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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 13

By September 23, 2022No Comments

“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

As part of a three-year “National Eucharistic Revival” by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Diocese of Fargo is hosting the “Redeemed Eucharistic Conference” tonight and tomorrow here in Fargo.

The U.S. Bishops’ initiative was launched on June 19, 2022 (Corpus Christi) and will conclude on June 8, 2025 (Pentecost Sunday). A highlight of the revival will be a National Eucharistic Congress: July 17-21, 2024, in Indianapolis.

In Fides et Ratio, Pope John Paul II reflects on the Mystery of the Eucharist in the dynamic of the two wings of faith and reason. He approaches it through semiotics—the science of signs—and its affinity with the sacramental nature of Catholicism. 

He observes about the Real Presence, “In a sense, then, we return to the sacramental character of Revelation and especially to the sign of the Eucharist, in which the indissoluble unity between the signifier and signified makes it possible to grasp the depths of the mystery. In the Eucharist, Christ is truly present and alive, working through his Spirit; yet, as Saint Thomas said so well, ‘what you neither see nor grasp, faith confirms for you, leaving nature far behind; a sign it is that now appears, hiding in mystery realities sublime’” (Fides et Ratio, No. 13).

The Jesuit priest-poet Gerard Manley Hopkins fittingly translated one of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Eucharistic hymns of praise this way:

Godhead here in hiding, 
Whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows, 
Shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service 
Low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder 
At the God thou art.

It’s About Time

Diocesan Principals & Pastors Meeting

The annual fall meeting for Catholic school pastors and principals in the Diocese of Fargo was held on Tuesday of this week at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. Bishop John Folda called us together for a welcome to the new school year, introductions, prayer, school updates, mutual support, and brainstorming. There was a great spirit of collaboration and solidarity in the noble mission of Catholic education in our time and place. Thanks to all pastors and principals for their work and witness in our fourteen Catholic schools!

For more information on our Diocese of Fargo Catholic schools, visit Diocese of Fargo | Catholic Schools | Fargo, ND (fargodiocese.org)

Roger Maris ’52

Roger Maris’ Marker at Holy Cross North Cemetery, Fargo

It’s bound to happen. Roger Maris (d. 1985), Shanley High School Class of 1952, has held baseball’s American League single season home run record of 61 since 1961—61 years ago (those last three numbers are easy to remember, correct?). (By the way, I will not venture into the legitimacy of the over-all record set in the steroid era.)

On October 1, 1961, the 27-year-old Maris broke fellow New York Yankee Babe Ruth’s hallowed 34-year-old single season record of 60 home runs.

Now fellow Yankee, Aaron Judge, with 60 home runs and 13 games remaining, is on the verge of tying and breaking Maris’ 61-year-old record. I wish Mr. Judge all the best in these remaining games.

I am grateful for the continued attention to Roger Maris and his accomplishments over the decades and in recent weeks. I am grateful for his love for his alma mater, Shanley High School, and his family’s continued devotion and support after his death (my thanks to his widow, Pat ’53, and their children Susan, Roger, Jr., Kevin, Randy, Richard, and Sandra and all the grandchildren).

Even more so, I am grateful for his example of excellence: his strength of character and the virtues of perseverance, resiliency, and faith that he demonstrated in his major league career and especially in the 1961 season— “against all odds.”

Prayers for the repose of his soul and for the well-being of his family and friends.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Shanley and Sacred Heart schools will host Parent-Teacher Conferences next Wednesday and Thursday after school. Meanwhile, our elementary conferences will be held October 18-19.

“Parent-Teacher Conferences”!? In our age of classroom apps, on-line gradebooks and lesson plans (via the “LMS” or “Learning Management System” in educationese), of e-mail, e-newsletters, websites, and social media isn’t that decidedly passé? Aren’t they quite literally “old school”?

Yes and no.

Without question, the electronic access to information about student responsibilities and performance that our parents have today is unparalleled. And both teachers and parents will initiate communication about student concerns via an or email or a phone call.

But there is something important and enduring about face-to-face visits between teachers and parents. There is something unique about dialoguing together about the meaning and implications of the data, achievements, and challenges.

As a teacher, I always treasured those conversations and dialogues focused on a mutual interest: the student. I never failed to come away from conferences with a renewed spirit and deeper insights into a student’s background, capabilities, and needs.

We partner with parents and if we don’t know them very well and don’t have heart-to-hearts on occasion, then that partnership is diminished. So often, I thought “Aha, that makes sense” or “I’m glad you told me that” and said as much to the parents.

Often, we brainstormed together on solutions for improvement. Very frequently I was able to share stories and observations of true progress and notable achievement. It helped to have some context about each family—especially if there were struggles or challenges they were facing.

I know they are long days for teachers, but we would lose something very valuable and irreplaceable if we eliminated conferences altogether.

The Church teaches and believes with all her heart that parents are the first and foremost educators of their children. We are privileged as Catholic School educators to share in the beautiful challenge and delight of teaching the whole person in cooperation with those parents.

President’s Proverb

“Bring me my weapon.”

St. Padre Pio referring to the Rosary

Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)

How’s my blocking technique, Coach?

Sunday Psalm Sampler

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

“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: Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 146: 7, 8-9, 9-10

Responsorial Refrain: Praise the Lord, my soul!” (Psalm 146:1b)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 26th Sunday Ordinary Time 2022, Psalm 146 Cycle C – YouTube

Psalm 146 begins and ends with the Hebrew shout of praise: “Hallelujah!” It also begins the third and final set (Psalms 146-150) of Psalms of praise known as the “Hallels.”

With the lectionary’s other readings this Sunday (St. Luke’s parable of Lazarus and the rich man, the prophet Amos’ scathing denunciation of Zion’s comfortably complacent on the brink of the disaster of exile, and St. Paul’s advice to the Bishop Timothy to remember his noble calling), Psalm 146 stirs us to excellence in faith by imitating the Lord’s mighty works of charity and justice for the oppressed and needy (cf. Matthew 11:5 and 25:31-46).

May we approach the works of mercy by singing this week, Praise the Lord, my soul!”

Mike Hagstrom

mike.hagstrom@jp2schools.org