Browsing The Northern Cross

Local News in Brief - January 2018

The Northern Cross - January 2018
Local News In Brief

Real Presence Radio bringing in Benkovic

Real Presence Radio is excited to welcome Johnnette Benkovic as keynote speaker for its annual fundraising banquet in Duluth on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Benkovic is host of EWTN’s “Women of Grace” and founder and president of the organization by the same name. After years as a non-practicing Catholic, Benkovic experienced a deep conversion back to her Catholic faith. Through this conversion, she found a vocation to share the Gospel message through media, including radio, television, and writing. For more information about the event, to become a sponsor, host a table, or register to attend as a guest, please visit, call (877) 795-0122, or email

2018 Weekend for Engaged Retreats

Are you getting married in the Diocese of Duluth in 2018 or beyond? The 2018 schedule for the Weekend for Engaged is out and registration is open. Couples are encouraged to register and attend one weekend/series shortly after getting engaged. The dates and locations are:

• Feb. 23-24, June dates (TBD) in Duluth
• April 14-15, Oct. 27-28 in Hibbing
• May 5-6, Crosby
• Six-week series starting April 5 in Duluth

Couples are encouraged to register two weeks before the event at www. on the Marriage and Family Life page under departments. For questions call Betsy Kneepkens at (218) 724-9111.

Women’s conference registration now open

Registration for the Sixth annual Women of Faith Conference on Feb. 24 is now open. This year’s conference will be at Marshall School in Duluth and the theme is “Beyond Me.” The headliner guest speaker this year is Teresa Tomeo, an international speaker who has spent her professional life as a journalist in both secular and Catholic- based media. Tomeo currently is host of a daily radio talk show called Catholic Connection co-produced by EWTN and Ave Maria Radio. The day will also include Father Jim Sichko, a full-time evangelist and preacher based in the Diocese of Kentucky who travels the country with his storytelling, humor, and music to inspire audiences with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. He is also one of only 100 papal missionaries in the U.S. commissioned by Pope Francis. Women of all ages are encourage to register at For questions contact Betsy Kneepkens at (218) 724-9111.

Melendez in concert

Tony Melendez will be in concert Wednesday, Feb. 21, at Pine City High School Auditorium, 1400 Main St., Pine City. Handicapped accessible. Showtime is at 7 p.m. Melendez has played for Pope St. John Paul II, who encouraged him to continue his music ministry. Melendez’s message, geared for all ages, will cover bullying and acceptance of people with disabilities. Ticket prices are $10 per person or $40 per family and are available now. Contact Kathy at (320) 629-3031 or at, or Deanna at (612) 229-8647. Parish groups and youth groups welcome. Sponsors of this event are Catholic United Financial, Council of Catholic Women, and Knights of Columbus, all of Pine City.

Brusin scholarship

For those whose parish is part of St. Louis County or who know 12th-graders who live in St. Louis County, the Bernard and Mary Brusin Scholarship is available for high school seniors. The scholarship is dedicated to Jewish or Catholic residents of St. Louis County. Last year, three scholarships were awarded. Recipients were Alissa Siekkinen of Hibbing High School, Hibbing, Ashlynn Mattson of Mesabi East High School, Aurora-Hoyt Lakes-Biwabic, and Paul Foldesi of Denfeld, Duluth. Recommendation writers were Fathers Nick Nelson, Steven Daigle, and James Bissonette, respectively. Please note: The committee requires a member of the clergy to recommend the student for the scholarship. If a student is Catholic and his or her recommendation does not come from a priest, they will not be considered for the award. There are several other criteria (good grades, financial need, etc.). The complete description of qualifications can be found on the Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation website at If there are questions after reading the description on the website, please contact David Hammer, scholarship officer, at, or write to Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, 324 W. Superior St. Suite 212, Duluth, MN 55802, call (218) 726-0232, or fax at (218) 726.0257.

St. Mary honors merged parishes

The entryway of St. Mary’s Church in Deer River displayed memorials during the special recognition honoring the merger of St. Anne Church of Bena and Sacred Heart Church of Federal Dam into St. Mary Church of Deer River.

