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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 64

By September 22, 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 our new “Splendor of Truth” class for Shanley Freshmen, one required text is “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren. This “classic guide to intelligent reading” should be a boon and a beacon for our students.

In the preface to my 1972 edition, Mr. Adler emphasizes the growing need for the book (originally published in 1940) given the erosion of educational expectations and the increasing influence of various media. And he notes those realities decades before the internet’s further erosion of reading capabilities.

At last Saturday’s Hall of Fame/Deacon Awards Brunch, I repeated the story told by one of the recipients at a previous gathering. Msgr. Robert Laliberte ‘64 said that the gift of this book—”How to Read a Book”—at age 13 from a priest in his parish school changed his life. He was voted “most intelligent” and “most studious” by his classmates at Shanley and was Valedictorian of the Class of 1964.

“Monsignor,” I said before giving him the Deacon Award, “you’ll be happy to know that your alma mater is now requiring all Freshmen to read the book that was so influential in your life.” He was beaming.


It’s About Time


Sacred Heart Pilgrimage

There was good weather today for the annual 8th Grade Pilgrimage. The 10-mile prayer journey began with Mass at Holy Spirit Church and proceeded south with stops at St. Paul’s Newman Center, St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. Anthony’s Church, Nativity Church, and Sts. Anne & Joachim Church.

Thanks to Chaplain Fr. William Slattery and Religion teacher Mr. Ryan Modahl for planning this powerful, prayerful pilgrimage and overseeing the carrying of the Cross with the Class of 2028.

Thanks to Mrs. Doreen Kennelly ’70 (another Deacon Award recipient last Saturday) for introducing this venerable, inspirational middle school tradition!


Fall Equinox

The Autumnal Equinox in Fargo will occur at 1:50 am tomorrow, September 23. Daylight will continue to diminish daily. Other signs of fall (such as leaves) will fall.

Happy Autumn (also known by the increasingly popular “Pumpkin Spice Season” moniker) to you and yours.


Catholic Charities Sunday

“Catholic Charities Sunday” is this Sunday in the Fargo Diocese. For more information about the good work of Catholic Charities North Dakota (CCND) and how to support our neighbors in need see this year’s video:

Celebrating 100 Years of CCND – YouTube

CCND’s website provides even more information and details the wide variety of program offerings:

Catholic Charities North Dakota – Fargo, ND (

President’s Proverb


“If I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love [charity], I am nothing.”

–1 Cor. 13:2b



Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)




Sunday Psalm Sampler


Twenty-Fifth 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-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18

Responsorial Refrain: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him.”  (145:18a)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 25th Sunday Ordinary Time 2023, Psalm 145 – YouTube

Psalm 145 is the final alphabetical acrostic Psalm (each verse beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet). When used elsewhere in the Sunday Lectionary, the refrain, “I will praise Your name forever, my king and my God,” is consistent with the Psalm’s over-all theme of praise. Indeed, the subscript of the Psalm is, “A David song of Praise.”

But this Sunday the refrain illustrates a related dynamic: the Lord’s nearness to those who beseech Him within that framework of praise. The Psalm’s stanzas portray the Just and Faithful One, Who merits our praise, to Whom we can call out with our needs, for He is near.

This week let us turn to Him in thanksgiving and make known to Him our needs as we sing this reminder: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him.”



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).