You are here
Archives: July 2021
I was an acolyte/altar server at the 11:30am Mass for over 20 years before The Basilica paused that ministry (and many others) due to COVID-19. Returning to that in-person ministry for the first time since Spring 2020 a few weeks ago, I felt a bit nervous and arrived extra early to thoughtfully and calmly prepare for active ministry. Slowly and reverently I opened the alb closet, found an alb in my size, picked up a processional cross, and proceeded to the rear of the nave by the baptismal font.
My thoughts began to race as I waited for Mass to begin. I hadn’t been in the “second chair” for about 16 months! Would I forget to do something? And now the Mass is livestreamed—so be careful going up the steps!
As my anxiety grew, I found comfort in seeing the familiar faces of liturgical ministers, musicians, staff members, and the congregation, with many people in their preferred pew location. Then Father Gillespie, who has faithfully presided at Basilica Masses for many years, quietly said “It’s good to be back and serving with you.” Perhaps he could tell that I was a little nervous? The familiarity of serving at past 11:30am Masses flooded back; I immediately felt calmer and ready to engage in volunteer ministry again.
This week’s responsorial psalm reminds us, “The hand of the Lord feeds us; God answers all our needs.” What an important message as we emerge from the shadows of a global pandemic. While many of our worries remain—about resurgence, new variants, civil unrest, and how to re-engage with others in a post-COVID “new normal”—being back at The Basilica is a comforting and familiar reminder that God feeds us, comforts us, and responds to our needs every day. We should turn to God and to our parish community to guide us from darker times to our future full of hope.
The Basilica offers about 120 different volunteer ministries and opportunities in a wide variety of areas. Many of them have openings now with both in-person and virtual options. Even more opportunities will open as programs restart this Fall. Many of the current volunteer openings are listed in this printed newsletter or are listed on mary.org. I hope you will consider sharing your time and talent with The Basilica and I am happy to help you find a ministry suited to your interests, skills, and availability.
Like the five barley loaves and two fish from today’s Gospel, when we share faithfully with others, it miraculously and abundantly grows. What we have to share is more than enough.
Angels Unawares - Coffee and Conversation with Johan van Parys, Director of Liturgy and the Sacred Arts
For the July 4th weekend, I headed to my hometown in Iowa for my first visit post pandemic. A time for renewing relationships, fun, and reflection, I finally had the chance to see and catch up with family and life-long friends. Conversations were fast and furious as we made up for the “lost year” as many in my hometown call the pandemic.
As we shared stories and experiences from the lock down it was clear that people really missed being with family and friends. For many, that included the loss of an in-person connection to their faith community. With deep emotion they spoke about yearning to gather at daily Mass, receive the Eucharist, and connect with others serving as volunteers at church.
These expressions of their faith gave meaning, inspiration, and structure to their daily lives that they sorely missed. Denied by the need for safety during the pandemic, as restrictions have lifted, for many these in-person expressions of faith have heightened importance.
Do you share these feelings? What have you missed about being at The Basilica? Please spread the word that we are ready and happy to welcome you back to The Basilica campus for liturgies and more. Better yet, make your plans to come back to the campus and bring friends.
It’s exciting for The Basilica to once again offer a full schedule of weekend liturgies with Masses at 5:00pm Saturday evening, and Sundays at 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am and 5:00pm (note: new time). Weekday Mass is offered at 7:00am and Noon. Be assured we are also committed to continue livestreaming weekday Mass at Noon, and 9:30am and 11:30am Sunday Masses at mary.org and on our Facebook page at facebook.com/BasilicaMpls.
Throughout the pandemic, volunteers worked at outdoor projects like lawn maintenance and landscaping. Another intrepid group helped with health screening and welcoming people to in-person Mass when COVID-19 restrictions were in place. Choirs continued meeting in new ways, in small groups masked and distanced. Pathways and Young Adults ministries were first active out of doors and indoors when weather required, and they are still at it.
We have gratefully welcomed back our sandwich makers, rectory hospitality, and reception volunteers who greet those looking for a cup of coffee or a sandwich. Weekly our staff is planning how to re-open volunteer opportunities and ministries safely for all. To help clean circulating air, bi-polar needlepoint ionization technology has been expanded to all Basilica gathering spaces in the Church, Rectory, and Cowley building.
This August, we anticipate a full schedule of offerings in conjunction with the arrival of the Angels Unawares sculpture which will be displayed on The Basilica’s front plaza. The artist is Timothy Schmalz who also created the Homeless Jesus status located in front of The Basilica.
On loan through August, this Angels Unawares statue comes to us from Catholic University where it will return for permanent installation. Mark your calendars for the opening ceremony at 1:00pm on August 1. Throughout August, there will be speakers offered virtually, and daily prayer, and vigils led by community partners at The Basilica.
If you haven’t been back to The Basilica yet, I encourage you to plan your visit. Throughout the pandemic, I came in daily to an eerily quiet Basilica campus which simply did not feel right. I’m anxiously anticipating the increased buzz of people coming together in-person to express their faith in worship and ministry in the months ahead.
Please note: the MCTC parking ramp east of the church is $5 during special events in Loring Park including Pride, Loring Art Festival and others.
- 1420 Hennepin Ave S. (north side of Hennepin Ave). A "pay-as-you-enter" mechanical system requires payment before entering the ramp.
- Credit cards accepted
There are free spaces available in the parking lot on the west side of the church under the highway.