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Archives: March 2020
Schedule Changes Due to COVID-19
A message from Fr. John Bauer, Pastor
As a Basilica community, we will plan to share information that may be helpful at this time.
Please note, this list is compiled from several sources; there are many different sources available.
Please verify all services offered.
A listing of community resources available:
Free lunches for students:
MN Dept of Education
A few weeks ago, my husband sent me a link for a quiz he found in his work with undergraduate students. I’m generally skeptical of these black & white quizzes but it was a slow day at work….
The quiz was called “The Four Tendencies” and it focuses on what motivates people and how understanding that can help you get more done.
After only a few minutes of clicking, my results were in. Apparently, I’m an Obliger: “I do what I have to do. I don’t want to let others down, but I may let myself down.” My husband was surprised, he thought for sure I’d be a Questioner: “I do what I think is best, according to my judgment. If it doesn’t make sense, I won’t do it” or a Rebel: “I do what I want, in my own way. If you try to make me do something—even if I try to make myself do something—I’m less likely to do it.”
I wasn’t particularly surprised by my results. While I tend to come across as constantly questioning the status quo (my mom used call me “Contrary Mary”), I find that unless I have someone depending on me to produce, I procrastinate.
This is where you come in. I care deeply about the welfare and longevity of our Basilica and our Catholic Church in general. However, I can get overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done and exhausted by all the competing priorities in my life. But knowing that you, the parishioners of The Basilica and the members of Deanery 13 have elected me to be your voice, motivates me to show up.
So whether you are an Upholder who wants to know what should be done, a Questioner who wants justifications for actions, an Obliger who needs accountability or a Rebel who wants freedom to do something your own way—I encourage you to find that why and put it to use for the good of our home, The Basilica.
We will soon be accepting nominations for Parish Council positions—consider if you (or someone you know) may be ready to take their experience in the pews to the next level as a Parish Council Representative. Parish Council members serve as an advisory group to the Pastor and assist with strategic planning, creation of effective communication structures, policies and procedures, and educating parishioners about biblical stewardship. They bring concerns of parishioners to the attention of Fr. Bauer and help direct the focus of parish departments.
Are you worried that you don’t have enough experience or the right skills to participate?
I urge each of you search your hearts and consider if you might be ready to take the humbling step of becoming a volunteer in any capacity! Council members and other parish volunteer leaders will be available after weekend masses in the back of church. Please come and say hi, ask about how and why they serve or let them know if you have questions or concerns.
Thank you for your prayerful consideration of this call to leadership and please continue to pray for the wisdom and humility of all those in leadership positions.
Parish Council Secretary
The Basilica of Saint Mary
PARISH COUNCIL NOMINATIONS
Parishioners are invited to nominate excellent candidates to represent the Liturgy and Sacred Arts and Christian Life areas to the Parish Council by April 15. Submit the form online at mary.org/pcnominations.
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
“What’s the matter? Are you blind?” I would guess most of us have used this phrase at some point in our lives. Usually it’s when someone has missed something obvious, or nearly harmed someone. Not noticing something is one thing. Physical blindness is another. In our Gospel today, for the 4th Sunday of Lent, Jesus healed a man “blind from birth.” Unfortunately, since Jesus had healed the blind man on a Sabbath, some of the Pharisees criticized Jesus because “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the Sabbath.” Others, however, said: “How can a sinful man do such signs?” As a result, “there was division among them.” In an effort to resolve the issue the Pharisees asked the blind man about Jesus. He responded: “he is a prophet.” The Pharisees (or at least some of them) obviously didn’t like his answer because they replied: “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” (At the time of Jesus, misfortune or hardship were thought to be a punishment from God for some personal sin or the sin of one’s relatives.) “Then they threw him out.” When Jesus heard what happened he sought out the blind man and informed him that he was the “Son of Man.” We are told that the blind man then worshiped Jesus.
Our first reading this weekend is taken from the first book of Samuel. In it Samuel is sent to “Jesse of Bethlehem for I have chosen my king from among his sons.” Jesse then brought 7 of his sons before Samuel, but the Lord rejected all of them. Then Samuel asked Jesse: “Are these all the sons you have?” Eventually David, the youngest son, who was tending sheep, was presented. The Lord said: “There --- anoint him, for this is the one!”
The message of both the Gospel and the first reading is clear. God “sees” things differently than we do.
