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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 80

By January 12, 2024January 15th, 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


“Welcome to Hilary term,” I would always say when starting adult education classes after the Christmas season and new year.

That term for term two of the academic year is common at Oxford, where greats such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien taught, and at other universities in the United Kingdom.

It is named “Hilary term” after St. Hilary, the saint we remember each year on January 13 (tomorrow), which typically falls after the end of the Christmas season and near the start of the second term.

St. Hilary of Portiers was elected Bishop of that west-central French city in 350. He fought mightily against the Arians (followers of the heretic Arius, who taught that Jesus, though excellent, was merely human, a Son created by God, “made not begotten” to reverse the formula of the Council of Nicea in 325).

Emeritus Pope Benedict summarized the significance of St. Hilary’s battles: “Hilary devoted his whole life to defending faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ, Son of God, and God as the Father Who generated Him from eternity.”

St. Hilary’s master work, “On the Trinity,” explained Catholic teaching in a profoundly influential way. For that lasting contribution to Catholic doctrine, Bl. Pope Pius IX declared him a “Doctor” of the Church in 1851.

Though by temperament a mild-mannered peace-maker, St. Hilary knew the stakes if Jesus were a mere creature: our very salvation would be jeopardized. Hence, his willingness to combat the views of the Arians. He lamented about them: “Anyone who fails to see Christ Jesus as at once truly God and truly man is blind to his own life.”

That is yet another reason why our Catholic schools are so important. In teaching the fullness of truth about God, the human person, and all creation, we follow St. Hilary’s example by helping our students see their true identity as beloved, redeemed daughters and sons of God called to eternal beatitude.

Speaking of beatitude, happy Hilary term everyone!


It’s About Time


Feed My Starving Children

Mrs. Vink and Nativity 5th Graders packing meals

I’ve never used this weekly blog to share a recipe, but I’d like to do just that with the one below from this week. Bon Appetit!

 “MannaPack Rice”

Ingredients: White Rice, Soy Protein Flour, Vegetable Blend Mix, Vitamin & Mineral Mix.

Directions: Bring approximately 900 students, staff, and parent volunteers to the Fargodome on Tuesday, January 9. Seat the group on the east side of the Dome by 11:30 am for welcome, orientation, and instructional videos. Expect 300 additional volunteers from other schools.

On command, wash hands, don vinyl gloves, and disperse to the stations on the floor of the Fargodome in groups of approximately 10. (Some participants will do warehouse and labelling work.)

Groups begin packing process placing the empty MannaPack Rice bag under funnel and adding proper measure of each ingredient using scoop provided. Add rice last. Weigh bag for accuracy (375 grams). Vary weight with rice as needed. Give packet to 18-or-older “sealer,” who heat seals the packet. Place sealed packet on counting table. When 36 packets are tallied, add to packing box and label box number with marker. Packer raises hand, and warehouse worker takes box.

Repeat these steps until 1:20 pm. Finish any bags started. Clean up packing area. Return to seats. View thank you video and learn number of meals packed for the session. Conclude with prayer. Board buses and return to school.

To Prepare: Add MannaPack contents to six cups of boiling water. Stir, cover, and cook over low heat for twenty minutes. Yields six one cup balanced, nutritious meals.

Serves: 936 children for one year (341,928 meals via 1,583 boxes packed yesterday).

“I was hungry, and you gave Me food.” –Matthew 25:35

PS The region has given phenomenal support to the FargoPack event. Sunday is the last day and the goal of 10 million meals packed remains. For volunteer sign-up, visit: FargoPack | We turn Hunger into Hope


Martin Luther King Day

Monday, January 15 will be the annual observance of Martin Luther King Day. Our students have a vacation day, but our teachers will have a professional development day focused on enhancing teaching and learning as part of our new Strategic Plan.

Pope Francis has praised the example of Rev. Dr. King and encouraged on-going work for justice, harmony, and peace:

“In today’s world, which increasingly faces the challenges of social injustice, division, and conflict that hinder the realization of the common good, Dr King’s dream of harmony and equality for all people, attained through nonviolent and peaceful means, remains ever timely,” the holy Father wrote in 2021.

The Collect Prayer for the nation is fitting for MLK Day:

“O God, Who arrange all things according to a wonderful design, graciously receive the prayers we pour out to You for our country, that, through the wisdom of its leaders and integrity of its citizens, harmony and justice may be assured and lasting prosperity come with peace. 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.


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Speaking of justice, the theme of the annual “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” is “You shall love the Lord Your God…and your neighbor as yourself” (Lk 10:27).

Inaugurated in 1907, the annual week of prayer begins on January 18 and concludes on January 25. See the USCCB’s link for more information for this year’s observance: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2024 | USCCB

Our renewed prayers during that week align with Jesus’ prayer to His Father that “all may be one” (John 17:21).


President’s Proverb


“We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”

–Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)




Sunday Psalm Sampler


Second 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: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 40:2, 4, 7-10

Responsorial Refrain: “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” (cf. Ps 40:8a, 9a)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm Second Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023, Psalm 40 Cycle A – YouTube

With the superscription, “A Psalm of David,” Psalm 40 includes thanksgiving to the Lord, Who hears and rescues, as well as appeals for help in the midst of on-going affliction and oppression.

This Sunday’s portion of the Psalm is set in the middle of those two movements with the candid resolution to seek and do God’s will. David sings, “In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, to do Your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”

That echoes the call of Samuel and his response to the Lord in the first reading today: “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:10). Seeking the Lord’s will also led Andrew, the Baptist’s disciple, to follow Jesus’ call in today’s Gospel: “Come, and you will see” (cf. John 1:39).

With the joyful confidence that accompanies those who seek and embrace the Lord’s holy will, let us sing this week, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”



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).