Archives: June 2014

For this Sunday’s readings please click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/070614.cfm

Several years ago I heard a story --- probably apocryphal --- about a small boy who snuck into the room where his baby brother lay in his crib and whispered:  “Tell me about God.  I’m already starting to forget.”  I thought of this story as I reflected on this Sunday’s Gospel.  In this Gospel we hear Jesus exclaim: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.”   I believe these words remind us that we should be child-like (as opposed to childish) in our relationship with God.  We are called to trust and believe that the God who loved us into existence, will never abandon us or fail to hold us firm in God’s love.   

This is the message in the second part of today’s Gospel.  There we hear the familiar words: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”   These comforting words remind us that in God we will always find rest and comfort.  

Our first reading this Sunday is from the Book of the Prophet Zechariah.  It is a prophecy of the Messiah’s return and the establishment of his kingdom.  “and he shall proclaim peace to the nations.   His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. “   .  

In our second reading this Sunday from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans, Paul draws a contrast between the “flesh” and the “spirit.”  Paul reminds us that because of Jesus Christ:  “You are not in the flesh, on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

1. Has your relationship with God gotten simpler or more complex as you have gotten older? 
2. Where in your life do you need rest from your labors or burdens? 
3. How do you know when the Sprit of God is dwelling in you?    

Created by local artist Deb Korluka, The Basilica's newest icon will be dedicated on Sunday, June 29 at our 9:30am and 11:30am Masses. 

The icon is of St. Dymphna, the patron saint of those with mental illness.  There will be a special blessing for all those in attendance, and Fr. John Bauer will preside.  Following Mass, all are invited to an ice cream social on The Basilica's west lawn, sponsored by the Mental Health Ministry.

Our Building of Hope

The Basilica, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built more than a century ago, and was the first Basilica in the United States. And it hosts a great rock concert each summer.  

The Basilica Landmark has much to celebrate, from the $2.5 matching challenge gift to the 20th anniversary of The Basilica Block Party. When the event started, it funded emergency “right now” needs.  There were about 1,000 registered households, and the building was in great disrepair.

Today, what happens at The Basilica reaches beyond the parish and impacts our community.

  • Programming spans from employment to mental health ministry to religious education, and so much more.
  • Hundreds of thousands visit us each year attending concerts, art exhibits, and other public events.
  • More than 11,000 people attend liturgies on Easter and Christmas combined, and there are 60 weddings each year.
  • Outreach programs serve about 50,000 people each year. We give away 7,000 pairs of shoes, 13,000 sandwiches, and hundreds of bus tokens, gas cards, and rental assistance annually.

These programs are all possible because The Basilica Landmark cares for the home for these life-changing and life-saving ministries. The Landmark’s Mission Statement is to “Preserve, Restore, and Advance the historic Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations.”  We will advance this mission through giving opportunities including the matching challenge and the Block Party.

Last November, an anonymous donor made a commitment to match new or increased gifts of $1,000+ made to The Basilica Landmark. If we meet this challenge, we will ensure the transition from reaction into action, paving the way for continued growth with major improvements for our campus buildings and Landmark church. If you would like to participate in this opportunity, please call the development office at 612.317.3455.

The Cities97 Basilica Block Party is a great introduction to thousands of people who attend each year, and it is also a successful fundraiser. Each year, more than 1,600 volunteers and 75 committee members make the event come together. In 19 years, more than 400,000 people have attended and $5.2 million has been raised. These funds are directed two places :

  1. Our St. Vincent de Paul outreach programs, and 
  2. The Basilica Landmark, which is an independent non-profit from The Basilica, specifically dedicated to our mission of caring for the buildings on our campus.

You are invited to be part of this year’s event. Don’t miss the archive exhibit featuring 20 years of block party memorabilia. Raffle tickets are available from volunteers after Mass, and you can purchase tickets and The Basilica Block Party 20th anniversary CD at basilicablockparty.org. The Basilica’s own Choirs are featured on the CD performing with The Jayhawks.

