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Every year in August and September, we focus on Stewardship of Gifts at The Basilica—a time to reflect on our God given gifts and talents and how we can share them with our communities. This year we have asked volunteers from a variety of ministries to share their stories with you. Today’s story comes from Chris who has volunteered with a variety of ministries for several years. Most recently she has been an integral part of the Immigrant Support Ministry and with her husband, has been part of the planning committee for our second annual School Supply Drive for the Ascension Catholic School in Minneapolis. Committee members from this ministry will be available today during our Basilica Day celebration on the West Lawn following morning masses.
Chris says, “I choose to volunteer at The Basilica because of the wide variety of opportunities I have been invited to be a part of that present me with the opportunity to manifest Christ’s calling to “Love One Another.” As part of my work on behalf of The Basilica, I have met many wonderful people and connected with other groups of faith and non faith-based organizations who share a genuine, compassionate, selfless desire to be of service to others.
“One of my most recent and memorable experiences was last spring when I participated with a group from the Immigration Advocacy Committee to work with Immigrants at a shelter supported by the Sisters of Loreto in El Paso, TX. There were many moments that took my breath away, when every day the face of Christ was so visible in mothers, fathers, children of every age, and volunteers, and we heard stories of great courage, hardship, strength, kindness, unfailing faith, and trust in strangers. It is not possible to experience this and not be changed and challenged to do more.
“I encourage all Basilica parishioners to check out the volunteer opportunities that may involve a brief time commitment.”
Join us for Mass on Sunday, August 13, as our choirs return to celebrate the Basilica’s Solemn Dedication.
Following 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30am Masses
Stay after Mass for an ice cream social and celebration of the amazing work being done in our ministries. Enjoy Sebastian Joe’s ice cream as well as activities for children and adults, and tours of the Mary Garden.
500 years later: Luther in our times
The Martin Luther exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) was the first of many lectures, concerts, exhibits, and prayer services that will mark the year leading up to October 31, 2017. This day is the 500th anniversary of Luther’s famous nailing of his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. These events offer opportunities to study Luther and Lutheranism against the backdrop of our 21st century and increasingly dynamic political, social and religious realities.
Occasioned by this anniversary of the Reformation, Mia organized an impressive exhibit dedicated to Martin Luther, the de facto father of the Protestant Reformation. Art and artifacts from around Germany were gathered to shed light on the life of Luther against the background of the very complex political and religious realities of his time. It was a wildly popular exhibit, especially for the many Lutherans who inhabit our state.
Very prominent in the exhibit was the pulpit used by Martin Luther. I spent quite a bit of time looking at it and listening to onlookers’ comments. Some thought it looked very Catholic, which indeed it was at one point. Others wondered if anyone else but Luther had ever preached from that pulpit, which of course they did. Someone mused if a Rabbi had ever spoken from that pulpit. Someone chimed in, “what about an Imam?” “Probably not,” I thought. “But maybe one day.”
Pulpits are very important in our houses of worship. Rabbis, priests, imams, pastors, and other faith leaders address their congregations from their pulpits. And when they speak from the pulpit they speak with great authority. It is from the pulpit that all sorts of hatred and divisions have been preached throughout the ages, a practice which even continues today. By contrast, the pulpit is best used to build bridges, to invite people in to a culture of encounter, to preach love and compassion. Pulpits should be used to unite, not to divide.
I was happy to be a member of the group responsible for the interfaith interpretation of the Luther exhibit. Our group included representatives from Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We had candid and enlightening conversations which enriched our understanding of Luther and one another. We were able to connect with each other on a very profound level without denouncing our own faiths. We built bridges and broke down walls.
Maybe this anniversary can be an occasion to take the next step in the ongoing reform of our faith communities, a step that we can all take together.
Pope Francis has called on Catholics to preach A Revolution of Love and Tenderness and to live it out in our communities. There is nothing exclusively Catholic about this.
On the contrary, all of us- Jews, Christians, Muslims and all people of faith- can and ought to respond to the challenges posed by our divided and broken world with love and tenderness. Just imagine if all of us preached a shared Revolution of Love and Tenderness from the pulpits in our synagogues, churches, mosques, and temples all around the world.
