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School news in brief April 2020

Robotics team

St. Francis Knights Robotics is in its third year of VEX IQ Robotics and is off to another great year. This year St. Francis had three teams competing in the St. Cloud area: a middle school team and two elementary teams ranging from third grade up to eighth grade. VEX IQ is a student driven program to expose students to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and now art, fundamentals within the context of building a robot. Both elementary teams have competed in three events and have done well in the new game challenge, Squared-Away. Bringing home awards of teamwork champions, the excellence award, sportsmanship award, second in teamwork and skill champions. The middle school team won awards in create, judges, second in teamwork and skill champion. All three teams qualified for the Minnesota State VEX IQ Championship in St. Cloud, the middle school team finished in first place in qualifying and fifth overall. The two elementary teams finished sixth and 10th in qualifying and fourth and 10th in the finals. Earlier in the year Camden Esser, Shawn Marcussen, Beau Thuringer, and Levi Wolf from team 59365B in the elementary division qualified for the US Open Robotics Championship in Council Bluffs, Iowa, at the end of March.

Schools in Duluth Diocese help set fundraising record

By collectively raising $223,470 through the 2020 Catholic Schools Raffle, Catholic schools in the Diocese of Duluth helped the fundraising program set a new record. It was the highest total the schools in the diocese have raised in the program’s history. From Jan. 17 to March 1, 1,200 students in seven diocesan schools sold raffle tickets to raise funds for tuition support, education technology, curriculum, and physical improvements to their schools. Participating schools in the diocese were St. Francis School in Brainerd, St. Joseph’s School in Grand Rapids, Marquette Catholic School in Virginia, Queen of Peace School in Cloquet, Assumption School in Hibbing, Stella Maris Academy in Duluth, and St. Thomas Aquinas School in International Falls. Thanks to raffle sponsor Catholic United Financial, every dollar raised by ticket sales stays with the schools. The fundraiser came to an official close on March 12 with the prize drawing ceremony during which winners of $40,000 in prizes, from gift cards and vacations to a brand new Buick SUV, were announced by guest emcees Super Bowl Champion Matt Birk and Miss Minnesota 2019 Kathryn Kueppers. When added together with all 89 participating schools in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, the 2020 Catholic Schools Raffle raised more than $1.3 million — a new annual record for the program — and a cumulative total of $9.8 million since the program began in 2009.

Registration is now open

Registration at the Catholic Schools in the diocese is now open. Please contact your school for more information.

Brainerd: St. Francis of the Lakes School, 817 Juniper St., 56401; (218) 829-2344;; [email protected]
Cloquet: Queen of Peace School, 102 Fourth St., 55720; (218) 879-8516;; [email protected]
Duluth: Stella Maris Academy,; SMA. [email protected]
     Holy Rosary Campus, 2802 E. Fourth St., 55812; (218) 724-8565
     St. James Campus, 715 N. 57th Ave. W., 55807; (218) 624-1511
     St. John’s Campus, 1 W. Chisholm St., 55803; (218) 724-9392
Grand Rapids: St. Joseph’s School, 315 S.W. 21st St., 55744; (218) 3266232; school; [email protected]
Hibbing: Assumption School, 2310 Seventh Ave. E., 55746; (218) 2633054;; [email protected]
International Falls: St. Thomas Aquinas School, 810 Fifth St., 56649; (218) 283-3430;; [email protected]
Virginia: Marquette School, 311 S. Third St., 55792; (218) 741-6811; www.; [email protected]

Kristin Chederquist: The heart and soul of Global Friendships

I share with you a wonderful article written by Theresa Kenney about one of our many fabulous Catholic school teachers. Kristin has been employed with Stella Maris Academy as the Global Friendships teacher since 2017. She is a true asset to our teaching community and students:

From the moment you meet her, it’s clear that there’s something special about Kristin Chederquist. It’s not only her kind eyes and easy smile that draw you in, nor is it just her soft voice and gentle demeanor; it is her beautiful spirit which radiates like the warm spring sun after a long Duluth winter.

Kristin Chederquist is one of SMA’s favorite teachers, and to all who know her, it comes as no surprise that she teaches a class called Global Friendships.

Global Friendships is a class created by Kristin for the second, third, and fourth grade students of Stella Maris Academy. It is a class dedicated to opening hearts and minds to a world full of beautiful people, diverse cultures, and endless possibilities; to love as Jesus loved. Students gain exposure and insight to our global community by studying the people of the world, their culture, religion and customs. It is a unique offering, and one that the students treasure.

They love Global Friendships because Kristin puts the students and Christ at the center of every lesson. She has brought in guest speakers from Africa, had the students create scenes from the path that Jesus took in Israel, and read letters from two very unlikely pen-pals; a Palestinian Muslim girl and her Jewish friend from Israel.

