Archives: March 2015

           It was Palm Sunday of Our Lord's Passion some years ago. I had the opportunity to visit one of our major cities. Participating in the liturgy at the city’s famed cathedral was on my liturgical bucket list.  I was not disappointed. It was an experience Egeria would have written about had she lived in our times.

As prescribed and not entirely different from what we are accustomed to in Minneapolis, we gathered in "another place" for the first part of the liturgy. After the proclamation of the Gospel we processed to the cathedral commemorating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. On our way to the cathedral we walked by large cardboard boxes. Blinded by the beauty of the liturgy I had not noticed these until I nearly tripped over a man who crawled out of one of them. Apparently the procession drew his attention, maybe even woke him up. His appearance caused me and my fellow Christians to make a quick circle around him and continue on our splendid liturgical way.

When we entered the Cathedral the true quality of the liturgy was revealed. The bishop himself was presiding flanked by auxiliary bishops and a throng of other clerics. The service was marked by exquisite music, beautiful vestments, countless candles, bellowing incense... a liturgist’s delight.

            Though I had thoroughly enjoyed the liturgy, it was the man crawling out of the box who stuck with me. More than that, his face haunted me throughout Holy Week. I saw his face in the man whose feet I prepared to wash and in the woman who came forward to receive Holy Communion on Holy Thursday. I saw his face in the child who knelt down to kiss the wood of the cross on Good Friday. And I saw his face in the many people who were baptized and confirmed on Holy Saturday. In all of these faces, reflecting the many cultures gathered for worship I saw one face, the face of Jesus.

            For centuries we have tried to figure out what Jesus looked like. Thousands upon thousands of artists have presented us with their depictions of Jesus. We have even tried to recreate a three dimensional visual of the face that is imprinted on the shrine of Turin. And, there he was, right before me climbing out of a cardboard box. And there he was having his feet washed by me. And there he was in the many, many faces comprising the Body of Christ.

            It was indeed a splendid Easter celebration, that year, thanks to the glorious cathedral setting, the extra-ordinary music, the flawless liturgical choreography, and the inspiring preaching. Yet, above all, it was an eye-opening celebration because of the man who climbed out of his cardboard box and woke me out of my liturgical daze so I might see Him as He is.


There are plenty of places to park but please allow yourself extra time to find parking.


Holy Thursday - Good Friday
Free parking
Free parking is available on 17th Street. This street will be available for one-way, northbound traffic only beginning on Good Friday, April 3 through Easter Sunday, April 5. Parking may also be available in the lots to the west and north of The Basilica school.

Handicapped Parking
Available in the Cowley lot off 16th Street and throughout The Basilica campus, as marked. Please display your permit.

o    Parking lot under the freeway (west side of church, entrance located off 17th Street) 
      o  $5.00 charge on weekdays before 5:00pm and $2.00 after 5:00pm; cash only
o    Minneapolis Community & Technical College Ramp (east side of church, entrance located off Laurel Ave) 
      o  $5.00 for all-day parking; accepts credit cards

Holy Saturday - Easter Sunday

Free parking
o    Free parking is available on 17th Street. This street will be available for one-way, northbound traffic only beginning on Good Friday, April 3 through Easter Sunday, April 5. 
o    Parking may also be available in the lots to the west and north of The Basilica school.
o    Parking lot under the freeway (west side of church, entrance located off 17th Street) 
o    Minneapolis Community & Technical College Ramp (east side of church, entrance located off Laurel Ave) 

Handicapped Parking
Available in the Cowley lot off 16th Street and throughout The Basilica campus, as marked. Please display your permit.

Click on the icons on this interactive map to see exact details on parking locations and costs.

Triduum/Easter Schedule

Triduum/Easter Sunday Schedule

Holy Thursday, April 2
Noon - Midday Prayer                  
7:00pm - Celebration of the Lord’s Supper                 
9:00pm - Quiet Prayer until 10:00pm in the Choir Stalls

Good Friday, April 3
Noon - Stations of the Cross    
3:00pm - Celebration of the Lord’s Passion   
7:00pm - Tenebrae 

Holy Saturday, April 4
Noon - Midday Prayer, in the Choir Stalls
7:00pm - Celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection     
        Cathedral Choir, Organ, Flute, Brass & Timpani

Easter Sunday, April 5
7:00am - Eucharist at Sunrise
       Cantor, organ, soprano & violin
9:30am - Solemn Eucharist       
       Cathedral Choir, organ & brass
Noon - Solemn Eucharist       
       Cathedral Choir, organ & brass
4:30pm - Eucharist                    
       Mundus & Juventus
There is no 6:30pm Mass.