Endowment dinner

Immaculate Heart Church of Crosslake held its third annual Wild Endowment Dinner and Auction on Dec. 2. This is the most anticipated event at the parish and it was another sellout crowd. The Wild Endowment Dinner committee began taking reservations in October after Masses and in two weekends most of the seats were sold. The fundraiser began about 15 years ago as a Wild Game Dinner with proceeds going to various organizations. When Immaculate Heart began its Endowment Fund three years ago, the dinner became the main parish-wide fundraiser. Although the dinner is now mainstream food, the appetizers remain “wild” with venison sausage, moose meatballs, smoked fowl, and whatever is donated by local hunters. This year Chef Jon Pulsifer, of Prairie Bay Restaurant, presented a gourmet meal of beef tenderloin stuffed with lobster tails with lobster cream sauce, basmati kimchee rice, and a festive peppermint cheesecake for dessert all for $25. This year there were more than 100 silent auction items and 15 live auction offerings donated by members of the parish and local businesses. Donations of handmade goods, canned applesauce, sauerkraut, pickles, baked goods, and honey were sold in the pantry. There were numerous volunteers to work the games, help in the kitchen, set up and clean up, office and custodial staff support, and the group served the meal. The dinner also has many local sponsors. Father Rozier lends his spiritual support and the highlow game he runs is the hit of the night. Fun and fundraising is the theme of the evening. Before the main event, the live auction, Father Rozier talked about the Endowment Fund. He also presented a check for $117,000 to the Endowment Fund. This money was a portion of the proceeds from the sale of a house, a gift to the Endowment Fund from the Marjorie Flaspeter estate. Father Rozier concluded his remarks by introducing Jen Woodall, director of the Women’s Care Center in Duluth. The Women’s Care Center was awarded one of the first grants from the Immaculate Heart Church Endowment Fund. Woodall shared a brief slide presentation explaining the counseling, medical help, and support the Center gives to women. She expressed appreciation and gratitude for the generosity of Immaculate Heart parish and the Immaculate Heart Church Endowment Fund. The Immaculate Heart Church Endowment Committee is now accepting grant requests for its 2017 distribution from the Immaculate Heart Church Endowment Fund. Grant requests will be accepted from organizations, entities, or individuals for the purpose of furthering the mission of the Roman Catholic Church, locally, nationally, or internationally. Grant requests must be submitted to the parish office by March 1, 2018 to: Immaculate Heart Endowment Committee, P.O. Box 155, Crosslake, MN 56442, phone (218) 692-3731. For a copy of the Grant Request Form, please visit the website and click on the “Endowment Fund.”

Blessing the creche

Assisted by the Knights of Columbus and the Blessed Sacrament Parish religious education students, Father Gabriel Waweru, pastor, blessed the Christmas creche in a parish traditional ceremony called “Light Up for Christ.”

Spirit Fest in Grand Rapids

St. Joseph’s Parish in Grand Rapids celebrates Spirit Fest each fall. This family friendly event offers a broasted chicken dinner, along with a silent and live auction, kids games, bingo, and music. Part of the Spirit Fest tradition is to donate 10 percent of the proceeds to a local nonprofit supporting their call to serve. St. Joseph’s is pleased to have presented the Grand Rapids Area Boys and Girls Club a $2,500 check. The Boys and Girls Club recently opened in both Grand Rapids and Coleraine to serve elementary aged students after school. Its mission is to enable all young people to reach their full potential as responsible citizens through education, recreation, and positive community experiences. The clubs promote a fun, safe, and secure space for kids to explore interests in many areas, including DIY STEM projects, music, sports, arts, and leadership. With access to outdoor spaces, gyms, and a swimming pool, the clubs promote healthy activity along with healthy relationships until 8 p.m. each evening ith snacks and dinner served for the members.

St. Raphael Knights projects

The Knights of Columbus Council 6791 of St. Raphael’s Church in Duluth had a successful turkey bingo in November. The men participated in the Coats For Kids program again this year. They delivered more than 50 coats to kids around the Northland. The Special Olympics bowling tournament came to town and was a huge success. Many council members were found at this event helping distribute awards and assisting guests and participants. Volunteers also are helping with adoration at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary. Council 6791’s own Deacon Tom Kubat celebrated his 15 year anniversary to the diaconate in November. The council hosted a party for him to commemorate his service. The men of the council are continuing to read for the guests at Light House in Duluth. St. Raphael’s youth programs are up and running smoothly and a few Knights are teaching and helping the programs.

Ecumenical dialogue

A Catholic/Lutheran dialogue marking the anniversary of the Reformation was held in Deer River. Father Steve Daigle, pastor of St. Mary in Deer River, and the Rev. Peg Christianson from Clara Lutheran church in Deer River, along with parishioners and high school religious education students met for a meal, dialogue, and music on Wednesday, Nov. 8.

Boxes of joy

Spirit Fest in Grand Rapids St. Joseph’s Parish in Grand Rapids had a successful first year filling shoe boxes full of toys and necessities for Cross Catholic Outreach - Box of Joy project. Parish members were generous with donated items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, school supplies, shoes, socks, undergarments, and toys, along with monetary donations to help cover the $9 per box shipping expense. Packing parties were organized and assisted by grades 3-5 religious release time students to help fill the boxes. St. Joseph was very pleased to be able to fill 385 boxes for children in need. The parish plans to continue this as a yearly mission project. As part of this Advent season, children at St. Joseph’s School are already collecting items for next year’s boxes! Boxes of Joy are sent to the Florida processing center and then shipped to children in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.