Fr. Peter's Post

Another Lent Begins

We have begun another Lenten Season, 40 days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that are intended to prepare us to deepen our participation in the Lord’s saving passion, death, and resurrection.  I encourage you to take advantage of the Lenten resources and times of prayer offered in our parishes.  Read Rediscovering Jesus by Matthew Kelly and join us for a weekly discussion of the book on Tuesdays from 6:00 to 7:00 in the Cathedral social hall.  Join us Tuesdays for Lenten XLT from 7:00 to 8:00 at the Cathedral.  This is a time of Adoration and reflection with Confession available. 

On Wednesdays join us for Stations of the Cross at 6:00 p.m. with Soup Supper and a Lenten Series on Marian Apparitions at St. Mary Star of the Sea.  The Cathedral has Stations of the Cross & Soup Supper Wednesdays at 5:30/6:00.

I encourage you to ask the Lord to take you deeper in the spiritual life this Lent and Easter.  Let Him lead you to greater holiness and happiness.

Ash Wednesday Schedule

There will be five Masses celebrated in our parish cluster for Ash Wednesday.
Cathedral Masses: 7:00 & 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM
St. Mary Star of the Sea Masses: 12:10 & 6:00 PM
Ashes will be distributed at each of these Masses and Bishop Sirba will celebrate the 9:00 School Mass.

I Will Be Out of Town Attending a Conference This Week

I will be attending a conference and so will be out of the office from the 13th through the 23rd.  Fr. Tim will be in charge while I’m away.  Don’t let him change anything while I’m gone…but otherwise please give him your cooperation.  I’ll be back in the office Feb 24th.

Pancake Breakfast Next Sunday at Holy Rosary

The Knights of Columbus are sponsoring a Pancake Breakfast next Sunday at Holy Rosary with proceeds going to support the school.  They have been putting a lot of effort into this breakfast.  Come and enjoy a great meal and good company and support our Catholic school.  The drawing for the Wine Raffle will take place at this breakfast.

Catholic Schools Week

This week is Catholic Schools Week, our annual celebration of Catholic Schools.  We are blessed to have great Catholic Schools in our parishes and wider community and they are worth celebrating.  I want to thank all the alumni and benefactors of Holy Rosary School.  You make great things happen in the lives of our children.

Called To Be One City-Wide Catholic School

Bishop Sirba announced last week his approval of a plan to unify the Catholic schools in the City of Duluth into one school with three campuses:  Holy Rosary, St. John’s, and St. James.  Holy Rosary will house Pre-K and Elementary grades on the East side of town, St. John’s will house Middle School grades on the East side of town (and an emerging High School offering if there is enough enrollment), and St. James will house Pre-K through 8th Grade for the West side of town.  A new school president and governing board will now be put together and a new name will be chosen.  Moving to the new grade configurations will then take place possibly as soon as September 2017 or if more preparation time is needed in September 2018.  St. Michael’s campus will not be used for the new city-wide school, although St. Michael’s may continue to offer early childhood programs.  Please pray for God’s blessings on this exciting new initiative.  If you have questions or concerns I am always available.

Join Bishop Sirba for Mass & March for Life

Bishop Sirba will celebrate the 9:15 Mass at St. Mary Star of the Sea on Sunday January 22nd and then join a delegation from our diocese that will board buses bound for the Twin Cities March for Life at the State Capitol that day.  The cost is $5 per person and the buses will arrive back in Duluth by 6:30 p.m.  To reserve your spot log onto dioceseduluth.org or call the Pastoral Center at 724-9111.  Children are encouraged to participate along with people of all ages.

Many Thanks for a Beautiful Christmas Season

I am grateful to many people who volunteered to decorate our churches and prepare beautiful music for our Christmas liturgies.  The Rosary Society once again beautifully decorated St. Mary Star of the Sea and a new crew of volunteers headed up by Kari Landgren did a great job decorating the Cathedral.  Our organists, choir directors, and other musicians also did their usual beautiful work in helping us to celebrate Our Savior’s Birth in a worthy way.  My thanks to all of you!

