Pope Francis Releases a Pop Rock Album

Rome Italy – November 27th, 2015 – The Holy See announced today the international release of Pope Francis new album “Wake Up!”. A 11-track pop-rock-infused album. This album is a compilation of  “…Pope Francis delivering hymns and excerpts from his speeches in Italian, English, Spanish and Portuguese, paired with different types of music,” Rolling Stone reported.

The album is also available for order on iTunes for $10.99 and you can purchase a cd for your car, stereo, or wherever else you wish to listen to our Pontifex. We have included below the iTunes page should you wish to preview the music.

All Saint & All Souls Day Reflections

I was inspired by both, All Saints Day and All Souls Day readings and homilies, to gear the report towards appealing to all the various intercedents that we believe to be in Heaven, when we pray or meditate on a Rosary. Even the ones yet to be canonized. Many of my past friends, relatives and brother Knight’s came into full view for me. One of my favorite past articles, written and posted on our web site, is titled Gramma’s RosaryPlease take time to read and enjoy it.

As a child, I asked her why she prays alone in her living room. To which she assured me she never prays alone. She used to imagine herself in front of the alter of a giant cathedral, that she would fill up with intercessions, appeals and invites of everyone she believed to be in Heaven, until all the pews, alter presider plus side seats and choir lofts were full.

 Gentlemen, I recommend you never pray alone.

God Bless,

Spiritual Hunger

Thanks for such a marvelous response to the appeal to attend Fr. Michael O’Connell’s honorary dinner, coming up in 3 weeks. We have about 100 seats remaining before we fill it out to max capacity. This months report repeats some of the material covered in the appeal, but I wanted to point out a mild success that involved knocking me off my high Catholic horse. With all the anonymity that has to come with the AA crowd and privacy compliance issues, it’s hard to measure actual results.
I’m on the Board of Directors of Trinity Sober Homes, a Catholic, Twin Cities based, not-for-profit, post treatment sober home for men over forty years old, fresh out of a formal drug and alcohol program. Founded by Fr. Marty Fleming around, “the centrality of the Jesus event” and designed to meet a dramatic shortfall in post treatment housing. There are over eighty formal treatment centers in the area that turn out over a thousand people each month, as they complete their thirty day programs. This is truly “ground zero” for homelessness in the nine county metro area. When asked by key facilitators what their faith base is or was, more than half say Catholic. Sadly, many of them have fallen away from the church and feel they wouldn’t be welcomed back. Our Trinity Sober Homes mantra is: The Catholic Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints”. One day at a time, one guy at a time, one prayer at a time and for me, one Rosary at a time, can make all the difference in anyone’s life.
A third of our populace at the two, soon to be three, Trinity Sober Homes properties are practicing Catholics. The rest are works in progress. The main requirement is that they believe in a higher power and that it’s not themselves. There is a waitlist to get in, as we turn away three to eight men each month, due to post treatment housing shortages. After an extensive interview process and discussion, we extend an agreement to bring them in under strict rules and guidelines. They are not required or pressured to be Catholic. Spiritual coaches are provided for each man, if they choose to meet with them, and chat at whatever spiritual level they are currently at or they could opt out altogether. No firehoses! No guilt! Because the residents average fifty three years old (35-75), many have been through the standard treatment system numerous times. Also because they average such a high age, they are tired of swimming against the current and ready for the Trinity structured environment.
We believe all people have varying degrees of “spiritual hunger” so we try to create opportunities for our men to grow at their own speed. I want to illustrate it with one man’s journey. He came to us “ready”, but spiritually empty, ten months ago. He moved into the St. Gabriel House (we name the homes after Archangels). A highly educated and creative video writer, director, producer, he never had a religion, but believed, after numerous trips through formal treatment programs over the years, there was probably a God and didn’t really know much more than that. There was lots of “push-back” on the idea of a spiritual coach and he declined the offer. Reluctantly, he later agreed to attend a one-on-one session with a coach, but warned not to get any hopes up for his lost soul. I really don’t know what was said or where he is currently at in his faith journey, but my perspective has changed. It’s my understanding that he’s hardly missed a meeting, since that first one with his spiritual councilor.
 “Reluctant admission”, was how it was conveyed to me by the committee, on how well he fits in after his original interview. “Crossed fingers” and hope that we were doing the right thing by extending an invite to move in, was also brought to mind. Wouldn’t it be easy if we only took recovering Catholics hungry for re-discovering their religion? “Evangelize and, if necessary, use words.”- Mother Theresa

