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Northern pilgrimage begins with a call to holiness and an intimate walk in the woods with Jesus

by Maria Wiering

In full vestments and flanked by pines, Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens held high the Eucharist in a golden monstrance, making the sign of the cross over the stream that flowed gently from the placid lake behind him. Next to him, a signpost read, “Here 1,475 FT above the ocean, the mighty Mississippi begins to flow on its winding way 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.”

As the bishop had noted that May 19 morning at the opening of an outdoor Pentecost Mass, a French priest explorer had once named the Mississippi River “the River of the Immaculate Conception,” making it a fitting point from which to launch the Marian Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, an eight-week journey with the Eucharist.

By this day, all four groups of “perpetual pilgrims” on the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s four routes had begun their treks — the other three launching from points in San Francisco; Cali New Haven, Connecticut; Brownsville, Texas — that would converge in Indianapolis for the July 17-21 National Eucharistic Congress, the highlight of the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year initiative launched in 2022 by the U.S. bishops to inspire a deeper love and reverence for Jesus in the Eucharist.

At the Mississippi River headwaters, people silently knelt in the gravel before the Eucharist until Bishop Cozzens, bishop of Crookston, Minnesota, began walking with the monstrance toward the trailhead and into the woods of Itasca State Park.

For the next 5 miles, the pilgrims walked behind the Eucharist, alternating between hymns, psalms and contemplative silence. The Crookston Diocese’s four seminarians held a processional cross, a pair of candles and an ombrellino, a “little umbrella” used above the Eucharist in processions.

As the Marian Route pilgrims passed through the wooded state park, cyclists and hikers respectfully stopped and waited. Some dropped to their knees.

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And they’re off! National Eucharistic Pilgrimage routes begin with Holy Spirit-powered send-offs

Bemidji, Minnesota - At the start of Mass Sunday (May 19, 2024), at one of the launch sites of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, Bishop Andrew Cozzens remarked that although he had his hiking shoes on, the journey ahead would need something more than natural support to reach its intended destination.

“In order to make this pilgrimage fruitful, we need the Holy Spirit,” said the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, bishop.

If that’s the case, then the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage is off to a fantastic start. 

The pilgrimage’s four routes, which will crisscross the country over the next two months, began May 19 with Pentecost Sunday liturgies, processions of the Blessed Sacrament, and fervent prayers for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to renew Eucharistic devotion throughout the United States.

“It’s perfect that we’re launching this on Pentecost because Pentecost was a revival,” Cozzens said during his homily, emphasizing that a revival is the work of the Holy Spirit on the hearts of believers, which leads ordinary people to seek extraordinary holiness.

Four routes, one pilgrimage

Joined by brother bishops, clergy, and lay faithful from Minnesota and beyond — some 2,000 people in total — Cozzens presided over an outdoor Mass at Itasca State Park, the starting point of both the Mississippi River but also the northern Marian Route, which will lead to the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in July.

The Mass was followed by a mile-long Eucharistic procession and benediction. Then, along the shores of Lake Itasca, Cozzens blessed the small cadre of “perpetual pilgrims” who will travel the whole route, and they set off along a dirt path through the woods. 

Meanwhile, Eucharistic pilgrimage routes were also underway in the country’s east, west, and south. 

In New Haven, Connecticut, the faithful began the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Route with a Pentecost Vigil Mass celebrated by Archbishop Christopher Coyne at St. Mary’s Church, where Blessed Michael McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus and is entombed today, before a Sunday morning procession and a Eucharistic pilgrimage boat ride through the Long Island Sound.

The St. Juan Diego Route kicked off in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, with Mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, celebrated by Bishop Daniel Flores, before pilgrims braved 90-degree heat to join the Eucharistic Lord for the route’s opening procession.

And in San Francisco, following Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary celebrated by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the faithful processed with the Eucharist across the 1.7-mile-long Golden Gate Bridge to kick off the St. Junipero Serra Route.

The Marian, Seton, Juan Diego, and Serra Routes will eventually converge in Indianapolis for the 10th National Eucharistic Congress July 17–21.

Cozzens has served as the U.S. bishops’ leader of the wider National Eucharistic Revival, which began in 2022 and includes the pilgrimage and congress. At the Mass in Minnesota, he asked rhetorically what would happen if the bishops of the United States called for a Eucharistic revival, including two years of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, and a cross-country pilgrimage that asked the Lord to pour out his Holy Spirit upon the whole country.

