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Two priests ordained for Duluth Diocese

By Deacon Kyle Eller 
The Northern Cross 

Bishop Daniel Felton ordained two new priests — Father Scott Padrnos and Father Daniel Hammer — to the priesthood June 24, the Solemnity of the Sacred heart of Jesus, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth.

Bishop Daniel Felton prays over Father Daniel Hammer (left) and Father Scott Padrnos as part of their ordination to the priesthood June 24 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary. (Photo by Deacon Kyle Eller / The Northern Cross)

Joined by many of the priests and deacons of the diocese, visiting clergy that included Bishop Juan Miguel Betancourt, SEMV, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, and a capacity congregation at the Cathedral, Bishop Felton welcomed the family and friends of the two men to be ordained and called it “a great day of rejoicing.” 

He greeted Bishop Betancourt as a friend and formator of Father Padrnos and friend to the diocese, in addition to invoking the memory and presence of the late Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba, who was bishop of the Duluth Diocese during much of the two new priests’ formation. 

In his homily, Bishop Felton noted that in being “raised to the order of the priesthood,” the two new priests would be participating in the priestly roles of teaching, sanctifying, and governing. “See that you believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach,” he said. 

“Always remember that you have been taken from among the people and appointed on their behalf for those things that pertain to God,” he added. “Fulfill their hope, the mystery of Christ the priest, with abiding joy and love. Seek not your own concerns but those of Jesus Christ.”

Father Daniel Hammer (left) and Father Scott Padrnos lay prostrate before the altar as part of the ordination right. (Photo by Deacon Kyle Eller / The Northern Cross)

“Today we rejoice not in your mission in life but in God’s mission for you and in you and through you as his priest,” he said. 

Bishop Felton concluded by putting the new priests’ ministry in the context of the local church’s ongoing missionary work. 

“As our diocese is mobilizing to mission, may God raise you up to be a missionary disciple and priest for our own times, standing on the shoulders of Ven. Bishop Frederic Baraga and Msgr. Joseph Buh and all the missionary priests who have served the Diocese of Duluth since 1791 …,” he said, when a priest first proclaimed the Gospel in the International Falls area. 

“May you never forget from this day forward that your priesthood is not about you, but rather about the divine, incredible, and miraculous things God will do for you, in you, and through you to fulfill God’s purpose and mission from this day that he has entrusted to you as Father Scott Padrnos and Father Daniel Hammer.”

Father Hammer gives the traditional first priestly blessing to Duluth Bishop Daniel Felton (left) and Bishop Juan Miguel Betancourt. (Photo by Deacon Kyle Eller / The Northern Cross)

Father Hammer, 28, is the son of Dr. William and Teresa Hammer, from St. Andrew’s in Brainerd. He completed his seminary work at the North American College in Rome. He is assigned to graduate studies in canon law at the Gregorian University in Rome this fall, after serving this summer at Holy Spirit in Virginia. 

Father Padrnos, 32, is the son of Daniel and Susan Padrnos and is from St. Christopher in Nisswa. He completed his seminary training at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul and will begin his assignment as parochial vicar of St. Francis in Brainerd, All Saints in Baxter, and St. Thomas of the Pines in Brainerd effective July 13. 

Procession through Duluth kicks off Eucharistic Revival in the diocese

By Deacon Kyle Eller 
The Northern Cross 

Led by Bishop Daniel Felton, a diocesan Eucharistic Procession through the eastern half of Duluth June 19, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus, kicked off what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have called a “Eucharistic Revival” in the Duluth Diocese.

Priests serving the Duluth Diocese accompany the Blessed Sacrament in a Eucharistic Procession near the Cathedral. Click here for more photos. (Photo by Deacon Kyle Eller / The Northern Cross)

It was a chance to show devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and bear witness to that faith in the community, as the group, with the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance covered by a canopy, went from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary to St. Mary Star of the Sea downtown, accompanied by clergy, servers, and a crowd of the faithful from across the diocese. 

At the Cathedral, where Eucharistic Adoration extended from the end of the 10:30 a.m. Mass until the procession started at 3 p.m., Bishop Felton addressed the crowd, noting that already that day with the celebration of Mass the faithful had “embraced and embodied” the abiding, everlasting presence of Jesus in the sacrament and said that they would now “seek to express and to share that presence of Jesus with others in the Eucharist” in the community as they walked the route, which went down Fourth Street to 21st Avenue East before completing the journey along Third Street. 