Additional details on all these services can be found here

Triduum/Easter schedule at The Basilica

Today as we approach the Triduum and Easter, we begin the holiest of weeks in our church and in our Catholic tradition. The Paschal Mystery is central to our beliefs as we celebrate the passion, the death and the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Being the youngest of 12 children and growing up in New York City, it was a very big deal for our Catholic family to spend lots of time in Church. And one of the customs was to journey to as many churches as we could between Holy Thursday and Good Friday. It is a dear memory of those times when my mother took my siblings and me on many bus rides throughout the city visiting various Catholic churches. We would spend time in prayer and appreciate the beauty of each unique church. This tradition instilled in me a deep sense of being in touch with what had happened in Jesus’ life during his last days on earth. 

Today this memory brings me back to the importance Jesus’ life and death has in my life today. I once heard a speaker say that by the time Jesus got to the cross, there was nothing left of him to give…he had already given his all for us during his life. And Jesus asks us today to live in that same way—giving what we can to live our lives following in the example of Jesus.

Jesus and what he stood for, what he preached and taught, and how he treated all the people in his life, is the example of total love and mercy—this total love and mercy about which Pope Francis speaks so often. Jesus became a threat to the powers that were in place in the government and in the synagogue. His message was so contrary to what they believed and what they had been taught. “Love your enemies”…that was such a foreign concept to them. “Love the poor and outcast”…that, too, didn’t make sense to them. But Jesus was gaining momentum and people were beginning to listen to him. This made them very nervous and suspicious of Jesus. But they didn’t stop Jesus from continuing to share with them his Father’s love for them—though eventually he was crucified for speaking out these beliefs and teachings that remain central to human dignity and compassion today. 

I often wonder what side I would have been on if I had lived during Jesus’ time. This Holy Week, take some time to consider this question yourself…what would you have done had you lived 2000 years ago and been faced with this decision? We do know that the way Jesus lived his life affected the whole world and still does. 

But the important truth we face today is that we are faced with these questions every day—what will we do today when we are faced with decisions that challenge our faith lives and push us to greater lengths in loving all people? What will we do with that and other ethical questions that arise in our work lives, at home, and in our communities?  

If we can but take his simple example of always speaking the truth and doing the most loving actions possible, then we can believe that his Spirit will always be with us and enable us to live a life like Jesus lived. We have that promise through Jesus’ own resurrection. And through our own baptism, we know that we are called to live a life that will make a difference and maybe change the world.


MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Basilica of Saint Mary will celebrate Palm Sunday of Our Lord’s Passion and the beginning of Holy Week March 29.

Liturgies begin with fanfare and festivity to model Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, where he was greeted warmly by followers who laid palms in his path. Hundreds of people will gather on the Basilica’s plaza prior to the 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Masses to process into the Basilica with their own palm branches. 

After processing, the liturgy transitions from solemn to somber as we start Holy Week – the week leading up to Easter.

The most important days of Holy week, known as the Sacred Triduum, begin with Holy Thursday on April 2 and continue with Good Friday April 3, Holy Saturday April 4, and Easter Sunday April 5. Nearly 5,000 people will join in this sacred celebration at The Basilica.

Basilica parishioners toured a new affordable housing complex located off West Broadway Crescent in North Minneapolis March 22 following the 9:30am Mass.

The Basilica donated $700,000 from a recent capital campaign to help support CommonBond's iniative to build affordable housing on the north side of Minneapolis. This initial investment helped CommonBond leverage an additional $12 million to complete the facility. 

The 54-unit complex opened to residents in December and has already started a waiting list for future tenants. 

The complex will be managed by CommonBond, which is the midwest's largest nonprofit provider of affordable housing with services. Services, or better known as advantage services, can include anything from homework help to social events for residents. To learn more about their organization, visit their website. To volunteer to help at this location, contact Janice.

Below are a few pictures from the event.

Ann Ruff, CommonBond's Vice President of Resource Development, speaks to Basilica parishioners during the open house for the new CommonBond location on West Broadway Crescent in North Minneapolis.

Fr. John Bauer, pastor of The Basilica, speaks during the open house at the new CommonBond location at West Broadyway Crescent.


Basilica parishioners tour a brand new apartment located within CommonBond's newest location at West Broadway Crescent.



Cleaning Closets

The weather last week was absolutely remarkable. I bragged about it to my sister. She lives in Belgium where March is usually warmer than here. I could just feel the weight of winter slide off my shoulders as the sun of spring touched my face. A deep sigh of relief accompanied by the somewhat vein hope for it to last relaxed my built-up winter tension.

Not surprisingly most Minnesotans spent as much time as possible outdoors. By contrast, I stayed indoors, though admittedly gazing longingly at the sun streaming through the windows of my home. I blame my ancestors for this odd behavior.