“What would happen if the bishops did that?” said Cozzens, who will join pilgrims in a 12-mile walk to Walker, Minnesota, in the Diocese of Duluth on Monday. “Well, we’re about to find out.”

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Diocese of New Ulm priest Fr. Anthony Stubeda remembered

Fr. Anthony “Tony” Stubeda, 65, a priest of the Diocese of New Ulm, died of cancer on April 29, 2024, at his residence in Marshall, MN. He was a beloved priest who will be remembered for his kindness and compassion.  

The Mass of Christian Burial was held on May 6, 2024, at St. Philip Catholic Church in Litchfield, MN, with burial in the Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Litchfield.  

Anthony John “Tony” Stubeda was born on November 12, 1958, in Litchfield, to Wallace and Pauline (Fink) Stubeda.  A native of Litchfield, Minnesota, Father Stubeda attended Saint John Vianney Seminary and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul from 1977 to 1981, graduating with a B.A. in English. In 1985, he graduated from the Saint Paul Seminary with an M.A. in Theology, M.Div.

He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of New Ulm on June 1, 1985, in Litchfield by Bishop Raymond A. Lucker.  Following his ordination, his first assignment was at Holy Redeemer in Marshall, serving one-quarter as a campus minister at Southwest State University in Marshall. He then went on to serve the parishes of St. Clara in Clara City, Sacred Heart in Raymond, St. Mary in Willmar, St. Patrick in Kandiyohi, St. Thomas More in Lake Lillian, St. Pius X in Glencoe, Holy Family in Silver Lake, Holy Trinity in Winsted, St. Mary in Tracy, St. Michael in Milroy, and finally the Bread of Life Area Faith Community.

Father Tony was recognized for his passion for the Hispanic community.  Some of his accomplishments include the Diocese of New Ulm Distinguished Service Award, the City of New Ulm Human Rights Award, Region IX MSSA Distinguished Service Award, Founding Director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry, two-year president of the Catholic Migrant Farmworkers Network and Designer and Coordinator of the Crossroads of Friendship.  Most recently, Father Tony was serving as the pastor of the Bread of Life Area Faith Community including Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Marshall, St Mary’s Catholic Church in Cottonwood, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Tracy, and St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Milroy.

He is survived by his siblings Doug (Pat Taylor) Stubeda of Lutsen, Alice (Doug) Peipus of St. Cloud, Stephanie (Jon) Leininger of St. Paul, Jean (Dan Hesterman) Johnson of St. Cloud, Marty (Chris) Stubeda of Radcliff, KY, Stanley Stubeda of Litchfield, MN; nieces and nephews Jennifer (Chad) Hartman, Allison (Andrew) Harmer, Matthew (Melissa) Leininger, Sam (Amber) Johnson, Peter Johnson (Amanda Winter), Katrina (Travis) Daul, Angela (Brendan) McMahon, Jason Stubeda (Grace Hooker), Kimberly (Anthony) Gardner, Alex Stubeda, Tasha (Dylan) Koll, close friend Jenner Herrera and other extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents Wallace and Pauline Stubeda and two brothers and one sister in infancy.

Concerns raised about abortion, religious liberty in proposed constitutional amendment

Nearly 500 people gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul May 8 to speak out against the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

“It’s moments like this that we realize what unites us as people of faith is much greater than what divides us,” said Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Williams of St. Paul and Minneapolis over cheers and clapping during the rally in the Capitol Rotunda, remarking on the turnout.

“We’re here as a diverse coalition, with people who believe that we have to fight to make room for God in our world and to protect our religious institutions. And I’m happy to do that,” he said in an interview.

Bishop Williams joined members of various metro area faith communities, state legislators, lawyers and the public in the Rotunda as Minnesota House legislators prepare to review the ERA’s new language, which has passed the Senate.

Introduced through SF37, with HF173 as its companion, the proposed new language under review states, in part: “All persons shall be guaranteed equal rights under the laws of this state. The state shall not discriminate against any person in intent or effect on account of race; color; national origin; ancestry; disability; or sex, including but not limited to: making and effectuating decisions about all matters relating to one’s own pregnancy or decision whether to become or remain pregnant; gender identity or gender expression; or sexual orientation.”

If ultimately passed by legislators, the ERA would be submitted to Minnesota voters as a ballot question during a general election year.

