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Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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June 10, 2018 Deacon Jim Philbin

Most Holy Body & Blood of Jesus

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Corpus Christi June 3, 2018

Clergy assignments

Bishop Paul D. Sirba has announced the following clergy assignments, effective Wednesday, July 11.

  • Father James Bissonette, pastor of St. James, Duluth, to pastor of St. Raphael, Duluth, and St. Rose, Proctor.

  • Father Drew Braun, pastor of St. John, Grand Marais, and Holy Rosary, Grand Portage, to pastor of St. John, Duluth, and St. Joseph, Gnesen.

  • Father David Forsman, pastor of St. James, Aitkin; Our Lady of Fatima, Garrison; and Holy Family, Hillman, to pastor of St. James, Aitkin; Holy Family, McGregor; and Our Lady of Fatima, McGrath.

  • Father Elias Gieske, pastor of St. Joseph, Crosby, and St. Joseph, Deerwood, to pastor of St. Joseph, Crosby; St. Joseph, Deerwood; Our Lady of Fatima, Garrison; and Holy Family, Hillman.

  • Father Seth Gogolin, pastor of St. Cecilia, Nashwauk, and Mary Immaculate, Coleraine, to pastor of St. Joseph, Grand Rapids, and St. Augustine, Cohasset.

  • Father Richard Kunst, pastor of St. John, Duluth, and St. Joseph, Gnesen, to pastor of St. James, Duluth.

  • Father Steven Langenbrunner, parochial vicar at St. James, Duluth, to pastor of St. John, Grand Marais, and Holy Rosary, Grand Portage.

  • Father Kuriakose Nediakala MCBS, pastor of Holy Family, McGregor, and Our Lady of Fatima, McGrath, to return to his religious community in India.

  • Father Joseph Sobolik, pastor of St. Raphael, Duluth, and St. Rose, Proctor, to pastor of St. Cecilia, Nashwauk, and Mary Immaculate, Coleraine.

  • Father Jerome Weiss, pastor of St. Joseph, Grand Rapids, and St. Augustine, Cohasset, to retirement.

Bishop Paul Sirba: Priests, too, ‘bear this treasure in earthen vessels,’ so pray for them

Christ Jesus offered himself for us. From his wounded side flowed blood and water, the fountain of life for his people.

This June, not only are the clergy moves announced in the Northern Cross, but the Holy Father has designated June 8, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, as the day of sanctification of the clergy.

Bishop Paul Sirba
Bishop Paul Sirba
Fiat Voluntas Tua

What I appreciate about the message and the timing announcing the sanctification of the clergy is the relational dimension of the announcement. If your parish is one that is directly affected by the transfer of a new pastor, there may be some added incentive for you to pray as well.

Pope Francis calls us all back to our initial encounter with Our Lord. He says, “In fact, all of us ‘have had in our life some encounter with Him’, and each of us can make his own spiritual remembrance and return to the joy of that moment ‘in which I felt that Jesus was looking at me’” (Pope Francis, Homily at Santa Marta, April 24, 2015).

I guess I’d like to state the obvious. Priests are not cut out of any cookie- cutter mold. Each one of us is unique and distinct. We have strengths and weaknesses, we have virtues and vices.

As I mentioned in my Chrism Mass homily this year, Catholics (and non- Catholics) many times expect that because priests preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and administer the sacraments, they should automatically, by the Sacrament of Orders, be perfect themselves — not so much! We are human.

Pope Francis described himself as a sinner, I do too — me, not him. Our priests, please God, frequently or regularly go to the confessional box. We have sins for which we need to be accountable, but accountability does not mean we are fair game for gossip.

Mr. John Sondag wrote a piece for The Catholic Servant on “Criticizing our Priests.” He had, I think, some very important things to say. He said, “Some parishioners want their priests to be heroes, but not every priest can be a hero, because heroes are persons who do great things that are out of the ordinary, and most men are not that extraordinary. Yet, our Lord chooses ordinary men to sanctify, teach, and guide His flock, and that’s the mystery of the sacraments. Our Lord uses ordinary things — bread, wine, oil, water, ordinary men — to manifest His presence and grace in the world. It’s really the same principle as the mystery of the Incarnation: God (Who is spiritual) becoming man (Whom we can see, hear, and touch).”

