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Youth in grades 4-8 will enjoy a week of Music and Art Immersion Camp, complete with field trips to local arts/theater venues, percussion ensemble and handbell ensemble, and throughout the week prepare a musical based on the book of Esther from the Bible. Breakfast and lunch are served.
The daring, triumphant story of Esther is brought to vivid life in this new musical by composer Erik Whitehill. Through the story of Esther, travel to the citadel of Susa where King Ahasuerus names Esther his new queen—and where Esther faces the decision of her life. Will wicked Haman prevail? Or will selfless Mordecai convince Esther to trust in God and save her people?
With a nod to Broadway, Esther is filled with memorable melodies—from fun and whimsical reprises to expressive, heartfelt ballads.
Cost: $100; Scholarships available.
Contact Teri Larson, email@example.com or 612.317.3426 for more information or for the registration brochure.
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051417.cfm
I have a friend who, whenever he has a bad day, always has tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich for supper. He told me that ever since he was a little boy, tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich has been his “go to” comfort food when he is stressed out or worried about something. I suspect we all have certain “comfort foods” in our lives --- food that comforts us when we encounter difficult or trying days. In addition to comfort food, though, I also believe there are certain scripture passages that provide comfort whenever we read them. I think our Gospel for this Sunday is a case in point. In that Gospel, Jesus reminds us that “We are not to let our hearts be troubled……….. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.” And that he “will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” Jesus also tells us that he is “the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
The above words of Jesus fill me (and I suspect most of us) with great comfort whenever I read them. They remind me Jesus loves us so much that he wants to be with us always --- not just in this life --- but also in the life to come. He is the way that leads to the Father and in his Father’s house there are dwelling places for all of us.
Our first reading this weekend reminds us that roles and responsibilities began to develop in the early church, so that the word of God could “continue to spread.”
Our second reading this weekend is once again taken from the first letter of Saint Peter. In it Peter reminds his audience that because of Jesus Christ they are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Have you ever had a troubled heart? What/who gave you comfort?
- Are there certain passages from scripture that are “comfort” passages for you?
- What things do you do so that the word of God can continue to spread?
The Immigrant Support Ministry team welcomed the third family we co-sponsor with LSS on February 23rd of this year. They are a Karenni family of five, two parents and three young children. The parents were originally from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. The family came to the US from a refugee camp in Thailand. The father of the family had lived in the camp for the last 17 years, since he was a teenager. His wife had lived in the camp for nearly as long
With the help of the Basilica four person mentor team the family has been settling into their new home. The first task was to get them warm clothing. Coming from a tropical climate the Minnesota winter was quite a shock. The mentors have taken them shopping for groceries--and they were excited to find a nearby market that has foods similar to those from their home country. The team is also helping to find them a dentist for some needed dental work. They have been available to help get their apartment set up with many necessary items. Coming from the refugee camp, the family came with very few belongings.
The two oldest children have recently started elementary school and LSS will be arranging ESL classes for the adults. Betsy Hasselman, from the mentor team said that she has enjoyed her time with them so far and has been inspired by their determination as they start the their new lives in the US. She looks forward to getting to know them more and being able to be part of their journey.
Something that we, as Catholics, struggle with and find consistency in, is prayer. We come from a tradition that is known for its beautiful liturgy and rich, eloquent prayer that has been spoken and sung for centuries. The practice of praying on our own can be daunting to say the least. It is so tempting to compare our prayers to those found in our many worship experiences, but this is a comparison that does more harm than good. I believe that at the center of prayer is a most important relationship—us and God. In fact, prayer is the relationship.
The words that we articulate are only half the equation. Words are one of the ways we communicate with one another. When spoken in prayer to our God, they often fill what might seem to us to be empty space. There is definitely something more to the practice of prayer than the words. God doesn’t need our words. God already knows what is in the deepest corner of our hearts. The conversation and communion that takes place in prayer happens in the spaces between words. God more often speaks to us in the silence of our prayer. It is in the conversation and the communion that is created with God that is truly where we find God and, in turn, the peace we seek. There is beauty and clarity in this communion with God that allows us to see beyond this world and set our sights on a place of higher ground.
