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The season of Lent is a time for reflection and meditation on the meaning of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. The sacred Psalms offer a beautiful, prayerful Lenten devotion in word and song.

Join us Fridays in Lent for Mass at 6:00pm and Stations of the Cross at 7:00pm.

 

 

Thank you to those who shared their gifts to create the video:
Johan van Parys: Director of Liturgy & Sacred Arts Liturgy
Walter Tambor: Contemporary & World Music, Piano
Julia Vikesland: Cantor, Parishioner 
Jonathan Vikesland: Video Filming/Editing, Parishioner 

 

 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and past it into your browser. 
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021818.cfm 

This weekend we begin the season of Lent.   For the next six weeks, through our acts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we will try to show our desire to “repent and believe in the Gospel.”   Each year on the first Sunday of Lent, we always read one of the accounts of Jesus’ Temptation in the Desert.   This year we read Mark’s account.   Now since Mark’s was the first Gospel written and also the shortest, it doesn’t include the details that Matthew and Luke include in their Gospels.  Mark merely says:  “The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among wild beasts and the angels ministered to him.”   The lack of details is not meant to minimize the reality of the temptations Jesus faced in the desert.   They were real and Jesus struggled with them.  For Mark, though, the important thing was not the temptations Jesus faced, but that fact that he overcame them and afterward began his public ministry by proclaiming: “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent and believe in the Gospel.”   

In each of our lives, we too face temptations, but because of Jesus, and the grace he offers us, we are can overcome them and follow the way of Jesus.  

Our first reading this weekend is from the Book of Genesis.   It takes place immediately after the story of the great flood.   The flood waters have receded and God establishes a covenant with his people.  We are told:  “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you; I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”   

Our second reading this weekend is taken from the first Letter of Saint Peter.    In this reading, Peter reminds us that the great flood “prefigured baptism, which saves you now.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. While we all face temptations in our lives, some people seem to resist them more successfully than others.  Why do you think this is? 
  2. Where do you need to repent this Lent?
  3. I take great comfort in the fact that God has made a covenant with us.  At times, though, I also worry that I am not living up to my end of the covenant.   Have you ever felt this way?  
The Basilica of Saint Mary is honored to host Transfer of Memory, an exhibition of portraits and stories of Minnesota Holocaust survivors, on display February 7-March 11, 2018, presented in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC).
 
Each Holocaust survivor in Transfer of Memory (transferofmemory.org) shares a story of survival during exceedingly difficult circumstances, yet as a collection, these images focus on life and hope. From Europe to Minnesota, survivors built their dreams, futures, and families—their lives are a constant reminder of the value of freedom and the enduring human spirit. Photographer David Sherman and writer Lili Chester, in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, created this photography exhibition.
 
“The Basilica is committed to serving the community as a center for the arts and a leader in interfaith dialogue,” said Johan van Parys, director of liturgy and sacred arts at The Basilica. “We welcome all to visit this powerful exhibit.”
 
“We thank our friends at The Basilica of Saint Mary for their leadership, creativity, and commitment to interfaith relations as they host Transfer of Memory,” added Steve Hunegs, JCRC executive director.
 
Transfer of Memory: Exhibit Opening Reception
Sunday, February 11, 2018 
1:00-3:00pm, program 1:30pm
Basilica of Saint Mary, 1600 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis
Lower Level, John XXIII Gallery and Teresa of Calcutta Hall
Free of charge. Includes walking tour of the exhibition.
 
Photo/Interview Opportunities:
• Reva Kibort, Holocaust survivor
• David Sherman, exhibit photographer
• Susie Greenberg & Laura Zelle, curators and Steve Hunegs, JCRC 
 
 
About the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas
As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.
 
