Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Great Parishes: St. John the Baptist in Biwabik

It is a "truth" universally acknowledged by Minnesotans that one must flee the Cities (being Minneapolis and St. Paul) as much as possible on the weekends. I would not even limit this truth to summer, since many in the state indulge in winter sports and winter hunting too. The destination? The fabled "Lake". Location: "Up North".

I've gone up north to the lake all my life. I've visited several outstate parishes. Ray suggested I blog on any that I think are "worthy" of support.

It's nice to know and affirm to everyone that most Catholics are not dissenters here (ignoring my past life for a second!)

Anyway, if you are on "Da Range" (Iron Range to the non-Minnesotan. Hey, get a map if you want more precise directions!), you may want to consider visiting St. John the Baptist in Biwabik.

St. John's is one of the three East Range Catholic Parishes. The other two are: Holy Rosary in Aurora and Queen of Peace in Hoyt Lakes.

Father David Forsman is the Pastor of all three. However, they have a parishioner in the Seminary and they are very proud of Ryan (he is mentioned in the bulletin).

Mass on Sunday is at 10:00 a.m. I walked in just as the congregation was finishing the Rosary--drat!

I don't have any pictures so I'll try to describe it (briefly). The church was built in the 1950's and it's right on the Main St (also known as Hwy 135) in the center of town. It has a beautiful stained glass curtain wall near the entrance. The shape of the building reminded me of a ski chalet (A-Frame). I'm sure this was intentional as the area has several slopes. The inside has some beautiful light-colored wood (my guess is birch).

The altar is a pale-grey stone (it looked like taconite, which would make sense) with etchings on it. Against the back wall is a crucifix w/corpus-above that is a mural of Jesus-holding a scroll that says: "I am the way the truth and the life" The pews were very comfortable. They had cushions! Even the kneelers were comfortable.

Fr. Forsman revealed that he has a good sense of humor. He announced the evenings parish picnic by saying you are welcome to bring beer (what's a Range party without brew?) as long as you bring him one. Then, he said they rented a Moonwalk for the kids (this is that inflatable enclosed trampoline thing that kids jump around in). He said if there was no weight limit he planned to be in it.

Then, he got right down to business. In a clear, strong voice, he delivered a very good homily. The Gospel reading was John 6: 41-51 ("I am the Bread of Life"). Straight up Catholicism. He reminded everyone that by taking Communion we receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord. If people (Catholics) REALLY knew what that meant and what a gift it is they would not remove themselves from the sacrament by illicit marriage and other sins. This is the FIRST TIME I have ever heard illicit marriage mentioned during a Homily as an occasion where one may separate themselves from God. He then went on to say that there are plenty of Catholics in the area and more of them would come to Church if they realized and truly believed in the Real Presence. There is no reason why they can't fill every Mass in all three parishes and then some.

Fr. Forsman and St. John's: Thanks for the hospitality.

Oh, and if you are a cyclist, the Mesabi Trail is not to be missed!

Schedule of East Range Catholic Parishes:

St. John's (Biwabik) Sunday Mass: 10:00 a.m.
Holy Rosary (Aurora) Saturday Anticipatory: 4:30 p.m.
Queen of Peace (Hoyt Lakes) Sunday: 8:00 a.m.
Call for the Holy Day of Obligation and Weekday Schedules as the Masses rotate (218) 865-6774

Adoration: Thursdays: 8:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

St. John's: Saturday 11:30-12:00 p.m.
Holy Rosary: Saturday 3:30-4:00 p.m.
Queen of Peace: Sunday 7:15-7:45 a.mGood Parishes: St. John the Baptist, Biwabik, Minnesota.

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