Ascension Church


Visitors from Kenya

Fr. Joseph Maluki Mwongela

Br. Kenneth Wanzala Okinda

Two representatives from the Diocese of Kitui, Kenya, will visit Ascension from Sept. 25 through Sept 30.Kitui is a partner of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis through the Archiocesan Mission Office. A delegation of 10 is visiting for two weeks, and Ascension is one of five parishes hosting them.


Our Parish Host Committee, which includes Kate O’Connell, Grace Enwesi, Pedro Ochoa Sr., Andrea Ochoa, Anne Attea and Melina and Severo Garcia, have scheduled a number of events to which parishioners and school families are invited.


This is a great opportunity for the Ascension Community to both share with and learn from our Kenyan visitors.


Here is a schedule of events:


Friday, Sept. 25

4 -6 p.m. Welcoming picnic at Fort Snelling State Park, shelter A (Open to all Ascension families)


Saturday, Sept 26

3:30 p.m. Mass at Ascension

4:30 p.m. Reception dinner and cultural event at parish with the Older and Wiser Supper Club community and anyone (of any age) who wishes to attend (Please call the office 612 529-9684 to RSVP)


Sunday, Sept. 27


9:30 a.m. English mass at Ascension

10:45 Introduction to English Faith-Sharing group; visit Spanish RE program
11:30 Spanish mass


Tuesday, Sept. 29


Morning Ascension School visits to classrooms


Wednesday, Sept 30


8 a.m. Visitation Monastery for mass and hospitality afterward



Sunday, Oct. 4


11:30 a.m. mass at Mary, Mother of the Church in Burnsville to close the entire delegation’s visit, with a fiesta afterward.

The power of God at Vacation Bible School


Mountain climbing isn’t normally on the agenda at Vacation Bible School, but this year the kids took on  “Everest: Conquering challenges with God’s mighty power.” The 22 students learned that God has the power to provide, heal, forgive, comfort and love us forever. They focused on those concepts in songs, games, crafts and snacks.  Each day a guest speaker presented one of the themes and a Bible passage, including a special piece of our Catholic faith. As service projects, the campers sponsored a blood drive with the War Memorial Blood Bank and collected quarters to help a small village in Nepal that was destroyed in recent earthquakes.  Special thanks to the ten teen crew leaders and five adult leaders. The week-long event is part of the North Side consolidated faith formation program, which includes Ascension, St. Bridget, and Our Lady of Victory.

See photos here


Farmers market comes to us


Stock up on fresh, locally grown produce each Thursday when the CityKid Mobile Farmers Market stops at Ascension School.


Look for the truck on our parking lot near the school entrance on Thursdays from 1:30-2:30 p.m.  It will also stop at the YMCA, 1711 W. Broadway, on Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.


CityKid Enterprises is a hunger and nutrition initiative directed by Urban Ventures that uses food to build thriving and healthy families in Minneapolis.



Sharing joy with Easter cards


Children in Ascension’s English-speaking faith formation classes help make sure parishioners who are too ill to attend mass know they are not forgotten. One of the ways they do this is by designing and sending holiday cards and messages.


“They might not even know these parishioners, but they realize they are still part of God’s family and their church family,” said Mary Majkozak, director of English-speaking Religious Education for the North Side partnership that includes Ascension, St. Bridget and Our Lady of Victory.


Teachers and students pray for the people on their lists as well. The children receive beautiful thank you notes from many who enjoyed getting the cards.



Support ending the violence in Mexico

Hear the story of 43 students who disappeared from a school for teachers in Mexico.


A group representing the parents of the 43 students kidnapped in late September in Guerrero, Mexico,  will be at Ascension Sunday, March 29, to speak about their children’s experiences and about the human rights violations occurring in Mexico.They seek our solidarity with them as they confront the responsible authorities.


• They will speak at 1 p.m. in the church
• Cultural event from 3 – 6 p.m. in the gymnasium.


Photos of the students’ faces, carried on placards in demonstrations throughout Mexico and in other countries, have become international symbols of the tens of thousands of forced disappearances and over 100,000 killings in Mexico since 2006.


The visit to Ascension is part of a national speaking tour of the United States during which they will speak in cities across the country to audiences in churches, universities, community organizations, and labor unions about the events of September 26, 2014. On this day, Mexican government and drug cartels killed 6, wounded 25 and kidnapped 43 students of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College, according to organizers.


