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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 61

By September 1, 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 addition to the new “Splendor of Truth” class featured in this space last week, here are two more excellent examples of the “Two Wings” of Faith and Reason as well as our commitment to the great Catholic Intellectual Tradition. The descriptions from our program of studies for Shanley High School follow:

Faithful Scholar – This course aims to express the complementarity of faith and reason, particularly the cooperation between faith and the modern sciences. Students will recognize how science can strengthen the truths of faith, while also understand how faith aids scientific inquiry. The course explores subjects such as the proof for God’s existence, evidence for the soul, evolution, the resurrection, and miracles, while not shying away from contemporary challenges such as abortion, transgenderism, in vitro fertilization, and other moral concerns. The course seeks to strengthen the faith of the students and provide them with the skills to articulate the truths of both faith and science as authentically faithful Catholics.

Lens of Faith – Throughout the centuries, faithful disciples of expressed their knowledge of and devotion to God through the medium of art in all its varied forms. In this course students will read pieces of literature and view motion picture art through the lens of faith. Students will identify a variety of virtues through these media and recognize the spiritual and theology messages their authors strive to convey.

Next week, I’ll introduce two other prime examples of our high school’s approach to the Two Wings.

It’s About Time


Back to School Coffees

We have completed our annual “Back to School Coffees”—Shanley-Sacred Heart (August 23), Trinity (August 25), Nativity (August 30), and Holy Spirit (August 31). It’s a chance to thank our parents at morning drop-off time, wish them a happy school year, and share a perk of fresh-brewed coffee from “Beans Coffee.” Thanks to Liz Bassett for coordinating these parent-engagement events.


World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Today is the Ninth Annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, instituted by Pope Francis in 2015. It inaugurates an annual ecumenical period of prayer from September 1 through October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

During this “Season of Creation,” Pope Francis reflects on the intertwined themes of justice and water in Amos 5:24: “The evocative image used by Amos speaks to us of what God desires. God wants justice to reign; it is as essential to our life as God’s children made in his likeness as water is essential for our physical survival.”

To read this year’s message from the Holy Father and more about the call to prayer and action, go here:

Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation [1st September 2023] (13 May 2023) | Francis (

Labor Day

Monday, September 4, is our annual observance of Labor Day in the United States. Thanks be to God for the dignity of using the gifts and talents He has bestowed on us and of co-creating through our work.

Happy Labor Day to one and all. Additional best wishes to all the workers in our St. John Paul II Catholic Schools system.

A Labor Day Mass Collect Prayer:

“O God, Who through human labor never cease to perfect and govern the vast work of creation, listen to the supplications of Your people and grant that all men and women may find work that befits their dignity, joins them more closely to one another, and enables them to serve their neighbor. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.” AMEN

President’s Proverb


“Praise be to You, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.”

–St. Francis of Assisi

Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)


Sunday Psalm Sampler

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (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: Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 63:2-6, 8-9

Responsorial Refrain: “My soul is thirsting for You, O Lord my God.”  (63:2b)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 22nd Sunday In Ordinary Time 2023, Psalm 63 – YouTube

With relatives in Arizona and Nevada and with occasional trips to visit there, images of “the earth, parched, lifeless, and without water” are vivid for me. I can add images (though not desert-level) of our backyard garden at times this summer. “Parched” describes the dry earth well.

Psalm 63 is “of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah” (63:1). For “wilderness,” read “desert.” His palpable thirst for God—Who alone satisfies the soul—is a candid confession (witness) of our deepest desire and need.

In seeking to quench that thirst, imagine the desert in bloom after a rare rain or consider the watered garden’s flourishing produce. This week as we approach the Lord in Holy Communion, let us say, “Amen,” to the only One Who fulfills our deepest desire as we sing, “My soul is thirsting for You, O Lord my God.”

Mike Hagstrom