If you have not heard, the Cities97 Basilica Block Party is next weekend, and there is still time to get tickets online. It is perfectly situated mid-summer, when the heat lends itself perfectly to a night of live music outdoors downtown. The event is an important fundraiser for The Basilica Landmark, with funds directed to restoration and renovation projects.
Each year while the bands warm up and volunteers set the stage, I have found a peaceful, cool place to stop inside our beautiful Basilica where each night, hundreds of guests take a tour, connecting the purpose of the party outdoors to the need inside.
But, it is not only in the overwhelming heat of July that the church offers a respite. On the coldest days in January, people sit in the pews and find safety from the frigid cold. The Rectory doorbell rings often, with requests for a cup of hot coffee. Nearly every day of the year, we are open to those who seek shelter, those who enter carrying everything they own, and those who arrive empty-handed—leaving spiritually renewed.
Just as it is impossible to tell the story of a house without the families who lived there, this is Marvin’s story, in his words. I believe this is a beautiful illustration of the manifestation of our love in The Basilica community.
“They welcomed me with open arms. I was homeless for five years. I lost my apartment and was flying a sign to get money. That’s how I met most of my friends. They were doing the same thing to survive. They told me to go to The Basilica. The first time I went there, I was welcomed with open arms. There was food to eat and hot coffee.
Even more though, I found peace of mind. because it was somewhere to go when it was cold where I didn’t have people judging me. It’s also so beautiful and so pretty there. I kept going back, and they gave me information about shelters and food shelves. They gave me shoes, and a clothing voucher. If I needed to get somewhere and didn’t have the bus fare, they gave me tokens. My God, they help you with so much.
If they hadn’t done all that, I would have been into a lot of trouble…breaking into people’s houses. Stealing food to survive. What stopped me from doing those things was because The Basilica helped me.
They helped me get an apartment and even though I’m not homeless any more, I still go to The Basilica for peace of mind. You know that everyone there accepts you, no matter what. I have a lot of friends who are still homeless, who I get to meet up with and have a cup of coffee. They still go, and so do I.”
We are all in need. Those who ring the doorbell at the Rectory and those who volunteer to help answer it. Those who sit in the pews on Sunday and those who are still searching. You may even need The Basilica’s shelter more than Marvin ever did.
The Basilica Landmark maintains our beautiful Basilica ensuring a home for all of the beautiful ministries and programs. When you give a gift to The Basilica Landmark of any size, you provide shelter in all forms.
This year, with your help we will re-roof sections of the church and build a storage facility for our grounds equipment. In 2017, we look to add space on our campus for large groups to gather. Today, we are so limited that we cease program growth or take them off campus.
In this challenge, there is also good news. We have growing needs on our campus because our parish is vibrant and our services are growing. Looking at an average day on our calendar, there is marriage preparation, young adult retreats, service opportunities, lectures, employment, mental health ministries, liturgies and so much more.