It is a multi-sensory approach that allows the children to discover and explore new people and distant places. It also allows the students to learn very complex ideas and enables Kristin to tackle difficult subjects, all through a lens of faith and understanding.

Julianne Blazevik, principal at SMA’s St. James campus, believes the true value in Global Friendship lies not in the curriculum but in the teacher who brings it forth. “The part I love is that Kristin puts her whole heart in the teaching. She approaches the kids not just with facts and information but teaches them in such a way that allows them to feel and relate to what they are being taught. That’s what leads to greater understanding. The kids see that authenticity. They learn through her example.”

The students share those same sentiments and express them in their own way. Kristin’s desk is often littered with heartfelt notes from students thanking her for what she has taught them. Kristin received one such letter from a student who was moving on to SMA’s middle school at the St. John’s campus, who wrote; “You were an amazing teacher. You taught me so much about God. You show so much kindness to everyone, even your enemies! I will miss you so much, and I hope you go on loving God.”

As important as Kristin is to our community, we’ve seen less of her this year than we would like.

Sadly, in July this past summer Kristin was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. In the wake of such a devastating diagnosis, many people would have understandably desired to take a step back from their daily work. Not so with Kristin, who delighted us all by returning to work on Sept. 16, telling her husband; “There’s no better therapy than working with children!” The students have bolstered her spirits through their boundless energy, love, and compassion.

Kristin has battled her diagnosis throughout the fall and winter, enduring countless visits to medical facilities and difficult medical treatments which have resulted in moments where hopes were realized and sometimes dashed. She will continue to battle, and by her shining example, we will continue to love her and pray for her. We ask our entire Catholic community to do the same and remember Kristin, her husband, and her children in their prayers.

Peggy Frederickson is principal Stella Maris Academy, Holy Rosary Campus.

Father Richard Kunst: ‘Offer it up’ — sage old advice for giving our suffering meaning

Being a pastor affords me the opportunity to meet many different people, and since I am currently in the 11th and 12th parishes that I have been assigned to since my ordination to the diaconate back in 1997, you can imagine all the people I have known and come into contact with in my years of ministry.

Father Richard Kunst
Father Richard Kunst

Although it is impossible to measure people’s faith, which is known to God alone, from my observation (for what it is worth),
pretty much the holiest person I think I have known personally is my own grandmother.

Now, I don’t want to make this sound like I am bragging, because this is not the sort of thing one tends to brag about, but to the people in my own family, they pretty much all know what kind of prayerful and holy woman Mary Kunst was. On the human level, I have always given her the credit as being the most influential person that inspired me to be a priest, and I have to say that I still feel her impact on my life and ministry every day, even though she died soon after I turned 18 back in 1987.

My grandmother, like many people in her generation, had a catch phrase that she used all the time — so often, in fact, that in my mind’s ears I can still hear her clearly saying it to me: “Offer it up, Richard!”

If someone complained about anything she would always say the same thing: “Offer it up.”

But what does that familiar saying even mean? I am sure many of you who are reading this can remember that as a pretty common line from Catholics of “yesteryear.” So what is the meaning of this once often used phrase that is not used so much anymore?

We can never be like Christ in his glory, at least not in this life; we can only be like Christ in his suffering. In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul writes something peculiar; “In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body the Church” (Colossians 1:24). We as church are members of the Body of Christ. Because of that, in the mystery of God we can share in Christ’s redemptive suffering, so our suffering can have value, which is why Paul can say those peculiar words, and we can too!

We know how close we are to God by how we suffer, so here are some practical questions to ponder: Am I a negative person? (The people around you know.) Am I easily irritable? Do I complain a lot?

These are important questions to ask ourselves, because if we know that our suffering can mysteriously bring about some good, if we know that in our suffering we can be more like Christ, then we shouldn’t be negative, irritable, and a complainer. If you are one of those people, you make the rest of us have to “offer it up” just to be around you!

Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said that his least favorite place to visit was hospitals, not because of the suffering, but because of the wasted suffering. It is important for us to keep this in mind when we experience small daily setbacks, when we have chronic pain due to age or injury, when we experience strained relationships, or loss of a loved one, loneliness, or being locked in your house because of a pandemic, or any other of the myriads of ways we suffer.

It is indeed most appropriate to consciously offer up our suffering to God. In this way, we give our suffering, in whatever form it takes, true spiritual meaning.

My saintly grandmother was on to something when she told everyone to offer it up when they complained about something. Any complaint implies some level of suffering. Otherwise we would not complain at all. And although we tend to look at that phrase as a token of the past from the “pre-Vatican II” Catholics, it holds much meaning still, and it can serve as a reminder that our suffering indeed has value, if we give it value.

Father Richard Kunst is pastor of St. James and St. Elizabeth in Duluth. Reach him at [email protected]

Father Michael Schmitz: Love in the time of corona

Masses have been canceled. How are we supposed to survive as Catholics, much less continue to grow and raise our families in the faith?

