FROM THE PASTOR
With this column I would like to update you in regard to several areas of our parish’s life.
1. Our Parish Finances: First and foremost, I want to thank to all those who have made a commitment of financial support to our parish community during our financial stewardship campaign this fall. Please know your commitment of financial support to our parish community is greatly appreciated. Your pledge—no matter the size—is important and makes a difference. It allows us to continue to offer the many programs, ministries and services that are the hallmark of our Basilica community.
In regard to our parish finances, as I write this column we are behind in our anticipated income at this point in our fiscal year. Our finance committee monitors our income and expenses closely so that, if it becomes necessary, we can make the appropriate decisions about balancing our parish budget.
I am hopeful that with our collections at Christmas and with year-end giving we will be back on track with our projected income. Thank you to all of those who support our Basilica community financially. Please know of my great gratitude for your ongoing financial support.
2. Advent and Christmas Events/Activities at The Basilica: As we move into the Season of Advent and Christmas, there are several events/activities at The Basilica which you are invited to attend.
- On Sunday, December 9 we will hold our annual Global Fair Trade Market from 8:30am to 3:00pm. Great gifts will be available from local vendors, just in time for Christmas giving.
- Taizé prayer, with the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, will be celebrated in the lower level of The Basilica on Tuesday, December 11 at 5:30pm.
- On Sunday, December 16 our Cathedral Choristers, Children’s Choir, Cherubs, and Juventus as well as the children of the Learning Program will present Room for Christmas by Mark Burrows. The musical combines original songs and familiar carols from around the world to tell the story of the Incarnation. The musical will be presented in the lower level of The Basilica after the 9:30 and 11:30am Masses.
- The Basilica will also be hosting Messiah on Thursday, December 20 at 7:30pm and Friday, December 21 at 8:00pm. For more information about these performances visit thespco.org. To reserve your ticket for the December 21 performance contact Holly Dockendorf.
- Finally, we hope you will plan on joining us for one of our Masses on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Our Mass schedule is available on our website.
3. Sanctuary Supporting Congregation: As I have mentioned previously, one of the values we strive to live every day at The Basilica is compassion. As such, we become aware of our shared brokenness, and we deeply respect all of God’s people and gratefully welcome all as Christ as we share hospitality, love, acceptance and care. We are a community serving the needs of people in our community. Every day we provide basic tangible and physical resources such as sandwiches, clothing, toiletries, shoes, bus cards, help with I.D. cards and assistance with transportation.
A few months ago our parish leadership made the decision that The Basilica would become a Sanctuary Supporting Congregation. In becoming a Sanctuary Supporting Congregation, we would continue to do what we currently do for those who come to our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry, many of them from Ascension, our sister parish in north Minneapolis. We would also continue our advocacy work and our prayerful support particularly for those who are on the margins and in need. The difference would be that we would be named as part of a network of congregations that are committed to supporting this work.
Now admittedly, in today’s world, the word “Sanctuary” may come with a lot of baggage. It may be helpful to note, though, that it shares the same root as the Latin word: “Sanctus,” which means holy. Jesus has told us that “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do for me.” Additionally, on his trip to Colombia this past September Pope Francis called on Catholics to “promote the dignity of all our brothers and sisters, particularly the poor and the excluded of society, those who are abandoned, immigrants and those who suffer violence and human trafficking,” Responding without judgement to the needs of those who come to our doors is what we are called to do as followers of Jesus Christ.
Becoming a Sanctuary Supporting Congregation is very different form being a Sanctuary Congregation. Being a Sanctuary Congregation requires additional commitments that could put The Basilica at some legal risk. As your pastor, I cannot do that in this circumstance. This is why our leadership has been carefully evaluating Sanctuary Supporting Congregations, which have significantly fewer commitments and would serve as a way to continue to compassionately serve a community in need and as an outcome of living our faith.
I would encourage anyone who has questions or concerns about this issue to take them to prayer. If after praying about them, you would like to share them with me or with a member of our parish council, you can contact us through our parish website. As we continue to discuss this important issue we will need your thoughts and your prayers to do what is right for our Parish and to follow our faith calling.
4. 150th Anniversary of our Parish: This year our parish celebrates its Sesquicentennial. 150 years ago the Church of the Immaculate Conception was founded in Minneapolis. The first Mass was celebrated on October 4, 1868. (When the parish outgrew its original site, seven lots were donated at 16th Street and Hennepin Avenue in 1904. The cornerstone of The Basilica, which was initially known as the Pro Cathedral, was laid in 1908, and the first Mass was celebrated in The Basilica on May 31, 1914.)
We kicked-off a year long celebration of our 150th anniversary on Sunday, September 30. Archbishop Hebda presided at the 9:30 and 11:30am Masses that day.
Throughout the coming year there will be a variety of events, activities and exhibits to celebrate our Sesquicentennial as a parish. I invite you to attend as many of these as you are able as we celebrate 150 years of faith.
Two events in particular I would like to note are a reunion for all couples who were married at The Basilica. This Marriage Reunion will take place on Saturday, February 23, 2019. There will also be a School Reunion for former students of The Basilica School. This reunion will take place September 7, 2019.
5. Updating our Parish Strategic Plan: As I have mentioned in previous bulletins, several 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.)
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.
I am pleased to report that at the October meeting of our Parish Council our new Strategic Plan was approved. Our new Strategic Plan retains our core Vision, Mission, and Values, and builds on, instead of replacing, the previous strategic plan. There are three Strategic Areas of Focus in our new Plan:
Art: move, inspire, and transform individuals and communities through excellence in the arts and creative practices.
Inclusivity: build a culture where people feel valued, welcome, integrated, and included.
Homelessness: respond to the needs of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
This plan will serve as a road map to guide and direct our efforts for the next three to five years. Our efforts will help us identify those ministries, programs, services, etc. that are important and necessary for our parish community. If you would like to review a copy of our new Strategic Plan, please call the parish office.
6. Special Collections: While no one is fond of special collections, it is heartening for me to report that the people of The Basilica have been very generous to the last few special collections here at The Basilica.
- On the weekend of June 17 and 18, $9,679 was contributed to help defray the cost of air conditioning The Basilica during the hot summer months.
- On the weekend of July 28 and 29, $10,835 was contributed to help fund our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry.
- On the weekend of September 15 and 16, $9,514 was contributed to help fund our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry.
The contributions to these collections testify to the generosity of the people of The Basilica. Please know of my gratitude for your generous response to these collections.
7. Campus Space Planning: As I mentioned previously, a few months ago The Basilica Landmark approved funding for the hiring of a liturgical space planning consultant. Fr. Gil Sunghera S.J. was hired and has been working with our Campus Space Planning Committee to build a vision for our campus spaces that will help 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.
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.
8. The Basilica App is Now Available: To get the App you go to the App Store and download MyParish. Once you download it, you search for Basilica of Saint Mary. The App was launched to the parish beginning on November 4. The App has message notification and group messaging features that we will be expanding soon. It is our hope that the App will help us keep in touch with people and make it easier for people to find out everything that is happening at The Basilica.
Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary