Patrick Fischer (number-2 in photo above), a wide receiver for the Sartell Sabres, had to sit out the team's last game because of a knee injury he suffered a few weeks ago. He was injured during a game against St. Cloud Apollo. Fischer is now recovering from knee surgery.

Fischer watches team lose from sidelines

by Dennis Dalman

Patrick Fischer had to watch from the sideline, his heart sinking, as his teammates lost to Moorhead last Friday and blew their chances for a chance at the state football championship.
On Nov. 2, the Sartell Sabres lost to the Moorhead Spuds, 35-21, in the Section 8-5A game played at Collegeville. The undefeated Spuds will play the Section 7-5A champion, Bemidji, Nov. 10 at Husky Stadium.
“It was tough,” Fischer said of the loss. “It wasn’t fun to see that, that’s for sure.”
Fischer, a receiver for the Sabres, had to sit out the game because his knee was injured in a previous game with St. Cloud Apollo two weeks ago. He underwent surgery for the knee injury Oct. 31 in the St. Cloud Hospital and is now recuperating at home.
Watching his team go down to defeat was painful for Fischer. The first half of the game went Sartell’s way, with Parker Hagen making two touchdowns. By half-time, the Sabres were leading, 21-7. However, in the second half, powerhouse Spuds running back Chase Morlock turned into a juggernaut, scoring a total of five touchdowns by the end of the game.
Watching the loss was especially painful for Fischer because the Sabres had experienced a phenomenal season that seemed to promise a good chance at making the state playoffs.
“Yes, it was tough,” Fischer said. “But the season was great. It was fun, and we had a good group of guys this year. I wouldn’t take back any of it.”
Memories of that excellent season will follow Fischer throughout this year and into his first year of college at Bemidji State University next fall. Fischer learned recently he had been awarded a basketball scholarship to BSC. He will sign an agreement in mid-November to play combo guard for the college team.
In the meantime, Fischer will be spending a lot of time and energy conditioning himself for basketball. As soon as his knee is healed, which might take up to two more months, he will be able to lift weights, run and practice basketball in preparation for his college career. He is not certain yet what degree he will pursue.
Fischer has always loved sports. When he was a tyke, he was seldom seen without a bat or ball in his hands. He loved to play sports with neighborhood buddies. In school, he was on the track team from eighth grade until 11th grade. In his sophomore year, he started playing basketball and football.
This summer, Fischer will also get a chance to kick back and relax at the Fischer family cabin up north. Born and raised in Sartell, Patrick is the son of David and Dana Fischer.

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Congregants celebrate Mass – with a big difference