The bishop described the three-year plan for the Eucharistic Revival to “re-present” the Eucharist to the faithful and “put on center stage again” that teaching of the real presence.

The June 19 Eucharistic Procession gets under way down Fourth Street in Duluth. Click here for more photos. (Photo by Deacon Kyle Eller / The Northern Cross)

“This is not just a feast day, this is the day of all days,” he said. “This is the day when we begin a sacred journey. This is the day when we recommit ourselves once again to the deepest belief that we have as Catholics, and that is the real presence that we find in the Holy Eucharist, and the real presence that always abides in Jesus Christ, as we worship him and as we give him glory in the Blessed Sacrament.” 

The weather was nearly perfect — cool and sunny — and those participating ranged in age from children to senior citizens. As the procession concluded at St. Mary Star of the Sea about an hour and a half after it began, the bishop led a Litany of the Eucharist before offering Benediction and reposing the Blessed Sacrament in the parish’s adoration chapel, Holy Innocents. 

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
Believe in the Good News

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. 

Statement of the Catholic bishops of Minnesota in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson

Along with women and men across our nation who respect the inherent dignity of each human life, the Catholic bishops of Minnesota give thanks to God on this historic day as the Supreme Court ends the injustice of the Roe v. Wade decision. We are grateful that the Supreme Court has returned to state Legislatures and federal officials the ability to protect preborn children and save mothers and fathers from the untold pain of abortion. 

For almost 50 years, Roe grievously denied one of America’s founding principles: that all men and women — irrespective of their stage of development — are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Forgetting this self-evident truth has resulted in the death of over 60 million preborn children and the wounding of millions of mothers and fathers. 

Welcomed in life 

As a Church, we have been committed to providing help to every mother and father dealing with a crisis pregnancy, so they are not forced to choose abortion. We are proud that many of our Catholic faithful work in crisis pregnancy centers that create nonjudgmental networks of support for women. These centers offer shelter, housing assistance, free diapers and clothing, pregnancy and parenting classes, community referrals, childcare, and other charitable assistance. Through our continued efforts to respect the well-being of both the mother and the child, we have been honored to accompany countless women and men tempted to choose abortion. We have been privileged as well, through post-abortion healing retreats, to help parents who have chosen abortion to work through the pain they so often suffer. 

To further support our work, the Catholic bishops of the United States have launched a nationwide initiative, Walking with Moms in Need (walkingwithmoms.com), to create additional avenues of support for mothers in our communities by way of Catholic parishes, ministries, and crisis pregnancy centers. We also pledge that our Catholic churches will be a sanctuary for women in crisis pregnancies. Any woman in a crisis pregnancy who comes to the door of a Catholic church in the state of Minnesota seeking assistance will be supported and, at a minimum, referred to resources where she can get help. 

The Church’s contribution to public life walks with the two feet of justice and charity. Our direct assistance to women in crisis pregnancies through charitable and philanthropic efforts is fundamental in our endeavor to build an authentic culture of life. But we also commit to working in our state Legislature to ensure that every child is welcomed in life and respected by the law. 

Respected in law 

Unfortunately, the landscape in Minnesota is shaped by our own version of Roe v. Wade. The 1995 Doe v. Gomez decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court characterized the state right to an abortion as a “broader protection” than Roe, including the right of low-income women to a taxpayer-funded abortion. Sadly, Gomez is unlikely to be overturned without a change in federal law or a state constitutional amendment. 

Despite Minnesota’s legal landscape, we should continue to find ways to place reasonable limits on the availability of abortions, especially after viability (Minnesota is one of the few states without limitations on post-viability abortions). We should also put in place, and keep in place, measures to help protect women from further serious injury arising from the risks already involved with an abortion. Such protections include, among other things, licensing abortion clinics and requiring that chemical abortions be procured only through a physician. 

To limit the demand for abortion, the state should also commit its resources to ensuring that women have the support they need to choose life. Some pregnancy centers are supported in part by the state’s Positive Alternatives Grant Program, which promotes healthy pregnancy outcomes and assists pregnant and parenting women develop and maintain family stability and self-sufficiency. In a budget that will reach $60 billion by 2024, our state allocates only $3.375 million for these services, even though the need is much greater. The most recent round of funding requests totaled roughly $6.5 million. 

