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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 104

By June 28, 2024No Comments

“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know Himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”

–St. John Paul II Preface to Fides et Ratio


Fides et Ratio Reflections


Today we remember St. Irenaeus (d. 202), Bishop of Lyons, Martyr, and Doctor of the Church.

He has a fascinating pedigree from the Apostles. St. John, in whose Gospel Jesus proclaims, “the Truth shall set you free” (8:32b), taught Polycarp as a youth, and the Bishop of Smyrna and Martyr, St. Polycarp, in turn taught Irenaeus as a youth. Eventually Irenaeus travelled from Smyrna in Aisa Minor to Lyons (France), where he was elected Bishop.

He was renowned for speaking and defending the truth of the faith against numerous distortions and heresies in the late second century.

In Fides et Ratio, Pope John Paul II emphasized the crucial need for the Truth which sets us free: “Once the truth is denied to human beings, it is pure illusion to try to set them free. Truth and freedom either go together hand in hand or together they perish in misery” (No. 106).

Today’s entrance antiphon at Mass describes St. Irenaeus well: “The law of truth was in his mouth; no dishonesty was found on his lips. He walked with integrity and peace, and turned many away from evil.”

For a steadfast desire for the Truth, which sets us free, we ask for his intercession. St. Irenaeus: “Pray for us.”



It’s About Time


Coaching Awards

Coach Luke Rustad (photo credit: Alyssa Goelzer, The Forum)

Several of our long-time coaches have been honored at the state level recently. Yesterday in Bismarck, Barry Anderson received a “50 Year Award” for his five decades of coaching! Barry has coached cross country, track, and basketball at various levels in addition to teaching PE and Social Studies and serving as our first JPII Schools Activities Director. In track alone, he estimates that he has attended 1,600 practices and 392 meets!

Meanwhile, Luke Rustad led the Deacons to a second state title in Baseball earlier this month in Dickinson. Then, on Thursday, June 20, he earned his 500th win as coach of Fargo’s Legion Post 2—with many of the same Shanley players on the Legion squad. Coach Rustad is now the second winningest coach in ND Legion history. Mr. Rustad teaches PE and Health in our schools and also coaches football and basketball.

Congratulations to Coach Anderson and Coach Rustad for their service and achievements. Thanks to them for their leadership and their formative role with our students over all the decades and go Deacons!



Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul

36 Shanley pilgrims and their chaperones (Fr. William Slattery, Kristin Ellingson, and Cassandra Johnson) are returning to Fargo Sunday from their travels to the “Eternal City.” They left Fargo on June 16 as part of the annual University of Mary-sponsored pilgrimage for rising seniors in our regional Catholic high schools. The robust pilgrimage is typically a well-oiled machine and the pilgrims have many memorable experiences. It always seems that any Shanley student who has participated has returned with an increased desire for the life of Grace and the practice of virtue. It is well worth the investment of time and money. The fitting climax of the annual pilgrimage is attending the Mass for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29 at St. Peter’s Basilica, typically offered by the Holy Father. Let us continue to pray for Pope Francis, successor to St. Peter, and for all the Bishops. May this year’s pilgrimage bear great fruit in our Shanley students!


Starting Year Nine

Monday, July 1 is the eighth anniversary in my role as President of St. John Paul II Catholic Schools. As I begin my ninth year of service, I appeal for your prayers for Catholic schools:

                                          (Used with permission from the University of Notre Dame’s “Alliance For Catholic Education”)

Preface: … [W]e recognize that our lives and our work are totally dependent upon God.  Through prayer, we entrust to God our communities and all we do in service to Catholic schools, as we share Mary’s conviction:

“Nothing will be impossible for God” (Luke 1:37).

Let us pray:

O Christ, our Teacher,

You invite Your faithful people to make disciples in Your name and to announce good news to the poor.  We thank You for the gift of Catholic schools, where

The message of Your life, death, and resurrection is proclaimed,
Christian community is experienced,
Service to our brothers and sisters is modeled,
And worship of You is cultivated.

Increase our zeal for ensuring that all children and families can benefit from a high quality Catholic education, and that Catholic schools grow in their ability to nurture the soul of our nation.

We ask this through the intercession of Our Lady, Mother of Catholic Schools.  Amen


President’s Proverb


“I have considered the virtuous and Christian instruction of youth as a principal object of pastoral solicitude. 

–John Carroll, first Bishop of Baltimore, 1792 Pastoral Letter


 Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)



Sunday Psalm Sampler



“Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

–Luke 24:44b


Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)


Lectionary Readings: Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 30: 2, 4-6, 11-13

Responsorial Refrain: “I will praise You, Lord, for You have rescued me.”(Ps 30:2a)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2024, Psalm 30 (

Psalm 30 is ascribed disparately to both David and to the occasion of the dedication of the Temple’s purification during the revolt of the Maccabees (164 AD).

In both cases, however, there is an underlying unity. David sings of the Lord’s rescue from a grave illness; the Temple was rededicated during the Lord’s rescue from grave oppression. In both cases, the reality of death and destruction was imminent.

This Psalm of praise ultimately foreshadows the Lord’s rescue mission in Jesus’ Death and Resurrection, the definitive defeat of our ancient enemy.

As we enter the Paschal Mystery more fully via the Sunday liturgy today, let us sing our praise for the Lord’s rescue mission from sin and death: I will praise You, Lord, for You have rescued me.”






Mike Hagstrom

Mike Hagstrom was named President of St. John Paul II Catholic Schools and Director of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Fargo on March 15, 2016 and assumed office on July 1, 2016. When he applied for the position, he wrote that his “approach would be that of stewardship of the great gift of Catholic Schools. With the help of God’s Grace and all our stakeholders we can be good stewards together, seeing that our schools not only merely survive, but also thrive. For they are designed for human flourishing, forming as we do the whole person, each and every student, made in God’s image and likeness, endowed with a transcendent dignity and destiny.” Prior to this role, he taught Religion and served in a number of other leadership capacities at Shanley High School for 31 years. There, he embraced St. Bede’s notion that “I have always found delight in learning, teaching, and writing.” Mike earned his B.A. in English and M.A. in Systematic Theology from Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He and his wife, Shawn, have two children (Therese ’08 and Joseph ’16) and two grandchildren (James and Oliver).