The group is also presenting Monday at Macalester College and McNally Smith College of Music.  Their visit ends with a protest at the Mexican Consulate in St. Paul at 3 p.m. Monday.







Lent begins Feb. 18

Lent flyer

Prayer, fasting and almsgiving: These three practices are traditions during the weeks leading up to Easter. Prayer nourishes our spirits, fasting puts us in solidarity with those who suffer, and works of charity expand our hearts as we commit ourselves to the good of others. Here are some ways you can use these traditions to enrich your experience during this holy season:


Participate in communal prayer such as the Stations of the Cross.

Get up a bit earlier, take time during your lunch hour or find time in the evening to stop and pray.


Decide as a family on a food or beverage that you will all give up together for Lent.

Watch less television and use the time to read, pray, write a letter or visit someone.

Focus on an unwanted habit such as negativity, gossiping or harboring resentments and try to give it up for Lent.



Volunteer your time.

Write a letter to your congressional representative about an issue such as immigration.


(Adapted from Catholic Update, St. Anthony Messenger Press)


It's Catholic Schools Week!

This week, Jan. 25-31, is Catholic Schools Week, and Ascension Catholic School has much to celebrate!



“It’s important to highlight the impact of faith-based education on the moral climate of our society,” Principal Dorwatha Woods said. “Ascension Catholic School students are civically involved, morally conscious and academically strong. They are on a trajectory for a strong future.”



The school community is marking the week with three special events: One is DEAR time, a half hour when everyone in the school “Drops Everything to Read.” Another is Intercom Bingo, a student favorite.  And lastly, the school is holding an essay contest for students, who will write about what they like about Ascension School.



Everyone is welcome to join us for a school mass at 9:30 a.m. this Wednesday, Jan. 28, at Church of the Ascension. The school is also displaying students’ science projects at its Core Knowledge Science night, at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29.

Catholic Senior Connection


Catholic Senior Connection is a new partnership between Ascension Church and Catholic Eldercare that offers care consultation for older adults and their families. There is no charge for this consultation. Its purpose is help families secure the services needed for older adults to age successfully, whether in their homes or in assisted living or long-term care, if necessary.


As we and our parents advance in age, it can be very challenging – and even overwhelming – trying to understand what care needs are required and where to find the correct services. By connecting with Catholic Senior Services through Ascension, a Licensed Social Worker (Care Consultant) is available to: come to your home and get to know you; consult with your family; listen, learn, and understand your particular situation and needs; help identify and connect you to appropriate resources; develop a care plan based upon your personal input; follow-up on the care plan and stay in close contact to ensure the plan is working effectively; and be available for phone calls and visits as needed.


In addition, the Care Consultant will help connect you to senior housing, transportation solutions, home care services, caregiver support and coaches, home services (cleaning, chores, errands), meal delivery, and more.


There are fliers at the main entrance of the church. If you’d like more information, please contact Cindy Boggs, Pastoral Associate, 612.529.9684, or Kathleen Hendren, LSW, Care Consultant, Catholic Eldercare, 612.605.2509.

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Join us!

Our Lady of Guadalupe – Patroness of the Americas

By Anne Attea

Coordinator for Latino Minsitry


My father is a man of prayer and has a strong Marian devotion. As a child, I would occasionally see him praying the rosary, and while he taught us to pray it, he never imposed the devotion on us, except while traveling. Truthfully, I think it was my parents’ way of garnering a half hour of relative quiet when trekking cross country with 5 rambunctious kids! Each one of us had to lead a decade…


As I grew, my father’s devotion continued to intrigue me, but I wasn’t inspired enough to follow his example. Furthermore, I didn’t particularly relate to the usually blond hair, blue-eyed statuette found in most churches. She didn’t look like me and certainly didn’t seem to have the same interests or personality. Jesus was the teacher, healer and rabble rouser – more my kind of guy, and it was his stories that captured my imagination.


Several decades later, I am still unpacking the Jesus stories. However, Mary also has a prominent place in my prayer life now thanks to the Hispanic/Latino community. I have come to know her through Our Lady of Guadalupe and the impressionable devotion that is characteristic of many Mexicans and others throughout the Americas. It is the study of her and the accompaniment of her devotees that has allowed me to know Mary as first disciple, loving mother, protector, comforting and compassionate presence, and the strong, courageous, radical woman that she is.