The prospect of Roe being overturned has already sharpened partisan division on the abortion question. As bishops, however, we have no interest in engaging as partisans, and we will continue to work to build common ground rooted in the principles articulated above. This is a matter of prenatal justice — giving to both mother and child that which is their due, namely, support and protection. 

But make no mistake: we will rigorously oppose efforts to expand the abortion license in Minnesota and we will work with people on both sides of the aisle to prevent Minnesota from becoming an abortion sanctuary state. 

Abortion advocates want people to believe that abortion promises liberation, but instead, it leads to sadness, pain, and the death of a human being. To quote one pro-life leader, “Abortion says ‘I sacrifice your life for my convenience.’ But Love says, ‘I sacrifice my convenience for your life.’ Only love will lead to fulfillment.” Let us be a credible witness to the Gospel of Life by sacrificing ourselves for the sake of others, both born and unborn. 

We ask all Minnesotans to join our efforts to combat a throwaway culture, foster prenatal justice, and create a state where love prevails. 

Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda 
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis 

Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens 
Diocese of Crookston 

Bishop Daniel Felton 
Diocese of Duluth 

Monsignor Douglas L. Grams 
Diocese of New Ulm 

Bishop Joseph Williams 
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis 

Bishop Donald J. Kettler 
Diocese of St. Cloud 

Bishop John M. Quinn 
Diocese of Winona-Rochester 

Father Mike Schmitz: I’m so busy. How can I grow and become a saint?

I really want to grow. I mean, I really want to become the person that God has called me to be, but I find myself being so busy that I can’t imagine adding more to my plate in order to be a saint. How can I fit more in? 

Father Michael Schmitz
Ask Father Mike

Thank you so much for writing and for your question. First, you have the correct goal: You know that you are called to be a saint. To be anything else is to fail permanently. I know that is quite the claim, but consider the words of Jesus: “What does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose their soul?” (Mark 8:36). Apparently, you and Jesus are on the same page (which is a very good page to be on). 

But to move forward, it will be very important to keep a few things in mind. 

First, what is a saint? A saint is not someone who has accomplished a certain task, has certain gifts, or has achieved a certain notoriety. Most saints live what look like ordinary lives, without any distinguishing gifts or abilities, and are lacking popular recognition. A saint is merely someone who does God’s will. St. Maximillian Kolbe put it like this: “When one’s will is the same as God’s Will, then one is holy.” This doesn’t mean that a person is perfect or that they are an expert at every task in their life. It does not mean that they never fail. But it does mean that they continually return to the Lord regardless of victory or defeat. 

The late Father Benedict Groeschel said that “a saint is a person who says yes to God … and who never stops saying yes.” While this means many things, one of the things it highlights is that a person can always choose to be a saint. Even if they have sinned. Because what is the call from the Lord to every person who has sinned? God calls every person, virtuous or vicious, heroic or sinful, to let themselves be loved by him. Therefore, if a person is without sin, they are called to say “yes” to God and continue to walk in his grace. And if a person has sinned, they are called to say “yes” to God’s invitation to repent, go to confession, and walk in his grace. Our answer to God is always “yes.” This is sanctity. Nothing more and nothing less. 

And yet, God doesn’t just call us to have the “feeling” of saying yes — or the sentiment of walking with him. He wants us to actually say yes to his invitations to live out our relationship with him. This means spending time with him in prayer, participating actively in the sacraments, growing daily in living a life of virtue, and actively loving the people around us. And all of those things take energy, attention, and time. 

This is actually very practical. We all know that love requires energy, attention, and time. Without these three, there really isn’t the possibility of love existing, much less growing and flourishing. We love what we give our heart to; which is to say that we love what we give our energy, attention, and time to. A person cannot say that they love their spouse if they do not give their spouse their energy, attention, and time. The same is true for our relationship with God. 

If a person had the situation where their lives were so full that they did not have room for their spouse, they would be forced to ask themselves a question: “Do I love my schedule and the life I have created for myself or do I love my spouse?” And then they would have to make changes. Time and attention and energy are limited resources. I can only give myself away to a limited number of things and people. I will need to make a choice. And so will you. If I love God, then He gets my energy, attention, and time. 

Now, this means that I have to say “no” to other things. That isn’t me being mean. It is just the truth; if I only have $5, I can’t buy both the medium latte and the Jimmy John’s sandwich. I have to choose between them. 

And yet. 