After decades of work and investment and two decades of the “party of a higher order,” we have turned a corner on our campus. Today, we have the opportunity to improve buildings, renovating for growth and the future. This year, The Basilica Landmark will spend more than $2.5 million on campus improvement projects, including the removal of the church insulation which is the first step in the interior restoration. The work we do today paves the way for our dream, the complete restoration of The Building of Hope. 

We’ll know we’ve accomplished our goal when we ensure our building — and all the good that happens here — is forever.  Please accept my appreciation to everyone who has cared for our historic Landmark Basilica.  You have contributed to “The Building of Hope.”

Learn more about The Basilica Landmark.

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/062914-day-mass.cfm

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles.   This Feast is observed each year on June 29th, and since June 29th falls on a Sunday this year, it takes the place of what would have been the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time.   

Our Gospel for this Feast is the familiar story of Jesus asking his disciples: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”   His disciples must have been pleased they could fill him in on the local gossip.  “Some say John the Baptist, other Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  Jesus, though,  makes the question more personal, though, by asking: “But who do you say that I am?”  It is Peter who gets is right --- even though at that point he didn’t understand the full meaning of his words:   “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”   In response, Jesus tells him:  “……….you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church……….”   
  
Our first reading this Sunday is from the Acts of the Apostles.  We are told that Herod had Peter arrested and put into prison.  While in prison an angel of the Lord appeared to Peter, freed him from the chains that bound him, and led him out of prison.   In response to this miraculous act Peter said:  “Now I know for certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”   

Our second reading for this Feast is from the second Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy.   Paul is facing death, but reminds Timothy that God has been and continues to be his strength.  “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.  From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me…….”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

1.  How would you respond to Jesus’ question: “Who do you say that I am?”
2.  Peter felt God working in his life when he was freed from prison.  When have you felt God working in your life?  
3.  Do you believe that a crown of righteousness awaits you at the end of your life?    

A number of years ago I found myself in one of our major cities on Corpus Christi Sunday. I decided to participate in the celebrations at the local Cathedral.  On my way there, I walked by an Episcopal church. The service was in full swing and revealed great dedication to the liturgy. At the Catholic Cathedral, the celebration was even more magnificent. It was truly a beautiful event, a liturgist’s delight.

As I made my way back to the hotel I stumbled over a man who was sleeping in the street. Only then did I notice that several large cardboard boxes lined the avenue. A man crawled out of one of them and asked me for money saying he was hungry. The pathway connecting both churches was dotted with these makeshift shelters housing many hungry people. Blinded by the splendor of both liturgies, I had not noticed them.

That afternoon some friends invited me to accompany them to their non-denominational church. The service was mediocre at best. One thing I will never forget though: at the end of communion the minister placed all the remaining pieces of bread in the hands of the man who had asked me for money. He sat down and ate all of it. When finished he looked to see if there was more, but there was none.

That image is for ever burned in my memory. It reminded me that as Saint John Paul II wrote in Mane Nobiscum: the Eucharist calls us to share “not only in spiritual goods but in material goods as well”. Indeed, it is our mutual love, and in particular our “concern for those in need which is the criterion by which the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebration is judged.”

The celebration of the Eucharist invites us to become the One we honor with our song; the One we raise up in a blessing; the One we carry in procession. That very One lived a humble life of love for the poor and of service unto the cross. He is the One we are to follow, to imitate and to become. He is the one we carry in our Eucharistic processions. These processions are not only to be processions WITH the Body of Christ they also are a procession OF the Body of Christ.

In a way, by walking with the Body of Christ we rehearse in our own bodies the path Jesus took and takes today.  This path is not one of pomp and circumstance, but rather a path of humility and service. This path is one that leads to the cross and from there to life everlasting. Those of us who take part in the celebration of the Eucharist as well as in Eucharistic processions should ready ourselves to pick up that cross and follow him wherever he may lead us.