Media Perception

In the old version of the “Third Degree” ceremonial of the KC’s there was a teachable role-playing segment related to what gets said vs what gets perceived. It was engineered to point out how unfair the media, or individuals gossiping can be spun out of control to falsely feed an agenda or cause. The exercise was mostly used to point out the importance of standing behind all parish priests, religious clergy and Catholic doctrine for support and to think before you speak about issues concerning all.

This week, we all suffer from the non-stop coverage from mainstream media of a man who was led on what he felt was a guided hunt. There’s much more to the story, which I will shy away from, as I personally know the hunter, as do others in our KC council. He and his family have made multiple trips to Africa and many other countries. They have donated in excess of a million dollars in goods, services, medical, school supplies and good will to many hundreds, if not thousands of extremely poor people who benefited from the events surrounding numerous guided hunts over all the 30 years he has hunted there and in many different economically impoverished villages throughout the third world.

The extremely high license fees associated with hunting and fishing, world-wide, including Minnesota, pay for the proliferation and propagation of all species involved. No matter what our stance is related to hunting, many of the world’s endangered species have been revived by those conservation efforts and license sales that would otherwise go unfunded and vanish.

While everyone is worked into a frenzy over a popular, named, “man-eating” mascot/pet ambassador, hundreds of thousands of aborted babies, annually, (millions over time) are ignored. Back in the old days, many Catholic parents named, baptized and buried miscarried babies in Catholic cemeteries all over the world. Maybe if names were required for aborted babies, there would be less abortions. Hundreds of millions of our tax-payer dollars are granted to Planned Parenthood, an organization dismembering and illegally selling fetal body parts for profit. All of which is ignored by the mainstream media coverage. In excess of fifty percent of those hundreds of thousands of annual abortions are un-named black children. Why don’t those lives matter?

In one weeks’ time, we now know more about the life and background of an Eden Prairie dentist than we do about the entire field of presidential candidates. In one weeks’ time, three children were cooked inside their family cars by unwitting, irresponsible parents, yet uncovered by the media. Brothers, be vigilant about what you allow to creep into your life, living room and vocabulary. Pray for all of those written about today.


There’s an argument that the largest living organism is a poplar tree, although some in Russia may argue it’s a fungus. The poplar tree is pretty much Canada and the northern portion of the USA and stops at “the tree line” below the Arctic Circle. The giant mushroom is everything above that tree line in Russia and North America. Most of Minnesota has been logged off at least four times since attaining statehood, for paper or lumber. Where I deer hunt in northern Minnesota, a logging company clear-cut a pine forest for pulpwood and sold it to a paper mill. What grew back is millions of tiny poplar trees, as thick as the hair on a dog’s back. Forty years earlier, the pines were hand planted by the paper company for future renewable resource use as pulp. The geography mentioned earlier, is a giant root system for arguable one poplar tree, spanning the entire continent. For the first few years, it’s referred to as “whip poplar” and it grows about five feet per year.

A fascinating fact to know is, every single shoot that grows is unique. No two tree shoots are the same. None have the same pattern of branches and the billions of leaves that they bare are also unique. Even though they are all shaped like the spade suit in a deck of cards, none of them are mathematically identical either. The growth is so dense that, over many years’ time, it begins to choke out the weaker trees and in forty years it will all be logged off again. History repeats itself, over and over again.


One of the fringe benefits to sitting in a deer stand for hours on end is you get to meditate deep thoughts. It’s my favorite place to pray the Rosary; my “Garden of Gethsemane”. For most hunters, it’s really not about meat hunting. It’s a family tradition, a quiet time in a beautiful setting, fresh air and most of all, peace of mind. I think of God as the giant poplar root system that nourishes each of us as abundant as the leaves. He is omnipotent; He is everywhere and always, forever and ever. As we grow old and get harvested to heaven, others grow back in our place. We are renewable. Different forces outside of our control can come and plant genetically altered trees that grow bigger or faster, but when they’re harvested, what grows back is just plain poplar trees. God’s still there, right where we left him. 

