Friday, June 30, 2006 Submits Three New Documents in its Probably Not Yet Complete Promised "Final Report on the "Gay Subculture in the St Paul Seminary"

Three additional documents have been posted on the web page of, the organization headed by Dr. David Pence of Mankato, that back in Lent promised that it would have a final report submitted by Pentecost Sunday on its investigation of the "Gay Subculture in the St Paul Seminary."

Our report on June 10, found Here, listed and posted eight documents/appendices to the report.

Our report on June 25, found Here, listed and posted 14 additional documents, mostly of a general nature.

Today, two additional appendices and a homily by Pope Benedict XVI were found on the website. The two appendices were inserted within the other items of the June 10th documents.

Appendix VG: The Vicar General and the Diocese: Fourteen Years of Wormtongue. The Diocese as the locus of Vatican II reform

Appendix CPO: This is a letter dated March 19, 2004 from Colleen Perfect of Catholic Parents Online to "Friends of CPO" describing a letter that she had received from Archbishop Harry Flynn that enclosed 34 copies of letters that had been sent to the Archbishop.

Related Links: Chrism Mass homily on the priesthood by Pope Benedict XVI dated April 13, 2006

It is not known if there will be more additions to the report, but it is thought that there will be.

Wisconsin to Vote on Reinstatement of Death Penalty After 153 Years Without it

For more than 150 years, the people of Wisconsin never approved of laws that would allow state authorities to execute anybody. Now, however, some citizens of that mid-western U.S. state appear to have changed their minds.

The state senate voted by a narrow margin in May to allow Wisconsinites to vote on a referendum that could reinstate the death penalty.

The death penalty was banned in Wisconsin some five years after the state joined the union in 1848 in response to citizen revulsion over a public hanging in the town of Kenosha of a man who had drowned his wife.
Among the civil society groups opposing the restoration of death penalty in Wisconsin are leading faith-based groups in the state, including the Jewish Conference and Catholic Conference. [snip] IPS News

Pine Ridge Tribal Leader Ousted Over Abortion Clinic

A Sioux tribe ousted its president for proposing an abortion clinic on the reservation, which would be beyond the reach of South Dakota's strict new abortion ban. By a 9-5 vote late Thursday, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council determined Cecelia Fire Thunder had pursued the clinic for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation without council approval, and she was immediately replaced.

The Council had previously suspended Fire Thunder as reported Here

"The bottom line is the Lakota people were adamantly opposed to abortion on our homelands. The president was involved in unauthorized political actions," said Will Peters, the council member who filed the complaint. [snip]

Number of abortions in Minnesota continues to fall

Abortions in Minnesota dropped to a 30-year low of 13,362 last year. That's the lowest number since 1975, when the Minnesota Department of Health started tallying abortions. The decline continues a 26-year trend of mostly falling figures since the number topped 19,000 in 1980. Minnesota's numbers are in line with a national trend toward fewer abortions.

A state law on the books since mid-2003 requires women seeking abortions to get information about fetal development and medical risks of the procedure and wait 24 hours before the abortion. [snip] Star/Tribune

Not a reason to cheer, necessarily, but certainly a reason to work even harder against the killing of the unborn.

Wisconsin Has a New Law Requiring Teachers to Stress Abstinence in Sex Education Classes

Wisconsin teachers must tell kids sex before marriage is a bad idea under a new state law that takes effect Saturday. The Republican-authored measure requires sex education teachers to stress celibacy as the best behavior for unmarried students and the best means of avoiding pregnancy and diseases such as AIDS. The measure does not ban or even address teaching about contraceptive methods.

School officials around the state say the law will have no real impact because abstinence already is a key part of their sex ed programs. "Our curriculum already is kind of aligned to that," said Eau Claire School District health coordinator Michele Wiberg. "Nothing too exciting here." [snip] Duluth NewsTribune


Jayne, a brand new Minnesota blogger, who blogs at and about So Many Devotions...So Little Time has an interesting piece with a couple of good links about the True Cross. Frankly, I've often been very sceptical about the probability of St Helena and others in the fourth century finding much in Jerusalem after the Romans had destroyed the temple in 70 A.D. and scattered most of the Jews into the diaspora. But it seems that it was not so unlikely.

Jayne's theme is the various Catholic devotional practices that have arisen and fallen in use over the many centuries. Especially fallen after Vatican II. But some are coming back now.

This week my son and I are spending some time reading through our Catholic homeschool readers. We enjoy these books, which are designed for reading practice and pleasure. The stories deal with Catholic families in the parish and school setting, saints, fairy tales, and folk tales. One of the stories we read today mentioned St. Helena and the 'True Cross.' Being the inquisitive person that I am - I decided to hunt down some information on the True Cross and on relics in general. [snip] Read More

How do you read the Bible? Synthetically? Or Analytically?

Dan who blogs at Lumen Fidei, Stella Borealis' resident theology student, and whose wife, Joy, is a published author at Dappled Things, from time to time freshes or refreshes our reading habits. When I saw the word "synthesis" I thought that he was going to be discussing Marx and Engels, but I guess not today. Something exceedingly more important and more truthful, to be sure.

syn·the·sis: The combining of separate elements or substances to form a coherent whole.
a·nal·y·sis: The separation of an intellectual or material whole into its constituent parts for individual study.

One of the tasks of the past year was learning how to read Scripture synthetically. A tall order, for people in our age of analysis. We analyze everything - it's how our brains are wired. Give us the Bible, and we will sit down and break it up into pieces and try to understand all we can about those pieces. If we read the Gospel of John, we want to know who John was, when he wrote it, what the cultural setting was surrounding the writing, and what he meant with every turn of phrase that came from his pen.