Pope John Paul II, too, could recognize the power of Mary as revealed in Guadalupe.


In the late 1990’s, he proclaimed Our Lady of Guadalupe the “Patroness of the Americas” – north, central and south. She is the patroness of all, and her feast day will soon be upon us come December 12. What follows is a summary account of the Guadalupe story.


Juan Diego was a poor, peasant Indian man who was walking through the Mexican countryside on his way to church. As he passed by Tepeyac, the ancient temple site to Tonantzin, an Aztec virgin goddess, he heard music. Looking around for the source of the music, he saw a beautiful maiden. She spoke to him and identified herself as the Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, and told him to go to the bishop. He was to request that a temple be built in her honor on that spot at Tepeyac. The bishop refused to see him, and Juan left dejectedly.


Again he encountered Mary who charged him with the same request. This time, he patiently waited at the bishops’ residence until he was received. However, the bishop still refused to believe his story and sent him away. He was not to return unless he had a sign from Mary.


Juan told Mary about his encounter with bishop and she left him large fragrant roses, flowers not commonly found in December, to take back as a sign. He picked the roses and put them in this tilma (cloak/poncho). In front of the bishop he unfurled his tilma and let the roses fall to the floor. Only then did they all discover the magnificent image of the Blessed Virgin that is still preserved today in the Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City. Ultimately, the bishop believed in Mary’s appearances and built the shrine Mary had requested.


From the time that Mary appeared to Indian peasant Juan Diego, and left her incredible signs, she has profoundly affected and inspired the Christian faith of the people of the Americas and especially Mexico. Why?


Mary appeared in 1531, only ten years after the arrival of the Spanish conquerors.


During those years, the one true God had been presented to the people via European missionaries. God was harsh, swift to punish and distant, an import that came with the European culture and way of life.


An oppressed people recognized Mary as a symbol of new power and new life in an age devoid of hope and freedom because she provided them with a new way of knowing the God the missionaries preached.  Mary was morena, dark like the Indians, and spoke words of consolation in the midst of great suffering. Thus, Our Lady of Guadalupe is often referred to as the “Maria morena”, or dark Mary, because of her Indian/mestizo (half European/half Indian blood) features. Furthermore, she appears to a lowly, poor peasant man rather than to the wealthy and powerful. The conquered people have found someone with whom they can identify. She is a common woman, someone who will know the pain of childbirth, live as part of the working class, and suffer all the ills of survival. Yet, she is also the Mother of Jesus, a loving, compassionate mother, who desires nothing more than to draw all people to her Son and to offer them her love, protection, and help.


The descendents of those first believers continue to invoke her protection and help today.


All are invited to share in the festivities here at Ascension that reverence and honor Our Lady of Guadalupe. Below is a schedule of activities:

Thurs, Dec 11th:

6 – 9:45 p.m.   Vigil with song and prayer

10 p.m.            Mass


Fri, Dec 12th:

5:30 a.m.         Mañanitas  (the traditional morning serenade)

6 p.m.              Procession with Aztec dancers

6:30 p.m.         Mass

7:30 p.m.         Fiesta in the cafeteria


Vengan y celebren con nosotros. ¡Les esperamos!

Come and celebrate with us – we await you!


Welcome to our new website

When we began discussing updating our websites, our goals were to give you more information, more photos and make the sites more attractive and easier to use.  We think we accomplished those goals, and hope you will agree.


All of the enhancements you will find as you explore the new sites were done with YOU in mind.


Here are some highlights:

• The homepage will regularly feature news you can use to become more involved in and informed of the many activities swirling around our campus.

• There are links in the top left of the homepage that let you easily navigate between the Church of the Ascension site and the Ascension Catholic School site.

• The links at the top right of the homepage allow you to switch quickly between the Spanish and English language sites of both parish and school.

• Prayer requests for our parish Prayer Circle may now be submitted online through the Prayer button at the top right.  You will also find the School’s weekly Memory Scripture there and, on the parish site, a link to the next Sunday’s Scripture readings and a weekly reflection.

• Parent and Scholar Information is all accessible from one page.  You will find the weekly newsletter, school handbook and other important information there. Events for school families are listed on the Scholar and Family Calendar.

• If you’d like to visit our campus, you will find Mass times and special parish events on our parish calendar. Our school Community Event calendar lists opportunities for which you can register to come and learn how to engage as a volunteer or donor.

Please spend some time exploring, and come back often!