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Archives: January 2019
From the Pastor
With this column I would like to update you in regard to several areas of our parish’s life.
1. Christmas at The Basilica: Before Christmas becomes a distant memory, I want to express my gratitude to all those who made this year’s celebration of Christmas such a wonderful experience. Our attendance was great and I received numerous compliments about the quality of the liturgies and music. I was also very impressed with the prayerful spirit that permeated all of our liturgies. As your pastor, I have much to be proud of and even more to be grateful for this year.
I also want to thank all those who contributed financially to The Basilica this past year and particularly at Christmas. Your financial support makes it possible for us to continue to offer the programs, ministries, and services that are the hallmark of our parish.
2. Lent: While it may be hard to believe, this year Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, is March 6. As a child I never really appreciated Lent. As I’ve grown older, though, I’ve come to realize how important and how good the season of Lent is for me, and for all of us. As in the past, we have scheduled a variety of different speakers, activities, and services at The Basilica during this special season. I invite and encourage you to take a look at your calendar and to plan on participating as part of your Lenten discipline. Visit mary.org for a list of our Lenten activities and services.
3. Our Parish Finances: First and foremost, I want to thank to all those who have made a commitment of financial support to our parish community during our financial stewardship campaign last fall. Please know your commitment of financial support to our parish community is greatly appreciated. Your pledge—no matter the size—is important and makes a difference. It allows us to continue to offer the many programs, ministries and services that are the hallmark of our Basilica community. The really good news this year is that over 200 new parishioners chose to make a pledge of financial support for our community.
In regard to our parish finances, as I write this column, we are slightly behind in regard to our anticipated income at this point in our fiscal year. Thank you to all of those who support our Basilica community financially. Please know of my great gratitude for your ongoing financial support.
4. Catholic Services Appeal: The 2019 Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) will begin the weekend of February 2 and 3. This yearly appeal helps support the many ministries, services, and programs within our Archdiocese. Now, I realize many people are concerned that contributions to the Catholic Services Appeal will be used for purposes they didn’t intend. In this regard, it is important to note that The Catholic Services Appeal is an independent 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. This was done to insure that all the money that is collected through the Appeal would go directly and solely to the ministries, services, and programs supported by the CSA. No CSA funds go to the Archdiocese.
By pooling the financial resources from generous donors throughout our diocese, much important and necessary work is funded by the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). As your pastor, I wholeheartedly endorse the work of the Appeal. I encourage you to make a gift to support these important ministries, services, and programs. Please look for the Catholic Services Appeal information in pews, or learn more at csafspm.org.
5. Strategic Planning: Our Parish, Our Future: As I have mentioned previously, several months ago we began the process of developing a new strategic plan for our parish. (Our previous plan carried us through spring of 2018.) The reason we engage in strategic planning is simple. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29.18). If we don’t consciously and prayerfully plan for our future, we are at risk of drifting into a future not of our choosing and certainly not of our making.
I am pleased to report that at the October meeting of our Parish Council our new Strategic Plan was approved. Our new Strategic Plan retains our core Vision, Mission, and Values, and builds on instead of replacing, the previous strategic plan. There are three Strategic Areas of Focus in our new Plan:
- The Arts: to move, inspire, and transform individuals and communities through excellence in the arts and creative practices.
- Inclusivity: to build a culture where people feel valued, welcome, integrated, and included.
- Homelessness: to respond to the needs of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
This plan will serve as a road map to guide and direct our efforts for the next three to five years. Our efforts will help us identify those ministries, programs, services, etc. that are important and necessary for our parish community. The insert in this bulletin includes a brief description of our new Strategic Plan. For more information, visit mary.org/ourfuture.
6. Campus Space Planning: As I have mentioned previously, last fall The Basilica Landmark has approved funding for the hiring of a liturgical consultant to help us look at our entire campus, and plan for its future. This fall Fr. Gil Sunghera S.J. was hired to help us build a vision for our campus spaces that helps us welcome the community and our guests. Fr. Gil is from the University of Detroit Mercy and works with their School of Architecture.
Some of the important issues/concerns that will need to be considered are the renovation and updating of the interior of The Basilica. We will also need to consider how to make The Basilica and its campus more welcoming. Accessibility issues will also need to be looked at.
This process of developing a master plan for The Basilica and its campus will take several months and will need input from our parishioners. It will also occur concurrently with the implementation of our new strategic plan. We will share more information about this important work as we move forward.