May the Celebration of the Lord’s Birth Touch Your Heart

As we celebrate another Christmas I encourage you to welcome the Christ Child into your heart anew. He was born to save you from the emptiness and unhappiness caused by sin. Take an honest look at your life and find the places where you experience emptiness. Ask the Lord to shine the light of his mercy on those areas and help you turn away from your sins. Ask him to bless you and your family with stronger faith. The more we let the Child born in the manger into our lives the more we experience liberation from bondage, healing, and forgiveness. 

Let this Christmas be a turning point in your life---a time when your relationship with the Lord becomes personal and transforming. He would have been born for you even if you were the only person on earth. You mean that much to Him.

We Very Much Need Your Help to Meet Our UCA Assessments

At both St. Mary Star of the Sea and the Cathedral we are far from meeting our annual United Catholic Appeal assessment.  If you have not yet made a UCA contribution, please do so.  If you have already given and can afford to give more, please join me in making an additional contribution.  We must meet this assessment by the end of December.

Opportunities for Confession

I encourage you to make a good Confession before Christmas. Confessing your sins and receiving the Lord’s forgiveness is a great preparation for Christmas. For your convenience we have Confessions from 11:30 to Noon Monday – Friday and 3:00 – 3:45 Saturday at St. Mary Star of the Sea. Confessions are heard from 10:30 – Noon on Saturdays at the Cathedral. Additional Confession times at the Cathedral will be 6:00 – 8:00 PM on Sunday Dec 18th, 7:00 – 8:00 P Mon Tuesday Dec 20th, and 6:00 – 7:00 PM on Wed Dec 21st. Come and make a good Confession. The Lord is rich in mercy and wants to forgive you.

 

Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a Holy Day of Obligation

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8th) will be observed in our cluster of parishes with 4 Masses:  7:00 PM Wed. (Dec 7th) and 9:00 AM (Dec 8th) at the Cathedral and 12:10 & 5:30 PM (Dec 8th) at St. Mary Star of the Sea.  The 7:00 PM Mass on Wed will be a special teaching Mass with Fr. Mike Schmitz as the celebrant.  Our youth will be present but people of all ages are welcome.  The (9:00 AM Mass will be a Holy Rosary School Mass with everyone welcome as well.

The Holy Season of Advent Begins

The expectant waiting of the Season of Advent is an important part of the Church’s liturgy. It reminds us that the Lord whose birth we will celebrate at Christmas will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. In that context it reminds us of what the Incarnation is all about—putting an end to the kingdom of darkness brought about by Satan and sin and ushering in salvation for those who turn from sin to Jesus Christ, the light and savior of the world. As we begin the Advent Season I encourage you to take an inventory of your life and make a good confession.

Thanksgiving Day Mass

Mass will be celebrated at 9:00 AM on Thanksgiving Day at the Cathedral.  There will be no 7:00 AM Mass or 12:10 PM Mass on Thanksgiving Day.

Permanent Deacon Ordination Sunday

Gerald Bock, Michael Eisenbraun and John Specht will be ordained to the permanent diaconate on Sunday, Nov 20th, at 3:00 PM at the Cathedral.  All are invited to attend.

Cathedral Doors Letter Will Be Sent Out This Week

I am sending out a letter asking for contributions to our “Doors to the Sacred” project at the Cathedral.  I am asking Cathedral parishioners to help pay for the replacement of the exterior ornate wood doors that have come to the end of their lifespan.  I am happy to report that we have reached the half way mark in this campaign with two generous gifts totaling $60,000 and $50,000 that the Finance Council set aside from the surplus of the last fiscal year.  My thanks for those who have already given generously.  Please do what you can to help us get the rest of the way.

