.

And because the seminarians are usually back in the diocese over the summer, often already on assignment in parishes, they are more easily able to get into parishes where they can talk about the appeal and why it’s valuable.

“And our guys are so impressive,” Father Moravitz said. “People want to meet with them.”

Seminarians encouraged

He said the support from and interaction with the faithful whom they may someday serve as priests is one of the big benefits for the seminarians.

“They get an encouragement from people, of people’s gratitude for what they’re doing, and people’s support for the hard work that they’re putting in right now for the future,” he said. “. . . The people they’re going to serve someday are grateful for them and support them.”

In addition to that moral support, there is a more tangible benefit too. Because the appeal supports immediate costs of seminary expenses, on the practical level it helps ensure that men don’t enter the priesthood with a huge amount of student debt, Father Moravitz said.

Over the past four years, the Seminarian Appeal has raised more than $883,000 to meet the cost of forming priests, and over the same span 12 priests have been ordained. There are currently 12 men in formation discerning a call to the priesthood.

Father Moravitz says for him that’s a “personal investment.”

“I know it’s going to have an influence on me in the future, and on my family and friends in the diocese,” he said.

The seminary formation will help ensure good pastors in the future for his parents and siblings and other family members, so the support of the faithful for the Seminarian Appeal “is actually supporting my family, as well.”

How to participate

Those who want to participate in this year’s appeal can use the materials received in the mail. It is also possible to give online by visiting and clicking on “donate.”

The faithful are also invited to connect with the vocations office on Facebook at

New deacon leader knows his way around program

By Kyle Eller
The Northern Cross

For the first time in about three decades, there is a new face at the helm of the deacon formation program for the Diocese of Duluth. Deacon John Weiske took over the role this summer after Deacon David Craig retired from the position July 1.

Deacon John Weiske
Deacon John Weiske

Deacon Weiske, who grew up in Brainerd, was raised Lutheran and was received into the Catholic Church in 1982. He has been married to his wife Cindy for 33 years and has two sons; Tim, who works for the Archdiocese of Chicago, and Father Daniel, a priest of the Diocese of Duluth, now serving in Brainerd.

Deacon Weiske came to the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1970 and has spent most of his career there, nearly all of it as director of housing and residence life.

“I’ll be retiring from the university after 36 years,” he said.

Taught and counseled

He was ordained a deacon in 2004 and serves at St. Benedict in Duluth. He already knows his way around the diocesan deacon formation program well.

“I’ve been helping Deacon David to develop and implement Inquiry and Aspirancy the last seven or eight years,” he said.

Deacon formation is a six-year program that begins with two years of pre-formation called Inquiry and Aspirancy. Deacon Weiske has coordinated those years for the past two years, leading the classes and assisting those in the discernment process.

His appointment as director of the program was announced last October, at the same time it was announced that Deacon Craig was retiring.

He said that as the reality has come closer, he has become more excited about the prospect, even though it was “not on the radar” as something he imagined 10 years ago when he was ordained.

What he finds most exciting is the formation process or “formation journey” of the men discerning.

“Really what is most exciting to me is to see the transformation of the men and their wives,” he said.

In particular he said he likes to see the different kinds of people who are called in the process, the different gifts they bring.

“It’s interesting to see how each deacon can use his gifts, and the deacons’ wives, as well.”

Program foundation in place

He said Deacon Craig has built a “solid foundation” and a well-respected program that he hopes to build upon. There are four different dimensions to the formation process — spiritual, intellectual, human and pastoral dimensions — and with his professional background, Deacon Weiske hopes to build up the human formation, in part by helping men to develop and use their strengths and gifts.

When married men are discerning a call to the permanent diaconate, their wives also have a significant role, both in approving their husbands’ applications and in participating in the formation classes. Deacon Weiske said he hopes to find ways to enrich the program for the wives, an area where the diocese may end up breaking new ground.

Deacon Weiske said that in his experience, permanent deacons are well-received in the diocese.

“Overall, the ministry of deacons is well supported by our pastors and priests and the bishop,” he said. He added that much of that begins with bishops who have been supportive of the ministry.

