Archives: July 2020





Message from the Pastor



Christian Life



Mary Untier of Knots webcrop

Noon Mass July 24

Core to the mission of The Basilica of Saint Mary is our parish commitment to respond to the needs of the vulnerable in our community. Our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry (SVDP) is a cornerstone of this response. In a two-fold approach, we seek to provide compassionate and effective assistance to those in need and to provide a way for parishioners to engage in service. At the heart of this work is a priority to build relationships and an absolute belief in the dignity of all.  

During these days of COVID-19 illness and unemployment, and unrest after the death of George Floyd, work of our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry is more important than ever. Yet, our work is more challenged than ever. The rhythms of daily life and the infrastructure of our community have shifted or disappeared. This is felt most urgently by those who are vulnerable. Our response requires new thinking and imagination—and steadfast commitment.

The work of Basilica St. Vincent de Paul provides a broad spectrum of care. It supports people who live in homeless encampments across the street from The Basilica. It supports people who are recent immigrants to Minnesota—working to establish their lives in our community. It supports parishioner families who lost their job during Stay-At-Home orders, and families in North Minneapolis who are struggling. Indeed, the need is great. 

As we weave our way through the impact of  COVID-19, SVdP provides basic care by ensuring our neighbors who are homeless have a bathroom available. While The Basilica is closed, we installed 2 portable toilets on 17th street for people to use. Using technology and creativity, Basilica SVdP volunteers continued in long-term relationships with students at Minneapolis College who experience homelessness or generational poverty. These students are persevering against great odds to make a change in their life. In May 2020, one student shared the impact of this mentoring relationship: “I am very grateful for having the mentoring program. It has been a rough year for me and my mentor helped me through it. This program is great for people who struggle like me.”

Our daily St. Vincent de Paul programs held in the Lower Level of the Church—programs that serve thousands of neighbors each year—have been suspended, due to COVID restrictions. However, through ingenuity, perseverance and compassion, we are finding ways for volunteers to connect with and assist people in the community with rent assistance through phone and email contact. We are working to bring back more services to the community utilizing technology—ways to provide assistance effectively, but not in-person.

Our immigrant support teams partner with families seeking asylum through a variety of on-line methods. The volunteers who provide meals to the hungry in our community continue with special safety protocols.

These are among many changes we are working through with our volunteers and our community partners. Our commitment to respond to those most in need has never been stronger. 

Look for a special collection to donate to Basilica St. Vincent de Paul in upcoming weeks. Consider supporting this important work. One hundred percent of your donation goes directly to people in need. To find ways to get involved, call my office at 612.317.3477.


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

Last week we opened The Basilica for weekday Mass at noon, and had the first public Mass at The Basilica since mid-March. Speaking for myself, it was absolutely wonderful to have people at Mass again. The Eucharist is a community event, and it was nice to once again have a community with whom I could celebrate and share the Eucharist.

If you wish to attend one of these daily Masses you will need to pre-register the day before. You can do this on our website beginning at 1:00pm the day before the Mass you want to attend. If you do not have a computer, you can also call the parish office.

When you register, you will need to provide contact information, in the unlikely event that we need to do some contact tracing.

When you arrive for Mass you will need to wear a face mask and be checked in by a member of our staff. The check-in point are the accessible doors on the East side of The Basilica, between The Basilica and Cowley Center. After being checked in you will then be shown to a seat. We ask that you continue to wear your facemask, and remain in that seat until the Mass has ended. Communion will be distributed after the Mass has ended.

Last night, at a Zoom meeting with our parish leadership, we discussed opening The Basilica for a Sunday Mass. While people greatly appreciate our live-streaming efforts, we recognized that there is also a desire for people to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist. The Eucharist is central to our lives as Christians.

Given this, the decision was made that beginning Sunday, August 2, The Basilica will be open for one public Mass on Sunday at 11:30am. This Mass will be low key, with just an organ or piano and a cantor. Initially, we will limit the number of attendees at this Mass to 50, but hope to grow this number in the weeks ahead.

We will also continue to livestream our 9:30am Mass, with more robust music and singing ensembles. Unfortunately at this time the 9:30am Mass won’t be open to the public.

The same protocols and registration that we currently use for those attending daily Mass will apply to those who want to attend the 11:30 Mass. To help explain these protocols we have prepared a brief video which is available on our website.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I realize that to some these protocols may seem excessive, but in 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 over the age of 65 or if you have some health issues, or if you fall into a vulnerable category for some reason, I would hope that you would not register to attend Mass at this time.

As I have also mentioned previously, if you would like further information about these protocols or if you have questions or concerns, please contact me at the parish office or send me an email. My contact information is available on our parish website.

For those, who are not able to attend Mass, I want to reiterate that, going forward, we will continue to livestream daily Mass as well as our 9:30 Mass on Sunday and our various liturgies and services.

In the event that there is an outbreak of COVID-19 traceable to The Basilica, we will need to reconsider the decision to open The Basilica for public worship. Also if there is a surge in cases of the coronavirus, we will follow any directives/restrictions from the city of Minneapolis or the State. I will alert as soon as possible, should either of these things occur.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Please know they are appreciated more than you know.


Loving God, we come to you full of anxiety about what may happen in the coming days and weeks. Shower us with the peace Jesus promised to his disciples. In this time of uncertainty and epidemic, wake us up to the reminder that we are not alone.

Even as we are asked to keep our distance from others, help us to find ways to reach out to those who need our support. We pray especially for those whose incomes and livelihoods are threatened. We pray especially for the children who will miss meals; for those already isolated, lonely and scared; for those who can not be with a loved one; and for all caregivers.

Loving God, give them your peace, and through our efforts ensure they have what they need.

Sustain, strengthen and protect all of us. Bless us as we seek to offer compassionate care and to show courage in the face of risk.
Remind us, each time we wash our hands, that in our baptism you call us to let go of our fears and live in joy, peace, and hope.


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Noon Mass July 23

The Summer 2020 issue of BASILICA Magazine includes articles capturing this extraordinary time. 

The cover features Archbishop Bernard Hebda blessing the city of Minneapolis on Easter Sunday.















Inside this issue

Extraordinary Times–Extraordinary Measures 

A Milestone in Our Basilica Journey

A Timeless Oratorio 

The Archdiocesan Synod Process

A 25 Year Partnership Faith into action with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

Our Parish, Our Future

Staff Anniversary Reflections

Children’s Liturgy of the Word

Saint John XXIII Gallery

Focus for 2020 Securing the foundation for future generations

Civilize It Navigating political polarization as a community


In our weekly video series "Art That Surrounds Us," Johan van Parys, Ph.D., our Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts, shares information about a piece from The Basilica of Saint Mary's art collection. This week's installment features the icon of Saint Mary of Magdala in honor of her Feast Day on July 22. Made by iconographer Deb Korluka, it was installed at The Basilica on July 22, 2018.




Mary Magdalene Icon 2018