Sometimes I reflect on the giant root system as the Catholic Church. It too, is renewable. It has survived hardships over the centuries, but always grows back. One example I can think of is during a dark period in Europe when it was beseeched by plagues and marauding hoards from the mid-east and Huns from Mongolia. France and England were intent on destroying one another. Briefly, Rome was in disarray as well. Powerful families controlled the Papacy by appointing family members, even a thirteen year old child as our Pope. Our Church was in disrepair. Other belief systems failed to replace or alter ours. 

Concurrent with all the negativity, common holy men and Catholic priests were at work, preaching Gods word, spreading His Blessings and Grace. The populaces were predominantly illiterate and education was difficult, but they taught us. St. Dominic received the Rosary instruction from Mary, St. Benedict, St Francis, St. Ignatius and many others were filled with The Holy Spirit and formed their various “holy orders” and grew the Catholic Church at a time when it was thought to be doomed. We were saved. 

We Catholics are constantly under attack, but the Church, God, Jesus are ever present. All we have to do is believe. The way this movie ends, is- we win. Keep praying, keep believing. History repeats itself.

God Bless,


As we say farewell to Fr. Andrew, in his new assignment to the land of the Jolly Green Giant – LeSueur, MN, we reflect on what a fine Chaplain he has been to our KC Council. When he first came to us, fresh out of the seminary, he was somewhat shy. Rapidly, he progressed to a real hands-on member and showed tremendous growth under Fr. Steve’s tutelage. Most Sr. Pastors are spread too thin to become overly involved with all the varying groups and ministries. HNOJ has over one hundred different groups that hale from our campus. The Associate Pastor is usually the buffer or filter to prioritize how best to involve the Pastor.
It’s an accelerated learning experience to come straight out of the seminary and into an Associate Pastor role, especially in a larger parish like HNOJ. Not unlike St. Mary’s in New Haven Conn., where Fr. Michael J. McGivney started as an AP in a large congregation, Fr. Andrew had to jump in with both feet and learn the “Navy way” of swimming. It’s a blessing, in disguise and a great way to learn all the ropes in running a Parish, school and church community. He will make a wonderful Pastor.
Fr. Steve will always be a great teaching Pastor, so HNOJ will benefit from having fresh young seminarian talent, eager to learn. The diversity of our KC members dispersed among all the different ministries at HNOJ is a good conduit to mainstream young associates into the parish community, so we must encourage them to become council members, as long as it is with Fr. Steve’s blessing. Now days, most of the seminarians are brought into KC membership, while attending school. If that’s the case on the next assignee, we can serve as a landing pad for his arrival, whomever it is.
I spoke at the HNOJ Men’s breakfast, last month. This year’s theme for the speakers was to share stories of heroes that have influenced our religious journey. I chose to highlight four different priests, but chose to refer to them as influencers, not heroes. Most priests aren’t in it for the recognition. It’s a calling. One priest, an uncle, stared as a negative influence, but caused me to have an eventual positive result, though it took many years to develop. One was Fr. Arnold, who had the largest influence on mine and Carries Catholicity, but I doubt that I’m the only one ever to claim that. Fr. Tim Morin influenced me to understand that a priest can be a regular guy, just like me. He loved the great outdoors, camping, fishing and golfing. He was my age with a similar childhood and family upbringing. He became overwhelmed and left the priesthood and it caused me to write, “The Rosary for the Overwhelmed”, viewable on our hnojkc.org web site. Finally, I highlighted Fr. Martin Fleming, my namesake and Nazareth Hall room-mate to my father and founder of Trinity Sober Homes. www.trinitysoberhomes.org Fr. Fleming came to the event for a cameo appearance as my guest.
The really interesting thing about priests is many of them are all just like many of us, but they don’t have to be for us to be graced by their presence. They’re not super heroes, infallible from reality, even though the media holds them to a higher standard. If we have little in common, but let them influence us, they will oblige. All we have to do is open the door and let them in.