Proponents of the proposed ERA argue it would protect against basic forms of discrimination. While the proposed language to amend the Minnesota Constitution does protect people against a range of discrimination, the St. Paul-based Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) — which represents the public policy interests of the state’s Catholic bishops — has argued it goes beyond protecting against these basic forms.

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Minnesota bishops urge opposition to ‘Equal Rights Amendment’

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis this week urged Catholics to join a rally to oppose a proposed constitutional amendment that they say “fails to protect Minnesotans from discrimination based on religion, could constitutionally mandate legal abortion up to the moment of birth, and promotes harmful gender ideology.”

The proposed amendment, sponsored by St. Paul Rep. Kaohly Her of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), adds several protected categories to the state’s constitution, in part saying the state cannot discriminate against a person on the basis of sex.

Within the category of sex, the proposal includes “making and effectuating decisions about all matters relating to one’s own pregnancy​ or decision whether to become or remain pregnant,” as well as “gender identity or gender expression” and “sexual orientation.”

Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester, speaking in a May 6 video message on behalf of the state’s bishops, warned that the proposal constitutes “an imposition of the sexual revolution on the people of our state.”

The so-called right to abortion, which the Church has always opposed, would become in Minnesota law “so fundamental that we can’t even legislate against it,” Barron said. In addition, he noted that the proposal lacks the possibility of conscientious objection, meaning churches, schools, and health care institutions guided by faith could be mandated to endorse practices or speech that violate their beliefs. 

“All are welcome” to attend a rally in the Rotunda of the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul on Wednesday, May 8, at 3 p.m. The rally will “feature inspiring speakers who will exhort those assembled to prayer and action, and offer prayers for unity, understanding, and religious freedom.” The St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese asked those wanting to participate in the rally to register online.

“In a state where diversity is celebrated, we must stand united in safeguarding the rights of individuals to practice their beliefs freely and without fear,” the archdiocese said in an announcement. 

“Specifically, we will be coming together to pray for and urge legislators to oppose the so-called ‘Equal Rights Amendment’ that fails to protect Minnesotans from discrimination based on religion, could constitutionally mandate legal abortion up to the moment of birth, and promotes harmful gender ideology.”

The proposed language was passed by Minnesota’s House Rules and Legislative Administration committee on May 6, MPR News reported. The proposal heads next to a vote of the full House and, if approved, would need to be reconciled with a companion Senate bill, which does not include the language related to pregnancy.

The proposed amendment must be submitted to the people at the 2026 general election, and if ratified by a simple majority, the amendment will be effective Jan. 1, 2027. 

Abortion is already legal up to birth in Minnesota following the 2023 passage of the Protect Reproductive Options (PRO) Act, which enshrined a constitutional right to “reproductive freedom,” ensuring the right to abortion in Minnesota up to birth for any reason, as well as the right to contraception and sterilization.

The Star of the North Eucharistic Congress speakers and entertainers preview

By Tommy Turek - 

The Star of the North Eucharistic Congress in Bemidji at the Sanford Center takes place May 17-18. The speakers and musicians appearing include Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens, Bishop Daniel J. Felton, Bishop Robert E. Barron, Father Mike Schmitz, Sister Jude Andrew Link, Aly Aleigha, and Tanner Kalina.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens 

Bishop Andrew Cozzens, a graduate of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, served as a missionary for young people with both Twin Cities-based NET Ministries and the national college ministry Saint Paul's Outreach before entering seminary.

Bishop Cozzens was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 1997 and after serving in two parishes was sent to Rome for doctoral studies, where he completed a doctorate degree in sacramental theology. After teaching in seminary formation for eight years, Bishop Cozzens was ordained to the episcopacy in 2013 as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

On Dec. 6, 2021, Bishop Cozzens was installed as the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Crookston. He completed chairmanship for the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis in November 2023. 

Bishop Cozzens was tasked by the bishops to lead a three-year National Eucharistic Revival which seeks to impact the United States Church at every level, strengthening Eucharistic belief and practice. As part of the Eucharistic Revival, at the direction of the bishops, Bishop Cozzens has founded and is the first President of the National Eucharistic Congress Corporation and is overseeing the organization of the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in almost 50 years.

