Browsing News Entries

News in brief April 2020

Ministry of acolyte

On Feb. 23, the Most Reverend J. Augustine DiNoia, OP, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of faith, conferred the ministry of acolyte during Mass in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at the Pontifical North American College to several seminarian students, including Daniel Richard Hammer of the Diocese of Duluth. During his homily, Archbishop DiNoia reflected on the commands of “be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy” and “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” He exhorted that the newly instituted acolytes ponder these commands, as well. As part of the rite, the bishop placed the paten, which contains the hosts for the celebration of Mass, into the hands of each candidate. He then said, “Take this vessel with bread for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his church.” The seminarians will have two additional years of theological studies before being ordained to the priesthood in their home dioceses.

School fundraiser

A fundraiser was held for Assumption Catholic School at Mike’s Pub in Hibbing. For every meal purchased by participants, a portion of the bill was contributed to the school.

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. Come hear the story of how he gave up a six-figure income, a luxury condo, and a girlfriend to become a Catholic priest. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. with breakfast at 9 a.m. Cost is $15. To register, call Lorri at (218) 507-0953.


Blessed Sacrament parish held its annual Funspiel at the Hibbing Curling Club. The event brings family and friends together for an afternoon of curling, competition and conversation. All are welcomed regardless of skill on the ice. Lunch was served between sessions.

Men’s conference thanks CREED Fund

The Diocese of Duluth received $4,000.00 from the CREED Fund to help fund the “Men of Faith: Men on Fire” Catholic men’s conference Feb. 29 in Duluth. This fund – The Catholic Religious Education Endowment Fund – provides for the financial support of educational opportunities for the enrichment of faith and the spreading of the Gospel by the laity, deacons, priests, and Catholic schools in the Diocese of Duluth. The fund is supported in part by the Evangelization Through Education capital campaign. Thank you to all CREED Fund donors and representatives.

Ash Wednesday

Deacon Ray Sampson went to residential facilities on Ash Wednesday to distribute ashes to the homebound.

Knights service projects

St. Raphael’s Knights of Columbus held a “Keep Christ in Christmas” poster contest and awarded the four winning K-5th grade students each $10 for their winning entry. The council also prepped and painted the stair rails the go to the basement in the parish entry, held its annual bowling outing in January, and helped out at the parish Winter Carnival doing games and cooking hotdogs.

Divine Mercy celebrations

Several parishes had planned to
host Divine Mercy Sunday celebrations April 19, but these events are now likely canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions by civil and church authorities.
Queen of Peace, 102 Fourth Street, Cloquet: exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. with the Divine Mercy Chaplet and prayers.
Mary Immaculate, 10 Corey St., Coleraine: adoration and confessions from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Talks will be given and rosary and chaplet will be prayed. Reception to follow.
Immaculate Heart, 35208 County Road 37, Crosslake: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from 1:30 p.m. to 3:20 p.m., speaker Katie Jacobson at 2 p.m., Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m., Mass at 3:30 p.m. and dinner at 4:30 p.m. in the social hall.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, 2801 E. Fourth St., Duluth: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. with a Divine Mercy Chaplet and Benediction beginning at 3 p.m. Confessions available throughout.
St. Anthony, 231 E. Camp St., Ely: Adoration from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. with confession, meditations of Divine Mercy, Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy Chaplet, and veneration of a St. Faustina Relic.

Grandparent ministry

Father Samson Kigorwe M’rinkanya joined the Blessed Sacrament parish
Grandparent Ministry for story hour for children in grades Kindergarten through third at Assumption School. The story time includes a project related to the book that is read.

Editorial: Unplanned ‘fast’ from Mass should make us hunger for the Eucharist

The coronavirus pandemic has caused illness, death, grief, panic, and disruption. It has also taken a spiritual toll on Catholics
in many places, including across the Diocese of Duluth, as many Catholics have found themselves unable to participate in the Mass.

First, out of caution, the Sunday obligation was dispensed. Then, as it became clear that the disease was spreading, the extraordinary step was taken to temporarily suspend public celebration of the Mass, meaning priests are praying Mass privately but for the most part, the faithful cannot attend or receive Holy Communion.