In the program currently there are 12 men in formation to become permanent deacons, including three new deacon candidates entering formation this month and one candidate who is to be ordained in November.

Deacon Weiske said he will continue to look for ways to help people become knowledgeable about the formation process. In particular, he said he invites pastors or men who may be discerning a call to get in touch.

“If they have any questions, I’d be very happy to talk to them,” he said. He can be reached at the Pastoral Center at (218) 724-9111 or at [email protected]

Editor’s note: The reporter is among those who are to be installed as deacon candidates this month.

Bishop Paul Sirba: A lost sense of responsibility?

Bishop Paul Sirba

Congress is nearing the end of its term and, as of yet, has not enacted a comprehensive immigration reform package that creates a roadmap to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented people in the U.S. Compounding the issue is the current humanitarian crisis at the U.S./Mexican border with the influx of unaccompanied children, some as young as 5 years old, in search of safety from the violence plaguing their countries of origin.

I urge the northeastern Minnesota community to join me in a passionate plea to our elected officials for reasoned, compassionate action. We must remind them that fixing the U.S. immigration system, as well as the border crisis, is a moral imperative that is immediately necessary to meet the needs of our country and the needs of our aspiring citizens. Read more >>

Bishop Paul Sirba: A lost sense of responsibility?

Along with the other bishops in the State of Minnesota, I was asked to submit an article on immigration reform to a local newspaper, in my case the Duluth News Tribune. The article is reprinted in The Northern Cross with the permission of the News Tribune.

With the recent discussion about what to do about illegal immigrant children, all 52,000 with faces, names and human dignity, and immigration reform in general, I refer the readers of The Northern Cross to information found on the Minnesota Catholic Conference website and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website.

Bishop Paul Sirba
Fiat Voluntas Tua

The hope of the bishops is to highlight the principles based on the dignity of the human person to inform our government leaders in enacting just and compassionate laws to deal with the complicated issue of immigration reform.

Congress is nearing the end of its term and, as of yet, has not enacted a comprehensive immigration reform package that creates a roadmap to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented people in the U.S. Compounding the issue is the current humanitarian crisis at the U.S./Mexican border with the influx of unaccompanied children, some as young as 5 years old, in search of safety from the violence plaguing their countries of origin.

I urge the northeastern Minnesota community to join me in a passionate plea to our elected officials for reasoned, compassionate action. We must remind them that fixing the U.S. immigration system, as well as the border crisis, is a moral imperative that is immediately necessary to meet the needs of our country and the needs of our aspiring citizens.

The U.S. Catholic bishops have repeatedly stressed that our country’s current immigration policies exploit migrants, who flee poverty in their native countries to provide their families with a better life. They are a hard-working people who contribute to our economy through working, paying taxes and social security, and purchasing goods. Yet, as the rest of us benefit from their labor, immigrants are relegated to the margins of society as a permanent underclass without legal protections or the opportunity to become full members of our communities.

Only a tiny fraction of undocumented immigrants are ever able to achieve legal status, and the rest face the consequences of living without the basic freedoms and opportunities that we enjoy as citizens of this country. Many families are torn apart, without notice, as a result of detention and deportation. This reality inevitably leads to isolated and alienated communities of people who hide in the shadows of our society so they can continue to earn a living wage that supports their families.

The only way to end this vicious cycle is by enacting a comprehensive immigration reform package that includes, among other things, a roadmap to citizenship, more opportunities for workers to enter the country legally, and a means to strengthen our public safety along the borders.

Last summer, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill, which was endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Although the legislation is not perfect, it goes a long way towards protecting vulnerable children and families who are currently living in the shadows of our communities. Unfortunately, since then, the U.S. House of Representatives has failed to act on a comprehensive immigration reform bill, further exacerbating the urgent problems caused by our broken immigration system.

