Archives: June 2015

Welcome to The Basilica of Saint Mary. You may be here weekly, even daily, or maybe you haven’t visited in years, or perhaps you are visiting for the first time today. Regardless of your history, I hope you take the time to look around and appreciate the gift that surrounds us.

Just imagine, in our lifetime a decision had to be made to save the Basilica.

The Basilica Landmark was founded as an independent, non-profit organization in 1993 by a group of forward-thinking volunteers who knew the community would care about this building. It was not only for the congregation, or even Catholics, but for everyone. Generations of generosity bring us to where we are today.

The Basilica Landmark’s mission is to preserve, restore and advance our historic Basilica and its campus. We call it “The Building of Hope.”

In any given year, hundreds of thousands of visitors walk through these doors for weddings, outreach services, concerts, tours, baptisms, funerals, and of course, for worship. The common thread tying these experiences together is inspiration.

These experiences inspire us to see people, everyone—from those at Mass to those in line for a sandwich. To see each other—really see them—and what is within. This space inspires us to give, not just take. It inspires us to improve our relationships—to love one another. Perhaps it inspires us to be better, to improve our relationships, our community—and in turn, even our world.

This is “The Building of Hope.”

This is a very exciting time for The Basilica Landmark, with so much good happening here on campus. Since 2010, The Basilica Landmark has invested $10 million in our mission. We have funded vital repairs to the interior of the historic Basilica school, restored the original bronze and leather doors, restored the Narthex, Sacristy and stained glass windows, and replaced the original church boiler from 1913. These are just a few of the hundreds of total projects already complete.

Last December, we met a $2.5 million matching challenge gift, making it possible to invest in a number of significant projects planned on our campus over the next few years, including a very significant renovation of the Reardon Rectory going on right now. This will address the limitations we currently face for service and programming growth.

Today, we are a thriving organization, investing more than $2 million each year in our campus. Major projects planned between 2016-2018 include Church tuck-pointing and roofing work, an expansion of the Cowley Center, and tuck-pointing, and a new window installation in the School. For more information on these projects, visit us online at

You can feel the momentum on our campus, and the progress paves the way for wonderful things in our future. To make these projects possible, we still need your support, and are thrilled to announce yet another wonderful opportunity to increase the impact of your gift. In 2015, a challenge gift has been made to The Basilica Landmark.  For each new annual fund gift of any size this spring, a $100 donation will be made.  To make a donation, please call 612.317.3455 or email Emily Hjelm.  Thank you so much for your consideration.

In a city where historic architectural treasures have been demolished, The Basilica has held a prominent place on our skyline for more than 100 years. We have been given a very special gift, thanks to the thousands of people who gave generously to have it built and then thousands more gave generously to save it. Today presents our opportunity to participate in our own legacy. Thank you for your consideration and your part in “The Building of Hope.”


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

I once heard an “expert” described as someone who carries a briefcase and had to travel at least 50 miles to get some place.  I think there is more than a grain of truth to this statement.  It certainly reflects what was going on in this Sunday’s Gospel.  In that Gospel Jesus came to his native place and began to teach in the synagogue.   The people were astonished, but also very critical. They said:  “What kind of wisdom has been given to him?  What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!  Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?  Are not his sisters here with us/” And they took offense at him.”   

Jesus was too familiar to the people in our Gospel today.   They knew who he was, and that was all that he could be.  They were not open to him being other than what they conceived him to be.   At times, all of us “lock” people into a preconceived idea of who they are and/or what they can do.   When we do this, though, we fail to recognize the presence of God in that individual.  And when we fail to recognize the presence of God in one person, it limits our ability to see the presence of God and the grace of God at work all around us.  This is what was happening in our Gospel today. 

Our first reading this Sunday is from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, It shares the theme of the Gospel.  God has sent Ezekiel to the Israelites, a people “hard of face and obstinate of heart …………… And whether they heed or resist --- for they are a rebellious house --- they shall know that a prophet has been among them.”  