 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/021118.cfm 

In our Gospel this weekend, we read the story of a healing of a leper.  Now at the time of Jesus, leprosy was a terrible curse.   It was a disfiguring and crippling disease.   There was no cure for it, and since people didn’t know how it was spread, lepers were forced to live apart from others in isolation and loneliness.   Thus, the leper in our Gospel today took a great risk in even approaching Jesus.   Yet we are told that “A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said: ‘If you wish, you can make me clean.”    We are then told that “Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him and said to him, ‘I do will it.  Be made clean.’”   The leper was cleansed.  Jesus told him to tell no one and to go show himself to the priests so that they could certify that he was no longer a leper.    Instead of remaining quiet, however, the leper went off and began to “publicize the whole matter.” 

There are three things to note in this Gospel.  First, the leper came to Jesus in complete honesty and clear desperation.   He knew he needed Jesus, and his request conveyed his raw, naked need.  Second, Jesus knew the leper needed to be healed, but he also knew he lived apart and alone in isolation without any human contact.   I believe it is for this reason that Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him.   Jesus knew that he needed human contact as much as he needed to be healed.   Third, I believe the leper went and publicized his healing after Jesus told him to tell no one because he had been touched in a profound way by God’s grace.  When this has happened to us we just can’t keep it to ourselves.   

Our first reading this weekend provides the background for our Gospel.  It is taken from the Book of Leviticus and it details how lepers were to be dealt with.   They were to make their abode “outside of camp,” and they were to cry out “unclean, unclean” when someone approached.   To understand this treatment it is helpful to remember that at that time illness or hardship were believed to be the result of sin.  Something bad happened to you because you had sinned.   

In our second reading we continue to read from the first letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.  In the section we read today, Paul reminds people to “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Have you ever approached Jesus in prayer with the raw need of the leper?
  2. Jesus knew that the leper needed to be healed, but he also knew he desired simple human contact.   He offered the leper both.   Has Jesus ever given you something you didn’t realize you needed?   
  3. What is one concrete thing you can do to imitate Christ?                                   

                                                                 
Just after Christmas, I spent three days retreating and resting at the Guesthouse at Saint John’s Abbey. Staying at the Guesthouse is a wonderful experience. It is quiet and private. The rooms are simple, but very comfortable. The food, like the rooms, is simple but very tasty, and there are always options to choose from. Perhaps the aspect I like most about staying at the Guesthouse, though, is being able to take a short walk over to the Abbey Church to join the monks for prayer. Their usual schedule is: morning prayer at 7:00am, mid-day prayer at noon, Mass at 5:00pm, and evening prayer at 7:00pm. Now, with all the activities going on in a parish, it would be difficult to keep this rhythm in a parish setting. (I often find myself using my phone to pray evening prayer before a meeting.) This structure of prayer works well at the Abbey, though, and for retreatants especially it makes it easy to schedule other times for reading, private prayer, walks, and reflection. 
 
Now as much as I enjoy joining the monks for prayer, there is one drawback. As a diocesan priest we use a four volume Liturgy of the Hours. Two of the volumes are for Ordinary Time, and the other two are for the Advent/Christmas season and the Lent/Easter season. And the best part is that you only use one volume at a time. As importantly, it is very user friendly and easy to follow. 
 
On the other hand, the monks at Saint John’s have six books of psalms and scripture canticles, and three hymn books. And at any given prayer time you could be using four out of nine of those books for prayer. Fortunately, the monks always seem to be able to spot an inexperienced person shuffling though the various books trying to find the ones s/he will need for prayer. In these cases, one of the monks will come over and in a very kind and an uncondescending manner ask if they can help. Now just so you know, usually by day three I have learned to decipher the notations on the hymn board, and have gotten to know the various books well enough that I don’t look like such a rookie. It is great to know, though, that I only need to paste a confused look on my face and one of the monks will come and help me. 
 
There are times when we all could use some assistance. It could be with something relatively simple (like finding the right prayer book) or it could be with something more serious or important. As Christians, when we see someone in need our response is clear. 
 