God is so good that he is calling us to say yes to him (to love him) in the midst of the life we are currently living. This is connected to something called the “sacrament of the present moment.” God is present at every moment and in every place. He is actively loving us at every moment and in every place. Because of this, we can grow in holiness (we can give him our heart — our energy, attention, and time) by simply recognizing that every moment is a gift from God and can be a gift back to God. 

Yes, there are some things in our lives that will have to be discarded (repentance, after all, requires some real change), but God chooses to work out the extraordinary process of sanctification through ordinary means. This is not something that I am making up, this is the wisdom of the saints. Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade put it like this: “Would to God that … all men could know how very easy it would be for them to arrive at a high degree of sanctity. They would only have to fulfill the simple duties of Christianity and of their state in life; to embrace with submission the crosses belonging to that state, and to submit with faith and love to the designs of Providence in all those things that have to be done or suffered without going out of their way to seek occasions for themselves.” 

Father Michael Schmitz is director of youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Duluth and chaplain of the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth. 

Resources for women, mothers, fathers, and children

By Betsy Kneepkens 
The Northern Cross 

Even before Roe v. Wade was decided in January 1973, pro-life advocates were behind the scenes establishing organizations to help support women, babies, and families who found themselves in what they perceived was a crisis pregnancy. When the Supreme Court passed Roe v. Wade, pro-life advocates continued and expanded community efforts to help women in need. Since many felt abortion regulations were properly suited to be made by state legislators, others mobilized to move the ruling out of the federal purview. Many pro-life advocates have worked tirelessly to end circumstances that would make women feel that their motherhood is a crisis. 

Pro-life individuals in our diocese have not stopped working on behalf of mothers in need since Minnesota passed laws to legalize abortion and increased those efforts with the eventual 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. Currently, our diocese has nearly 50 organizations where women, fathers, and families can access help before, during, and after their pregnancy. Because Minnesota is one of those states that had already legalized abortion before Roe v. Wade, Minnesota will continue to allow abortions until our legislators overturn the laws. Because none of the neighboring states have laws that allow for abortion, Minnesota will become an abortion destination site like New York and California. Services to help support women with their pregnancy and motherhood will need to expand as the number of women seeking abortions in Minnesota will increase. Below is a partial list of current services offered to women, mothers, fathers, and children. As a Catholic church, we seek to eliminate any need to call anything surrounding motherhood a crisis. 

Life Affirming Pregnancy Centers 

Brainerd: Birthright, 401 W. Laurel St., Suite B, 56401; (218) 829-8470; www.birthright.org/brainerd 

Brainerd: Lakes Area Pregnancy Support Center, 315 E. River Road, Suite One, 56401; (218) 825-0793; www.lakesareapregnancy.org 

Deer River: New Beginnings Pregnancy Care Center, 17 First St., N.E., 56636; (218) 326-0404; newbeginningspregnancy.com

Duluth: Women’s Care Center, 103 E. First St., 55802; (218) 623-7100; www.womenscarecenter.org/duluth-minnesota 

Duluth/Superior: Lake Superior Life Care Center, 1823 Belknap Street, Superior, WI 54880; (218) 727-3399 or (715) 394-4102; www.lslccduluthsuperior.org 

Grand Rapids: New Beginnings Pregnancy Care Center, 605 N.W. Fourth St., 55744; (218) 326-0404; newbeginningspregnancy.com 

Hibbing: Family Life Center, 802 E. Howard St., Suite Three, 55746; (218) 262-5768; www.familylifecenterrange.com 

International Falls: Northern Options for Women, 923 Fifth St., 56649; (218) 285-7673; northernoptionsforwomen.optionsmn.org 

Pine City: Pregnancy Resource Center, 315 Main St. S., Suite 20, 55063; (320)629-2792; www.pregornot.org 

Sandstone: Options for Women, 927 State Highway 23 N., 55072; (320) 216-7633; www.sandstoneoptions.org 

Virginia: Family Life Center, 820 N. Ninth St., Suite 130, 55792; (218) 262-5768; www.familylifecenterrange.com 

Walker: Walker Area Pregnancy Support Center, 102 Eighth St. N., 56484; (218) 547-5433; www.pregnancyhelpmn.com 

24-hour nationwide help 

Pregnancy Resouce: (800) 395-HELP 

Birthline Hotline: (800) 786-0200 

Birthright Hotline: (800) 550-4900 

Option Line: (800) 712-4357 

Post-Abortion Services 

Abortion Changes You: online resource for post-abortion healing; www.abortionchangesyou.com 

