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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 63

By September 15, 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 course description for the new “Splendor of Truth” class has this final sentence:

“Additionally, students will explore the history of Shanley High School and the virtues pursued over their high school career.”

Yesterday, it was a great joy for me to visit the four Freshmen sections of this class, meet them, and share an overview of our school history and heritage during Homecoming Week.

All the best to Shanley’s Class of 2027!


It’s About Time


Board-Council Retreat: “Deacons on the Way”

On Wednesday, our Board of Directors and Advisory Council held a joint retreat, which featured break-out sessions to reflect on our new Strategic Plan and draft action steps for pertinent objectives related to Advancement, Catholic identity, Enrollment, Governance.

I am grateful to all the participants for their resolute collaboration and work. We made some great progress with action step themes, responsibilities, timing, and resources required.

Other domain groups will also be drafting action steps this fall as we seek to implement the first year of the plan.

Our new Strategic Plan is now available online @ JPII Catholic Schools – Fargo ND (


Field Dedication and Blessing


Prior to the 7:00 pm kickoff for the Homecoming football game versus the Mustangs from Sheyenne, we will gather at 6:30 pm for a dedication, blessing, and ribbon-cutting for our new artificial turf field at Sid Cichy Stadium.

Board Chair, Fr. Andrew Jasinski, will lead the prayer and impart the blessing. A variety of stakeholders will have scissors to cut the ceremonial ribbon (held by members of this year’s Homecoming Court).

Thanks to Scheels for the lead gift for the turf, to all our generous donors, and to all who have worked to move this facility upgrade from conception to birth.

The coin toss, team introductions, national anthem, and kick-off will follow. Go Deacons!


Hall of Fame & Deacon Awards

Tomorrow we will induct new members in our Hall of Fame and bestow Deacon Awards at the 16th Annual Hall of Fame and Mike and Karen Hofer Deacon Awards brunch.

The Mike & Karen Hofer Deacon Award honors graduates, parents, staff, and friends who exemplify the ideals of a Deacon (servant) through extensive service and outstanding contributions of time, talent, and/or treasure to the St. John Paul II Catholic Schools and who reflect honorably on the JPII Catholic Schools and its mission.

The Hall of Fame honors Sacred Heart Academy or Shanley High School alumni, teams, faculty or staff who during or after their time at SHA/SHS achieved a level of excellence deserving of recognition and who reflect honorably on the JPII Catholic Schools and its mission. Their accomplishments can be in athletics, fine arts, leadership, service, career, or professional endeavors.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients:



President’s Proverb


“Apart from the Cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to Heaven.”

–St. Rose of Lima



Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)




Sunday Psalm Sampler


Twenty-fourth 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-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 103:1-4, 9-12

Responsorial Refrain: “The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.”  (103:8)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023, Psalm 103 – YouTube

Psalm 103 is one of the acrostic Psalms, and each of its twenty-two verses begins with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, from “Aleph” to “Taw.” Thus, the structure of the poetry is itself a teaching point: “Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name” (119:1). The Psalm’s comprehensive structure reinforces the Psalmist’s desire to bless God with “all my being.” What better way to do so than the use of every letter of the alphabet?

Psalm 103 a vivid foreshadowing of the power of the Paschal Mystery—the Death and Resurrection of the Lord—for “He pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion” (Psalm 103:3-4).

With the theme of the Lord’s rich mercy prominent in this Sunday’s readings, may we gratefully recall that Divine Mercy and strive to extend forgiveness to others this week as we sing, “The Lord is kind and merciful.”


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).