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Register now! U.S. Bishops' Catholic Social Ministry Gathering planned for February - Join Virtually

WASHINGTON – The annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG) of U.S. Catholic social ministry leaders will be held virtually this year, Feb. 6-9, 2021. Organized by the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development, 10 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops departments, and 18 national Catholic organizations, the conference seeks to equip current and emerging leaders in Catholic social ministry and advocacy to cultivate God’s justice as they engage in their communities and around the world. 

The 2021 theme is Make justice your aim (cf. Is. 1:17): Rebuilding Together. Participants will pray, learn, and advocate together on the disparities revealed by COVID-19 and new models of justice and solidarity.  

About the event:

For more than 30 years, the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering has brought together hundreds of participants whose faith inspires them to address pressing current domestic and global challenges affecting our most vulnerable brothers and sisters at home and around the world.


This year’s virtual gathering will include:

·                Inspiring leading voices in Church and society

·                Workshops with policy experts and grassroots community leaders

·                Intentional opportunities for best practice-sharing among participants

·                Resources from dozens of Catholic social ministry organizations 

·                Virtual advocacy visits with elected officials and more.

The cost to register is $50; financial assistance is available. To see the conference agenda, the list of speakers, or to register, visit the USCCB website,

Minnesotans to gather April 15 for Catholics at the Capitol. Sign up now!

ST. PAUL - Join Catholics from across Minnesota for a day of prayer, education, and advocacy from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, April 15. The Catholics at the Capitol event, organized by Minnesota Catholic Conference (the Minnesota Catholic bishops’ political voice), will form attendees in the faith – beginning with Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

Featured speakers are Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Obianuju Ekeocha, a pro-life advocate and founder of Culture of Life Africa.

Attendees will be informed on issues impacting life and dignity in the state and learn how to effectively speak with their legislators as a missionary disciple. In the afternoon, participants will be sent on mission with a eucharistic procession from the Cathedral to the Capitol before meeting with local legislators. The rosary will be prayed in the Capitol rotunda on the half hour in the afternoon.

MCC has plans in place if programming needs to be altered due to COVID-19.

Cost: $15 ($20 after Jan. 31). For more information or to register, visit Questions? Call: 651-227-8777 or email: [email protected]

Way of the Cross in New Ulm added to National Register of Historic Places

NEW ULM - After almost seven years of persistent effort by the Way of the Cross Committee, the Way of the Cross shrine in New Ulm has been officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation.

The Way of the Cross was completed in 1904, with renovation projects taking place in 2004 and again in 2018. Its 14 stations, with statues imported from Bavaria, provide a quiet, reflective walk up a 700-foot brick path to a chapel dedicated to the Mother of Sorrows. Entrusted to the Catholic Diocese of New Ulm, the historic shrine is located on the 5th North Hill, behind the New Ulm Medical Center. It rests nearby a memorial to Fr. Alexander Berghold, an instrumental priest in the 1800s who initiated the Way of the Cross project along with Sr. Flavia of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.

Although dedicated to meditation on the Passion and the Death of Jesus Christ, people of all faiths are welcome to stop at each station and read the German and English inscriptions. A stone grotto marks the path's halfway point.

Donations and grants cover funding to maintain the Way of the Cross shrine. Contributions can be sent to Diocese of New Ulm, Way of the Cross, 1421 6th Street North, New Ulm, MN 56073.

Monsignor Douglas L. Grams elected to serve as administrator of the Diocese of New Ulm

NEW ULM – Monsignor Douglas L. Grams was elected by the diocesan College of Consultors to serve as the diocesan administrator of the Diocese of New Ulm, effective Aug. 10, 2020. This follows the Aug. 6, 2020, announcement by Pope Francis of the acceptance of the retirement of the Most Reverend John M. LeVoir, who has served the diocese since 2008.

 According to the Code of Canon Law, when the bishop of a diocese vacates his office, and no simultaneous appointment is made by the Holy See to fill the office, a diocesan administrator is elected by the College of Consultors to govern the diocese. As administrator, Monsignor Grams will assume the administrative responsibilities of a diocesan bishop until the pope appoints a new bishop. In 2007, when the Diocese of New Ulm became vacant due to the appointment of Bishop John C. Nienstedt as coadjutor bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Monsignor Grams was elected diocesan administrator of the diocese, serving from December 2007 until the appointment of Bishop LeVoir in 2008.

 The current members of the College of Consultors are Monsignor Eugene Lozinski, Rev. Steve Verhelst, Rev. Mark Steffl, Rev. Craig Timmerman, Rev. Anthony Stubeda, and Monsignor Douglas Grams.