Jesus has told us that we are to help those in need, simply because they are in need. The scene of the Last Judgment in Matthew’s Gospel reminds us of this. In that parable, Jesus has told us: “Whatsoever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
 
Not only are we called to provide help and assistance to those in need, but this help is not contingent on whether we know and/or like the person, or think they are deserving of our assistance. Similarly, it is irrelevant whether they are close to us or at some distance. We are called to help people whenever we become aware that they are in need. As importantly, the assistance we provide needs to be concrete, specific, and practical, and not just good thoughts and kind words. 
 
Do we always do the above well? To be honest, I know I don’t. There are times when I put my own needs and wants ahead of those who need assistance. And there have been a few times when I turn a blind eye to those in need. There are other times, though, when I get it right. There are times when I respond to my neighbor in need spontaneously, generously and without reservation. I wish this were always the case, but my selfishness and sinfulness often get in the way of living as Christ has called me to live.  I am challenged though, by the example others set for me. And as importantly, I take comfort in the belief that God never calls us to do something God doesn’t give us the grace to do.  

Immediately upon hearing Jesus’ call, Andrew, Simon Peter, James, and John left their boats and nets to follow Him. But in modern times it can be more confusing for us to heed Jesus’ call. We are surrounded by more distractions, more messages, and more noise. In the cacophony of texts, emails, advertisements, and social media posts which make up our daily lives, it is hard to find enough stillness to hear and discern God’s call.

Yet we must remember “God is not the wind or the earthquake or the fire. God is the gentle blowing” (1 Kings 19:12). It is our human challenge to be still and attentive enough to hear God. Basilica Young Adults group member Sunoh Choe recognizes to this challenge, saying “we live in a time with diversity of thought, differing lifestyles, competing priorities, and plenty of distractions. Life has more purpose when we incorporate ‘spiritual food’ into our lives.”

BYA Basilica Young Adults with Archbishop Hebda_Easter 2017 Spring

ENGAGEMENT OF YOUNG ADULTS

A 2014 Religious Landscape Study by Pew Research Center study shows growing rates of religiously “unaffiliated” people, most noticeably in the young adult demographic.  Some estimates state US Catholic confirmation rates (typically between ages of 16-18) are less than half that of baptisms (often at birth or early childhood).

Because The Basilica is a recognizable landmark in the midst of a bustling urban center, it has long been a popular parish for young adults. Currently 21% of our parish members are between the ages of 23 and 37, commonly known as Generation Y or Millennials.

The Basilica intentionally reaches out to members in this age group to deepen engagement for many reasons. Young adults are constantly reshaping and redefining our secular world. Their perspectives and needs must be considered in our parish community as well. To paraphrase our vision statement from the prophet Jeremiah, in their well-being we will also find our own.

Basilica pastor Fr. John Bauer cites Saint John Paul II’s urging to “open wide the doors for Christ” as a reason The Basilica dedicates resources toward ministry for young adults. In his invitation to World Youth Day, Pope Francis recently told young people, “God is also watching over you and calling you, and when God does so, he is looking at all the love you are able to offer.”

 

BASILICA YOUNG ADULTS

Basilica Young Adults (BYA) is a Basilica group for social activities and service for people in their 20s and 30s. A visit to their web page or their social media page shows a dizzying array of opportunities each week varying from bible studies, speaker events, and sandwich making for our neighbors in need to sand volleyball and happy hours. The group’s coordinator and Basilica staff member Ben Caduff says there is intentionally “a spectrum of opportunities with something for everyone and a wide variety of on-ramps to participation.”

Rooted in the variety of BYA activities is a focus on religion and spirituality. “The Basilica attracts a diverse group of people in backgrounds, careers, skills, personalities, and stages of faith,” Choe observes. “The group recognizes the personal faith journey each person is on, and everyone is welcome,” adds Caduff. “People can feel comfortable getting more involved.”