We Have a New Business Manager

After nearly ten years of service Terry Coombe has stepped down as business manager as our business manager.  I would like to thank Terry for all her hard work over the last decade.  I am happy to let you know that we have hired a new person to take this important position.  Lauren McCracken will begin work at the beginning of November.  She is from Rice Lake, WI, and has been working in the Chicago area.  She is excited to be working for the Church and to be closer to home.  Please welcome Lauren as she settles into her new job with us.

Peter Kreeft to Speak in Duluth

I am excited that we will have Dr. Peter Kreeft speaking at the Cathedral on Saturday October 22nd and Sunday October 23rd.  Dr. will give talks from 2:00 to 4:00 at Holy Rosary School on Oct 22nd and in the Cathedral Social Hall on Oct 23rd.  These talks are free and open to the public.  Dr. Kreeft will also be the featured speaker at the dinner following the White Mass with Bishop Sirba on Oct 22nd.  To purchase tickets for the dinner please log onto duluthcathmed.org.  There is limited seating for the dinner.

Life & Dignity Sunday Oct 15th-16th

Bishop Sirba and the other Catholic bishops of Minnesota are encouraging each parish to sign people up for the Catholic Advocacy Network.  This network will provide non-partisan catholic teaching on political and social issues and give Catholics an easy and effective way to contact their legislators when important bills are before the house and senate in St. Paul.  Look for cards in your pew this weekend and join this important new initiative to shape society according to gospel values.

Sherry Weddell and Peter Kreeft to Speak in Duluth

I am excited that we will have two nationally known and sought after Catholic speakers in Duluth in October.  Sherry Weddell will be the featured speaker at the Diocesan Assembly at Marshall School on Saturday October 8th and Dr. Peter Kreeft will give several talked at Holy Rosary School and the Cathedral Social Hall on October 22nd and 23rd.  Please call the parish office for information about registering for these great events!

Called to be One (C2B1) Initiative Wants Your Input

The “Called to Be One” catholic school initiative is looking for your input.  C2B1 is the effort under way that will unify the catholic schools in the City of Duluth so that they function as one school with multiple campuses, offering a continuum of programming from Pre K through 12th Grade.  I encourage you to take the C2B1 Survey at: duluthareacatholicschools.org.

Second Collection Next Weekend for Flood Victims

We will be taking up a 2nd Collection next weekend for the victims of the devastating flooding in Louisiana. Archbishop Kurtz, the President of the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference has asked that we do this because the need is so great. Everything collected will be used to support the efforts of Catholic Charities USA which is providing immediate help on the ground there. 

Mark Your Calendars: Cathedral Fall Picnic September 10th

Mark your calendars for Saturday September 10th for the Harvest Fest (our Fall parish picnic).  There will be great good and lots to do for all ages.  We’ll gather after the 5:00 Mass over at Holy Rosary to reconnect after our summer activities.  Parishioners and friends from all parishes in our cluster are most welcome to attend.

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Because the Solemnity of the Assumption falls on a Monday this year the obligation to attend Mass is removed.  However, we will celebrate Mass for this important Marian feast at 7:00 AM (Cathedral) and 12:10 PM. (SMSS).  I encourage you to attend, if possible.

Annual Parish Trip to Twins Game Sunday August 14th

Mark your calendars and plan to join us for this fun parish outing.  Tickets will once again be $10 for altar servers as a “thank you” for their service to the parish.  Everyone else will be $45.  (These prices are inclusive of your ticket to the game and bus ride)  The Twins will be playing the Kansas City Royals on August 14th and are playing much better baseball.   We also look forward to seeing some of the Twins promising young players.  Call the Cathedral office, 728-3646 and reserve your seat.  Capacity is limited.

Totus Tuus July 31st - August 5th

We are excited to have “Totus Tuus”, our diocesan summer elementary and youth program at the Cathedral this week.  The name of this program is taken from St. John Paul II’s papal motto in Latin, which means “Totally Yours”.  The Totus Tuus team will be speaking at Masses this weekend and then put on a program for children during the day and high school youth in the evening.  If you would like to have your child participate please call the office.

