Tag Archives: Minnesota

Prolife ‘billboard people’ aiming higher

January 24, 2012




“The Billboard People” sponsored 6,500 prolife billboards in 42 states last year, but they want to do more.

“Our goal is 7,000 billboards,” Prolife Across America founder Mary Ann Kucharski told supporters in an email blast, “because we know that the more ads that are out there, the more people reached and babies’ lives saved.”

Changing hearts in order to save babies lives has been the purpose behind Prolife Across America since the Minneapolis-based nonprofit started up 23 years ago as Prolife Minnesota. The heartwarming photos of babies adds an emotional tug to the outdoor marketing’s messages of information and alternatives to abortion, including adoption and post-abortion help.

The group is in the midst of a “Father’s Campaign” (photo above) that began in mid-October with more than 1,900 billboards on that theme, (see them all here), Kucharski told The Catholic Spirit.

She added, “You may be interested in knowing that we will have at least one on University and Vandalia (near the new Planned Parenthood building in St. Paul, MN), thanks to an anonymous donor.”

The e-blast to supports invited donations to reach the 7,000-billboard goal.

“So often our 800# Hotline for Help may be the only visible sign of hope and help to someone on the brink of an abortion decision,” Kucharski wrote. “Please help us do more in 2012.”

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Thrills & chills at Cathedral of St. Paul

January 13, 2012


Red Bull Ice Crashers event that skirts the Cathedral of St. Paul — skaters actually go down a ramp atop the cathedral steps —  are bringing cold-weather sports fans out to see the excitement of this daredevil extreme sport — and bringing folks into the  cathedral itself. They’re likely coming to warm up first — it was 13 degrees out there when these photos were taken early Friday afternoon — but plenty of people are looking around as they do at this architectural beauty. Below, those steeples in the distance are the Church of the Assumption downtown. This photo was taken from the front doors of the cathedral. You can read more about the Red Bull Crashed Ice event here.

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Greetings from sunny Minnesota — FYI: It won’t last

January 11, 2012

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For several weeks now on my drive in to work I’ve been seeing this view of the just-risen sun hitting the facade of the Cathedral of St. Paul. I finally stopped, grabbed my camera and tried to save the scene, because after living in Minnesota for 28+ years I know this respite from winter weather isn’t going to continue. Snow forecast in the next 24 hours.

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Good year means $8.4 million in grants from Minnesota’s Catholic Community Foundation

January 5, 2012


An 18 percent increase in net assets allowed the Catholic Community Foundation (CCF) in Minnesota to deliver $8.4 million in grants during the past fiscal year to Catholic parishes, schools, seminaries, ministries and causes.

Over the past two years assets for the foundation rebounded to their highest point ever — nearly $200 million — reversing the trend that saw a drop during the recession years of 2008 and 2009.

The data released in the 2011 CCF annual report covers the 12 months ending June 30, 2011.

The annual report noted:

  • The grant total was a seven percent increase over the previous year;
  • 90 percent of the grants were made to entities in Minnesota;
  • Since 1992, CCF has distributed grants totaling $89 million;
  • The foundation’s long-term balanced growth fund, called the Cardinal Pool, achieved a 26 percent performance increase;
  • The foundation also has $113 million in deferred gift commitments.

The Catholic Community Foundation, founded to financially support the spiritual, educational and social needs of the Catholic community, this summer will mark its 20th year. In the foundation’s work it seeks endowed funds that support the Catholic mission, helps parishes, schools and Catholic organizations manage long-term investments and distributes earnings according to community priorities and donor intent.

CCF’s philosophy includes an emphasis on investments that adhere to Catholic moral principles as established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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Vern Schultz has saved glimpses of St. Paul back in the day

November 15, 2011


If you’d enjoy a trip down memory lane through St. Paul 60-70-80 years ago, you might look for Vern Schultz’s “Memoirs of a Left Hander” (Amazon.com).

