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Archives: June 2021
The other day when I got into my office I noticed the red message light on my office phone was blinking. As I looked at it, it took me a moment to remember how to retrieve the message. The reason it took a couple of moments was that it had been a few weeks since someone had left me a message on my office phone. Now I receive lots and lots of emails, texts, and messages on my cell phone but it had been a while since someone had actually left me a message on my office phone.
As I thought about this, it led me on a trip down memory lane. When I was grade school, we had one phone in our house. In high school we added an extension phone for the upstairs. This continued while I was in college. Later in the seminary, four of us got together and paid for a phone that we located at the end of the hall so we could all use it.
It wasn’t until my first assignment that I actually had a phone of my own in my office. Even then there was no way to leave a message. The parish secretary used the infamous “pink message slips” when someone called and we weren’t there. In my second assignment, the parish had upgraded to an answering machine so that people could leave a message if they called after hours. Eventually computers and email became common place, and I had to learn to communicate using them. It wasn’t until I became a pastor that I eventually got a cell phone —it resembled a small walkie-talkie—and I remember at the time thinking I was quite the technophile.
Nowadays, of course, I can’t imagine life without a cellphone and a laptop. I am amazed at how much has changed just within the past 25 years in regard to the ways we communicate with each other. And while the ways we communicate have changed, what has not changed is the basic need and desire for us to communicate with one another.
I believe the above is not true just for us, but is also true for God. Just as our desire to communicate with each other and have done and continue to do so in a variety of ways, so too, God wants to communicate with us. And perhaps more importantly, God is not limited in the ways/manner God does this. If we are looking for God to communicate with us using only the spoken or written word, we will miss much that God has to communicate with us.
God communicates with us in the movements of our spirits, in the musings of our minds, and in the longing of our hearts. If we are going to come to know what God wants us to know, we need to listen with our hearts, our minds, our spirits, and our whole being. If we only listen with our ears, we are limiting our awareness and understanding of what God wants us to know.
In our 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 third installment about Mary, Johan discusses different apparitions and depictions of Mary from around the world.
Please also note that Art that Surrounds Us will be posted monthly, rather than weekly, during the summer months. Our next episode will post in July.
Elections for the Parish Council open this week, and I wished to share my sincere hope that you’ll vote. I also wanted to share a bit about the impact that volunteer service on the Parish Council has had on my own faith life.
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. 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 volunteer 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. Our service in parish volunteer roles created a strong sense of community and belonging for us, for which we are so grateful.
In my role as a member of the Parish Council, I was honored to be a part of The Basilica’s Our Parish, Our Future strategic planning process. This parish-wide plan is a great example of the impact that collaboration between Basilica leadership and staff, and parish volunteers can have in advancing The Basilica’s mission. I can say with confidence that the contributions of nearly 100 volunteers who helped to shape and refine the plan greatly strengthened the outcome of the process. For my own part, it was an opportunity to utilize my professional background in strategy consulting and nonprofit management to serve the parish. The Our Parish, Our Future planning process is just one example of the many ways that volunteers strengthen our parish and service to the community.
Parish volunteer service has had a meaningful impact on my own faith life. I support The Basilica because I believe in its vision to be a home of spiritual nourishment, a beacon of hope and an advocate for change. As a parishioner, it has been meaningful to me to play an active role in working toward this vision through Parish Council service.
Each member of our community plays an important role in bringing The Basilica’s mission and vision to life. Thank you for your support of our parish! This year, I encourage you to actively participate in our parish elections, and also to consider how your unique skills and interests can map to volunteer service at our parish in the coming year.
Please reach out to me or other members of the Parish Council if you have any questions about lay leadership opportunities, or if you would like to share any comments or thoughts with us on parish life. We look forward to connecting with you.
Contact us at mary.org/parishcouncil.