Our second reading this Sunday is from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. In the section we read this Sunday Paul talks about being given a “thorn in the flesh.”  He begged the Lord to take it away, but the Lord told him: “My grace is sufficient for you.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Have you ever let an early experience of someone blind you to better/deeper understanding of them? 
  2. When have you failed to recognize the presence of God in someone? 
  3. Have you ever had an experience when God’s grace was sufficient for you?    

On Friday, July 3, there will be a Communion service celebrated at 7:00am in the Saint Joseph Chapel.
There will be no Noon Mass.

On Saturday, July 4, there will be no scheduled confessions that day.
There will be a Mass celebrated at 9:30am in The Basilica.

On Sunday, July 5, Alicia McQuerrey, on the flute and piccolo will be our summer soloist at the 9:30am Mass. She will play John Philip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever as Postlude 

Dear Archbishop Hebda, Bishop Cozzens and Fr. Lachowitzer:

Archbishop Hebda, I want to welcome you to our Archdiocese as Apostolic Administrator. Please know that you are in my prayers and the prayers of our parish, as you begin this important ministry. I pray it will be a time of healing and new hope for our Archdiocese.

I write this letter with a very troubled heart. During the past two years, at listening sessions and at various meetings, I have heard my parishioners describe feelings of outrage, betrayal, breach of trust, and deep sadness over the manner in which certain events have been handled in our Archdiocese. Very sadly, some people have even chosen to leave the church. The loss of these good people is a wound from which our church will not soon recover.

In recent accounts in various media and most recently in a report last Friday by Madeleine Baron of Minnesota Public Radio, questions have been raised in regard to the manner in which the Archdiocese has shared or not shared important information regarding Archbishop Nienstedt. These reports are concerning on several levels. Most specifically, however, they suggest that the Archdiocese has not been transparent, honest and forthcoming in the information it is has shared with the faithful of the Archdiocese in regard to Archbishop Nienstedt. 

Given the events of the past two years, and most recently the resignations of Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Piché, I think it is absolutely imperative that, unless prohibited by law or promise of confidentiality to lay witnesses, the Archdiocese release all information regarding the investigation of Archbishop Nienstedt. I realize objections will be raised in regard to the release of this material. Given the fact that Archdiocesan funds were used, however, I firmly believe that the right of the faithful to this information outweighs any objections. More importantly, I believe that in order for our Archdiocese to rebuild the trust needed for the healing process to begin, full disclosure is essential so that we can move forward with the clear and certain knowledge that nothing has been or is being hidden or concealed.

I request that the release of information specifically needs to include:

  • the report(s) from Greene Espel;
  • the report(s) from Peter Wold;
  • the report(s) to Archbishop Vigano;
  • a full and accurate accounting of costs associated with these reports;
  • a general outline of the financial obligations of the Archdiocese to Archbishop Nienstedt, as defined by canon law and the regulations of the USCCCB.
  • Any additional information necessary to reveal any remaining issues and restore openness between the Archdiocese and parishioners, unless prohibited by law or promise of confidentiality to lay witnesses;

I have shared this letter with our parish leadership and I will also publish it in an upcoming parish bulletin as I have done in previous correspondence with Archbishop Nienstedt and in summaries of various listening sessions. I will do the same with any response you have. I believe that ongoing transparency is both necessary and critical during this time of crisis. It is my firm belief, as I hope it is yours as well, that it is only through this kind of transparency and openness that our Archdiocese will be able to move forward in healing and hope.  

Thank you for your ministry in and to our Archdiocese.  

Sincerely yours in Christ,

John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary


As our choirs take their break for the summer, we will welcome a variety of guest musicians in their stead. Please join us for the 9:30am Mass on Sunday morning's to hear these amazing musicians.