 Following the election, Monsignor Grams commented, “I am honored to serve as interim administrator for the Diocese of New Ulm until our Holy Father, Pope Francis, appoints a new bishop for our diocese. My prayer is that the Lord will guide me in this new leadership journey and that a bishop will be appointed soon.”

 Monsignor Grams was ordained to the priesthood on June 13, 1987, at the Church of the Holy Rosary, North Mankato, by Bishop Raymond A. Lucker. Since ordination, he has served parishes in the communities of Sleepy Eye, Searles, Tracy, and Walnut Grove. He currently serves as rector of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New Ulm and is pastor of the parishes in the Holy Cross Area Faith Community (Lafayette, New Ulm, Searles, and West Newton Township).

Diocesan positions he has held include defender of the bond and associate judge for the diocesan Marriage Tribunal, chancellor, and director of priest personnel. Since 2002, Monsignor Grams has served concurrently as vicar general of the diocese under the last two bishops.

 In addition to his diocesan administrator responsibilities, Monsignor Grams will continue to serve as the Diocese of New Ulm’s Bishop’s Delegate in Matters Pertaining to Sexual Misconduct, a position he has held since 2002.

Pope accepts resignation of Bishop John M. LeVoir of the Diocese of New Ulm

NEW ULM - The Most Rev. John M. LeVoir has resigned as bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm due to health reasons. Pope Francis accepted his resignation effective Aug. 6, 2020. Bishop LeVoir, 74, who was appointed bishop of New Ulm on July 14, 2008, is now considered a retired bishop. A typical retirement age for a bishop is 75.

Since early July, Bishop LeVoir has been undergoing a physical and psychological assessment at Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center in Alma, Mich., operated by the Religious Sisters of Mercy. He will remain in Alma until early September to undertake a therapy plan.

“Although these last years have been very challenging for the diocese and the life of the Church, it has been a privilege to have served the faithful of the Diocese of New Ulm. As bishop, it has not only been a great honor, but an enriching experience as I have come to know many people throughout this local Church. I have been impressed by their love for Jesus Christ, their willingness to share their Catholic faith, and their concern for the less fortunate. It would not have been possible to serve as their shepherd without their continued support, cooperation, and prayers,” said Bishop LeVoir.

According to the Code of Canon Law, when the bishop of a diocese vacates his office, and no simultaneous appointment is made by the Holy See to fill the office, a diocesan administrator is elected by the diocesan College of Consultors to govern the diocese. The diocesan administrator is elected from the active priests of the diocese and is at least 35 years of age. Once he accepts the election, he holds the power of a bishop until the pope appoints a new bishop.

There is no timeline for the appointment of a new bishop. However, the search for a replacement will begin immediately, a process run primarily by the Vatican.

Msgr. Douglas Grams, the vicar general of the diocese under Bishop LeVoir offered prayerful best wishes to him. “I applaud Bishop LeVoir for recognizing his health concerns and making the request for early retirement. I thank him for his devoted leadership during his tenure as the shepherd of our diocese.”

A native of Minneapolis, Bishop LeVoir was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1981. He was serving as pastor at the Church of St. Michael and the Church of St. Mary in Stillwater, Minn., when Pope Benedict XVI appointed him on July 14, 2008, as the fourth bishop of New Ulm.

Established on Nov. 18, 1957, the Diocese of New Ulm consists of 15 counties in south and west-central Minnesota: Big Stone, Brown, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Nicollet, Redwood, Renville, Sibley, Swift, and Yellow Medicine, a total of 9,863 square miles. It encompasses nearly 50,933 Catholics in 61 parishes served by 35 assigned priests and 19 permanent deacons. There are 13 Catholic elementary schools and three Catholic high schools.

Glimpse of the Past: New Ulm's Way of the Cross built in 1903-04

By Edie Schmierbach [email protected]

NEW ULM — An image of steps at the entrance to The Way of the Cross is featured on new street banners in New Ulm. The banners displayed along a section of Broadway Street showcase 20 of the town’s most popular tourist attractions.

The Way of the Cross is dedicated for meditation on the Passion and the death of Jesus Christ; however, people of all faiths are welcome to stop at each station and read the German and English inscriptions.

Visitors using the steep pathway that begins near North Fifth Street travel up a shady hillside until they reach a small brick chapel. Many making the 700-foot-climb are seeking peace and serenity along with outdoor exercise.

Fourteen brick-and-concrete niches containing century-old statuary provide walkers with restful meditation points. A stone grotto marks the path’s halfway point.

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