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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 36

By March 10, 2023May 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

The Wonder of it All

I’ve been posting about the essential role of wonder in animating the Two Wings of Faith and Reason in the context of Catholic education, frequently quoting our school system’s patron, St. John Paul II from Fides et Ratio: “Without wonder, men and women would lapse into deadening routine and little by little would become incapable of a life which is genuinely personal” (No. 4).

On Tuesday of this week, I made impromptu visits to our three elementary schools (Holy Spirit School, Nativity School, Trinity School).

As I opened the door to one of the fourth grade classrooms at Nativity School, Teacher Tammy Mattson—our school system “Teacher of the Year” last year—invited me to stay for the “Skins and Skulls” activity. The lesson is part of their study of the fur trade in North Dakota history.

I observed the students eagerly put their other learning materials aside, form teams, and move to the various stations to examine, ask questions, hypothesize about the type of animal skin and skull at that station. They were thoroughly engaged in their learning, and it was inspiring to see their energy and the keen sense of wonder they displayed so sincerely. Mrs. Mattson asked and answered questions along the way and helped them draw conclusions from their work.

Thank you, Mrs. Mattson, for your example of educational excellence with our students.

It’s About Time

Arizona Visit

Beginning as a teacher in 2014, I have travelled to the Phoenix, Arizona area nine times with a delegation from our Catholic schools to meet with our alumni and supporters in late February or early March. There, in a variety of settings, we thank them for their support and give updates on St. John Paul II Catholic Schools.

In general, my stock description of this is that while I’m not a big fan of flying in a metal tube to the desert, I am a very big fan of visiting our alumni with great gratitude, sharing the good news about the type of education we offer in our schools, acknowledging the challenges we face, and asking for their prayers and support.

Last week, we did just that. Thank you, Arizona alumni and friends, for the good visits!

It’s A Wrap

Image courtesy of The Fargo Forum

Our Winter sports season officially ends this weekend with the state basketball tournament in Fargo. Congratulations to our Boys Basketball team for qualifying for the state tournament as the number four seed from the East Region, though they ran into a buzz saw last night in the undefeated Bismarck Century Patriots.

Our Girls Hockey co-op team with Fargo Davies finished as runner-up in last Saturday night’s state championship in Minot. Members of our Boys Swim team wrapped up their season at state last weekend, too. Congrats one and all.

Tournament Time Memories

Back to state basketball, our Shanley 1997 State Champion Boys and Girls Basketball teams will be honored at the state tournament Saturday night. Back-to-back state championships for both teams made Shanley High School the basketball capitol of North Dakota in the late 1990s, and I don’t believe any other schools have accomplished that feat. Magic memories!

President’s Proverb

“Not a grumbler”

–Rule of St. Benedict, 4:39 (From the holy abbot’s list of the instruments of good works in the monastic community)

Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)

Sunday Psalm Sampler

Third Sunday of Lent (Year A)

“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: Third Sunday of Lent | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 95: 1-2, 6-9

Responsorial Refrain: “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” (Ps 95:8)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm Third Sunday of Lent 2023, Psalm 95 Cycle A – YouTube

“Give Me a drink.” So requests Jesus from the Samaritan woman in this Sunday’s Gospel. In the ensuing dialogue, the woman prophesies: “Lord, You are truly the Savior of the world; give me living water, that I may never thirst again” (cf. John 4:42; 15).

The first reading from Exodus recounts the Israelite’s complaint about thirst in the wilderness of Sinai. After their “murmuring”—a vice astutely condemned in both Sacred Scripture and Tradition (cf. Rule of St. Benedict, Ch. 40: “Above all things do we give this admonition, that they abstain from murmuring.”)—the place is renamed “Massah” (“Strife”) and “Meribah” (“Trial”).

This portion of the Exodus story is the reference for Psalm 95 and its warning about the heart’s rebellion against God despite all the good He has done for us.

If we want our thirst to be satisfied as the Samaritan woman prophesies, let us sing heartily this Third Week of Lent, “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

Mike Hagstrom