Archives: November 2014

Dine out for The Basilica

Parishioners, visitors, and friends can "Dine out for The Basilica" Sunday, Nov. 16, at various participating restaurants.

A portion of the proceeds from the day will come back to support The Basilica. 

Dine of for The Basilica
Photo provided by: 
Leah Fogelberg

May They All Be One

As he lay dying of cancer, Pope John XXIII reportedly continuously whispered Jesus’ prayer: “May they all be one” (John 17:11). As a priest, diplomat, and finally as Pope, one of John XXIII’s aims was to reach across denominational barriers to re-establish the unity of God’s people. He once said: “Whenever I see a wall between Christians, I try to pull out a brick.” Along with Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII was canonized (named a saint) on April 27, 2014.    

I think John XXIII’s words about removing bricks from the walls that separate Christians are perhaps more important now than when he first uttered them. In our world today, there is much that would/could separate Christians. Divisions exist on almost every moral issue, and there is ongoing debate about major issues in our Christian faith—the ordination of women being perhaps the most notable.  

In addition to the differences that exist among Christians, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that differences also exist among Catholics. I don’t believe, though, that we should be alarmed or threatened by differences. Rather, I believe it is the divisions that arise from our differences that are the real source of shame and scandal. There is something wrong if we allow differences to turn into disputes and divisions.   

In regard to the above, I want to be clear. Acceptance of others doesn’t mean we agree with them. Dialogue with others doesn’t mean that we abandon our principles, and respect for others doesn’t mean endorsement of their beliefs. To lack respect for the differing position of others is to be haughty, ignorant, or both.   

Many years ago Dr. James P. Shannon was President of the then College of St. Thomas. He later became an auxiliary bishop in our Archdiocese and eventually left ministry. While President of St. Thomas, he wrote an essay in 1962 entitled: “The Tradition of Respectful Argument.” In that essay he wrote:  

The ability to defend one’s own position with spirit and conviction, to evaluate accurately the conflicting opinions of others, and to retain one’s confidence in the ultimate power of truth to carry its own weights are necessary talents in any society, but especially so in our democratic culture.

There is some evidence that these virtues are in short supply in our land. The venerable tradition of respectful argumentation, based on evidence, conducted with courtesy and leading to greater exposition of truth is a precious part of our heritage in this land of freedom. It is the duty of educated men to understand, appreciate, and perpetuate this tradition.  

If we can remember and put into practice the ideal of respectful argument, perhaps some day Pope John’s prayer: “May they all be one,” will become a reality.   
    

The Basilica church and offices will close at 2:30pm on Monday, November 10, 2014.

On Tuesday, November 11, 2014:

  • Basilica Church - Open
  • Basilica Offices - Open
  • City House - Meeting
  • DCEH Direct Service Providers - Meeting
  • Docent Training - Cancelled (will be rescheduled)
  • Lector Practice - Meeting
  • Masqueray Ball - Meeting
  • MUNDUS - Rehearsing
  • RCIA - Cancelled
  • Saint Vincent de Paul Outreach - Taking place
  • The Basilica Landmark FC Meeting - Meeting
  • Voices for Justice - Meeting

For this Sunday’s readings, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111614.cfm

This Sunday we celebrate the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.   Our Gospel this weekend is the arable of the talents. We are told that a man decided to go on a journey and so he called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.  “To one he gave five talents, to another two;  to a third one --- each according to his ability.”    The first two servants traded with the talents they had been given and doubled them.  The third “buried his master’s money.”   After being gone a long time the master returned and called in his servants to settle accounts with them.  The first two were congratulated for being “good and faithful” servants, and were promised greater responsibilities.  They also were invited to “share in their master’s joy.”   The third was berated as a “wicked and lazy servant,” and thrown “into the darkness outside.”  

What are we to make of this parable?  It seems as if the master’s treatment of the third servant is unduly harsh.  I think the key to understanding it is to be found in the fact that he entrusted his possessions to his servants “each according to his ability.”   The third servant was lazy and indifferent.  He didn’t even put his master’s money in the bank where it could earn interest.   As with every parable, this one also tells us something about God or about our relationship with God.   Specifically this parable reminds us very clearly that God has given us the gift of faith, and we put off living out our faith at our own risk.  