Summer Soloist Series for 2015

June 14: Patricia Kent, soprano; Kim Kasling, organ

June 21: Lynn Erickson, trumpet

June 28: Emily Gerard, harp

July 5: Alicia McQuerrey, flute and piccolo*
          *Featuring John Philip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever as Postlude 

July 12: Daniel McIntosh, cello

July 19: The Schmitt Music Brass Ensemble, David Baldwin, director

July 26: Mark Seerup, oboe and English horn

August 2: Andrea Stern, celtic harp

August 9: to be announced

August 16: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (transferred) BASILICA DAY | The Basilica Cathedral Choir, Teri Larson, conductor; Christopher Stroh, organist

August 23: to be announced

August 30: to be announced 

September 6: to be announced


France Choir Tour 2015

Photos provided by Paul Bergstedt

Reardon Rectory Update

The crew from Mortenson Construction continues to plow through the remodel at the Reardon Rectory. This week, the drywall will be installed on the fourth floor by a custom drywall company. A floor below, on the south side, the recently drywalled office space and dining room will have trim and doors installed, followed by an intense cleaning.

The kitchen is nearing completion as it is being sanded and will be ready for paint by the end of the week. On the north side of the third floor, fire protection is being added and the second floor currently has ductwork being installed.

Laudato Si' Encyclical: On the Care of our Common Home

Pope Francis has recently released a new encyclical on the environment. An encyclical is a papal letter surrounding a particular topic - in this case, it is about care for our common home. Here are a few powerful quotes from the document:

"The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish."

"Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years."

"We are not God. The Earth was here before us and was given to us."

"The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology ... is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth's goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit."

"Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start."

You can read the whole encyclical here

If you are interested in learning more about this encyclical, or leading a conversation with the parish, contact Janice Andersen.

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

In today’s Gospel we have a story within a story.   The main story is about a synagogue official named Jairus who sought out Jesus’ help because his daughter was “at the point of death.”   Jesus set off with him, but while they were on the way to Jairus’ house a woman with a hemorrhage touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak, hoping to be healed.   She was healed and when it was discovered that she was the one who had touched his cloak, Jesus said to her.  “Daughter, your faith has saved you.”   While this was taking place “people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said: ‘Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?’”   Jesus, though, disregarded the message and told Jairus:  “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”   When they arrived at the house, Jesus asked those who were mourning the child’s death:  “Why this commotion and weeping?  The child is not dead, but asleep.”  Jesus then put them all out and “he took the child by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum.’ which means ‘Little girl I say to you arise!’”  The child arose immediately, the people were astounded, but Jesus “gave them strict orders that no one should know about this.”     

There are three important things to note about this story.  1. The synagogue official was willing to take a big risk for the sake of his daughter.  Other synagogue officials would not take kindly to one of their own approaching Jesus with a request.   They regarded Jesus as problematic trouble maker.   2.  Notice that Jesus restored the little girl to this life.  This is a story of resuscitation, not a resurrection.   3.  Often in Mark’s Gospel, after Jesus has performed a miraculous deed, he told his disciples not to tell anyone about it.  The reason is that the people of Jesus’ time were looking for a messiah who would restore Israel to a place of prominence.   Jesus was not that kind of messiah.    

Our first reading this weekend, from the book of Wisdom, shares the theme of the Gospel.  It reminds us that "God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.  For he fashioned all things that they might have being.” 
In our second reading this weekend, Paul is writing to the community at Corinth.  He has asked them to take up a collection for the Christian community at Jerusalem.  He said:  “Not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their needs.”   

Questions for reflection/discussion:    

  1. Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said that many times he had been driven to his knees by the conviction that he had no where else to go.   I think this was the position that Jairus was in.   Have you ever found yourself in this position? 
  2. How would you explain the difference between being resuscitated and being resurrected?  
  3. From our second reading this weekend, it seems that sharing our abundance with others was part of the Christian life from the very beginning.   I suspect, though, that how much we share from our abundance would depend on how you define abundance.   How would you define abundance?  

Archdiocesan Update

It has been an eventful week in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. While we recognize there are still many unanswered questions in regards to the resignations and appointment of our apostolic administrator, the Archdiocese has provided parishes with a question and answer document to try and answer some of your questions. Please find this document below or in the back of church after Mass.