7. 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 Avenue 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 kicked-off our year long celebration of our 150th anniversary on Sunday, September 30. Archbishop Hebda presided 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.
Two events in particular I would like to note include a reunion for all couples who were married at The Basilica. The Wedding Reunion will take place on Saturday, February 23 with a blessing at the 5:00pm Mass followed by a reception. More information can be found at mary.org/weddingreunion. There will also be a School Reunion for former students of The Basilica School. This reunion will take place September 7. More information can be found at mary.org/weddingreunion.
8. Second Collections: While no one likes special collections, it is heartening to report that the people of The Basilica have been very generous to the last special collections here:
On the weekend of December 1 and 2, $11,621.95 was contributed to the second collection to help support our sponsorship of refugee families through Lutheran Social Services.
The contributions to these collections testify to the generosity of the people of The Basilica. Please know of my gratitude and prayer for your generous and caring response.
Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary
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The Basilica has spent the last year developing a strategic plan that will guide and sustain our community into the future. We have focused on what makes The Basilica unique and how to deliberately assess our work to ensure that we are meeting the objectives of the Mission and Vision of The Basilica. The evaluation and planning professionals who assisted us in our strategic planning encouraged us to answer the question: how do you know when you’ve met your goal? We are hard at work developing a system to assess our programs and ministries, so we can continue to invest our time and resources in what is working and “bless and release” what is not. This is hard work. Our programs and ministries were created to meet a specific need at a specific time. Staff and volunteers sustain programs because they believe in the ministry’s mission and are invested in its success. It can be hard to look at organizational practices objectively when it’s what you’ve always done, but we must assess strategically and prayerfully to thrive into the future.
I believe that our Archdiocese, the wider Catholic Church in America, and the Vatican need to undergo a similar examination. Earlier this year the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) had a meeting scheduled to consider a new code of conduct for bishops and the creation of a lay-led body to investigate bishops accused of misconduct (or the failure to address misconduct). Shortly before the meeting began, the Vatican instructed the group to postpone the discussion. The Vatican justified this request because they were working on a global policy that would circumvent any local or national policy. While I believe that a worldwide practice to hold bishops, cardinals, and even the Pope accountable for cover-up actions is needed, we cannot wait while the Vatican’s bureaucratic wheels slowly turn.
The USCCB’s proposed policies would remove a barrier currently being used as an excuse by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to not pursue allegations against former Archbishop Nienstedt. Current Archdiocesan leadership has declined to pursue allegations again Nienstedt because he no longer serves or resides in Minnesota. Additionally, Church leaders have refused to release the findings of an internal investigation into Nienstedt because they have no jurisdictional authority outside of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. These are old and unacceptable excuses. These are the kinds of excuses that led to years and years of abuse in the past. We need policies that protect our congregations everywhere. Many of the atrocities of the past could have been caught and ended quickly if dioceses across the country had shared information, worked together, and taken responsibility to police themselves and others.
The Basilica’s strategic planning group has also discussed how The Basilica does not operate in a vacuum. The work of The Basilica goes beyond our campus and there are other organizations who are engaging in similar work. We must learn to work in partnership or cede work to others who are better equipped. The larger Church also must do this. The Church is not a civil law enforcement agency, so when illegal activities are suspected or reported, we must work with those who are better suited than the church. The Church should also engage professionals to provide expanded professional training on the most recent research concerning abuse of priests, Church leaders, and seminarians of the Archdiocese.
Please pray for our local strategic planning committee as we continue to work towards a plan for our Basilica’s future and encourage our local and national Church leaders to put aside bureaucratic silos to build a better future for our Church.
Parish Council Chair
The Basilica of Saint Mary
“The people at The Basilica make us feel like we are one family.”
Stories from immigrant members of our community in the recent issue of the BASILICA magazine.
A Parish of Immigrants
Over the last 150 years
When the seeds of The Basilica parish were planted in 1868, Minnesota was in its infancy, becoming the 32nd state in 1858. In the many decades that followed, tens of thousands of immigrants flocked to the state from across Europe pursuing a better (albeit colder) life.
Today, Minnesota’s story is not dissimilar. According to US Census data and refugee-support agencies, our state has the highest number of refugees per capita nationwide. While Minnesota has just two percent of the US population, it has 13 percent of its refugees. Our history calls The Basilica community to respond our brothers and sisters in need...
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/012019.cfm
This Sunday and for the following three Sundays we return to what is known as Ordinary Time in our Church Year. Ordinary Time is that time between the seasons of Christmas and Lent, and between Easter and Advent.
