This September, my dad lost a friend to cancer. Of his three closest friends, only one, Gene, is still living. But Gene deals with serious physical and mental challenges after a stroke two years ago. My dad turned 62 at the end of the month, and it isn’t easy seeing him endure sadness as he said “good-bye” to each one who passed too young. As we all inevitably get older, the numerical definition of “young” seems to increase.
It makes me appreciate my parents. And also appreciate time. Ten years ago, I did not give a second thought to clocking 60 or even 70 hours in the office in a given week. I did not worry about what weekend might be ideal for a visit to the family farm in South Dakota. We made it to Mass most Sundays, deciding in a pinch between the 11:30, 4:30, or 6:30 options. We stayed up late, and slept in on the weekends. Then we had kids.
Even without that change, life got busy and there is always great pressure on the calendar. As I watch my youngest grow, I see that these moments are fleeting. Time has become increasingly precious and I now understand that time is the most generous gift we can give.
When I consider this idea, it makes me that much more grateful for what I’ve witnessed as a staff member at The Basilica over the past 15 years.
I’ve seen worshippers giving their precious weekend time, receiving so much as they give their evening, morning, or afternoon to The Basilica. Thousands come together to sing, pray, and break bread each and every week. This makes for a beautiful collective experience, inspiring and preparing us for the week ahead and their participation shapes The Basilica community with its beautiful diversity.
I also witness our Basilica staff invest themselves, and generously share their time and talents, lending to The Basilica experience. Your Basilica is supported by a staff that does not “punch a clock.” I have seen them sacrificially share their talents and time to ensure all that we love about The Basilica continues to grow.
In a quick glimpse, I have witnessed volunteers giving their time without hesitation. Specifically, I have seen a block party committee member sorting trash from recycling from the inside of the dumpster. I have seen the chair of The Basilica Landmark gala vacuuming the undercroft to ensure it was presentable for morning donuts after 7:30am Mass. I have seen leadership as our board planned for the next ten years of our organization. I have seen employment coaches come to the door week after week to meet with a new client to help them find a solid job. I have seen a room full of volunteers stuff envelopes, address and stamp letters to invite parishioners to support our parish. I have seen teachers smile as they welcome a room full of 3-year-olds to Good Shepherd faith formation.
And I am one staff member. Just imagine the collective impact across all ministries and departments!
We need this commitment, and we also need the commitment of our parishioners to share their financial gifts. Again this fall, we ask you to consider making a financial stewardship pledge to The Basilica to ensure that the good work The Basilica does in our community continues to save and change lives. These good works come to life in the ministry of our volunteers and staff.
Your prayerful generosity will help us show love and acceptance to all who come to our doors. All of this time given by each of you creates all we love about The Basilica. If how we spend our time reflects our values, you have shown you care deeply about The Basilica. Thank you for all you give—your time and your financial gifts. Blessings have flourished through your generosity, and those blessings will continue to impact those in our community for years to come.