Many people have latched on to the heated political rhetoric that has dominated the immigration debate since the Senate passed its bill. Especially disheartening is the inaccurate portrayal of rewarding illegal immigration, or constituting “amnesty.” Though the Senate bill creates a needed roadmap to citizenship, it is hardly a reward for crossing the border illegally. Before even being considered for citizenship, undocumented persons must complete a rigorous, 13-year process which, among other things, requires paying multiple fines, avoiding all criminal activity, becoming proficient in speaking English, and learning American civics.

In speaking about the plight of migrants and refugees, Pope Francis recently said: “Today no one in our world feels responsible; we have lost a sense of responsibility for our brothers and sisters.” It is easy to view immigration reform through the lens of abstract policy debates, instead of challenging ourselves to consider how to create just, yet merciful, laws that address every human being’s basic needs and dignity. Much like the Christian faith, which centers on the person of Jesus Christ, the immigration discussion is about a person — about people. We have the responsibility to see the face of Christ in our migrant brothers and sisters in the same way we do our family, friends and neighbors.

I stand with my fellow Catholic bishops from across the United States and humbly request that Congress and the president work together to achieve lasting solutions that serve the well-being of American citizens as well as the human dignity and inalienable freedoms of aspiring citizens, in the northeastern Minnesota community and throughout the United States.

Video: Catholic schools — now more than ever

Catholic schools are communities of the New Evangelization and partners with parents in a child's education.

Consider a Catholic school for your child. For information about a Catholic school near you, please access the diocesan web page and its section on Catholic schools. (USCCB)


Amid Iraqi suffering, Chaldean Catholics urged to keep focus on Jesus

By Mike Stechschulte / Catholic News Service — Standing in the sanctuary of Mother of God Chaldean Cathedral, flanked by an empty cross and two ominous red symbols, Chaldean Bishop Francis Kalabat led more than 1,000 people Aug. 1 in an earnest prayer for peace and a plea for help.

The bright red symbols were the Arabic letter that stands for “Nassara” or “Nazarene” — meaning Christian, and they were ominous because Islamic militants have used the symbol to identify some 200,000 Iraqis singled out for an ultimatum: Convert to Islam, pay a tax or be killed.

Painted on the targets’ houses, the symbol is intended by the militants to be a derogatory term. But Bishop Kalabat said he wears it with honor.

“This is the latest image today of what has been endured for us as the cross,” he said, pointing to the wooden crucifix behind him. “This is just a new manifestation. A new way of attacking us, a new way of persecuting us.”

Bishop Kalabat, who in June was ordained the second bishop of the Southfield-based Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle, urged those in attendance to keep their focus on Jesus, and to unite their sufferings with him.

“That’s the suffering that we Christians have endured for 2,000 years, and will continue to endure until the end of time,” he said. “We Christians will be persecuted and crucified. Why? Because our beloved Jesus, the one we are anointed in, was crucified.”

The prayer vigil at Mother of God Cathedral followed a rally and march earlier in the day in downtown Detroit, which was attended by about 150 mostly young Chaldean Christians. After the prayer vigil at the cathedral, Bishop Kalabat led a eucharistic procession and rosary outside the church.

In a powerful address to the overflowing congregation, which included several local media outlets, Bishop Kalabat acknowledged the difficulty in forgiving those who unjustly persecute and kill Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere.

“I know I cannot forgive these people who keep hurting us,” he said. “But I know what Jesus said on the cross: ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they have done.’ And I know that he can give me that grace, but we need to ask.”

But the bishop said forgiveness does not mean Christians should not also pray and ask for justice, including from elected leaders. He called on the United Nations and international community to condemn the violence as genocide and said humanitarian aid was badly needed for Iraqi refugees, many of whom have found temporary protection from the Kurdish army after fleeing their homes in northern and central Iraqi cities such as Mosul.

Bishop Kalabat had especially pointed words for President Barack Obama, whom he said has not done much to address the problem.

“I don’t understand President Obama’s words, ‘The situation is an Iraqi problem.’ Since when? How many thousands of American soldiers were sacrificed? Bloodied, lost limbs, lost their souls, lost their lives. How is this not an American problem?” Bishop Kalabat said.