This is the starkest contrast to the lived experience of most American Catholics, where Mass is readily available and the biggest challenge is getting people to come.

For many Catholics dedicated to their faith, this inability to attend Mass has been a painful spiritual hardship, as evidenced by the number of them seeking out livestream and broadcast Masses.

God can bring good out of everything, even the terrible things. Let’s pray that for others and for ourselves this odd time when we find ourselves longing for the Eucharist can feed our devotion to what is and remains the source and summit of the Christian life. And when, please God soon, we are able to return to Mass, let’s do so with a deepened spirit of gratitude.

Deacon Kyle Eller: ‘Imagine’ the kingdom of God among us

For some reason, a couple of doctors from Mayo, at a time when people were dying from COVID-19 or grieving them, and many others were living in fear of a similar fate, decided the most inspirational thing they could do is sing a song with this opening line: “Imagine there’s no heaven.”

Deacon Kyle Eller
Deacon Kyle Eller
Mere Catholicism

The song famously goes on to talk about imagining no religion, nothing worth dying for, no countries, no possessions — just “living for today.”

To put it gently, if you actually listen to the words, that it not only a false message but a profoundly inappropriate one in the circumstances.

My initial reaction was not so gentle. After I saw seemingly every mainstream media outlet in America run a piece about how wonderful and unifying the video was, I have to admit I let my annoyance get the better of me. I mocked the media that fawned over this rendition of what I called “John Lennon’s revolting little atheist camp song.”

Although my annoyance is under better control now, it still bothers me. As we ought to, let’s assume the best of all concerned. Let’s suppose the doctors didn’t intend to spread anti-religious propaganda but just picked a song they liked for its theme of universal brotherhood. Suppose the same about the people sharing it online — without putting a lot of thought into it, most people just like the song, the theme, and the way the guys sang it. Suppose that the media picked up the story because the video had gone viral, not because they were trying to advance the viewpoint of the song’s lyrics.

Still, objectively, the song takes a strong and disputed point of view, including the view that God, religion, and concern for a life beyond this world are obstacles to human unity.

To put it bluntly, that is a direct contradiction of the Catholic Christian view of the path of human unity. No doubt many other Christians, Jews, Muslims, and people of other religions could say the same.

We hold, in fact, that the cause of humanity’s disunity is sin — living out of harmony with the natural law God has instilled in the human heart, which corresponds to human flourishing. The path to unity lies precisely in the cure for sin, in being reconciled with God through his Son, Jesus Christ, who believed there was something worth dying for — you and me. In being reconciled with God we become reconciled with ourselves and with each other.

We believe that human brotherhood itself is rooted precisely in being sons and daughters of the living God.

And what of heaven, which the song bids us to imagine does not exist? Does that take us away from human unity? Again, it is just the opposite. Heaven is perfect union with God who is in himself pure love, truth, goodness, beauty. That is the goal of every human life, the goal which conditions everything else we do. It is this broader horizon, living for far beyond today, that allows us to be meaningfully detached from the things of this world, including our possessions.

This vision and the vision presented by “Imagine” both hold out human unity as an ideal, but apart from that they diverge so dramatically that what one calls the cure for human disunity the other must call the cause of human disunity.

G.K. Chesterton once said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” That’s all too true even among us Christians, and goes some way toward explaining why a culture that has lost its faith can no longer see the beauty of the Christian vision for human brotherhood.

But one thing that’s crystal clear is that when you banish God and what he has revealed for our good and abandon all thought of any transcendent meaning to life in favor of “living for today,” the last thing you get is peaceful unity.

It’s long past time for us to re-propose our vision of unity in Jesus Christ, of his church as the universal sacrament of salvation and a sign of the unity of the human race, and of his kingdom as the place where all are to be gathered, from every race and culture on Earth.