There's nothing wrong with that, in and of itself. But it's an incomplete way of looking at the Word of God, if that's all that we ever do. And, interestingly enough, it's not how the early Christians read Scripture. They certainly wanted to understand the meaning behind each passage. But they were more apt to spend their time making connections between passages throughout the whole of scripture than they were to sit down and analyze one particular section.

It's for this reason that we modern folk often have a hard time understanding what the church fathers were talking about in many of their writings. [snip] Interesting reading follows!

Father Michael Giesler also address the question in depth.

Just what should we do about the immigration question?

Father Richard John Neuhaus who blogs at First Things discusses the situation in this country with respect to the status of 12 milliion or more illegal immigrants in this country, not to mention the tens of millions lined up waiting for an opportune moment to cross a border, or wangle a seat on a plane or boat. He doesn't have an answer.

But if you have pondered over the problem yourself, I suggest that you make a copy of his column today and take it with you to the beach on this extra long Fourth of July weekend when dribbling mustard and pickle juice on your copy won't be frowned upon.

To save you a bit of time, I'll tempt you with some of the "juicy bits."

[big snip] The other night, PBS showed a compelling documentary of brothers from a Mexican village who were determined to go north. One of the brothers died in the desert of Nevada, and there was powerfully affecting footage of his mourning family back in Mexico. The film said that more than three thousand people had died trying to enter the United States from Mexico illegally in the past decade since United States authorities started getting tougher on border control, thus forcing illegals to attempt riskier routes through the desert. The invited inference is that the United States should let up on enforcement, making it easier for illegals to enter the country. Or maybe the border, along with immigration laws, should be abolished altogether, letting additional millions enter the country legally. And why should only Mexicans and Central Americans have a right to unlimited entry?

One measure of America’s success as a society is similar to measuring the success of a Broadway play: People are lined up around the block trying to get in. In this case, however, they’re lined up around the world. I expect that, had they the opportunity, at least a billion people in the world would immigrate to the United States as rapidly as they could. Of course, long before we reached that number, America would stop being a successful society. Some might observe that, at that point, the immigration problem would solve itself, since people would not be attracted to a society in ruins. It is a solution that is not likely to win the support of many Americans.

In First Things, I have been critically appreciative of the urgings of Samuel Huntington (Who Are We?) and others who contend that at stake is whether the United States will remain a sovereign nation in legal and cultural continuity with its history. Such arguments may be overblown, but they cannot be dismissed as nativist or lacking in moral seriousness. Anyone who thinks a devotion to nation and peoplehood is incompatible with Catholic social doctrine should spend some time with John Paul II’s last published book, Memory and Identity.

Again, I don’t know what specific policies should be adopted. The choice should certainly not be between enforcement-only, on the one hand, and virtual amnesty that encourages yet more illegal immigration, on the other. But the hotting up of the immigration debate is turning my long-standing hunch into a deepening conviction that no immigration reform will be possible until Americans believe that the lawlessness of the past decade and more has been brought under a reasonable approximation of legal control. First Things

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Stained Glass O' The Day: St Hedwig's, Mpls

Pope tells new archbishops that evil will never defeat Christ, church

The powers of evil and death will never triumph over Christ and the church he built on the rock of Peter and continues to fortify with his successors, Pope Benedict XVI told new archbishops from 18 countries.

Though the church and Christ are continually walking toward their cross, suffering and being tossed to and fro like a small boat on a sea whipped up "by the winds of ideologies, ... in the suffering church, Christ is victorious," the pope said during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul June 29.

During the Mass, the pope gave the archbishops named within the previous year a pallium, a circular band of white wool marked with six black crosses. The pallium symbolizes an archbishop's authority and unity with the pope.

The pope and archbishops were dressed in brilliant red vestments, but the pope wore a longer, more traditional style of the pallium, which he reintroduced after his installation last year as bishop of Rome.

Among the 27 archbishops receiving palliums were U.S. Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, as well as Canadian Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie of Keewatin-Le Pas, Manitoba.
[snip] Catholic News Service

Facing the golden years on the streets

When we think of homeless persons, we may picture a man pushing a shopping cart filled with aluminum cans or standing on a corner with a sign asking for money. We don't necessarily think of the elderly living on the streets. They do. The segment of homeless people aged 55 and over is growing.

Minneapolis — This is what's known on the street as Tramp Camp. It's where the Twin Cities shelters its chronically homeless men when no one else will. Its official name is the Secure Waiting Space; $4 gets you a bunk bed. If you have no money, you sleep on the tile floor.

Larger view
Image A piece of the floor for the night

On one end of the room, a man whose left leg is amputated sleeps against a wall. It's first-come, first-serve. No sheets, no blankets, no pillows.

Hennepin County largely funds the shelter. Catholic Charities helps out with about 25 percent of the cost. John Petroskas is a shelter and housing specialist at Catholic Charities. The doors open at 5 p.m. He says guests get a two-inch mat on which to rest, but those don't go out until 9 p.m.

"If we put the mats out earlier than that there's no room to turn around. It's just basically, the mats cover the whole floor space. With 125 guys up here there's not a whole lot of room for people to turn around," he says.

While Petroskas talks, one of the Secure Waiting Space guests approaches.

Larger view
Image Sleeping mats available at 9 pm

"How you doing man?" "Hey what's up? You doing all right?" Petroskas asks. "We're going to a graveyard job." "Graveyard? All right." "I'm going to say it to your face so you don't think I said it to your sister, your brother, your cousin, your mother or your girlfriend."