He said the inaction by the White House has prompted the Chaldean community to pursue direct humanitarian aid instead, including via bills currently before Congress.

“This community, you have responded in the most beautiful way,” he said, referring to a $60,000 collection taken up by local Chaldean parishioners about a month ago. “It was a drop in the bucket [compared to what’s needed], but it did help.”

He thanked the senators and representatives who traveled to Iraq to visit with refugees, especially from Michigan and San Diego, where the two largest concentrations of Chaldeans exist in the United States.

The bishop said advocacy groups were in the works, and a website will be created at to keep the community informed about ways to help, donate and get involved.

“We’re trying to bring the community together to be one voice. Not different organizations doing different things, but one voice, one community, one action,” he said.

Stechschulte is managing editor of The Michigan Catholic, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

CRS official: Gaza a ‘complete catastrophe’ on ‘brink of collapse’

By Dale Gavlak / Catholic News Service — A top Catholic charity official described Gaza as a “complete catastrophe” after nearly four weeks of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant Hamas.

“Gaza is on the brink of collapse at this point,” said Matthew McGarry, who directs the Catholic Relief Services’ operations in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem. He spoke to Catholic News Service in a phone interview from Jerusalem, describing the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, a coastal strip subject to Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire.

Despite the “extremely dangerous and challenging situation” in Gaza, CRS humanitarian aid is being still delivered to thousands, McGarry said Aug. 4.

Several calls for humanitarian cease-fires have largely gone unheeded by both sides, while at least six U.N. facilities sheltering Palestinians were shelled.

More than 1,800 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed and more than a quarter of the impoverished enclave’s 1.8 million residents displaced, according to Gazan officials. More than 60 Israeli soldiers have been in the Israeli operation, dubbed “Protective Edge,” seeking to destroy underground tunnels built by Hamas to carry out terrorist attacks in the Jewish state.

“Humanitarian workers are at risk. We had to limit our movements quite a bit,” McGarry said of the bombardments. Despite the constraints on movement, he said, “our teams have been able to move a good deal of humanitarian assistance.”

Distribution of 2,500 household emergency kits were underway to 15,000 people around the Gaza City area, including the heavily bombarded Gaza district of Shijaiyah, less than a mile from the Israeli border, and other northern cities, such as Beit Lahiya.

In addition, CRS has distributed “household kits, hygiene items, kitchen sets and some water storage containers to 500 households, a little over 1,000 people at this point,” McGarry said.

CRS, the U.S. bishops’ international relief and development agency, also helped facilitate the delivery of three truckloads of medical supplies, equipment and some medicines to the Anglican Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza.

McGarry said plans included distributing additional medical supplies and equipment to the Caritas clinics and to Al-Ahli hospital.

Often, reaching out to assist people has been at enormous risk to the CRS staff, he said.

“It’s truly difficult. We have 15 Gazan staff. Half had to flee their homes because of damage and the high volume of airstrikes,” McGarry said.

“It’s extremely dangerous. It’s very stressful. It’s a very hard time. We have great, heroic staff but the situation has placed tremendous demands on them — on their personal and professional lives,” he added. “We have staff whose relatives have died from debris and shrapnel from airstrikes.”

Often the teams work under extremely difficult conditions with little access to drinking water or power in Gaza. The only electric power plant in the strip was disabled in late July.

McGarry said once a calmer environment settles on Gaza and people start to move, CRS plans to assist with badly needed water and sanitation work at centers for displaced families.

“If the conditions in Gaza become slightly favorable, we will scale up accordingly,” he said.

“In the last weeks, there were expectations that things would get better but those expectations have been consistently disappointed with the situation getting worse, to the point that Gaza is on the brink of collapse,” he said.

Gaza has been subject to a seven-year economic blockade, which Israel imposed after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Fatah party.

Vatican seeks more restrained sign of peace at Mass

Catholic News Agency/EWTN News—The Congregation for Divine Worship, in a recent circular letter, announced that the placement of the sign of peace within Mass will not change, though it suggested several ways the rite could be performed with greater dignity.

