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Archives: November 2016
The Basilica of Saint Mary proudly releases BASILICA Magazine Fall 2016 issue, The Spiritual Works of Mercy: Practicing mercy in our lives.
Thank you to the volunteer Magazine team for their dedication creating this issue.
Cecilia Hofmeister, Carol Evans, Rita Nagan, Michael Jensen, Elyse Rethlake
Features inside this issue:
The Basilica Welcomes Archbishop Hebda: Interview with Johan van Parys
The Spiritual Works of Mercy: Emulating mercy in every aspect of our lives
Admonish One Another: Three people passing blessings forward
Encourage One Another: Providing support in times of struggle
Comfort One Another: Sharing our humanity
Be Patient with One Another: Sharing a spirit of helpfulness
Forgive One Another: Practicing forgiveness starts in the family
Pray for One Another: Mercy and grace in times of trouble
Enlighten One Another: The importance of art in a church of words
In Reverence and Respect: Taizé prayer at The Basilica
Who is Our Neighbor? Welcoming immigrant families
Planned Giving: Maximize the tax benefit of your charitable gift
The award-winning BASILICA magazine is sponsored by The Basilica Landmark, a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is the preservation and restoration of the historic Basilica of Saint Mary and it campus. BASILICA is published twice a year (spring and fall) with a circulation of 20,000.
For advertising information please contact Mae Desaire.
Waiting. I don’t think we’re very good at it anymore. But then again, maybe we never were very good at it. In this fast paced, electronically driven, and hectic world we seem to get frustrated very easily if we have to wait for any length of time. We’ve gone from voicemail to email. That wasn’t fast enough, so now we text and instant message people. And waiting in a line at a store or at a stoplight can feel like doing hard time in prison. Waiting feels like time wasted. And who can afford to waste time these days. We are a busy people. We have way too much to do. Every second counts.
But now we are in the season of Advent, and Advent is all about waiting. During this season, we remember all those faithful and faith-filled people who waited in hope for the messiah to come. So maybe a little waiting is a good thing. Now I know this is probably a heretical thought for some people. I think, though, that there are some real and tangible benefits to waiting. In fact, I’d like to suggest four specific benefits to waiting. You may disagree with them of course, but I think they are worth reflecting on.
1. Waiting reminds us that God is in control. Or looked at another way, waiting reminds us that we are not in control. Now I realize that for some people this may be a difficult concept to accept. For many people control is an emotion, and not being in control can be anxiety producing. Ultimately, though, waiting reminds us that God is in control and we are not. This is a lesson some of us need to learn over and over again.
2. Waiting reminds us that the present matters. It is easy to focus on what we have to do today, or what we have to do next week or next month. Waiting gives us the opportunity to remember that the future is in God’s hands not ours. The present is what we have and we need to make the most of it. Being aware of the present can help us recognize the grace that is always being offered to us at this time, in this moment, in this circumstance.
3. Waiting reminds us that all that we have and all we are is a gift from God. When we are caught in a traffic jam, we can choose to grumble and complain about the loss of our precious time. On the other hand, though, we can use those moments to thank God for the blessings we enjoy in our lives. And in thanking God for those blessings we are reminded of the gift that life is, and what it means for us.
4. Waiting reminds us that we are not the center of the universe. Now while none of us really believes we are the center of the universe, we sometimes act this way. It is just too easy to get caught up in our own plans and priorities. Without intending or acknowledging it, we can believe that every thing we do is of absolute and critical importance. Waiting can help us remember that we aren’t the center of the universe. That doesn’t mean that we are unimportant. Rather, waiting just puts us in the same boat as everyone else.
Now perhaps the above won’t give you a new perspective on waiting, I hope, though, that at least it will help you to begin to think of waiting in a new way, especially during this season of Advent. Most particularly, I hope it gets you to think that the waiting time of Advent is not wasted time. For in Advent, while we know for whom we are waiting, it is important that we allow our waiting to remind us that the birth of the Jesus is part of God’s plan and the fulfillment of God’s promises. And clearly celebrating the birth of our Messiah is something that is well worth waiting for.