Deacon Kyle Eller is editor of The Northern Cross. Reach him at [email protected]

Betsy Kneepkens: Hectic spring schedule takes a dramatic turn

My April column has taken a dramatic twist. Not too long ago I was overwhelmed by family and work scheduling obligations that were planned for this spring. I was anxious over prioritizing and trying as hard as possible to fit everything in. A part of my article was going to be about how wrong I was that life’s scheduling demands would get easier as my children got older.

Betsy Kneepkens
Betsy Kneepkens
Faith and Family

My thoughts were that although parenting younger children requires more day-to-day local obligations, parenting adult children creates
“desired scheduling,” meaning that as a parent you try to take advantage of as many opportunities you can to interact with your adult children when they are no longer at home with you.

I was going to write about the challenges of fitting in all the significant family functions. I was going to share some ideas on how best to accomplish those life memories alongside some special work events I had planned for this time of year. I wanted you to know that I was going to take each day at a time, because being stressed about being overly busy would destroy the main purpose of why life was hectic.

On the docket, I had multiple opportunities from college graduation, confirmations, my son’s wedding, and work-related items, like the women’s conference. I anticipated my schedule would be crazy, but I was excited that most of these events involved my children and other special life moments. I knew I couldn’t do everything; I knew that the time was limited and precious and I did not know what to leave out. These sorts of decisions were bringing me angst.

I knew the pandemic was concerning, but I did not realize how troubling the situation was until I received a phone call from my college senior son. Very distraught, he informed me that his in-person classes were moved online for the remainder of the year. He was most worried about his college graduation being canceled. He can sometimes be overly dramatic, so I told him to settle down, that he was overreacting. Because “educators” told my son a college degree was unrealistic for him, walking across the stage with honors was extremely important to him. I had to de-escalate his concern, because it sure seemed absurd at the time that his graduation two months from now would be canceled.

Shortly after getting off that phone call, my phone rang again. When I answered the phone this time, my daughter who was on the other end of the call was sobbing. Initially it was difficult to understand her. We realized that she was telling us that the state girls basketball tournament she was playing in just got canceled. Like my son’s goal, playing in the state tournament was one of her dreams and something she worked for every day. She was distraught because that moment was taken from her at no fault of her own. Telling her at that moment that this will be a great life lesson wasn’t going to cheer her up. I simply listened and tried to share in the pain with her. There just were no words to minimize the situation at that moment.

Finally getting my daughter to the point where I could hang up the phone, the dang thing rang again. When I answered the phone this time, it was our diocesan administrator, who shared that the Women’s Conference needs to be canceled — a conference that glories in having over 550 women from around our diocese come together in faith, an event that requires planning for nearly a year with a dozen dedicated volunteers, an event I look forward to all year, and a particular privilege because I work alongside some of the holiest women I know. In a matter of moments, the conference was canceled.

In the next subsequent 24 hours a trip to Philadelphia, a dream vacation to the NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four, an address at a Relay for Life in St. Louis, and my future daughter-in-law’s bridal shower were all wiped from my calendar. Shortly after that, my freshman son who attends St. Louis University told me he had to be out of the dorms now, and my son in medical school said his in-person classes were canceled, so he was coming home to study for his boards.

At this point, no one is going anywhere. Three of my adult children are living at home, and a fourth will be here soon. My husband and I have been encouraged to work from home, and homemade meals have now become a priority again. Laundry is piling up. The house is getting messy, and we are dusting off board games. We are filling up time telling stories, baking cookies, and doing some exercising.

Our first streamed Mass together will be this Sunday. So, we are otherwise laughing, contemplating what this all means for the economy, and staying on top of the news together. As a family, we are resolved that we have no control over this matter, and so we say enjoy it anyways.

This pandemic will end, so I must wisely use this time to be present with my family. Certainly, I hope and pray that this horrible virus is driven from our planet, but I can’t help but hope that in this horror there are blessings. I am convicted to remain in touch with the gift of time God has given me to be with my family and free myself of any stress this situation could cause me. Stay at home, and stay well.

Betsy Kneepkens is director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Duluth and a mother of six.

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. Reach him at [email protected]

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.