Archive | February, 2011

Dining on the wild side

February 28, 2011


Have you ever been invited to a dinner and, at the end of the night, found yourself hoping to get invited back again?

That’s how I felt as I left the Tucker Wild Game Dinner Saturday night at Interlachen Country Club in Edina. The beautiful surroundings I encountered when I walked in told me something wonderful was in the air.

In this case, the cuisine matched the surroundings. I don’t consider myself a restaurant critic, but it didn’t take much expertise to determine that chefs George Serra and Alan Stewart cooked up a winner on this night.

The event was an annual fundraiser for Augustana Care, which provides residential facilities and care for the elderly and others who are ill. Though not a Catholic organization, staff reached out to me and offered this fabulous dining opportunity.

I met Chef George several weeks ago, and he told me what the menu would be. The appetizers sounded good enough — honey-smoked glazed Alaskan salmon, teriyaki-glazed Florida boar meatballs, venison tips with bourbon sauce, spicy snow goose breast wrapped in maple bacon, and mallard duck liver paté.

I was very intrigued by the wild boar and went to it right away. It was delicious, and probably was my favorite appetizer. I wondered how anything could top it, but the main entree of pheasant and wild mushroom stew did so.

This is a recipe I would like to get a hold of, and Chef George promised to send it to me. If I don’t get it soon, I plan on bugging him. I’m not too worried, though. I asked for a chili recipe recently, and he e-mailed one back within a day. It, too, was excellent.

Believe it or not, the first person I met that night was a Catholic. He belongs to a parish in Wisconsin and is a member of the Knights of Columbus. But, I knew I wouldn’t be the only Catholic in attendance because Chef George had told me during our interview a few  weeks ago that he, too, is Catholic.

I got to share a table with a fellow hunter, Mike Marden, owner of Commercial Flooring Services. We got to swap stories about deer hunting — and fishing, too. He’s the camp cook at his deer camp, so he, like me, was fishing for recipes.

Maybe I can cut him a deal — if he takes me on one of his Canadian fly-in fishing trips, I can forward the recipes from Chef George when he sends them to me.

Hey, I’ll even throw in some fish cleaning.

And, to the folks who put on the event every year: Please save a spot for me next year!

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Art-filled book helps kids know God is real

February 25, 2011


Believing God exists is a trial even for some grown-ups.

Now there’s a book that will help youngsters build a belief system — and it’s a good refresher course for adults, too.

In “Images of God for Young Children,” author Marie-Helene Delval offers dozens of ways to discover God in the world, from simple ideas like breath and light which we can’t see but know are real, to more concrete concepts like justice and covenant.

“God is a path” and “God is a promise” and “God is a mystery” are just some of the mind-pictures Delval’s words make us imagine. Illustrations by Barbara Nascimbeni have the child-like feel that will help young minds better grasp the ideas.

Adults will hear snatches of Holy Scripture in a number of places, and that’s because the Bible is the base for the teaching within the text.

It’s a text that’s not difficult but yet not simple either. The suggested target is ages 4 through 9, but that may be a stretch for the lower end of that group. You’d have to go with the it’s-never-too-young-to-start approach and not expect instant understanding from a preschooler, not so much for the vocabulary but for the concepts of God as, well, beauty, for one, or majesty.

Those of school age, though, are going to easily pick up on just about all the many images of God because Delval takes examples children in elementary school already know of. Take this excerpt:

God is justice.

Before judging others, we should see, know, and understand who they are, and why they did or did not do something. “We should ‘walk a mile in their shoes,’ as the proverb says….

A tip: Don’t try to read the book in one sitting. For younger ones, a page a day is plenty. Older children will be good for three to five pages at a crack. — bz

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Hundreds ‘get on board’ to kick-off archdiocese’s 2011 development drive

February 25, 2011



That’s the best way to describe the start of the main annual development effort of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

More than 300 Catholics who will be the feet-on-the-street for the 2011 Catholic Services Appeal literally “got on board” Wednesday, Feb. 23, hopping on buses from five different directions to first see for themselves how Appeal dollars are used, then meeting at the Basilica of St. Mary in downtown Minneapolis for dinner and even more inspiration to make this year’s campaign a success.

“This is like a field trip!” claimed a pumped Archbishop John Nienstedt.

Pat Regan, who owns a bus company headquartered in Hastings, gets credit for the idea.

Pat and Mary Regan said they were “humbled and honored” when the archbishop asked them to co-chair the 2011 Appeal, which begins the weekend of March 4-5.

“When he talked to us about leading the Appeal,” Pat recalled, “the archbishop said we need to get more people on board.