Father Michael Schmitz
Father Michael Schmitz
Ask Father Mike

This is a great question. And it is one that many people are asking in the midst of what seems to me to be an unprecedented moment in our history. I don’t know if there is anyone currently alive who has experienced what we are going through right now.

Before we look at how you can survive, let’s look at why officials in the church might have made the determination to restrict public participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. On the surface, this is quite unreasonable. It even seems like an obvious overreaction. As others have noted, if the coronavirus were merely a virus like any other, it would be an overreaction. If this were just about individual behavior, this kind of quarantining would be unreasonable. But when we consider that we are not merely individuals who only have to think of our individual welfare, we realize that dramatic self-quarantines are not necessarily for the individual but for the common good. In other words, what would be an overreaction for an individual is not an overreaction for the community.

I’ve heard people say, “I don’t care if I get sick — I need to go to Mass.” I am in that same boat. That is my perspective as well. And yet, this virus is reminding us that we are not called to live for ourselves. The quarantine might not be so that you don’t get sick, but so that others don’t get sick because of you. Quarantine, then, becomes an act of love, not merely an act of wisdom.

Others have said, “The bishops just don’t have supernatural faith in the midst of a crisis. They should know that we need prayer now more than ever.” While I understand the sentiment (and agree that we need prayer now more than ever), I am glad that those who make these claims have the luxury of being able to criticize. The leaders of our church have the challenge of making decisions that will have a life or death consequence. We need to pray not only for ourselves and our loved ones, but for them.

Now, how do we survive in the midst of a world where the Mass is not being offered? The first thing to realize is that no priest is going to stop offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for even one day. The proscription is against the public offering of Holy Mass comes with the call for each priest to continue offering Mass regularly. St. Padre Pio once noted, “The earth could exist more easily without the sun than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.” The Mass will continue to be offered. The grace of the Mass will continue to be available to everyone in the world and in purgatory.

How can you pray, though? How can you continue to grow?

I would like to suggest three ways.

First, the Liturgy of the Hours. Each day, every priest and religious sister and brother (and many laypeople) pray what is called the Liturgy of the Hours. This is known as the official prayer of the church. In fact, while every priest is encouraged to offer the Mass every day, they are required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day. This consists of setting time aside for prayer five times a day: Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer, and what is called the Office of Readings.

I would love to invite every Catholic to make the Liturgy of the Hours a regular part of their prayer life. They don’t have to prayer all five times, but even simply starting with Morning Prayer could bear much fruit. Remember, when you pray this universal prayer of the church, you are united with the entire church throughout the world. Powerful.

Second, in our diocese, parishes have been told to keep the church doors open so that the faithful can visit their Lord in the Eucharist. Please visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament! If your entire family is in quarantine, this could be a phenomenal way to get out of the house, as well as stoke your love for the Eucharist. Jesus is Emmanuel (God with us) and he truly tabernacles among us. The doors remain unlocked. Go to him. Stay with him.

In a great season of crisis, St. John Bosco had a vision: the church was a massive ship in the midst of a terrible storm. The only thing that preserved the ship from total destruction were two pillars rising from the sea; one massive and the other smaller. The massive pillar was the Eucharist and the smaller pillar was Our Lady. How do we weather this storm? By visiting Jesus in the tabernacle and by staying close to Mary. (Praying the rosary has changed the course of history in the past, and it continues to do so.)

Lastly, you may know what the Mass “is” and what the Mass “does.” The Mass is the offering of the great once-for-all sacrifice of the Son to the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit for the Father’s glory and the salvation of the world. The Mass is nothing less than that. Now, your priest is going to be offering that great sacrifice up for you every time he prays the Mass. But you can be a part of this through one incredible prayer.

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a way that Catholics can participate in and “extend” the sacrifice of the Mass into the world. Remember, the Mass is the sacrifice of the Son to the Father. That what is happening at every Mass. One of the prayers in the chaplet is,
“Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.” This prayer sums up briefly the action of the Mass and allows the Christian to exercise their priestly character by uniting themselves to the sacrifice of Jesus offered through the ministerial priest.

The worst is not being unable to go to Mass. The worst would be to fail to pray as we can during this time when we can’t go to Mass.

Father Michael Schmitz is director of youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Duluth and chaplain of the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Father Nick Nelson: How should we approach death as Catholics?

What is the proper attitude towards death? Currently, the one thing on the news, in people’s conversation, and on people’s minds is the coronavirus. The increased threat of the COVID-19 virus has some people irrationally fearful and others rightly acknowledging their mortality. Within the current context, it is fitting to ask,“What should a Catholic’s attitude be regarding death?”

Father Nick Nelson
Father Nicholas Nelson
Handing on the Faith

First, what it should not be. There are two unhealthy and possibly damning attitudes towards death.

