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Archives: January 2021
Continuing our longstanding tradition to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, gospel soloist Jerry Steele MPLS sang at our Sunday morning Masses. We share this compilation of Mr. Steele singing We Shall Overcome, Faith is the Key, and Let Us Worship Him.
It is winter, it is cold, we are waiting for another round of snow to blow in this afternoon. It is, as I write this, the end of 2020, those last few days when I spend time reflecting and writing or at least considering resolutions in preparation for the New Year. From a number of vantage points, I have reason to ring in and welcome January 1, 2021. I have many things I desperately wish to say good bye to. There are many changes and improvements to which I look forward, for which I am planning , for which I am consistently praying. I am in a word, hopeful. And yet, will the word January replacing the word December really bring all this about? It seems a great deal to expect.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” The babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, was and is a sign unto us. So yes, it seems it is true, a word can, indeed does make that much difference; only, rather than the word January, the Word, I think, is Jesus. My reason for such hope, rather the dropping of a crystal ball and midnight fire works, is the dwelling in me and in each of us of Jesus Christ.
We read in (1 JN:2) that the darkness is passing away and the light is already shining . In that reading, I am told in that if I love my sisters and brothers, I will remain in the light and nothing will make me fall. Conversely, in the same reading I am told that if I hate my sisters and brothers, I am and will be in darkness.
I hope for important things in 2021, so my resolution, I feel, is important; and must be more than self promises with regard to exercise and nutrition, books to read and minimalism to embrace. My important resolution will be to stay in the Light that John speaks of. That is so straightforward… and often so very difficult. I need resources to teach and inform me about my biases and prejudices so that I am able to truly love all my sisters and brothers. I need to actively work to show that love. I need opportunities to pray for justice, I need to embrace the person of Jesus, embrace the light I am offered. I need my Basilica community to work with me. And most thankfully, I have that. It is still January as you read this, it is time for more light, indeed, it is already shining.
The Basilica of Saint Mary
I am not an enthusiast of new year’s resolutions. Perhaps it comes from seeing too many advertisements for gym equipment, dating sites, or weight loss programs during the last week of December, knowing most resolutions fade just a few weeks later. While the desire for self-improvement is admirable, some resolutions feel half-hearted or even self-loathing.
But 2020 has been a year like no other and, as it comes to a close, I have been thinking more about new year’s resolutions. As we near the Epiphany of the Lord, I am considering new year’s resolutions with a new perspective. Epiphany means manifestation, and the Epiphany of the Lord is Jesus’ manifestation to the three Magi and to the whole world.
In 2020, the whole world has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. So much of what we’re accustomed to -- our routines, habits, and activities -- came to a screeching halt. That lockdown continues in many ways as we begin 2021.
I have come to see a small silver lining in the lockdown. With most commitments on hiatus, if and when things “open up” and we can start activities again, I hope to carefully evaluate what I choose to bring back. The difficulties of 2020 may bring an epiphany of sorts in 2021, with the invitation to prayerfully and deliberately evaluate what I do -- and, more importantly, what I don’t do. Every activity, every commitment, every social or volunteer opportunity, is an invitation for me to prayerfully ask, “Why should I do this? Does this help someone? Does this bring me joy? Does this bring me closer to God? Or should I not bring this back?”
While I, like you, anxiously await for the pandemic to ebb (hopefully soon!) and for life to return back to “normal,” I pray for an epiphany in this new year. As we wade into 2021, may we look for the star that God is using to call us. May our new normal be focused on God and how God is speaking to us, now more than ever.
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Please consider a gift to support Ascension Catholic School today.
A short video with Principal Benito Matias and Lara, an 8th grade student.
Make a donation at ascensionschoolmn.org/give/basilica.
Thank you for your support.
I hope you and your family had a blessed Christmas and that this New Year is off to a good start, and that it will be filled with God’s abundant blessings.
Today, I have three things I would like to mention. First, I want to thank everyone for their financial support of our parish during the past months and particularly at Christmas. Your ongoing financial support enables us to continue to offer the many programs, ministries and services that are at the heart of our Basilica community. It has been a blessing for our parish. As your pastor, please know of my great gratitude for your ongoing financial support.
The second thing I want to mention is that now that our livestreaming cameras have been permanently installed, we are able to open our 9:30am Mass for people to attend. As with the 11:30am and 4:30pm Masses, we do ask people to register to attend the 9:30am Mass, in the unlikely event that we need to do some contact tracing.
I also want to remind people that the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days continues to be suspended. Given this, if due to age, health issues, or other concerns, please know that you don’t have to attend Mass, and that we encourage you to join us for one of livestreamed Masses.
The third thing I want to mention is that we have begun looking ahead to our liturgical celebrations during Lent and Easter. Before we begin planning these celebrations, however, we would like the chance to de-brief people in regard to our liturgical celebrations during Advent and Christmas.
Given this, I would like to invite you to join me for coffee and conversation next Wednesday at 9:00am via Zoom. I’d like to hear from you about what worked well these past few months, and particularly at Christmas, as well as ideas and suggestions you might have for what we can do differently or better. The link to the Coffee and Conversation next Wednesday can be found on our parish website.
Finally, as always, if you have questions or concerns about anything that is happening at the Basilica, please contact me at the parish office or send me an email. My contact information is available on our parish website.
font of harmony and source of unity,
we ask for the grace to face the sin of division in our society;
we beg for mercy and forgiveness for the harm we have done,
we implore that you open our hearts and minds to ways that will bring about justice, equality, healing, harmony and peace,
and we pray for the conversion of heart of all those who perpetuate fear, promote supremacy and cultivate hatred.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
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