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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 37

By March 17, 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 world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” —William Butler Yeats

The great Irish poet saw the world as a “seer.” In that sense, Amaziah’s dismissal of the prophet Amos comes to mind. Amos 7:12 recounts Amaziah’s frustration as court prophet for King Jeroboam. Exasperated with Amos’ prophesy of exile and the death of the king, he says to the shepherd, Amos: “Get out, you seer.” 

Yeats found mere scientific rationalism an empty dead end. It falls short of the mystery (even the small “m” mystery of that which is finite). His poetic approach, vivid images, and vibrant poetry envisioned mystery.

In Fides et Ratio, Pope John Paul II repeated his words given at the University of Krakow in 1997, noting that “Scientists are well aware that ‘the search for truth, even when it concerns a finite reality of the world or of man, is never-ending, but always points beyond to something higher than the immediate object of study, to the questions which give access to Mystery’” (No. 106).

Capital “M” Mystery—the Mystery of God—alone satisfies. So saw the seer-Pope.

It’s About Time

St. Patrick

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Founded in 1882 by Presentation Sisters from Ireland and staffed for decades by many sisters of Irish heritage, our Irish roots run deep as a school system.

“Shanley High School” is named after Bishop John Shanley (1852-1909), proud son of Irish immigrants, who came to the United States in 1832.

The first Bishop of Fargo was a gifted speaker, and one young contemporary recounted that an over-flowing opera house crowd heard another speaker denounce Spain’s cruelty as soldiers were about to depart Fargo for the Spanish-American War. Bishop Shanley followed and “presented Company B with a large United States flag.” Then from the eloquent Bishop’s lips, the young man “learned more about the kind of treatment England had handed out to the Irish over a period of 700 years than I ever expect to learn again.”

As we celebrate the Apostle of Ireland and our Irish heritage today, we can pray the prayer known as “The Breastplate of St. Patrick”:

Christ shield me this day: Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.

Strategic Planning Retreat

Tomorrow is our long-anticipated Strategic Planning Retreat for St. John Paul II Catholic Schools. Since the board’s approval last spring to engage the team from Partners in Mission (proven Catholic school consultants) and the September 21 kick-off events for board, council, staff, and strategic planning committee/domain members much work has been done to review, assess, and study our school system.

Strengths and weaknesses have emerged and specific issues in each of the eight domains have been identified by the 60-some retreat participants. Those participants will draft goals and objectives to address the issues and create a plan for the next five years. Domains include Academics, Advancement, Catholic Identity, Enrollment, Facilities, Finance, Governance, and Student Life.

Thanks to all those who have been a part of this process. It’s been a great investment for a flourishing future.

St. Joseph, Husband of Mary

With March 19 falling on a Sunday this year, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary is transferred to Monday, March 20.

Speaking of Bishop John Shanley, the south side of the Cathedral Church he built (dedicated May 30, 1899) has a large stained glass window depciting the Holy Family.

The top of the window is pictured above. From right to left: “Ave Maria,” “Holy Family,” and “Ite Ad Joseph.”

“Ite Ad Joseph” are the words of Pharoah during the famine in Egypt: “Go to Joseph” (Gen. 41:55). The son of Jacob would provide as the Lord had revealed through his ability to interpret dreams.

The Lord revealed His will to another Joseph centuries later—the husband of Mary and Guardian of the Redeemer.

Genesis 41:55 remains good and wise advice: “Go to Joseph,” for he is the Patron of the Universal Church and guards the Body of Christ now just as he guarded the Body of Christ as foster father.

President’s Proverb

“Love is never defeated, and I could add, the history of Ireland proves it.”

–Pope St. John Paul II

Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)

Sunday Psalm Sampler

Fourth 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: Fourth Sunday of Lent | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 23: 1-6

Responsorial Refrain: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” (Ps 23:1)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording:  R&A Psalm Fourth Sunday of Lent 2023, Psalm 23 Cycle A – YouTube

This most famous, beloved, and memorized of all Psalms is used the Fourth Sunday of Lent in Year A of the lectionary cycle.

It’s a most perfect fit for adult catechumens, for our children preparing for First Communion and Confirmation, and for all of the faithful.

The shepherd boy David’s Psalm is a beautiful portrait of David’s trust in the Lord as Shepherd at the literal level.

Interestingly, the Church from the early centuries saw the Sacraments of Initiation in this Psalm as well: the still waters of Baptism; the head anointed with oil in Confirmation; and the overflowing Cup of the Eucharist.

As we progress through Lent and into the depths of the Paschal Mystery and the Sacramental Life in the Sacred Triduum, let us remember that there is no good greater than the Greatest Good which is God as we sing, “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”

Mike Hagstrom