Many of the men who sleep here have mental disturbances. Some pace, talk to themselves; others get agitated with each other in the small space.

Mixed in with these men are older men in their 50s, 60s and even 70s. A study by the Wilder Foundation found that between 2000 and 2003, the number of homeless people in Minnesota aged 55 and older rose by one-third -- to a total of 307 people.

As an outreach worker for six years, Petroskas noticed that many of the older people who slept at shelters didn't need to be there.

"It's incredible to me that we have senior citizens staying in our shelters when we have senior housing programs that are designed for people with disabilities. And if there is somebody to find these folks and connect them to the housing and the services, they can make the transition out of the shelter," says Petroskas.

Larger view
Image It's tough living on the streets

Petroskas says there is no single reason why older people become homeless. Their reasons are as varied as the individuals. He says there are the folks who have been homeless for decades, who just grow old on the streets. The others are people who become homeless at an older age.

"Maybe they lived with their mother up until she was in her 80s or 90s, and then suddenly this person doesn't know how to live independently, doesn't have housing anymore, has medical bills they can't pay and they ended up losing their housing, maybe they've had a loss of income through one source or another, family decide they don't want to take care of them anymore and they come down to the shelter," he says.

Petroskas identifies the oldest men at the shelter, talks to them, and finds out whether they might be eligible for General Assistance, Social Security or veterans benefits. If so, he helps them get into an apartment. He's helped 54 people get apartments.

One of them is 67-year-old Sam. Sam has had a long-time drinking problem, but is doing well. Sam, who's a poet and a veteran, slept on the secure waiting space floor for four years.

Larger view
Image John Petroskas, outreach worker

"It's like a slave ship -- tight. It's how close you sleep there in that place and it's kind of crazy," says Sam. "There's all kinds of racket going on all night pretty much. Then at 4 in the morning they start yelling because some of the guys who work on the labor pools, have to be at work early so they yell at 4, at 5."

All the men have to be out of shelter by 7 a.m. Sam says he'd walk the streets, maybe visit a drop-in center until he could return to the shelter at 5 in the afternoon. He says there are many older homeless people who are too proud to sleep at Tramp Camp and so they camp out, even in the winter.

Now Sam lives in an efficiency apartment on the 20th floor of a Minneapolis high rise. Unlike Tramp Camp, he now sleeps on his sofa bed and revels in the peace.

As Sam lies on his open bed with a nearby fan going, Petroskas kids him about his choice to watch the Maury Povich show.

"This is good quality educational TV. You're learning a lot, right?" jokes Petroskas.

Larger view
Image A man rests on the floor at Secure Waiting Space

Part of Petroskas' job is to not only help people like Sam find housing, but also to help them stay in their apartments. Sometimes that means taking them to the grocery store, checking on their bills, helping them get an air conditioner -- all things that a family member might do for an aging relative.

"You can't imagine how comfortable I feel being here," Sam says.

What would it mean for him to go back again?

"I don't know if I could do it. That's why I try to hang on to this as tenaciously. I don't ever want to do that experience, that again," says Sam. "It gets to be pretty tough."

With Petroskas' help, Sam has been living in his efficiency apartment for six months.

"I'm not like some miracle worker, I just am the matchmaker, you know. You're old; here's a place for old guys," Petroskas says. "Take them down there and if you like this place, I'll help you get in. And it's that simple. They just need somebody to build a trusting relationship with them so that they feel like you're giving them good advice."

Ninety percent of those people Petroskas has helped leave shelters are still living in their apartments.
Minnesota Public Radio

"Land of Lakes Choirboys" paying visit to Macon, GA

To kick off the dedication of their new marble altar, St. Joseph Catholic Church has enlisted some of the most prized voices in choral music.

The youthful sounds of the Land of Lakes Choirboys of Minnesota will cap off an evening prayer service at the newly-renovated Macon church. Nelda Chapman, organist and director of music for the church, said it will be an ecumenical service featuring speakers from different churches in the area.

"At 7 p.m. we'll have a choral evensong, which is designed for congregation participation," Chapman said. "It's short, and it involves hymns dealing with the dedication of the altar and psalms that are part of the liturgy." Chapman said the church was in talks with the choir even before the altar was set to be dedicated.

"The altar was somewhere between Poland and the United States when we planned this," she said.

The Land of Lakes Choirboys are divided into five different choirs, and the most prestigious will perform here. "We're very lucky, because that choir usually tours Europe in the summers, but the World Cup interfered with their schedule," Chapman said. [snip]

12th Annual Basilica Block Party, Mpls, July 7 and 8

True to Rev. Michael O'Connell's vision, the Basilica Block Party has epitomized the spirit of volunteerism and community. More than 25,000 people gather annually in the presence of the historic Basilica of Saint Mary to celebrate good food, great music and summer fun.

We invite you to join us at the 12th Basilica Block Party, 16th and Hennepin, downtown Minneapolis and look forward to seeing you there.

A message from the Rector of the Basilica of Saint Mary...

Please join me for the 12th annual Cities 97 Basilica Block Party on July 7 & 8!

For eleven fantastic years, the Cities 97 Basilica Block Party has been a "party of a higher order." On July 7th & 8th, we plan on hosting over 20,000 at the Basilica of Saint Mary in downtown Minneapolis for a weekend of community and great entertainment. We couldn't host this event without the help of over 1,600 volunteers who continue to make the weekend safe and enjoyable. It's a wonderful blessing to feel the energy surrounding the Basilica of Saint Mary at the event year after year.

