Archives: September 2018

 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/100718.cfm   

Our Gospel this weekend comes in two sections.   In the first half of this Gospel Jesus talks about the difficult issue of divorce.  The occasion for Jesus’ teaching was a question by the Pharisees: “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”    Jesus responded to their question by asking them what Moses had taught.  They replied correctly that Moses had permitted divorce, but Jesus told them that it was “Because of the hardness of your hearts” that Moses did this.    Jesus then went on to remind them that when God has joined two people together this union is blessed and sanctified by God and “what God has joined together no human being must separate.”    In the second half of this Gospel, we are told that people were bringing their children to Jesus to have him touch them.   When his disciples rebuked them, Jesus told them:  “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”  

The theme from the first half of the Gospel is echoed in our first reading today which tells the story of the creation of man and woman.  The importance of pets notwithstanding, this story reminds us that the “suitable partner” for a human being is another human being.   

In both the Gospel and the first reading it is important to point out what is not being said.   Jesus did not say that it was okay to criticize or judge those who go through the painful experience of divorce.  Jesus did not say that people should stay in abusive relationships.   Rather, he spoke about the dignity, goodness and blessedness of the union of those whom God has joined together.    

Our second reading this weekend is taken from the Letter to the Hebrews.  This letter was probably written somewhere around 90 A.D., which is relatively late compared to most of the other Epistles in the New Testament.   It was written to strengthen people’s faith, but also to increase their knowledge and love of Jesus.   In the section we read this weekend we are reminded that: “For it is fitting that He, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.”     

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Has a friend or someone in your family gone through a divorce?   How did you respond? 
  2. What does it mean to be “childlike” in our relationship with God?   
  3. If someone asked you why Jesus had to suffer and die, how would you respond?   

 

From the Pastor  

With this column I would like to update you in regard to several areas of our parish’s life.

1. Our End of Year Review and Our Operating Budget for the Next Fiscal Year: A four page summary of our Year in Review report is included in this bulletin. The full report is available online. In an earlier bulletin I had mentioned that while we were running a little behind in our budgeted revenue for the past fiscal year, we were also slightly under budget in regard to our expenses. We ended the fiscal year with a small deficit, which was covered by using a portion of the school rental income. The remainder of the school rental income was transferred to our cash reserve. 

I am grateful to our staff for the terrific job they did in reducing and controlling expenses. I am also grateful, though, for the ongoing financial support of you, our parishioners. Your generosity is a blessing for our parish. 

As mentioned above, the full copy of our year review is available online at mary.org. You can also call our Development Office if you would like to receive a printed copy. 

Finally, because of your generosity, in our budgeting for next year—we are anticipating a small increase in our revenue. This is good news and a testament to your care for and commitment to our parish community. As your pastor, I want you to know of my gratitude for your ongoing generosity. Please know it is greatly appreciated. 

2. 150th Anniversary of our Parish: This year our parish celebrates its Sesquicentennial. 150 years ago the Church of the Immaculate Conception was founded in Minneapolis. The first Mass was celebrated on October 4, 1868. (When the parish outgrew its original site, seven lots were donated at 16th and Hennepin Ave in 1904. The cornerstone of The Basilica, which was initially known as the Pro-Cathedral, was laid in 1908, and the first Mass was celebrated in The Basilica on May 31, 1914.) 

We will kick-off a year long celebration of our 150th anniversary on Sunday, September 30. Archbishop Hebda will preside at the 9:30 and 11:30am Masses that day. Throughout the coming year there will be a variety of events, activities, and exhibits to celebrate our Sesquicentennial as a parish. I invite you to attend as many of these as you are able as we celebrate 150 years of faith. 

3. Maintenance Projects at The Basilica: As I mentioned in an earlier bulletin, we tackled several maintenance projects on our campus this summer. As I hope you noticed from the scaffolding, we tuck-pointed the stone under the dome. As I write this column we are in the process of upgrading the kitchen in the lower level; we will also be doing some upgrades to the church sound system; seal coating and re-striping the parking lots; and replacing the florescent lights in the lower level of the Church with LED lighting. We will also be replacing the lighting on the interior ring of lights in the dome with LED lighting. This was the fund-a-need project at this year’s Basilica Landmark Ball. We also hope to reconstruct the South entrance to our school building sometime next spring.