Our first reading this weekend from the book of Proverbs speaks of the qualities of a worthy wife.  It  shares the theme of the Gospel in that a worthy wife uses well the talents and abilities she has been given.  In this she is like the first two servants in the Gospel. 

Once again this weekend our second reading is taken from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians.  In the selection we read this weekend Paul reminds the Thessalonians that because of Jesus Christ they “are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief.  For all of you are children of the light………”

Questions for Reflection/Discussion: 

1.    What are you doing to develop the gift of faith you have been given? 
2.    What inhibits or prevents you from developing the gift of faith?  
3.    What does it mean to live as children of the light?   

The Basilica of Saint Mary hosts the Bible and the Qur'an two-part series Nov. 9 and 16 following the 9:30am Mass on the lower level of The Basilica.

Cost to attend is $10. Tickets can be purchased here.

Adam, Noah, Abraham, Solomon, Mary and Jesus—all figure prominently in the Qur’an. This series will compare the accounts to give participants a greater appreciation of the holy book revered by a billion of our fellow humans and enable Christians  to gain a greater understanding of their own traditions. 

 

The Icon Festival Turns 20

The Annual Icon Festival began 20 years ago to educate parishioners and the community about the history and significance of Icons. The Greek work "Icon," meaning "image" is used in Christianity to denote a Holy Image.  Icons have profound historical and spiritual significance in the setting of the Orthodox liturgy, in private daily prayer rituals, and in the art world. The Festival provides opportunities to learn more about each other through art and music.

Photo provided by: 
Stacy Glaus

There seems to be a children’s book to address most childhood behavior issues, which is helpful because life with a two-year-old is unpredictable, and sometimes you need a little outside help. 

At Mass recently, our two-year- old daughter happened upon a few goldfish crackers left on the floor. As soon as she saw them she moved as quickly as possible and her little hands snatched them up just before I could get there. She proceeded to stuff them into her mouth and swallow. You don’t hesitate to eat off the ground when you are two. It was her own loaves and fishes miracle, right here at The Basilica.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Anything I needed to learn, I learned in Kindergarten.” I feel this common saying could be applied at The Basilica and interpreted as “Anything I hoped my children would learn, started at The Basilica.”  

My family has had many loaves and fishes experiences in this community, and there is an abundance of great gifts because of the generosity shown here. Witnessing this generous behavior provides an abundance of learning opportunities.

  • Even when my family is disruptive and our pew is messy, you smile. You welcome us—all of us—at our best and our worst. One of the first words my older daughter learned was “peace,” and it always warms my heart to hear her share it at Mass. It may have started with one word, but it means so much more.  And she learned it from you.
  • We sing together—young and old. Together, with the help of our choirs, we give thanks and praise in a beautiful, collective voice. My family sounds better at The Basilica than in the car.
  • We face challenges together, united in what we love at The Basilica. Coming together with encouragement makes us stronger, our faith assured and our blessings multiplied.  
  • We live out financial stewardship with great generosity. In good economic times and bad, you give. One parishioner I met with recently illustrated this beautifully. He described his approach to giving—and that it wasn’t ever optional—and his desire always to give as much as he possibly can. He made a pledge last year, and even in a year as a freelancer without clients for several months, and as he planned a wedding, he stuck to his commitment to The Basilica. His generosity, and all the ways our community gives, is a shining example of a lifestyle of gratitude for the next generation.  
  • All the lessons I want my children to know in their hearts as adults are right here at The Basilica, in many forms. When the crying babies at Mass today are adults, I believe that the great enrichment they receive here, today, will provide a foundation for their internal moral compass.

I’m reminded of Fr. Michael O’Connell’s inspirational words: “Give generously and graciously from what God has so generously given you.” It is that simple, and that complicated, just as so many of life’s little lessons prove to be:

  • Eat your food and be grateful that you have good food to eat.
  • Greet each other with blessings of peace, and share that peace with each other.
  • Sing your heart out.
  • We are part of a faith tradition that has no end, and we are not on this journey alone.
  • Giving generously gives happiness.
  • And know that when you give, you are really giving to God.

