Novena to Saint Joseph
Pope Francis marked the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX with an Apostolic Letter entitled Patris Corde or With a Father’s Heart. The Holy Father’s stated goal was “to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal.” The letter contains several short segments in which Pope Francis meditates on the many virtues of Saint Joseph: a beloved and loving father; an obedient and accepting father; a creative and courageous father; a working father; and a father in the shadows.
In addition, Pope Francis declared a Year of Saint Joseph to be celebrated between December 8, 2020 and December 8, 2021. Archbishop Hebda expressed the hope that “the Year of Saint Joseph will be a source of renewal in our local Church, most especially as we continue our preparations for the Synod of 2022.”
One of the highlights during this Year of Saint Joseph is the celebration of his Solemnity in March 19. To prepare ourselves we invite you to join us in a Novena, or nine days of prayer, to Saint Joseph. We propose that we use the prayer suggested by Pope Francis at the end of his Apostolic Letter Patris Corde for this Novena. Please add this prayer to your daily devotions as together we prepare to celebrate Saint Joseph and truly increase our love for this great Saint.
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became human.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.
In his encyclical Laudato Sì. On Care for Our Common Home, which is addressed to “everyone living on this planet” Pope Francis calls for a radical and urgent “Ecological Conversion” which he grounds in Scripture and adds to our body of Catholic Social Teaching.
Pope Francis references the fact that “dominion” over the earth was entrusted by God to humans as found in Gen. 1:28. He argues that this is often used to justify the relentless exploitation of our planet. As a corrective he then offers Gen 2:15 where God calls on humans to both “cultivate and care” for our planet. Too often, he says we have excelled at cultivating or tilling the earth but have failed miserably at caring for our planet. Now is the time to change that and to urgently start caring for our planet.
In terms of our Catholic Social Teaching Pope Francis points out that all decisions we make have an effect on the environment. At the same time he points out that poor people and poorer countries bare the brunt of climate change while they are victimized by the unbridled pursuit of money and possessions in richer parts of the world.
As we continue our Lenten journey we invite you to consider the following suggestions for the three Lenten disciplines of fasting, prayer and charity. These can either be in addition to our previous suggestions or you can start anew.
Fasting from the use of plastic
• Pope Francis does not mince words when he says: “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”
• Inspired by Laudato Sì as well as by the great passion my late niece had for our planet I recently took stock of my kitchen and bathroom supplies and found so many one-time-use plastic containers. Granted, I am very diligent about recycling but even if all the recyclable plastic were recycled - which is not the case as much of it ends up in land fills at best and in oceans at worst – the energy it takes to recycle plastic contributes to the pollution of our planet.
• In addition to fasting from food and drink this week lets consider fasting from the containers that are used to package these. Maybe we can consider alternatives to liquid cleaning products that so handily come in plastic containers. And we could investigate bamboo alternatives to plastic and paper made from wood. For many practical and attainable suggestions please go to: https://ourcommonhome.org/media/docs/Lenten-Plastic-Fast.pdf
Praying with Pope Francis
Pope Francis ends Laudato Sì with prayers which he invites us to pray often. During this fifth week of Lent let us offer the following prayer on a daily basis.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace
Charity: purchase sustainably and ethically sources products
• In his encyclical Pope Francis praises St. Francis for lifting up the “inseparable bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.” Pope Francis then goes so far as to say that we need to respond to “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” as both are profoundly connected.
• This seems like an enormous task. Besides we are not decision makers. We are subject to decisions made by others who have much more power and wield much greater influence than we do. Yet maybe the task is not for one person to make big changes but rather for a great number of people to institute small changes.
• This week maybe we can examine our buying behavior to make sure we know where any products we buy come from. The important question to ask is how these products impact the lives of others especially the lives of those making them. In other words, let’s commit ourselves to buying products that were sustainably sourced and ethically produced.
And as I have mentioned since we began this series, please remember to be patient with yourself and others and don’t let yourself be overwhelmed. Lent is neither an endurance test nor a time to prove our Christian heroism. Rather, Lent is a time to slow down and ponder what is essential to our faith and thus to our life as Christians. So please pace yourselves. Give yourself and others the necessary space. And above all be patient with yourself and others.
The fourth Sunday of Lent is also known as Laetare Sunday. This name is based on the first word of the introit or entrance chant for Mass that day which invites us to rejoice always.
Lætare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum lætitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestræ.
Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.
As we embark on the Fourth Week of Lent we invite you to meditate on the Joy of Christianity and consider the following suggestions for the three Lenten disciplines of fasting, prayer and charity. These can either be in addition to our previous suggestions or you can start anew.
Johan M. J. van Parys, Ph.D.