My grandmother and my mother instilled an irresistible desire in me to start cleaning at the first sight of spring. It is as if the first rays of warm sun cause the cleaning genie to come out of the bottle. So, I cannot but empty closets and drawers in preparation for an in-depth spring cleaning. The sweater that has not fit for years is finally gone. Dust bunnies that have evaded the vacuum cleaner for weeks have been collected. The comfortable chaos that reigned in certain drawers has been turned into perfect order. The house is clean, everything is in order and I feel great about it. Cosmos, once again triumphs over chaos.

While cleaning and organizing I feel very close to my family. They did this religiously, and so do I. And like my ancestors I do not refer to it as my spring cleaning, but rather, I call it my Easter cleaning.

From a very young ago I was taught that there is an interior as well as an exterior preparation for Easter. The exterior preparation includes fasting and other forms of penance as well as the cleaning of our home. And all of this is intended to assist us with our interior preparation which is no less satisfying than the exterior.

So during this season of Lent as we clean our homes in anticipation of Easter, let’s also open the doors and drawers of our spiritual lives so we may take an inventory of our spiritual lives and throw out, clean up or re-organize that which is not befitting of a Christian. Thus we will be ready both exteriorly and interiorly for the celebration of Easter when spiritual cosmos again triumphs over spiritual chaos.

So get out those brooms and mops and lets start cleaning.

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

Each year on Palm Sunday we read an account of Jesus’ passion from one of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke).  This year we read from the Gospel of Mark.     In place of the customary introduction to the Gospel:  “A reading from the Holy Gospel according to ………..”   the passion is introduced with the stark:  “The passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to ……….”   This change may seem slight or even trivial, but it reminds us of the significance of the story we are about to hear and which will unfold for us during Holy Week.       

Mark’s account of the passion is the shortest of all four Gospels.   At the same time, some scripture scholars claim that Mark’s account of the passion emphasizes the humanity of Jesus the best.   It is not that Mark forgets the divinity of Jesus; rather Mark doesn’t try to “dress up” the emotions Jesus --- and others --- are feeling.   

While we are all familiar with the story of Jesus’ passion, reading (or hearing) it in its entirety can help us appreciate anew, and hopefully at a deeper level the suffering Jesus’ endured for our sake.  

The first and second readings for Palm Sunday remain the same every year.   The first reading is taken from that part of Isaiah known as the “songs of the suffering servant.”   From the earliest days of the Church, Christians have seen these songs as referring to Christ, the suffering servant par excellence.  

The second reading for Palm Sunday is taken from Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  It is in the form of a hymn and it speaks of Jesus’ journey from heaven to earth and back to heaven.  Its simple eloquence reminds us that Jesus “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave” for us.   And because of this, “every knee shall bend in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord………..”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. I suspect that for many people the “cross” is more “ornamentation” than symbol of Christ’s suffering and death.   Why do you think this is?  
  2. What part of Jesus’ passion and death is most disturbing for you?
  3. Can you think of a time when you “emptied” yourself for another?   

St. Vincent de Paul teaches us to see Christ in those who are sick, poor, and suffering. Radically, he suggests that those who are struggling must become our teachers and mentors, and we—their servants. This is the heart of Vincentian spirituality. Jesus said, “Whatever you do for the least of my brothers and sisters, you do for me” (Matthew 25). Vincentian spirituality recognizes that we are transformed as we embrace life on the margins: We honor God by serving God in the person who is sick, poor, or suffering. We are all called to serve, and to be served. Together, we become the Body of Christ. 

St. Vincent articulated five virtues that directed his life. We are invited to reflect on these virtues. How do they resonate in our life? How do they challenge our daily living? How are they supported in our community? This Lent, let us prayerfully wrestle with and embrace these five virtues. 

Simplicity is the virtue St. Vincent loved most. “It is my gospel,” he says. Listen to how St. Vincent describes simplicity: 
Jesus, the Lord, expects us to have the simplicity of a dove. This means giving a straightforward opinion about things in the way we honestly see them, without needless reservations. It also means doing things without any double-dealing or manipulation, our intention being focused solely on God. Each of us, then, should take care to behave always in this spirit of simplicity, remembering that God likes to deal with the simple, and that he conceals the secrets of heaven from the wise and prudent of this world and reveals them to little ones. But while Christ recommends the simplicity of a dove he tells us to have the prudence of a serpent as well. What he means is that we should speak and behave with discretion. We ought, therefore, to keep quiet about matters which should not be made known, especially if they are unsuitable or unlawful … In actual practice this virtue is about choosing the right way to do things.