This fall, as you consider the blessings in our parish, please consider a Financial Stewardship pledge for 2015. Your pledge of any size will have a powerful impact—in your own life and in the life of The Basilica community. Please watch for pledge forms in your mail and in the pews.

Thank you for your consideration and for being a part of this community that gives so much.

 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110914.cfm 

This weekend we celebrate the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.   When this Feast falls on a Sunday it replaces the normal celebration for that Sunday, in this case the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time.    The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the Cathedral Church of Rome.  It is where the Pope presides as Archbishop of Rome.   The more well known, St. Peter’s Basilica, is the Church were the Pope presides as head of the universal Church.  

Our Gospel reading for this Sunday is the story of the cleansing of the Temple.   This is one of the few stories that is found in all four Gospels.  We are told that Jesus went to the temple area and ”found those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as money changers seated there.”   Now to be fair, these people were providing a needed service.   Often people came from a distance to offer sacrifice at the Temple.  For them to bring their offering with them would have been a hardship.  It was much easier to buy what your needed when you got to the Temple.  The difficulty was that it had gotten completely out of hand.   The Temple had become a marketplace and not a house of prayer.   On this Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, this story reminds us that our churches are places of God’s presence and our prayer.   

Our first reading this weekend is from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel.  The Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed, but Ezekiel offered a vision of the Temple’s restoration and a lavishness of new life streaming forth from the Temple.   

Our second reading this weekend is from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.   In the section we read this weekend, Paul tells us:  “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

Questions for reflection/discussion:

1.  At times my prayer feels like the Temple in this Sunday’s Gospel --- filled with a lot of commotion and little quiet.   Is that true for you as well?
2.  Have you ever experienced God’s new life pouring into your life?
3.  Have you ever thought of yourself as the temple of God in which God’s Spirit dwells in you?  

It has been 20 years since our first Icon Festival in November of 1995. You may remember that it all began with a small exhibit of icons in a former chapel which now houses the church elevator. It was a humble but important initiative as it allowed us to celebrate All Saints in a very tangible way and brought together members of two of the great Christian traditions: Orthodoxy and Catholicism.

Since then, the festival has broadened to include a much larger exhibit in the sanctuary; a procession with Icons; icon classes; lectures; visits to Orthodox Churches; concerts by Basilica Choirs and Orthodox Choirs; as well as prayer in both traditions. In all of this, bringing together Christians of the East and the West has been our main focus. Icons, the saints they depict and the devotion they elicit seem to be able to do just that.

For some 1000 years, Orthodox and Catholic Christians have grown apart. This has led to centuries of suspicion and distrust. Though there has been some rapprochement, the path to unity between Orthodox and Catholic Christians is neither easy not quick. And the end result is probably not going to be how we imagine it today.

As we journey toward unity, it is good to remember that the early church saw no conflict between unity and diversity, on the contrary. The early church, e.g. was rich in liturgical diversity as the language of the service, the ritual details and the texts differed from region to region. And yet, early Christians understood themselves to be united by their strong faith in Christ. A strong sense of unity and rich diversity characterized the early church.

Since then we have sadly come to equate unity with uniformity. In order to be one, we think that we have to pray in exactly the same way, using the same rituals and texts. Diversity, which was a hallmark of early Christianity is often regarded as a threat and challenge to unity, rather than an enrichment of that same unity.

If ever we hope for unity among Christians we will have to again embrace diversity as a gift, rather than as a threat. Unity will only be attained when we not only tolerate, but even embrace and welcome the divine gift of diversity.

Provide feedback

Last Sunday, Fr. John Bauer, Pastor of The Basilica of Saint Mary, asked parish members via e-mail for their thoughts and opinions regarding a slight decline in weekend attendance at The Basilica. Hundreds replied and for that, we are grateful.

We recognize that not all of you may have had the opportunity to receive the e-mail or reply to his comments. Therefore we have extended this opportunity for you.

Click here to provide anonymous feedback directly to Fr. Bauer. All comments will remain anonymous, unless you e-mail him directly, and will only be shared in generalizations to the Parish Council and our community as a whole. 

We understand that while we may be facing some challenges at this time, our future is filled with hope. We have much to be thankful for.

Thank you for your feedback.

 

 

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