God shows His power working through our human weakness. He uses vessels of clay to manifest His power — a treasure in earthen vessels.

Quoting from Pope St. John Paul II’s letter to priests in the year 2000, many times the frailty of priests has made it hard for the people of God to see in them the face of Christ. “Here in the Upper Room why should this amaze us? Not only did the betrayal of Judas reach its climax here, but Peter himself had to reckon with his weakness as he heard the bitter prediction of his denial. In choosing men like the Twelve, Christ was certainly under no illusions: it was upon this human weakness that he set the sacramental seal of his presence. And Paul shows us why: ‘We bear this treasure in earthen vessels, so that it might be clear that this extraordinary power comes from God and not from us’” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

During the time of St. Augustine, the Church had to wrestle with the idea of the Donatists in the fourth century. They believed that the sacramental power of the priest was only valid when the priest was in the state of grace. The Church ultimately condemned this position, saying that even a priest who is in the state of mortal sin could validly administer the sacraments — ex opere operato — when he intends to do what the Church intends.

Obviously, we all want to be, along with our priests, in the state of grace. We want to be holy and perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. But God’s hands are not tied even by the lives of offending priests. Infallibility is not dependent on impeccability (being without sin).

I was encouraged by a woman religious in my seminary years that God would use me and my brothers in the seminary in a unique way. We would relate to our people in a way unlike any other. God chooses men to maximize his reach. We are different, unique, strong and weak, saints and sinners. God uses a variety of persons to be instruments of His grace.

My dear people, please continue to pray for our priests. Pray for our seminarians. Let us all resolve to be more united with Jesus and His Sacred Heart, to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God. May the Lord keep us all in his charity and lead all of us, shepherds and flock, to eternal life. Amen.

Bishop Paul Sirba is the ninth bishop of Duluth.

The Ascension of the Lord

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May 13, 2017 Mothers' Day

Handmaids coming to the Diocese of Duluth

Father Ryan Moravitz announced at Holy Family Church in Duluth this weekend that the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus are coming to the Diocese of Duluth and will be taking up residence at the former Holy Family rectory.

The Handmaids come with the blessing and invitation of Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba.

"With thanks to Almighty God, I am delighted to welcome the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus to
the Diocese of Duluth!" Bishop Sirba said. "... Please join me in welcoming the Sisters to the Diocese of Duluth."

Father Moravitz said in a live Facebook video Monday that to start with there will be four sisters moving to the diocese, and their official move-in day is Aug. 17. In the video, some of the sisters can be seen working alongside parishioners in preparing the site. It will be made to accommodate up to six sisters.

The charism of the Handmaids is "to live in imitation of Mary as handmaid, virgin, bride, and mother
in the diocesan life of the Church, carrying out the New Evangelization in parishes." They are know for their work in parishes.

For more information about the handmaids, visit https://www.handmaidsoftheheartofjesus.com/.

5th Sunday of Easter

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April 29, 2018 First Communion Mass

4th Sunday of Easter

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April 22, 2018 Deacon Kyle Eller

Holiness means being loving, not boring, pope says

God calls all Christians to be saints — not plastic statues of saints, but real people who make time for prayer and who show loving care for others in the simplest gestures, Pope Francis said in his new document on holiness.

"Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality, or joy," the pope wrote in "Gaudete et Exsultate" ("Rejoice and Be Glad"), his apostolic exhortation on "the call to holiness in today's world."

ExhortationPope Francis signed the exhortation March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, and the Vatican released it April 9.

Much of the document was written in the second person, speaking directly to the individual reading it. "With this exhortation I would like to insist primarily on the call to holiness that the Lord addresses to each of us, the call that he also addresses, personally, to you," he wrote near the beginning.

Saying he was not writing a theological treatise on holiness, Pope Francis focused mainly on how the call to holiness is a personal call, something God asks of each Christian and which requires a personal response given one's state in life, talents and circumstances.

