People are still buzzing about Pope Francis’ recent U.S. visit. They are talking about what he said, what he did, who he visited, and even where he ate lunch. Prior to his visit, Pope Francis proclaimed a Year of Mercy. Here at The Basilica we’ve been thinking about what mercy means to us, talking about the Corporal Works of Mercy and the opportunities and challenges we have.
Every day at The Basilica, I witness and experience small acts of mercy happening on our campus and in our community made possible by the generosity of our parishioners. Please consider how you can help us make sure these good works continue by making a commitment to financial stewardship. It’s clear to me—your commitment and involvement makes our ministries and these every day acts of mercy possible.
Feed the Hungry . . . Teams of Basilica volunteers prepare and serve nutritious meals at The Basilica to approximately 200 men at Catholic Charities Higher Ground shelter. I’ve heard them share their stories of how privileged they are to serve in this way. One family has signed up to serve on Christmas for many years. Together they make the meal festive and special for those without a home to call their own. Other volunteers spend their lunchtimes driving hot meals to seniors in our neighborhood as part of our partnership with Meals on Wheels.
Bury the Dead . . . Last week, I attended the funeral of a long time Basilica choir member. At his funeral, I listened to his friends, a group he’d been with twice a week for years for rehearsals and Masses, serenade him home to Christ. Grieving families and friends often come together at The Basilica to celebrate the lives of their loved ones.
Visit the Sick . . . I’ve been moved to tears as I listen to volunteers pray over the prayer shawls they knitted, soon to go to the sick and grieving. After an unexpected death in the family, a parish friend had to fly to the funeral. We sent her with a prayer shawl. On her return, she shared that she wrapped herself up in the shawl on the plane ride. Even though she was far away from her faith community, she felt our presence and support because of that shawl. Many volunteers take the Eucharist to the homebound and those living in care centers. Our Prayer line volunteers offer support to all those who seeking spiritual, physical, and emotional healing.
Shelter the Homeless. . . . This past summer, a new house went up in North Minneapolis. I watched our volunteers cut wood, build stairs as they shared their days along with others in the community as part of Habitat for Humanity. By Christmas, a mom and her children will be snug in their newly-built home.
Every day good works . . . At the Basilica, volunteer job coaches assist those struggling with unemployment and seeking a new chance. Other volunteers help in our Pathways program teaching life skills to those committed to stabilizing their lives. Daily at our Reception Desk, volunteers and staff answer our phones and welcome those who come to our doors. Sometimes a caller asks us to connect a priest or an Emmaus Minister to someone sick in the hospital. Daily, the pleas for help making ends meet come over the phone and face-to-face at the door. Hungry guests are greeted with a warm smile, a cup of coffee and a sandwich.
Consider how you will participate in the Year of Mercy. There is so much more we are called to do. Please explore the many Year of Mercy opportunities available at The Basilica in the coming months. You will find opportunities for learning, prayer, service and reflection.
And please, make a pledged financial commitment to help us create small acts of mercy every day at The Basilica.