Members say authentic relationships are a key difference between BYA and other non-religious social groups. BYA member Grace Kane explains, “within our one triune God we can see how relationship is integral to faith.” Core to all BYA events is the invitation for attendees

to grow in their faith and their relationship with God and Jesus. Participants share a common yearning for authenticity and actively living out their faith, even if they are still seeking answers. Kane defines relationship in this context as “being open, receptive, attentive, and loving.”

This focus creates a unique sense of welcome, community, and belonging because, as BYA member Kyra Knoff notes, "two or more are gathered." In one another they find a group of people intentionally building strong relationships with each other, with God, and with their Catholic faith. Despite modern technology which can promote impersonal communication, BYA members heed the Gospel call to real face-to-face relationships.

 

Full article BASILICA Magazine, Fall 2017, page 22

by Melissa Streit

www.mary.org/sites/default/files/assets/files/2415-2482-basilica-magazine-fall-2017.pdf

 

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.

 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020418.cfm 

Our Gospel for this weekend presents us with a “day in the life of Jesus.”  (Actually it is a day and a half.)    Jesus has left the synagogue (the setting of last weekend’s Gospel) and enters the house of Simon. There he healed Simon’s mother-in-law who was sick with a fever.   Toward evening they brought to him those who were ill or possessed by demons, whom he proceeded to cure.  

Early the next morning we are told that he went off before dawn to pray, and then the disciples found him he announced that he needed to go to the neighboring villages to preach and continue his ministry.  

Tucked into this Gospel is a sentence that is critically important, but which is not  elaborated on.   Specifically we are told that “Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place where he prayed.”  For Jesus prayer was a ”sine quo non” of his ministry.   In his communing with God the Father in prayer, Jesus found strength and encouragement for his ministry.   This is a good model for us and suggests that prayer is essential to our lives and not an adjunct to our lives.   

Our first reading for this weekend is from the book of Job.   As I have mentioned previously, when the lectionary was put together, it was decided that the first reading and the Gospel each weekend would share a similar theme, while the second reading would usually be a continuous reading from one of the letters of Paul, Peter or John.    While it is difficult to discern the theme that links our first reading and Gospel for this weekend, I think it has to do with the idea that ultimately God alone is the source of our life and happiness.  

In our second reading today we continue to read from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.  In this reading we Paul reminds the Corinthians that all he does he does for “the sake of the Gospel” so that he too might have a share in it.  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. I used to find that the late afternoon was the best time for me to prayer.  The past few years, though, I have found that mornings work much better.   What is the best time for you to pray?   
  2. What helps your prayer, and what hinders you from praying as Jesus prayed?
  3. Paul talks about having an obligation to preach the Gospel.  Has there been a time when you felt an obligation to preach the Gospel or to give witness to it?  

 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012818.cfm    

I suspect we all know people who could be described as “windbags.”  These people talk a lot, but say very little.  On the other hand, we all probably know individuals who, when they talk, people listen.  They speak with a wisdom and authority that causes us to take them seriously.  Twice in this Sunday’s Gospel we are told that the people were “astonished” and “amazed” at Jesus’ teaching because he taught with “authority.”   What this suggests is that when Jesus spoke or taught people, listened because inherently they knew that his words were not mere opinion, but had a depth and power to them.   

Tucked in between the people’s words of astonishment at Jesus’ teaching is the encounter between Jesus and a man with an unclean spirit.   The unclean spirit recognized Jesus, but Jesus rebuked him and said: “’Quiet! Come out of him!’  The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.”    The exorcism of the unclean spirit helped to demonstrate Jesus’ power and authority.  

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of Deuteronomy.   In it Moses tells the people “A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kin; to him you shall listen.”   In the Old Testament God communicated with God’s people through the prophets.  In the New Testament, God spoke to God’s people through Jesus Christ.   Jesus, though, was not just another prophet.  He was and is the Word of God given form and flesh and spoken into our world and our individual lives. 

