Skip to main content

“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


                       Gary & Joannie Keller

“Scholarship” can refer to the act of a scholar or funds to support a scholar. Yesterday, we gathered for our annual “Scholarship Breakfast” in both senses.

We bring together promising young scholars with demonstrated academic success as well as broad activity involvement, service, and leadership and the benefactors who fund merit scholarships to assist these young scholars in our schools.

It is a joy to celebrate the achievements of the scholars and the generosity of the scholarship funders.

Gary and Joannie Keller, parents of Kayla ’14 and the late Joe ’18 gave the keynote message at the breakfast. After Joe’s passing in 2021, they established the “Joseph O. Keller Memorial Scholarship” to assist Joe’s dream of helping more students attend our Catholic schools. They and others now continue to fund this need-based scholarship through an annual golf tournament and other donations.

I am so very grateful to all our benefactors who give so selflessly for the good of the next generation of scholars.

Our Patron, St. John Paul II, affirmed the value of scholars who seek the truth in Fides et Ratio: “Men and women have at their disposal an array of resources for generating greater knowledge of truth so that their lives may be ever more human” (No. 3).

May our young scholars contribute to the common good, to a society “ever more human.”



It’s About Time


First “Home” Track Meet–Ever

                 Sprinting to Victory

At 9:30 am on Wednesday, May 8, we welcomed 872 students and their teachers and family members to the annual “Joel Savre Parochial School Track Meet”—our first ever home track meet on our own track. (The asphalt base surface worked well for the meet, provided the students wore tennis shoes, not track spikes!)

The perfect sunny, blue sky, no-wind day made it even better.  It was A. Dream. Come. True.

The colors. The camaraderie. The competition. Thrills. Chills. Spills. Action. Adventure. Excitement.  Running. Jumping. Throwing.

I am grateful for the vision, support, and encouragement of the Board of Directors for the Turf and Track project. Overflow celebratory events such as Homecoming 2023 and the first track meet confirm the value of the venue.

We anticipate the new track surface installation to be completed by mid-summer, and fundraising efforts continue for that phase and for other amenities to complete the entire project. Meanwhile, thanks to all supporters, congratulations to all the athletes who competed in the first track meet, and all the best to those who will do so for years to come.

Go Deacons!



Senior Awards Ceremony

On Wednesday night, we honored members of our Senior class for their many achievements in academics, activities, service, and leadership.

I am glad that we take time to fete them and their accomplishments. We also conclude with a slide show featuring each senior’s graduation picture, plans for next year, and scholarships awarded for their studies at the next level. Many of the graduates plan on post-secondary school; others have plans for military service or immediate employment.

Congratulations to all members of our Class of 2024 for your commitment to excellence as a Shanley student.



Jubilee 2025

Yesterday in Rome, on the day the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord was observed there (the Fargo Diocese observes it this Sunday), detailed plans were released in a message from Pope Francis for the observance of the Jubilee Year 2025.

The Jubilee Year will begin on Christmas Eve 2024 and conclude on January 6, 2026 (Epiphany). Its theme will be “Pilgrims of Hope.”

The Holy Father explained in his opening paragraph: “’Hope does not disappoint’ (Rom 5:5). In the spirit of hope, the Apostle Paul addressed these words of encouragement to the Christian community of Rome. Hope is also the central message of the coming Jubilee that, in accordance with an ancient tradition, the Pope proclaims every twenty-five years. My thoughts turn to all those pilgrims of hope who will travel to Rome in order to experience the Holy Year and to all those others who, though unable to visit the City of the Apostles Peter and Paul, will celebrate it in their local Churches. For everyone, may the Jubilee be a moment of genuine, personal encounter with the Lord Jesus, the ‘door’ (cf. Jn 10:7.9) of our salvation, whom the Church is charged to proclaim always, everywhere and to all as ‘our hope’” (1 Tim 1:1).

Read the entire message from Pope Francis here:


President’s Proverb


“In an age awash in information, often transmitted without wisdom or critical sense, the task of forming present and future generations of teachers and students remains as important as ever.”

–Pope Francis




Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)



Sunday Psalm Sampler


The Ascension of the Lord (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: Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 47:2-3, 6-9

Responsorial Refrain:God mounts His throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.” (Ps 47:6)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm The Ascension of the Lord 2024, Psalm 47 (

Psalm 47 is the perfect choice for the triumphant Ascension of Our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. With the union of heaven and earth, the throne imagery, and the sounds of celebration (hands clapping, shouts raised, trumpets blaring), the joy is palpable.

It may seem odd at first glance to know that the Apostles were filled with joy upon Jesus’ departure.

Two great truths, however, lead to that manifestation of joy. First, there is Jesus’ promise to be with them “always, until the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20); He makes that promise after the “Great Commission” at the conclusion of Matthew’s Gospel. Second, there is His promise to send an “Advocate” in the Last Supper discourses of John’s Gospel: “But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7).

Echoing the joy of the Apostles at the Ascension of the Lord, we should recall His promises this week as we sing, “God mounts His throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.”




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).