The self-published book about growing up in the Frogtown neighborhood preserves some history worth saving about the 1940s and ‘50s.

Schultz, who lives in Prior Lake now, taught at St. Agnes High School in the early 1950s, and for many years officiated sports, including in the Catholic Athletic Association.

Catholic to the core, Schultz recalls both highlights and low-lights of Catholic life in those pre-Vatican II days. In more recent times, room in the Schultz home was rented to the pastor of St. Michael Church in Prior Lake!

No abortion for them

Schultz’s faith pours through when he writes about how he and his wife Toodie reacted when, after a genetic disorder took the lives of their first two children and a doctor recommended she have an abortion when they found themselves expecting again.

There is their gratitude, too, when Catholic Charities came to their rescue to help them adopt the family they so wanted.

Writing a memoir is no easy task, of course, and while the middle years of Schultz’s life get short shrift, that weakness doesn’t detract from the very pleasurable reading of his earlier years. Those are great memories of a time and place that need to be remembered and cherished, a Schultz has a nice writing touch.

Allow me, though, to offer advice for others putting down their life history: Get a proofreader. My teeth grind when I read “to” where “too” is required and “complemented” when “complimented” is the proper word. — bz

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Catholic Community Foundation award winner sees love and creativity in groups that serve others

October 27, 2011


Sue Morrison is a tiny bit of a woman, but she does great things.

Morrison heads up a committee that gives relatively small grants to nonprofits who serve the poor and needy around Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Again, although the dollars aren’t large, they have a huge impact.

Most of the grants awarded from the Catholic Community Foundation’s Community Priorities Fund are in the $1,000 to $5,000 range. But the groups that receive them are so appreciative and do so much with the money that it makes Morrison ‘s involvement especially rewarding.

She especially likes to visit the sites of the organizations that apply for grants to check out their operations and see just what they are doing to care for at-risk children, young mothers and elderly people who are living independently.

“I love the opportunity to see what loving and creative people dream up to serve the underprivileged,” Morrison said. “I get lifted up by the good hearts and the creativity of those who work on behalf of the less fortunate.”

Charity alive, but needs growing

Morrison’s remarks came Oct. 26 after Archbishop John Nienstedt and CCF president Marilou Eldred presented her with the Catholic Community Foundation’s Legacy of Faith Award for philanthropic leadership that supports the spiritual, educational and social needs of the Catholic community. A crowded ballroom at the Minneapolis Club gave her a standing ovation.

She made two good points with a connection you’ll get right off:

  • From her observations, Catholic grassroots charity is alive and well.
  • The need keeps growing; CCF has three times more applicants for grants than it can fund.

Surprise: People read their Catholic paper

Oh, and she opened her talk by expressing amazement at how many people read The Catholic Spirit. When the archdiocesan newspaper carried a Q & A with Morrison after it was announced that she’d be the Legacy of Faith recipient she said her phone rang off the hook. “Someone even sent me flowers!” she exclaimed.

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Atheists shouldn’t have all the fun; come on, Catholics, share!

September 1, 2011


How I happen to receive an e-mail inviting atheists in or from Minnesota to tell their story for a potential book I don’t know. But it did spark an idea, and if you’re not an atheist, the idea involves you.

If there's no question mark behind your belief in God, please add a few lines of comment as this blog post requests.

The organization Minnesota Atheists, a registered nonprofit, is looking for essays on the personal experiences of Land of 10,000 Lakes atheists. Note that I quote, “These should be personal narratives from your life or observations which would be a poignant read for others. The account may be humorous, sad, surprising, quirky — whatever works. Possible themes might include, but are by no means limited to:

  • A non-traditional atheist experience;
  • Family relationships;
  • Coming out;
  • Your ‘conversion’ to atheism;
  • Raising atheist children;
  • An as yet untold story from your life;
  • What it means to be an atheist in our culture today.”
(Before I get to the heart of this commentary: “A non-traditional atheist experience?” There’s a “traditional” atheist experience? And “coming out”? Why don’t I equate ‘coming out’ with people who simply don’t believe in God?)


