This October I began working at The Basilica as the Director of Development and Executive Director of The Basilica Landmark. And what a wonderful whirlwind it has been! I wish I could sit down and share coffee with each of you, and knowing that is impractical, I invite you to introduce yourself when you see me.
My husband Bob and I are both musicians. I play flute, and he plays trumpet—in fact, we met at the Music Academy of the West in sunny Santa Barbara. Music is key, you might say. After moving from a vibrant parish in Chicago we church-shopped for a few years. We were initially drawn to the beautiful Cathedral Choir and thoughtful dedication of Teri Larson and the many musicians who share their talents here. It was the mental health ministry led by Janet Grove that really sold me. I don’t know of another church that is dedicated to mental health and meaningful ways to include everyone. The first time we came to the Advent Blessing and Dinner for those impacted by mental health challenges, Fr. John Bauer greeted us warmly and asked what brought us that night. How wonderful to feel accepted completely, that our daughter who lives with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was welcome. She has a big heart, and we began to volunteer with the Families Moving Forward ministry that helped families in transition stay overnight for a week in Teresa of Calcutta Hall. She played with the children, held fussy babies to give the moms a break, and made conversation. She joined Juventus choir. These are huge wins.
Feeling welcome, feeling accepted—this is the ultimate human quest, the heart’s deepest desire. The Basilica of Saint Mary does this for me. I am so grateful that for the past year and a half we have been able to gather for beautiful liturgies, meaningful programs and events. I am in awe of how we adapted after the long separation, at our resilience as humans, at our dedication to our faith. If I accomplish anything in this role, I hope to engage and engage and engage. We need each other. We need to pray for each other and celebrate together. Being human is a social endeavor, after all.
This January I ask you to make a New Year’s Resolution to support The Basilica Fund with a monthly recurring gift. Thank you to all who already contribute monthly—and please consider a New Year’s Resolution to increase your gift! Remember the child’s game, ‘Here’s the church, and here’s the steeple; open the doors and here’s all the people’? The Basilica couldn’t exist without you. Recurring gifts are effective because they are reliable. Please join me in a monthly recurring gift and know that you are making a difference. Early in my fundraising career, a manager said to me, “It’s like filling a bucket, every drop matters.” You matter.
Anita M. Rieder, CFRE
Director of Development, The Basilica of Saint Mary
Executive Director, The Basilica Landmark