Proceeds from the annual Basilica Block Party fund our recent $4.2 million capital campaign for the ongoing restoration of the Basilica. When you help preserve our church and campus buildings, you are really protecting the foundation that enables this incredible community to build hope, faith and charity. Since the first Block Party, the Basilica parish has more than doubled from approximately 2,400 in 1995 to over 5,000 families today.

In addition to meeting the religious needs of our parish, the Basilica of Saint Mary serves as a refuge for the poor, a gathering place for people of all faiths and races, and as a center for the arts. Our beautiful, historic church is a landmark worthy of preservation and I appreciate your support of our efforts.

I hope you plan to join me at the Cities 97 Basilica Block Party the weekend of July 7th & 8th!

Rev. Michael J. O'Connell
Rector, Basilica of Saint Mary

:: TICKETS :: Single Night - $25 :: Both Nights - $45 :: VIP Packages - Starting At $125 ::
:: To Order Call 612-317-3511 Or Visit :: On Sale May 19 ::

Excommunication for deliberate embryo destruction?

Dr. Ed Peters, canon lawyer, who blogs at In the Light of the Law, raises the issues as to whether or not ending the life of an embryo outside the womb is considred by the Church to canonically be an abortion:

Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, the outspoken president of the Pontifical Council on the Family, has asserted that "destroying human embryos is equivalent to abortion"; therefore, he says, those directly involved in such deeds are liable to the canonical penalty established for abortion, namely, excommunication (1983 CIC 1398). That the cardinal stands on solid biological and moral grounds in equating deliberate embryo destruction with procured abortion is beyond serious question. What I want to ask is whether he stands on solid canonical grounds as well.

Consider: until the last few decades, all canonical discussions of abortion were concerned with actions occurring, obviously, within the womb. The recent development of extra-uterine fertilization technologies, however, including cryogenic storage of embryonic human beings, has created a group of humans at peril for their lives, but who, given the canonical maxim that penal laws are subject to narrow interpretation (1983 CIC 18), might fall outside the scope of the traditional abortion canon. So, one must ask: is the deliberate destruction of an embryonic human being outside the womb the canonical equivalent of an abortion procured within it?

Cardinal Lopez Trujillo believes that it is, and I think he's right. How?
[Snip] Read More

St James Basilica, Jamestown, To Celebrate 125 Years Of Ministry July 30

Parishioners of The Basilica of St. James in Jamestown will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the parish on July 30 at the Jamestown Civic Center with Mass beginning at 4 p.m. Bishop Samuel Aquila, bishop of Fargo, and Bishop Thomas Donato of Newark, N.J., the titular bishop of Jamestown, will preside at the Mass.

Jamestown became a parish in 1881 with the arrival of its first resident priest, Father George Hepperle. Prior to this, Mass was celebrated in homes, hotels, schoolhouses and even in a courtroom when a priest could be present. The first Mass was celebrated in the first church in Jamestown Jan. 28, 1883. The church was dedicated by Benedictine Bishop Martin Marty on May 13, 1883.

Jamestown was officially designated the See of the diocese of North Dakota on Nov. 12, 1889, and Father John Shanley was consecrated first bishop of Jamestown Dec. 27, 1889. Bishop John Shanley moved the See to Fargo in 1891.

Ground was broken May 12, 1910, for the present day church building. It was consecrated by Bishop James O’Reilly of Fargo during the pastorate of Father Edward Geraghty on Nov. 12, 1914. St. James was elevated to the status of a Minor Basilica July 23, 1989, by Pope John Paul II. St. James was the 34th church in the United States to be designated as a Minor Basilica.

Everyone is invited to come celebrate and follow in the “Faithfilled Footsteps” of The Basilica of St. James in Jamestown. A program and a free-will offering meal will follow the 4 p.m. Mass at the Jamestown Civic Center.

Other Masses that weekend will be Saturday, July 29, at 4 p.m. and Sunday, July 30, at 8:30 a.m. at the Basilica of St. James.

Those who have a special story about the Basilica and are willing to share it, please contact the Basilica at (701) 252-0119 or

For more information, call the Basilica or visit the Web site at . Fargo Diocesan News

Interesting tidbit here. Bishop Thomas Donato, an Auxiliary Bishop of Newark, NJ, is also, as is the case with all bishops, the titular Bishop of the Diocese of Jamestown that became the Diocese of Fargo in 1897 after having been a diocese only since 1889. Bismarck became North Dakota's second diocese in 1909.

I've never heard of an American "defunct" diocese being a "titular diocese" before. Normally they seem to be North African dioceses that were taken over in the seventh century in the Muslim invasions. Althought once I seem to have heard of an Irish titular diocese.

I wonder what happened in Jamestown that got Rome mad at them? Or it just may be been the fact that Bismarck was the capital of the state and the Church wanted to have a presence there. But Jamestown ended up with a basilica. Who paid for that?

Diocese of Sioux Falls Offers Icon Workshop

The Prosopon School of Iconography will offer an icon workshop July 17 through 22 at Broom Tree Retreat Center in Irene, S.D.

No artistic talent or previous painting experience is required for the six-day workshop presented by the Diocese of Sioux Falls at its newly opened retreat center. The center is located one hour southwest of Sioux Falls on 240 acres of prairie land with a wooded creek and walking trails. Meals are prepared and served on site, and daily Mass will be celebrated.

The workshop explores the ancient floating technique of icon painting in the Byzantine-Russian tradition. Participants will take home a completed icon. Tuition is $565, which includes instruction and materials. Accommodations, including a single room and three meals per day, cost $50 per day.

