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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


             My well-worn copy

On May 25, we remember St. Bede, Priest and Doctor of the Church. He was renowned as “Venerable” even during his lifetime for his holiness, wisdom, and scholarship—a seamless unity of the “Two Wings” tradition.

An English Benedictine monk, he was “the most observant and the happiest of all monks.” He loved the Sacred Scriptures and wrote many commentaries, translations, and reflections. He also wrote the first history of England (my copy pictured above) and greatly influenced the development of language. He died at his monastery in Jarrow, England, a northern outpost at the edge of the then frontier in 735 AD.

A line of St. Bede’s captivated me from the moment I first read it: “I have always found delight in learning, teaching, and writing.” I now include that quotation in the syllabus of any class I teach, and it is also in the footer of this weekly blogpost.

St. Bede, model of faithful scholarship: “Pray for us.”



It’s About Time


Last Day of School

         Nativity School  5th Grade Graduates

Though St. Bede’s example is one of life-long love of learning, students and teachers also relish the end of the school year and celebrations of accomplishments. Congratulations, one and all. See, for example, Nativity’s 5th Graders pictured above after Mass on Monday of this week.

Our last day of school was Wednesday, May 22 this year. Students were dismissed at noon after a morning of final activities.

I wish all students and teachers a most blessed Summer.


Shanley Graduation Day

                           Shanley’s Class of 2024

While younger students were finishing the school year Wednesday morning, Shanley students ended their years in our school system with a flourish.

They started the morning with individual photos for their class composite picture. Then they attended mandatory graduation practice number two at 7:45 am in the school gym. More pictures followed.

The Senior Baccalaureate Mass was held at 10:00 am at nearby Sts. Anne & Joachim Catholic Church. Families and friends gathered; Bishop John Folda presided with many of our parish priests concelebrating. Bishop Folda ended his homily by encouraging the graduates to 1) even greater service, 2) even greater wisdom, 3) even greater courage, and 4) an even closer relationship with God. He concluded with this advice: “With Jesus Christ fully in your lives, you will not just ‘graduate,’ you will soar!”

The Senior Luncheon followed at the Avalon Event Center with a meal for the graduates and their families. Multi-generation “Legacy Graduates” were recognized. Mr. Lawrence Hegland, Shanley Science teacher, was selected by the students to serve as luncheon speaker, and he gave a heart-felt meditation on learning and perseverance.

Shanley’s Commencement Exercises began at 6:00 pm in the gym. The ninety graduates processed in two by two, followed by the school staff, followed by members of the clergy.

Mr. Brandon Schott ’14 (son of Don Schott ’78) was chosen by the Seniors as staff speaker and he reflected on Mary’s “Fiat”— “May it be done to me according to Thy Word”–comparing and contrasting that with his message as student speaker ten years ago in 2014 as he had then ended his talk with St. Catherine of Siena’s quotation: “Be who God made you to be and you will set the world on fire.” After Bishop Folda bestowed the diplomas and I gave the gift of a crucifix, student speaker Mr. Joseph Flaherty ’24 (son of Missy Dahl Flaherty ’94) spoke to his peers about increasing their trust in the Lord and decreasing their worry.

In a cool, rainy week, Wednesday was sunny and warm—a perfect day for the Deacon Way.

Congratulations to the Class of 2024!


May 30

           St. Mary’s Cathedral

Next Thursday, May 30, is a significant day in the history of the Diocese of Fargo.

Young John Shanley (age 22) was ordained a priest of God on that day in 1874 in Rome. Fr. Shanley returned to his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota in August.

Then on his 25th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, St. Mary’s Cathedral was dedicated on May 30, 1899. Thursday, then, will mark the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Bishop’s “Chair” (‘cathedra”) for the Diocese of Fargo.

Consecrated a bishop in 1889, Bishop Shanley had placed the cornerstone for the new cathedral in Fargo in November of 1891. After building delays due to the Fargo Fire of 1893 and economic downturns, the new structure was ready for the blessings of the dedication ceremony.

Happy anniversary to the parishioners of St. Mary’s Cathedral and to the faithful of the Diocese of Fargo!



President’s Proverb


“Unfurl the sails, and let God steer us where He will.”

–St. Bede




Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)



Sunday Psalm Sampler


Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (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: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm:Ps 33:4-6, 9, 18-20, 22

Responsorial Refrain: “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own.” (Ps 33:12b)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm The Most Holy Trinity 2024, Psalm 33 (

‘The life of the saints is social.” –Robert Louis Wilkin

Psalm 33 is a joyful hymn of praise—not merely for a sole soul but rather for the choir of the just, of all the saints.

 The Communion of Saints is realized in and through the Communion of Divine Persons which is the Most Holy Trinity. As the traditional hymn, “O God Almighty Father,” proclaims in each of its three stanzas:

 O most holy Trinity,
Undivided unity,
Holy God, mighty God,
God immortal be adored!

How blessed to be in unity with that Unity!

Ever mindful this week of all the blessings that flow from the Most Holy Trinity, we can sing in true solidarity, “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own.”





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).