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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 81

By January 19, 2024January 22nd, 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


This Sunday marks the Fifth Annual “Sunday of the Word of God,” initiated by Pope Francis to be celebrated on the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time each year.

In Fides et Ratio, St. John Paul II highlights the treasures of Divine Revelation, the reality of Jesus as the definitive Revelation of God, and the difference makes in history:

“God’s Revelation is therefore immersed in time and history. Jesus Christ took flesh in the ‘fullness of time’ (Gal 4:4); and two thousand years later, I feel bound to restate forcefully that ‘in Christianity time has a fundamental importance.’ It is within time that the whole work of creation and salvation comes to light; and it emerges clearly above all that, with the Incarnation of the Son of God, our life is even now a foretaste of the fulfilment of time which is to come (cf. Heb 1:2).

“The truth about Himself and His life which God has entrusted to humanity is immersed therefore in time and history; and it was declared once and for all in the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth. The Constitution Dei Verbum puts it eloquently: ‘After speaking in many places and varied ways through the prophets, God “last of all in these days has spoken to us by His Son” (Heb 1:1-2). For He sent His Son, the eternal Word who enlightens all people, so that He might dwell among them and tell them the innermost realities about God (cf. Jn 1:1-18). Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, sent as “a human being to human beings,” “speaks the words of God” (Jn 3:34), and completes the work of salvation which his Father gave Him to do (cf. Jn 5:36; 17:4). To see Jesus is to see His Father (Jn 14:9). For this reason, Jesus perfected Revelation by fulfilling it through His whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially though His death and glorious Resurrection from the dead and finally His sending of the Spirit of truth.’” (No. 11)


It’s About Time


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Last week I introduced the annual “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.” Recall this year’s Biblical theme, “You shall love the Lord Your God…and your neighbor as yourself” (Lk 10:27).

Inaugurated in 1907, the annual week of prayer began 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). To that end, I invite you to pray this prayer for Christian unity:

We pray, O gracious Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that we all may be one as You are one. In Your community of complete unity, we have our beginning and our end. To You we pray, asking for the gift of visible unity among all who believe in Your Christ.

As we commemorate this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we are reminded by your Word that all human beings are our neighbors and that we are to love them like ourselves and in the same way we love You. Help us to overcome the barriers and divisions we have nurtured against Your will.

Grant to us, O Lord, a new Spirit of love and solidarity, that we may proclaim Your good news to all of creation. We ask this through Your Son, Jesus Christ, who with You and the Holy Spirt are one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


March For Life

Fifteen years after the first Shanley contingent made a March For Life pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. under the intrepid leadership of then-Chaplain Fr. Charles LaCroix, 63 Shanley pilgrims—56 students and their seven chaperones, including Frs. Metzger (Principal) and Slattery (Chaplain)—arrived in the D.C. area yesterday afternoon after a 25 hour journey.

Last night, they attended a prayer rally at EagleBank Arena (capacity 8,400). The “Life is Very Good” gathering included Eucharistic Adoration, Confessions, speakers, and song.

After sleeping in “real” beds, they were up and at ‘em for today’s annual March For Life.  Morning Mass with other pilgrims (including Bishop Folda) set the stage for the rally and March  on the National Mall.

After marching, they will have some time for touring sites of interest in the capital before leaving later Saturday. We expect our pilgrims back in Fargo Sunday evening. Thanks to the Shanley Teens For Life group and their advisors, Fr. Slattery and Mr. Schott, for their leadership in this great Shanley tradition of public prayer witness for the cause of human life.


Chamber of Commerce Panel

      K-12 School Leaders @ Tuesday’s “Eggs & Issues”
            Chamber of Commerce Panel Discussion
   l to r: The Chamber’s Shannon Full, Fargo’s Supt. Gandhi,
   Moorhead’s Supt. Lunak, Oak Grove’s Pres. Otterson,
   Park Christian’s Pres. Nellermoe, moi, West Fargo’s Supt.
   Slette, the Chamber’s Katherine Grindberg

Among its flurry of activity, the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce hosts monthly breakfasts on timely matters, entitled “Eggs & Issues.”

On Tuesday this week, local K-12 heads of school were invited to participate in a panel discussion on education. Leaders provided a fact sheet about their school system and responded to questions from moderator, Katherine Grindberg, and from the assembled Chamber members and friends.

I remain grateful for the invitation to participate and to give updates about St. John Paul II Catholic Schools and our mission of Catholic education. I also appreciate opportunities to work with fellow school leaders. None of us have easy jobs, and I do pray for them and those they lead.

To start the panel, Katherine asked each of us to introduce ourselves and the district we represent along with a highlight to share with the audience.

My answer included this highlight: “We decided to use the nuclear option, and at Shanley we have banned cell phones. Best. Thing. Ever.”

We were briefed to be brief (with seven panelists and limited time), so I was. I would add the following explication:

Removing the constant distraction of cell phones—certainly in the classrooms but also in the hallways and lunchroom—has helped our students focus on learning. Moreover, they conduct actual conversations and the accompanying physical dynamics of good communication.

Many of the Chamber’s questions were focused on “workforce development” and preparing students for the future.

I would argue that some of the most important training and “social-emotional learning” is bolstered by the absence of cell phones. Add to that our focus on teaching the virtues and our holistic approach to education—body, mind, spirit—and I think you have a solid foundation for life and for life-long learning.

A recent survey of employers conducted by the digital magazine Intelligent focused on interview trends by Generation Z job applicants. I think the results make the case for our formation and education program.

Business Insider magazine summarized the findings this way:

“More than half of the employers said young recruits struggled to make eye contact during the interview, and 50% said they asked for unreasonable compensation. Almost half of the employers said a young job candidate showed up in inappropriate attire, and nearly 20% said a recent college grad had brought a parent to a job interview.”

Gen Z Job Seekers Are Turning up to Interviews With a Parent: Survey (

As Inspector Clouseau might say, “Case close-ed.”


President’s Proverb


“The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth of the hole.”

–Karen Kaiser Clark



Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)




Sunday Psalm Sampler


Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. (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: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 25:4-9

Responsorial Refrain: “Teach me Your ways, O Lord.” (Ps 25:4a)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm Third Sunday In Ordinary Time 2024, Psalm 25 (

On September 30, 2019—the Feast of St. Jerome (Patron Saint of Scripture Scholars)—Pope Francis proclaimed that “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study, and dissemination of the Word of God.” That Sunday would then be known as “Sunday of the Word of God.”

Following our Jewish brothers and sisters, the Church has prayed the Psalms from the very beginning, and the “Responsorial Psalm” is included among the readings of the Word of God in every Mass. St. Romuald advised his followers, “The path you must follow is in the Psalms—never leave it.” I believe the weekly Psalm response at Mass is an interpretive key for unlocking all the readings. Hence, this feature in the weekly “Two Wings” blog.

In Psalm 25 this week, 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, “Teach me Your ways, 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).