Third Sunday of Easter ·April 30, 2006 3
The Pastor's Page [Father George Welzbacher]
Of the five young men who, God willing, are to be ordained to the priesthood this May 27th for service in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis two have very close ties with St. Agnes Parish: Deacon John Paul Erickson, a member of St. Mark's Parish in St. Paul and a graduate of St. Agnes High School (Class of 1998), and Deacon Sean Magnuson, who joined our parish as a young adult after a tour of duty in the U. S. Army during Operation Desert Storm. St. Agnes Parish's reverent liturgy and its straight-out presentation of the doctrines of our faith played a major role in Sean's feeling drawn to a life of service in the priesthood. After completing a second hitch of military duty in Germany, Albania and Macedonia, Sean applied for and was granted admission to the St. Paul Seminary, while retaining the rank of captain in the Army Reserve. Once ordained a priest Sean hopes eventually, after the required three years of priestly service within the archdiocese, to become an army chaplain, subject to the Archbishop's permission.
Our archdiocese, it should be noted, has a glorious tradition of providing Catholic chaplains to our nation's armed forces, going all the way back to Father John Ireland's service in the Civil War--yes, THAT John Ireland! -- and reaching its height during World War II. Two of our archdiocesan priests ended long years of distinguished military service with the rank of general, successively holding office as chiefs of all the chaplains in the U. S. Army: Monsignor Patrick Ryan, now deceased, and my very good friend Father Pat Hessian, whose life was providentially spared during the Vietnamese War thanks to a bullet's deviation by something like a millimeter.
Less fortunate was our archdiocese's Father Tim Vacoc [pronounced Vah-kuch], justly awarded a Presidential citation for extraordinary bravery, who was grievously wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq as he was riding in a Humvee after having offered Mass in a zone of maximum danger. The day on which he was nearly killed was the anniversary of his ordination. His mangled body, assimilated now to Christ crucified , is being cared for at the Veterans' Hospital here in Minneapolis, with progress measured, when at all, only in painful inches. Please keep him in your daily prayers.
As a priest chaplain, should such be God's will, Father Magnuson will be making an important contribution to Christ's Church, ministering to the spiritual needs of the multitudes of Catholics, and of young Catholics in particular, who serve in our nation's armed forces both on distant wars' front lines and in times of peace. God speed you on your mission, Sean!
Deacons Sean and John Paul will be among my guests next Saturday evening, May the sixth, at the dinner theater presentation of our schools' production of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Deacon John Paul, I am sure, will feel very much at home. When he was a senior at St. Agnes High School back in 1998 he had the leading role in our schools' production of Forty-Second Street.
Our prayers go with Sean and John Paul and with the rest of their classmates as they prepare for life-long service to Christ in the priesthood.
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The Winter-Spring edition of our alumni newsletter, The Aggie Archives, gave prominent coverage to Sean and John Paul. Let me share with you the Archives' featured story, slightly abridged.
Two St. Agnes Men to be Ordained
Vocations continue at Saint Agnes as John Paul Erickson, an Aggie from the class of 1998, and Sean Magnuson, of Saint Agnes Parish, are ordained priests of the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese on Saturday, May 27th, 2006.
Deacon John Paul Erickson will celebrate his Mass of Thanksgiving at his home parish of St. Mark's in St. Paul on Sunday, May 28, the Feast of the Ascension. A reception in his honor will follow. During his diaconate year, John Paul has been assigned to St. Joseph's Parish in West St. Paul for his internship and last summer he had the opportunity to spend time at Presentation Parish in Maplewood, preaching and assisting the parish.
In reflecting on the past years, John Paul acknowledges being very grateful for .... a St. Agnes education, which helped him to recognize the possibility of a vocation and eventually a calling to the priesthood. He also loved being in Chorus and taking part in the musicals while a student. He played the lead in Forty Second Street and was president of the Music Department Club. Preparation for the priesthood has given him the opportunity to grow as a Christian and a man, spiritually and pastorally.
Deacon John Paul's ordination will allow his two sisters, Sister Mary Maximiliana (Kirsten `86) and Sister Maria Grace (Molly `91) to come home for the occasion and the Richard and Patricia Erickson family are overjoyed to be able to have a "first- time" complete family reunion. Sister Maria Grace is with the Little Sisters of the Poor in Queens, New York and is the assistant to the Mother Mistress in training novices. Sister Mary Maximiliana is a Sister of the Missionaries of Charity, works at St. Rita's parish in the Bronx and is in charge of their CCD program. This may be their only opportunity to come home and unite with all of their siblings and other relatives.
Deacon Sean Magnuson will celebrate his Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Agnes Church at the 10 am High Mass on May 28th. A reception in his honor will be held in the church hall following the Mass.
Sean Magnuson comes from a family of six sisters and two brothers. He graduated from Roseville High School in the late 80's and attended Lakewood Community College. In 1990 he joined the Army and served in Desert Storm. In 1993 he enrolled at St. John's University [where he] received his BS degree. Sean returned to military life in 1996 and served until 2000.
It was in April of 2000 that Sean felt he was being called to the priesthood, and the day he e-mailed his dad, Steve Magnuson, a former member of St. Agnes parish, to tell him of his decision to enter the Seminary, he received the call that Steve had suffered a heart attack and had died. Sean did enroll in the Seminary, studying philosophy and pastoral work. For the past four years he has been interning at St. Charles Borromeo Church, preaching and helping serve the parish needs. Last summer was spent at Divine Mercy Parish in Faribault where he was able to visit the sick, preach and do parish work....
What is Sean's desire for his future years? With the Archbishop's permission, he wishes to serve God as an Army Chaplain.
[I extracted this item from the St. Agnes Bulletin which is published as a pdf file which some people cannot read.]