Now that would be a radical reformation. It is time. Humanity has waited long enough.
By Johan M. J. van Parys, Ph.D.
Published BASILICA Magazine Spring 2017, A Revolution of Love and Tenderness
For 22 years, the Basilica has worked on Habitat for Humanity houses throughout our community, helping to make the joy and stability of home ownership a reality for local families. The Basilica has partnered with Habitat by sponsoring a week-long annual “work camp.” Every summer, the Basilica provides a sponsorship fee and volunteers each day for five days to work on a home. Throughout the past two decades, the Basilica team has taken part in building a variety of home types including townhomes, duplexes, and single-family dwellings.
Volunteers who participate in the “work camp” are treated to complimentary breakfast and lunch each day, provided by generous donors, and many volunteers return year after year. Basilica teams have been instrumental helping local families achieve their dream of affordable home ownership. And, Basilica groups have also played a significant role in assisting to re-build areas of north Minneapolis that were damaged by the devastating tornado which hit the region several years ago.
Within the Habitat “work camp” there are volunteer activities for everyone of all ages—those 16 and up are welcomed to build. No experience with construction is required—we’ll train you and you may work at your own comfort level. Anyone of any age can help to greet the builders and/or make/serve snacks or breakfast/lunch.
Dates for the 2017 “work camp” are Monday, August 7- Friday, August 11 in North Minneapolis. Contact Julia to register. Don’t miss this fun, faith-filled, and rewarding opportunity!
Changing Hearts, Changing Minds, Recognizing Christ
The Basilica of Saint Mary announces the commissioning of Homeless Jesus sculpture
The Basilica of Saint Mary has recently commissioned a Timothy P. Schmalz Homeless Jesus bronze sculpture. The sculpture of a life-size Christ figure shrouded in a blanket on a park bench will take several months to create. Schmalz’s Homeless Jesus is an internationally recognized symbol of compassion and awareness for the homeless with sculptures located in major cities throughout the world.
The meaning of the Homeless Jesus sculpture is to truly change hearts and minds towards people in need. The sculpture is designed to challenge and inspire each of us to be more compassionate and charitable and to see Jesus in each person we meet, and to take action to help end homelessness locally and around the world. The sculpture will be a vibrant piece in The Basilica’s sacred art collection.
We are currently working with our landscape architects to prepare the installation space on The Basilica campus. This sculpture has been funded by a select group of anonymous donors who are passionate about art and The Basilica community.
Leading up to the arrival of the sculpture The Basilica will engage the community with educational presentations addressing the issues of homelessness. We look forward to sharing with our community the installation and dedication of the sculpture on November 19, the World Day of the Poor, designated by Pope Francis.
You should defend those who cannot help themselves. Yes, speak up for the poor and needy and see that they get justice. Proverbs 31:8
More information about the sculpture-Q&A
The Sixth Annual Mental Health All Parish Blessing and Ice Cream Social
Sunday, June 25, Following 9:30 and 11:30am Masses, West Lawn
It was an idea that came at the end of a Mental Health Committee meeting six years ago: let’s end the programming year with a blessing of the entire parish for good mental health and then celebrate with ice cream on the West Lawn.
The committee had been working for six years prior mostly providing educational workshops for the parish and community. New people had joined the committee and they were interested in providing social opportunities as well as educational ones. People with a mental illness often feel limited in participating in social gatherings so this event, joyfully combining prayer, social interaction, and ice cream fit the bill. So this weekend, after the congregation stands for a blessing for others’ and their own mental health, they will exit the church and be greeted by servers with flavor after flavor of ice cream and sorbet as well as resource tables with representatives from mental health agencies and organizations in the Twin Cities.
This truly demonstrates the role of the Church in assisting those affected by mental health issues. As stated by Franciscan Sister Mary Fran Reichenberger, the Church’s role is “The creation of an environment of safety and welcome, offering the spirituality and traditions that give the sense of well-being and of being cared for. Churches can be a place of friendship and understanding.” See you this weekend on the West Lawn for ice cream and making new friends.
Mental health organizations will have resource tables and information available. For more information about the Mental Health Ministry, contact Janet at 612.317.3508.
Thank you to the patrons, guests and volunteers who made the 2017 Basilica Landmark Ball a success.