I really got thrown for a loop, earlier this month. It’s not often I become short on words. I was a guest speaker at St. Thomas Business College in a business class, taught by a colleague, also on the Trinity Sober Homes Board of Directors www.trinitysoberhomes.org with me. In attendance, an outside observer, who wanted to sit in on the class, approached me afterwards and invited me to breakfast to delve deeper into the subject of the class. In getting to know one another, we discovered similar paths through job histories with one stark difference. He professed to be atheist, after 53 years growing up Lutheran. He shared a story that caught me off-guard. In recent days, he was sitting in St. Philip the Deacon congregation for a Sunday service and during the recitation of the Apostles Creed, it donned on him that he didn’t believe a single word of what he was reciting and got up and left church and has yet to look back.

In answering what he thinks happens after we die. He said, “Nothing happens, we’re just dead and our body gets eaten by worms”. So after 53 years of being Lutheran he just stopped believing, all together. I further asked what’s there to look forward to and he said, “Just living life to its fullest extent”. That’s when I got the deer in the head lights look. Out of common courtesy, I offered to weigh in on my faith perception and journey and he said he was perfectly comfortable with where he was at and preferred not to hear anything about my take on religion. He wanted to meet to discuss some of the material I covered in class regarding sales techniques that I was taught over the years, the topic I broached with the “Tommie’s”.

What an abyss that would be to look into the future and see nothing. It’s unimaginable to me. Are folks getting barraged by so much negativity that they just throw in the towel and stop believing? Here was this highly educated, unemployed man looking for answers in his career path to the future void of nothingness. Without going into psychoanalysis issues this fellow clearly must be dealing with, I practically bit my tongue off, in lending my many opinions that I was eager to share.

How lucky we are to have our faith, our Catholic principals, our HNOJ church community, our KC Degree’s that bond us together with nearly two million other Catholic gentlemen throughout the world. All I could think about is the time I broke the fiber in the 2nd Degree and watched others attempt and fail to break the cable. So close to founders day of the KC’s, how many guys broke their fibers, since the inception of the 2nd Degree Ceremony. It’s comforting to know that we are all there, in UNITY for one another.

God Bless,


Every Lenten Season since our, now deceased member and founding director of the 9th grade HNOJ Passion Play, Mark Best, joined our KC Council, I have been invited to present a rosary-related lecture to the 9th grade Passion Play participants along with giving away colorful plastic rosaries, all on behalf of our Good Samaritan KC Council.  This presentation is one of my favorite things to do, each year. Some of these kids will be future KC’s, so I like to plug the Knight’s, as part of the presentation. If you’ve ever attended the play, the two biggest impact scenes are the opening and closing. The entire cast, acting as the crowd, busting through all the doorways into the church, roaring as loud as they can, “CRUCIFY HIM…CRUCIFY HIM!”
In my lecture, I give the assurance that everyone, throughout their entire lives, will always be part of a crowd, i.e. a fraternity/sorority, a charity, a voting bloc, a church community, an environmental movement, a sports fan club, alumni, veteran, a blog, even a Knight of Columbus member. As a crowd member, you will be fed information by the leaders of the organization, to keep your interest. Sometimes a person can get misled, but most crowds have good intentions. With today’s technology, you can create much more noise, both good and bad much faster, on the internet.
Then we chat about the rosary, how it came about, how the Passion play is really the Sorrowful Mysteries, being acted out and how they, as actors, will always have an advantage in meditating those mysteries, over those who never got a chance to be the play. It’s a huge blessing to be part of the 9th grade Passion Play, as it will create and maintain memories that will last a lifetime.
I continue with the suggestion that many members of the crowd that crucified Christ probably realized they may have been wrong, after it was too late to change the outcome. The students may have the opportunity to take physics class in school, where they discover, every action has an equal or greater reaction. That will prove to be true in almost all walks of life, physically, emotionally, spiritually, in both positive and negative ways. So, I contend the “crowd scene” in the play, is where they will gain valuable knowledge to apply in their everyday life.
Please take time to review the entire speech. There is value in giving a consistent message, no matter who delivers it. In the event that I might not be available to present, in the future, I would hope who ever delivers it, uses this presentation.


