Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

Pilgrims walk distances to reach Uganda’s Martyrs Shrine at Namugongo.

Christian pilgrims from across Uganda have started to arrive at Namugongo Catholic Shrine ahead of the commemoration of the Uganda Martyrs on 3rd June 2023.

Read all


UN talks to end global plastic pollution resume in Paris

A United Nations committee is meeting in Paris on Monday to work on a global treaty to combat plastic pollution as pressure mounts to curb production of fossil fuel-based plastics.

Read all


Pope awards Paul VI International Prize to Italian President

Pope Francis awards Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, the Paul VI International Prize, commending him for his service and responsibility.

Read all


Memorial Day Mass with Bishop Felton

Memorial Day Mass

Bishop Daniel Felton will celebrate a Mass for Memorial Day at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29, at Calvary Cemetery, 4820 Howard Gnesen Road, Duluth. The Mass is outside and will he held near the columbarium structures. Please bring a chair or blanket to sit on and an umbrella if needed.

Seminarian interview: Isaac Golen 

What seminary are you attending and where are you in the formation process? 

I am in my first year of formation at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul.   

When is your birthday? 

December 30, 2001  

What’s your home parish? 

Queen of Peace in Cloquet

Isaac Golen

Tell me a little about your family. 

My dad, Robert, is a carpenter, and my mom, Michele, works in assisted living homes. My brother, Jacob, is 30 and my sister, Justine, is 26 and they are both in school pursuing a career.    

Is there an email address where people can write to you? 

[email protected]   

If people wanted to ask the intercession of a particular saint for you, what saint would you choose? 

St. Augustine   

What are some of the things you like to do in your spare time? 

C.S. Lewis is my favorite author, so I like learning about God and the world through his awesome books. I also love going to the different gun ranges around the Duluth area and shooting. When I am home, I enjoy fixing cars (even though it is often frustrating)!   

What is your favorite devotion (and why)? 

I do not have much experience with devotional prayer. I have a desire to pray the Rosary daily, yet it has been a challenge to do so this year. It is hard to grow close to Jesus without the help of His Mother.   

What’s the best thing about your home town? 

In Mahtowa, we have the best small town grocery store, “TJ’s.” The owners are great, and they make top notch bratwurst and potato sausages. 

What person has been the biggest help to you so far as you discern a call to the priesthood? 

Fr. Dominic Bouck was my chaplain when I attended the University of Mary in North Dakota, and he brought me into the faith through his RCIA class. He is a wonderful father and loves his students on campus. I heard him preach on the necessity for young men to serve in the role of the priest, and that “priests don’t grow on trees.” This struck me at the right time in my life, and ever since then, Jesus has granted me a desire for the priesthood and drawn my heart to Himself.    

If someone asked you how to grow as a disciple of Jesus, what’s your best advice? 

What has helped me is listening to the desires of my heart. I desire intimacy and connection. I desire another to take an interest in me, all of me. I desire to bleed out for another. These desires show me who I am made for, as no person on earth can love perfectly, it leaves Jesus to be my only love. Like any earthly relationship, you must give yourself to your lover. You also live for your lover, so your daily life must be centered around them. Saying your prayers as you fall asleep in bed is not sufficient to nurture this relationship. Daily prayer time to tell Jesus about the pains or joys in your life is necessary. He cares about your heart. A lot.    

What does the priesthood mean in the life of the church? 

My chaplain once said that Jesus sends out priests “like Navy Seals” into our communities. We need shepherds to lead us through this world of chaos. The priest is the one who leads us to Jesus, our true happiness. The world desperately needs strong men to stand up and guide people to our Savior. Jesus calls men to leave behind the comforts of their lives and feed His sheep. I am very thankful to have wonderful priests in my life who have saved me from the darkest parts of my life.    

Editorial: Spike in STDs supports pope’s call for ‘new sexual revolution’ 

According to recent news reports, Duluth and the surrounding area are seeing outbreaks of HIV, syphilis, and other sexually-transmitted diseases in recent years. Public health officials say rates for some of these diseases have risen statewide. St. Louis County is planning an ad campaign, with the help of a state grant, so you may soon be hearing about it on billboards and social media and the sides of city buses. 