by Dennis Dalman

At the altar, the Catholic priest made the ritual preparations for the Holy Eucharist – the sanctified bits of bread members of the congregation would soon ingest.
It’s called transubstantiation, a mysterious process in which Catholics believe the bread and wine are turned into the “body and blood of Jesus Christ.”
The members of the congregation – about 30 of them – then left their seats in the church and walked to the altar where they formed a semi-circle, waiting to receive the Euchrarist from the priest.
It was a scene – Catholic Mass – that has occurred millions of times in the past 2,000 years. But this time, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, in St. Cloud, there was a major difference. This time, the priest was a woman – Pastor Mary Frances Smith.
Smith was assisted during the Mass by Deacon Bernie Sykora of Sartell, who will herself be ordained as a priest, along with others, next year at the same church. Their “church” is actually called “Community of Mary Magdalene First Apostle.” The congregation is allowed to use St. John’s Episcopal Church as their meeting place at 1 p.m. the second Sunday of every month.
The congregation of Mary Magdalene First Apostle includes people of all ages, including numerous nuns from the greater St. Cloud area who believe women priests are long overdue in the Catholic Church, even though the Pope does not condone ordaining women as priests. In fact, critics of the international Roman Catholic Womenpriest movement, as it’s known, claim these women priests are not, in fact, women priests, that they are not legitimate and therefore the Masses they preside over are not the real thing. Women priests and their congregations, however, insist the opposite – that they are every bit as legitimate in the eyes of God as their male counterparts are.
Sykora said Roman Catholic women priests obey their conscience and they are “loyal members of the church who stand in the prophetic tradition of holy obedience to the Spirit’s call to change an unjust law that discriminates against women.”
The women priests are trying, she said, to reform the structure of the church from within. Many consider the church “dysfunctional” because of centuries of patriarchal, hierarchical dominance by men. Women priests aim to reform through “ordination, re-imaging, reshaping and restructuring.”
Advocates also point out Jesus Christ did not ordain the apostles at the “Last Supper” and that churches throughout the centuries have discounted the important roles played by Mary Magdalene and other women. They also note during the earliest Masses held by Christians in Rome, often held surreptitiously underground in catacombs, women often presided at the ceremonies.
The Womenpriest movement, Sykora noted, emphasizes there is no hierarchy, no clericalism, no patriarchy and no authoritarian structure. There are no titles such as “Mother” or “Father” to designate priests. Bishops have no administrative power. There are no salaries given; women priests and bishops support themselves, and when they are ordained, they do not promise obedience to a bishop, as men priests must do.
Sykora has been a devout Catholic all of her life and spent five years in the Catholic Maryknoll community. After leaving that, she taught in various school districts in Minnesota for 25 years, earned a master’s degree in education of children with special needs and has studied theology, which has prepared her for her upcoming ordination. She and her late husband, Don, have four children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Celibacy for women priests is optional. Pastor Smith, for example, is married and the mother of several children. A registered nurse from Big Lake, she has worked in the field of psychiatry for 35 years. She also holds a master’s degree in theology. The Womenpriest movement notes celibacy was not always the norm in the Catholic Church. Celibacy did not become mandatory until the First Lateran Council of 1123 A.D., the movement likes to remind people.
Like many other women priests, Smith believes celibacy is irrelevant to a spritual connection through the Catholic Church.
“It has been as a Catholic laywoman that I have always experienced the Church, the powerful social institution that framed my spiritual life from my birth,” she said. “My belief in the progress of women in the Roman Catholic Church is very deep and strong. It’s my joy to stand with women and men who bring life and growth to the Church.”
There is another difference in the Catholic Mass as led by women priests. The words of the liturgy have been cleansed of male-dominant language. Jeanette Blonigen Clancy, a theologian and author who lives in Avon, is a strong adherent of the Womenpriest movement and a member of the Mary Magdalene First Apostle congregation. She scrupulously reviewed the liturgy of the Catholic Mass and removed male-dominant, hierarchical words.
“Language,” she said, “shapes the way people think.”
Blonigen Clancy, who earned her theological degree from St. John’s University, is the author of “God is Not Three Guys in the Sky: Cherishing Christianity Without its Exclusive Claims.” The book claims Christianity “mistakes its myths for history and its symbols for fact.” In that book, Blonigen Clancy explores many of the ideas that are the foundation for the Womenpriest movement, including a premise the Catholic Church and other religions have been warped because of what she believes are sexist, male-dominated hierarchies throughout history.
To old-fashioned Roman Catholics, the Womenpriest movement may seem shocking, rebellious and even sinful. However, many Catholics like Sykora and some nuns and male priests, welcome the movement, viewing it as a positive, healthy growth of the church into a more enlightened society. Even though the Pope does not approve of the movement, its adherents strongly believe in time the Catholic hierarchy will have to embrace the Womenpriest movement’s practices and goals or the Catholic Church will eventually wither, suffocated by what the Womenpriest adherents consider its inability to grow under the weight of a patriarchal system.
Women priests freely admit they have broken the Catholic Church’s “Canon Law 1024.” But they consider that law to be unjust and discriminatory against women. They insist their ordinations are valid because of “apostolic succession.”
The movement began in 2002 when seven women were ordained aboard a ship on the Danube River in Germany. One of the movement’s visionary founders and the head of the movement is Patricia Fresen, a doctor of theology and former Dominican nun, who is originally from South Africa and who founded the Womenpriest movement in North America. Fresen has been a guest speaker for Mary Magdalene First Apostle and will be present next year when more women priests are ordained in that church, including Sykora. Currently, ordained women priests are officiating in more than 29 states in the nation.
Many times women priests are asked if they have been excommunicated by the Vatican, which is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome.
The Womenpriest movement gives the following statement:
“Roman Catholic Womenpriests reject the penalty of excommunication issued by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith on May 29, 2008, stating ‘women priests and the bishops who ordain them would be excommunicated . . . ‘ Our movement is receiving enthusiastic responses on the local, national and international level. We will continue to serve our beloved church in a renewed priestly ministry that welcomes all to celebrate the sacraments in inclusive, Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered communities wherever we are called.”

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Evening with David Wellstone

“Hope and remembrance: an evening with David Wellstone,” sponsored by DFL Senate District 13, will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 in Sauk Rapids Government Center, 250 Summit Ave. N. A presentation by the son of Sen. Paul Wellstone will be based on his new book, “Becoming Wellstone: Healing from Tragedy and Carrying on My Father’s Legacy”.

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Veterans’ Day salute to those who served

One of the things we older people do for entertainment is sit around and remember. We think back on our earlier days. One of my favorite pastimes is considering the decisions I’ve made that have brought me to this point in my life. I recollect my choices. I ponder what life would have been like had I picked a different path. Of course we cannot live life over again but it’s sometimes good to recall how our lives have turned out.

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Local construction projects continue

Local construction projects continue in the St. Joseph area. Various projects include the addition of a gathering space for the Church of St. Joseph, the bypass at Stearns CR 2, the new McDonald’s and the CapX 2020 powerline project.

The gathering space for the St. Joseph Catholic church parish construction is taking place between the church and All Saints Academy School on Minnesota Street. It will connect the church and the school and includes a gathering space, handicap-accessible restrooms, fellowship hall and a kitchen. Construction is scheduled to be completed in June 2013.

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Voters in St. Joseph fill out their ballots Nov. 6 at the fire hall. Election judges said people were lined up outside as early as 6:30 a.m. to vote.

Election Day 2012

Council wages go unchanged

by TaLeiza Calloway

Wages for St. Joseph City Council members will remain as they are after a recent council vote.

Elected officials voted Nov. 1 not to institute a cost-of-living increase. City council member Bob Loso made the motion to keep their wages where they are, given the state of the economy. The vote was seconded by council member Steve Frank and passed unanimously.

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Here comes Santa Paws

Here comes Santa Paws, here comes Santa Paws, right down Santa Paws Lane at the Tri-County Humane Society.
In what has become a happy annual tradition, pets and their owners can get their Christmas photos taken with “Santa Paws” on Nov. 16-18. Times are from 2-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18. To schedule an appointment, call 252-0896.
On those days, two local professional photographers will donate their time to take the high-quality photos. Customers will get five portraits on a CD for $35. All proceeds will go to the TCHS. Each year, many customers have the photos made into seasonal greeting cards. The photos may be taken with people and/or pets and with or without Santa.
This year’s background set will be of an outdoor snow scene.
To see some of last year’s Santa Paws photos, visit the TCHS website at

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