Through your generosity, the Ball raised a gross amount of more than $345,000, which will help us fulfill The Basilica Landmark's mission is to preserve, restore, and advance the historic Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations.
The Fund-A-Need program brought in a record $120,000 to use towards making The Basilica campus and grounds more accessible. These projects starting this summer.
Click here to view the event photos. Thank you to our photographers, Elyse Rethlake and Barbara Broten, for donating their time and talent and capturing this special evening!
Visitors to the studio and gallery of Sister Mary Ann Osborne, SSND are surrounded by stories carved in wood or printed on paper. There stories are taken from Scripture and inspired by feast days such as the Annunciation, Epiphany and Pentecost. They draw viewers in and invite them to discover their own stories.
The work of Sister Mary Ann is also inspired by conversations, writings and music, old and new. Her art at times comments on local and international events, peace and justice issues and acts of nature, like the tornado that devastated her home town of Saint Peter, MN, in 1998.
Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger, foundress of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) has been a major influence on Sister Mary Ann's work. The art she created for With Passion, her 2015 exhibition at The Basilica, was inspired by quotes from Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger and Pope Francis. An exhibition she conceived for Saint Paul Monastery in Saint Paul, MN a few years ago was entitled Love Cannot Wait. Sister Mary Ann borrowed this title from1882 writings by Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger. An imagined diary of the foundress accompanies the art. The work is now rotated monthly in a space near the Monastery's Good Counsel chapel.
Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger' influence on Sr. Mary Ann actually goes back to the very beginning of her art making as her first carvings (1985) were created to honor the SSND foundress on the occasion of her beatification. At that time Sister Mary Ann had taken only two summer workshops in wood carving, for a total of three weeks. After thirteen years of teaching in elementary schools in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa, Sister Mary Ann felt her future had a different path. She loved the students and enjoyed teaching but she felt called to teach in a new way. She was given permission to study and work as an apprentice with a wood carver in Faribault, MN. The original agreement was for one year, then followed by a second year. By 1988 she was a full-time artist, with her first studio space at Our Lady of Good Counsel. A couple years later she pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Metropolitan State University and studied for six months with Franciscan Sister Sigmunda May in Stuttgart, Germany.
The artist spends most of her days working in her sunny studio, a former laundry where she moved in 2004. Sometimes she will sketch ideas on paper, but she prefers to start with the wood, carving soon after some initial drawing directly on the surface. She usually begins with the faces. When studying with Sister Sigmunda she was encouraged to follow her heart, listen to God and let the characteristics of the wood guide her process. For carvings she typically uses kiln dried wood, bass or linden. The embellishments she adds to her wood sculptures often have their own stories. She has repurposed arches and copper from buildings under renovation. And people often drop off items they think she may be able to use; parts of a beautiful broken vase, pieces of glass or silver, or small logs from a beaver dam. Eventually these items find their way into a piece of art.
Sister Mary Ann has admired and been inspired by other artists including her teacher Sister Sigmunda May, Corita Kent, Henry Moore, Joseph O'Connell, Ernst Barlach and Käthe Kollwitz. Her work can be found around the world in churches, schools, hospitals and homes. In addition to wood carving, she does woodcut prints and works with glass.
The Basilica selected her piece One Breath from our art collection to visually represent the Revolution of Love and Tenderness initiatives this year. The piece of art was selected given its heart shape reference embracing the people of the world with love and tenderness and will be displayed in The Basilica throughout the year. Sister Mary Ann shares the meaning as, “Through the spirit we must work together sharing love and tenderness, to make the world a better place. All it takes is one breath of God in our direction.”
It is good to keep in mind that Love Cannot Wait has been the directional statement for the School Sisters of Notre Dame for the past five years. The statement commits this international congregation of women religious to embrace dialogue as a way of life that leads to new discoveries about themselves and others, and to conversion, reconciliation and healing. It is a call to change lives and the world. Sr. Mary Ann does this beautifully through her art.
Sister Mary Ann’s studio is located in Florian Hall at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Mankato. She welcomes visitors. sistermaryannosborne.com
By Kathy Dhaemers, Associate Director of Sacred Arts
Published BASILICA Magazine Spring 2017, A Revolution of Love and Tenderness
As a vibrant co-cathedral parish with almost 6,500 families and one priest, we rely on additional priests to assist with the six masses held every weekend. Meet three of The Basilica’s newer weekend presiders.