For this Sunday’s readings, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/120416.cfm
This Sunday we celebrate the second Sunday of the season of Advent. Each year on the Second Sunday of Advent our Gospel reading presents us with the familiar figure of John the Baptist. This year we read Matthew’s account of John’s preaching. We are told that John’s message was: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Those who came out to hear John were the people around the region of the Jordan who “were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.” However, when “he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers!’” Clearly John, like Jesus who would follow him, saw the Pharisees and Sadducees as opposing rather than supporting his message.
It is also important to note that John clearly understood his roll vis-à-vis Jesus. He said: “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals.”
Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. It is Isaiah’s prophecy of a future King from the “stump of Jesse.” (Jesse was the father of King David.) The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon this future King: “a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight will be the fear of the Lord.” (If these words sound familiar they are what we Catholics refer to as the “gifts of the Holy Spirit.”)
Our second reading this weekend is taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans. In it Paul asks that “the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- I have always been impressed with John the Baptist’s clarity in regard to his mission. How do you think he came to such clarity?
- John describes himself as not being worthy to carry Jesus’ sandals. How would you describe yourself in relation to Jesus?
- As a child I had to memorize the gifts (as well as the fruits) of the Holy Spirit. I was always troubled by the gift of fear of the Lord. Someone then suggested that I substitute the words “wonder” or “awe” for fear. That made much more sense to me. How do we exhibit wonder or awe of God?
When things get out of balance, you begin to hear a call for revolution. In any sphere of life, when things lose their original purpose, or a system we are invested in becomes corrupt, there are cries for radical change.
Revolution is a powerful word, full of assumptions and expectations. It may conjure up fear of violence or loss of power. Yet, the word also contains seeds of comfort and hope. So much depends of what drives the revolution.
Revolution can be described as rolling back toward an original purpose. It can initiate dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works or is organized. Pope Francis offers a provocative and inspiring paradigm of revolution. He invites us to recognize the incredible, radical, and all-encompassing power of the forgiving, reconciling, and redeeming love of God. In a call for renewal, he invites us to start a “revolution of faith.”
“Put Christ in your lives, put your trust in him and you will never be disappointed! You see, dear friends, faith carries out in our lives a revolution that we can call Copernican: it takes us away from the center and puts God there; faith immerses us in his love and gives us safety, strength, and hope. In appearance nothing has changed, but deep down inside us everything changes. When there is God in our hearts there is peace, gentleness, tenderness, courage, serenity, and joy which are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Then our existence is transformed, our way of thinking and acting is renewed; it becomes the way of thinking and acting of Jesus, of God. Dear friends, faith is revolutionary, and today I ask you; are you ready to enter this revolutionary wave of faith?” (World Youth Day, 2013)
Pope Francis highlights an important truth for our day: As we put God first in our life, we come to know and become love. As we know and become love, we act boldly and compassionately in the world. As we act compassionately in the world, the world is transformed and healed.
This is, indeed, a revolutionary wave of faith—a revolution of love and tenderness.
Today, our world is experiencing pain, fear, hurt, misunderstanding, division, suffering, and violence. Rather than push these away, our faith calls us to the provocative response of encounter—we are called to stand in these hard places. The road of encountering human suffering, and the invisible and institutional dynamics that accompany it, is uncomfortable. Our faith gives us strength.
Together, through an encounter shaped by love and tenderness, we are called to see clearly all that needs healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation. We are called to see and stand with those experiencing grief, death, vulnerability, unemployment, disabilities, mental illness, and societal oppression. We face the questions as individuals and as a community.
Our faith in God, and the redeeming love of Christ, isn’t just for us. It is also for the transformation of our families, our communities, our Church, our country, and our entire world. The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ invite us to reimagine and reconstruct human life and society once again.
Pope Francis states, “This is the moment of mercy. We are all sinners. All of us carry weight within.” At a time of great division, fear, and pain, he calls us to intentionally encounter God’s love and tenderness—and to act on it. This vision of the common good is a powerful invitation to engage in what Pope Francis calls a “revolution of love and tenderness.” Together, let us open our lives to this call.