Abortion Recovery International: worldwide database of organizations that can assist in healing; www.abortionrecovery.org 

Healing Hearts Ministries: offers post-abortion group/online study “Binding Up the Brokenhearted”; www.healinghearts.org 

National Helpline for Abortion Recovery: counseling services and a model for sexual health, abortion recovery, and prevention; www.internationalhelpline.org; (866) 482-5433 

Project Rachel: offers one-on-one therapy for abortion recovery across Minnesota; [email protected]; (651) 291-4515 

Rachel’s Vineyard: weekend retreats for healing after abortion; www.rvineyardmn.org; (763) 250-9313 

Silent No More Awareness: nonprofit organization exposing the devastation of abortion and helping women find healing; www.silentnomoreawareness.org 

Family Support 

Christ Child Society of Duluth: help for children in need; [email protected] 

Cradle of Hope: financial assistance for pregnancy expenses; www.cradleofhope.org; (651) 636-0637 

Damiano Center: food, clothing, and other resources in Duluth; [email protected]; (218) 722-8708 

Guiding Star Project: www.guidingstarproject.com; [email protected]

Holy Family Catholic Adoption: adoption services for birth mothers and adoptive families; [email protected]; (612) 209-5869 

Mysterious Miscarriage Sisterhood: supporting families who have experienced the trauma of miscarriage; (320) 597-4138 

New Life Adoptions: comprehensive adoption services; [email protected]; (612) 746-5658 

Sidelines Support Network: supporting women with complicated pregnancies, and their families; www.sidelines.org; (888)-447-4754 

Maternity Homes 

Star of the North Maternity Home: offering Christian-based housing for pregnant mothers and their babies 

Duluth: (218) 340-1645, [email protected] 

Iron Range: (218) 206-1931, [email protected] 

Prenatal Hospice 

Courageous Hearts: (715) 969-4506, [email protected] 

Prenatal Partners for Life: (763) 772-3868, [email protected] 

Family Planning Services 

Northland Family Programs: Fertility Care Center, (218) 786-2378; www.northlandfamilyprograms.com 

Emergency Services 

Society of St. Vincent de Paul, www.svdpusa.org 

Duluth: (218) 409-6887, [email protected] 

Superior: (715) 398-4039, [email protected] 

Food 

CHUM Duluth: 102 W. Second St., Duluth; (218) 720-6521 

Union Gospel Mission: 219 First St., Duluth; (218) 722-1196 

Emily Food Shelf: 20948 County Road One, Emily; (218) 763-3663 

Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen: 923 Oak St., Brainerd; (218) 829-4203 

Housing 

Habitat for Humanity: Aitkin County, (218) 927-5656; Lakes Area, (218) 828-8517; Itasca County, (218) 999-9001; North St. Louis, (218) 749-8910 

Grace House, Grand Rapids: (218) 326-2790 

Campus Youth Ministry 

CSS Students for Life: (218) 723-5000, [email protected] 

UMD Bulldog Students for Life: (218) 726-8000, [email protected] 

Sidewalk Ministry 

40 Days for Life: [email protected] 

Pro-Life Ministries of Duluth: [email protected], (715) 969-4506 or (218) 382-0015 

Pro-Life Across America: (800) 366-7773 

Diocese of Duluth 

Office of Marriage, Family, and Life: 2830 E. Fourth St., Duluth, MN 55812; (218) 724-9111; [email protected]; www.dioceseduluth.org 

Davidson family’s new overseas mission another step in a longtime call 

From northern Minnesota to Cambodia

By Deacon Kyle Eller 
The Northern Cross 

“She’s known since she was 10 that she was going to be a missionary, and I’ve known since I met her that I was going to be a missionary,” jokes Nic Davidson about his wife Jacelyn. 

Both grew up Protestant, and Jacelyn said meeting the missionaries that used to come visit churches was an inspiration. “That is kind of always what I was hoping to do with my future,” she said. That much was made clear on their first date, and shortly after they were married, they moved to China for two years. 

After their return, they converted to the Catholic faith but always kept pursuing that goal of mission work, with Jacelyn pursuing a secondary vocation as a medical doctor and Nic becoming a well-known speaker on the Theology of the Body. Jacelyn’s medical studies took them to the Caribbean island of Dominica, where they adopted their three oldest children, before they moved back to the Diocese of Duluth. 

But on Sept. 5, the Davidsons and their five children will be taking their boldest step yet in bringing Christ to the world as they move to Cambodia in East Asia. 