“I said if you really want to get ’em on board, let’s put ’em on some motor coaches and show ’em what the Catholic Services Appeal funds really do in this archdiocese.”

Seeing the good donations do

Regan donated the use of five of his Minnesota Coaches to transport Appeal volunteers from parishes in the suburbs to five sites where donations to the Catholic Services Appeal help make ministry possible.

Buses stopped at three Catholic schools — Risen Christ and Ascension in Minneapolis and Blessed Trinity in Richfield — at the St. Paul Seminary and at Catholic Charities’ Seton Services in St. Paul.

Seton’s Mary Ann Sullivan said $1 million of Appeal funds help support a pre-natal program that serves some 500 clients each year. The poor and immigrant women receive counseling and medical care, get connected to resources, baby clothing and blankets, emotional support and even post-partum care that includes education for caring for infants and help to transition back to work or school.

“We don’t advertise, and we’re completely full just on word-of-mouth,” Sullivan said. “Most of the women are from high-risk populations who come from all over the metro area, many speak little or no English, and who are pregnant and don’t know where to turn.

“Our goal is to help these women — and the dads, too — make their lives as stable as possible before giving birth so that they have healthy babies.”

And it works. Moms cared for through Seton’s pre-natal program deliver babies who gestation weight and birth weight surpasses the norm in the Twin Cities area.

Sullivan thanked the Appeal volunteers for the continuing support of Seton Services.

“These are your dollars supporting the pro-life movement in a real, practical way.”

Representatives of each of the schools toured — including several parents of pupils — told Appeal volunteers that many of the young people at their schools wouldn’t be able to attend Catholic school without the generosity of the people of the archdiocese. Seminarian Brian Park said the tuition support from the Appeal has allowed him to follow his call to the discernment about the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary.

So that volunteers could get a preview, Archbishop Nienstedt introduced the short DVD that promotes the 2011 Catholic Services Appeal. “I’m kind of famous for DVDs,” he quipped, to a round of applause. The video itself earned another round of applause, and Archbishop Nienstedt followed up by “commissioning” everyone present to be missionaries for the Appeal, urging them to be sure to share widely the brochure that tells the Appeal story.

“It’s all in here,” the archbishop said, holding the brochure aloft. “We tell you where the money is going and how it’s transforming lives. Obviously our first love is our own parish, but as a community we have obligations no one parish can meet.”

In thanking the chair-couple, the volunteers and the staff of the archdiocesan Development and Stewardship Office — including new director Michael Halloran — Archbishop Nienstedt saved a special thank you to Pat Regan’s father, Don, who underwrote the cost of the dinner for the Appeal kick-off.

That earned applause, of course, but the founder of Premier Banks and patriarch of the Regan family was the one who had earlier started a show of gratitude at Seton Services.

Having been on the bus with the rest of the crowd from White Bear Lake, Don Regan put into words what many Appeal volunteers were surely thinking after stopping at Seton and hearing of the inspiring work Catholic Charities does for poor, pregnant women and their babies.

“May we all commend you all for all you do,” he said, and the crowded room applauded in agreement.

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Where are the men in the Church?

February 25, 2011


The following was written by Bill Dill, who is in the Office of Marriage, Family and Life for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Where are the men in the Church? On Saturday, March 12th many Catholic men will be filling the Cathedral of St. Paul under the leadership of Archbishop John Nienstedt. On Saturdays men might be found doing a variety of things – some more noble than others. I believe that God is calling thousands of men to come to the Cathedral that day to worship Him, to be fed, to be healed, to be inspired and to inspire and to stand up as a witness to love of God. God calls us every day to be near to Him and to receive His love. He also calls us to go out and bring other men to Himself. In last week’s gospel, Jesus called us to be the salt of the earth. Salt in the wound doesn’t feel very good, but it does heal. I’d like to encourage you to be salt to every man you know. Invite them to this year’s men’s conference.

We have a great line up of speakers. Archbishop Nienstedt will address us regarding the important role of men in the Church. Dr. John Buri is a professor of psychology at the University of St. Thomas and author of “How to Love Your Wife”. Beside his professional training and experience Dr. Buri has years of experience leading men in their path toward holiness and in particular in being the man their wife needs them to be. David Rinaldi spend several years as an Air Force pilot before giving up this career to serve as program director for NET Ministries. One of his primary responsibilities is forming young men and women into mature Christian disciples who are truly ready to give one year of their life to bring Christ to high school and junior high students. Both of these men will talk about what they see in today’s men – their struggles, their weaknesses and their strengths. More importantly they will talk about how to become the men that God is calling us to be and that the Church needs us to be. They will also be addressing how we can serve in the formation of other men in our lives. What’s the goal? How can we reach it? What do I have for support?