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112716.cfm
This weekend, as we celebrate the First Sunday of the season of Advent, we begin a new liturgical year. This year we will use the “A” cycle of readings, which means that our Gospel readings will be taken primarily from the Gospel of Matthew.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” In essence he was saying that people will be doing normal everyday things when the end comes. He sumed up his comments by saying: “So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. " Clearly Jesus was reminding his followers that we are not to live as did the people of Noah’s time, thinking only of their present comfort and happiness, and giving no thought to the future. Rather, we are to stay awake and be prepared for no one knows when the Son of Man will return, or when one’s own life will end.
Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. In this reading Isaiah offers comfort and hope to the people of Israel who are under threat from their enemies. In this reading Isaiah reminds the people that if they are true to their covenant with God, “many peoples shall come and say: ‘Come let us climb the Lord’s mountain to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways and we may walk in his paths.’”
Our second reading this Sunday is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans. This letter probably was written somewhere between 55 – 60 AD, and reflects the common thinking at that time that the second coming of Jesus was imminent. Paul says: “You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For your salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- It is easy to become lulled into thinking only of our comfort in the present moment and to forget about being prepared for the Lord’s coming. What is one concrete thing you could do to keep better focused on being prepared for the Lord’s coming?
- Priests of our Archdiocese are asked to do advance planning for our funerals. It is an interesting experience. If you knew the end of your life was approaching what would you do to plan for it?
- How would you respond to someone who claimed the return of the Lord was near?
The Harvest Pack volunteer event Sunday, November 13, 2016 brought our community together for a great cause with a big impact. Volunteers of all ages enjoyed giving an hour of their time to participate in the day of service dedicated to the Year of Mercy.
The meals from Harvest Pack include carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins that are easily digestible. The Basilica team packed two types of meals including one of rice and lentils and one of oatmeal with cinnamon and sugar.
Over the course of three hours, 184 volunteers packed a total of 30,400 meals. A little more than half of the meals packed will be shipped to the Philippines. The meals will help feed families working through life skills and job training programs.
The other half of the meals packed were donated to Community Emergency Services in Minneapolis for their East African Food program. The pallet that Basilica volunteers packed will help feed families for three months.
Thank you to everyone who helped with this event including our parishioners, the St. Vincent de Paul ministry who funded the project, and Harvest Pack who helped coordinate the packing event!
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112016.cfm
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. This Feast was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925. Seeing the devastation caused by World War I, Pius established this Feast as a way to remind people that Christ is Lord of both heaven and earth. Initially this Feast was celebrated on the last Sunday in October, but when the Roman Catholic Church revised its liturgical calendar in 1969 it was moved to the last Sunday of the liturgical year. (The new liturgical year will begin on November 27th with the First Sunday of Advent.)
Our Gospel this Sunday is the scene of the crucifixion. Jesus is ridiculed by the rulers and jeered at by the soldiers. We are told that the soldiers taunted him by saying “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself.” There were also two criminals crucified with Jesus. One of them reviled Jesus saying: “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” The other rebuked him, however, and asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom. In reply Jesus said to him: “Amen I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the second book of Samuel. It recounts the story of David being anointed as King of Israel. As Christians, we see the Kingship of David as pre-figuring the eternal Kingship of Christ.
Our second reading this Sunday contains a wonderful Christological hymn (a hymn to Christ). It is St. Paul’s pronouncement of Christ’s place in God’s plan of salvation. The hymn really needs to be read in its entirety to fully appreciate it, but it reminds us that: “He is the image of the invisible God ……………………. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- A friend of mine likes to say that the criminal who asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom was a thief to the end, in that he even stole heaven. Hearing Jesus’ response to his fellow criminal why do you think the other criminal didn’t also ask to be remembered when Jesus came into his Kingdom?
- Jesus’ exchange with the “good thief” gives me a profound sense of hope that the gift of eternal life will be offered to all who are open to that gift. What do we need to do to be open to that gift?
- What does it mean to call Christ our King?
I stood looking out the kitchen window having returned home from a funeral I attended that day. I was asked to cantor. The funeral was for the father of two girls who were friends of my sisters. As I stood there looking out, I thought, “What would I do if dad died?” I would have never considered that I would know the answer to that question that very day.