We are called to surrender ourselves to this relationship with God. All we have to do is show up, make time, and set aside 10 or 20 minutes to just “be” in God’s presence. We don’t have to say anything. We can just “be still” and know that God is God. God knows our heart; he knows our deepest desires. He hears our prayers for all of humanity. God always answers our prayers in light of what is the very best for us.
Prayer is a lot like riding a bike. It takes practice and it will not always be easy. It is a continuous process that needs to be addressed daily, just as you would work on your relationship with a family member or close friend. We can’t expect to pray once and have a relationship with God. It is a discipline that requires a lifetime of practice. If we put prayer time into each day, it will be like other relationships in our lives that grow and blossom. To continue with the analogy of learning to ride a bike, you may scrape your knee once or twice. But we need to get up on the bike again in order to learn how to ride it. So it is with our prayer life. We remember that we have a God that is all loving, full of great mercy, and is gentle with us. Jesus told us about God who finds joy in us. The reward at the end is great: a one-on-one relationship with our Creator. What peace and intimacy this relationship can bring to our lives.
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050717.cfm
I would guess that for most of us the words “sheep” and “shepherds,” evoke idyllic images of meadows, flowing waters and pleasant tranquility. The reality is, though, that sheep are not the cleanest of animals and they certainly aren’t very intelligent. And, at the time of Jesus, shepherds were not well paid and shepherding definitely was not an important job. In fact, shepherds were often looked on with suspicion, and were not accorded a great deal of respect. Despite this, in the Old Testament, the images of sheep and shepherds were often used to describe God’s relationship with his people. Jesus too, often used this image to describe his relationship to his disciples. This is certainly true this weekend as we celebrate the 4th Sunday of Easter. Each year in our three year cycle of readings, we always read from the 10th chapter of John’s Gospel on this weekend, and we always hear of sheep and shepherds.
In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus reminds us of four important things. 1. The sheep “hear the voice of the shepherd.” 2. The “shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” 3. The shepherd “walks ahead of them and the sheep follow him.” 4. “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
In our first reading this Sunday, we continue to read from Peter’s speech on the first Pentecost. In the section we read today, Peter challenges his hearers to “Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children.” The last sentence is important. It reminds us that God’s promise of salvation is universal and timeless.
For our second reading this Sunday we continue to read from the First Letter of Peter. In the section we read today, Peter reminds us that Jesus is our model in any sufferings. “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- In today’s world, do the images of sheep and shepherds still work to help us understand our relationship with God?
- What helps you to hear the voice of the shepherd?
- Why do some people better seem to bear “suffering” better than others?
The Basilica of Saint Mary proudly releases BASILICA Magazine, Spring 2017: A Revolution of Love and Tenderness.
Thank you to the volunteer Magazine team for their dedication creating this issue.
Cecilia Hofmeister, Melissa Streit, Carol Evans, Rita Nagan, Elyse Rethlake
Inside this issue
A Revolution of Love and Tenderness:
Embracing the Pope’s Message
by Johan M.J. van Parys
A Revolution of Love and Tenderness:
In Our Community
by Janice Andersen
Living the Pope’s Message: In Our Homes
by Paula Kaempffer
The Power of the Pulpit: 500 Years Later —
Luther in Our Time
by Johan M.J. van Parys
Reflecting The Basilica: Photographer Michael Jensen
by Michael Jensen
Celebrating the Conclusion of the Year of Mercy:
From Minneapolis…to Rome
by Eileen Bock
Meet Our New Development Officers: Supporting
The Basilica and The Basilica Landmark
by Mae Desaire
Space Needed: It’s a Good Problem — Seek the
Well-Being of the City
by Peggy Jennings
Accessible and Welcoming to All: Improving Access
to Our Historic Church
by Emily Carlson Hjelm
Revealing the Story: Visiting the Artist’s Studio
by Kathy Dhaemers
Meet Our New Presiders: Weekends at The Basilica
by Melissa Streit
A Passion for Art, Architecture, and Giving: Meet The
Donors behind the St. Anthony Chapel Renovation
by Monica Stuart
The award-winning BASILICA magazine is sponsored by The Basilica Landmark, a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is the preservation and restoration of the historic Basilica of Saint Mary and it campus. BASILICA is published twice a year (spring and fall) with a circulation of 20,000.
For advertising information please contact Peggy Jennings.
Showing vulnerability builds bonds and grows trust. While our culture tends to deem it a weakness, experts frequently site it as the “key” to close relationships and a sign of strength.
