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Bishop Daniel Felton: Two powerful moments on the Sacred Heart solemnity

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

Greetings in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. On June 24, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, two powerful moments of God’s abiding presence and amazing grace occurred: Daniel Richard Hammer and Scott Daniel Padrnos were ordained into the priesthood for the Diocese of Duluth and the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Both of these moments underscore the deepest belief we have as Catholics: all life from conception to natural death has a sacred value in all expressions of life. 

Bishop Daniel Felton
Bishop Daniel Felton
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From the very day of their conception, birth, and baptism, the mission and purpose that God has for Father Padrnos and Father Hammer was already embedded in their very person and soul. On the day of their ordination, the Diocese of Duluth and Mother Church rejoices that these two priests are fulfilling their God-given call to be missionary priests, by helping all people who live in their parishes and neighborhoods to embrace and live their God-given purpose and mission in the fullness of life. We can only know true happiness, fulfillment, and a meaning that matters in life when we are aligned to the God-given purpose and mission that is entrusted to us the day that we are created by God. 

It was also on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred heart of Jesus that Roe v. Wade was overturned. Although much work remains for us, it is a monumental step in efforts to legally protect the dignity of unborn human life, and one for which we have earnestly prayed for nearly five decades. Included in this issue of The Northern Cross is a statement I am making on this occasion, along with the other administrators and bishops of Minnesota. 

We must remain clear that our support for mothers and fathers and their children continues throughout the whole of life in so many different ways, with special attention to giving genuine support to mothers in difficult circumstances. With the help of God’s grace, we need to create a real relational accompaniment, where abortion never looks like someone’s only option, and we need to create a culture of life that genuinely sustains and supports a mother, husband, and family who choose the option for life. 

I am also aware that many within our communities disagree strongly with our conviction on this matter. May we be pro-life in treating the person who disagrees with us with the same respect and dignity that we hold for the life of every human person. Perhaps one of the ways that dialogue and oneness can be brought forward is through our common desire to do all we can for healthy, happy, and holy families as the life-beating heart of our society and church. 

Let us remember, like the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, that God’s divine love and divine mercy extends to all God’s children, and so must ours. 

Bishop Daniel Felton is the tenth bishop of Duluth.