Cambodia coming full circle 

Nic and Jacelyn have been to Cambodia before, visiting during their time in China, and it played an important role in their journey, but it wasn’t necessarily a destination they had been leaning toward. They say they were open to wherever God was calling them, and they initially tried places they had more contacts, like Kenya and India, but those doors closed, while things just opened up for Cambodia, which Jacelyn described as the poorest place they had ever been, but a place that astounded them with how “nice and cheerful the people were there.” 

It was on their first visit to the country that Jacelyn received the clear calling to be a doctor in a kind of “light-bulb moment.” They were at the Killing Fields, and she had fixed up a cut for a little boy. 

Nic said that as they watched the little boy run away, he watched the light-bulb moment play out in real time as Jacelyn said, “Somebody could become a doctor and just come here. Like, I could become a doctor and just come here. I’m going to become a doctor.” 

“She’s never really faltered since then,” he said. 

The Davidson family had no contacts in Cambodia, but one day a friend texted them a screen shot suggesting a contact. It was a priest who was a French-American missionary to Cambodia who had written a biography of Blessed Carlo Acutis. 

Within 24 hours, the priest had responded. The priest spoke to his bishop, who was eager for them to come. 

“It was just immediate, it was an open door, so since then everything has been a freight train going forward,” Nic said. 

Their departure date of Sept. 5 is the feast day of St. Teresa of Calcutta, an inspiration of Jacelyn’s, and the only canonized saint known to have set foot in Cambodia. 

Missionary work 

If the call to Cambodia was clear, what things will look like once they get there is more an exercise in trusting God. The Davidsons said their immediate plans are to immerse themselves in the Cambodian language and get accustomed to living there. 

Nic said a lot of times missionaries will go places and not choose to learn the language. “It’s fine in one sense,” he said, “but it’s sort of incarnational to put the work in and learn the language and be able to talk to people in their own tongue.” 

So they will have formal language study during the day, then go out to markets and have interactions. Jacelyn will also be seeking to get her medical license in Cambodia and getting out to meet people in clinics and trying to get a sense for how God may want to use medical work in their mission. 

She said like many places, medicine is widely available, but the further you get from large cities the lower its quality gets. 

Nic said the question of what they’re going to do in Cambodia comes up a lot, and the answer is: “We’re just going to go because God has said to go.” But he said the uncertainty is familiar. When they first moved to Dominica, he said he felt like he had to give up speaking, but the first Sunday they went to Mass, a deacon announced they needed help with youth ministry, building projects, mission trips, marriage and family ministry. “God had all those doors open,” he said. “We just had to go.” 

Staying for the long haul but keeping in touch 

Leaving for Cambodia is no easy task, and neither is coming back. The Davidsons have had to figure out schooling options for their children (they are going to homeschool starting out), visas and passports, and how to get rid of their belongings in Minnesota, which it would be prohibitively expensive to take with them. 

They are also saying goodbyes to family members who are happy for them in their hearts but also sad at the prospect of being separated for a long time. Nic said the cost for the whole family to visit the United States from Cambodia is about $14,000. “Never in our life have we had 14 grand lying around,” he said. 

Still, Jacelyn said compared to the missionaries of 50 years ago that she’s read about, it’s not so bad. “It does make a huge difference that we can FaceTime so easily,” she said. 

They also plan to keep in touch with the faithful of the Diocese of Duluth through video messages and through the mailing list on their website. They even have people from the Diocese of Duluth accompanying them for a time and hope to have trips in the future. 

To follow the Davidsons and to support their ministry, visit freelygiveninc.org

Deans appointed

By The Northern Cross 

Bishop Daniel Felton has made the following appointments of priests as deans of their respective deaneries, effective July 1, 2022: 

  • Father Daniel Weiske, Hibbing Deanery 
  • Father Brandon Moravitz, Virginia Deanery
  • Father Joseph Sirba, Cloquet Deanery
  • Father Steve Langenbrunner, Duluth Deanery
  • Father Michael Garry, Brainerd Deanery 

The bishop said he was grateful that these deans have agreed to serve in this capacity as the diocese moves into its mission of being disciples and making disciples in our respective deanery mission fields. 

He also offered his thanks to Father Justin Fish, whose term as dean has been completed, and to Father Tony Wroblewski, who will begin his new responsibilities as Director of Ministry to Priests. 