Our second reading this weekend is taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians. In it Paul urges the people of Ephesus to “Live as children of the light………”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. In the New Testament, physical blindness if often a metaphor for spiritual blindness. Can you recall a time when you were spiritually blind? How did you come to see?
2. Has someone or something ever caused you to see things in a new way or to see things from God’s perspective?
3. What do you think Paul meant when he invited people to live as children of the light?
As a faith community we are currently monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
We are following all of the recommendations from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and CDC.
The CDC recommends everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses such as Coronavirus, flu, and the common cold.
For those Participating in our Liturgical Celebrations
When you feel ill, or someone in your home is sick, please stay home. Your Sunday obligation does not hold in case of illness. While at home feel free to pray for our community and for all those who are sick.
Holy Water will not be available in the usual places at this time. If you are in need of Holy Water we have a closed Holy Water tank in the sacristy.
We invite you to make use of the hand sanitizing stations that are available throughout The Basilica. We also encourage you to bring your own hand sanitizer so you can use it before receiving Holy Communion or after coughing or sneezing.
Please don’t feel obliged to use physical contact when greeting people upon arrival at church or during the Sign of Peace. A friendly nod with the head or a smile are equally effective in communicating your greeting of peace.
During the Lord’s Prayer, please refrain from holding hands. The fact that we all pray the Lord’s Prayer together is in itself a sign of our deep unity in Christ.
When receiving Holy Communion, we strongly encourage you to receive the Precious Body reverently in the palm of your hand. Reception on the tongue is discouraged as saliva may be a vehicle for the transmission of the virus. While the likelihood of spreading germs or viruses while receiving the cup is very small, we have suspended distribution of the cup at least until Holy Week. If you do not prefer to receive Holy Communion at all you may come forward and receive a blessing. Just present yourself to the Minister of Holy Communion with your hands folded across your chest. We have asked our Ministers of Holy Communion to use hand sanitizer before distributing Holy Communion.
At The Basilica we have also enhanced our regular cleaning practices.
We invite everyone to pray for all those affected by the Coronavirus or any other illness.
In the Catholic Church every five years diocesan bishops travel to Rome to meet with the Pope and members of the Curia to report on the state of their dioceses. It is a formal trip known as the “ad limina.” It is usually made together by all the bishops of a single region. The bishops of Minnesota and North and South Dakota made their “ad limina” visit to Rome this past January. On February 10, 2020, Pope Francis met with the bishops from New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming as part of their “ad limina” visit to Rome.
After the meeting at least two of the bishops, who were present, spoke anonymously to the Catholic News Agency (CNA is owned by The Eternal Word Television Network. It provides news related to the Catholic Church to the global English speaking audience.). These bishops said that as part of their conversation Pope Francis indicated that while he had accommodated a request for a meeting with Fr. James Martin, S.J. he was clear with them that he did not intend for it to convey any significance. One of the bishops was quoted (anonymously) as saying that Pope Francis “made his displeasure clear” about the way the meeting was interpreted, and framed by some journalists.’ Another bishop said: "He told us that the matter had been dealt with; that Fr. Martin had been given a 'talking to' and that his superiors had also been spoken to and made the situation perfectly clear to him.” One of the bishops went on to say; “I do not think you will be seeing that picture of him (Martin) with the pope on his next book cover."
As background to the above, it is important to know that Fr. James Martin, S.J. is a best selling author who advocates for and ministers to LGBT Catholics. In 2017 he authored the book “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community can enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity.” On September 30, 2019 Fr. Martin met for 30 minutes in a private audience with Pope Francis and had his picture taken with the Pope. While Fr. Martin did not reveal what the Pope said to him in the course of their conversation, he did say that “among other things, I shared with Pope Francis the experiences of LGBT Catholics around the world, their joys and their hopes, their griefs and their concerns. I also talked about my own ministry to them and how they felt excluded.” Fr. Martin concluded by saying “I saw this audience as a sign of the Holy Father’s care for LGBT people.”