Annual Parish Trip to Twins Game Sunday August 14th

Mark your calendars and plan to join us for this fun parish outing.  Tickets will once again be $10 for altar servers as a “thank you” for their service to the parish.  Everyone else will be $45.  (These prices are inclusive of your ticket to the game and bus ride)  The Twins will be playing the Kansas City Royals on August 14th and are playing much better baseball.   We also look forward to seeing some of the Twins promising young players.  Call and reserve your seat.  Capacity is limited.

Sunday Mass Schedule to Change July 23/24

A reminder that we will go to a new Sunday Mass schedule on the weekend of July 23/24th.  Saturday Masses will move to 4:00 PM @ SMSS and 5:00 PM @ Cathedral.  Sunday Masses will remain at 8:00 AM and 10:30 AM @ Cathedral but will move to one 9:15 AM Mass at SMSS (no Noon Mass).  The last 8:00 AM Mass at Our Lady of Mercy will be on Sunday July 17th celebrated by Bishop Sirba.

Summer Office Hours at the Cathedral

Starting on June 27th, Cathedral parish office hours will change to Monday – Friday 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Annual Parish Trip to Twins Game Sunday August 14th

Mark your calendars and plan to join us for this fun parish outing.  We will once again have a discounted rate for altar servers and room for parishioners of all ages.  The Twins will be playing the Kansas City Royals.

Transitional Deacon & Priesthood Ordinations This Week

Jeremy Bock and Beau Braun will be ordained transitional deacons on Thursday June 2nd at 4:00 PM.  Charlie Friebohle and Paul Strommer will be ordained to the priesthood on Friday June 3rd at 4:00 PM.   You are most welcome to both these ordinations.  Please pray for these young men as they enter ordained ministry for our diocese.

Memorial Day Masses

Bishop Sirba will celebrate a special Memorial Day Mass at Calvary Cemetery at 10:00 AM (rain or shine).  All are welcome to attend.  Please bring your own chair.  There will be a 7:00 AM Mass at the Cathedral on Memorial Day but no 12:10 Mass at St. Mary Star of the Sea.

Catholics from Holy Land to Sell Olive Wood Carvings

We are happy to welcome Catholics from the Holy Land to the Cathedral this weekend.  They will be selling olive wood carved items before and after Masses.  Please show your support for our brothers and sisters in the faith who are experiencing real hardship because of a downturn in pilgrims visiting the Holy Land as well as the other stresses the Church is experiencing there.

More Retirements than Ordinations Means Some Changes

While we are grateful that God is continuing to bring forth vocations in our diocese (we look forward to two priestly ordinations in June), we still need to make some adjustments as we also see priests retire from active ministry.  There will be four priests announcing their retirements this weekend.  Adding in the unexpected death of Fr. Paul Larson earlier this year, that means Bishop Sirba has a challenge on his hands.

As part of addressing this challenge I am announcing some changes to the Sunday Mass schedule in our cluster of parishes.  As of July 23/24 there will no longer be a Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Mercy on Park Point.  As of the same date we will go from two Masses (9:30 & 12:00) to one Mass at 9:15 on Sunday mornings at St. Mary Star of the Sea.    

In addition the Saturday Mass schedule will be adjusted at the Cathedral and St. Mary Star of the Sea.  As of July 23rd there will be a 4:00 Mass at St. Mary Star of the Sea and a 5:00 Mass at the Cathedral.

These changes are designed to make it possible for one priest to cover all the Masses in our cluster of parishes when that becomes necessary.  While we will still have a pastor and an associate pastor assigned to our cluster, we need to be able to cover for each other in case of illness or vacations.  We also need to be able to help out if something comes up in another part of the diocese.

Before I made these decisions I consulted with Bishop Sirba and parish leaders.  I know these will not be popular decisions but I ask for your support.  We can no longer sustain 7 weekend Masses in our cluster and have to be able to help out in times of need. 