While it is undoubtedly very important to inform people of this situation and let them know where they can get screening and treatment for these diseases, that alone only addresses the symptoms. It’s not a cure for the underlying problem. 

And it becomes ever clearer what the real problem is, for those who have eyes to see. Pope Francis, in an April 28 message to an academic conference on fertility, described ours as “a world dominated by a relativistic and trivialized view of human sexuality.” 

In response, he advocated a new “sexual revolution”: “We need to discover the beauty of human sexuality by once again turning to the great book of nature, learning to respect the value of the body and the generation of life, with a view to authentic experiences of conjugal love.” 

Echoing the teaching of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Francis said we need to affirm both the unitive and procreative elements of sex. In a news report from OSV, he is quoted as saying that without this, “the experience of sexuality is impoverished, reduced to sensations that soon become self-referential, and its dimensions of humanity and responsibility are lost.” 

The church’s teaching on these things has been consistent, but it has also been controversial. Yet the daily headlines continue to illustrate its wisdom. 

Inviting you to become Men of the Word 

By Father Blake Rozier 
Guest columnist 

In the summer of 2021, I started a program in my parish called “Men of the Word.” In praying for a name for this group, this name came to mind. The Word refers to Christ. The Gospel of John refers to Christ as the Word: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth” (1:14). The Heavenly Father speaks to us perfectly through the Word, through his Son. In the Holy Spirit, we receive the Word and are transformed by the grace and truth of Almighty God. Jesus is the perfect example for us and the source of holiness.

Father Blake Rozier
Guest Columnist

I see a world that is hurting. I see a world that is confused and desiring guidance. Our hope is in the Lord! We need young men to rise up and say “Yes” to the mission of God. 

Our environment is important. Hopefully our environment influences us for the good, for the glory of God. Our environment is formative. Who we listen to and who we spend time with matters significantly. With the Men of the Word program, we strive to place our young men in an environment where they can be influenced by the Word. 

The format is very simple. This year’s program will begin with Mass, where we receive God’s Word in the Scriptures and receive the Word made flesh in the Eucharist. After Mass, we will have a simple meal together, followed by a presentation. The presentation will be about 20 minutes, often given by clergy. Each gathering focuses on a different word, which calls the participants to live a greater life of virtue. The presentation is supplemented with references to Scripture, God’s Word, and the lives of the saints, individuals who gave their lives to the Word of God. After the presentation, we have an activity. Kickball has been popular the past couple of summers! Finally, we conclude in the church, placing ourselves in front of Jesus, to allow the Word to influence us as we end the day. Mass begins at 5:30 p.m., and the night wraps up by 8 p.m. It is a simple format, but it can bear a lot of good fruit. 

Men of the Word is for boys going into sixth grade and older. Their fathers, or their father-figures, are highly encouraged to attend with them. I write this article to invite boys and their fathers from across the diocese to participate this year. Men of the Word will take place on Wednesday evenings: May 24, June 7 and 21, July 5 and 19, and August 9. 

If you are planning to attend, please talk to your pastor and email me so that we can plan accordingly. My email is [email protected]. If you can only attend certain nights, that is OK. It is not necessary to attend all the sessions. Come as you are able, but please let us know in advance. 

This year we will be meeting at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Grand Rapids (315 S.W. 21st St.). The road trip itself could be a good experience for the guys. Summers are busy, but I believe this is a program worth prioritizing. 

We are encouraging boys and forming them to be Men of the Word. This formation will help to bring healing, hope, and joy to our world. These men will be inspired to be great fathers, of families and of parishes – as priests, please God! We end our evenings with me posing the question: “Who are we?” The guys respond: “Men of the Word.” 

Please pray for Men of the Word. 

Father Blake Rozier is pastor of St. Joseph, Grand Rapids, and St. Augustine, Cohasset. 

St. James Catholic Church youth and parishioners package 50,000 meals 

By Jen Kinzer 
Guest columnist 

On April 1, 162 volunteers gathered at St. James Catholic Church in Aitkin to package 50,000 meals for the Cross Catholic Outreach Organization for starving people in Central America.