One, there can be an awful despair in the lives of people as they die. I’ve seen many people, including Catholics, see no real purpose in their life. They don’t care about much, and they just want to die. They don’t have a real desire to be with God, because deep down they have despaired of his love and mercy. They have resigned themselves to believing that their existence will be annihilated or that they will be forever miserably separated from God.

On the other hand, there can be an unhealthy attachment to this life. I’ve seen people, even Catholics, who are dying and they cling to this life and the things of this world like a child unwilling to let go of the Dum Dum in her hand while her father is offering her a giant lollipop. And it’s scary to think of what happens to those poor souls that die in such a state, kicking and screaming and clinging to this life. Those souls clearly do not want to be with God, nor are they content to accept his divine will.

To illustrate the healthy and correct Catholic attitude towards death, it is always good to look to Scripture and the saints.

Take St. Paul for example. “For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, [for] that is far better” (Phil 1:21-23).

How about St. Therese of Lisieux on learning that her tuberculosis was intensifying:

“Scarcely was my head laid on the pillow when I felt a hot stream rise to my lips. I thought I was going to die, and my heart nearly broke with joy …. At five o’clock, when it was time to get up, I remembered at once that I had some good news to learn, and going to the window I found, as I had expected, that our handkerchief was soaked with blood. Dearest Mother, what hope was mine! … It seems to me that at present there is nothing to impede my upward flight, for I have no longer any desire save to love Him till I die. I am free; I fear nothing now, not even what I dreaded more than anything else, a long illness that would make me a burden to the Community. Should it please the Good God, I am quite content to have my bodily and mental sufferings prolonged for years” (Story of a Soul).

Both St. Paul and St. Therese are not afraid of death. They are not despairing, nor are they are clinging to this life. They are perfected in love. They have allowed God to transform them so as to love him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. They desire God for himself and not the good things that he gives them. They long to possess him whom their hearts long for. But, if the One they desire and long to please above all else desires that they continue to live on earth, suffer, and carry their crosses daily, they will gladly submit, knowing that is what pleases the one they love.

Now, there are people dying, and they rightfully worry about their spouse and kids. I am especially thinking of men and women dying at a way too young of an age. They should use all the medical means possible to live. They should pray for miracles. This is right and just.

But then if it is clear that the moment of death is near, we pray that there can be a humble acceptance of God’s will. We pray that a mother can say, “God, you are God. I love you and trust you. I know you didn’t cause this tragedy for my family, but for some mysterious reason that I cannot see, you have allowed it. And I accept it because I love you.”

We should all desire like St. Paul and St. Therese to get to the point where we have been so sanctified by God’s grace that our desire is to be with God, but our ultimate desire is to please him and accept whatever his will is for us, even if that means more toil on earth. That’s what it means to be a saint.

Many of us may not get there by the time we die, but please God, in our last days, even if we are not yet perfected in love, we will be able to accept God’s call home, knowing that we are loving him by accepting his will — trusting that his purifying love will perfect us and make us capable of loving him forever in heaven.

Father Nick Nelson is pastor of St. Mary, Cook; St. Martin, Tower; and Holy Cross, Orr. He studied at The Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Rome. Reach him at [email protected]

Calendar April 2020

Editor’s note: Due to the coronavirus and various civil and church steps that have been taken to limit its spread, schedules are rapidly changing. Please check in advance before attending an event. In particular, events before April 20 should be presumed canceled or postponed — if in doubt, check with organizers for additional information.

Carmelite community

A third order Carmelite community meets monthly at St. Joseph’s Church, 315 S.W. 21st St., Grand Rapids. Meetings are held the first Saturday of each month. Rosary at 8:30 a.m., followed by Mass at 9 a.m., and morning prayer. Meeting at 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. For information on the Carmelite community, please call Deacon Richard Johnston at (218) 966-8251 or Ann Johnston at (218) 966-3052.

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-D uluth 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 or visit click on “Donate.”

Chicken dinner and bake sale

St. Rose Catholic Church, 2 Sixth Ave., Proctor, will hold its spring chicken dinner and bake sale Sunday, April 5, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Adults are $10, children are $5, and children under 5 are free. There are two basket drawings. Take-outs are available. St. Rose is handicapped accessible.

Family ham bingo

The Immaculate Heart Knights of Columbus family ham bingo will be held April 5 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Immaculate Heart Church, 35208 County Road 37, Crosslake. Lots of drawings plus brats, hot dogs, pop and homemade goodies for sale, and free coffee. Bingo will be 50 cents per game. Kids 15 and under are half price. Contact Don Majsterski at [email protected] or (763) 300-4999.