For St. Vincent, humility is the recognition that all good comes from God. It reminds us that we are not the originator of life. Humility recognizes that we all have gifts, but also limitations and faults. The Beatitudes tell us that the kingdom of God belongs to the poor in spirit. St. Vincent calls us to stand before God humbly in our daily prayer, and have the attitude of a servant.

Jesus identified himself as meek and humble of heart. St. Vincent believed this. He won the hearts of those who are poor because his meekness developed as warmth, approachability, openness, deep respect for the person of others. Although he tells us that he was irritable by nature, St. Vincent asked God to change his heart: “Grant me a kindly and benign spirit…” 

Jesus calls us to follow him even unto death. A radical directive for our lives today, we are called to be willing to stand in God’s grace, even while absorbing the pain and suffering of our neighbor. St. Vincent embraced this challenge and gospel imperative. Consistently, he calls us to be faithful to our duties of serving those who are poor. Even more, he challenges us to prefer them, when they conflict with other more pleasurable things. 

Vincent loved, with a burning love. “Let us beg God to enkindle in our hearts a desire to serve him…” St. Vincent challenges us to persevere as servants of the sick, suffering, and poor—while remembering that although the Lord asks us to cooperate in his work, it still remains His work. We must strive to live a balanced life, so that we might have the energy that nourishes zeal.

Prayer from St. Vincent de Paul
Lord Jesus, teach me by your example….Make me, through the vigor of my efforts and the power of your Spirit, set the world around me on fire. I want to give myself to you, body and soul, heart and mind and spirit, so that I may always do what gladdens you. In your mercy, grant me the grace to have you continue your saving work in me and through me.” Amen.


During a recent morning Mass Pope Francis preached on humility. And though this is a laudable Lenten theme, I must admit, I have never been a fan. I mostly equate humility with weakness and with deprecation that is either imposed or self-inflicted. Further, humility and humiliation are too close for comfort. And of course, who can forget Mozart’s quote from the film Amadeus: “Humility is the little cousin of mediocrity.”

So when I received the transcript of the pope’s homily I did not reach for it immediately, as I am otherwise want to do. Still, I made myself read it and, to my surprise marveled at the fact that Pope Francis spoke about humility in a beautifully affirming way rather than in deprecating terms. Thus, in one short sermon he salvaged humility for me.

Since then I have been musing about authentic humility and have concluded the following: first, humility is part of our very identity as Christians. Second, Christian humility is informed by Scripture and Tradition. Third, Christian humility is branded by charity and mercy.

First, the fact that humility is an essential characteristic of Christians is based on two complimentary realities. One the one hand, we are created in the image of God. On the other hand, as Pope Francis said in his homily, God, throughout salvation history has appeared to us in the humblest of ways, culminating in the birth of Jesus in a humble stable and his death on a cross. Therefor, since we are created in the image of a humble God we are called to humility ourselves. It important to note though that, as salvation history reveals, God’s kind of humility in no way implies weakness. On the contrary, God’s humility and thus Christian humility is strong and decisive. In the same way as God made the radically humble choice to become one of us, even in a stable or on the cross we too are to be with one another, even in a stable or on the cross. This kind of humility is clearly not for wimps.

Second, Christian humility is rooted in Scripture and Tradition.  A quick etymological search reveals that the word humility is derived from the Latin word for soil: “humus.” As such, one of the main characteristics of humility is rootedness. For Catholics, humility is the soil in which Scripture and Tradition are rooted, while in turn humility is rooted in Scripture and Tradition.

The Scriptures and Tradition teach us the history of God’s radically humble, yet extremely decisive engagement with the people God created. The Scriptures and Tradition also teach us how God wants us to relate to one another and to all of creation in the same radically humble, yet decisively engaging way.

As we let ourselves by guided by Scripture and Tradition it is good to remember that though God’s Word is eternal it is also in constant dialogue with each individual’s concrete life experience. Similarly, though our Tradition is ancient it is also ever new; dynamic and not static; shaping and reshaping itself holding on to the essentials yet adopting continuously evolving accidentals. Scripture and Tradition do not exist in order to cause deep sighs of shared nostalgic longing for a time long-since gone except in romantic minds. Rather, Scripture and Tradition which contain our shared past accompany us into our future. Scripture and Tradition are not a sacred relic, rather they are a lived reality.

Third, Christian humility is branded by charity and mercy. Better yet, everything we do as Christians is to be cloaked with the mantel of charity and mercy. Without mercy and love we can do nothing. It is this very understanding of Christian mercy and love, illuminated by Sacred Scripture and Catholic Tradition that is the “humus” or soil of all we do as Christians.

In the end true humility is nothing more or less than an unwavering commitment to radical love supported with copious amounts of mercy. This is the kind of humility God has demonstrated to us time and time again, most especially in the manger and on the cross. And this is the kind of humility God requires of us in turn.