Our second reading this weekend is taken from the first letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.    Like the section we read last weekend, this weekend’s reading seems to anticipate the imminent return of Christ.  Given this, Paul tells people he would like them to be “free of anxieties” so they can adhere to the Lord “without distraction.”

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. When have you encountered someone who spoke with authority?  How did you feel when you heard their words? 
  2. Have you ever felt the words of Scripture speaking to you with authority?
  3. What anxieties do you need to be freed from?   
Bold Hope Logo crop

Bold Hope in the North

You are invited to an Interfaith Gathering to Celebrate Unity and Shared Purpose January 28, 2018, at 2:00 pm.

Westminster Presbyterian Church at Nicollet Mall and 12th Street, Minneapolis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bold Hope in the North

In partnership with the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, this celebration will showcase Minnesota’s national leadership in multi-faith dialogue and cooperation, and will raise money to prevent homelessness through the Interfaith Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The celebration will feature music, testimonies from people helped by the Emergency Rental Assistance Program...and a few surprises!

 

Free shuttle from Hennepin Methodist to Westminster Presbyterian Church starting at 12:30pm.

 

For more information, contact Westminster at 612.332.3421

To donate to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program go to www.dceh.org/give

 

 

Minnesota faith leaders included in the video:
 
1.       Rev. Dr. Tim Hart-Andersen 
2.       Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman            
3.       Rev. Dr. Laurie Pound-Feille
4.       Rabbi Alexander Davis
5.       Rev. David Breeden        
6.       Rev. Ralph Galloway
7.       Rabbi Morris Allen
8.       Imam Asad Zaman           
9.       Rev. John Bauer
10.   Archbishop Bernard Hebda
11.   Rev. Paula Northwood
12.   Rev. Kelli Clement
13.   Rev. David Shinn
14.   Sri Ronur Murali Bhattar
15.   Imam Hamdy El-Sawaf
16.   Rev. Albert Gallmon
17.   Imam Makram El-Amin 
18.   Rabbi Jill Crimmings 
19.   Dr. Carmel Tinnes
20.   Imam Adnan Khan           
21.   Rabbi David Locketz

 

For this Sunday’s readings, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/012118.cfm

In the opening lines of our Gospel  this Sunday we hear Jesus proclaim:  “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.”  Now there is an old joke in clerical circles that “Jesus came to proclaim the Kingdom of God, and we ended up with the Church.”    I’m not quite sure how that happened, but for weal or woe we (all of us) are the Church and we (all of us) are called to continue the proclamation of the Kingdom of God.   

It is the idea of being called that is at the heart of this weekend’s Gospel.  I say this, because further along in the Gospel for this Sunday, we read of the call of the first disciples:  “Simon and his brother Andrew; and James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.”   There are two things in particular that I would like to point out in regard to the call of these first disciples.   First, notice that Jesus doesn’t give a lot of details.  He merely says “follow me.”   Second, notice that Jesus calls these men to be his disciples while they are going about their everyday lives.  They are not a prayer or in the synagogue.  They are simply going about their ordinary activities.    I think these two things tell us a great deal about how God calls women and men to follow him.

Our first reading this Sunday, from the book of the prophet Jonah, tells us of Jonah’s mission to the people of Nineveh, calling them to repent because: “forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed.”   This reading continues and expands on the message of the Gospel.  It reminds us that not only are we called by God, but we are also sent by God to do something. 

Our second reading this Sunday does not follow the theme of the first reading and the Gospel.  Rather it taken from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians and reflects his belief that the end of the world was near.     Paul reminds his original audience and us that we are not be attached to this world, but instead to live so as to be ready to greet the Lord when he comes. 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Being chosen by God for a special role/responsibility can be exciting and but also perhaps a bit frightening.   What do you think God has chosen you to do in the world? 
  2. Where have you experienced God’s call in your life ---- at church, while at prayer, alone, with others?  
  3. Why do you think people are so interested in trying to predict/anticipate the end of the world?    

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