I joined the staff fresh out of college in 2001. I was not Catholic, and knew very little about Catholic traditions, but I thought helping with the Block Party sounded like a great opportunity.
It wasn’t long before I realized this wasn’t going to be a typical “job” and The Basilica wasn’t a typical church community. Months after my first Block Party, as I was putting away the last of the supplies, I remember walking into the office and seeing a group of staff members huddled around a television. It was September 11, 2001, and the second plane just had hit the World Trade Center. By the afternoon, the staff had planned a community prayer service, where thousands would come together to mourn. It was then I discovered the extraordinary depth of compassion and engagement in our community, and I knew The Basilica would be more than just a job.
Sixteen years later, I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to witness the collaboration of thousands of diverse members, in times of grief and joy. The broad spectrum of perspectives and backgrounds combines with the common threads that unite us to create a beautiful tapestry. It is a community led by creative and intelligent hearts and minds.
The Basilica staff works tirelessly to inspire, educate, and promote social justice. They dedicate themselves to creating environments to inspire adults in liturgies and children in faith formation. They work passionately for social justice, and serve strangers who knock at the Rectory door. I love seeing the feasts they create for eyes, ears, and hearts in music and art. Their work is done generously with love and grace, giving back from the talents they were given.
I’ve enjoyed the privilege of getting to know people who choose to support our community. In our time together, a common theme usually emerges: gratitude. People share their personal stories, reflecting on their lives and work, taking little credit for their success. They return to the idea of giving generously, because they had been given so much. Their humility is inspiring.
I have also met many members of our community who are in need, unafraid to show imperfections, who have courageously chosen to share their experiences. I believe these vulnerabilities are the reason our parish continues to grow and brings our community closer together. Even in their struggles, many people still return to gratitude, asking how they can give back to The Basilica.
When I reflect on my time as a staff member at The Basilica, undoubtedly, I know it is the members, staff, and volunteers that unite to make it so special. Unafraid to show vulnerability, this community pours itself into passion.
Your generosity makes all of the good that happens at The Basilica possible. I’m grateful for the wonderful support I’ve witnessed and I hope you will continue to support the parish, our outreach ministries, and The Basilica Landmark. I invite you to continue your support of The Basilica Landmark through our annual fund and The Basilica Landmark Ball. This year’s Fund-A-Need is designated to improving the accessibility of the historic structure. The project encompasses exterior and interior improvements, including adding automatic door openers to the center east doors, to make The Basilica accessible, and ensuring our community is welcoming to all.
As my time as a Basilica staff member comes to an end this spring, I leave my position knowing my heart is forever changed. I’m so grateful to have spent such a formative time of my life as a staff member, and look forward to continuing to share this Basilica journey with my family as a parish member in the years to come.
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/043017.cfm
Our Gospel reading for the Third Sunday of the season of Easter is the familiar and beautiful story of two of Jesus’ disciples encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus. We are told that these disciples were on their way to Emmaus “conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.” As they walked along, Jesus “interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.” As they approached the village Jesus gave the impression that he was going further, but they urged him: “Stay with us……” Jesus then ate with them and as he took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them, “their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.” They then said to each other: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us.” Later, they recounted to the other disciples what had happened, and “how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
I believe the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus is really the story of every Christian. There are times as we journey through life when we are completely oblivious to Christ’s presence with us. Then we read or hear a scripture passage, or we come to the table of the Lord, and we discover anew Christ’s abiding presence and realize that he had been with us all along, though we failed to recognize his presence.
Our first reading this Sunday is again taken from the Acts of the Apostles. It describes the early Christian community. “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.”
Our second reading this weekend is from the first Letter of Saint Peter. Most likely this letter was written to Christians who were experiencing some unspecified trials. It reminded them that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection: “although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Has there been a time when --- in retrospect --- you realize Christ had been with you, even though you didn’t recognize it at the time?
- We believe that the Eucharist is the preeminent way that Christ is present to us. We also believe, though, that he is present when we read the scriptures. Additionally, we know that he is present where two or three are gathered in his name? Where else have you experienced Christ abiding presence?
- We know that the life of the early Christian community, as described in the Acts of the Apostles, didn’t last very long. Why do you think that is?