Every year the HNOJ KC’s are privileged to be invited here to give away the Holy Rosary to the Passion Play actors and staff. People often think about us KC’s carrying swords and wearing fancy hats and capes, but our biggest weapon against Catholic adversaries is the Holy Rosary. Back in the late 1800’s a Catholic Parish Priest in Connecticut received a vision leading him to create the KC’s. He had a Parish full of emigrant Catholic widows and orphans because so many of the jobs available to the bread winners were so very dangerous; police, firemen, foundry workers, canal builders and far away rail road workers, etc. and many dad’s died prematurely. Back then, Catholics were not allowed to enroll the kids in public schools, own homes, buy insurance, etc. My Grandfather told of signs in windows that said, “NOW HIRING-NO CATHOLICS”. Fr. McGivney and his KC’s fed, clothed and educated the orphan families. It was similar to your opening scene when the crowd was against us Catholics. “CRUCIFY THEM, CRUCIFY THEM!”

You will always be part of a crowd. When you’re old enough to vote, you’ll do it as a crowd; Dem., Rep, pro-abortion, anti-abortion, pro-gay marriage, anti-gay marriage, in work you will be pro-labor or pro-management, etc. As a crowd you can holler at the refs, the opposing teams, protest various causes, however, you won’t always be on the right side. Group leaders won’t always be truthful. The media will rarely cover it without putting a slanted spin. Catholics rarely get a fair shake in the public eye. As Catholic’s we are always swimming against the media current.
My crowd scene is now the KC’s. As a crowd, we are stronger than we would be alone. There are just under two million Knight’s of Columbus members in the world. About 50,000 reside in Minnesota. Our HNOJ KC council has 120 members, including all of our current and past priests and deacons and many of the church committee leaders. In 1954, we successfully petitioned President Eisenhower to add, “Under God”, to the Pledge of Allegiance. In 1956 the KC’s challenged and overturned a Supreme Court ruling to abolish parochial schools in the State of Oregon, creating an explosion in new Catholic schools being built throughout the USA.
In high school AP European History class, you’ll learn that all of Europe was in a total self-destruct mode in and around the 1200’s, due to barbarians and marauding hordes, disease, plagues, war on all fronts of all different countries, cities and religious beliefs. Most of the various “Orders” of Catholic priesthood were created in the 1200’s, (the Dominicans, the Franciscans, the Jesuits, the Benedictines, the Carmelites, and more) as the Church was also in disarray from corrupt lay leadership appointing Popes who acted in their favor. The Blessed Virgin appeared to St. Dominic in 1208 and instructed him to teach people how to pray the Rosary for cures from all the chaos. Today, St Dominic is portrayed with a hound carrying a torch in his mouth and their motto is, ”we set the world on fire”, referring to their evangelizing Europe with the Holy Rosary. More miracles are attributed to the Rosary than any other prayer form. If there’s chaos in your life, try the Rosary to calm things down.
When praying the Rosary, we are supposed to imagine ourselves to be present during specific events surrounding the birth, gospel life, passion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ when we meditate on the Rosary. Those events are called “Mysteries” and are recommended by the Vatican in four sets of five mysteries. They are: Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious. There’s even an APP for it. We are instructed to pray ten Hail Mary’s for each Mystery we meditate on. With each Rosary we give to you, we ask you to take one of these tiny, wallet size guides on how to pray it correctly.
The biggest misconception with the Rosary is we don’t pray to the Blessed Virgin, we pray it with her. It’s legit to invite people you believe to be in heaven to pray with you as advocates. The Hail Mary prayer is a two part rote prayer. Next year, in tenth grade Confirmation class, there is a whole section dedicated to “rote prayer”. The first half is two quotes out of the gospel, surrounding the Immaculate Conception with Mary, the Angel Gabriel and the Holy Spirit and the Visitation of Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. “Hail, Mary! Blessed are you…..blessed is the fruit of your womb…” The second is a petition to Mary, asking her to put in a good word to God now and on your death bed, sometime in the future. It’s not all that different from asking a dead relative or patron saint to pray for you about a specific problem. Hey Grampa, Gramma, aunt Cecelia, Fr. Arnie, St. Patrick, etc., if you can hear me, tell God about my issue and it’s no different than asking a living friend to pray for you or someone you know to be in need.
In order for you to learn your role in the Passion play, you probably had to imagine being present 2000 years ago, to best act out the parts you were assigned. That’s the same procedure for meditating on a specific “Mystery”. You HNOJ 9th graders really have an advantage over most when it comes to contemplating the Sorrowful Mysteries as they become the Passion Play. For most, it’s a lot like creating a controlled daydream, but for you folks, it’s just reliving the play from memory. Throughout your life, you will run into times of trouble and the Rosary is a great way to calm down and get back on track. If you ever become overwhelmed, remember, worry is the unproductive use of imagination and a huge waste of time. Test out the Rosary when that happens. Who knows, some day YOU might be the miracle or the answer to someone else’s prayer request.
Some of you will take physics class and discover that every action has an equal or greater reaction when it comes to energy in motion. That applies to everything, physically, emotionally, verbally, and spiritually. Technology has enabled us to create much more energy, both positive and negative, much faster. Once you hit send, you don’t get a do-over. I’ll bet that many of the original crowd members, who crucified Christ, realized that they were wrong, long after it was too late to change the outcome. That’s the way God wanted it. If we weren’t sinners, we wouldn’t need a Savior. A good deed, a kind word, a prayer, can lead to a positive energy reaction, so let’s work in that direction. An old HNOJ Pastor, Fr. Arnold Weber told the parishioners that, in your lifetime, you will have more temptations to do good rather than evil. Think about that.
What you probably don’t realize now is this Passion Play event that you are all part of will leave an indelible mark on your soul and a memory in your brain that will stay with you forever. Even though we all know how it begins and ends, even though we have now watched this play every year for 22 years, it’s slightly different each year, because it’s your personal version, acted out by you as individuals and it makes for interesting variety for us HNOJ parishioners. Every year, someone or perhaps even several folks in the audience will be dramatically affected by your group (crowd) effort, so thank you.



