Archives: November 2021

The Gift of Redemption

One of my favorite movies is a 1983 film entitled Tender Mercies. The movie stars Robert Duvall as Mac Sledge, an alcoholic country music singer/songwriter who, after going on a bender, finds himself in a small town in rural Texas. There he slowly turns his life around as he develops a relationship with a young widow and her son. 

I like the movie for several reasons. One reason in particular, though, is that it reminds me that sometimes “redemption” is a process. Now, let me be absolutely clear about this. We believe that Jesus, suffered died and rose again to redeem us, once for all. Our redemption has already been accomplished. It is certain and sure. There is absolutely no question about that. Sometimes, though, it takes us a while to realize and accept the redemption that has been won for us, and that is freely offered to us. 

In the film Mac does not change his ways immediately. It takes him a while to accept that he has been saved. His understanding is a gradual process and takes place over a period of time, as he fluctuates back and forth between his old life and drinking days, and the new life he was beginning to live. It takes him a while to let his new way of living become his new life. 

And so I think it is with us sometimes. 

Sometimes we find it difficult to accept truths that are simple, real and at the same time, profound. For many people I suspect the redemption Jesus won for us is one of those truths. We are so used to making our own way—to working hard to earn or merit the things we have accomplished. It is hard for us to realize that there are some things we can’t earn, we don’t merit, and we can’t work to accomplish. Very specifically I believe our redemption is one of those things we don’t earn, merit or work to accomplish. Our redemption by Jesus Christ is a freely offered gift. And as we all know, we don’t earn gifts, we simply accept them. 

For us, as humans, understanding that our redemption is a gift and then accepting that gift, is often a process. We don’t have to worry, though; it is not a process for God. Christ has redeemed once for all. Sometimes it just takes a while for that message to get through to us.  



Noon Mass


Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary. I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these still challenging times. 

Today I would like to begin by inviting you to join us for Mass on Thanksgiving Day at 10:00am. The last couple of years have been very difficult for all of us. Yet, despite the difficulties and the stress, there have also been moments of great grace, as God’s love has broken through and blessed us. 

Mass on Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful way for us to gather as a people of faith to celebrate and thank God for the many ways God has blessed us in our lives. I hope you will be able to join us for Mass at 10:00am that day. 

I also wanted to talk with you today about our Christmas schedule. A little over a week ago Archbishop Hebda gave parishes in our Archdiocese the option of celebrating a Mass on Christmas Eve at 2:00pm. 

Given this, we will have Masses on Christmas Eve at 2:00pm, 5:00, 7:30 and Midnight. On Christmas Day Masses will be at 7:30am, 9:30, 11:30 and 5:00pm. We hope you will plan on joining us for one of these celebrations.

While it is heartening for me to see so many people back at The Basilica after so many months, we want to make sure we are continuing to make The Basilica a safe place for people to be. For this reason, if you are able to join us at Christmas, I want to strongly encourage you, and in fact urge you, to wear a facemask when you come to church. We will have masks available at the entrances if you should forget. 

We will also be sanitizing the church pews in between services, and as I have mentioned previously, we have installed a new air purification system that continually purifies the air in the church. We will also have extra security for our Christmas Masses and will be increasing the lighting around the church grounds to help ensure people’s safety. I hope you will plan on joining us for one of our Christmas Masses. 

As I have also mentioned previously, in welcoming people back to worship, one of the challenges we face is resuming, renewing and in some cases rebuilding our liturgical ministry teams. If you have been involved in our liturgical ministry and not been contacted yet, or if you are interested in becoming involved please contact our Liturgy Office and let us know. 

And, 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. A schedule of our livestreamed liturgies is available on our website.

Finally, I want to close today by thanking all those who have made or increased their commitment of financial support to our Basilica Fund. Your commitment of financial support, no matter how small or how large, enables us to continue to do those things that fulfill our vision here at The Basilica. 

I will continue to keep you informed as we move forward into our new normal, whatever that may be. As always, though, if you have any questions or concerns I invite you to contact me at the parish office. My contact information is available on our parish website. 

We look forward to welcoming you home to The Basilica for Christmas. 

Let me close today in prayer. 

Dear God – 
You have made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: 
Look with compassion on the whole human family; 
take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; 
break down the walls that separate us; 
unite us in bonds of love; 
and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; 
that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

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Basilica in winter

Noon Mass

There are several ways you can support our community this Advent and Christmas season.

Make a Gift to our St. Vincent de Paul Outreach Ministry
Our St. Vincent de Paul Outreach has resumed their work on Tuesday and Thursdays 9:30 – 11:30am in Teresa of Calcutta. We have reopened with limited services of ID vouchers, gas card and bus cards. Thanks to our staff and the volunteers returning to do this important work. The Basilica’s St. Vincent de Paul Ministry provides much needed support to the vulnerable in our community. To make a gift to our St. Vincent de Paul ministry, please visit


Make a Christmas Gift to The Basilica
Please consider making a special Christmas gift to support our ministries and programs. Make your gift at


Ascension’s “Be a Santa’s Helper” 
Church of the Ascension’s “Be a Santa’s Helper” drive last Advent delivered nearly 200 Christmas bags and 400 food boxes to families in need. They are trying to double that this year with a goal of: Every child in need receives a present this Christmas. We would like all toys to arrive on or before December 9. 

Buy a toy from the wish list; it will ship to Ascension. 
Visit to see the list.

We also need volunteers to help with wrapping, packing and distribution. Please visit this form on Sign-Up Genius to see days and times available.

Volunteer at Catholic Charities
Volunteer to help serve meals at Catholic Charities during the Advent and Christmas season. 
More information at



Prayer for Peace in Our Communities

For an end to the violence perpetrated by harsh words, deadly weapons, or cold indifference. May our homes, our nation, and countries around the world become havens of peace, let us pray to the Lord…

For the grace to see every human being as a child of God, regardless of race, language or culture, let us pray to the Lord…

For the strength to teach our children how to resolve differences non-violently and respectfully, and the courage to model it in our own behavior, let us pray to the Lord.

For our faith community, that we may respond boldly to the Holy Spirit's call to act together to end violence and racism, let us pray to the Lord…

For healing and justice for all those who have experienced violence and racism, let us pray to the Lord.

For the protection of all police and first responders who risk their lives daily to ensure our safety; for fair and just policing that will promote peace and wellbeing in all our neighborhoods, let us pray to the Lord…

For the courage to have difficult conversations about racism, and for a better appreciation of how our words and actions – or even our silence – can impact our communities, let us pray to the Lord…

For solidarity in our global human family, that we may work together to protect those who are most vulnerable and most in need, let us pray to the Lord…


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Noon Mass