“The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments ... pronounced in favor of maintaining the ‘rite’ and ‘sign’ of peace in the place it has now in the Ordinary of the Mass,” Father Jose Maria Gil Tamayo, secretary general of the Spanish bishops’ conference, related in a July 28 memo.

Credit: Joseph Shaw via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
The sign of peace is exchanged at a Mass said at Holywell, Wales, on July 6. Credit: Joseph Shaw via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

He noted that this was done out of consideration of the placement of the rite of peace as “a characteristic of the Roman rite,” and “not believing it to be suitable for the faithful to introduce structural changes in the Eucharistic Celebration, at this time.”

The sign of peace is made after the consecration and just prior to the reception of Communion; it had been suggested that it be moved so that it would precede the presentation of the gifts.

Father Gil’s memo was sent to the Spanish bishops and prefaced the Congregation for Divine Worship’s circular letter, which was signed June 8 by Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, its prefect, and its secretary, Archbishop Arthur Roche. The circular had been approved and confirmed the previous day by Pope Francis.

The letter made four concrete suggestions about how the dignity of the sign of peace could be maintained against abuses.

Father Gil explained that the circular letter is a fruit of the 2005 synod of bishops on the Eucharist, in which the possibility of moving the rite was discussed.

“During the Synod of Bishops there was discussion about the appropriateness of greater restraint in this gesture, which can be exaggerated and cause a certain distraction in the assembly just before the reception of Communion,” Benedict XVI wrote in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation “Sacramentum caritatis.”

He added, “I have asked the competent curial offices to study the possibility of moving the sign of peace to another place, such as before the presentation of the gifts at the altar ... taking into account ancient and venerable customs and the wishes expressed by the Synod Fathers.”

An inspiration for the suggested change was Christ’s exhortation, in Matthew 5:23, that “if you remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your offering before the altar, and go be reconciled first.” It would also have brought the Roman rite into conformity, in that respect, with the Ambrosian rite, celebrated in Milan.

The Neo-Catechumenal Way, a lay movement in the church, has already displaced the sign of peace in its celebration of the Roman rite to before the presentation of the gifts.

The Vatican congregation’s decision to maintain the placement of the sign of peace was the fruit of dialogue with the world’s bishops, which began in 2008, and in consultation with both Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

The Congregation for Divine Worship said it would “offer some practical measures to better express the meaning of the sign of peace and to moderate excesses, which create confusion in the liturgical assembly just prior to Communion.”

“If the faithful do not understand and do not show, in their ritual gestures, the true significance of the rite of peace, they are weakened in the Christian concept of peace, and their fruitful participation in the Eucharist is negatively affected.”

On this basis, the congregation offered four suggestions which are to form the “nucleus” of catechesis on the sign of peace.

First, while confirming the importance of the rite, it emphasized that “it is completely legitimate to affirm that it is not necessary to invite ‘mechanistically’ to exchange (the sign of) peace.” The rite is optional, the congregation reminded, and there certainly are times and places where it is not fitting.

Its second recommendation was that as translations are made of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal, bishops’ conference should consider “changing the way in which the exchange of peace is made.” It suggested in particular that “familiar and worldly gestures of greeting” should be substituted with “other, more appropriate gestures.”

The congregation for worship also noted that there are several abuses of the rite which are to be stopped: the introduction of a “song of peace,” which does not exist in the Roman rite; the faithful moving from their place to exchange the sign; the priest leaving the altar to exchange the sign with the faithful; and when, at occasions such as weddings or funerals, it becomes an occasion for congratulations or condolences.

The Congregation for Divine Worship’s final exhortation was that episcopal conferences prepare liturgical catechesis on the significance of the rite of peace and its correct observation.

“The intimate relation between ‘lex orandi’ and ‘lex credendi’ should obviously be extended to ‘lex vivendi,’” the congregation’s letter concluded.

“That Catholics are today faced with the grave commitment to build a more just and peaceful world, implies a more profound understanding of the Christian meaning of peace and of its expression in liturgical celebration.”