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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 69

By October 27, 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



“It is confidence and nothing but confidence that must lead us to Love.” –St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face

Just twelve days ago, on October 15, Pope Francis released an Apostolic Exhortation, entitled “It Is the Confidence” (from its opening lines above quoting St. Therese).

The Holy Father explained, “These striking words of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face say it all. They sum up the genius of her spirituality and would suffice to justify the fact that she has been named a Doctor of the Church.”

Her relatively hidden life of confidence has borne great fruit. Pope Francis noted that, “The earthly life of Saint Therese was brief, a mere twenty-four years, and completely ordinary, first in her family and then in the Carmel of Lisieux. The extraordinary burst of light and love that she radiated came to be known soon after her death, with the publication of her writings and thanks to the countless graces bestowed on the faithful who invoked her intercession.”

Today, she is “one of the best known and most beloved saints in our world,” he acknowledged.

The author of Fides et Ratio, St. John Paul II, named her a Doctor of the Church in 1997—the centenary of her death—and proclaimed her an “expert in the science of love.” Pope Benedict XVI, observed Pope Francis, “returned to the subject of her ‘science of love’ and proposed it as ‘a guide for all, especially those in the people of God who carry out their ministry as theologians.’”

St. Therese died on September 30, 1897—just 22 days after the opening of Sacred Heart Academy in Fargo. This great Doctor of the Church continues to teach us about the “science of love.”

To read the new Apostolic Exhortation, visit this link:

“C’est la confiance”: Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father on confidence in the merciful love of God for the 150th anniversary of the birth of Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (15 October 2023) | Francis (


It’s About Time


First Snowfall

We awakened here to the first snowfall of the season, and, depending on your point of view, that may be welcome or not.

We had less than an inch. But to the north and west in North Dakota, many locales had accumulations of a foot or more of the white stuff.

In recent days we had been preparing. We tested our notification system for school closures or delays due to weather conditions. Our custodians readied shovels, ice scrapers, and ice melting spreads. Our snow removal contractors were contacted and ready to go.
So, let it snow.

The late morning photo above shows the new snow on our new turf. I’m not sure how much will still be there for tonight’s first round football playoff game at 6:00 versus the West Fargo Packers.

In any event, Go Deacons!


All Saints Day

                    All Saints Day at Trinity Elementary

“Life holds one tragedy, ultimately: not to have been a saint.” –Charles Peguy

Peguy puts everything in proper perspective—the perspective of ultimate reality: Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell.

Not to be a saint, not to desire holiness or Heaven, not to be in union with Him now and forever—that is the ultimate tragedy.

So, next Wednesday, November 1, is a crucial call to all as we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints in our schools.

Without exception, we are all called to be saints, and the Lord Jesus offers Himself as the Way and the Truth and the Life in order that we may be holy as He is holy. Who doesn’t want a happy ending to the entire story rather than a sad one?

With the Lord, we will cultivate the Life of Grace through prayer and the Sacraments on All Saints Day. Last year at the Trinity Elementary School Mass, I witnessed the festive procession of the saints—students and staff dressed in a chosen saint’s garb, marching in harmony with the classic song. Who doesn’t want to be in that number?

In addition to the school Masses, our board has directed that All Saints Day should be noticeably different in our schools with special lessons, activities, and festive atmosphere to highlight the Holy Day.

Thanks to our staff members for leading our students to the source of all holiness and for witnessing the call to be a saint.

Be a saint. Happy endings are best.


All Souls Day – JPII Schools Memorial Mass

        Candles Lit for the Faithful Departed

The Fifty-First Annual JPII Catholic Schools Memorial Mass will be held on Thursday, November 2—All Souls Day—at Sts. Anne and Joachim Church.

Family and friends of those remembered with a donation to our schools since the last Memorial Mass typically attend. For these faithful departed, we will light candles, read their names, and offer our prayers for them with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let Your perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. AMEN. ALLELUIA.

President’s Proverb


“For I am the LORD your God; sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.”

–Leviticus 11:44



Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)




Sunday Psalm Sampler


Thirtieth 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: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 18:2-4, 47, 51

Responsorial Refrain: “I love You, Lord, my strength.” (Ps 18:2)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023, Psalm 18 – YouTube

In today’s Gospel account (Matthew 22:34-40), the Pharisees test Jesus by asking Him which Commandment was the greatest. He claims that the entirety of the Law and the Prophets is summed up in His two-fold answer: to love God and to love one’s neighbor as oneself.

A Psalm of David, Psalm 18 gives glory and thanks to God, Whom David cherishes as “my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer…my shield, my horn of salvation, my stronghold” (18:2-3). The Lord is victorious, and David, the Lord’s anointed, proclaims his impassioned love for the Lord.

This Sunday, as we recall and participate in the Lord’s victory over sin and death, may we passionately pursue the great Commandment as we sing, “I love You, Lord, my strength.”



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).