The Basilica Landmark has announced a funding initiative to make accessibility improvements to historic The Basilica of Saint Mary. The Basilica continually strives to make the church and campus facilities accessible and welcoming to all parishioners and visitors. The Basilica’s Disability Awareness Committee has identified and addressed opportunities to make The Basilica free of barriers to prayer and involvement since 2005.
Every year the Basilica Landmark Ball supports a specific project. This year’s Fund-A-Need is designated to improving the accessibility of the historic structure. The project encompasses adding automatic openers to many of the restroom doors and the exterior bronze center east doors, weighing over 300 pounds each.
The Ball’s Chair, Jackie Millea, AIA, ASID, is especially passionate about improving accessibility from her personal family experience. Jackie believes, “Accessibility is not about calling out a disability. It’s about creating an environment that allows people to be autonomous—having the dignity to do things on their own.”
The Basilica Landmark Board of Directors invites the community to support our effort to make The Basilica more accessible. It is important that the physical building reflect our message of hospitality and inclusivity to everyone.
The Basilica Landmark Ball
Saturday, May 20, 2017 at US Bank Stadium
The signature fundraising event features creative cuisine, specialty cocktails, and fantastic giving opportunities to support The Basilica Landmark.
To purchase tickets or make a gift to support the accessibility Fund-A-Need initiative visit www.thebasilicalandmark.org
In the year 2000 Saint John Paul II designated the second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. He did this at the canonization of Sister Faustina Kowalska, a Polish visionary whose mission it was to proclaim God’s mercy toward every human being. Two years later, during his last visit to Poland in 2002, he said: “How much the world is in need of the mercy of God today!” He then entrusted the world to Divine Mercy expressing his “burning desire that the message of God’s merciful love…may reach all the inhabitants of the earth and fill their hearts with hope.”
As I was writing these words I learned that two Coptic Churches in Egypt were bombed during Palm Sunday services. The extremists of DAESH claimed responsibility. As is the case with the bombings we learn about almost every day, the death toll, physical harm and spiritual suffering were staggering.
Unable to continue my writing I went into our St. Joseph Chapel where our beautiful Icon of the Divine Mercy resides. I walked up to the Icon and looked Jesus square in the face and waited. I waited for an answer to all the evil in our world. Yet, Jesus remained silent. Somewhat frustrated I left the chapel. As I returned to my office the link to a homily by Pope Francis popped up on my phone. One passage caught my eye: “Jesus does not ask us to contemplate him only in pictures and photographs... No. He is present in our many brothers and sisters who today endure sufferings like his own… Jesus is in each of them, and, with marred features and broken voice, he asks to be looked in the eye, to be acknowledged, to be loved.” Feeling duly chastised by the Pope and grateful for Jesus’ unexpected answer to my questions I returned to my column on Divine Mercy.
Jesus, who is known as the Divine Mercy is the very incarnation of God’s mercy. In Jesus, God embodied mercy as he went about forgiving sins, healing the sick, siding with the outcast. By these very actions Jesus affirmed that God’s mercy is present in the world, even and most especially in those places where God’s mercy seems lacking.
The specifics of God’s mercy have been described in many different ways. The three languages that are important in the history of the Bible: Hebrew, Greek and Latin offer slightly different insights.
- The Hebrew Bible uses two words for mercy: hesed and rachamim. Hesed is the kind of mercy that is strong, committed and steadfast. Rachamim which has the same root as rechem or womb conveys gentleness, love and compassion.
- The Greek word for mercy, eleos is related to elaion meaning oil thus suggesting that mercy is poured out like oil and has the healing qualities of oil.
- The Latin word for mercy, misericordia is derived from miserari, "to pity", and cor, "heart". It suggests that our loving God is moved to compassion.
God’s mercy thus is strong and steadfast, loving and compassionate, healing and soothing. These are the divine qualities of mercy that are to be ours also since we are to be the embodiment of Gods mercy in our time. Wherever the Church is present, the mercy of God must be evident and everyone should find an oasis of mercy there.
As we contemplate our beautiful Icon of the Divine Mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday and as we look one another in the eye, friend and stranger alike, let us give thanks for the mercy God has shown us. And in turn let us show mercy to one another for the world indeed is in dire need of mercy, both human and divine. Mercy given and mercy received, that is the motto of all Christians.