Our Gospel this Sunday is the familiar story of the wedding at Cana. There are two specific things in this Gospel which deserve comment. First, notice that when the wine ran out, Mary did not tell Jesus what he should do. She merely brought the matter to his attention: “They have no more wine.” She left it up to Jesus as to how to respond to this situation. If you are like me, this is not how I usually bring a problem to God. Too often when I bring things to God in prayer, I have a desired outcome in mind. Mary, though, just presented her concern to Jesus and left it in his hands. I think this is a good model for our prayer. The second thing I would note is the abundance of water turned into wine: “six stone water jars………………each holding twenty to thirty gallons.” This reminds us that where God is involved there is always an abundance.
Our first reading this Sunday is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. The people of Israel have returned from Exile, and the prophet Isaiah reminded them that they still have found favor with God: “As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you, and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.” It is the marriage imagery that ties this reading to this Sunday’s Gospel.
Our second reading this Sunday is from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. In it Paul reminds us that “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there re different workings, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- In your prayer have you ever followed Mary’s example and simple brought something to God without having a hoped for outcome in your mind?
- Where have you experienced God’s abundance in your life?
- What gifts have you been given?
As we enter a new calendar year, we often assess how we’ve been spending our time and resolve to do something different. We may want to get more exercise, watch less TV, or make time for friends and family.
Perhaps you’ve thought about getting involved in your parish or community, but just never got around to it. Perhaps 2019 is the year to act on your intentions.
Volunteer opportunities abound at The Basilica. Are you passionate about social justice, caring for those less fortunate, or listening to another person’s story? Do you prefer to help behind the scenes or take charge of a project? Do you have skills as a writer, photographer, or graphic designer? Do you enjoy seeing the immediate results of your labors, as in polishing a chalice or shoveling a sidewalk?
Or do you not know where you fit, what gifts and skills you are being called to share? We invite you to explore where you are feeling called to serve.
Come explore what your gifts and skills are at the Spiritual Gifts Workshop on Saturday, January 19 with Deacon Winninger.
Or meet with a member of the Gifts Leadership Team who will help you explore a ministry at The Basilica that needs your specific gifts and talents to thrive. Contact the Gifts Leadership Team at email@example.com or request a meeting.
In November 2018, the U.S. Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter entitled Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love—a Pastoral Letter Against Racism. Amid competing crises and issues demanding attention, the bishops of the Catholic Church rose to the occasion to address racism, “one particularly destructive and persistent form of evil.” Acknowledging that strides have been made in our country, they state, “racism still infects our nation.”
The issue of racism is understood in different ways. Here, in this call to healing, the U.S. Bishops explain, “Racism arises when—either consciously or unconsciously—a person holds that his or her own race or ethnicity is superior, and therefore judges persons of other races or ethnicities as inferior and unworthy of equal regard. When this conviction or attitude leads individuals or groups to exclude, ridicule, mistreat, or unjustly discriminate against persons on the basis of their race or ethnicity, it is sinful… Every racist act…is a failure to acknowledge another person as a brother or sister, created in the image of God.”
Racism takes many different forms. “It can be seen in deliberate, sinful acts. In recent times, we have seen bold expressions of racism by groups as well as individuals.” It can be experienced “in the form of the sin of omission when individuals, communities and even churches remain silent and fail to act against racial injustice when it is encountered.” Racism can “be found in our hearts—in many cases placed there unwillingly or unknowingly by our upbringing and culture.” “Racism can also be institutional, when practices or traditions are upheld that treat certain groups of people unjustly. The cumulative effects of personal sins of racism have led to social structures of injustice and violence that make us all accomplices in racism.”
Despite previous work on racism, the Bishops state, “racism still profoundly affects our culture…. This evil causes great harm to its victims, and it corrupts the souls of those who harbor racist or prejudicial thoughts… People are still being harmed, so action is needed.”
Conversion: The Bishops proclaim, “What is needed, and what we are calling for, is a genuine conversion of heart, a conversion that will compel change, and reform our institutions and society. …All of us are in need of personal, ongoing conversion. Our churches and our civic and social institutions are in need of ongoing reform.”
The challenges inherent in this conversion seem daunting. Yet our faith reminds us that God’s love is a reconciling love. God’s love is a forgiving love. God’s love is a saving love. Indeed, God’s love can help us press forward despite fear and division.
We Commit Ourselves to the Following Steps:
To move forward, the Bishops commit to specific actions. We are invited to join them—inviting the Holy Spirit to transform our lives and communities.