Communion and Liberation

The Communion and Liberation School of Community meets every Sunday evening at 5:45 p.m. at St. Benedict Church, 1419 St. Benedict St., Duluth. Prayer, singing, and sharing experiences in light of our friendship in Christ, the group finishes in time to join the congregation in sung vespers at 7 p.m. The community is a companionship that educates. They are currently reading
“Generating Traces in the History of the World” by Father Giussani. For more information, please contact William Vouk at (320) 630-8119 or at [email protected]

Living in God’s Divine Will

A group meets Mondays from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at St. Benedict Church, 1419 St. Benedict St., Duluth. Come learn how living in God’s will is so much more than doing God’s will. For information, call Barb Larson at (218) 724-0368.

Centering prayer

The Center for Spirituality and Enrichment is offering times of centering prayer. It will be on the first and third Mondays of the month from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 6 to May 18 at the McCabe Renewal Center, 2125 Abbotsford Ave., Duluth, facilitated by Jim Reinke. It will also be hosted the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 14 to May 12 at the McCabe Renewal Center, facilitated by Pat Winkelman and Judy Russell. Cost is $5 per session or $45 for all sessions. To register visit

Holy Week retreat

Christ the King Retreat Center, 621 First Ave. S., Buffalo, is holding a men and women’s silent Holy Week retreat April 8-11. The theme is “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” Presented by Oblate Father Bob Morin. Cost is $250 per person. Register at

Charismatic prayer group

Proclaimers of Christ Catholic charismatic prayer group meets the second Thursday of the month at St. Agnes Church, Elm at Division Street, Walker. A potluck supper starts at 6:15 p.m. with praise and worship at 7 p.m. On the fourth Thursday of the month gatherings will be at Sacred Heart Church, 300 First St. N., Hackensack, starting at 7 p.m. For information contact David LaFontaine (651) 503- 0168 or Don Rudquist (218) 675-7701.

Prayer group

A prayer group meets Thursdays at 7 p.m. at St. James Church cafeteria at 721 N. 57th Ave. W., Duluth. Please park in the back parking lot. Coffee and goodies for a social after prayer. Handicapped accessible. Contact Sharon (218) 590-2265 for questions.

Kateri Circle (Duluth)

St. Lawrence Church Kateri Circle meets the second Sunday of each month at St. Lawrence Church, 2410 Morris Thomas Road, Duluth, after the 11 a.m. Mass. Become involved in the “reach out” to make St. Kateri known throughout our area. Contact Michele at (218) 591-0556 for more information.

Carmelite community

A third order Carmelite community meets monthly at St. Patrick’s Church, 203 Lawler Ave. S., Hinckley, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month. For more information on the Carmelite community, please contact Gail Von Reuden, TOC, at (320) 384-7305.

Women’s retreat opportunity

Christ the King Retreat Center, 621 First Ave. S., Buffalo, is holding a women’s silent weekend retreat April 17-19. The theme is “Broken, Blessed, and Sent.” Cost is $160 per person or $100 for students. Register at


Stella Maris Academy’s annual Stellabration dinner and auction will be held Saturday, April 18, at the Greysolon Ballroom, 231 E Superior St. No. 2165, Duluth. All proceeds go to support Catholic education in Duluth. To purchase tickets, donate, or sponsor the event, visit

Father Solanus Casey Fraternity

The Father Solanus Casey Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order meets the third Sunday of each month at 12:30 p.m. at Holy Family Church, 2430 W. Third St., Duluth (lower level). Secular Franciscans are lay Catholics and diocesan priests who commit themselves to living lives of simplicity, prayer, peacemaking, and service to the church and others, especially the poor. Secular Franciscans are part of the worldwide Franciscan family, including friars and religious sisters, who follow in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. For more information contact Franz Hoefferle, fraternity minister, at (218) 728-4904 or [email protected]

Divine Mercy celebration

Mary Immaculate Church, 10 Corey St., Coleraine, will hold a celebration for Divine Mercy Sunday April 19 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and confessions will be available throughout. The Rosary will be prayed at about 2:15 p.m. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will be prayed at 3:30 p.m. Benediction will be at 3:50 p.m. Reception to follow. For questions please call the parish office in Nashwauk at (218) 885-1126.

Fundraising banquet

The eighth annual Together for Life Banquet to raise funds to support the Star of the North Maternity home will be Sunday, April 19, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Greysolon Ballroom, 231 E. Superior St., Duluth. Nic Davidson will be the keynote speaker, and Father Nick Nelson will be the emcee. To get involved, sponsor a table, or become an underwriter, contact Together for Life Northland at (218) 461-0564 or [email protected]

Conversation about funerals

A “Conversation with Keith Shatava about Funerals” will be held Monday, April 20, at 6 p.m. at Our Lady of Hope Church, 16 W. Fifth Ave. N., Aurora. Keith is the owner and director of Zimmer-Moeglein-Shatava Funernformatial Homes. He will speak about trends in funeral service. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers. For more ion email Debi at [email protected]

Zenith City Catholic

Zenith City Catholic is a Catholic Young Adults group in the Duluth area that meets on the third Tuesday of each month for adoration at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, 2801 E. Fourth St., Duluth. After, the group meets for a time of fellowship. For questions or to learn more about other upcoming events, email [email protected] or visit Zenith City Catholic on Facebook.

