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Two Wings: President’s Posts

Two Wings No. 6

By August 5, 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

In the previous post I noted St. John Paul II’s lament for the impact of increasingly swift, shifting cultural change on the young in particular and that as a result “many people stumble through life to the very edge of the abyss without knowing where they are going” (Fides et Ratio, No. 6).

As we read and discussed the Holy Father’s insights in philosophy class over the years, my students concurred—especially through one of their favorite assignments copied in condensed form below. They relished this opportunity, brought vivid examples, and had profound dialogues with their classmates about Pope John Paul II’s point. (My example was “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. What song would you choose?)

Directions: Popular culture can be a megaphone or amplifier of the human condition. Various media exemplify a wide range of philosophies and world views. So choose a song that illustrates what Pope John Paul II is describing in the quotation above. Either bring the lyrics or a recording. Then answer the following questions about your selection.

Song Title:_____________________________Artist:_________________________________

  1. What specific lyrics, images, or themes in the song highlight the difficulties the Holy Father raises (absent truth; the ephemeral—passing, unsatisfying, unfulfilled; lack of meaning and purpose; doubt, darkness, the abyss—oh my!).
  1. Does the artist have any consistent message or point in the song? Explain.
  1. Are there any positive and hopeful elements to the song? Explain.
  1. Your other thoughts and comments about the song you have chosen:

It’s About Time

140th Anniversary Celebration

Presentation Sisters (front row) at Presentation Chapel for the 140th Anniversary Mass

It all came together perfectly: the date (July 26), the anniversary (140 years from 1882), the place (Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel), the six Presentation Sisters (3 times the original intrepid two!), the priest who is also the grand-nephew of a beloved, deceased Presentation Sister (Fr. Kyle Metzger and Sr. Petronilla Metzger, respectively), the chaplain of Shanley-Sacred Heart (Fr. William Slattery), the alumni taught by the sisters (grateful), the current students and parents (who benefit from the gift and legacy of the sisters), the musicians (John and Jan Klocke), the altar server (Shanley Junior Malachi Moore), and the staff of our Catholic schools. What a delight to gather, worship, and pray in order to observe the 140th anniversary of the opening of the first Catholic school in Fargo. Fr. Metzger’s homily was a perfect fit as well—reflecting on what that first day might have been like 140 years ago and expressing gratitude for the gift the Presentation Sisters have given us. He (and we) prayed that our schools would continue to thrive and flourish for many generations to come. Thanks be to God.

New Staff Welcome and Orientation

Yesterday and today we welcomed new staff members for orientation and training sessions. They met our administrative leadership team; learned about our school system’s history, mission, vision, and structure; completed human resource requirements; received their devices and intial technology instructions; completed introductory emergency, safe environment, and bullying prevention training as well as a session on the unique mission of teaching in a Catholic school.

On August 16 they will have a final day of professional development for curriculum and technology. They will also have their first meeting with their mentor teacher—a veteran who will help and guide the new teacher through her or his first year.

The feedback on these three initial days of training has been very positive. We are grateful for the opportunity to help these staff members get a good start in their new role with JPII Catholic Schools. I must say, we have “hired for mission” with this new crew. May the Lord bless their service.

President’s Proverb

“Let all guests be received like Christ, for He is going to say, ‘I came as a guest, and you received Me.’”

Rule of St. Benedict 53:1

Hagstrom’s Attempt At Humor (HAAH!)

Sunday Psalm Sampler

Nineteenth 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: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 33: 1, 12, 18-22

Responsorial Refrain: Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own.” (Psalm 33:12b)

Chris Brunelle’s YouTube recording: R&A Psalm 19th Sunday Ordinary Time 2022, Psalm 33 Cycle C – YouTube

‘The life of the saints is social.” –Robert Louis Wilkin

Psalm 33 is a joyful hymn of praise—not merely for a sole soul but rather for the choir of the just, of all the saints. We have been baptized and thus are members of the Body of Christ. Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI notes that “Union with Christ is also union with all those to Whom He has given Himself…Communion draws me out of myself toward Him, and thus also toward unity with all Christians.”

As we prepare to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion this Sunday, let us recall who we truly are as members of His Body. Let us also recall that He has already prepared a heavenly homeland for His people and “a city for them” (second reading). We are pilgrims on the way.

So in the midst of a world fraught with isolation, distraction, and division, we can sing in solidarity this week, Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own.”

Mike Hagstrom

mike.hagstrom@jp2schools.org