"We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer," he wrote. But "that is not the case."

"We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves," he said.

He wrote about "the saints next door" and said he likes "to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God's people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile."

Pope Francis also noted the challenges to holiness, writing at length and explicitly about the devil just two weeks after an uproar caused by an elderly Italian journalist who claimed the pope told him he did not believe in the existence of hell.

"We should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech, or an idea," the pope wrote in his exhortation. "This mistake would lead us to let down our guard, to grow careless, and end up more vulnerable" to the devil's temptations.

"The devil does not need to possess us. He poisons us with the venom of hatred, desolation, envy, and vice," he wrote. "When we let down our guard, he takes advantage of it to destroy our lives, our families, and our communities."

The path to holiness, he wrote, is almost always gradual, made up of small steps in prayer, in sacrifice, and in service to others.

Being part of a parish community and receiving the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and reconciliation, are essential supports for living a holy life, the pope wrote. And so is finding time for silent prayer. "I do not believe in holiness without prayer," he said, "even though that prayer need not be lengthy or involve intense emotion."

"The holiness to which the Lord calls you will grow through small gestures," he said, before citing the example of a woman who refuses to gossip with a neighbor, returns home and listens patiently to her child even though she is tired, prays the rosary, and later meets a poor person and offers him a kind word.

The title of the document was taken from Matthew 5:12 when Jesus says "rejoice and be glad" to those who are persecuted or humiliated for his sake.

The line concludes the Beatitudes, in which, Pope Francis said, "Jesus explained with great simplicity what it means to be holy": living simply, putting God first, trusting him and not earthly wealth or power, being humble, mourning with and consoling others, being merciful and forgiving, working for justice, and seeking peace with all.

The example of the saints officially recognized by the church can be helpful, he said, but no one else's path can be duplicated exactly.

Each person, he said, needs "to embrace that unique plan that God willed for each of us from eternity."

The exhortation ends with a section on "discernment," which is a gift to be requested of the Holy Spirit and developed through prayer, reflection, reading Scripture, and seeking counsel from a trusted spiritual guide.

"A sincere daily 'examination of conscience'" will help, he said, because holiness involves striving each day for "all that is great, better, and more beautiful, while at the same time being concerned for the little things, for each day's responsibilities and commitments."

Pope Francis also included a list of cautions. For example, he said holiness involves finding balance in prayer time, time spent enjoying others' company, and time dedicated to serving others in ways large or small. And, "needless to say, anything done out of anxiety, pride, or the need to impress others will not lead to holiness."

Being holy is not easy, he said, but if the attempt makes a person judgmental, always frustrated, and surly, something is not right.

"The saints are not odd and aloof, unbearable because of their vanity, negativity, and bitterness," he said. "The apostles of Christ were not like that."

In fact, the pope said, "Christian joy is usually accompanied by a sense of humor."

The exhortation included many of Pope Francis' familiar refrains about attitudes that destroy the Christian community, like gossip, or that proclaim themselves to be Christian, but are really forms of pride, like knowing all the rules and being quick to judge others for not following them.

Holiness "is not about swooning in mystic rapture," he wrote, but it is about recognizing and serving the Lord in the hungry, the stranger, the naked, the poor, and the sick.

Holiness is holistic, he said, and while each person has a special mission, no one should claim that their particular call or path is the only worthy one.

"Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm, and passionate for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred," the pope wrote. "Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned, and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia ...."

And, he said, one cannot claim that defending the life of a migrant is a "secondary issue" when compared to abortion or other bioethical questions.

"That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian," he said.

Pope Francis' exhortation also included warnings about a clear lack of holiness demonstrated by some Catholics on Twitter or other social media, especially when commenting anonymously.

"It is striking at times," he said, that "in claiming to uphold the other commandments, they completely ignore the eighth, which forbids bearing false witness or lying."

Saints, on the other hand, "do not waste energy complaining about the failings of others; they can hold their tongue before the faults of their brothers and sisters, and avoid the verbal violence that demeans and mistreats others."

— By Cindy Wooden / Catholic News Service