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“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


          Pope St. Pius V (Basilica of St. Mary Major)

I have been featuring aspects of the recent “President’s Pilgrimage” to Rome.

Above is my picture of Pope St. Pius V at rest in his tomb in the Sistine Chapel of the Basilica of St. Mary Major. (Note, Pope Francis has stated his desire to be buried at St. Mary Major also.)

Though pope for only six years (1566-1572), he has had an outsized influence for centuries. A Dominican, he wore his white robe as Pope, a tradition which continues to this day. He implemented the teachings of the Council of Trent and its catechism (the “Roman Catechism”) as well as its liturgy through the “Roman Missal.” He named his fellow Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas, a Doctor of the Church. He appealed to the faithful to pray the Rosary for the defense of Christian Europe, and after the surprising defeat of the Turkish naval forces at Lepanto, he instituted the Feast of “Our Lady of Victory” (“Our Lady of the Rosary” today). We observe his Feast Day each April 30.

His fruitful synthesis of Faith and Reason still resounds.

Pope St. Pius V: “Pray for us.”


It’s About Time


Art Day

As noted here, last Friday, April 26 was “Grandparents Day” in our schools. It was also “Art Day” at Shanley High School and Sacred Heart Middle School.

 I marvel at the artistry and creativity of our students in various artistic mediums. What a wealth of talent, hard work, and ingenuity!

The piece displayed above was one example of a class assignment to do a Time magazine cover picture featuring a saint. Shanley student, Lauren, produced this cover of the “Maid of Orleans”—St. Joan of Arc (Feast Day later this month on May 30).

Art Day always calls to mind St. John Paul II’s 1999 “Letter to Artists.”

Letter to Artists, (April 4, 1999) | John Paul II (

The concluding section includes this heart-felt prayer by the Holy Father:

“Artists of the world, may your many different paths all lead to that infinite Ocean of beauty where wonder becomes awe, exhilaration, unspeakable joy.

May you be guided and inspired by the mystery of the Risen Christ, Whom the Church in these days contemplates with joy.

“May the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always: she is the ‘tota pulchra’ portrayed by countless artists, whom Dante contemplates among the splendors of Paradise as ‘beauty that was joy in the eyes of all the other saints’” (No. 16).



Presentation Awards

We recognized all 13 of this year’s Presentation Awardees on stage Saturday night, April 27, and also announced the overall De La Salle Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Sandy Ehlke (Social Studies, Sacred Heart), and the overall Wojtyla Staff of the Year, Mrs. Patty Desharnais (Cook, Shanley-Sacred Heart).

Congratulations and thank you to all this year’s awardees for excellence in teaching and in caring for our students!

Here is the entire list of our 2024 Awardees:

De La Salle Teacher Awards
Holy Spirit Elementary School: Michelle Biver (3rd Grade)
Nativity Elementary School: Mariah Vink (5th Grade)
Sacred Heart Middle School: Sandy Ehlke (Social Studies)
Shanley High School: Jill Backlund (Math)
Trinity Elementary School: Alexis Funk (Kindergarten)

Wojtyla School Staff Awards
Holy Spirit Elementary School: Brenda Breen (Admin Assistant)
Nativity Elementary School: Jennifer Schwind (Para-Professional)
Sacred Heart Middle School: Randy Montonye (Custodian)
Shanley High School: Patty Desharnais (Cook)
Trinity Elementary School: Brenda Hoye (Admin Assistant)

Marian System Staff Award
Bob Jamieson (Bus Driver)

Bosco Coach Award
Alexis Bachmeier (Volleyball)

Nano Nagle Administrator Award
Lori Hager (Director of Admissions)


May Crowning

Principal Fr. Metzger, the Marian Court, & Chaplain Fr. William Slattery

On Wednesday, May 1, Shanley and Sacred Heart held their annual May Crowning Mass and ceremony. Pictured above are the students selected for the “Marian Court” by their peers for exemplifying the virtues of Mary and St. Joseph.

May crownings, the Rosary, and other devotions are typical in Mary’s month of May in our schools.

After Mary’s image was crowned on Wednesday, we sang “Immaculate Mary” (Lourdes version) together. Tears never fail when I hear the third verse:

“We pray for our Mother, the Church upon earth
And bless Holy Mary, the land of our birth.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!
Ave, Ave, Maria!”


President’s Proverb


“Be who God made you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

–St. Catherine of Siena (April 29 Feast Day)



Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)



Sunday Psalm Sampler


Sixth Sunday of Easter (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: Sixth Sunday of Easter | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 98:1-4

Responsorial Refrain:The Lord has revealed to the nations His saving power” (98:2b)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm Sixth Sunday of Easter 2024, Psalm 98 (

Psalm 98 is a song of victory—proclaiming the glorious, universal reign of God. As such, it is used often in the Christmas and Easter liturgies as well as for the Feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Its use this Sixth Sunday of Easter amplifies the universality of the message of the saving power of God found in today’s first reading from Acts. Peter’s preaching about the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ reaches even the Gentiles, and they are moved to Baptism as a result. The Good News is intended for all nations, indeed.

Thus Psalm 98 prophetically proclaims that “All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God (98:3b) and invites us to sing joyfully this week, “The Lord has revealed to the nations His saving power.”




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).