These actions include:
- Acknowledging Sins: as individuals and as communities, we are all asked to humbly and honestly see and acknowledge our sinful deeds and thoughts and ask for forgiveness.
- Being Open to Encounter and New Relationships: we are invited to “engage the world and encounter others—to see, maybe for the first time, those who are on the peripheries of our own limited view.”
- Resolving to Work for Justice: both nationally and locally, love should move us to “examine where society continues to fail our brothers and sisters, or where it perpetuates inequity” and to take concrete actions to address those problems.
- Educating Ourselves: We are all challenged to learn more and to hear life-stories that “will help open our minds and hearts more fully and continue the healing needed in our communities and nation.”
- Working in Our Churches: We commit to working within the Church to root out vestiges of racist experience and celebrate the great cultural diversity of the Church. The Bishops recognize the unique role each person must play—including the important voice of Bishops and priests.
- Changing Structures: “The roots of racism have extended deeply into the soil of our society. Racism can only end if we contend with the policies and institutional barriers that perpetuate and preserve the inequality—economic and social—that we still see all around us. With renewed vigor, we call on the members of the Body of Christ to join others in advocating and promoting policies at all levels that will combat racism and its effects in our civic and social institutions.”
- Conversion of All: “Prayer and working toward conversion must be our first response in the face of evil actions.”
- Our Commitment to Life: “The injustice and harm racism causes are an attack on human life.” Indeed, the Bishops “unequivocally state that racism is a life issue.”
As Catholic Christians, we begin and end with wrestling with the incredible love of God. Our Bishops urge us: “Love compels each of us to resist racism courageously. It requires us to reach out generously to the victims of this evil, to assist the conversion needed in those who still harbor racism, and to begin to change policies and structures that allow racism to persist.” Indeed, love “is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace.”
The Basilica is committed to this work. Look for ways to engage in a partnership with Penumbra Theater in early Spring. For more information, call Janice at 612.317.3477.
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and past it into your browser: https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/011319.cfm
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Now, to some it might seem strange that we celebrate this Feast so soon after we have celebrated Christ’s birth, especially since the scriptures tell us that Christ was baptized as an adult at the beginning of his public ministry. The reality is, though, that other than the infancy narratives and the story of the finding of Jesus in the Temple, we really have no information about Christ’s early life. When you stop and think about it, this is as it should be. What is important about Christ is not any stories about his early life, but rather the stories about his preaching, teaching, miracles and ministry.
This weekend we read the story of Jesus’ baptism from the Gospel of Luke. The first section of this Gospel is a summary of the mission of John the Baptist: “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The second section of this Gospel records Jesus’ baptism. We are told simply that after he had been baptized, “the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.’” Interestingly, in Mark and Luke the voice from heaven is addressed to Jesus personally, whereas in Matthew the voice is addressed to the surrounding crowds. (John records Jesus baptism indirectly, though the words of John the Baptist.)
There are two choices for our first reading this weekend. At the Basilica we will be using Isaiah 42: 1-4; 6-7. The section we read this Sunday is part of what is know as the Songs of the Suffering Servant. It is God’s promise to send a “servant” who will be filled with God’s Spirit. We would see this as prefiguring Christ.
We also have a choice for our second reading today. At the Basilica we will read from the Acts of the Apostles. In this reading Peter boldly proclaims: “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Have you attended a baptism recently? What do you remember about it?
- How would you explain baptism to a non-Christian?
- If God, shows “no partiality” why is baptism important?
The new edition of the BASILICA Magazine is a commemorative issue celebrating the 150th anniversary of the parish. Thank you to the dedicated volunteer team who created the special issue.
Inside this issue:
Reflections to Commemorate the Parish’s 150th Anniversary
Life in 1868
Looking Back 150 Years Ago
A Parish of Immigrants
A 150 year journey continues
The Basilica’s Founding Families
Building the Parish 150 years ago
Meeting the Needs of the Community for 150 Years
Volunteers then and now
Carrying on a Basilica Tradition
Multi-generational families committed to service
Voices from Our Community
Local civic and faith leaders share their thoughts on this historic anniversary
Celebrating 150 Faces of the Parish
Telling the stories of our founders
The award-winning BASILICA magazine is sponsored by The Basilica Landmark, a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to preserve, restore, and advance the historic Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations.
BASILICA is published twice a year (spring and fall) with a circulation of 20,000.
For advertising information please contact Liz Legatt.