Priest will run on his birthday to raise money for parish school

| September 27, 2012 | 0 Comments

Father Lundgren

Father Erik Lundgren of Divine Mercy in Faribault has an unusual idea for celebrating his birthday.

He wants to run a marathon. It just so happens that his birthday falls on the day of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, Sunday, Oct. 7.

“I have always wanted to run a marathon, but made my decision around last Thanks­giving while I was visiting my sister Ingrid in Boise, Idaho,” he said. “When I realized the marathon was going to be on my 30th birthday, it seemed like a sign from God.”

He has a much higher ambition than just finishing. He wants to raise $30,000 for Divine Mercy School. No doubt, his desire to do so is tied to being named assistant principal at the beginning of the school year. He is calling his fundraising campaign “30 for 30.”

“I think I’ll be successful because I’ve asked Our Lady of the Rosary for her help on this one,” he said. “I have been astonished by how effectively one can use Facebook to raise awareness and support for a cause. Pope Benedict is right when he says that we can use modern media to further the New Evangelization.”

In running his first marathon, he will rely on the support of family, students at the school and his fellow priests. One of them is Father Alex Carlson, his ordination classmate from 2010. Father Carlson ran the marathon last year and is behind Father Lundgren’s effort to complete the task this year.

Another priest, Father John Klockeman of the St. Paul Seminary, will be running the Chicago Marathon at the exact same time. “I’ve had great support,”?Father Lundgren said. “Parishioners are always honking and waving and shouting to me when they see me running. It’s a blast. And we have already raised quite a bit of support.

“I’m trying to stay on track but it’s hard. I ran 20 miles a couple weeks ago, but I get distracted when I see parishioners on the road, at work, or in their homes. Sometimes, I have to stop, chat for a minute, get a glass of water and say a prayer with them.”

A key focal point on race day will be the students at Divine Mercy school. They will be at the forefront of his mind as he runs the 26.2-mile course.

“They are my inspiration,” he said. “I believe that somehow my running a marathon will help their souls and mine get to heaven.”

Those wishing to donate can send checks to: Father Erik Lundgren, Divine Mercy Catholic Church, 4 2nd Ave SW, Faribault, MN 55021. Make checks payable to: Divine Mercy Catholic School. In the memo, write “30 for 30.”

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