For more information, call Marianne at (605) 263-1040 or e-mail .
Fargo Diocesan News

Downtown church difficult to miss with its new spire

For parishioners at St. Mary's Catholic Church in downtown St. Paul, its new steeple offers the visibility the congregation has long sought. "It makes the building complete," said a longtime parishioner who donated the $180,000 for the steeple but wishes to remain anonymous.

On Wednesday, the 60-foot steeple was hoisted atop the church's 50-foot bell tower. A 10-foot-tall handmade aluminum cross will be added later. The church, at 261 E. Eighth St., was built in 1921, although the parish dates to 1865.

The steeple will draw attention and help distinguish the Catholic church from the nearby Baptist church, said the Rev. Shaji Pazhukkathara, interim pastor. The new spire, which will be illuminated at night, will be an identity marker for the church, said trustee George Menard, 73, a parishioner there since 1951.

In the past, out-of-town visitors had trouble finding the church amid downtown buildings and often ended up driving around, he said. [snip] St Paul PioneerPress

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

At A VBS Near You: "I Will Make You Fishers of Walleye"

In an effort to attract fathers toward getting involved in their children's religious education, St. Mary Magdalene Church of Bemeely, Minnesota, has created an innovative Vacation Bible School concept: "Come Follow Me: I Will Make You Fishers of Walleye."

"It was inspired," said parish council leader Kay Richtmann. "Half the time we can't pay the men of our parish to attend Sunday mass during fishing season, so we're doing something good for the students and as well as a good outreach initiative to our brothers in Christ."

The VBS format is angled toward a midday fishing trip each of the five days the young people attend. "Each day we read a different scripture dealing with fish in the New Testament," says Richtmann, a lead teacher in the VBS. "We have the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the calling of Andrew and Peter while fishing, the resurrection narrative in John where Jesus eats fish, etc. And then we quietly reflect: what if the fish were walleye? Would the Lord have had to multiply miraculously as many of them to feed those crowds? After all, it's a meaty fish. When Andrew and Peter retrieved their nets full to bursting, should they have reverted to tackle and bait on a line? Do the gospels imply a bias against catch and release? I tell you, the stories spring to life for them after that point." After reflection and discussion, the school heads for the lake and contemplatively fishes for walleye, "in solidarity with the apostles."

Richtmann says the enrollment has quadrupled from last year, and due to popular demand, the parish plans to run the VBS again in August. The public is invited to this session's closing fish-fry on Friday during the Noon hour celebrate the links between fishing walleye and discipleship. Please bring your own tartar sauce.

--I.C. [A Great Big "Golden Gopher" Wag O' The Tail to The Ironic Catholic]

Keeping the "King of Instruments" Alive

Pope John XXIII spoke of the organ as a “symbol of the life-giving breath of that spirit of the Lord that fills the world.”

[snip] The National Association of Schools of Music surveyed colleges and universities in the mid 1980s and found about 900 students enrolled in organ programs, according to the Chicago Tribune. Two years ago the number had dropped to about 600.

Churches have even begun to replace organs with keyboards, electric pianos and bands, Kresnicka said. From a historical point of view, she said, preservation of the organ is critical. “I don’t know if (interest in the organ) is waning, but it needs help,” said Kresnicka of New Ulm.

That’s why the Sioux Trails chapter’s annual organ recital series is so important. The series — each Tuesday (except July 4) at noon at the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Mankato — has been held for the past decade or so to showcase the talents of area organists across the region. [snip] blc news

Fort Frances Catholic board expects drop in enrolment

Hey! Legitimate Provincial News!

The Fort Frances Northwest Catholic District School Board is predicting a drop in enrolment this fall at all of its schools but one. The board is expecting a drop of about 52 students, or 36 full-time equivalencies, from its May enrolment to September.

“Certainly decreasing enrolment is a concern for us,” said Mary-Catherine Kelly, education director for the local Catholic school board. In May, the board had 1,449 students enrolled, and is expecting about 1,397 to enroll for September—a decrease of about 3.6 percent. When compared to enrolment in September, 2005, however, it’s a drop of about 75 students, or five percent, Kelly noted.

The reason for the decrease appears to be simply a lack of children. “I don’t think we’re having a lot of kids leaving our system,” Kelly remarked. “It’s just a case of not having the babies coming in.”
[snip] Ft Frances Times Online

St. Pius X disagrees with the Vatican over Latin Mass, but that hasn’t stopped the Winona seminary from thriving

The Rev. Yves le Roux, rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, is clear about the role of the Society of St. Pius X, of which he is a member.

“We are Roman Catholic,” he said. [No, they're not!] “We are recognized by Pope Benedict XVI. [No, they aren't!] He is our father, but we are obliged to tell you we do not accept the teachings of Vatican II because it’s not an echo of the traditional church. The Church does not have the ability to teach something new.” [Wanna bet? "Whatever you shall bind on earth. . . ."]

St. Thomas Aquinas is one of six seminaries around the world run by the Society of St. Pius X, a fraternity of priests in disagreement with the Vatican.

On Friday, four of its seminarians were ordained as priests and another made a deacon at an outdoor ceremony on the seminary grounds. About 2,000 people from across the country attended the Mass, celebrated by Bishop Bernard Fellay. Fellay, who lives in Switzerland and is one of the society’s four bishops, was ex-communicated by the Roman Catholic Church in 1988.
As of 2005, the society had 470 priests serving in 60 nations. St. Thomas Aquinas, on Stockton hill just outside Winona, is its only U.S. seminary. [snip] Winona Daily News

The Winona Roman Catholic Diocese Responded on 29 June to this article:

St. Pius X Catholic in name only

By Rose Hammes | Winona

I am writing in response to Joe Orso’s article on the ordinations for the Society of St. Pius X, which appeared in the June 25 edition of the Winona Daily News. I believe that clarification is in order.