Grief support

A grief support group meets the first and third Thursday of the month from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Immaculate Heart Church, 35208 County Road 37, Crosslake, in a lower level classroom. For more information call Jean at (218) 839-1958.

Spring bingo

St. Mary’s Catholic Church will be holding a spring bingo on Sunday, April 26, at Meadowlands Community Center, 7758 Western Ave., Meadowlands. There will be a freewill offering lunch at noon followed by two sets of 11 bingo games. There will be prizes and door prize drawings. For questions call Kathy Morgan (218) 427-2111.

Public square rosary

Our Lady of Fatima, Garrison, and Holy Family, Bulldog Lake, holds 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.

Log church tours

Tours are being offered of the old log church at Sts. Mary and Joseph Church in Sawyer. Take the opportunity of a tour to venerate an authentic relic of St. Kateri Tekakwitha in the current church. The log church is on the National Register of Historic Sites. Narrated tours are led by Deacon Bryan Bassa. Call Deacon Bassa at (218) 879-6933 or Betty at St. Francis Church, Carlton, at (218) 384-4563 to schedule a tour. For more information on the church visit


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 pm at St. John’s Church, 1 W. Chisholm St., Duluth. Please contact Deacon Walt Beier at [email protected] to confirm the meeting schedule. Are you experiencing samesex attraction and looking for answers? Contact Deacon Beier at [email protected] for support group information. Also visit

FertilityCare introductory sessions

Northland Family Programs, a FertilityCare Center, holds free Creighton Model FertilityCare System introductory sessions. CrMS is based on the knowledge and understanding of the naturally-occurring phases of a woman’s fertility and infertility. A woman can know her cycles and use this information for the maintenance of her health. Further, couples can use this knowledge to plan their family and build their future together. To get started, call (218) 786-2378 or visit

Catholic Singles Group

Catholic Singles Group in the Twin Ports serves singles age 40 and up and hosts weekly and monthly events such as swing dance lessons. Contact Laverne at (218) 491-3241 or visit Call at least one day in advance of event to register.

Traditional Latin Mass

St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 124 Fifth St. S.E., Cook, will begin offering the Traditional Latin Mass every first Saturday of the month beginning May 2. St. Mary’s will offer a First Saturday Mass in honor of our Blessed Mother in the Extraordinary Form at 9 a.m. Saturday. Everyone is welcome.

Spring bingo

St. Louis Catholic Church, 105 Fourth Ave. E., Floodwood, is holding a spring farm fest bingo. There will be a freewill offering lunch at noon. Bingo begins at 1 p.m. Cost is 25 cents per card. Prizes include one $100 blackout and two $50 blackouts. There will also be basket raffles, split the pot, selling frozen pasties. For questions contact Sally (218) 590-7340.

Rhubarb festival

The 16th annual rhubarb festival will be held June 27 at the corner of 11th Ave. E. and London Road, Duluth. There will be many activities and games for all ages, a stage show including The Boys Back Home and The Brothers Bum Mountain, and many rhubarb pies, crisps, ice cream, lemonade, brats, and more.

Magnificat breakfast

Our Lady of the Lakes Magnificat will be holding a breakfast on Saturday, June 27, at St. Agnes Parish, 210 Division St., Walker. Father Michael Arey from Holy Rosary Catholic church, Detroit Lakes, will be sharing his testimony. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. with breakfast at 9 a.m. Cost is $15. To register, call Lorri at (218) 507-0953.

The Vatican Returns to Duluth

The papal archives of Father Richard Kunst will be displayed for the public on Aug. 7-9 at the DECC, 350 Harbor Dr., Duluth. The Vatican Returns to Duluth will include the artifacts themselves, a Vatican store, a sponsors’ gala dinner, and a wine and cheese night (both events with guest speakers). Visit to preview this collection and for event updates. If you would like to volunteer for this event, contact the co-chairs of the Volunteer Committee, Vicki Faegre at [email protected] and Judy Goar at [email protected]

A spiritual journey to Poland

Join Father Tony Wroblewski and Father Seth Gogolin for 12 days on a spiritual journey to Poland beginning Sept. 28, 2020. The journey will include visits to Gdansk on the Baltic Sea, Torun, St. Faustina’s childhood home and parish Church, Wroclaw, Czestochowa, Krakow, Divine Mercy, and more. To download the free color brochure and registration form, visit or for more information contact Father Wroblewski at [email protected] or (21/) 822-4040 or Father Gogolin at (218) 326-2843.