The new chaplain for the Archdiocesan men’s apostolate, Fr. Bill Baer, will also be speaking. Fr. Baer has a great gift for public speaking and particularly in the realm of encouragement. Once the mission is set before us, he will gives the motivation to pursue it with all of our will. We will also hear briefly from Minnesota Wild favorite Wes Walz. Though most don’t it, Wes is a very devoted Catholic man. He’ll talk to us a bit about being a Catholic  man and a hockey player.

The Archdiocese has been sponsoring men’s events for 10 years now. This year, however, is the first year a men’s conference will be held at the Cathedral itself. After every event we have sponsor, we hear, “This was great! Why weren’t there more men here?” This year, I hope the answer to that question is, “ There just wasn’t any more room.”?

Click here for more information on the event.

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Something new for Lent

February 24, 2011


Ash Wednesday – which falls on March 9 this year – marks the beginning of Lent.

To aid your spiritual journey through the season, we’ve created a video entitled “21st Century Stations of the Cross”. We hope you find it a useful and prayerful mediation.

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Seeing stars

February 15, 2011


On one of the coldest nights of the year, I ventured out into the country and sat outside to observe the night sky.

It was a fascinating experience taking in the celestial display. Brilliant enough to the naked eye, I got to look at it through a high-powered telescope. This was made possible by several members  of the Minnesota Astronomical Society, who met me at the Onan Observatory near Norwood-Young America on the western edge of the metro area for an evening of star gazing.

The story of my stellar adventure is the subject of my outdoors column that will appear this week in The Catholic Spirit. Don’t miss it!

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24 years at Jesucristo Resucitado

February 15, 2011


As Jesucristo Resucitado parish celebrates its 40 year anniversary, I am reminded of the many priests and deacons that have been assigned at this parish.  I have been secretary at Jesucristo Resucitado since July 7, 1986 and have had the pleasure of working many of them.

Fr. Larry Hubbard and Deacon Malave

When I began working, Fr. Leo Huber had just left the parish and Deacon Jose Malave remained to help.  Fr. Larry Hubbard, who also assisted, had previously been assigned to work with Deacon Malave at Jesucristo Resucitado parish.  However, much of Fr. Hubbard’s work was at the diocesan level organizing teams to lead the Charismatic renewal, Marriage Preparation classes, and leaders for youth groups and cursillo groups for the diocese of Ciudad Guayana.  Fr. Larry Hubbard is very kind, laid back and friendly.  He is a very wise person and many people came from around the diocese to the office seeking his advice.

Fr. Mark Dosh

Fr. Mark Dosh was the pastor San Francisco de Assisi parish.  He is a great priest who is highly educated in theology which was evident in his homilies.  He has a special gift of teaching people difficult concepts of the faith in ways they can understand in his homilies. 

Fr. Bob White

Fr. Bob White was very young when he was here in Venezuela.  He worked in the parish of San Francisco de Assisi.  He was always willing to help with projects and share his talents and interests in sports with the youth. 

Fr. Pat Ryan

When Deacon Malave was reassigned, Fr. Pat Ryan was named pastor of Jesucristo Resucitado.  I always refer to him as “Reverendo” (Reverend) out of the great respect and admiration I have for him.  He worked very hard for five years drawing up the plans and getting the permissions from City Hall to build a church. I learned many things from him, especially patience. Thanks to his hard work and the help of many of his friends and people in Minnesota we have a beautiful church that people admire from all around our diocese. He is very honorable and very kind, he is a very special friend of mine and of my daughter Greicys.

Fr. Denny Dempsey

After Fr. Ryan, Fr. Denny Dempsey was named our pastor.  Fr. Denny was very active with many different groups in all the different communities of our parish – there are 11 different barrios is all.  Fr. Denny is very charismatic and has many gifts.  He built up faith communities in each of our barrios and got many people interested and active in the Church, especially many youth.      

Fr. Greg Schaffer

Fr. Denny received two young priests from Minnesota to work with him – Fr. Paul Magee and Fr. Gregorio Schaffer.  Fr. Paul was very well liked but God had other plans for him, so he left Jesucristo Resucitado.  Fr. Gregorio is a very charismatic priest who currently serves the spiritual and physical needs of the people in all of our communities.  He looks out for the people who work with the parish especially the parish staff.  He is a visionary who has begun many programs and projects we never had before that benefit many people. 

