Archives: April 2021

Basilica dome cupola and cross

The Grace of God

A couple of weeks ago I invited a friend, who had recently retired, to join me for a celebratory lunch. (Both of us have been vaccinated. So we decided it would be safe to venture out for lunch. It was the first public outing for both of us in over a year.) As I was walking into the restaurant I suddenly realized that I had left my wallet sitting on my desk. When I got to the table, I immediately asked my friend if he had any cash or credit cards with him, because even though I had invited him for lunch, I wasn’t going to be any help in actually paying for lunch. He jokingly reminded me that he had just retired and was on a fixed income. Nevertheless, he thought he could manage to pay for lunch. I apologized profusely and assured him that I would send him a check as soon as I got back to the office.

The above incident was yet another embarrassing moment in my life. But then again I have had so many embarrassing moments in my life, I have learned to live with them and eventually to laugh at them—sometimes years and years later.

I think we all experience embarrassing moments in our lives. There are times when we misspeak, act in an inappropriate manner, times when we don’t respond as we should, or forget something important (like a wallet). For me, the most embarrassing moments in my life occur when I very publicly and very obviously don’t act as a follower of Jesus. It could be a flash of irritation, a poorly timed comment, or a failed attempt at humor. Whenever those times occur I cringe both externally and internally. Additionally, I renew my resolve to try harder to be a better person and a better Christian.

One of the things that has helped me to cope with the above is realizing that I am not the only individual who has this problem. In fact, even St. Paul struggled with it. In the letter to the Romans we read: “I cannot even understand my own actions. I do not do what I want to do, but what I hate….What happens is that I do, not the good I will to do, but the evil I do not intend.” (Rom. 7. 15 & 19)

Speaking or acting in ways that are contrary to being a Christian seems to be pervasive in the life of Christians. Fortunately, we know and believe that the grace of God is stronger than any sin.  And so I trust that the God who created me understands me better than I understand myself. I also believe that in God’s grace and because of God’s love my sins are forgiven and my many embarrassing (and public) moments forgotten.  


Noon Mass Dome

Noon Mass

View of the Basilica nave and sanctuary

Noon Mass

Noon Mass

Noon Mass

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 this episode Johan discusses Pity of War, a new bronze sculpture gifted to The Basilica last year by British artist and sculptor Peter Walker. It is intended to honor the millions of nameless and voiceless and forgotten victims of war and human atrocities whose lives were upended against their will. Pity of War depicts the head of a young child whose eyes are strikingly bound and whose mouth is shockingly silenced.

Though it was conceived to commemorate victims of war, Johan was struck that it also spoke about what is happening in our cities, state and country. He thought of additional titles to the statue, incuding Pity of Violence, Pity of Abuse, Pity of Intolerance, Pity of Bigotry, Pity of White Supremacy, Pity of Racism.




Photo Interior Front of Church

Noon Mass

Just over one year ago we were faced with the cancelation of our annual fundraising celebration for The Basilica Landmark. I don’t think anyone expected at that time that we still wouldn’t be able to gather together in-person a whole year later. This May, we couldn’t let the occasion pass by without acknowledging the importance of our efforts to preserve, restore, and advance the historic Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations. After a year of absence, we are delighted to announce Landmark Spark is back—shining a new light on our mission—and on virtual screens everywhere on Saturday, May 15 at 7:00pm. 

I invite you to join our community as we celebrate Landmark Spark. Hosted by Dr. Johan van Parys, the event promises to be celebratory and entertaining as we continue to offer classic sponsorship packages with new twists for our virtual format, a Fund-Our-Mission moment, exciting online auction items, and a virtual photo booth. We encourage all to participate as the event will be livestreamed and tickets start at no cost. Additional sponsorship packages are available upon registration. We’re setting the bar high so we can raise the necessary funds to sustain our beloved Basilica. To register and view our giving opportunities, please visit or contact Holly Dockendorf at or 612.317.3432. 

Since The Basilica Landmark was established in 1993 (originally named Friends of The Basilica), it has made the upkeep and care of our campus and facilities possible by financially supporting projects that would be difficult for the parish to undertake from its own operating budget. This partnership empowers The Basilica’s ability to serve its more than 12,000 parishioners as well as the greater community. During the challenging times of 2020, The Basilica Landmark made several essential projects possible including: purchasing livestreaming equipment to help people participate in our liturgies, tuck-pointing on the church’s west façade to keep to keep our beautiful Basilica in good repair, and installing air purification units to keep us healthy. With your support of Landmark Spark, we will continue necessary maintenance projects like these to keep our campus and facilities safe and in good repair.

The work we have done to date has physically strengthened our iconic building and campus, maintaining its foundational history for well over a century. While in previous years we have featured one particular project, this year we are rallying behind the collective mission of The Basilica Landmark. This approach provides the utmost flexibility as our needs are constantly changing, the work is never done, and the funds are always in demand. The Basilica campus and historic buildings provide an essential foundation to the ministries that serve thousands with countless physical, mental, and spiritual needs. Please Fund-Our-Mission to preserve our legacy, restore our structure, and advance our community. Visit to make your gift. 

For the first time ever, our always thrilling auction has moved online and you can bid from wherever you are beginning on Thursday, May 13 at 10am. Outbid your friends on exciting baskets and one-of-a-kind experiences. For all of your Spark needs and to register for online bidding, please visit The online auction closes on Sunday, May 16 at 5pm. 

Together, let’s ignite the flame of our mission to preserve, restore and advance The Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations. Register, give, and bid at