Why don’t you write me!
Anyway, as I was saying: The atheists’ e-mail triggered the thought that believers should flip this concept on its head. That’s where you come in.
How about sending in a comment to this post that offers a brief personal perspective from the opposite direction? You might add a comment from your life or observations that are humorous, sad, surprising, quirky, etc. It might be, but by no means limited to:
  • A non-traditional faith experience;
  • Family faith relationships;
  • Coming out as Catholic(!);
  • Your “conversion” to Catholicism;
  • Raising Catholic children;
  • An as yet untold story from your life as a Catholic;
  • What it means to be a Catholic in our culture today.
Hey, who knows, there could even be an e-book in this!
And don’t forget to share this blog post via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter with any and all who might be interested in adding their two cents.


(P.S.: You’re adding your comment implies your permission for Catholic Hotdish’s publisher to use your words and whatever name you post with.)
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Grief for guys — a man writes about the loneliness of loss

August 27, 2011


Bill Cento was called “the last hard-nosed newsman” at the St. Paul daily paper he helped to edit, so he surprised me with his amazingly sensitive book — most of it in poetry, of all things.
Cento has updated the first version of this short work, adding 22 pieces, yet it’s still only 90 some pages in small, paperback form.
It’s a unique book uniquely written and uniquely packaged to be helpful to others — perhaps men in particular — who have lost the love of their life.
The poetry is from the gut guy stuff, hard, honest and edited to the evisceral. Cento puts his anger and his ache into words like you’ve never read before. You’ll be wiping the wetness from your eyes.

Behind the hurt, hope

Each poem gets the briefest of introductions, with Cento usually explaining what was going on in his life that he had to get out.
He admitted that the writing was therapuetic for him, but his real reason for publishing it — and he’s self-publishing at this point — is to help others see that they are not alone, that they can get through their grief — and loneliness, especially the loneliness.
It’s a frankness we don’t get from most men, which makes “Alone: For All Those Who Grieve” valuable reading for those suffering a loss. But read it just for the beauty of the writing.

Few have written about the love in a marriage like this.

Many will appreciated the hope he offers to all who ache for a loved one who has left too soon.

Order it now on Amazon.com.

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Witty Catholic judge worth remembering for his morality

August 1, 2011


“Simply because free speech allows us to make fools of ourselves is no reason we should avail ourselves of the opportunity.”

That’s a quote from Justice John Simonett, 87, who passed away July 28 and whose funeral will be Saturday, Aug. 6, at Lumen Christi Church in St. Paul, MN.

Along with his wit, though, this Catholic who spent 13 years on the Minnesota Supreme Court will be remembered for the moral basis of the opinions he wrote for the court.

He’s the judge who wrote the decision that upheld Minnesota’s fetal homicide law (i.e., it wi a double murder when a pregnant woman is killed), and he’s the judge who wrote the 1990 opinion that overturned the Minnesota policy of providing lower welfare benefits for new residents of the state.

Requiescat in pace, John Simonett.


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Sensible words about government budgets: Catholic archbishop offered them

July 5, 2011


As the senseless, costly and harmful to humanity shutdown of Minnesota’s state government continues, and as the federal government looks to a similar shut down in a few weeks, you can go back to advice from a Catholic archbishop that made so much sense you want to force every legislator and governor to read it aloud — and then do something about it.

Archbishop John Nienstedt — six weeks ago! — offered principles on which a sensible budget could be fashioned. It’s in his May 26 column at http://thecatholicspirit.com/that-they-may-all-be-one/budgeting-with-the-common-good-in-mind/ and worth the time to read and send to your elected officials.

Just the fact that the Minnesota state government shut down meant that the state parks are losing $1 million a week ought to be enough to knock some sense into stubborn state decision makers.

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