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Local Briefs - June 2015

The Northern Cross - June 2015
Local News in Brief

Clergy Appointments

Bishop Paul D. Sirba has made the following clergy assignments:

Effective May 31, 2015

+ Father Eric Hastings, from pastor of St. Benedict, Duluth, and judicial vicar and chancellor, to a leave of absence.

+ Deacon John Weiske is appointed administrator of St. Benedict, Duluth, until July 15.

Effective July 15, 2015:

+ Father Steven Laflamme, from studies for his license in canon law at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., to pastor of Holy Spirit, Two Harbors, and St. Mary, Silver Bay.

+ Father Michael Lyons, from pastor of Holy Spirit, Two Harbors, and St. Mary, Silver Bay, to retirement.

+ Father Peter Lambert, from pastor of St. Louis, Floodwood; St. Mary, Meadowlands; and Immaculate Conception, Cromwell-Wright, to residence.

+ Father Pio Antonio, from residence at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary to pastor of St. Louis, Floodwood; St. Mary, Meadowlands; and Immaculate Conception, Cromwell-Wright. Father Antonio was incardinated into the Diocese of Duluth March 31, 2015.

+ Father Joel Hastings, from pastor of St. Rose, Proctor, and St. Philip Neri, Saginaw, to pastor of St. Benedict, Duluth.

+ Father Joseph Sobolik, from pastor of St. Raphael, Duluth, to pastor of St. Raphael, Duluth; St. Rose, Proctor; and St. Philip Neri, Saginaw.

+ Father Paul Larson, from pastor of St. Mary, Deer River; St. Joseph, Ball Club; and Sacred Heart, Federal Dam, to pastor of Holy Family, McGregor, and Our Lady of Fatima, McGrath.

+ Father Anthony Craig, from studies for his license in marriage and family at the John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C., to pastor of St. Mary, Deer River; St. Joseph, Ball Club; and Sacred Heart, Federal Dam, and to assist in the Marriage and Family Life Office.

+ Father Paul Fruth, from pastor of Holy Family, McGregor, and Our Lady of Fatima, McGrath, to retirement.

+ Father Stephen Solors, from administrator of St. Mary, Willow River, and St. Isidore, Sturgeon Lake, to sabbatical.

+ Father Kristoffer McKusky, from pastor of Holy Angels, Moose Lake, to pastor of Holy Angels, Moose Lake; St. Mary, Willow River; and St. Isidore, Sturgeon Lake.

+ Father Nicholas Nelson, from parochial vicar of Immaculate Heart, Crosslake, and St. Emily, Emily, to parochial vicar of Blessed Sacrament, Hibbing.

Did you know?

Some demographics on Native American Catholics:

  • More than 340 parishes in the United States serve predominantly Native American congregations.
  • Of all (arch)dioceses in the United States, 30 percent have an office or program specifically targeting Native American Catholics. This includes the Diocese of Duluth.
  • Native Americans comprise approximately 3.5 percent of all Catholics in the United States.
  • Only 40 percent of Native Americans live in reservations or trust lands.
  • Most of those ministering to Native American Catholics are members of religious orders; those most likely to be Native American themselves are lay ministers and deacons.
  • Approximately 20 percent of all Native Americans residing in the United States consider themselves Roman Catholics.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 2.9 million people identified themselves as Native Americans or Alaska Natives in the year 2008, an increase of about 400,000 from the year 2000. Of this total, it is estimated that 580,000 are Roman Catholic.
  • In addition to the 2.9 million Americans whose primary race is given as Native American or Alaska Native, approximately 1.6 million Americans claim some degree of Native American ancestry. Of this number, it is estimated that approximately 200,000 are Roman Catholics, for a total of approximately 780,000 people claiming some Native American/Alaska Native ancestry who are Catholics in the United States.

Source: USCCB Secretariat of Cultural Diversity, Native American Catholics at the Millennium

Holy Family, Duluth, moves to summer schedule

Holy Family Church, 2430 W. Third Street, Duluth announced that from June through August the weekend Mass schedule will be Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m.

Bjorum retires from service at St. Thomas

After 40 years serving the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas in International Falls, Patricia Bjorum retired April 30. She served as the second grade teacher for 25 years at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School (1975-2000) and 15 years as the parish director of pastoral care (2000-2015). Bjorum has worked at St. Thomas Aquinas parish and school through 12 pastors. Parish officials say she has always been a voice to those left on the fringes of society, steadfastly speaking for the poor in the parish. Her work as director of pastoral care included working with the RCIA program to spread the Catholic faith. She was part of the original group of people who went through the Lay Ecclesial Ministry Program that the diocese employed for a few years. She happily took on leadership roles, such as attending JRLC Day on the Hill in St. Paul to join in advocating for the poor and vulnerable at the State Capitol. When the program was new, Bjorum brought JustFaith to St. Thomas. She developed parish social ministry within St. Thomas and assisted in the statewide effort to provide training for this ministry. She currently sits on the diocesan committee that administers the CRS Rice Bowl Small Grant Funds.

