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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 79

By January 5, 2024No 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 we remember St. John Neumann, Bishop of Philadelphia from 1852 until his death in 1860. Renowned for his holy zeal and charity, he was the first United States Bishop to be canonized a saint (1977). Dedicated to the “Two Wings” tradition of Catholic education, he was an ardent promoter of Catholic schools, and led the growth of the Catholic school system in Philadelphia. He also created the first Catholic school board of education in the U.S.

St. John Paul II esteemed the example of St. John Neumann and said of him, “In the mid-19th century, this great missionary bishop, an extraordinary pioneer of the Gospel in North America, spent himself for the Lord, for the Church, and for the people entrusted to his care. Imitate his zeal for proclaiming the Gospel and his burning love for the Church and for his neighbor in need” (Homily, December 15, 2002).

When the Holy Father visited the saint’s tomb in Philadelphia on October 4, 1979, he likewise praised this holy bishop’s example: “My brothers and sisters in Christ: this is the lesson we learn from the life of St. John Neumann, and the message which I leave with you today: what really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ, and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And without the love of Jesus, everything else is useless.”

St. John Neumann: “Pray for us.”


It’s About Time


The New Year

Happy New Year to all. Our schools resumed classes with a new semester on Wednesday, January 3 after a twelve-day Christmas vacation.

On January 3, we recalled “The Most Holy Name of Jesus.” His Holy Name means “The Lord is salvation.” And it is in His Holy Name that our Catholic schools orient, advance, and accomplish our mission.

May all in our schools call on His Holy Name this semester in good times and bad times, sad times and glad times, for He is our strength and salvation.

For your prayer consideration, here is a lovely litany of the Holy Name of Jesus from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus | USCCB


The Christmas Season

Today is the eleventh day of Christmas and we will celebrate Epiphany this Sunday, January 7, 2024. The Christmas season concludes with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord—this year observed on Monday, January 8. May you and yours enjoy these last days of Christmas, everyone!

As we look ahead in time, here a link to a musical setting of the Epiphany Proclamation of Easter and the Moveable Feasts for 2024 (note the “early” Easter this year, March 31):

AnnouncementofEasterMovableFeastsSUNDAY2024.mus (


Feed My Starving Children

Today through Monday, January 15, volunteers in our region will have the opportunity to help pack 10 million meals for the poorest of the poor through the “FargoPack” event at the Fargodome under the auspices of “Feed My Starving Children.”

It will be our joy for our JPII Catholic Schools 4th through 12th grade students to go to the Fargodome for a two-hour shift of packing meals next week.

Many volunteers are still needed for a variety of shifts through the 15th, so please consider participating.

Here is the website for this inspiring event: FargoPack | We turn Hunger into Hope

Here is a short informational video:

And here is a summary of the mission and vision for the FargoPack event:

“Every year, millions of children die from preventable causes such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and undernutrition. FMSC works with local volunteers to pack meals and distribute them through long-term partners worldwide. Feed My Starving Children – Fargo MobilePack is dedicated to seeing every child whole in body and spirit. Each winter, over 10,000 volunteers pack millions of meals for hungry kids. In doing so, we not only feed the bodies of the physically under-nourished but the spirits of each and every volunteer – many of whom are children themselves. We need your help to pay the grocery bill for these meals. Help us feed the spirit of each local student volunteer and turn hunger into hope.”


President’s Proverb


“All people of whatever race, condition, or age, in virtue of their dignity as human persons, have an inalienable right to education.”

–St. John Neumann



Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)




Sunday Psalm Sampler


The Epiphany of the Lord (Year B)


“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: The Epiphany of the Lord | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13

Responsorial Refrain: “Lord, every nation on earth will adore You.” (Ps. 72:11)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm The Epiphany of the Lord, 2024 Psalm 72 (

The Royal Psalm which is Psalm 72 perfectly pairs with Epiphany Sunday. “Epiphany” derives from the Greek word for “manifestation” or “appearance.” The manifestation of “the newborn King of the Jews” to the “Maji from the east” (cf. Mt 2:1b-2a) who sought Him opens the door of salvation for the gentiles—for all nations.

It fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that the Lord’s glorious splendor will shine on Jerusalem and that “Nations shall walk by your light” (cf. Is 60:1-6). St. Paul reiterates the revelation to “His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph 5-6).

This week, our sung response is simultaneously prophecy and prayer, for the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ is meant for all: “Lord, every nation on earth will adore You.”



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).