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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 83

By February 2, 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 is Forty days after Christmas, and as such, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, recalling His presentation to the Lord by Mary and Joseph in the Temple in Jerusalem, according to the Law of Moses.

There, the aged Simeon feasts his eyes on the Promised One of Israel, and he also proclaims Him “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Lk 2:32a).

That reference to the Light of the World developed into the tradition of blessing candles on this day for sacred use. In the English-speaking world, this day became “Candlemas”—the Mass for blessing candles.

Last week, I underscored St. John Paul II commentary on the “enduring contribution” (No. 43) of St. Thomas Aquinas to our understanding of the Two wings of Faith and Reason.

With today’s feast of Light, St. John Paul II’s imagery further underscores the splendor of the relationship of the Two Wings:

“Thomas had the great merit of giving pride of place to the harmony which exists between faith and reason. Both the light of reason and the light of faith come from God, he argued; hence there can be no contradiction between them” (No. 43).

One thinks of the Creed as well: “Light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made.”

May the glorious light of Christ be our true guide.


It’s About Time


“Know Your Faith” Competitions

Shanley’s Malachi Moore, Madeline Abbott,
Chaplain Fr. Slattery, Theology Teacher Mr. Hurst,
and Rachel Seedfeldt at State “Know Your Faith”

For fifteen years, the Catholic high school quiz bowl, known as “Know Your Faith,” has been an annual highlight for Catholic Schools Week.

Our Shanley High School competition was held on Tuesday, January 30, and our Senior team handily defeated the other grades in the festive event.

The Senior team pictured above, along with most of their classmates, boarded charter buses and left for Bismarck St. Mary’s Central High School just after 7:00 am on Wednesday, January 31.

Kudos to St. Mary’s for hosting an over-the-top, high-energy event for the teams from Dickinson Trinity, Minot Bishop Ryan, Sacred Heart (Minn.), and Shanley.

The host Saints’ team narrowly garnered the state championship, and our Shanley Deacons were valiant competitors.

To view this year’s state championship, click here: Know Your Faith Competition 2024 (


All Schools Mass-Catholic Schools Week 2024

“What a beautiful sight,” Bishop Folda observed at the beginning of his homily yesterday, gazing on the Shanley-Sacred Heart gym filled with our students, staff, families, friends, and clergy for the annual All Schools Mass for Catholic Schools Week.

Our 1st through 12th grade students attended along with 1st through 8th graders from St. Joseph’s School in Moorhead. The prayers, readings, and music centered on the great gift of the Eucharist during this time of National Eucharistic Revival.

Bishop Folda asked that all those would stand who are preparing to receive this gift for the first time in the coming months and encouraged them in their anticipation of the gift of Jesus’ Self-Gift to us.

Our good bishop preached these words in a framework of gratitude for the good work of Catholic education in our schools and for all those who support that mission with their prayers, presence, and other contributions.

Fittingly our Responsorial Psalm response was, “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” (Ps 34:8).


Rev. Mr. John Shanley, Deacon

One Hundred Fifty years ago yesterday—February 1, 1874—a young seminarian from St. Paul, Minnesota was ordained a (transitional) Deacon in Rome.

John Shanley studied in Rome from 1869 to 1874. An at-times sickly student, he moved from “Deacon” to “Priest” on May 30, 1874 with his ordination to the priesthood. Later that summer, he returned to St. Paul, where he would serve as Pastor of St. Paul Cathedral Parish until being named Bishop of Jamestown, North Dakota in 1889.

On February 1, 1874, who would have dreamed that one day this new Deacon’s memory would live on in the “Shanley Deacons”?

Here I recall, St. John Paul II’s wisdom: “There are no simple coincidences in the designs of Divine Providence.”


President’s Proverb


“Who is the king of glory? It is the Lord.”

–Psalm 24:8



Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)




Sunday Psalm Sampler


Fifth 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: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 147:1-6

Responsorial Refrain: “Praise the Lord, Who heals the brokenhearted.” (Ps 147:3a)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2024 Psalm 147 (

The setting of Psalm 147 is the return to and rebuilding of Jerusalem from the Babylonian Exile (c. 538 ff). It thus also includes the Post-Exilic context of praise for the Lord’s mighty deeds and faith in His power.

In this portion of it in today’s lectionary, the Lord gathers the dispersed and rebuilds Jerusalem. In tenderly gathering the exiles, the Lord deals personally and poignantly: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He tells the number of the stars; he calls each by name” (Ps 147:3-4).

As Jesus cures the sick, drives out demons, and gives meaning in the face of misery in today’s Gospel, may we, too, seek His healing power as we sing, “Praise the Lord, Who heals the brokenhearted.”




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).