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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 89

By March 15, 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


I took this picture after morning Mass today in the chapel at the Diocese of Fargo Pastoral Center.

The Scripture quotation is from John 8:32 as Jesus speaks of authentic discipleship with the Jewish authorities.

Bishop John Folda presided at today’s Mass for Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent, and today’s Gospel reading also involves the Lord’s dialogue with the authorities (John, chapter 7).

The good bishop called us as we draw close to Holy Week to conform our hearts to the Lord and to seek His Will, for He truly will set us free. That message also echoes Pope Francis’ (and our schools’) theme for Lent: “Through the desert God leads us to freedom.”

This desire for the freedom that arises from embracing the Truth is the source of this blog’s title as St. John Paul II’s Fides et Ratio encyclical begins with these words:

“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.”



It’s About Time


Author Visits

This week, our elementary schools hosted Wisconsin author Amber Sawyer, who shared her love of reading, writing—and horses (!) with our students.

Her book, “Love to Race,” tells the story of the New Zealand harness racing horse, “Derek Bromac N,” how after an injury Amber nursed him back to health on her Wisconsin farm, and how he became the oldest champion harness racing horse. (His final career win was an amazing 2:00 minute mile.)

Our students prepared for Amber’s visit by reading her book, preparing related artwork, projects, and questions—and in engaging with her during her school visits.

Her books were also available for purchase and autographs, and it’s likely there were many dinner table conversations about this story and about being a writer.

Thank you, Trinity Elementary School Principal, Mrs. Karissa Flieth, for coordinating Amber’s visits with our students..


Graduation Credits (24)

Last week in a newsletter, Fargo Public Schools announced the decision to reduce the number of credits required for graduation from the current 24 credits to 22 (the state-mandated number). Gone next year will be one PE credit and one elective credit.

The story broke in the local media this week and became a point of conversations in the community.

In the event anyone wonders where Shanley High School sits with graduation requirements, the graphic above from our Shanley Student Handbook answers the question. We require 24 credits across various disciplines and including electives.



As I was leaving the office Wednesday afternoon, I stopped to capture these five Canadian Geese on “Deacon Field” with my phone camera.

Yes, many honkers winter here, but with no snow cover and their eager foraging on the field, it sure seemed like Spring.

I also thought of the poem, “Tell Me a Story,” by Robert Penn Warren, which I long ago memorized and recite in fitting moments. Wednesday afternoon was one such moment.

Tell Me a Story by Robert Penn Warren – Poems | Academy of American Poets.


President’s Proverb


Truth, like Justice, is connected to Love, and Love has a price.”

–Martyred Polish Priest Bl. Jerzey Popieluszki (d. October 13, 1984)



Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)



Sunday Psalm Sampler

Fifth 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: Fifth Sunday of Lent | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 51:3-4, 12-15

Responsorial Refrain: “Create a clean heart in me, O God.” (51:12a)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm Fifth Sunday of Lent, Psalm 51 2024 (

In our first reading this Sunday, Jermiah prophesies about the Lord’s “new Covenant” written upon the hearts of the people of God. Centuries earlier, in his famous appeal for mercy after he repents of his grave sins (adultery, treachery, murder), King David pled that God would “create a clean heart” for him.

The Lord alone can create such hearts for His people through the forgiveness of their sins.

As we approach Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum, may we, too, echo David’s penitential appeal for a cleansed, renewed heart in the assembly of those seeking the Lord’s mercy as we sing, “Create a clean heart in me, O God.”




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).