Director of Liturgy and the Sacred Arts
Fasting from sadness and ingratitude
• In a homily preached on May 23, 2016 at morning Mass in the Chapel of Casa Santa Marta where he lives, Pope Francis stated that “the Christian identity card is joy, the Gospel’s joy, the joy of having been chosen by Jesus, saved by Jesus, regenerated by Jesus; the joy of that hope that Jesus is waiting for us, the joy that - even with the crosses and sufferings we bear in this life - is expressed in another way, which is peace in the certainty that Jesus accompanies us, is with us."
• Practicing gratitude and joy, while choosing to fast from ingratitude and sadness is not only physically healthy but mentally, emotionally and spiritually enriching, too. And after all, it is our only possible response to the mystery of God becoming one of us so that we may become more like God
• So this week, let us fast from sadness and ingratitude even though so much in the world invites us to do just that. And let us wholly embrace the Joy of Christianity so our hearts our heart, our homes, our city, our country and indeed our world may be aflame with the hope and joy of the Resurrection we are about to celebrate.
• Gratitude and joy flow from the assurance that God knows us, remembers us, accompanies us, loves us and awaits us. The reality of God’s covenant with us is expressed in prayer and is at the same time impressed on us during prayer, particularly in the quiet of contemplative prayer.
• One form of Contemplative Prayer is known as Centering Prayer. The goal of Centering Prayer is to open one’s mind, heart and soul completely to God who is the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words and emotions. In the silence of this prayer we are invited to an intimate encounter with God who is considerate, caring and compassionate. Our response to God’s love can be nothing but gratitude and joy which we are want to share with others.
• You can find more information at the following websites
Charity: Act with Courage
• The Joy of Christianity gives us the courage to speak and act on behalf of those in need without any fear. As we consider our society during these weeks of Lent let us commit ourselves to a better world, the kind of world God has dreamt for us.
• This week let us think about the many injustices and concerns that plague our world and ask ourselves how we can make a difference in terms of racial justice, adequate housing, mental health funding, the care for the unborn, health insurance for all, immigrants and asylum seekers, the death penalty, endless cycles of poverty, gun violence…
• We can’t tackle all of these at once but lets select one or two and see how we may occasion change by speaking up, donating money, volunteering, lobbying our legislators…
And as I mentioned the last three weeks, please remember to be patient with yourself and others. Lent is neither an endurance test nor a time to prove our Christian heroism. Rather, Lent is a time to slow down and ponder what is essential to our faith and thus to our life as Christians. So please pace yourselves. Give yourself and others the necessary space. And above all be patient with yourself and others.
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. In preparation for the beginning of the third Christian Millennium, The Basilica of Saint Mary commissioned mono-prints of the fifteen Scriptural Stations introduced by Saint Pope John Paul II in 1991. We explicitly requested an abstract rendition of the Stations, which Johan will discuss in this video.
Please join us on the Fridays of Lent for the celebration of the Stations of the Cross at 5:30pm (central time), either in person or via livestream. This year we will be praying a different version of the Stations each Friday and will meditate on different art.
In 2015 my husband David and I relocated to Minneapolis from Washington D.C. In our search for a new parish, we visited The Basilica for mass. The processional included a beautiful collection of iconography accompanied by the Cathedral Choir's singing of John Tavener's Song for Athene. Then the celebrant began with; "wherever you are in your faith journey, you are welcome here." We looked at each other and shared a common understanding: this was our new spiritual home.
Not long after becoming parish members, we both had the opportunity to serve in ministry leadership roles – David as a section leader in the Cathedral Choir, and I as a member of the Parish Council. It made an impression that we as new members were invited to engage in shaping our work as a parish community - whether through a musical performance or a new strategic plan.
We support The Basilica because we believe in its vision to be a home of spiritual nourishment, a beacon of hope, and an advocate for change. We see this vision lived out in the parish, in our community and in our own lives. As parishioners, we want to play an active role in bringing the Basilica's vision to life, and parish service is an important part of that.
The Parish Council serves an important role as part of our Basilica community: It is a collaborative group of 15 volunteer representatives who bring a wide array of perspectives and experiences from ministry areas across the Parish to advise and support the Pastor and staff in realizing the Basilica’s vision and mission. The Basilica's Our Parish, Our Future strategic plan is a great example of the type of impact that comes from this collaboration between Basilica leadership and staff, Parish Council members, and volunteers.
Parish Council elections will take place in May of this year, with nominations due by April 15. This year there are two open positions: one to represent the Learning department, and one to represent the Christian Life department.
Parish Council service has had a meaningful impact on my own faith life and allowed me to positively impact our parish community. I encourage you to consider service as a lay leader, or to nominate a fellow parishioner for Parish Council service. I also encourage all parishioners to vote in our Parish Council elections. These volunteer positions make a meaningful impact in our parish community, and your voice is important.
I would be delighted to connect with you or someone you know who would like to explore Parish Council service. Please reach out to me through the link at
I look forward to hearing from you!
Important Information & Dates:
April 15: Deadline for Nominations
Nomination form: mary.org/pcnominations
May 26 – June 7: Elections - voting available online or during mass
Katelin Richter Davis
Secretary, Parish Council