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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 88

By March 8, 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 of God (d. 1550), a Spaniard, not to be confused with fellow Spaniards St. John of Avila (d. 1569) or St. John of the Cross (c. 1591).

A soldier who had a powerful conversion at the age of 40, he impetuously embraced extreme penances to the point that he was placed in a hospital for the mentally ill.

St. John of Avila counselled him to moderation and to turn to his neighbors in need as “cures.” Eventually, St. John of God founded the Order of Hospitallers (O.H.) to care for the sick. He is a patron saint of hospitals, the sick, and nurses.

Recall the wise counsel of St. John Paul II about the relationship of the Two Wings in Fides et Ratio:

Faith asks that its object be understood with the help of reason; and at the summit of its searching reason acknowledges that it cannot do without what faith presents” (No. 42).

For this proper balance, we invoke the saints. St. John of God and St. John Paul II: “Pray for us.”



It’s About Time


February 29, 2024

Thursday last week was the quadrennial observance of leap year and always features news features about those born on that exceptional day. Julius Caesar (assassinated 44 BC) introduced the leap year to align the solar and cultural calendars according to his leading astronomers.

The Julian calendar worked well initially, but the solar year is not precisely 365.25 days per year. Rather it is 365.24219 days long—a difference of 11 minutes and 14 seconds annually.

Of course, that had a cumulative effect over the centuries, and by the 16th century, the calendar was ten days off kilter.

Here we can give thanks to Pope Gregory XIII, who in 1582 instituted the reforms through what we know as the Gregorian calendar.

Among the changes, those who went to sleep the evening of October 4, 1582 awakened to the morning of October 15, 1582. (I always advised my students not to believe anyone who claimed to be born between October 5-14, 1582, because they would be lying.)

Furthermore, any year marking a century—ending in “00”—would not be a leap year unless it was evenly divisible by 400. Those of us who were alive in the year 2000, for example, experienced something centuries rare.

Thanks to Pope Gregory and his scientific advisors for reckoning time for us. Until the next leap year in 2028, peace be with you.


End of Third Quarter

We held Parent-Teacher Conferences in our elementary schools this week, and the last day of the third (!) quarter of the year for all students was Wednesday, March 6.

We begin fourth quarter (50 days long) on Monday, March 11. Meanwhile, congratulations on the progress to date by students and thanks to our teachers and parents for their instruction and support.


Daylight Saving Time

To be in sync in most parts of the country, early this Sunday morning, we will leap ahead an hour—another sign of impending Springtime.

So set your clock ahead if they are not automatically adjusted, and have a good week next week as your body rhythms adjust to the time change (likely not automatically).


President’s Proverb


As a leader, you’ve got to live in three time zones simultaneously, the past, the present and the future. Everything you do has got to honor the past, deliver in the present, set the table for a more prosperous future. And as you think that way, that’s why trust building becomes mission critical.

~Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup



Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)



Sunday Psalm Sampler


Fourth Sunday of Lent (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: Fourth Sunday of Lent | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 137:1-6

Responsorial Refrain: “Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!” (137:6ab)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm Fourth Sunday of Lent (Cycle B), Psalm 137, 2024 (

One of my Theology professors acknowledged the Biblical injunction, “Be not afraid,” while also countering that one thing Christians should fear is amnesia—forgetting who the Lord is and who we are as His people.

Israel’s experience of the Babylonian Exile (586-538 BC) confirms my professor’s comment. By forgetting and neglecting the Lord and His commands for generations, they choose to be cast out—exiled—from the Land He had promised them. The Holy Temple is destroyed. Jerusalem is sacked and burned. The Jews now live in a foreign land, subservient to their conquerors.

Psalm 137 is one of lament and longing for return and restoration. On this Fourth Sunday of Lent, we, too, lament our sins, our exile from the Lord and His ways. We, too, long for return to Him.

With our eyes fixed on Christ, we need to remember with St. Paul that our “God, Who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ” (Eph. 2:4ff).

So, this week let us above all dispense with amnesia as we sing, “Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget 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).