Since I was working the second shift at the Canterbury Hotel that day, I decided to watch a movie around Noon— The Devils, starring Vanessa Redgrave. (It was quite a disturbing movie but I digress.) My father had left to pick-up my aunt so I had the place to myself. I didn’t need to leave for work until 2:30pm. After the movie, I got ready for work. I passed the kitchen window and noticed that dad had left the garage door open. I couldn’t wait to reprimand my dad like he had done so many times to me for committing the same infraction.
I went out, closed the door, and noticed that his car was parked in the neighbor’s yard, three houses down. Thinking he was somewhere talking to a neighbor, I went back and finished preparing for work. As I got in my car, I thought, I’ll just go through the alley to make sure everything is okay. As I passed his car, I noticed that he was slumped over the steering wheel. He had had a massive stroke while pulling out of the garage. The car making a sharp U turn out of the garage ended up in the neighbor’s yard stopped only by a pile of rubbish. I got to the car, opened the door, and tried to wake him but my father was dead. He had been dead for a few hours at that point.
I ran into the house panicked. There was a message from my aunt wondering where my dad was. I called 911. The ambulance came. Dad was pronounced dead. I began to contact my brothers and sisters. Luckily, I got a hold of one brother. Unbeknownst to me my siblings were headed out of town; I had caught them just in time.
As the day turned to evening, family and relatives began to arrive. The air was thick with cigarette smoke as family gathered around the cluttered table chatting about my father. I was exhausted but needed to get away from it all so I volunteered to go to the local grocery store to pick up something for everyone to eat.
As I got to the store, I grabbed a cart and aimlessly strolled through the aisles, occasionally snatching something from the shelves. In my daze, I got to the check out line. Not paying any attention, I listlessly unloaded the groceries onto the conveyor. It was the sound of the cashier’s voice which brought me back to reality. I looked up. I can’t recall what she looked like but her name badge read: Hope. And from that point on, I did.
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111316.cfm
This weekend we celebrate the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. As we come close to the end of this liturgical year, (It will end next weekend when we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King.) our Gospel reading focuses on the end times. It begins with Jesus reminding people that: “All that you see here --- the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” The people naturally ask: “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” In response to this question Jesus tells the people not to follow anyone who comes in his name saying: “The time has come.” He then describes catastrophes and calamities that will occur before the end times. He ends, though, with a note of consolation: “You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair of your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” Notice that Jesus doesn’t promise that his disciples won’t experience pain or difficulties. He does promise, though, that ultimately God will triumph.
Our first reading this Sunday is from the prophet Malachi. It shares the apocalyptic theme of the Gospel. Like the Gospel, though, it also offers a promise of consolation and hope: “But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.”
For our second reading this Sunday, we continue to read from the second Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians. In this reading, Paul reminds the Thessalonians (and us) that while we await the end times, we are not to grow slack or idle. Rather, Paul is clear that we are to work diligently as we await the return of the Lord and “if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- There seems to be a constant ebb and flow in regard to interest in the “end times” Why do you think this is?
- When have you felt God’s comforting grace in the face of difficulties or pain?
- Has there been a time when you have grown slack or been idle in your faith? What re-energized your faith?
The Development team is excited to welcome two new members to The Basilica staff.
Peggy Jennings, Development Officer
Peggy joined the Development Team in June of 2016. She is a longtime parishioner and volunteer with the Basilica. As Development Officer, she promotes giving opportunities and programs to advance The Basilica of St. Mary and The Basilica Landmark.
In 2015, Peggy worked for several months as Interim Volunteer Director for The Basilica. Prior to that, she retired from the marketing department of Gabberts/HOM Furniture, where she was responsible for community outreach and involvement, public relations and events, non-traditional advertising and coaching for presentation skills.
Monica Stuart, Development Officer
Monica began working at The Basilica in 2016. She promotes giving opportunities and programs to advance The Basilica of Saint Mary and The Basilica Landmark. Prior to her work as Development Officer, she cofounded a mobile app company, freelanced in communications, and worked in healthcare sales. Monica is married and has three school age children. She volunteers her time as a tour guide at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and serves on the board of directors for Breanna’s Gift.