The Knights of Columbus use the rosary as their most important tool to fight against enemies of the Catholic Church. We also use it to petition for spiritual guidance, worthy causes and curative therapy. Prayed in unison or all alone, it is a very powerful prayer format. Many of us dedicate a daily rosary to a wide variety of worthy causes. We encourage you to try something new this coming Lenten Season. Instead of or in addition to giving something up for Lent, why don’t you consider praying the rosary, if for no other reason than for your own peace of mind. We’re not in the business of pedaling miracles, but since the 1208 beginning of the rosary, more miracles have been attributed to the rosary than any other prayer format. If you happen to be completely consumed by all that life is throwing your way, wouldn’t it almost be miraculous, if you could actually achieve twenty minutes of deeply spiritual peace of mind with the aid of a simple rosary?
Our Council has recently partnered with the Marian Prayer Group in promoting the rosary during the upcoming Lenten season. (This partnership has already resulted in a beautiful Marian Hour of Prayer that took place on 1st Friday, February 6th.)    As published in the bulletins, the Knights and the Marian Prayer Group are appealing to parishioners to embrace the Rosary during Lent by encouraging them to join us in reciting the Rosary in the Adoration Chapel at 8 p.m. on Fridays February 20th, February 27th, March 6th and March 20th.   We hope to see a good number of Knights present at these Rosaries. Mark your calendars!  (The 1st one, Feb 20th, is this coming Friday.)
I encouraged you also to take a look at the rosary assays that have been published to our Council’s web site at . Find them under the tab “Inspirational Readings”.    If so inspired, I invite you to write and submit your own essay which we may add to the site.   Your essay could address a coincidental blessing that has changed your life in an inspiring way because of the rosary. If you shy away from writing, I can write it for you. We could do this over coffee or lunch. Please pray about it and contact me with your story.
And finally, if you would like a rosary, we have hundreds of them to give away and numerous wallet sized “how to pray the rosary” booklets. Just contact me.

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