We are hopeful that there will be minimal disruption with these projects. We are grateful that most of these projects will be funded by The Basilica Landmark. 

4. Special Collections: While no one is fond of special collections, it is heartening for me to report that the people of The Basilica have been very generous to the last few special collections here.

On the weekend of June 17 and 18, $7,400 was contributed to help defray the cost of air conditioning The Basilica during the hot summer months. 
On the weekend of July 28 and 29, $10,835 was contributed to help fund our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry. 

The contributions to these collections testify to the generosity of the people of The Basilica. Please know of my gratitude for your generous response to these collections. 

5. Financial Stewardship: During the months of October and November we celebrate Financial Stewardship. During this time we ask all parishioners to make a pledge of financial support for our parish. While I am very much aware of the many requests we all receive for financial support, I am hopeful, though, that The Basilica will be near the top of your list in terms of your financial support. It is your ongoing, regular financial support that makes it possible for us to offer the many programs, services, and ministries that are at the heart of our Basilica parish. 

6. Archdiocesan Bankruptcy: As I hope you are aware, earlier this summer an agreement had been reached to resolve the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese. The agreement establishes a trust fund of approximately $210 million for the victims/survivors. Some of the money for the settlement fund came in the form of voluntary pledges of financial support from parishes and priests of our Archdiocese. I believe this is a wonderful statement of our compassion and support for our brothers and sisters who were seriously wounded and hurt by my brother priests and by others in our church. 

In a letter to all parishioners several weeks ago, I said that The Basilica of Saint Mary was one of the parishes that made a confidential pledge of financial support to the settlement fund. This decision was made in consultation with our Parish Council and Finance committee. After setting a range for this contribution, they directed that our Parish Trustees and I make the final decision as to the amount of the contribution. The money for this pledge came from our parish reserves, which are funded by the rental income from our school building. Our financial pledge won’t be payable until the details of the settlement are finalized. It is our hope that making this pledge of financial support will send a strong message of solidarity and support to the victims/survivors. 

7. Parish Packing Event: After the Masses on Sunday, August 12 numerous people came together to help put school supplies into almost 200 backpacks for students at Ascension School. The school supplies were collected throughout June and July. These backpacks helped students at Ascension School start the school year off with the supplies they needed. Many thanks to all those who contributed school supplies during June and July, and to the numerous people who helped put them in to the backpacks. 

8. The Current Situation in our Church: As I said in a letter to parishioners a few weeks ago, lately it has been hard to be a Catholic. There have been accusations of sexual abuse and other sexually inappropriate behavior against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Additionally, a grand jury in Pennsylvania released a report about the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests in six dioceses in Pennsylvania. And most recently (at least as I write this column at the end of August) the former Apostolic Delegate to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, wrote a letter highly critical of Pope Francis and several other Church leaders. In the first two cases, it appears that those who were in positions to do something bear both legal and moral culpability for their inaction. In regard to the letter from Archbishop Vigano, it is suspect in that Vigano accused Pope Francis of lifting sanctions against former Cardinal McCarrick that had never been put in place. 

In the face of this situation, it would seem that there is very little I, or any other priest or bishop, could or should say. And yet to say nothing could be misconstrued as acquiescence to or acceptance of this situation. And so I offer two brief thoughts. 

First, while our church is facing a very difficult time in its history, I believe that ultimately it will emerge purified and more humble. I say this because it is our belief that the Holy Spirit remains with and guides our church until the end of time. And I firmly believe the Spirit will not allow our church to deviate fundamentally from the truth of the Gospel, from its mission, and from its life of faith. We call this charism: “Indefectibility.” Certainly, our church has veered off course in the past. And clearly a course correction is called for at the present moment. Ultimately, though, because of the guidance of the Spirit, I have to believe that our church can’t go into fundamental error. 

Second, as I said in my homily a few weeks ago, I realize that for many people the above revelations have caused them to lose faith in, and in some cases to leave the Catholic Church—at least for now. I am deeply saddened by this. At the same time I understand and respect their decision. For me, though, the Catholic Church is my home. It is too much a part of me to let it go. I cannot live without the Eucharist. I need the Eucharist to live as a follower of Jesus, and I need the faith of the community to make the Eucharist real and alive in my life. The Catholic Church is my home. I can have no other.

