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Life News in Brief - November 2017

The Northern Cross - November 2017
Local News in Brief

Adult Faith Formation program beginning

Adult Faith Formation sessions will be held on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Holy Spirit Church, 306 S. Second St., Virginia; Saturday, Nov. 11, at St. Andrew’s Church, 1108 Willow St. S.E. Brainerd; The Center for Spirituality and Enrichment, St. Scholastica Monastery, 1001 Kenwood Ave., Duluth; St. Joseph’s Church, 315 S.W. 21st St., Grand Rapids; and St. Patrick’s Church, 203 Lawler Ave. S., Hinckley. Sessions run from 9 a.m. to noon. These are the first of five monthly sessions, which will run through March 2018. The formation will use Symbolon and will include instruction, discussion, and prayerful reflection, led by a local facilitator. This formation is open to all adults. Persons involved in teaching or wanting to be better equipped for evangelization are especially encouraged to participate. For more information or to register, visit or call Annette Merritt at (218) 724-9111.

Respect Life Essay Contest

The annual Respect Life Essay Contest sponsored by the department of marriage and family life of the Diocese of Duluth has begun. The essay strives to promote the ability of middle- and high-school students to articulate the arguments for respecting life. This year’s theme is “Be Not Afraid.” Students in middle school, grades 5-8, and high-school, grades 9-12, are eligible. All parish and Catholic school entries must be submitted in the same envelope. All submissions should be postmarked by Dec. 8. Information for the contest was sent to pastors, parishes, and Catholic schools in the diocese. You may also see guidelines on the diocesan website, or contact Betsy Kneepkens at (218) 724-9111 or

Appalachian missions

Youths from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Cook participated in an Appalachia Missions Project. The youths prepared and served breakfast for parishioners to raise money to purchase Christmas gifts for four families in need. The children raised $275 for their cause and enjoyed purchasing special gifts to make Christmas even brighter for many.

Serrans visit seminarians

On Oct. 13, the Duluth Serra Ministry took is annual coach bus trip to the seminary on the University of St. Thomas campus in St. Paul to visit six of the 10 Diocese of Duluth seminarians. Three of the seminarians had traveled from Immaculate Heart of Mary Minor Seminary in Winona to participate in this gathering. The entire group spent an enjoyable afternoon together sharing vocation stories, touring the seminary, and participating in Liturgy of the Hours. The visit culminated with dinner at Axel’s Bonfire Restaurant in St. Paul. Please contact Al Makynen, Duluth Serra Ministry president at (218) 343-2515 if you are interested in attending a Duluth Serra Ministry meeting; these meetings are typically held the first and third Monday of the month from noon to 1 p.m. at Blackwoods London Road in Duluth. Serra Ministry members and seminarians that attending the annual gathering include: (left to right) seminarian Jacob Tschida, Carol Spielman, seminarian Kaleb Quast, Serra chaplain Father John Petrich, Dr. Dennis Soukup, Jim Splan, seminarian Trevor Peterson, Tom Vecchi, Jim Perrault, Mary and Bill Ohnsted, Al Makynen, seminarian Scott Padrnos, seminarian Ben Lanari, Patty Splan, Julie Zenner, Dorothy Foley, Jim Manderfeld, and seminarian Daniel Hammer.

Knights raise $1,500 for raffle

On behalf of the Knights of Columbus Council 1649 of Blessed Sacrament Church in Hibbing, Tom Potochnic presented the church’s fall festival committee and Fathers Gabriel Waweru and Beau Braun a check for $1,500 for the grand prize raffle drawing.

Blessed Sacrament jubilee

The 75th jubilee of the consecration of Blessed Sacrament Church in Hibbing concluded its year-long celebration with Mass, concelebrated by Bishop Paul Sirba, Father Gabriel Waweru, pastor, and Father Beau Braun, associate pastor, of Blessed Sacrament Parish. Bishop Sirba spoke of the dedication of the men and women whose sacrificial offerings and devotion laid the foundations for the beautiful edifice, and themselves became living stones of the church. Following the Mass, there was a Eucharistic procession and Benediction. After the celebrations the parish enjoyed a celebratory brunch with the bishop.

St. Raphael Knights’ service projects

St. Raphael’s Knights of Columbus Council 6791 assisted in the set-up and clean-up as well as other activities at the Upon a Rock concert in September. They also served lunch to the women attending the DCCW fall conference. The men held a drive for Coats for Kids and were so successful they have decided to do this service project again. The coats will be distributed to the Boys and Girls Club for the upcoming winter season. Other ongoing service projects include driving people to Mass for those who cannot do so themselves, minister to those in the hospital, read to the guests at the Light House, and assisting at the monthlyparish social held after Mass. Men from the council are also helping in the youth and religious education programs in the parish. Council members also participated in the 40 Days for Life.

First Communion in McGregor

Sunday, Oct. 15, was a very special day for six children at Holy Family Catholic Church in McGregor as they received the Holy Eucharist for the first time. Pictured with Father Kuriakose Nediakala, MSBS, are Aiden Pierce, Danielle Moen, Theresa Sayers, Annabella Greer, Charlie Blumer, and Derek Gauthier.

Theology Uncapped event fosters hopes of Christian unity

The Theology Uncapped event at St. Benedict’s Church on Sept. 28 was completely sold out. It featured speakers from both Catholic and Lutheran perspectives on the topic of the papacy. Father Richard Kunst, pastor at St. John’s Catholic Church in Duluth and St. Joseph’s in Gnesen, presented the Catholic Church’s teaching on the papacy while the Rev. Peter Kowitz, pastor at United Lutheran Church in Proctor, represented the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s teaching. People came away impressed by the speakers’ congeniality toward each other during the friendly armchair discussion of a potentially volatile topic. Many found the discussion educational, organizers said. Not only did they get a better understanding of both points of view on the topic of the papacy, but they also came away with a better understanding overall of each other’s history and church structure. Organizers said the event inspired hope for Christian unity. Many Catholics and Lutherans alike were not aware of the work being done toward Christian unity. Rev. Kowitz cited Pope Francis’ visit to Lund, Sweden, at the end of October last year and said it was a big step toward a Catholic-Lutheran reconciliation. The next event will be held Thursday, Jan. 25. More information can be found at the group’s new website,

Blue Mass in Hibbing

Blessed Sacrament Parish in Hibbing invited area police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and their chaplains to attend breakfast and the annual Blue Mass, concelebrated by Fathers Gabriel Waweru, Beau Braun, and John Petrich, assisted by Assumption Catholic School students. Father Petrich, police chaplain for Duluth and St. Louis County, was the homilist. The origin of this celebration began at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 29, 1934, the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel, patron saint of police officers. This year, the police were presented with four protective gear packs, costing $1,000 each, which were donated by Fallen Heroes. The packs were obtained through Shield 616 and are designed to protect against high power weapon assault. Shield 616 is in reference to the passage in the Letter to the Ephesians to take up the shield of faith, with which to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. During the Mass, the men and women serving area communities were honored, blessed, and assured of continued prayer for their safety and well-being.