 

KIPP Stand Academy is moving to a new North Minneapolis location this week.  A Minnesota public charter School serving 5-8 grade students, KIPP has been the Basilica's School tenant since 2008.  We send our best wishes to KIPP's students, faculty and staff as they move and get settled in their new school home.   

This coming October, Pope Francis has called for a special Synod on the family. According to Pope Francis, “the Synod will be on the family, the problems it is facing, its assets and the current situation it is in.” In preparation for this Synod, bishops from around the world were asked to seek input and gather information from the people of their respective dioceses. Several individual bishops, as well as conferences of bishops, have released summaries of the input they received. Archbishop Michael Jackels, the Archbishop of Dubuque, Iowa, was one of the bishops who reported on the input he had received.

Additionally, though, he offered his reflections on that input. In this regard, he noted that “the responses reflected positions relative to marriage and the family that were varied and opposing.” He also reported hearing a range of opinions about birth control, divorce and remarriage, same-sex marriage, and other issues. While I don’t think anyone would be surprised at this, I am grateful for and pleased by Archbishop Jackels’ candor in acknowledging it.     
In his reflections on the input he had received, I was struck in particular by one comment Archbishop Jackels made.  Specifically, he said:“The Church is a lot like a family, which is never perfect, often not pretty, sometimes dysfunctional and a source of frustration, even the cause of anger. And yet we still identify with it, claim membership in it, and how dare anyone try and say otherwise.  In the Church family we always hold out hope that other members or things in general will change for the better. And what “better” means varies from family member to family member.”

I think Archbishop Jackels really hit the nail on the head with this comment. As I have mentioned previously, I think Church is like a family. In my own family, we have managed to cancel out each other’s votes in the last several presidential elections.   And yet we realize that when we come together to share a meal, when we all put our feet under the same table, there is something much bigger holding us together than could ever divide us. And so it is with Church. 

When we celebrate the Eucharist we experience the preeminent commitment of God to us. At its deepest level, the Eucharist is a communion of life, a communion of love with our living God. It is a sharing in God’s life, so that our lives can be holy, and we can be united in Christ. In the fourth century, St. Augustine in a homily about the Eucharist said: “So now, if you want to understand the body of Christ, listen to the Apostle Paul speaking to the faithful: ‘You are the body of Christ, member for member.’ (1 Cor. 12.27) If you, therefore, are Christ's body and members, it is your own mystery that is placed on the Lord's table! It is your own mystery that you are receiving! You are saying "Amen" to what you are: your response is a personal signature, affirming your faith. When you hear "The body of Christ," you reply "Amen." Be a member of Christ's body, then, so that your "Amen" may ring true!”  

When we gather for Eucharist we come with all our different perspectives, opinions, prejudices, perceptions, views, thoughts and ideas about how things should be. It would be easy for these things to separate and divide us. When we share Eucharist, though, the things that might divide us shrink in significance as we are unified in Christ through the Eucharist that we share in his name and memory. It is the Eucharist that strengthens us, that nourishes and sustains us, and that unites us as we seek to follow Jesus. And in the Eucharist, when we receive the Body of Christ, we become the Body of Christ in the world. We are united in faith, and because of this our differences — whatever they are — dim in comparison to the unity we experience in the Body of Christ.  

For this Sunday’s readings, please click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/062214.cfm 

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  For those old enough to remember, this Feast used to be called Corpus Christi.   It celebrates our belief in that in the Eucharist we celebrate in Jesus’ name and memory that Jesus Christ is really and truly present --- not present just symbolically, not present merely in memory, not present simply spiritually --- but really and truly present.    We offer no proof for this belief.  There is no rational explanation for it.  There is no way to logically reason to it.  For us it is a matter of faith.  And as we read in the Letter to the Hebrews:  “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”   Heb. 11.1)   

Our Gospel for this Feast is taken from the Bread of Life discourse in the Gospel of John.   In the section we read this Sunday Jesus tells us:  “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”   

Our first reading this Sunday is from the Book of Deuteronomy.  In the section chosen for this Feast Moses reminds the Israelites that when they were in the desert God “………. fed you with manna, a food unknown to you and your fathers, in order to show you that not by bread alone does one live, but by every word that comes forth form the mouth of the Lord.”   The manna that fed the Israelites in the dessert prefigures the Eucharist.   

