Father Bauer incensing the Altar during the Eucharist
Photo provided by: 
Mike Jensen

Letter from Fr. Bauer to Parishioners

Dear Parishioners:  

Last week we all heard the good news that an agreement had been reached to resolve the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese.  As you know, the agreement establishes a trust fund of approximately $210 million for the victims/survivors. Some of the money for the settlement fund came in the form of voluntary pledges of financial support from parishes and priests of our Archdiocese.  I believe this is a wonderful statement of our compassion and support for our brothers and sisters who were seriously wounded and hurt by my brother priests and by others in our church.  

With this letter I would like to inform you that The Basilica of Saint Mary was one of the parishes that made a confidential pledge of financial support to the settlement fund.  This decision was made in consultation with our Parish Council and Finance committee.  After setting a range for this contribution they directed that our Parish Trustees and I make the final decision as to the amount of the contribution. The money for this pledge came from our parish reserves, which are funded by the rental income from our school building. Our financial pledge won’t be payable until the details of the settlement are finalized.  It is our hope that making this pledge of financial support will send a strong message of solidarity and support to the victims/survivors.  

While the settlement will resolve the Archdiocesan bankruptcy we need to continue to follow up with prayer and outreach to the victims/survivors.  This needs to be and must be an ongoing effort.   I hope you will join in prayer for those who have been so grievously wounded by members of our Church.  

It is my firm and abiding belief that God’s Spirit continues to lead and guide our Church and our parish.   If we are open to the gentle guidance of the Spirit, I believe it will lead us into a future full of hope.  

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.   

Sincerely yours in Christ, 


John M. Bauer 
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary 



The money that was pledged from the rental of building could have gone into the general fund thus reducing the asking for increase in that Stewardship.

I believe that the Vatican should be responsible for this settlement. For years priest were just moved around hiding the problems.

I thought about reducing my financial support but am not at this time, but I will not increase it in the future.

Bob Dehner

Dear Fr. Bauer,
I don't see that parish contributions to the settlement outlined above is in any way shape or form a showing of "our" concern for the victims of clerical sexual abuse. If it were to show our concern. wouldn't we have generously offered what we could out of generosity of spirit rather than having it wrung out of us through litigation? I would rather you say that the final settlement requires parishes to chip in, as that is what I understand from my reading. Nevertheless, what I think is missing here is not one shred of atonement from those involved, abusers and the layers of leaders covering up--Nienstadt, Piche, Flynn, McDonough, Laird and perhaps others. Instead it is up to the priests in the parish who are still serving to repeatedly say how sorry the church is for the abuse of our youngsters. Sad. On a final note, I would hope that the clergy and Bishops of our church recognize that every single parishioner sitting in the pews is a victim too as our hearts are heavy with sorrow and compassion for what our young brothers and sisters and their families have had to suffer. I honestly don't think much will change as long as power in the church is held in tight control by the hierarchy.
I'm sorry if this sounds like a rant, but I an deeply grieved by this whole situation and my prayers are with you and all your fellow parish priests who have to stand in the headwinds. Thank you, Father, and God bless you..
Nancy Christensen

DearcFr. John,

I think we parishioners, especially those who financially contribute to the Basilica, have a right to know now the dollar amount the Basilica is, or is going to, contribute to the trust fund for the victims/survivors.

How much of the $13 million of the settlement’s $210 million, that according to the settlement the parishes are being held responsible for, is the Basilica planning to contribute?

I further think these kinds of important parish, and archdiocesan, decisions demand more transparency and input from the many laity of the parishes, with the laity being official members of these decision making committees.

The Archdiocese’s important decision making committees, and those at each of its parishes, need consistent, coordinated, and sustainable input from the laity.
At the Archdiocean level the laity would be elected through the deanerys and the parishes on an ongoing basis.

A true view from the pew!

I believe our local Church Community has, and continues to suffer because of this lack of organized and coordinated, sustainable laity input, and the resulting transparency it would provide.

My prayers are with you, as well as our entire Church Community!

Warm regards,

Bob Christensen


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