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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 66

By October 7, 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

Today, October 7, is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This day we recall, enter, and meditate on the mysteries of our salvation in Jesus Christ as framed by the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

St. John Paul II, author of Fides et Ratio and giver of the “Two Wings” imagery, famously said, “The Rosary is my favorite prayer.”

In the concluding words of his encyclical on Faith and Reason, he appealed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Seat of Wisdom.”

“May Mary, Seat of Wisdom, be a sure haven for all who devote their lives to the search for wisdom. May their journey into wisdom, sure and final goal of all true knowing, be freed of every hindrance by the intercession of the one who, in giving birth to the Truth and treasuring it in her heart, has shared it forever with all the world” (No. 107).

May all people of good will seek True Wisdom on this Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.


It’s About Time


Blessing of the Pets

Last week, I wrote about the traditional blessing of the pets on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The picture above is from Nativity School’s blessing service on October 4. Nativity Pastor, Fr. William Gerlach, blesses a Nativity family’s pet pooch.


Synod on Synodality

Wednesday, October 4 also saw the opening on the “Synod on Synodality.” More than 450 participants have gathered at the Vatican for this portion of the “journeying” (literal meaning of “synod”), which concludes on October 29.

Prayers, please, for all gathered there, and for the Church Universal as we journey.

My prayers will include praying the Rosary, and I will be using the Rosary encased above, the case of which features Pope Francis’ Papal Coat of Arms. The blessed Rosary pictured above is a gift to me from Bishop Folda, secured on one of his visits to Rome.


Nativity Principal

Yesterday, was a whirlwind of “good news” for Nativity School and our JP II School system. The good news is the hiring of Mrs. Jill Koch as Nativity’s next principal. I met with school staff before school started and shared the news. Mrs. Koch then spoke to her colleagues about her decision to apply in response to the Lord’s promptings and her vision as a school leader. Meanwhile, the announcement was sent to various stakeholders in the course of an hour. At an end-of-the-day rally for Nativity School’s annual “Rakeathon,” I told the students the good news that Mrs. Koch would be their new principal officially on November 1. That was a perfect way to wrap up a “good news” day at Nativity.

Congratulations and “thank you” to Mrs. Koch for saying “yes” to serving as Nativity School’s next principal.

President’s Proverb

“May the Rosary never fall from your hands.”

–St. John XXIII



Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)




Sunday Psalm Sampler


Twenty-Seventh 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-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 80:9, 12-16, 19-20

Responsorial Refrain: “The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.” (Is. 5:7a)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 27th Sunday In Ordinary Time 2023, Psalm 80 – YouTube

Psalm 80 begins with a pastoral appeal to God, “O Shepherd of Israel,” Who “leads Joseph like a flock” (80:1). That pastoral-shepherd imagery is common in Sacred Scripture.

This Sunday’s portion of Psalm 80, however, focuses upon another common theme of the Scriptures: Israel as the vine and the vineyard, transplanted and protected by the Lord, Who guards and nurtures its growth.

Here recall Jesus’ clarity: “I Am the vine, and my Father is the vinedresser” (Jn 15:1). He repeats and calls us to remain in Him: “I Am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5).

This week, let us remember that it is the Lord alone Who guards, restores, and nurtures the new Israel—His Church—as we sing, “The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.”



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).