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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 90

By March 22, 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


Typically, March 25 is the Solemnity of the Annunciation—when the Angel Gabriel declared to Mary that she would conceive and bear a Savior-Son through the power of the Holy Spirit.

When March 25 falls in Holy Week, as it does next Monday, then the Solemnity is transferred to the first available date after Holy Week, Triduum, and the Easter Octave.

That means it will be celebrated on Monday, April 8, 2024.

In Fides et Ratio, St. John Paul II highlights the significance of time and the pivotal reality of the Incarnation—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).”


It’s About Time


St. Joseph, Husband of Mary & Guardian of the Redeemer

Tuesday, March 19 was the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary. At our Administrative Leadership team meeting on that day, I led a reflection on the significance of St. Joseph, who in addition to today’s designation has also been named “Patron of the Universal Church” and “Guardian of the Redeemer.”

Together, we read the Introduction of St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation, Guardian of the Redeemer, including these gems:

“I am convinced that by reflection upon the way that Mary’s spouse shared in the divine mystery, the Church—on the road towards the future with all of humanity—will be enabled to discover ever anew her own identity within this redemptive plan, which is founded on the mystery of the Incarnation.

“This is precisely the mystery in which Joseph of Nazareth ‘shared’ like no other human being except Mary, the Mother of the Incarnate Word. He shared in it with her; he was involved in the same salvific event; he was the guardian of the same love, through the power of which the eternal Father ‘destined us to be his sons through Jesus Christ’ (Eph 1:5).”

Thus, we rightly appeal for his powerful intercession as faithful steward of the mysteries of God. St. Joseph: “Pray for us.”


Spring Equinox

At 10:06 pm on Tuesday, March 19, we observed the Spring (Vernal) Equinox here in Fargo. Astronomical Spring sometimes coincides with Meteorological Spring, but the snowfall last night and a potential storm later in the weekend don’t promote a Spring mood.

Nevertheless, the Spring Equinox is part of the puzzle of Easter’s date, since Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox.

That first full moon will occur here at 2:00 am, Monday, March 25. The Sunday after that, March 31 this year, will thus be Easter Sunday.


Holy Week

Lent ends next Thursday as we enter the Sacred Triduum in the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Holy Week sharpens our focus. It purifies and elevates our Lenten discipline. It prepares us to enter Jerusalem with the Lord.

Our schools’ Lenten theme given to us by Pope Francis has guided us in this 40-day journey. We have listened in prayerful pauses and silence, in self-denial, and in charitable outreach. As He has touched us, we can rise without fear.

Next Wednesday, March 27 will be our last day of classes before Easter vacation.

Have a most blessed Holy Week, Triduum, and Easter season everyone.


President’s Proverb


I am a Roman.

–Bishop John Shanley summarizing the influence of his five years as a seminarian in Rome (1869-1874)



Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)



Sunday Psalm Sampler


Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (Year B)

Lectionary Readings: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 22:8-9, 17-18a, 19-20, 23-24

Responsorial Refrain: My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (22:2a)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord Cycle A,B,C (2024) (

We solemnly enter Holy Week on this Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion with Psalm 22’s prophetic utterances foreshadowing the Lord Jesus’ suffering and death.

The New Testament affirms this interpretation of the Psalm’s prophetic fulfillment in the Person of Jesus, for no other Psalm is quoted so frequently there.

This Psalm clearly demonstrates what Jesus revealed to the disciples who encountered Him on the Road to Emmaus: “Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44b).

May the Lord’s plaintive plea in His Passion set the tone for our observance of Holy Week and our participation in the Paschal Mystery: “My God, my God, why have You abandoned me?”





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).