(Submitted photo)

Why Cross Catholic Outreach? In November 2022, a visiting priest from Cross Catholic Outreach spoke about the organization and the great things they do all over the world to help others through their ministry. From that presentation was born an idea: “Could we hold a food packaging event at our parish? What a great way to serve God and teach our youngest parishioners about the poor and starving of the world.” The St. James religious education program took that idea and with the mantra, “We don’t know if we can unless we try” began to make an idea into a reality.

How do you get to the point where you are able to package meals for 50,000? To bring the event to Aitkin, a minimum of $13,200 was needed, which would allow 40,000 meals to be packaged. We formed a committee, sought permission from Father Mike Patullo and the Finance Council, and began planning how to raise funds for this worthy cause. We planned a Christmas concert in December and asked businesses for sponsorships. We also planned a breakfast in late January and a pie sale fundraiser in March. The date of April 1 was chosen because it was an available date during the season of Lent. 

Through the generosity of many businesses, parishioners, and community members, as well as the success of the Christmas concert, we reached our goal on Jan. 9. The decision was made to keep our next two scheduled fundraisers (breakfast and pie sale) as we could add to the number of meals to package. The total raised as of April 1 was $16,914, which allowed us to tack on an additional 10,000 meals for a total of 50,000 meals! 

What is involved in packaging 50,000 meals? Committee members arrived the night before the packing event to set tables and make sure the room was ready for the packing event. Each package contained rice, beans, soy, dried vegetables, and a vitamin packet. A filled package contains enough food for six meals. Twelve tables of eight to ten people packaged 8,316 packets in about two hours! We also spent about an hour afterward packing things away and cleaning up.

(Submitted photo)

Volunteers were not only youth but many parishioners as well. Volunteers ranged in age from age 2 to adults in their 80s and 90s. Everyone had a job and worked together to finish the packing in a short time. On Monday, April 8, five pallets containing 231 boxes were loaded onto a semi to be combined with food from other food packing events to feed the hungry in Central America. (We are unsure exactly where our packaged food will be used but it will probably go to Guatemala or the Dominican Republic.) 

The food packing event accomplished many things for our parish. It taught our parish youth about hungry people throughout the world, helped our parish unite and work together as people of God, gave our parish an extra opportunity to participate in almsgiving during Lent, and most importantly, it was a great way to serve God. We are truly blessed as a parish for the generosity of our parishioners, our community, and our volunteers. 

If you are interested in learning more about a food packing event through Cross Catholic Outreach, contact Melissa Kaufenberg from Cross Catholic Outreach at [email protected]

Jen Kinzer is director of religious education for St. James Catholic Church, Aitkin. 

Let’s make it easier for families to welcome their newest members 

Inside the Capitol 

The Families First Project is an advocacy campaign of the Minnesota Catholic Conference to remove economic roadblocks that Minnesotans confront along their journey of forming and raising a family. This week’s column focuses on one Families First policy proposal that would make life a bit easier for new parents by reducing the tax burden they encounter when purchasing necessities for their newborn baby: a sales tax exemption on baby products. 

Unnecessary barriers to family formation 

When a young couple is considering whether to start a family, there is no doubt that the start-up costs on items like car seats, cribs, and strollers, are daunting. Families are facing skyrocketing costs on necessities of living, and no one is facing these high expenses more than families with infants. On average, a new parent may spend between $12,000 to $20,000 or more on their baby in the first year of his or her life. First-time parents face the largest upfront costs as they acquire essential items for their infants. 

Minnesota cannot afford to lose young families who will support and sustain our well-documented aging population. Minnesota is facing a demographic cliff; we have not had replacement fertility levels since 2006, according to the Minnesota State Demographic Center. With these increasingly low birth rates, offering a small but impactful solution to families, like eliminating the state sales tax on essential baby items, could help lessen some of the fear felt by prospective parents. The state’s $17.6 billion surplus in 2023 demonstrates that we can afford to support growing families, especially low-income families who are most impacted by sales tax. 

One solution: eliminating the state sales tax on essential baby items 

H.F. 2125 (Engen) / S.F. 2182 (Coleman) is a bipartisan bill that would expand the state sales tax exemption for certain baby products. Specifically, this proposal would put families first by adding baby wipes, cribs, bassinets, crib and bassinet mattresses, crib and bassinet sheets, changing tables, changing pads, strollers, car seats and car seat bases, baby swings, bottle sterilizers, and infant eating utensils to a list of tax-free items that are considered essential. 

