Voice from the Valley

VFTV: June 14, 2017


As much as I can, I want to keep you updated on the lawsuits recently filed against the Diocese of Crookston and me personally. Attorneys for the Diocese of Crookston and for me have filed notice of pre-answer motions to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that there was failure to allege any viable claim. We hope to receive the date for the hearing of this motion soon.

I ask you again, while we are dealing with this matter, please (1) be patient, kind and non-judgmental; (2) pray daily for a fair, just and timely resolve to this matter; (3) include the following prayer in the Prayers of General Intercession in every Mass celebrated in the Diocese of Crookston: Let us pray for a fair and just resolve to all our law suits and for all persons harmed in any way in matters involving sexual abuse, let us pray to the Lord; (4) join me in making each Friday a day of fasting and abstinence from eating meat as a sign that we know our most important sustenance comes from our loving God.

Summer Days

Did you hear the one about the husband and wife who first met at a travel agency? It was love at first sight. As she liked to tell it, “I was looking for a vacation and he was the last resort.”

Now that June is here and summer is right around the corner, I do hope that your summer days are delightful and safe. We welcome all who come north to the lakes and resorts for vacations. We open St. Catherine’s Church at Itasca State Park and St. Charles in Pennington for the summer months. At a Mass I celebrated at St. Catherine’s, people from eight different states packed the place. Thanks to Fathers Chuck Huck and Don Braukmann for covering St. Charles for the summer and thanks to Mrs. Pat Evenwol and company at Itasca for arranging for guest priests for each weekend at St. Catherine’s.


The national Convocation of Catholic Leaders is fast approaching. From July 1-4, more than 3,000 Catholic leaders from all corners of the United States will gather in Orlando. We will join together in prayer, reflection and discussion on where the Holy Spirit is leading the Catholic Church in the United States. The centerpiece for these days will be Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel.”) The convention days will focus on four key questions: What is the nature of this current historical moment in the Church and in our nation? How do we respond to this moment as missionary disciples? Where are we called to go – to whom are we being sent on this mission? What will we do when we get there to engage the mission?

I am delighted that we have a contingent of 9 from the Diocese of Crookston who will make the trip to engage with their brothers and sisters at the convention and return to help us all apply and advance the “missionary conversion” Pope Francis calls for here in this local Church. In addition to myself, our team will consist of Msgr. Mike Foltz, Mr. AJ Garcia, Deacon Mark Krejci, Mrs. Jayne Miller, Mr. and Mrs. Dave and Kari Zavoral, Ms. Sue Hengel, and Deacon Steve Thomas. I invite your prayers for the success of this historical gathering and the safe travel of all participants. May our group return inspired to help us celebrate, implement and live the principles of the New Evangelization. Jesus asks us to go out to the whole world and spread the Good News and, in our day, we are all challenged to “be bold and creative in rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization” (“Evangelii Gaudium”).


On June 10, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, I was privileged to ordain six men to be permanent deacons for service in the Diocese of Crookston. They are: Mr. Paul Erickson, Mr. Aaron Kaiser, Mr. Mark Krejci, Mr. Mark LeTexier, Mr. Robb Naylor, and Mr. Tim Pribula. These men have prayed and studied and worked hard for the past five years and I am happy to have Holy Mother Church ask me to ordain them deacons. Deacons are ordained for service of the Word, of the altar, and of charity. In addition, I ask our deacons to include daily prayer intentions for peace, for family life and for vocations. I ask them to foster perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and to pray for vocations. I ask them to do all they can to build up family life in our parishes and to be involved in marriage preparation, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programs, and to be active in the New Evangelization. Thank you to all our deacons for their wonderful service. We thank their spouses too because, if married, a man may be ordained a permanent deacon only with the permission of his wife. Congratulations to our new deacons!