Father Yves le Roux stated in the opening quote that the group is recognized by Pope Benedict XVI. It is true that the Vatican recognizes this organization exists, but the founders, including Bishop Bernard Fellay who was in Winona last weekend, were personally excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

The excommunication was handed down because the Pius X society does not recognize the teachings of Vatican II, which brought sweeping and highly regarded change to Roman Catholic Church in the early to mid-1960s. Ecumenical relationships with other faiths, Mass celebrated in a country’s native language, and involvement of the laity in church efforts are but a few of the issues they contest.

Stories on such schismatic religious groups are confusing to Roman Catholics. Coverage of their illicit ordinations seems to place authenticity on a group that calls itself Catholic when in fact they are not in good standing with the Vatican.

The story was not balanced. Some simple fact-checking on the Vatican Web site would have uncovered the background information needed to tell both sides of the story.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Orso’s story, accompanied by a large photograph, was published on the same day when the Diocese of Winona celebrated its first ordination of priests since 2002. Fathers Brian Sutton and Tim Hall have studied diligently for eight years to prepare for a lifetime devoted to the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese of Winona. To have their vocation and achievement overshadowed by a group which is Catholic only in name was very disappointing.

Rose Hammes is the director of communications for the Diocese of Winona. Winona Daily News

St. Cloud Diocese breaks ground on priest retirement center

The St. Cloud Diocese has broken ground for a two-million dollars priest retirement center in Sauk Rapids.Bishop John Kinney says priests who give their lives to the church deserve a place to retire.

The retirement home will be just over 30,000 square feet, and will have 14 housing units -- including two suits for retired bishops. The center is on the site of the former Sacred Heart Church. The priests will use the existing church as a worship center. An anonymous couple has pledged to match up to 600,000-dollars in any new donations that come in. Grand Forks Herald

U farm family recognition slated for Aug. 3 at Farmfest

Fifty-six families from around the state, one from each participating county, have been named a “2006 Farm Family of the Year,” University of Minnesota Extension Service Dean and Director Bev Durgan announced Monday.

The winning families will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 3 at the 25th Annual Farmfest in Redwood County, Minn.

The families were chosen based on their contributions to the agricultural industry, their communities and the state. Families receiving honors have demonstrated a commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture and agriculture production.
The diversity of Minnesota family farms can be seen by looking at a sample of the 2006 winners:
• Sisters Annette and Kathleen Fernholz of Madison (Lac Qui Parle County) grow organic produce for Earthrise Farm, a 240-acre family farm which sustains four acres of community supported agriculture (CSA). The Fernholtzes are Sisters of Notre Dame, a Catholic order, and started farming 11 years ago as part of their Center for Earth Spirituality and Rural Ministry. [snip] UMNnews

Hundreds of students attend diocese's Catholic Youth Camp -- CAYOCA

Just over 500 students from throughout the Diocese of Sioux City participated in one of five sessions of Camp CAYOCA this year. The theme of camp was "Run the Race."

Throughout the five sessions of camp, there were 516 campers, 75 group leaders, 60 leader team members and 30 program assistants. The camp is held at Twin Lakes Christian Center near Manson.

The first session was a service camp for seventh and eighth graders held Memorial Day weekend. These young campers helped ready the campground for the other sessions of CAYOCA as well as other camps to be held at Twin Lakes over the course of the summer.

"They did different service projects around the camp and the surrounding area," said Jessica La Fleur, director of youth and young adult ministries for the diocese. "Because it has a service theme, we had workshops and different activities based around Catholic Social Teaching - the seven principles." [snip] Catholic Globe

Trinity Heights to host Patriotic Rosary on July 4

When people think of the Fourth of July, they usually equate it with celebrations consisting of picnics and fireworks. For the fourth consecutive year, Trinity Heights in Sioux City will host a Patriotic Rosary for people looking to mark this holiday in a prayerful way.

Larry Walsh, a member of the spiritual committee at Trinity Heights, noted that the rosary would be held at 7:30 p.m., July 4. It is open to people of all faiths. Past years have drawn a crowd of about 200 people.

"We will be praying the rosary, using the Sorrowful Mysteries to ask the intercession of our Blessed Mother to come upon this nation and change the hearts of the people that seem to have forgotten the origins of this nation and what we are truly about," said Walsh. "The nation has strayed so far from our connection with our creator over the last 230 years." Catholic Globe

You Want to Debate With the Pope About Art?

Father Richard John Neuhaus
of the First Things blog is up to it (June 28):

In discussing R.A. Scotti’s new book, Basilica, the other day, I mentioned reasons for my ambivalence about Baroque art. Philip Bess, a Chicago architect of catholic and Catholic tastes, countered with this appreciation from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI:

Baroque art, which follows the Renaissance, has many different aspects and modes of expression. In its best form it is based on the reform of the Church set in motion by the Council of Trent. In line with the tradition of the West, the Council again emphasized the didactic and pedagogical character of art, but, as a fresh start toward interior renewal, it led once more to a new kind of seeing that comes from and returns within. The altarpiece is like a window through which the world of God comes out to us. The curtain of temporality is raised, and we are allowed a glimpse into the inner life of the world of God. This art is intended to insert us into the liturgy of heaven. Again and again, we experience a Baroque church as a unique kind of fortissimo of joy, an Alleluia in visual form.

