Message from the Pastor
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary
Sunday Prayer for Solace and Peace
For two months now, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives greatly. As a result many of us have experienced some level of fear, stress, anxiety and grief. Given the uncertainty of every day, week and beyond this is to be expected.
As a church community we are called to support one another in times such as these. And though we may not be able to console and support one another in person, we know that we are not alone because we are all part of the one Body of Christ. We are in this together, for when one part of the Body suffers, the entire Body suffers in solidarity. So we help where and when we can and we are committed to fervent prayer.
Starting on the first Sunday in June and every first Sunday thereafter we will livestream Evening Prayer from The Basilica as long as the Pandemic lasts. This Evening Prayer for Solace and Peace will be offered for all those who are affected in any way by COVID-19. You may have lost your job. You may have been diagnosed with the virus. You may be at greater risk because you are a first responder or healthcare worker , or you work in the cleaning service, as a postal worker or a bank clerk. Maybe you are alone and unable to receive loved ones. There are so many known and unknown ways we are affected by this pandemic. So it is good for us to pause and pray.
At the end of our Evening Prayer for Solace and Peace we will light candles in one of our Marian shrines. We invite you to send your intentions at mary.org/candles. We will offer those to our loving God while lighting the candles.
We especially invite those who have experienced the loss of a family member or a friend during this pandemic to join us. Grief over the death of a loved one is always profound, but this has been compounded during the pandemic. You may not have been able to be with your loved one while they passed away. You may have had to limit attendance at the funeral to a small group of people. Or you may have postponed the service to a future date. All of this is very difficult.
Please submit the names of family and friends who have died during this pandemic to mary.org/prayerrequests. As part of the service, their names will be spoken during the litany of All Saints and All Souls. We hope this service will offer some support to all those who are grieving. And it will offer all of us the opportunity to support our grieving sisters and brothers.
May we all know the healing and consolation of the resurrected Christ.Johan M. J. van Parys, Ph.D.
Director of Liturgy and the Sacred Arts
A New Reality
The corona virus has completely changed how we engage in our faith community, and like all of our departments, the Learning department has had to adjust our offerings as we have moved to virtual events. Our faith formation families, RCIA community preparing to receive the Easter sacraments, couples having to make decisions regarding their wedding dates and young adults have all had to adjust as so many plans have been put on hold. And yet, we have found that so many have continued to reach out to engage each other in this faith community.
RCIA candidates and catechumens have been patient as they await their chance to enter formally into the sacramental life of the Church and children and families have engaged each other in prayer and encouragement online. Our young adults have continued to support each other from everything like our weekly Bible study, to cocktail making happy hours, retreats, and trivia nights. It has been a blessing for us to continue to serve you during this time and see our Basilica community continue to engage each other in love and hope.
Our learning department staff worked hard to help contribute to our Domestic Church Resource for parishioners, which is available on our website at mary.org/domesticchurch. There you will find resources for family faith formation, prayer, and more. Please know that we are all working to prepare for fall learning opportunities, even as we are not quite sure how our parish life will look as we continue through this unprecedented time.
If you have questions please do not hesitate to reach out to us, and please continue engaging with our weekly newsletter to know of periodic offerings during the summer.
Jolane Jones, Cathy Edwards, Christine Moore and Ben Caduff
One of the most common emotions experienced, over these past few months, has been grief. Grief is a natural response to the experience of loss. You might feel fine one day, and then be anxious the next. You might feel angry, sad, lonely and many other emotions.
The losses that we’ve had to face, over the last few months, are incredibly diverse. We have had to maneuverer through the global pandemic. We have had to find ways to respond to the death of George Floyd. These ground shaking realities cause us to question so much of what we know to be true and safe. What is our role in the community? Where can we go? Who can we be with? Who can we trust?
Pope Francis gives us a context of responding to grief in our life. He suggests that sorrow is grounded in loving concern for others. The more we love, the deeper our sorrow or grief. He challenges us to recognize that, ultimately, our sorrow uncovers our love for God. We come to know God’s love in our life, and we extend that love to our neighbor.
As Pope Francis unpacked the beatitude, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” he reminds us that sorrow coming from death or suffering, “is a bitter road, but it can be used to open one's eyes to life and to the sacred and irreplaceable value of each person, and at that moment one realizes how short time is.”
We are invited to find the sacredness of each day—of each moment. God is present, and there is opportunity to learn and grow through all. It is not easy! Yet, it is the essence of life.
This bulletin has many opportunities for you to build relationships and enter into another’s life—to find hope and healing individually and as a community. Consider how you are being called today. Where do you seek healing? Where do you feel called to serve?
Let us open our eyes and our heart “to the sacred and irreplaceable value of each person.” Let us listen to how we are called to make this reality manifest in our life and community. And let us act now, as we realize “how short time is!”
Director of Christian Life