11th Grade Students to be Confirmed Next Sunday

Bishop Sirba will celebrate a special Confirmation Mass next Sunday, May 15th, at 1:00 p.m. at the Cathedral.  Please pray for our confirmation candidates as they prepare to be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.

United Catholic Appeal Campaign Begins

Our annual United Catholic Appeal officially begins on Sunday, May 8th.  Before then you will receive a short letter from me asking you to contribute to this year’s campaign.  Please continue to be generous in supporting Bishop Sirba and the important ministries that are made possible through UCA.  Please be assured that your contributions will go to fund ministry and will not be used as part of any legal settlements.

First Holy Communion Today, May 1st

The Cathedral of Our Lady and St. Mary Star of the Sea parishes are celebrating 1st Holy Communion for our 2nd Grade students today.  We are so happy for them and their families on this special day. 

Real Presence Radio

I am happy to make you aware of a new Catholic radio station broadcasting in the Duluth area.  Real Presence Radio is a Catholic enterprise that started in the Dakotas (I believe).  It broadcasts EWTN radio programming and mixes in some local coverage of things Catholic.  You can find Real Presence Radio at 88.1 on the FM dial.

April Works of Mercy

During the month of April we are focusing on the Corporal Work of Mercy of Visiting the Imprisoned and the Spiritual Work of Mercy of Comforting the Sorrowful.  I think we all know someone who has lost a loved on recently.  Perhaps we could give them a call or invite them out for lunch.  We may not know someone in prison but we can certainly say some prayers for prisoners around the work, especially those unjustly imprisoned.

Pancake Breakfast This Sunday

The Knights of Columbus at the Cathedral are putting on a pancake breakfast this Sunday April 17th from 9:00 to Noon in the gym at Holy Rosary School.  Come and enjoy pancakes, sausage, fruit, and beignets!

Book Discussion Group Tuesday April 12th

There will be a group discussion of “Walking with Purpose”, the book that was handed out at Easter Masses, on Tuesday, April 12th, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM in the Cathedral social hall.  All are welcome!

Divine Mercy Sunday Devotions

The Cathedral will once again have Adoration, Confessions, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and Benediction on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 3rd, from 1:30 to 3:00 PM.  All are welcome.

Many Thanks to All Who Made Our Churches & Liturgies Beautiful

Many thanks to those who decorated our churches and provided beautiful music for the liturgies of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter.  Our parishes are blessed with talented and generous people.  Please join me in thanking them.

Jesus Christ Who Died is Risen from the Dead

Christ is risen!  He is truly risen!  Our Lord Jesus Christ who suffered a cruel death to free us from sin has risen triumphant from the grave.  God has swallowed up our sins in the sea of His Infinite Mercy, reconciling us to himself and making us sharers in His Divine Life.  The enormity of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ is the focus of the 50 days of Easter, ending with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Feast of Pentecost.  Because of Christ’s sacrifice there is a way out of sin and death.  Because of his selfless act we are set free.  Because of his resurrection and the gift of the Spirit He lives in us and we live in Him.  When we grasp this with an open heart our lives are changed forever.  Happy Easter!

Sacred Triduum

The Sacred Triduum comprises the time from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening through Good Friday and Holy Saturday’s Easter Vigil until Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday.  The Triduum is our solemn celebration of the Lord’s Paschal Mystery:  his suffering, death, and resurrection that accomplished our salvation.  Please make an effort to participate in the liturgies of the Triduum.

Lenten XLT for High School Youth on Wednesday

There will be no Lenten XLT on Tuesday.  Instead we will have XLT for our High School Youth on Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 8:30.  There will be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, meditative music, and confessions.  Please pray for our youth as they come to pray and make a good confession.

Chrism Mass Tonight

Bishop Sirba will celebrate the annual Chrism Mass on Monday, March 21st, at 5:30 PM at the Cathedral.  At this Mass the holy oils to be used in the celebration of the sacraments in the coming year will be blessed and consecrated and the priests of the diocese will renew their ordination promises.  All are welcome.

Confessions Palm Sunday (March 20th) 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Bishop Sirba and three priests will be available to hear your confessions on Palm Sunday, March 20th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Cathedral.  There will also be additional confessions during the Triduum. A complete listing of confession times and special liturgies for the week are available here.

Lenten XLT Tuesday Evenings

This year instead of an adult education series on Tuesdays we will be having a time of Adoration, Music, Silence, and Confessions that we’re calling Lenten XLT (as in Exult!).  From 6:30 to 7:30 on Tuesday evenings we will gather in the Cathedral to spend an hour with the Lord.  I am convinced that this time of prayer will be a great blessing to our cluster of parishes during the “Year of Mercy”.  After I have exposed the Blessed Sacrament I will give a reflection on God’s Mercy and then Fr. Eli and I will go to our confessionals as the Lord is worshipped with meditative music and periods of silence.  Come and deepen your relationship with the Lord in this reverent time of prayer.

24 Hour Year of Mercy Adoration & Confession

Pope Francis has asked that every cathedral in the world have a 24 hour period of Confessions this week as part of the “Year of Mercy”.  Bishop Sirba has decided to do this at our cathedral from Noon on Friday March 4th to Noon on Saturday March 5th.  The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed during this time of prayer and reconciliation and I have decided to close the Holy Innocents Adoration Chapel and ask the adorers from there to join us at the Cathedral of Our Lady for this special event which will begin with a clergy penance service at Noon on Friday. 

Lenten Stations of the Cross & Soup Suppers in Our Parishes

We will make the Station of the Cross on Wednesdays and Fridays in our cluster of parishes.  At the Cathedral Stations of the Cross will take place on Wednesdays at 5:30 PM with Soup Supper to follow at 6:00 PM.  At St Mary Star of the Sea Stations will take place at 6:00 PM Wednesdays with Soup Supper and Program to follow.  At Our Lady of Mercy Stations of the Cross will take place on Fridays at 6:00 PM.

Ash Wednesday Collection for the Poor

There is no envelope for Ash Wednesday but I would like to take up a collection for the poor as we begin the Season of Lent.  At St. Mary Star of the Sea the collection will go into the “Helping Hands Fund” that Msgr. McDowell started.  At the Cathedral the collection will go into the “Cathedral Cares Fund”.  In this Year of Mercy I invite you to begin your Lent by putting something in the basket on Ash Wednesday to provide for the poor right here in our midst.

The Year of Mercy Continues:  February Themes

Each month we are reflecting on one Corporal and one Spiritual Work of Mercy.  During the month of February we ponder and pray about how we “give drink to the thirsty” and how we “instruct the uninformed”.  Mercy is God’s love applied to human weakness.  What are they ways we help apply God’s love to those with physical needs and those who do not know the light of the gospel or are have lost their way?

Book Discussion Group Meets Tuesday

We had a good discussion of chapters 3 & 4 of Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission last Tuesday and will continue to discuss this thought provoking book this Tuesday evening (February 2nd) at 6:30.  Please feel free to join us.  Snacks and good company are provided free of charge!

Book Discussion Group Off to a Good Start

We had a good discussion of chapters 1 & 2 of Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission last Tuesday and will continue to discuss this thought provoking book for the next two Tuesday evenings (January 26th and February 2nd). Please feel free to join us in the Social Hall. Snacks and good company are provided free of charge!

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land a Great Blessing

Our just completed pilgrimage to the Holy Land was a great blessing.  We were able to visit and pray at the site of Christ’s birth as well as many sites associated with his life and ministry.  Visiting the Holy Land in January afforded us the opportunity to be there in “low season” when there are not big crowds at the holy places.  We prayed for all the members of Our Lady of Mercy, St. Mary Star of the Sea, and the Cathedral parishes each day.  Thank you for your prayers as we traced the path of the Lord’s earthly ministry.  May God bless us all with renewed faith.