A quick search of places like Amazon and Target reveals, on average, a parent will spend nearly $2,000 on the items covered by the exemption expansion — with the sales tax on the items totaling about $130. Although $130 out of nearly $2,000 does not seem like an overwhelming number, it can make a difference in the lives of new families. With those savings, the parents could in turn purchase their crib mattress and sheets or nearly pay for a changing table. Eliminating this tax on the big-ticket items is particularly vital for lower-income families who are often living paycheck-to-paycheck and are more impacted by inflation and sales tax. 

Action Alert: Support a Child Tax Credit 

Another great bill to support families raising minor children is the creation of a state child tax credit, offering a tax rebate for each child (H.F. 1369/S.F. 1754). We all know families are doing the hard work of raising the next generation amid immense economic pressure. For this reason, families should be the first recipients of economic relief. You can help get a robust child tax credit passed into law by contacting your legislators today. 

Send them a message by visiting

Blessed Sacrament reaches out to Hibbing area with Spirit Fest 

By Deacon Kyle Eller 
The Northern Cross 

Blessed Sacrament parish and Assumption School in Hibbing are taking what has been an annual fundraising event up a notch, turning it into a community concert, prayer walk, and festival open to the region. 

“Spirit Fest” will take place May 21 after the parish’s 10 a.m. Mass, beginning with a May crowning and a prayer walk with the school children and any members of the community who want to join in. The walk will have stations to pray for various intentions — for the deceased, those who are ill, the unborn, those who serve the community as medical and emergency workers, and more. Pledges and sales of signs for the walk help raise money for the school.

Students participate in a past Spirit Walk, an event that is now growing into a free community festival and concert. (Submitted photo)

The walk will then flow into a concert featuring Aly Aleigha. There will also be food trucks, family games, and activities. 

“Our hope is to draw some neighbors and non-Catholic community members, as well as Catholics from around the area, to be renewed and celebrate the love of Christ and the hope he offers,” says Father Daniel Weiske, pastor of the parish and school. 

He said the changes came from parents in answer to the call of Bishop Daniel Felton in his pastoral letter on mission. 

“We have a group of parents that are really eager to kind of shine a light and bring others to the healing, hope, and joy that we have in our faith and in our school, and are transforming this event, which started as a fundraiser, into something broader for the wider community to come together to pray for healing amidst our hurts, to celebrate hope, to try to provide some inspiration through the amazing music that will be in concert at the Spirit Fest,” he said. 

He noted that “there is something beautiful and healing about coming together around the Lord in our fragmented world” and that the music and the beautiful children praying for community intentions can touch hearts. 

Father Weiske said such an event can be an easy point of entry for community members to connect with the church, a kind of “landing pad,” and it’s really a community service. 

“It’s hard to find family fun sometimes,” he said. 

The event is free, with free-will offerings accepted. 

Spirit Fest grew out of previous events held by the school, such as the Glow Run, held in previous years. That was transformed into the Spirit Walk due to COVID restrictions. Father Weiske said leadership from Sarah Ciochetto, the event chair, and a group of parents who wanted to be involved has brought the event to this new vision. He said many have been inspired by the bishop’s message. Working with Father Weiske to have a good process, the idea has been, “Let’s think big and see what we can do.” 

They have taken the theme “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God is poured out through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us,” St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. 

Food trucks will open at about 11 a.m., the Spirit Walk will start at about 11:45 a.m., the concert begins at 12:30 p.m., and the fun, with yard games, activities, and bonfire, will go until 4 p.m. 

“Our hope is to lift the hearts of our community, to have people from the neighborhood, and Catholics from around our region join us,” Father Weiske said. “Assumption and Blessed Sacrament hope to provide a refuge of hope for our families and a light in the community. In this world that is so fragmented, it is renewing to come together. In a time our world is hurting, it is healing to come together as one in the Holy Spirit. So we eagerly invite our neighbors and our fellow faithful to celebrate with us and find hope in the Holy Spirit.” 

To support Spirit Fest with a pledge or to order a sign please visit or call (218) 262-5541.