Fr. John Berger
Originally from North Dakota, Fr. John Berger moved west and was ordained for the Diocese of Honolulu in 1991. He served as Rector at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu until 2013, when he suffered a dama
ging heart attack and blood clot. He received a medical retirement from that diocese and relocated to the Twin Cities to be near to his sisters.
Fr. Berger has always been drawn to helping people, and enjoys the unique opportunity afforded to parish priests to restore people's ability to participate fully in the life and liturgy of the Church. Through ministry and his own personal challenges, he understands how “the experiences of human frailty and disappointment can actually become opportunities for growth and, by the grace of God, segues to new perspectives and a renewed purpose.”
He occasionally attended The Basilica over the years during visits with his sisters, and got to know Fr. John Bauer through the bi-annual Cathedral Ministry Conference. Fr. Berger enjoys presiding at weekday and weekend Masses. “Though my time here has been relatively short,” he shares, “I have been glad to get to know parishioners, and to do what we in Hawaii call ‘talk story.’”
Fr. Peter Brandenhoff
Growing up in Duluth and then Fairmont, MN, St. John Vianney parish and school was a central part of Fr. Peter Brandenhoff’s life. It was there that his love of the liturgy grew as an altar server and budding organist. During his sophomore year of high school, a Rochester Franciscan sister gave him a rosary with the instruction: take this to the seminary with you. ”I still have that rosary,” he shares. “God truly does drop hints at unexpected moments.”
Fr. Brandenhoff was ordained for the Diocese of Winona and served as pastor for a number of parishes. IN addition he served as director of the diocesan Office of Liturgy and the Commission on Sacred Liturgy, as chaplain, and as a high school religion teacher. He later received a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Minnesota and worked in a metro area psychotherapy clinic for 18 years. He also served several churches in this Archdiocese as a weekend presider.
“The liturgy has been the highlight and greatest love of my ministry,” Brandenhoff says. “Being a weekend presider at The Basilica of Saint Mary is pure joy because the highest priority is given to the celebration of the liturgy, so beautifully enhanced by the sacred arts and the lively participation of the community.”
In his free time, Fr. Brandenhoff enjoys baking bread, cooking, and outdoor activities including camping, biking, cross-country skiing, and kayaking. He also is taking piano lessons and enjoys playing Scrabble.
Fr. Harry Tasto
Fr. Harry Tasto grew up on a western Minnesota farm near the South Dakota border. He was interested in building and architecture, but his parish priest (and the diocesan Vocations Director) was insistent that Harry go to the seminary.
His father’s cousin was the Bishop of Superior, WI, and Fr. Tasto was ordained in the parish church that had served three generations of his family. At his ordination almost 50 years ago, he invited the pastors from the seven Protestant churches to join in the procession with their spouses. One month later they formed a ministerial association, which still continues today.
Fr. Tasto came to the Twin Cities and earned graduate degrees in Speech and Education from the University of Minnesota. He also completed a doctorate in Communications and Preaching. While in graduate school, he worked at parishes in this Archdiocese and transferred to this Presbytery 36 years ago. He served as pastor at a number of parishes, including St. Timothy’s in Blaine for sixteen years.
Known as a man of a million hobbies, Fr. Tasto enjoys woodworking, home remodeling, vegetable and flower gardening, cooking, and baking, honing these skills over the years. He is also a Harley rider and avid bicyclist who has been bicycling around the world in almost twenty different countries. These international trips can average about 40 miles of bicycling per day.
He retired from active ministry almost four years ago and started presiding at the Monday and Tuesday noon Masses at The Basilica. Last fall, Fr. Tasto began helping as a weekend presider. “I am enjoying my ministry here,” Tasto shares, “and am grateful for the welcome and acceptance I’ve received. I hope that I may be here for years yet to come!”
By Melissa Streit, BASILICA Magazine Editor
Published BASILICA Magazine Spring 2017, A Revolution of Love and Tenderness
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or 612.317.3426 for more information or for the registration brochure.