Holy Land pilgrimage

Join Father Brandon Moravitz and Father Drew Braun on an 11-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The pilgrimage will include visiting Mt. Carmel, Nazareth, Caesarea Philippi, Mt. Of the Beatitudes, Jordan River, Bethlehem, Dead Sea, and more. Contact Father Moravitz at (218) 741-6344 or contact the tour company at (800) 515-2632 or for more information.

Life news in brief April 2020


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Choose Life

Choose Life Minnesota Inc. is working to bring a Choose Life license plate to Minnesota. The goal is to have funds raised from the sales of the plates support pregnancy resource centers to help expectant mothers who choose to make an adoption plan for their unborn baby. There are currently bills in the both the Senate and House. This plate has been approved in 32
states and the District of Columbia, raising more than $28 million.

The Guiding Star Project to open two new affiliate locations this spring

The Guiding Star Project is opening two new affiliate locations this spring: Guiding Star at the Shores (New Jersey) and Guiding Star Marshalltown (Iowa), adding to a national network of Guiding Star Centers now reaching seven locations. Each Guiding Star Center contributes to a long-needed cultural and healthcare shift that affirms the beauty and dignity of women by supporting rather than suppressing a woman’s natural biological state of health. Services at Guiding Star locations include natural fertility and family planning, pregnancy and childbirth services, breastfeeding and
postpartum services, and family life services.

Bill to ban taxpayer-funded abortion introduced in Minnesota Legislature

A bill to prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion in Minnesota was introduced in the House and Senate last month. The measure, backed by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, aims to stop the government bankrolling of thousands of abortions in the state every year. “Abortion isn’t a public good deserving of public funding,” said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. “It’s an injustice against both unborn children and their mothers. Taxpayers should not be forced to be part of this.” The legislation, H.F. 4404 / H.F. 4403 and S.F. 4271, is authored by Rep. Marion O’Neill (R-Maple Lake) and Sen. Carrie Ruud (R-Breezy Point). It would challenge a 1995 state Supreme Court decision, Doe v. Gomez, that requires Medicaid funding of abortion for pregnant women who receive state assistance. In 2017, the latest year for which data is available, taxpayers reimbursed abortion practitioners $1.06 million for a record-high total of 4,356 abortions, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. State-funded abortions have risen each of the last four years — a 28 percent jump since 2013. In 2018, according to a report from the Minnesota Department of Health, a record-high 44.5 percent of abortions occurring in Minnesota were publicly funded. Minnesota law prohibited taxpayer funding of elective abortion prior to the Doe v. Gomez decision.

Livestream options for Mass

During this time of suspended public Masses, there are a number of places, both within the diocese and outside of it, where Mass is available via livestream.

A prayer of Spiritual Communion may be made at the appropriate time of the Mass, or at any time of the day or multiple times of the day:

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

Here are available and planned livestreams known at the moment. An updated list will be available on the diocese’s main Coronavirus page.

Livestreams from within the Diocese of Duluth
  • Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, Duluth: livestreaming a 5 p.m. Saturday Mass and 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass on the parish Facebook page, possibly adding some number of daily Masses as well.
  • Holy Angels, Moose Lake, livestreams all its Masses on the parish website, and the livestream is always up, so if the faithful would like to do a “virtual Holy Hour” before the Blessed Sacrament, that will be available 24-7. Daily Mass will be at 8 a.m.; Saturday at 5:30 p.m. (also on the local public access channel) and Sunday at 8:30 a.m.
  • Father Joseph Sobolik, of St. Cecilia and Mary Immaculate, is livestreaming his Masses on his Facebook page.
  • St. Andrew, Brainerd, is planning to stream its Masses through Facebook Live Sundays at 10 a.m.
  • Brainerd Lakes Catholic Churches, Brainerd, plans to livestream its Masses through the parish website.
  • St. James and St. Elizabeth, Duluth, will be livestreaming a 10 a.m. Sunday Mass. 
  • St. Benedict Church, Duluth, will be streaming its Masses on its website. Livestreams can also be found on Fr. Joel Hastings' YouTube page. Daily Masses Tuesdays at 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. (Latin), Thursdays at 8 a.m., and Fridays at 8 a.m. (Latin). Sunday Masses at 9 a.m. and noon (Latin).
  • Father Blake Rozier, of Immaculate Heart, Crosslake, is livestreaming his Masses on his Facebook page. Daily Masses will be Tuesday through Friday at 8 a.m. (except on Tuesday, March 24) and Sunday Mass at 10:30 a.m. Masses will be reposted on Immaculate Heart's Facebook page. 
  • Father Mike Schmitz, of the University of Minnesota Duluth Newman Center, will be livestreaming Sunday Mass at 9 a.m. on Ascension Presents' YouTube channel.
  • Father Brandon Moravitz, of Holy Spirit, Virginia, will be livestreaming his Masses on his Facebook page. Sunday Masses are at 10 a.m.
  • St. Joseph, Grand Rapids, will be streaming its Masses on Facebook at 9 a.m. daily, including Sundays.
  • Blessed Sacrament Hibbing, will be streaming its 8 a.m. Sunday Mass on HPAT cable Channel 5 or on the internet channel online. Mass is rebroadcast on Wednesday at Noon and Thursday at 10 a.m.
  • Father Nick Nelson, of Holy Cross, St. Martin, and St. Mary, will be streaming his Sunday Masses on his Facebook page. Masses will be reposted on the parish website
  • St. Anthony Church, Ely, will be streaming its Masses on Facebook. Daily Masses are 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Sunday Masses are at 10 a.m.
  • St. Patrick's, Hinckley, and St. Luke, Sandstone, are streaming their Masses on Facebook. Sunday Masses are at 9:30 a.m.
  • St. John's, Grand Marais, and Holy Rosary, Grand Portage, are streaming their Masses on Facebook. Daily Masses are at 8:15 a.m. and Sunday Masses are at 9 a.m.
Outside the Diocese of Duluth

