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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 65

By September 29, 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

St. John Henry Newman was a steadfast and eloquent exemplar of the exercise of the “Two Wings” of Faith and Reason.

St. John Paul II, our Patron Saint and the author of Fides et Ratio, in fact, described Cardinal Newman this way:

“Newman was born in troubled times which knew not only political and military upheaval but also turbulence of soul. Old certitudes were shaken, and believers were faced with the threat of rationalism on the one hand and fideism on the other. Rationalism brought with it a rejection of both authority and transcendence, while fideism turned from the challenges of history and the tasks of this world to a distorted dependence upon authority and the supernatural. In such a world, Newman came eventually to a remarkable synthesis of faith and reason which were for him “like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth” (Fides et Ratio, Introduction; cf. ibid., no. 74).

The beloved Cardinal died on August 11, 1890 (in the first year of Bishop John Shanley’s service in the new state of North Dakota). Pope Francis canonized him on October 13, 2019, and his feast day is observed annually on October 9.

Consider praying this Novena Prayer to St. Newman daily from October 1 (Sunday) to October 9 for all seekers of the truth:

Novena and Prayers – Blessed Cardinal Newman – Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman Website


It’s About Time


Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels

Today is the Feast of the Archangels, and as the Ordo notes, “these Biblical messengers signify God’s transcendence and loving care.”

The homilist at Mass this morning observed that they are witnesses to God’s love for mediation, participation, and involvement with humanity. “God could have snapped His fingers,” the priest observed, “but He delights in mediation.”

That marvelous, mediated order is reflected in the Collect prayer for today’s Mass:

“O God, Who dispose in marvelous order ministries both angelic and human, graciously grant that our life on earth may be defended by those who watch over us as they minister perpetually to You in heaven. 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.

Happy Feast Day to all Michaels, Gabriels, and Raphaels!


Respect Life Month

October is “Respect Life Month” as designated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For more information on the observance and helpful resources, visit Respect Life Month.

Locally, there will be a “Holy Hour for Life,” noon-1:00 pm at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo. The Eucharistic Holy Hour for the intention of greater respect for all human life will conclude with Benediction. A lunch will also be served afterwards.


Blessing of the Pets

Each year, on or near the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4), some of our schools encourage our families to bring a pet for blessing. The beloved tradition will be observed this Wednesday.

Here is a typical blessing of pets:

“Blessed are You, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air, and animals on the land. You inspired Saint Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless this pet. By the power of Your love, enable it to live according to Your plan. May we always praise You for all Your beauty in creation. Blessed are You, Lord our God, in all Your creatures! Amen.”

President’s Proverb

“Greatly should the love be loved of Him Who loved us so greatly.”

–St. Francis of Assisi



Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)




Sunday Psalm Sampler


Twenty-Sixth 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-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 25:4-9

Responsorial Refrain: “Remember Your mercies, O Lord.” (25:6a)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023, Psalm 25 – YouTube

When asked what the three greatest virtues were, St. Bernard of Clairvaux is reported to have said, “humility, humility, humility.”

Psalm 25 would be a perfect companion to that answer.

The Psalmist humbly asks the Lord to guide, to teach, and to make His ways known. He makes this plea while humbly confessing his own sins and frailties. The Psalmist trusts that the Lord’s compassion, love, kindness, goodness, and mercy will triumph over his sinfulness, “for You are God my savior” (Ps 25:5b).

This week, fully aware of our own need for the Savior, let us also humbly turn to Him as we sing, “Remember Your mercies, O Lord.”



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).