Bishop Daniel J. Felton

Bishop Daniel J. Felton is the 10th Bishop of Duluth. He attended St. Edward School in Mackville, Wisconsin, and Appleton West in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Bishop Felton holds a bachelor's degree in religious studies and psychology from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin; a master’s degree in theology from St. John University, Collegeville; and a licentiate of sacred theology and a master’s degree in social communications from the Gregorian University in Rome. Bishop Felton was ordained a priest on June 13, 1981, by Bishop Aloysius Wycislo for the Diocese of Green Bay. Bishop Felton’s parish assignments in the Diocese of Green Bay included Holy Innocents, Manitowoc; St. Raphael the Archangel, Oshkosh; and St. Francis of Assisi, Manitowoc.

Bishop Felton was also the director of affiliate affairs for the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America and he served in Green Bay as a member of the diocesan College of Consultors, Presbyteral Council, Bishop Advisory Council, Personnel Board, Diocesan Finance Council, St. Norbert Board of Trustees, and Silver Lake College Board of Directors. Bishop Felton was also a member of the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

At the time of his appointment as Bishop of Duluth in 2021, he had been serving the Green Bay Diocese as vicar general and moderator of the curia since 2014. Bishop Felton was ordained May 20, 2021, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth.

The principal co-consecrator was Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and his co-consecrators were Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay and Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois. As bishop, he serves as a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Child and Youth Protection Committee.

Bishop Robert Barron

Bishop Robert Barron is the bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester and the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries. He is the host of “Catholicism,” a groundbreaking, award-winning documentary about the Catholic Faith, which aired on PBS.

Bishop Barron’s more recent film series, “Catholicism: The Pivotal Prayers,” won an Emmy award and has been syndicated for national television. 

A bestselling author, Bishop Barron has published numerous books, essays, and articles on theology and the spiritual life. He was a religion correspondent for NBC and has also appeared on FOX News, CNN, and EWTN.

Bishop Barron’s website, WordOnFire.org, reaches millions of people each year, and he is one of the world’s most followed Catholics on social media. His YouTube videos have been viewed over 131 million times, and he has over 3 million followers on Facebook.

Bishop Barron has engaged in dialogue with Dr. Jordan PetersonLex FridmanDave RubinBen Shapiro, and William Lane Craig, among other influencers and thought leaders, and he has been invited to speak about religion at the headquarters of FacebookGoogle, and Amazon. As a keynote speaker, Bishop Barron has attended conferences and events all over the world, including the 2016 World Youth Day in Kraków and the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, which marked Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States.  

Father Mike Schmitz

Father Mike Schmitz is the director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Duluth as well as the chaplain for the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The UMD Newman Center focuses on young Catholics being fed through the sacraments as well as providing study and knowledge of the Church and has thrived under his humble and Spirit-filled guidance.

Father Schmitz has preached to thousands locally and nationally. He is the host of the widely popular podcasts, “Bible in a Year” and “The Catechism in a Year” produced by Ascension. Father Schmitz also offers weekly homilies on iTunes and bulldogCatholic.org and has appeared in programs for youth and young adults through Ascension Press, as well as through regular short video messages on Ascension Presents.

Sister Jude Andrew Link, OP

Sister Jude Andrew Link, OP, grew up outside Portland, Oregon, and entered the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in 2003. She has a master’s in theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is pursuing a master’s in catechetics from Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Sister Jude Andrew has worked with her community’s apostolate — Openlight Media — to develop catechetical and educational resources. She loves teaching and has spent almost 15 years teaching theology in middle school and high school classrooms.

Aly Aleigha 

Aly Aleigha is an indie-folk singer/songwriter and recording artist from Duluth. In 2015, she released her debut album and graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, with degrees in theology and catechetics.

Aly currently serves as the recurring worship leader for Jeff Cavins’ pilgrimages to the Holy Land and the ministry of Father Mike Schmitz in the Diocese of Duluth.

When she is not leading worship or touring with her original music, Aly spends her days rock climbing the cliffs that plunge into beautiful Lake Superior or adventuring in some way. Her adventurous spirit, her experiences traveling, and her faith greatly influence her songwriting.

Tanner Kalina, Saints Alive 

Since its debut in 2021, the Saints Alive Podcast has quickly become one of the top podcasts in the world and go-to resources for quality Catholic content. Telling the stories of the saints in radio-drama fashion, Saints Alive aims to inspire and empower the next generation of saints.

In a world with an endless amount of content but little that families can trust, Saints Alive has entertained families all across the world while also calling them to holiness. Founders Alex Dee and Tanner Kalina will share a special, live Saints Alive interactive program with youth and families during the Star of the North Eucharistic Congress.

For more information and to register for the Star of the North Eucharistic Congress visit CrookstonEucharist.org.