Our second reading this Sunday is from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.  The section we read today is very appropriate for this Feast: “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?  The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. How would you explain our belief in the Eucharist to someone who doesn’t come from a Christian background? 
2. Have you ever spent time in an Adoration Chapel or in quiet prayer before the Tabernacle?  What was that experience like? 
3.  What do you remember about your First Communion? 

A Letter to the Parish

Dear Parish and Friends,

As a parish that strives to live out the vision of Vatican II, we believe that every member is responsible for the well-being of our church as well as our community. The Basilica Vision states this wonderfully as we attempt to be a Home of Spiritual Nourishment, a Beacon of Hope and an Advocate for Change.  We, as Parish Council members, attempt to be your lay voice in carrying out this Vision.

Allegations of sexually inappropriate conduct within our church, and concerns regarding the handling of such allegations by the Archdiocesan hierarchy, continue to be headline news. While we all react differently to this information, each of us as parishioners at The Basilica and members of the Roman Catholic Church must share a sense of compassion for those directly and indirectly impacted by sexual abuse and disappointment that these issues continue to exist within our church.

The Parish Council regularly discusses these issues and supports Fr. Bauer in his regular communications to you and to Archdiocese officials. We discuss what has happened and is happening, both here at The Basilica and at the Archdiocese, and prayerfully ask what more we can or should do as lay leadership to respond to past abuse, minister to those impacted by it, and protect against future abuse within our community and church. Many of you have actively assisted us in this endeavor, through private conversations with Fr. Bauer, staff or members of the Parish Council, and through participation in public listening sessions. Although some parish members have said they’ve heard enough or don’t want to hear anything more from us on this issue, we feel silence does not best serve our Mission at the Basilica.  By continuing to treat the safety of community members as a critical issue, and providing transparency regarding our own actions, we will establish and reinforce a church environment that does not allow such conduct to go undetected and unaddressed.

In communicating our actions to date and our plans going forward, we look to The Basilica’s Vision for our guidance.

The Basilica of Saint Mary aspires to be a:

  • Home of Spiritual Nourishment - We aspire to be a place where all may be touched by beauty, be nourished in their faith, and be inspired by truth. Our parish should be a place of healing and strength realized through both community and individual prayer. We support Fr. Bauer in being open, transparent and at times blunt about what we can do and what the Archdiocesan leadership should be doing.
  • Beacon of Hope - We commit to welcome everyone with respect and dignity and to provide help and care, especially to those most in need. We are proud that the Basilica continues to open its doors to minister to those directly or indirectly impacted by sexual abuse through public listening sessions for our parishioners and private forums for individuals and officials dealing with or protecting others from sexual misconduct. 
  • Advocate for Change - We pledge to work toward justice, peace, and equality for all and to promote the protection of all of creation. We must make certain that our parish remains a safe and welcoming environment for all those who come through our doors. We strive to be an example and disciple of Christ in protecting individuals from misconduct and being forthright, rigorous and outspoken that such standards are adhered to by clergy, staff and volunteers here and throughout the Archdiocese.

