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Archives: August 2020
It has been five months now since we were able to celebrate the Eucharist together, in person.
I longingly remember the time when we greeted one another as we made our way into church. Sometimes with a simple nod, a handshake, a hug or a kiss and some friendly chatter.
I longingly remember The Basilica filled with our beloved community. I long for our grand processions; our wonderful music; the Word of God proclaimed so well by so many; the singing by the assembly unusually robust for a Catholic community.
I longingly remember joining fellow parishioners for after Mass hospitality when we commented on the homily, the choice of music, the liturgical décor, our lives and together we rejoiced in being part of our very energetic faith community.
I miss all of this and I wonder if this is coming back any time soon. Even as we gradually re-open for the celebration of the Eucharist everything is different. Our rich liturgical encounter that touched all the senses has been replaced with a highly sanitized version of what once was.
And yet, there is nothing that nourishes us Catholics more than the Eucharist and there is no better place to build up the Body or Christ, our community than in the Eucharist, even when we are limited to gather in a virtual way or in a highly sanitized physical way.
To augment the sense of community some people have set up “watch parties” to be present at the livestreamed Mass together. After Mass they sometimes stay for the traditional doughnuts and coffee, albeit in a virtual way.
The comment section on our Facebook page during the livestream of our Liturgies has proven to be a very welcome tool for people to interact and create community. Now, this electronic gift can also become a burden. Maybe we can use this tool more judiciously and hold off on commenting during certain parts of the Mass as the consecration on occasion seemed buried under the many comments.
We have also discovered that our parishioners not only miss our people, our liturgies and our ministries, they also The Basilica itself. Because we are not able to go to The Basilica we have decided to bring The Basilica to you. So we have created a new initiative called Art that Surrounds Us with weekly video vignettes about some of our most beloved works of sacred art and sacred shrines.
There is no text book that tells us exactly what to do. All of this is so new to us and things keep changing and evolving but we are doing the best we possibly can.
This is a challenging time but it is also a time to think outside the box. While taking health protocols seriously we strive to nourish the souls of our parishioners and we work hard to assure that our community stays connected through our liturgies. Never hesitate to let us know what we can do better.
Today, I would like to offer a brief update on the gradual reopening of The Basilica. As you know, we have been open for daily Mass at Noon for a couple of weeks now. The largest number of attendees has been 19 and the smallest number has been 4. Our protocols are working well, and people are appreciative that we are taking everyone’s safety very seriously. To help explain our protocols we have prepared a brief video which is available on our website.
We opened for our first Sunday Mass this past weekend at 11:30am. We limited the number of pre-registrations to 50 and had 42 attendees. Again, as with daily Mass, check in went well. The people who attended were very grateful to be back in church. In the next few weeks, if things continue to go well, we hope to slowly increase the number of potential attendees to 120 -130.
You can do register to attend this Mass on our website beginning Saturday at 11:30am. For now, registration will close when we reach 50 attendees, or at 8:00am Sunday morning. If you do not have a computer, you can also call the parish office.
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. 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.
At some point in the next few weeks we will need to look at reopening one or more of our weekend Masses. This mass, like the 11:30am Mass, would be very simple with minimal congregational singing and just organ/piano and cantor. Also, we will 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 going forward we will need to look at recruiting volunteers to help with this. In regard to livestreaming, our staff has been great about learning how to operate our new equipment. 14 have been trained and 8 are currently scheduled to help with a daily Mass or the 9:30am Mass on Sunday. I am very grateful to them.
Finally, the past few weeks we have had one baptism service; two small funerals, and several small weddings. At the present time we limit attendees to 75, but hope to grow this number in the future.
The funerals and weddings we have had so far all have gone well. 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 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 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.
At this time of pandemic,
Let us foster respect and solidarity with others, especially those who are weak or poor.
Let us remain calm and ignore unsubstantiated rumors.
Let us take advantage of living together as a family.
Let us attend to moments of prayer.
Let us cultivate responsibility, patience, and hope.
News and Resources
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 three separate art pieces about Saint John Vianney (whose Feast Day is August 4) and the Pelican of Mercy.