Tag Archives: North Dakota

Catholic bishop who’s seen hurting up close has thoughtful words to share

September 30, 2011


We all experience pain, loss, disasters both major and minor. It’s what we do about our hurts that matters.

Bishop Paul Zipfel of Minot, North Dakota, has had a front-row seat as flood waters have devastated not just homes and businesses but lives this year in that community in the Upper Midwest.

In preaching at a Mass for Healing for those who have had homes washed away and who otherwise have suffered from the flooding, Bishop Zipfel offered advice for coping with all that’s happened.

First, remember you’re not alone. Others are standing in solidarity with you. And so is he as their brother.

Second, trust that God is with us and loves us more than we can ever imagine. “While we may not be able to heal ourselves or one another fully,” he said, “God’s healing power is infinitely greater than any hurt and pain, no matter how deeply these are rooted in our lives.”

Third, ask God to give you peace of mind and to help remove any residual anger that must still plague you, help you to be reconciled.

The bishop quoted Victor Frankl, the World War II victim and author who wrote, “Everything can be taken from a man, except for one thing: the last of the human freedoms — the freedom to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Bishop Zipfel urged people to try to let go of their hurts and angers. “Holding on to hurts is like carrying red-hot coals inside us that can be fanned into flames at the least expected moment,” he said.

Don’t deny pain, but know that you are loved, and that will help begin the healing process, he added.

Finally, the bishop asked, “How do you know when you’re healed?”

When you are grateful for the experience.

“Not that you would ever be grateful for the devastation,” the bishop said, “but rather you are grateful for the growth, the greater capacity to love and understand and to feel with others. Forgetting is not one of the signs of being healed. You may be healed of the hurt, but still remember it. Whoever said the ‘to forgive is to forget’ was oversimplifying.”

Source: Dakota Catholic Action. Read all of Bishop Zipfel’s homily here.



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Flood relief volunteers needed

July 25, 2011


Volunteers worked last month to repair a levee that was protecting the Church of St. Therese, the Little Flower, in Minot, N.D., as floodwater from the Souris River spilled over levees and dikes. The river peaked at slightly more than 1,561 feet above sea level, 4 feet above the record level it reached in 1881. (CNS photo/Allen Fredrickson, Reuters)

Catholic United Response is seeking volunteers for flood relief efforts in Minot, N.D., starting July 29. Those interested can register on the official Minot city volunteers website and should indicate they will be working with Catholic United Financial.

Catholic United Response is a disaster relief effort of the Catholic United Financial Foundation in St. Paul. The organization helped with relief efforts in North Minneapolis following the tornado that struck there May 22.

Thousands of Minot homes were destroyed or damaged last month when the Souris River flooded. Executive director Paul Naumann sent out this notice late last week:

“The most recent communication we received from the coordinators at Lutheran Disaster Response says they are working with the Minot city emergency manager to establish a process for assisting homeowners with clean up. If you intend to go to Minot, please register at their online site and indicate you want to work with Catholic United Response.

“If you are planning to go, please send me an email with your contact information so I can let you know where we will be. In most circumstances you will be directed to a central site in Minot. From there you will be assigned a volunteer job and site location. We probably will be at the central site every morning for our assignments so we will be easy to find.

“My plan is to send an email to those who are planning to volunteer notifying you how to reach me in Minot. We are planning to deploy next Wednesday, July 27 to Minot and spend a minimum of two weeks and then reassess how much additional time is needed. We have rented a travel trailer that will accommodate up to 6-7 people for sleeping if necessary. (Alternative housing for volunteers will likely be provided.)

“My best estimate of when we will be ready for action would be Friday the 29th or Saturday the 30th at the earliest. It will take a couple of days for us to get coordinated with the emergency managers and get a list of sites to start working on. If we get started earlier, it will be with local volunteers. I have spoken with Father Fred Harvey at the Little Flower Parish in Minot and he said many people are still without power and/or water at this time. There is plenty of work to be done, but prayers as we all know are most powerful.

“Please keep those who suffered losses and those who are working and volunteering in your prayers.”

Updates can be found on the Catholic United Response website: http://www.united-we-help.org, or sign up to receive regular updates through email about deployments.


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Fun Christmas reading: Garrison Keillor clones Lake Wobegon in North Dakota

December 2, 2009


christmasblizzardcover“A Christmas Blizzard,”
by Garrison Keillor

Nobody’s literary comedy stands a snowball’s chance in Honolulu against Garrison Keillor and his takes on communities in the northern clime.

“A Christmas Blizzard” is just 180 pages long, but it’s as fun and funny a 180 pages as anything you’ll ever read, with a moral worth remembering and celebrating throughout the year.

This time the creator and host of public radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion” has found Lake Wobegon-like characters in Looseleaf, North Dakota, and he brings a prodigal native son back to his home town just in time for Christmas and a typical northern plains white-out.

Main character James Sparrow fell into a lucrative business that made him the wealthy CEO of a Chicago beverage company. He’s rich enough to not want to spend time doing anything at Christmas that he doesn’t want to. What he wants to do is take his private jet to his palatial Hawaii second home and look at the calming waves of the Pacific.

A tug of the heart strings — or is is a guilty conscience? — has that private jet flying into good ol’ Looseleaf instead, and stranding Sparrow in a town with wacky but lovable relatives, fruitcake townfolk from his past, and even quizzical story walk-ons, like the busload of psychoanalists who are afraid to fly!

No scripted storyline here

If you think this is going to fall into that simplistic story genre of the guy who doesn’t like Christmas celebrating like no one else on the big day — well, maybe.

Keillor puts so much that’s laughable in his fictional characters — pieces of the human condition that you’ll identify in your own family, friends and acquaintance, and may yourself, plus identifiable references to real people and real events — that the storyline almost becomes secondary to the eccentric population of Looseleaf and how rich Mr. Sparrow comes to terms with them — how they impact him and how he touches their lives.

Finally, throw out anything you ever learned about the Greek dramas and “deus ex machina” endings.
In this Viking novel, Keillor out-deus-ex-machinas any contrived ending you could ever imagine. What a fun read! — bz

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