Fr. Tim Norris

Fr. Tim Norris came to minister here when Fr. Magee left.  Fr. Tim is very wise and very knowledgeable about many things.  He doesn’t talk much but he has a way of making people feel comfortable and at ease around him.  He has many friends here in all the different barrios.  He is a very good priest and we love him very much. 

Fr. Tom McCabe

After Fr. Tim left, Fr. Thomas McCabe arrived. I have a new friend in him who I am still getting to know.  He works very hard with the Mass servers.  He likes to celebrate the sacrament of confession and I really like how he preaches at weddings.   

From my first day of working at Jesucristo Resucitado I have worked with many different priests from Minnesota – some have worked at the parish of San Francisco de Assisi and others at Jesucristo Resucitado parish.  I have been blessed to have worked with them and to have them as friends!  They have blessed by life and my parish by their love and presence.          


Gregoria Ramos
Secretary at Jesucristo Resucitado Parish


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A parish looking for photos

February 12, 2011


Raindrops on leaves (photo by Dianne Towalski)

Here’s one way parishes can take advantage of the photographers in their pews.

On its website, Pax Christi in Eden Prairie is calling all amateur photographers from the parish to submit their photos of God’s creation. “God is HERE! Photographers Needed!” The Environmental Challenge Ministry — who’s mission it is to “educate, energize, and enable our faith community towards greater appreciation, concern, and action for God’s creation” — is looking for photos the parish can use on a screen during Mass, on the website and in a gallery.

I think this is a great idea. There is a lot of talent out there and this is just one way a parish could benefit from the photography expertise of its parishioners.

Other ideas:

Photos could be submitted and sold during a parish festival or other event to raise funds for good causes, like the local food shelf, crisis pregnancy center or parish youth activities.

There could be a contest (with an entry fee) with winning photos being displayed in a gallery or gathering space.

More and more people are picking up a camera and creating beautiful images.  As Christians we are called to appreciate and be good stewards of the natural world — as Pope Benedict summed up in a quote featured on Pax Christi’s website:

“Contemplating the beauty of Creation inspires us to recognize the love of the Creator; that love which moves the sun, and the stars.”

—Pope Benedict XVI
World Day of Prayer 2010

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Our Lady of Lourdes

February 11, 2011


Our Lady of Lourdes is one of the titles by which we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, and each year this feast is celebrated on February 11. The date marks the anniversary of the first appearance of the Blessed Mother to a humble, fourteen-year old peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879) near Lourdes, France, in 1858.

Bernadette later wrote: “I had gone down one day to the bank of the River Gave when suddenly I heard a kind of rustling sound. I looked up and caught sight of the cave where I saw a lady wearing a lovely white dress with a bright belt. On top of each of her feet was a pale yellow rose, the same color as her rosary beads.” During this vision the lady said nothing. Bernadette returned to the cave of Massabielle the following Sunday, and Mary reappeared without a word.

Mary finally spoke to Bernadette on her third appearance, and she asked Bernadette to return to the cave for the next fifteen days. During the successive appearances Mary had a number of special requests. Mary asked Bernadette to tell the priests that a chapel should be built in the locality. She asked Bernadette to pray for the conversion of sinners; invited her to pray with greater devotion, particularly the rosary; asked for an increase in works of charity; and requested special care and attention for the poor, especially the sick.

When Bernadette told others that Mary had appeared to her, there was immediate doubt and demands for proof. Subsequently on February 25 Mary asked Bernadette to take a drink of water and wash herself. Bernadette scratched the surface of the ground, and miraculously a spring of water flowed forth. There were eighteen appearances in all, the first on February 11, 1858, the last on July 16. During the March 25 apparition the woman identified herself as the Immaculate Conception.

Whenever someone claims to have received an apparition, there are questions of reliability. The Church conducted a thorough four-year examination of the happenings at Lourdes, and in 1862 declared them authentic and reliable. With this approval, a church was built at Lourdes and devotion to the Blessed Mother surged across Europe and around the world.

The spring waters have been associated with a number of miraculous cures. The water has been scientifically analyzed and it has no special chemicals or additives which would give it a medicinal quality, and as a result the healings have been attributed to the intercessory power of Mary. Lourdes has become an extremely popular pilgrimage site, both for Christians who would like to show their respect to Mary, but particularly for the sick who are seeking relief from their suffering and the restoration of their health.

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Enjoy reading The Catholic Spirit? There’s an app for that

February 11, 2011

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We’re excited to announce the release of our first iPhone app. You can download it on iTunes today for free!

  • Read the latest news headlines from
  • Catch up on our blogs
  • View photos and videos
  • View the latest things to-do from our calendar
  • Share with others on Facebook, Twitter or Email

We hope you find this app useful on your spiritual journey of faith!

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