Now the above would not be all that newsworthy except for the fact that Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico, recently responded publicly to the CNA account. In his statement Archbishop Wester said: “I wish to address the article that appeared in CNA regarding the meeting of the bishops of Region XIII and Pope Francis on Monday, February 10, 2020. The article puts forward a series of statements supposedly made by Pope Francis regarding Fr. James Martin's meeting with the Holy Father on September 30, 2019. The bishops who reported these statements to CNA remained anonymous throughout the article.” Archbishop Wester went on to say: "Our meeting with the Pope lasted almost two hours and forty-five minutes, so it is difficult for anyone to remember with precision anything that was said. "However, the general tone of the Pope's responses to issues raised with him was never angry, nor do I remember the Pope saying or implying that he was unhappy with Father Martin or his ministry." He also said that while Martin and his ministry were discussed, it was not the pope who raised it but rather some bishops. “My recollection is that it was not Father Martin the Pope was talking about, but the way others tried to use that encounter, one way or the other. In my view, the language subtlety, yet incorrectly, leads the reader to believe that Father Martin was the issue while, in fact, it was how others used their meeting that was in play. Furthermore, I have no memory at all of the Pope being angry, upset or annoyed. He spoke gently and patiently throughout our meeting.” Archbishop Wester ended his statement by saying: “Ordinarily, I would not be sanguine about offering these recollections of our wonderful meeting with Pope Francis. However, I believe that I have an obligation to offer my perspective on those matters contained in the CNA article about Father James Martin, SJ, since my understanding of the facts differs from what was reported anonymously.”
After Archbishop Wester’s statement, a second bishop also spoke up to counter allegations that Pope Francis expressed displeasure with Fr. Martin during the meeting with bishops of the southwestern United States. Bishop Steven Biegler of Cheyenne, Wyoming, said he supports the recollections of Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Bishop Biegler said in part: that “Wester's response accurately describes the tone and substance of the short dialogue regarding Fr. James Martin,"
Hmmmmm, we have two bishops speaking publicly about their recollections of a meeting with the Pope, and at least two bishops speaking anonymously about their recollections of that same meeting, And interestingly and remarkably their recollections differ dramatically. What are we to make of this? Who are we to believe? Well, since I believe that the privilege of anonymity belongs only to God and people who are doing good works, my money is on Archbishop Wester and Bishop Biegler as being truthful and honest in their recollections.
I am truly saddened and deeply disappointed, both personally and for our church, by those bishops who chose to make anonymous allegations about Fr. Martin. I believe the example of those bishops who made these anonymous statements is yet another instance of a failure in leadership in our Church. While I do believe that some of our bishops “get it,” this instance is clear evidence that some do not. More importantly, it causes me to wonder if the majority of our bishops will ever understand that truthfulness, integrity, transparency, and accountability are requirements for their job, and not just pious platitudes.
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
In Minnesota we are proud of calling ourselves the land of 10,000 lakes. Owning, or at least having access to, a cabin on a lake seems like a birthright to native Minnesotans. In many parts of the world, though, access to water is severely limited. This is certainly the case in Israel, where people rely on the yearly rains for a significant amount of their water supply. At the time of Jesus, cisterns were used to store water from the yearly rains, and wells were public places where people gathered to draw water for their daily use. Now I mention this because in our Gospel this 3rd Sunday of Lent Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at “Jacob’s well.”
There are a couple of details in this Gospel that are significant. First, notice that the Gospel tells us that it is about noon. Most people would have come to draw water early in the morning when it was cooler, as opposed to mid-day. This suggests that perhaps the woman didn’t want to bump into other people. Possibly (as we discover later in the Gospel) this is because the woman had 5 husbands and was currently living with another man. Second, it would have been highly unusual for a man (and a Jew) to talk with a single woman (and a Samaritan). The reason for this is that there was a great deal of hostility between Jews and Samaritans, and at that time there wasn’t any fraternization between men and women, most especially when they were strangers.
Although the woman initially misunderstood Jesus and his offer to give her “living water,” after talking with Jesus we discover that she was transformed by the encounter.
Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the book of Exodus. It is the story of the Jews in the desert grumbling against Moses because of their thirst for water. God instructed Moses to “Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.” The connection to the Gospel is evident. The difference, though, is that the water Moses provided only satisfied the people’s physical thirst. Jesus satisfies our spiritual thirst.
Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans. It reminds us that “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. I suspect we have all been physically thirsty at some point in our lives, and we know what that feels like. What does it feel like to be spiritually thirsty?
2. Can you remember a time when Jesus has quenched your spiritual thirst?
3. While it is easy for me to acknowledge that I have sinned, it is hard for me to see myself as a sinner. Our second reading today, though, reminds us that Christ died for sinners. Do you, like me, have difficulty seeing yourself as a sinner?