 

Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

 

 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/093018.cfm  

Jesus’ disciples didn’t come across very well in our Gospel last weekend, and they continue that pattern in our Gospel this weekend.    They complain to Jesus because “we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”   Notice they didn’t say “because he does not follow you,” but rather “because he does not follow us.”   Clearly, their idea of discipleship is far more restrictive than that of Jesus.   The fact is that Jesus had a far more expansive and inclusive view of discipleship than his disciples did.  We know this because He reminds them: “whoever is not against us is for us.”     

In the second part of today’s Gospel, Jesus’ words seem a bit harsh.  He speaks of cutting off a hand or a foot, or plucking out an eye if any of these cause you to sin.   Now clearly Jesus is not suggesting amputation or blinding one’s self.  Rather he is reminding his disciples that we need to be aware of those things that lead us to sin, and seek to eliminate them from our lives.

Our first reading for this weekend from the book of Numbers shares the theme of the Gospel.  It raises the question of who can speak/act in the name of the Lord.   In this reading God shares some of the Spirit God gave to Moses with “seventy elders.”   Two of those who were given the Spirit were not at the gathering where this occurred, yet they too received the Spirit.    Joshua wanted Moses to stop them, but Moses replied:   “Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets.” 

In our second reading for this weekend, we continue to read from the Letter of St. James.   While at first blush this reading appears to condemn those who are rich, a deeper reading reveals that James is reminding the early Christians (and us) of the danger of trusting in wealth as opposed to God.  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Limiting the people through whom God works or failing to recognize God working through certain people seems to be part and parcel of the human condition.  When have you done this? 
  2. To borrow an old phrase, what are the “occasions of sin” in your life?
  3. It is easy to put our trust in something other than God.  When have you done this?      
     

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/092318.cfm 

Our Gospel reading this Sunday is taken from the ninth chapter of Mark’s Gospel.  That is a little over halfway through Mark’s Gospel.  Earlier in this chapter the disciples had experienced Jesus’ Transfiguration.  In the passage we read this weekend Jesus offers the second prediction of his passion. (We heard the first prediction of his passion in last Sunday’s Gospel.)  “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”  We are told the disciples “did not understand the saying and they were afraid to question him.”   

Now you would think that Jesus’ prediction of his suffering and death would have a sobering effect on Jesus’ disciples.  However, we are told that when they arrived at Capernaum Jesus asked his disciples what they had been talking about on the way “But they remained silent.  They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.”   Their behavior caused Jesus to remind them that “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”   Clearly for Jesus service is the true measure of discipleship and not status, power, position or prestige.   

Our first reading this Sunday, from the Book of Wisdom speaks of the just person who is beset by evil doers.  “With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience.  Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for according to his words, God will take care of him.”    These words clearly connect with Jesus’ words in our Gospel today in regard to the fate that awaited him.  

We continue to read from the Letter of Saint James in our second reading this Sunday.  In this weekend’s selection James reminds us that “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist there is disorder and every foul practice.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Jesus’ words in our Gospel today seem to be at odds with the “Gospel of Prosperity” that is preached by some evangelists.  How do you reconcile Jesus’ words with the Gospel of Prosperity?
  2. How does service in the name of Jesus find expression in your life?
  3. Have jealousy and selfish ambition ever found safe haven in your life? 
     

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/091618.cfm 

Our Gospel reading this weekend is very familiar.   We are told that Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi and along the way Jesus asked his disciples: “Who do people say that I am?”     The disciples must have pleased that they could fill Jesus in on the local buzz.   They told him some say: “John the Baptist, others, Elijah, still others one of the prophets.”   Jesus then turned the question on them.  “But who do you say that I am?”   Peter responded: “You are the Christ.”   Jesus then went on to teach them “that the Son of man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priest and the scribes, and be killed and rise after three days.”   Peter took him aside to rebuke him, but Jesus in turn rebuked Peter and went on to remind all of his disciples: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”    

Certainly Jesus could not be accused of false advertizing.   He is clear that those who follow him should not expect a life of ease or prosperity.  Rather they should anticipate some hardship and perhaps even suffering.  If this were all that Jesus was offering it would be surprising if he had any disciples at all.   We also have come to know and believe, though, that it is in following Christ in this life, ultimately we will come to eternal life.  