[Father Neuhaus] The Holy Father has been living with the Baroque much longer than I have, and I do not doubt that he has also given the matter more thought. So I will only confess my underdeveloped appreciation by saying that I prefer glimpses into the inner life of the world of God that leave more room for the imagination.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sanctuary O' The Day: Basilica of St Mary, Mpls

Sneak Preview of Holy Family Statue for Maternity of Mary Parish in St Paul

who blogs at Abbey-Roads occasionally refers to his day job at Leaflet Missal in St Paul in his blogging. Today he has photos of their church-goods sales guy checking out the progress on a full sized statue of a Holy Family group being created in Switzerland. Check it out!

Canada has worked on Mass Translations too

The irrepressible Rocco of Philly who blogs at Whispers in the Loggia always seems to come up with things that nobody else does. It's not know whether Stella Borealis has any visibility north of the border, but we do look for things.

[snip] On June 15, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' liturgical commission was in Ottawa counting the results of a mail-in ballot the same day U.S. bishops voted at their plenary to approve a new translation that is closer to the original Latin than the version that has been in use for more than 30 years.

According to the Episcopal commission's secretary, Fr. Camille Jacques, OSM, a majority of Canadian bishops have approved through their mail-in vote....
The American bishops also voted on specific adaptations that are not included in the Latin, but the Canadian bishops are still working on their adaptations in conjunction with the French-sector of the CCCB.

One Canadian adaptation is the acclamation "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ has come again." This does not appear in the Latin, but may end up being one of the adaptations the Canadian Church will retain, Jacques said.

Australia, for example, has asked to change the word "supper" to "banquet of the Lamb" because for Australians, supper is a snack, Crosby said. See More

A Good Shepherd --- Bishop Carlson is making more waves in Saginaw

Bishop Robert Carlson
, formerly an Auxiliary Bishop in the StP-M Archdiocese, then Bishop of Sioux Falls until December 2004, has issued new liturgical rules for his diocese in Saginaw, MI, to many some improper practices that had been allowed to occur. His message and specifics are found Here

It is interesting reading, particularly for the postures and gestures sections that may indicate different practices than those used in your own parish. Of particular interest is the changes to "The Saginaw Blessing."
Tip O' The Hat to Amy at Open Book!

Aquila! Apostoli! Groeschel! Benkovic! Pacwa!

Block out your vacations today! EWTN (sort of) comes to Fargo!

October 13-15, 2006: Fargo, ND Marian Eucharistic Congress titled, “I Am With You Always.”
Some of the featured speakers are: Bishop Aquila from Fargo, Father Andrew Apostoli, Father Benedict Groeschel (in person), Johnette Benkovic, Dan Lynch, Sister Briege McKenna, Father Mitch Pacwa, Michael O’Brien, and a number of other excellent guests. Thanks to Catholic NewsNet

Evil! . . . [Now that I have your attention. . . .]

who blogs at Lumen Fidei is a student at Ave Maria's Institute for Pastoral Studies (and a newly pregnant father), muses on Evil today

The existence of evil is quite possibly the most troublesome fact to reconcile with our faith. Everything about Christianity stresses over and over, that God is good, Good, GOOD. Yet it's only natural, then, to wonder why such a "good" God allows evil in the world. Why do innocent children get sick and die? Why do tsunamis devastate the lives of thousands of people? The list goes on...

There are a couple of precursor points I'd like to make. First, there's a time and a place to discuss this topic. In the moment of grief, when someone is crying out in pain, "WHY???" --- that is generally NOT the time to launch into a philosophical or theological diatribe, as it's really a request for compassion, not a long-winded answer. Philosophy can wait for a less emotional time. The second point is that, at some point and time, every single one of us will be that emotional person. And the time to be prepared for it is NOW, when we are able to think calmly about it. The less prepared for it we are the more likely such moments of grief will become serious challenges to our faith.

Of course, the only final, difinitive answer to the question of evil is to look at the cross. We can say that Jesus Christ became evil for our sake. By this we don't mean that he was actually evil, but that he took upon himself the consequences of evil. There is, at our disposal, a lifetime's worth of reflection on this fact, and we will still only have skimmed the surface. [snip] Finish It

Monday, June 26, 2006

Sanctuary/Nave O’ The Day: St Paul Cathedral

The status of marriage in the U.S. is very big deal indeed

A couple of weeks or so ago, a number of Winona Daily News editors accused the president of using the homosexual marriage issue as a diversion to displace concern about more pressing issues. In effect they were saying gay marriage is not that big a deal.

I adamantly disagree. It is a very, very big deal. By definition, marriage is the union of a man and woman and nothing else. The institution of marriage is under assault and we need a constitutional amendment to ensure it stays protected.

It is remarkable that in all of human history we have suddenly come to think that marriage may be something other than between male and female. If homosexual marriage is a civil right, why hasn’t it been an issue in the centuries before now. One would have thought that an earlier civilization would have addressed and embraced homosexual “marriage.” And one would think that other civilizations would have adopted the practice also. Or are we now suddenly smarter than everyone who lived before us?

This debate is really about destruction and overthrowing a norm. As National Review puts it, it is “discarding the roots that have nurtured and still sustain Western liberal democratic societies.”

Some conclude that legalizing homosexual “marriage will have no effect other than granting an oppressed minority a civil right. The Canadian experience tells us otherwise. In Ontario, every reference to “husband, wife, widow, and widower” in every statute had to be removed. On the national level, one can no longer use the term “natural parent” any longer. Legal parent is the term that has to be used now. Husband, wife, mother, and father have been essentially stripped of any legal meaning. If you don’t think similar pressures to redefine terms won’t be brought to bear here in the United States, then you are probably a wild-eyed liberal with an out-of-date lexicon.
[snip] Winona Daily News

Pope Benedict and the Holy Grail

Father "Z", Minnesota's permanent ambassador to Rome, via St Agnes, blogger at W.D.T.P.R.S?, an expert in many things, is also an expert, it seems on the Holy Grail. Not on the Knights of the Round Table, though.