Priesthood Jubilees

60 years 

Father Lloyd Mudrak

Father Lloyd Mudrak

Father Lloyd Mudrak was ordained to the priesthood on June 2, 1962, at Holy Rosary Church in Duluth by Bishop Francis J. Schenk for the Diocese of Duluth. Father Mudrak attended high school and college at Nazareth Hall and attended St. Paul Seminary.

During Father Mudrak’s ministry, he served at St. Joseph, Chisholm; St. Francis, Brainerd; St. Anthony, Duluth; Cass Lake; Holy Spirit, Virginia; Sacred Heart, Virginia; Sacred Heart, Mountain Iron; Mary Immaculate, Coleraine; St. Mary, Marble; and St. Joseph, Taconite. 

He also served as director of Boy Scouts, chaplain for the Minnesota National Guard, director of Newman Apostolate, diocesan director of religious education, episcopal vicar and senate/consultor. He was also on the personnel board and Presbyteral Council. 

Father Mudrak retired in 2011. 

50 years 

Father John O’Donnell

Father John O'Donnell

Father John O’Donnell, a native of Ireland, was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Duluth on June 18, 1972. He attended high school at St. Ita’s College and attended college and seminary at All Hallows in Dublin.

During Father O’Donnell’s ministry, he served at St. Francis, Brainerd; St. Mary, Keewatin; St. Anne, Kelly Lake; Blessed Sacrament, Hibbing; Immaculate Conception, Hibbing; St. Francis, Carlton; Immaculate Conception, Cromwell-Wright; Holy Spirit, Virginia; Sacred Heart Virginia; and Sacred Heart, Mountain Iron. 

In addition, he served on the clergy personnel board, the Presbyteral Council, and as a consultor. He was also moderator of the diocesan TEC. 

Father O’Donnell retired in 2014 and returned to Ireland. 

40 years 

Father Thomas Foster

Father Thomas Foster

Father Thomas Foster was ordained to the priesthood on May 8, 1982, at St. Charles in Cass Lake by Bishop Paul F. Anderson for the Diocese of Duluth. Father Foster attended Cass Lake High School, followed by college at St. John’s in Collegeville. He also studied philosophy and theology at St. John’s.

Father Foster served at St. Joseph, Grand Rapids; Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, Duluth; St. Mary, Keewatin; St. Anne, Kelly Lake; and St. Rose, Proctor. He also served as director of the diocesan Office of Liturgy and as a sacramental priest at St. Mary’s Hospital. He is currently serving as chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth and serves on the Presbyteral Council, as well. 

Father Brian Schultz

Father Brian Schultz

Father Brian Schultz was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Paul F. Anderson for the Diocese of Duluth at St. Francis in Brainerd on April 24, 1982. Father Schultz attended Brainerd High School and Brained Junior College. He studied philosophy at St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul and theology at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul.

Father Schultz served at Holy Spirit, Virginia; Sacred Heart, Mountain Iron; Piux X, Babbitt; St. Francis, Brainerd; St. Mary, Cook; Holy Cross, Orr; St. John, Biwabik; Sacred Heart, Virginia; and St. Michael, Duluth. He also served on the Presbyteral Council. 

Father Schultz retired in 2003. 

10 years 

Father Seth Gogolin

Father Seth Gogolin

Father Seth Gogolin was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Paul D. Sirba at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth on June 22, 2012, for the Diocese of Duluth. Father Gogolin attended Brainerd High School and St. Cloud Technical College. He studied philosophy at St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul and studied theology at St. Meinard Seminary in Indiana.

Father Gogolin has served at St. Anthony, Ely; St. Pius X, Babbitt; St. Martin, Tower; St. Cecilia, Nashwauk; Mary Immaculate, Coleraine; St. Joseph, Grand Rapids; St. Augustine, Cohassett; and St. Joseph, Gnesen. He is currently pastor at St. John, Duluth, and St. Benedict, Duluth. He also serves on the Presbyteral Council and as a consultor. 

Bishop Felton recently announced that Father Gogolin is appointed vicar general and moderator of mission integration effective Jan. 1, 2023. He will continue to serve as pastor of St. John Church, Duluth, and as pastor of St. Benedict Church, Duluth. 

Father Benjamin Hadrich

Father Benjamin Hadrich

Father Benjamin Hadrich was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Paul D. Sirba at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth on June 22, 2012, for the Diocese of Duluth. Father Hadrich attended high school at McGregor High School and college at St. Scholastica. He studied philosophy at St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul, and studied theology at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul.