 In furtherance of our Vision, concrete steps we have taken as a parish to address arising from sexual abuse and our Archdiocesan response to abuse include the following:

  • Fr. Bauer has regularly extended invitation to individuals and families to share with him their anger and frustrations regarding abuse and our Archdiocesan response to it, through newsletter and bulletin articles, pulpit announcements and extending personal invitation.
  • We held public listening sessions in November 2013 to provide opportunity for prayer, dialogue and healing, and to provide a forum to discuss openly the impact of abuse on our church.
  • We have shared information and feelings heard at the public listening sessions in an open letter from Fr. Bauer to Archbishop Nienstedt to encourage open communication and connection between church members and Archdiocesan leadership.
  •  We have reviewed and updated volunteer and staff policies designed to protect the safety of our community members. This includes policies and practices for conducting background checks, training volunteers and staff in best practices working with children and reporting suspected abuse to law enforcement, and building awareness among children and parents in our parish programs.
  • The Parish Council keeps this topic on its agenda as new information and events unfold, regarding abuse allegations as well as Archdiocesan responses. We regularly ask what more we can and should be doing to support and guide our parish community and what our role should be in the larger church.

In addition to these actions, many of which are continuing, we have begun planning for a liturgical response dedicated to issues of sexual abuse.  We will be inviting parish and community members to join us in prayer and support for those who have been victims of sexual abuse and their families and for those struggling with the impact such allegations have had on individuals and our church. Our goals are to provide an opportunity for healing and coming together with anyone impacted or concerned with these issues within the church, to remind ourselves of the healing power of Jesus Christ, and to offer prayerful example to all who are hurt and angry.  We will also continue to provide information and feedback to the Archdiocese, to ensure the voices of our parish community are transmitted to Archbishop Nienstedt.

As Parish Council members, we serve you – our parish community.  This is your parish and we welcome and need your input to continue to constructively address and respond to abuse issues our church is facing.  We encourage your involvement and input, through emails, conversations, meetings and other actions. Provide your feedback and let us know what would be helpful and meaningful to you. 

You can contact any member of the Parish Council (including Fr. Bauer) by email.  You may also provide input to the Archdiocese at 226 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102 or online.

If you are aware of abuse or suspect sexual abuse, you should report such information to local law enforcement.

We ask that you continue to pray for all victims of sexual abuse.  We ask further that we all pray for each other as members of The Basilica and the greater Roman Catholic Church in fulfilling our role to make our church and community a better place for all.

Sincerely

Chip Brink, Chair, Liturgy and Sacred Arts

Jill Ahern, Vice-Chair, At Large

Thomas Paul, Secretary, Liturgy and Sacred Arts

Kathy Noecker, At Large

Deborah Pekarek, At Large

Kathleen Andrus, Christian Life

Anne Jaeger, Christian Life

Rebecca Vandenberg, Learning

Paul Herb, Learning

Steve May, Development

Steve Kattke, Finance

Anne Locker Bernat, Trustee

Delia Bujold, Trustee

Terri Ashmore, Managing Director

Fr. John Bauer, Pastor

 

For this Sunday’s readings, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.


http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/061514.cfm 

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity.   This Feast celebrates our belief that God has revealed God’s Self as loving Father, redeeming Son and sanctifying Spirit.  In the preface for this Feast we hear the words:  “For with your Only Begotten Son and the Holy Spirit you are one God, one Lord:  not in the unity of a single person, but in a Trinity off one substance.”   How this can be we do not know.  That it can be we do believe.   

While our belief in a Triune God has been at the core of our faith since the beginnings of our Church, the dogmatic statements that articulate this belief are the result of later generations of believers.   

Our Gospel reading for this weekend is from the Gospel of John.   It speaks of the core and essence of our faith: “God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”    

Our first reading this weekend is from the Book of Exodus.  In this beautiful passage we are told that “………. The Lord stood with Moses there and proclaimed his name, “Lord.”  Thus the Lord passed before him and cried out ‘The Lord, the Lord, merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.’”
 
Our second reading this weekend is taken from the second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians.  It was probably chosen because it speaks of each member of the Trinity.  It is also, though, the greeting that is often used at the beginning of Mass.   “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”       

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

1.   We believe in one God, who has revealed God’s self as Father, Son and Spirit.  What explanation of the Trinity has been most helpful to you in understanding this belief?  

2.   How have you experienced the presence and/or action of the Father, Son and Spirit in your life?  

3.   What does it mean to you that God is “slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity”?     

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