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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

St. John Paul II’s encyclical on the two wings of faith and reason was “Given in Rome, at St. Peter’s, on September 14, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, in the year 1998, the 20th of my pontificate” (Fides et Ratio, No. 108).

Shortly after that I read it for the first time. I also thought about ways to read and teach it with our students at Shanley High School. Meanwhile, students began expressing their desires for a class in Philosophy in light of Fides et Ratio!

The timing was providential. (Papal biographer, George Weigel, noted St. John Paul II’s consistent conviction: “In the designs of Providence there are no mere coincidences.”)

Now the designs of bureaucracy don’t move quite so quickly. Nevertheless, a description of our first philosophy class elective was included in the course registration booklet for the 2000-2001 school year:

“Introduction to the principles of right reason and philosophical thought. Overview of the history of philosophy and philosophical schools. Exploration of the relationship between philosophy and theology.”

We had enough students choose the elective, and our first philosophy class began its joyful journey that next school year—thanks in great part to Fides et Ratio.

It’s About Time

Bishop Shanley

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the death of the Most Rev. John Shanley, who began serving as first Catholic Bishop of the then-new state of North Dakota in 1889. The original see city was Jamestown, but by 1891 Bishop Shanley moved the see to Fargo, which offered better transportation as a railroad hub and larger general and Catholic populations. 

He passed away in his sleep in his residence at the relatively young age of 57 on July 16, 1909. The beloved bishop’s funeral was the largest ever held in the state to that point in time with some 3,500 attendees in and around the cathedral. Businesses closed. People wept. Stirring tributes to the good bishop occupied the spoken and written word for days.

“Shanley High School” was named in honor of Bishop John Shanley and dedicated on January 5, 1951. Shanley’s first graduating class was the Class of 1951 after the name change from the previous school, Sacred Heart Academy (1897-1950).

Bishop Shanley’s funeral was held at St. Mary’s Cathedral, his pride and joy, which he consecrated on May 30, 1899. “I built this church with my tongue,” he would say, acknowledging the reality that he achieved much of the fundraising for it through his speaking engagements, retreats, and appeals.

The anniversary of his passing often coincides with the annual downtown Fargo Street Fair. That’s again the case this year, so getting there may be a challenge tomorrow. Plan ahead.

This large granite slab marks his grave in Fargo at Holy Cross Cemetery North. His mortal remains were interred there in June 1955 after being relocated from a burial crypt in the basement of St. Mary’s Cathedral. (That’s an entire story in itself for a future post.)

President’s Proverb

“Gloom is no Christian virtue.”

-St. John Henry Newman

Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)

Sunday Psalm Sampler

Sixteenth 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

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Lectionary Readings: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 15:2-3, 3-4, 5

Responsorial Refrain: “He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.” (Psalm 15:1a)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 16th Sunday Ordinary Time 2022, Psalm 15 Cycle C – YouTube

Sunday’s Psalm is an answer to the question posed at the beginning of this Psalm of David: “Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy mountain?” (Psalm 15:1)

The Psalm then follows the path of righteous and just deeds which leads to Divine intimacy and communion —fulfilled perfectly in Jesus, the Just One. Sing that reminder-blessing this week as you seek intimacy with Him and extend hospitality to your neighbor: “He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.”

Mike Hagstrom

mike.hagstrom@jp2schools.org