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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 17

By October 21, 2022May 5th, 2023No 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

In several previous posts, I have reflected on St. John Paul II’s critique of “scientism.” Last week, I quoted his view of the mythical aspects of the Galileo case often employed to support a scientistic approach to knowing.

It’s interesting, and perhaps providential, that since that last post I have heard two Galileo references in public conversations, one promoting the myth and one puncturing it.

Then this meme also appeared after last Friday’s post.

Let it serve as the final point for this topic from Fides et Ratio.

It’s About Time

St. John Paul II Feast Day Observed

For the first time since October 2019, our five schools gathered to celebrate our patron saint’s feast day.

Bishop John Folda presided and many of our sponsoring parish priests joined in concelebrating the feast day Mass on Wednesday, October 19. I sensed our patron smiling upon such a beautiful gathering of young people, his pride and joy, gathered around the Altar of the Lord Jesus.

The bishop prayed the Collect prayer to open the Mass:

“O God, rich in mercy, Who willed that Pope Saint John Paul the Second should preside over Your universal Church, grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching, we may confidently open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ, the sole Redeemer of the human race. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.”

In his homily, Bishop Folda encouraged our students to embrace the theme that Pope St. John II declared at the beginning of his papacy: “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ.” He spoke of seeing the pope at World Youth Day in Denver in 1993 with more than 700,000 pilgrims and also of meeting him two other times while in Rome.

The eighth Bishop of Fargo is pictured above alongside our patron’s portrait, which was installed on a hallway wall last year for the feast day. Also pictured on the wall are favorite JPII quotations illuminated by students from Sacred Heart Middle School.

Tomorrow, October 22, is the actual feast day of our patron. St. John Paul II: “Pray for us.”

Diocesan Schools Professional Development Day

Fr. Dominic Bouck

Yesterday, October 20, several hundred Catholic school staff members from around the Fargo Diocese gathered at Shanley-Sacred Heart for the annual fall Professional Development Day, which featured keynote speaker, Fr. Dominic Bouck, Chaplain at the University of Mary in Bismarck.

Fr. Bouck enchanted the assembled educators with his message on the essentials of Catholic education in our “change of era.” By that, he meant a culture which lacks a unifying, binding power apart from the exaltation of the sovereign self. A cultural black hole is the result.

Here, I thought of the opening lines of Yeats’ “The Second Coming”:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

What should we Catholic educators do in such an era?

Fr. Bouck advocated the essence of our mission: witnessing to the truth about God and the priority of relationship with Him and to the truth about each person—all made in His image and likeness—that we encounter in our schools. All else in our schools flows from that conviction.

The Law of the Gift

Last Winter, the Diocese of Fargo Stewardship Office invited me to share some reflections for the 2022 God’s Gift Appeal as Director of Catholic Schools. Those reflections on our Catholic schools were included in the appeal video shared throughout the diocese.

My introductory, general remarks were also recorded, and that set of reflections has been posted recently as part of the preliminaries for the next annual appeal.

In these remarks, Pope St. John Paul II has clearly influenced me. Papal biographer, George Weigel, describes “The Law of the Gift,” identified and taught by then Fr. Karol Wojtyla.

Weigel observes, “the giving of oneself in service to others—a key norm in Wojtyla’s personalist ethic…was built into the human condition, he argued philosophically. Responsible self-giving, not self-assertion, was the road to human fulfillment.”

By the way, George Weigel will be the featured speaker at next Thursday evening’s Bison Catholic Banquet (NDSU Newman Center ministry). I’ll be at a table of friends eager to hear more.

President’s Proverb

“Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ.”

Pope St. John Paul II

Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)

(After Tennessee upset Alabama 52-49 last Saturday on a last second field goal in the most-watched college football game this season…)

Sunday Psalm Sampler

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

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

–Luke 24:44b

Lectionary Readings: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 34:2-3, 17-19, 23

Responsorial Refrain: “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.”  (Psalm 34:7)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 30th Sunday Ordinary Time 2022, Psalm 34 Cycle C – YouTube

Psalm 34 is the Responsorial Psalm three other times in the three-year cycle of Sunday readings. In each of those selections, the refrain is the familiar “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord” (verse 9a), which the great tradition applies to the Eucharist.

This Sunday’s responsorial refrain is familiar, too: “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.” In general, the poor are those who place all their trust in God, and this portion of Psalm 34 names “the brokenhearted…those crushed in spirit…his servants…who take[s] refuge in Him (Psalm 34:19, 23).

The humble trust of “the weak…the oppressed…the orphan…the widow…the one who serves God willingly” illustrated in the first reading (Sirach 35), in St. Paul’s example in the second reading (2 Timothy  4), and in the Gospel parable of the tax collector seeking mercy  (Luke 18)—that is the trust we should cultivate this week in order for the Lord to hear our sincere appeal for help, for “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.”  

Mike Hagstrom