Our first reading this weekend is from the book of the Prophet Isaiah.   In it, Isaiah is clear that in the face of any difficulties: “The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced, I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.”       

For our second reading this weekend, we continue to read from the Letter of Saint James.  In today’s section, James reminds us that our faith must find expression in our actions.  “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works!   Can that faith save him?”

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. What would you say to someone who had lived a good life, was a good Christian person yet continued to experience trials and difficulties?
  2. What does it mean for you to pick up your cross and follow Christ?
  3. How do you understand the connection between faith and works? 
     

Sesquicentennial Parish Anniversary

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The Basilica of Saint Mary celebrates 150 years as a parish with the Sesquicentennial Celebration Masses Sunday, September 30 at 9:30am and 11:30am with Archbishop Bernard Hebda. The parish was founded in the “Shed Church” in 1868 near the west side of the Mississippi River and has continued to grow and thrive for 150 years. The Basilica’s vibrant community, with over 12,800 members, will mark the historic anniversary with a year of celebrations, events, and art exhibits.
 
Throughout the history of the parish—including two locations, three churches, and eleven pastors – there have consistently been the people who have lived and worshipped here as a community. Over the past 150 years, the parish has always been a home to immigrants, committed to serving people in need, and a community of hope.
“This anniversary is about celebrating the Basilica community—the people of the parish, not the building—as a spiritual home, a place of peace, and a place of refuge for 150 years. We plan to not just look back, but ahead to the future growth and needs of our parish,” said Fr. John M. Bauer, Pastor of The Basilica of Saint Mary.
 
Sesquicentennial Opening Celebration Masses
Sunday, September 30 – 9:30am and 11:30am
The Celebrations will include large entrance processions along with music from The Basilica Cathedral Choir, Mundus Contemporary Ensemble, organ, and brass ensemble. Archbishop Bernard Hebda will preside at both Masses and all past priests who have presided over the years at The Basilica are invited to attend. The public is welcome to attend.
 
About Basilica of Saint Mary
The Basilica of Saint Mary, located in downtown Minneapolis, is a welcoming Catholic community committed to the well-being of the city. It is a center for the arts and a place of refuge for the poor. The Basilica provides quality liturgy, religious education, pastoral care, and hospitality to all. The parish is the spiritual home to over 6,500 families of all ages, races, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds.
 
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CONTACT:
Mae Desaire 
Director of Marketing & Communications 
Cell: 612-247-0008 
mdesaire@mary.org 
 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/090918.cfm 

In our Gospel this weekend we read the story of Jesus’ cure of a deaf man with a speech impediment.   While the story is brief there are some interesting details to note.  First, the story takes place in the “district of the Decapolis.”  This would have been a gentile area.  Second, the man didn’t come to Jesus by himself. Rather he was brought to Jesus by friends who begged Jesus to “lay his hand on him.”   Third, Jesus “took him off by himself away from the crowd.”  Fourth, Jesus “ordered them not to tell anyone.  But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it.”   

What do the details in this story tell us?  Well they remind us that with Jesus there are no restrictions/limitations.  He is for all people, for all time.  We are also reminded how important friends can be in bringing us to Jesus.  Further this story tells us that Jesus knows our needs perhaps better than we do.   Jesus knew the deaf man needed his time and attention.  I believe it was for this reason that he took him off by himself away from the crowd.  Finally, the various cures and miracles Jesus worked could easily have led the crowds to believe that he was the messiah who would restore Israel to a place of prominence and power.  That was not the kind of messiah Jesus was.  I think this was why he told people not to tell others about his marvelous and miraculous actions. 

Our first reading this weekend is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.  It shares the theme of the Gospel.   It encourages people not to lose heart, but to remember that God will come to his people and when God comes:  “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf will be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.”   Clearly these things happened with Jesus Christ.

In our second reading this weekend we read from the Letter of Saint James.  In it James urges the people to show “no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion.   

  1. Where or how do you see God’s healing power at work in the world today?
  2. After prayer have your eyes or ears ever been opened to see or hear things in a new/different manner? 
  3. At times, it is easy to think that some people are more deserving of God’s love and care than others.  Yet, if God shows no partiality why do we have difficulty doing this?