Archives: June 2020




JUNE 21, 2020 


In the late 60’s, I was a camp counselor. I remember having a group of young Girl Scouts out in canoes on a very sunny day.  Back in the day, sun protection was a brimmed hat and a t-shirt. So after a few hours, as the sun rose high, I asked some of the campers to please put their shirts on over their swim suits. One of the campers, Rita, called out “Hey, we get sunburned too, you know.” The girls had quickly identified that I had called out names of only the white campers. I still remember what lake we were on, how many canoes of campers I had, and how shocked I was, at me. I was concerned about protecting just some of my campers.  Why had I assumed that dark skin was impervious to sun burn? That was over 50 years ago. Sadly, I still make assumptions and judgments. I’m still learning. 

As a global community, we have been learning for a number of months now, how to manage the pandemic of COVID-19. The learning curve has been steep and much of our leadership has been strong and smart. We have stayed home, we have experienced the locked doors of businesses and our beloved Basilica, and we have worn masks and stopped hugging. It has been a huge effort; a lot to endure, but we were making it.

Then suddenly, on May 25, the pandemic for many was all but forgotten as we reeled in anguish and sorrow over the murder of George Floyd, another other tragic, needless death. Our inboxes filled with messages, responses from schools, businesses, news organizations, and churches--giving counsel, offering support, stating positions, and grieving.

The Pandemic of COVID-19 was surpassed by the Pandemic of Racial Injustice. Similar to the multiple changes COVID-19 demanded, a myriad of changes are demanded in response to racial injustice. 

I need to change. I learned to decrease my exposure to COVID-19 and I must learn to increase my exposure to racial injustice.

This is an unprecedented or at least a very uncommon period in our history, a time that is for some, creating extra responsibilities with new methods and technologies, and for others an agonizing wait for unemployment checks, a frantic search for an open pharmacy or grocery, all while working to maintain a hopeful place of refuge for children and family, in all, an overwhelming task. We are busy, we are uncertain, we are grieving. Additionally, we are hopeful, we are praying, we are working, we are protesting.

So much has changed for so many of us in so many ways in a rather short time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and so much must change for so many of us in so many ways in what has been an agonizingly long time due to the pandemic of racial injustice.

I hope that soon I will again be playing with and listening to and rubbing sunscreen onto the little arms and shoulders of my grandchildren. I hope also I always remember that there are many other children requiring understanding and protection.


By Cathy Edwards
RCIA Coordinator

bells from roof

Ring Out for Justice

Ring Out for Justice:  Bells across Minnesota will ring out for 10 minutes on Juneteenth, Friday, June 19th, at 6pm in honor of George Floyd and in support of a society of justice and peace.

In partnership with City of Bells.

Join us in prayer,

God of Mercy and Love, 
we implore you,
incite a revolution of love and tenderness,
further a culture of inclusion and encounter,
and shape a society of justice and peace.

God of Wisdom and Understanding,
we beseech you,
inspire wisdom and courage in all religious leaders, 
foster honesty and compassion in all elected officials,
and bolster righteousness and virtue in all those who serve and protect us,

God of Justice and Peace,
we supplicate you,
hasten an end to the evil and sin of racism that permeates our society and our institutions,
inspire laws and regulations that assure justice and equality for all,
and convert the heart of all those who perpetuate fear, promote supremacy and cultivate hatred. 

We ask this through Christ our Lord.



Basilica Community,

I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.

Today I would like to update you in regard to the outcome of a meeting last evening of our parish leadership.

Our parish leadership approved The Basilica’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. This plan will be posted to our parish website within the next few days. We have been working on this plan for several weeks; modifying and refining it as information has became available. This plan will continue to be adjusted to meet our parish needs as the pandemic evolves.

I am grateful to Terri Ashmore, our Managing Director, our Staff Directors, Tom Paul and Kathy Noecker our Parish Trustees, and Dr. Deirdre Palmer, The Basilica Landmark’s representative to our Parish Council, for the time and effort they put into this document. Their work is a blessing for our parish.

Additionally, at our meeting last evening, our parish leadership approved a proposal to gradually reopen The Basilica for public worship. This plan will begin as soon as we have installed the new equipment we have purchased to allow our staff to livestream our services. We anticipate this will take place in mid-July.

Once the livestreaming equipment is installed and operational, we will start to open The Basilica for daily Mass at Noon. Additionally, one Sunday a month we will celebrate the sacrament of baptism for infants, and the Sacrament of Confirmation for those adults who were a part of our R.C.I.A program this past year.

In the next couple of weeks I will be meeting with members of our staff to establish the procedures we will need to put in place to make this happen as smoothly as possible. Later this summer we will also discuss how to celebrate First Communion and Confirmation with our elementary and high school students.

At the end of July, I will give a progress report to our parish leadership in regard to how all of this is working. At that time, we also hope to discuss the reopening of The Basilica on a limited basis for weekend Masses.

I realize these decisions may disappoint some, but out of an abundance of caution and with a concern for the common good, as your pastor, I am convinced that at this time, this is the best way to proceed.

If you are interested in talking about these decisions, I invite you to join me next Wednesday at 9:00am for our Zoom Coffee and Conversation or next Wednesday at 5:30pm for a Zoom conversation with me.


Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.

Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.


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Weekly Newsletter

Events Calendar


Becoming Human: Dismantling Racism

During the season of Lent 2020, the University of St. Thomas and The Basilica of Saint Mary collaborated on an educational series toward dismantling racism that was called “Becoming Human.” The outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States made online delivery necessary. This "online portal" provides access to the series as well as some additional tools that will help to engage in the work of transforming our communities.

The theory guiding this series is that the racial history we all inherit is dehumanizing for all of us, though it is dehumanizing for white folks in different ways than it is dehumanizing for people of color. The only way to “become human” is to confront the legacy of white supremacy and undergo a process of transformation, even conversion, to engage more humanely in the world, especially across the color line.

This is a Six Part Series. Each session inlcudes: Welcome, Presentation, Activity, Reflection.

To access this series, go to   :

The Basilica of Saint Mary is offering this series free of charge. Please contact Janice Andersen for a discount code. 

Please consider watching the videos and engaging in the recommended actions. 
For more information, or to get involved in work of racial reconciliation at The Basilica of Saint Mary, contact Janice Andersen.


Johan van Parys, Ph.D., Director of Liturgy and the Sacred Arts, introduces the newest Basilica icon, Saint Josephine Bakhita.



Saint Josephine Bakhita Icon

















JUNE 14, 2020