Browsing The Northern Cross

Local News in Brief - February 2016

Father Daigle takes sabbatical

Father Steven Daigle will be participating in the “Ministry to Ministers” sabbatical program from Jan. 21 to May 25 at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. Father Peter Lambert will be the substitute priest, residing in the Biwabik rectory. To learn more about the sabbatical program visit

Parishes in Aurora, Biwabik and Hoyt Lakes have new name: Our Lady of Hope

Last year the three parishes of Holy Rosary, Aurora; St. John, Biwabik and Queen of Peace, Hoyt Lakes, merged into one new parish, and this new parish is called Our Lady of Hope Parish. It was previously known as East Range Catholic Parishes. Each of the buildings will continue to be used as a worship site, and each will continue to be called by its historic name. A logo for the new name was developed that includes a gold Marian star with a blue and white background. The logo symbolizes the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Hope, when she appeared in Pontmain, France, in 1871, wearing a dark blue robe covered with stars. The parish celebrated its first feast day on Jan. 17 with a Solemn Mass and festival brunch at Holy Rosary Church, Aurora.

St. Raphael Knights engage in service projects

St. Raphael’s Knights of Columbus Council 6791 harvested and decorated the exterior of the church with Christmas trees near the entrance and assisted with the interior Christmas decorations. They also assisted with the taking down of decorations after the Christmas season. To help with the cost of the parish youth programs they have provided two aluminum can recycling bins that are set out near the parish garage. The men are organizing a basketball free-throw competition. The council members worked with the St. Raphael’s religious education students in assisting the Salvation Army for the 18th year in a row by folding boxes donated by Super One Foods. The boxes were used for food or toy distributions to people in need during the Christmas season. About 1,000 boxes were folded and stacked in record time. Pizza, cookies and soda were provided for the workers by the council. They also assisted a parishioner in moving items from one home to the new home. The council is assisting St. Raphael’s parish with the fifth annual 5K For God run scheduled for April 30. For more information on the run visit

Rosary Society redesigns Mary Garden at St. Mary Star of the Sea

The Holy Rosary Society of St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Duluth has redesigned Mary’s Garden. All are invited to participate in the campaign to Buy-a-Brick to Pave the Footpath in Mary’s Garden. Organizers say this is a wonderful way for families to leave a display of love and devotion that will last a lifetime. Brochures may be found online at under the Parish Life tab or at the church entrances, 325 E. Third St., Duluth. Please complete a brochure for each brick order. For more information call the church at (218) 722-3078.

Duluth’s Sister Joanne McMahon to mark 70 years

Maryknoll Sister Joanne McMahon will celebrate her 70th jubilee as a Maryknoll sister on Feb. 14, with a Mass at 10:30 a.m. in the main chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Ossining, N.Y.

The educator, who arrived at Maryknoll in 1946 from Duluth, with a passion for missionary service, arrived in Micronesia in 1952, where she would teach on the islands of Yap and Koror for 59 years. During that time she taught middle school, served as principal of St. Mary’s Elementary School, and helped start a teachers training program, helping the school grow until its administration and faculty would be entirely Micronesian.

Beginning in 1971, and for the next 40 years, Sister Joanne focused on religious education, becoming coordinator of such programs for the whole island, then working with church leadership of the two Catholic parishes on Yap, as well as with nine Christian communities on the island.

As the communities developed, plans for the first Catholic high school formed and Sister Joanne joined a task force of 10 in making the dream a reality for the Catholics of the island. By 2008, 83 percent of the population was Catholic, 60 percent of them under 25 years of age.

Born in Brookston, Sister Joanne, whose religious name was Sister M. Francis Xavier, attended Sacred Heart Cathedral High School in Duluth. Following her graduation in 1942, she worked as a bookkeeper for a year, then as a secretary for her alma mater, entering the Maryknoll Sisters from Duluth in 1946. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Maryknoll Teachers College in 1952.

Sister Joanne’s knowledge of language, customs and thinking enables her to train local leaders for a society in transition. One of Sister Joanne’s eighth-grade students became the first Yapese priest, ordained a Jesuit in 1983.

In 2011 Sister Joanne returned to Maryknoll Sister Center where she is retired.

Deacon Toma receives pope’s apostolic blessing

Pope Francis conferred his Apostolic Blessing to Deacon Grant Toma on the occasion of his ordination to the permanent diaconate Nov. 22, 2015. The document decreeing the blessing was presented to him by Father Gabriel Waweru, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church, Hibbing. Deacon Toma is also a St. Louis County Deputy Sheriff, a member of Blessed Sacrament parish and is married with four children, one of whom, Jacob Toma, is in the seminary discerning a vocation to the priesthood for the Diocese of Duluth.