Duluth Diocese announces additional measures to stem Covid-19 

March 18, 2020 — In a directive today, Father James B. Bissonette, diocesan administrator for the Diocese of Duluth, announced additional temporary measures to help stem the spread of Covid-19.


In the new directive, all public Masses are suspended through April 20, effective Friday, March 20. (Priests may celebrate a private Mass without a congregation.) In addition, the diocese has cancelled all gatherings of more than 10 people and said that even in smaller gatherings, those vulnerable or showing any signs of illness should stay home, and all present should practice good hygiene and “social distancing” policies such as remaining six feet apart.

The document also contains guidance for Holy Week liturgies, as well as questions regarding first Communions, confirmations, and funerals.

Father Bissonette said that confessions and office hours should continue to made available on a regular basis, that churches should be open for an extended period each day so people could come individually and pray, and reiterated guidance for keeping Sundays holy when Mass is not available. He said the clergy and faithful should continue to visit and care for the sick, including through providing the sacraments.

"I do not take these temporary measures lightly and I strongly encourage you, the Faithful and the Clergy, to do the same," Father Bissonette wrote. "Let us pray that I will be able to lift them soon, that we will remain safe and well as we stand with Mary at the foot of the Cross during this crisis time, and that we will be able quickly to resume the public sharing of the Gospel and our Catholic faith."

He noted that the measures could extend beyond April 20, or should conditions improve more rapidly than expected, that they could be lifted at that time.

# # # 

Duluth Diocese dispenses Catholics in the region from Sunday Mass obligation

March 13, 2020

In light of the rapid spread of the coronavirus (covid-19) across the world and now to Minnesota, Father James B. Bissonette, diocesan administrator for the Diocese of Duluth, has dispensed Catholics in the diocese from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation for the duration of the crisis.  


For Catholics, attending Mass on Sundays and certain other important holy days is an obligation and a precept of the church. That obligation is not binding in certain circumstances, for instance when it would be impossible or in cases of illness. For just reasons, the church’s pastors can also “dispense” or lift that obligation for the faithful. 

In a letter to the faithful to be read at Masses this weekend, Father Bissonette said that during this time, Masses will continue to be celebrated at the usual times in parishes and institutions. But should a member of the faithful decide that attending a Mass would pose a risk either to themselves or to others, they can in good conscience refrain from attending. 

Father Bissonette made the decision after receiving the advice of the Minnesota Catholic Conference (the public policy arm of the state’s bishops) and a local infectious disease specialist. Other dioceses in the area are taking similar steps. 

At the same time, Father Bissonette advised parishes to cancel any large parish gatherings through the month of March, extending that as necessary. That includes the diocesan Women’s Conference, which had been scheduled for March 28.

The decision to dispense from Mass and cancel large gatherings follows guidance issued a week ago by Father Bissonette advising pastors, at their discretion to: 

  • Suspend the practice of Communion under both kinds and  
  • Suspend the physical exchange of the Sign of Peace.

Both involve options in the liturgy of the Mass that can help reduce the likelihood of disease transmission. 

Father Bissonette also encouraged pastors to tell their faithful to stay home if they feel sick or have flu-like symptoms, to wash their hands frequently, and to check with the Minnesota Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control for the latest updates and recommendations. 

The diocese continues to monitor the situation at the local, state, and federal level and will provide updates as needed. 

In his letter to the faithful, Father Bissonette encouraged those unable to attend Mass to “still do what we can to keep holy the Lord’s Day.” He suggested such practices as following Mass on television, the radio, or online; making a Spiritual Communion; and other practices, such as silent prayer, reading Scripture, praying the rosary, or other prayerful devotions. 

“As all of us rise to the challenges presented by the coronavirus, let us remember to pray for one another and to support one another as children of God and brothers and sisters of the Lord, most especially those affected by this virus and those who care for them,” he said.