St. Raphael Knights assist with service projects

St. Raphael’s Knights of Columbus Council 6791 helped organize and assist at the 5K for God race held in April at St. Raphael’s Church in Duluth. A new race record was set. The event was able to raise $5,450 for the Duluth Area Catholic Schools. There were 152 runners competing in this year’s event. Stephanie Ferguson had a winning time of 24:27 minutes for the women’s division and Eric Cyr had a time of 18:11 minutes for the men’s division. Father Joe Sobolik, pastor of St. Raphael’s Church, had a time of 19:51 minutes and took first place in the bicycle division. The council also organized a grounds clean-up of the parish property. The council’s scholarship committee awarded a $500 scholarship to 2015 Hermantown High School graduate Laura McDonald and also a $500 scholarship to 2015 Proctor High School graduate Brian Tracey. Both are active members of St. Raphael’s Church. The annual Tootsie Roll Fund Raiser raised $831 that was given to the Cloquet Special Olympics and North Country Ride to aid children with special needs. The council also held its second annual pool tournament May 2. First place went to George and Margaret Beattie, second place to Jim and Dottie Perrault, third place to Jeff and Berta Carlson.

Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Spring Convention

The Duluth Diocesan Council of Catholic Women held its spring convention April 22 at St. Christopher Church in Nisswa. A short business meeting was held. The treasurer’s report was presented. The slate of officers for 2015-16 was presented and affirmed. Denise Haaland, province director, spoke on the topics of the National Council of Catholic Women’s 95th birthday this year as well as the importance of individual membership in NCCW. Bishop Paul Sirba attended and spoke about the joy of the Gospel and how we are loved by God. Bishop Sirba then explained that the keys of evangelization are the introduction of people to Jesus Christ, that we want to follow in his footsteps, that evangelization is part of the church’s mission, and that we share the love of Jesus. He said that Pope Francis said “Go and proclaim the love of Jesus.” Bishop Sirba finished by saying that we do good works because we do it with the love of Jesus. Following Mass, the outgoing officers were thanked for their service during the past two years, and the new officers were installed. They are Sue Goerges, president; Connie Andrews, president-elect; Olive Kirkland, second vice president; Carol Wohlers, third vice president; Clare Dulong, recording secretary; and Linda Braynard, treasurer. The afternoon session was led by Joan McGrath, past NCCW president and Father Paul Fruth, the Duluth diocesan spiritual advisor. They spoke about the history of the past years of NCCW and how it impacted them in their lives. The collection at Mass was sent to the Diocesan Seminarian Fund. The 50-50 raffle proceeds were sent to NCCW in support of its 95th birthday. The fundraiser raffle went to the education and support of DDCCW.

Diocese thanked for supporting retired religious

Bishop Paul Sirba received a letter from the National Religious Retirement Office for the donation to the 2014 appeal toward the Retirement Fund for Religious of $43,845. Over the last 26 years, parishioners in the Diocese of Duluth have donated a total of $1,399,472.54. The diocese is thanked for its generous and prayerful support of the nation’s senior sisters, brothers, and religious order priests. Since 1969, their office has distributed nearly $608 million to help underwrite the day-to-day care of elderly religious. The National Religious Retirement Office works with religious institutes to implement strategies for improving their financial situation. Donations to the fund benefit more than 34,000 women and men religious past age 70.

Evening of Healing at Cathedral July 27

The 24th annual Evening of Healing Prayers and Mass will be held Monday, July 27 at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, 2801 E. Fourth St., Duluth. The day includes adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Sacrament of Reconciliation from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Mass at 6 p.m.
Individual prayers for healing will follow the Mass. Priests of the Diocese of Duluth and St. Cloud Fraternity of Priests will be on hand throughout the day and evening.


Help CHUM of Duluth raise the money it needs to operate by baking more than 100 rhubarb pies to sell at the CHUM 11th annual Rhubarb Festival on Saturday, June 27. Come to Holy Family Catholic Church, 2430 E. Third St. in Duluth to mix and bake pies starting Thursday, June 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
and Friday, June 26, from 9 a.m. to about 2 p.m. Also needed is all the rhubarb they can get. Call Renee Zurn at (218) 723-1321 to donate rhubarb or for more information.

Northland Family Programs holds dinner dance

Northland Family Programs held its annual family dinner dance at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hibbing. The family-friendly dance and festivities was enjoyed by young and not-so-young alike. Northland Family Programs has offices in Duluth and provides Creighton Model Fertility care services in Duluth and surrounding communities.

A Day of Service with the Franciscan Sisters

Do you enjoy working in the yard, in gardens, or in the woods? If you do, here is an invitation that you can’t refuse! In celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life, the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist are hosting the second of three events on their land. On Saturday, June 13, the sisters are inviting all those who wish to work side by side with them on some outdoor work projects. Men and women (both young and seasoned), as well as families of all ages are encouraged to come to 5613 Lilac Hill Road in Duluth to help with gardens, raking, weeding, chipping, hauling and some fun! Please plan to come from either 10 a.m. to noon or from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. No matter your ability, the sisters will be able to find something for you to do. If you haven’t met the Franciscan Sisters yet, this is a wonderful opportunity to do so. If you know them already, here’s a great chance to work with them. The Year of Consecrated Life, which was named by Pope Francis, began Nov. 30, 2014. It will close on the World Day of Consecrated Life, Feb. 2, 2016. The Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, along with many other religious communities, are celebrating with three major events at their residence. The first event was an open house held on Feb. 8. The third event will be a prayer experience with the Sisters on Sept. 13, 2015. Watch your bulletins for more details. If you are unable to come on June 13, please contact them for other work day opportunities. For more information, please call
(218) 624-9038 or email