Archives: July 2021


Basilica Community,

I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.

Today I want to talk with you about where we are currently, and the challenges that face us at The Basilica, as we move forward after the pandemic. As I hope all of you know, at the beginning of July we started our new Mass schedule. Masses are Saturday at 5:00pm; Sunday morning at 7:30am, 9:30 and 11:30; and Sunday afternoon at 5:00pm. It is heartening for me to see so many people back at The Basilica after many months.

In welcoming people back to worship, one of the challenges we face is reinvigorating, renewing, and in some cases rebuilding our liturgical ministerial teams. In this regard, we are in the process of contacting all of our liturgical ministers. If you have been not been contacted or if you are interested in becoming involved please contact Travis Salisbury.

As always, if you are not able, or don’t feel comfortable joining us in-person for any of our liturgies, we invite you join them via livestream. We will continue to livestream the 9:30am Mass, and have begun livestreaming the 11:30amMass. We are looking for volunteers to help with this, so if you are interested in volunteering, please let us know. During the coming weeks, we will be looking at bringing back more of our ministries. I will keep you informed as this progresses.

One thing in particular I wanted to mention is that during the month of August The Basilica will be hosting the sculpture Angels Unawares. This sculpture will be on our front plaza along Hennepin Avenue. Since it will be hard to miss, I wanted you to be aware of it.

Angels Unawares depicts 140 almost life size migrants from all times and places aboard a boat. It was created by Canadian Catholic sculptor Timothy Schmalz, who also created our Homeless Jesus sculpture. The name Angels Unawares comes from Hebrews 13:2, which reminds us to “show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

Finally, I want to thank everyone for your ongoing financial support for The Basilica. As we begin to resume more activities on our campus, your financial support will be critical as we resume the many ministries, services and programs that are at the heart of our Basilica community. As your pastor, I want to thank you for your ongoing generosity. Please know it is greatly appreciated.

In closing, as I have mentioned previously, as we move forward, our primary concern, as always, will be the safety and security of those who come to our campus. I will continue to keep you informed as we move forward into our new normal—whatever that may be.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about these changes I invite you to contact me at the parish office. My contact information is available on our parish website.


Let me close today in prayer. 

Loving God, we pray today for our parish community. Deliver us from simply desiring to get “back to normal," and give us instead the grace to be open to the opportunities that your Spirit is offering us at this time.

Grant that we may come out of this pandemic with eyes more able to see the needs of those most vulnerable and those who lives have been so severely impacted by the pandemic.

Give us creative minds and hearts to embrace and carry forward the new ways we have found to connect with one another; and bring us safely back together as a people renewed in the sure knowledge of your faithfulness and abiding love, and strengthen us for the work ahead. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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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.
The Basilica will host the sculpture Angels Unawares throughout August on our front plaza along Hennepin Avenue. Angels Unawares depicts 140 almost life size migrants from all times and places aboard a boat. It was created by Canadian Catholic sculptor Timothy Schmalz, who also created our Homeless Jesus sculpture.
The original sculpture was dedicated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on September 29, 2019, the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The name Angels Unawares comes from Hebrews 13:2, which admonishes Christians to “show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
Catholic University in Washington D.C. was given a second cast of the sculpture. Before its permanent installation this fall, Angels Unawares has been traveling to several cities in the United States at the request of the artist. On Sunday, August 1 we will unveil and bless the sculpture after the 9:30am Mass. That afternoon at 3:00pm we will have a festive welcome ceremony with speakers, music, and dance; we will bid goodbye to the sculpture on
Thursday, August 26. There will be lots of programming around Angels Unawares between those to dates. More details are on our website at
Noon Mass Video thumb Mary

Noon Mass

Windows_noon Mass video

Noon Mass

Homeless Jesus Summer

Noon Mass

A few weeks ago I needed to go grocery shopping. When I parked my car I followed an individual into the store who was talking on their cell phone. As we entered the store they must have lost coverage because they kept repeating: “Hello, can you hear me? Hello. Hello. Can you hear me?” This mantra continued as the individual grabbed a cart and began walking down an aisle. It persisted as they turned the corner to the next aisle. 

I have no idea if they ever reconnected with the person on the other end of the call, but I did wonder why they just didn’t go back outside or find a quiet corner of the store to continue their call. 

As I thought about this, it occurred to me that more often than I care to admit this experience is often a good reflection of my prayer. I spend a lot of time and use a lot of words talking to God, but when I don’t get an immediate response, I sometimes wonder if my prayer “got through.” 

At these times, I have to remind myself that prayer is not about me talking to God, and expecting God to answer immediately and on my terms. Rather prayer is about being open to the will and work of God. It is about me bringing my prayers and petitions to God, but then being open to how God might respond to them. 

In talking about prayer I deliberately use the word “respond” as opposed to “answer” because I have discovered that while God doesn’t always answer my prayers in terms of doing what I want, there is always a response of some kind. I only need to be open to the manner, form, and timing that response takes. God is there and God is responding; it is just that for whatever reason, I’m not open to, or able to discern God’s response. 

I truly believe that not only does God hear our prayers, but also that God responds to our prayers. This leads me to wonder/suspect that in reality it is probably God who is saying to me: “Hello, can you hear me? Hello. Hello. Can you hear me?” 


Noon Mass