From the Pastor:
With this column I would like to update you in regard to several areas of our parish’s life.
1. Parish Council Elections: I am pleased to inform you that in the recent elections for our Parish Council, Erik Miles (representing Christian Life) and Xander Broeffle (representing Learning) were elected to our Parish Pastoral Council. I am also pleased to report that Eric Brandt has accepted re- appointment to the Council as an at-large member; Alfonso Cornish has accepted appointment as the Finance Committee Representative to the Council; and Mara Stolee has accepted appointment as the Development Committee representative to the Parish Council. I am very grateful to each of these individuals for their willingness to serve on our Parish Council.
The members of our Parish Council represent a cross section of our parish. The Parish Council meets monthly and works with me and our staff to determine the needs, aspirations, and direction of our parish. As such it plays a vital role in our parish community. I am enormously grateful to our Council members for sharing their insights and expertise as we work together to carry out the mission of our parish.
2. Strategic Planning: As I have mentioned in previous bulletins, a few months ago we received approval from our Finance Committee and Parish Council to engage the services of the MacCallum Ross company to help us begin the process of developing a new strategic plan for our parish. (Our previous plan carried us through spring of 2018.) This plan will serve as a road map to guide and direct our efforts for the next three to five years.
The reason we engage in strategic planning is simple. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29.18). If we don’t consciously and prayerfully plan for our future, we are at risk of drifting into a future not of our choosing and certainly not of our making.
David MacCallum and Patti Ross have been guiding the development of a new strategic plan by reviewing our previous strategic plan as well as demographic and other information. An extensive process has been put in place to ensure that relevant information and perspectives are reflected in the plan. They also have interviewed key members of our staff, parish leadership, and community leaders. You will be hearing more about this process in the days ahead. We anticipate that the rollout for our new strategic plan will take place this summer or fall.
3. This year’s Landmark Ball: Many thanks to all those who attended and/or supported this year’s Landmark Ball. For those of you who are new to our parish, The Landmark Ball is an annual fund-raiser sponsored by The Basilica Landmark to help support the ongoing maintenance and renovation of The Basilica of Saint Mary and it campus. This year $102,763 was raised for this ongoing work. Our thanks go to Jen and Roshan Rajkumar who chaired this event, and to Holly Dockendorf, our Event Manager. I am also very grateful to the many people who worked on the committees for this event. They did an outstanding job.
Each year as part of The Landmark Ball we include a Fund-A-Need project. This year the Fund-A-Need project was the interior lighting of The Basilica Dome. We will be replacing the old (and large) lights with new LED lighting. The new lighting will be brighter, less expensive and will not produce nearly as much heat as the old lighting— something for which I am particularly grateful.
4. Our Parish Finances and Budget for Next Year: A big Thank You to all those who have been so generous in their financial support of our parish this year. As I write this column (at the end of June) we are slightly ahead in regard to our anticipated revenue, and we are also under budget in regard to our expenses. Given this, we hope to end the fiscal year with a smaller than expected deficit. (The deficit will be covered by a portion of the income from the rental of our school building. The reminder of the school rental income goes into our parish reserve fund.)
In our budgeting for next year we are anticipating a slight increase in our revenue, and have budgeted accordingly. As your pastor, I want you to know of my gratitude for your ongoing support of our parish. Please know, it is greatly appreciated.
5. Special Collections: While no one likes special collections, it is heartening for me to report that people of The Basilica have been very generous to the last few special collections here.
On the weekend of April 28 and 29, $6,796 was collected for the second collection for The Basilica Landmark Annual Fund.
On the weekend of June 2 and 3, (and afterwards with contributions that were mailed in) $22,253 was donated to help support Ascension School.
And on the weekend of June 16 and 17, $7,400 was contributed to help defray the cost of air conditioning The Basilica during the hot summer months.
The contributions to these collections testify to the generosity of the people of The Basilica. Please know of my gratitude for your generous and caring response.
6. Change in Staffing: As some of you already know, this summer Cathy Edwards, who has served as our Coordinator of Caring Ministries for the past several years, is retiring. I am enormously grateful for Cathy’s work these past years. We will certainly miss her, but wish her well in her retirement. While we are sad to see Cathy leave, we are grateful that Wendy Cichanski Caduff has been hired to fill this position. Wendy comes to us from Sacred Heart and Holy Trinity parishes in Owatonna, where she was a Pastoral Associate for four years. Before that, she worked at Christ Church Newman Center in St. Cloud. She has many years of experience working in different parish settings. Wendy has a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Ministry from Saint John’s University of Theology and Seminary, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from St. Cloud State University. And if Wendy’s last name sounds familiar that is because Ben Caduff, our Coordinator of Family and Young Adult Ministry is her husband. We are happy to welcome Wendy to her new position. Her education and work experience will surely be an asset to our parish and community.
7. Archdiocesan Bankruptcy: Recently we heard the good news that an agreement had been reached to resolve the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese. 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.
In a letter to all parishioners a few weeks ago, I said 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.
8. Refugee Sponsorship: This past June The Basilica welcomed our eighth Refugee Family through Lutheran Social Services. (So far we have sponsored 3 families from Somalia; 1 from Iraq; 1 from Ethiopia; 1 Karen; and 2 from Mayanmar/Karenni.)
Our newest family is Karenni, originally from Burma. There is a mother, father, and two young daughters ages 4 and 6. They are coming from a camp in Thailand and have been there about 20 years. Lutheran Social Services is hoping to find secure an apartment for them in East St. Paul. The family has some relatives or connections there and they speak some English from working at a hospital in the camp. They arrived on May 23 and our refugee support committee gathered at the airport to greet them.
All of the families we have sponsored have been very different. However, they have all be very grateful and gracious as they settle into life in Minnesota. Their lives are filled with activity as they seek to learn English, enroll their children in school, find work, and care for medical and dental concerns.
If you are interested in helping with this project please Janice Andersen in our Christian Life Department at 612.317.3477.
9. Campus Space Planning: As I mentioned previously, The Basilica Landmark has approved funding for the hiring of liturgical space planning consultants. A few months ago these consultants began a process to help us look at and develop a master plan for The Basilica and its campus. Unfortunately, Robert Habiger, from the firm Dekker Perich and Sabatini out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who had begun this work with us, has decided to retire. Fortunately, Fr. Gil Sunghera S.J. who worked with Robert initially has agreed to continue to work with us to build a vision for our campus spaces that helps us welcome the community and our guests. Fr. Gil is on staff at the University of Detroit Mercy (and works with their) School of Architecture. A committee of parishioners has been formed to work with Robert and Fr. Gil in this process.
Some of the important issues/concerns that will need to be considered are accessibility, making The Basilica and its campus more open and welcoming, and renovating and updating the interior of The Basilica.
This process of developing a master plan for The Basilica and its campus continues as I write this column. It will also occur concurrently with the development of our new strategic plan. We will share more information about this important work as we move forward.
10. Maintenance Projects at The Basilica: Finally, as I mentioned in an earlier bulletin, there will be several maintenance projects occurring this summer on our campus. As I hope you have noticed we are tuck-pointing The Basilica dome. We will also be upgrading the kitchen in the lower level of The Basilica; doing some upgrades to the church sound system; seal coating and re-striping the parking lots; replacing the florescent lights in the lower level of the church with LED lighting; and as mentioned above, we will also be replacing the lighting on the interior ring of lights in the dome with LED lighting. We also hope to reconstruct the South entrance to our school building sometime next spring.
We are hopeful that there will be minimal disruption with these projects. We are grateful that most of these projects will be funded by The Basilica Landmark.
Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary
Download August/September 2018 Bulletin