When His Holiness Pope Benedict visits Valencia in Spain, he will surely visit the Chapel where people venerate what well might be the actual Holy Grail.
An interesting book by Janice Bennett entitled St. Laurence and the Holy Grail: the story of the Holy Chalice of Valencia (Ignatius, 2004) argues that the 1st century cup of agate, now mounted on a medieval base of gold and precious stones is the cup that Jesus used at the Last Supper for the consecration of His Most Precious Blood, “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Please understand that this book has big holes, uneven writing and research, and is open to serious skepticism on some aspects. However, it also relates truly fascinating information about this amazing relic held in Valencia and gives the reader a glimpse into the story of St. Lawrence and translations of various manuscripts of interest. Take this with a grain of salt, but it is a great read.

The cup itself is of a kind of agate, like chalcedony or sardonyx. It is like other cups found in Egypt, Syria and Palestine at the time of Christ. In the British Museum there are stone cups of the same style as that in Valencia dating to A.D. 1-50. It is of an odd color, reddish, “like a live coal”, and it is hard to say exactly what the stone is. The ancient naturalist Pliny describes that stone cups were submerged in oil until the stone absorbed some, and then boiled in acid which modified the organic material and changed the colors of the veins in the stone. The cup was very finely and accurately crafted and lacks ornament other than a fine band around the lip. It was broken through the middle on 3 April 1744, Good Friday, when it was dropped. The break was repaired and only a tiny chip is missing. The cup can hold about 10 ounces. [snip] More

Winona Diocesan News

Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary

The diocesan college seminary is located on the grounds

of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota at Winona. Almost
all of our active priests and many of the senior priests
attended IHM Seminary. Presently, fifty seminarians from
12 different mid-western dioceses are enrolled at IHM. The
seminary is no longer subsidized directly by the diocese but,
as noted, the Diocese of Winona pays room and board for all
of its students. IHM Seminary truly is a great blessing to our
diocese. I am indebted to the priests and staff of the seminary
for their commitment to the formation of future priests

From The Courier, Winona Diocesan Paper, June 2006, p. 3

Reestablishment of the Permanent Diaconate

Over the past twenty years, at least a dozen permanent
deacons have moved into the Diocese of Winona. Today,
ten men ordained elsewhere have joined us in ministry. Five
have been incardinated in the Diocese of Winona. In 2000,
the diocese began a program to form men for permanent
ministry as deacons to serve in our diocese. In August 2005,
I was privileged to ordain the first class of ten men to serve
permanently as deacons in the Diocese of Winona. The
second class is presently being formed, and I expect that, in
September, I will invite ten or more to become Candidates
for the Diaconate. The deacons, both those who moved here
after ordination and those whom I ordained, make a great
contribution to the life of our diocese and to our parishes.
Their ministry as deacons is yet another gift from God, a
charism of the Church that is now expressed in our local

From The Courier, Winona Diocesan Paper, June 2006, p. 4

With this issue, the Courier salutes those priests who have faithfully
served the Diocese of Winona and are celebrating jubilees in 2006.

Bishop Loras Watters, ret., 65 years, Calista Court

Fr. Lawrence Ginther, ret. 60 years, Winona

Fr. Gerald Conway, ret. 50 years, Arizona

Fr. Andrew Fabian, OP, 50 years, Rectory of the Cathedral in Winona

Fr. James McCauley, 50 years, ret., Brownsville

Fr. Syl Brown, 50 years, All Saints, Madison Lake

Fr. Jon Moore, 25 years, Austin

More information on these fine men can be found in The Courier
that can be found in a pdf file Here

Planned Parenthood to fund Pro-Abortion Candidates

Planned Parenthood has announced that they are going to use their cash reserves to fund prolife candidates. This announcement follows reports that the abortion provider posted record income and profits.

The group reported $882 Million Income, $63 Million Profit in it’s 2004-2005 annual report. To date, Planned Parenthood has received over $4 billion dollars of taxpayers dollars. Over $272 million this year alone.

The group also set a new record in the ratio of abortions to adoption referrals it carried out in the past year, at 180 abortions per 1 referral for adoption. This is not a very good ratio for a group that promotes themselves as an adoption referral service.

Read more about this story here and here. Thanks to Catholic Dad at Catholic Family Campaign

Structure O' The Day: Grasshopper Chapel

Basil wants to start a Catholic Radio Station in South Dakota

, who blogs at A Country Boy Writes. . . wants to start a radio station in South Dakota. He currently is a student in Aberdeen. He has his budget and a commitment. If you can afford to help him out, why not do it? Check him out Here!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Father Robert Altier has been "promoted!"

In an email from the Desert Voice web site, the following was just reported: More news in the continuing saga of Father Altier’s reassignment: Fr. Marley, the longtime chaplain at Regina, has been called back by his religious order. This means Fr. Altier is now serving as chaplain of the facility. What makes this turn of events so unusual is that the archdiocese had never before assigned a priest to Regina and Fr. Marley was expected to continue as the chaplain. Hmm…

For those local people who would like to visit Fr. Altier in Hastings, the schedule is as follows:

Daily Mass Monday – Saturday at 9:00 am

Sunday Mass at 10:00 am

Confessions beginning at 3:00 pm on Saturdays

The address is: 1175 Nininger Road, Hastings, MN 55033 All visitors are welcome.