Father Hadrich has served at St. John, Duluth; St. Joseph, Gnesen; St. Thomas Aquinas, International Falls; and St. Columban, Littlefork. Father Hadrich has been in residence at St. Mary Star of the Sea, Duluth, and Bishop Felton recently appointed Father Hadrich chaplain of Stella Maris Academy, effective July 1. 

Father Brandon Moravitz

Father Brandon Moravitz

Father Brandon Moravitz was ordained to the priesthood on June 22, 2012, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth by Bishop Paul D. Sirba for the Diocese of Duluth. Father Moravitz attended high school at Ely Memorial High School. He studied philosophy at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona and studied theology at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul.

Father Moravitz has served at Brainerd Area Catholic Churches, Brainerd, Sacred Heart, Virginia; and Sacred Heart, Mountain Iron; and is currently pastor of Holy Spirit, Virginia.

Father Daniel Weiske

Father Daniel Weiske

Father Daniel Weiske was ordained to the priesthood on June 22, 2012, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth by Bishop Paul D. Sirba for the Diocese of Duluth. Father Weiske attended East High School in Duluth, and went to college at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and the University of Illinois in Chicago. He studied philosophy at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois and theology at Pontifical North American College in Rome.

Father Weiske has served at Brainerd Area Catholic Churches, Brainerd; St. Andrew, Brainerd; and St. Mathias, Fort Ripley. He is currently pastor at Blessed Sacrament in Hibbing. He also serves on the Presbyteral Council, as a consultor, and as dean of the Hibbing Deanery. 

Combating the throwaway culture from womb to tomb

By the Minnesota Catholic Conference 

Opposing pro-abortion policies 

As the legislative session winds down, lawmakers are pushing bills that energize their supporters ahead of the election. This was visible on May 12 when the Minnesota Senate Democrats attempted to vote on nine bills, some of which promoted pro-abortion ideology. Fortunately, each attempt failed the procedural vote. 

The cornerstone of the nine-bill package, S.F. 731, goes by the “Protect Reproductive Options Act.” The Minnesota Catholic Conference opposes this bill because it codifies the right to an abortion until birth without any restriction, thereby denying prenatal justice to unborn children who are then discarded at will. 

Their second bill, S.F. 1205, would remove the Women’s Right to Know protections that safeguard mothers seeking an abortion by requiring the physician to share the medical risks of abortion, the gestational age of the baby, and access to state-sponsored materials that share alternatives to abortion. 

Other proposals included mandating insurance coverage of contraception (S.F. 1884), and increasing funds for the state’s Family Planning Grant, which gives money straight to Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion facilities (S.F. 644). 

The Minnesota Catholic Conference opposes such bills that promote a throwaway culture. We must work together as Catholics and all people of goodwill to ensure we never just talk the talk, but that we are truly walking with moms in need. We can do this by supporting our local pregnancy resource centers and promoting pro-family policies such as increasing funding for the state’s Positive Alternatives Grant program. 

Opposing the legalization of assisted suicide 

With our partner organization, the Minnesota Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, MCC continues supporting principled end-of-life care and advocating for compassionate alternatives to legalizing physician-assisted suicide. For seven years in a row, we have stopped the PAS bills from even being brought up for a full vote in committee. This year was no different, as H.F. 1358/S.F. 1352 was not heard in committee. 

Pope Francis has spoken out against the legalization of PAS saying, “we can and must reject the temptation, also induced by legislative changes, to use medicine to support a possible willingness of the patient to die, providing assistance for suicide or directly causing death by euthanasia.” 

The catechism also teaches that PAS and “whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons … is morally unacceptable” (CCC 2277). Instead, Catholics are called to create principled care models that support the medical needs of all people. Protecting the choices of a few by legalizing assisted suicide would endanger the health care choices of all. 

The Alliance has built bipartisan opposition to PAS while also promoting authentically compassionate care. The Palliative Care Advisory Council bill (H.F. 2517/S.F. 2400) would fully fund the council, allowing it to fulfill its purpose of analyzing barriers to greater palliative care access. The Palliative Care Definition bill (H.F. 3148/S.F. 2912) would modify the state statute to accurately define palliative care, which could help expand access to palliative care insurance coverage in the future. 

Action Item 

To learn about ways you can support a culture of life, visit www.walkingwithmoms.com