Archives: August 2020

AUGUST 16, 2020

The Basilica of Saint Mary, originally the Pro-Cathedral, was dedicated at the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15, 1915. Each year we honor this dedication on the Sunday closest to Assumption.


Have you ever wondered what the Catholic Church is all about? Are you an adult who might like to join the Catholic Church? Were you raised in the Catholic Church but for any number of reasons never followed through on confirmation? Then “Come and see!” 

Through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA, anyone—the curious, the spiritual seeker, or those wanting to be received into the Church through baptism and/or confirmation—may encounter a place to find answers to their questions. No question is too simple, silly, complex, or controversial. Everyone is welcome. RCIA members come from all faiths and backgrounds—churched and unchurched, believers and non-believers. RCIA is a place where questions and doubts are encouraged, and there is never any obligation to join the Catholic Church. The environment is warm and encouraging, with no judgement or criticism. Many find they make new and long-lasting friendships during this time.

As with so many other parts of our lives, RCIA will be different this year due to the current pandemic. Instead of meeting in person, sessions will be held online via Zoom following the 9:30am Sunday Mass, beginning October 4. Inquirers and their sponsors will meet independently by Zoom or phone call—whichever feels most natural to them. A variety of learning materials will be made available on the RCIA group page of The Basilica’s website, and we are considering Facebook pages for current and past RCIA alum that will feature additional information and resources.

Despite these changes, RCIA will still follow its traditional course, beginning with a Period of Inquiry and an overview of the Bible and basic Christian teachings. This section ends with the beautiful Rite of Welcome into the Church for those who desire it. This rite is a simple yet eloquent enactment of the Church’s welcoming nature for anyone wishing to step inside its doors. 

Next comes the Period of the Catechumenate, where the sessions go deeper into Christian teaching, the Sacraments, and encounter the character of Christ through both class sessions and the Opening of the Word during Mass. During the Opening of the Word, people gather to discuss each Sunday’s Gospel readings on an intimate level, building even closer and deeper relationships with Christ and one another.

That is followed by Lent and the Period of Purification where sessions even more deeply encounter the person and character of Christ through Gospel readings and discussion. Finally, with the Triduum, all the drama and passion of the three days leading to Easter is stunningly reenacted, culminating in baptism and/or confirmation of those who desire it. But there is never any pressure to take this step. RCIA staff recognizes that the decision to do so is deeply personal, and anyone who chooses not to do so is never doubted or questioned.

Finally, the RCIA year ends with the Period of Mystagogia where everyone gathers to reflect on the year and are offered ways to match their gifts with the many ministries at The Basilica. 

If you or anyone you know would be interested in attending RCIA during the coming 2020/2021 year, contact Cathy Edwards, coordinator of RCIA to learn more. 

Come and see!



Noon Mass_video image

Noon Mass August 14


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

Today, I would like to continue to update you on the gradual reopening of The Basilica. As you know, given the recent spike in the cases of Coronavirus in Minnesota, we are being very cautious in this reopening. We have been open for daily Mass at noon for three weeks now.

Our protocols are working well, and people seem very appreciative that we are taking everyone’s safety very seriously. As I have mentioned previously these protocols are explained in a brief video which is available on our website.

For the past two weekends we have been opened for Sunday Mass at 11:30am. We have increased the number of potential attendees from 50 to 100. If things continue to go well, we hope to slowly increase the number of potential attendees to 120 -130.

You can register to attend this Mass on our website beginning Saturday at 11:30am. For now, registration will close when we reach 100 attendees, or at 8:00am on Sunday morning.

The check-in point for daily Mass and the 11:30am Mass on Sunday are the accessible doors on the East side of The Basilica, between The Basilica and Cowley Center.

When coming to Mass, we ask that you wear a face mask, and 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. The 11:30am Mass is very simple with minimal congregational singing and just organ or piano and cantor.

At some point in the next few weeks we will consider re-opening one or more of our weekend Masses. We will also, continue to livestream our 9:30am Mass, which will have more robust singing and different music ensembles. Currently we are using our staff to work the check-in table for our daily and Sunday Mass, but we are starting to recruit volunteers to help with this.

Also, working with Johan Van Parys and Travis Salisbury, we have developed a safe way in which people can celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation. Beginning on Saturday, August 22 confessions will be heard in the chapel from 9:00am to 10:00am. Our protocols for this will be posted on our website, or you can call the parish office for information.

Finally, the past few weeks we have had two baptism services; a couple of small funerals, and several small weddings. At the present time we limit attendees to 75, but hope to grow this number in the future. We do ask for a list of attendees and their contact information ahead of time, in the unlikely event that we need to do contact tracing. People have been very cooperative about this.

If you would like further information about our 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.

Additionally, as I have mentioned previously in the event that there is an outbreak of COVID-19 traceable to The Basilica, we will need to reconsider the decision to open 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 you 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.


Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love. Stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.

Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.

Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.

Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.

Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace. Amen


Upcoming Events

Livestream: Basilica Day
Sunday, August 16

Livestream: Taizé Prayer
Sunday, August 16


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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 Mary Garden and our "Beckoning" statue. Typically around the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary (August 15) we offer tours of our Mary Garden. Since that is not possible this year, we are pleased to bring our Mary Garden to you.




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