Chrism Mass celebrates renewal of priesthood and blessing of oils

NEW ULM - The March 21 liturgy at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New Ulm marked the 2024 traditional Chrism Mass in which the sacramental oils are blessed for use all around the diocese for the following year. The priests of the diocese also renewed their priestly promises, uniting with Bishop Chad W. Zielinski in ministry to the people of God.

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Bishop Zielinski announces new clergy assignments

NEW ULM - Upon the recommendation of the Priest Personnel Board and after consultation with the priests involved, Bishop Chad W. Zielinski announces the following priest assignments which will take effect on July 2, 2024.

 NEW ULM - On the recommendation of the Priest Personnel Board, Bishop Chad W. Zielinski of the Catholic Diocese of New Ulm has made the following priest assignments:

Effective July 2, 2024

Rev. Christian Adike to serve as the parochial vicar of the parishes of Holy Family in Silver Lake and Holy Trinity in Winsted, which are known as the St. John Paul II AFC.

Rev. Joshua Bot to serve as the parochial vicar of the parishes of Our Lady of the Lakes in Spicer, St. Mary in Willmar, and St. Clara in Clara City, which are known as Jesus Our Living Water AFC.

Msgr. Douglas Grams to serve as the pastor of the parishes of St. Peter in St. Peter and St. Paul in Nicollet, which are known as the Apostles Peter and Paul AFC. 

Rev. Nathan Hansen to serve as a parochial vicar of the parishes of St. Paul in Comfrey, St. Michael in Morgan, and St. Mary in Sleepy Eye, which are known as the Divine Mercy AFC.

Rev. John Hayes to serve as the parochial administrator of the parishes of St. James in Dawson, St. Andrew in Granite Falls and St. Joseph in Montevideo, which are known as the Holy Family AFC.

Rev. Ron Huberty to serve as the pastor of the parishes of Our Lady of the Lakes in Spicer, St. Mary’s in Willmar, and St. Clara in Clara City, which are known as Jesus Our Living Water AFC.

Msgr. Eugene Lozinski to serve as a senior associate of the parishes of St. Mary in New Ulm, Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New Ulm, St. John the Baptist in Searles, and St. George in West Newton Township, which are known as the Holy Cross AFC, in addition to his current role as the diocesan Chancellor.

Rev. Brian Oestreich to serve as the pastor of the parishes of St. Andrew in Fairfax, St. Francis de Sales in Winthrop, and St. Willibrord in Gibbon, which are known as the All Saints AFC.

Rev. Shawn Polman to serve as the parochial administrator of the parishes of  St. Michael in Madison, St. John in Ortonville, and Holy Rosary in Graceville, which are known as the Spirit of Life AFC.

Rev. Brendan Rolling to serve as the parochial administrator of the parishes of St. Peter in Canby, St. Leo in St. Leo, Ss. Peter and Paul in Ivanhoe, St. Genevieve in Lake Benton, St. Dionysius in Tyler, and St. John Cantius in Wilno, which are known as the Christ the King AFC, in addition to his current role as Vocations director.

Rev. Mark Steffl to serve as the pastor of the parishes of St. Mary in New Ulm, Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New Ulm, St. John the Baptist in Searles, and St. George in West Newton Township, which are known as the Holy Cross AFC. He will serve as the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, in addition to his current role as Judicial Vicar.

Rev. Tanner Thooft to serve as the parochial vicar of the parishes of St. Mary in New Ulm, Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New Ulm, St. John the Baptist in Searles, and St. George in West Newton Township, which are known as the Holy Cross AFC in addition to his current role as the assistant Vocations director.

Rev. Craig Timmerman to serve as the pastor of parishes of St. Paul in Comfrey, St. Michael in Morgan, and St. Mary in Sleepy Eye, which are known as the Divine Mercy AFC.

Rev. Paul Timmerman to serve as the pastor of the parishes of St. Michael in Gaylord, St. Pius X in Glencoe, and St. Mary in Arlington, which are known as the Corpus Christi AFC.

Rev. Steven Verhelst to serve as pastor of the parishes of Holy Redeemer in Marshall, St. Mary in Tracy, St. Michael in Milroy, St. Mary in Cottonwood, known as the Bread of Life and Our Lady of the Prairie AFCs. He will also serve as the Bishop’s Delegate in Matters Pertaining to Sexual Misconduct, in addition to his current role as Vicar for Clergy.