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Archives: March 2022
At The Basilica of Saint Mary, the ministries of St. Vincent de Paul are varied and many. All seek to build relationships, respond to basic needs, and advocate for dignity for all.
Our work is as basic as ensuring our neighbors who are homeless have a bathroom available, and as complex as establishing long-term mentoring relationships. We are completing our eighth year mentoring Minneapolis College students who experience homelessness or generational poverty. We assist Basilica parishioners who are struggling and families in the broader community who reach out to The Basilica seeking life-saving assistance.
Most recently, we are supporting refugee families from Afghanistan. We provided furniture, food, clothing, household items and rent assistance. Our Basilica volunteer "Circle of Welcome Teams" develop relationships with the families, helping them as they acclimate to life in America.
A recurring gift to St. Vincent de Paul makes outreach like this possible. Your partnership is crucial and offers hope to those who need it most. To make a gift commitment, please visit mary.org/svdpgive. If you have questions about how to make your gift, please contact Nicole at 612.317.3472.
Fasting, Praying and Acting during the Fifth Week of Lent
“Be rich in good works, be generous and ready to share.” (1 Timothy 6:18)
“Living in Solidarity with Those who are Poor.” Pope Francis
In 2017 Pope Francis inaugurated the first World Day of the Poor to be held every year on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.
During his homily on the most recent World Day of the Poor marked on November 14, 2021, the pope decried the poverty into which people are often forced, “victims of injustice and the inequality of a throwaway society that hurries past without seeing them and without scruple abandons them to their fate.”
He went on to say that “unless our hope translates into decisions and concrete gestures of concern, justice, solidarity and care for our common home, the sufferings of the poor will not be relieved, the economy of waste that forces them to live on the margins will not be converted, their expectations will not blossom anew.”
He concluded by encouraging all people to improve the world by “breaking bread with the hungry, working for justice, lifting up the poor and restoring their dignity.”
During this Fifth Week of Lent, we invite you to: mend your heart by fasting from greed; bend your knees while engage in praying the Stations of the Cross; and Lend your hand by embracing generosity.
- Mending our Hearts: Fasting from Greed
- All of us, to some extent suffer from greediness. Greediness is the tendency to hold on, to claim or to demand something or even someone just for ourselves.
- Fasting from greed is more difficult than fasting from meat or sweets. Ridding ourselves of this sinful desire requires a complete change of attitude which does not happen in a day or even a week. This is a difficult task which requires commitment and tenacity.
- As Christians we are to live as Jesus lived. His generosity, even unto death knew no bounds. Let us contemplate and emulate Jesus’ generosity this week as we rid ourselves slowly of our greediness.
- Bending our Knees: Praying the Station of the Cross
- Praying the Stations of the Cross is an ancient Christian devotion which invites us to meditate on the mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. A history of this devotion is offered in our series Art that Surrounds Us: https://www.mary.org/blog/202102/art-surrounds-us-stations-cross#.YDU4dNhKiJA.
- On Fridays of Lent, we pray the Stations of the Cross in The Basilica at 5:30pm. You can join us in person or via livestream. Each Friday we pray a different version of the Stations of the Cross using new texts and images.
- If you would like to pray the Stations of the Cross at home you can use the weekly recorded livestream or you can find a narrated slideshow of our Scriptural Stations at https://vimeo.com/403088034.
- Lending our Hands: Embracing Generosity
- During Lent we give thanks for Jesus’ willingness to die for us on the cross. This act of ultimate generosity has deep sacrificial meaning and great theological implications for all of us. Not only are we saved by Jesus’ self-sacrifice, but we are also called to make sacrifices in turn.
- On the fifth Sunday of Lent, we have a second collection for our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry. This is our opportunity to be generous to the programs our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry supports and the people it serves. We can also volunteer in our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry at The Basilica. You can find more information here: https://www.mary.org/ministries-education/charity-service#.YhFFgujMJPY
- One of our strategic directions at The Basilica is to work toward ending homelessness. You can learn about the realities of homeless in our community and ways to advocate and get involved by visiting the following websites:
And please remember to be patient with yourself and others. Lent is neither an endurance test nor a time to prove our Christian stamina. Rather, Lent is a time to slow down and ponder what is essential to our faith and thus to our life as Christians. So please pace yourselves. Give yourself and others the necessary space. And above all be patient with yourself and others.
All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings
Archbishop Bernard Hebda invites the faithful of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, priests, deacons, consecrated women and men and all people of good will to join him and Bishop Joseph Williams for a special Holy Hour and Consecration. The event will occur simultaneously with Pope Francis’ prayer for peace, and consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which will take place during the Celebration of Penance at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
From the consecration prayer by Pope Francis:
Holy Mary, Mother of God, hear our prayer.
Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war.
Ark of the New Covenant, inspire projects and paths to reconciliation.
Queen of Heaven, restore God's peace to the world.
Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge and teach us forgiveness.
Free us from war, protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons.
Queen of the Rosary, make us realize our need to pray and love.
Queen of the Human Family, show people the path to fraternity.
Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.
Let us pray for the people in Ukraine,
and in all war zones of the world,
for those who have fled the dread of violence
and have been deprived of their homes,
for all women and men who stand up with their lives
to ward off evil and to protect the weak and the persecuted.
Almighty and eternal God,
you have compassion for the lowly and the poor,
but you throw down oppressors.
As you guided Israel out of slavery in Egypt,
so in our days save all victims of war and violence.
Change the hearts of evildoers,
and let peace be victorious.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
- Fear and anger are omnipresent in our world today. Many people thrive on these sentiments, and some even promote them. Fear and anger rather than joy and happiness have become the hallmark and detriment of our society.
- This week let’s resist the powers that tell us to be fearful or to hate and let’s embrace the gospel values of joy and gratitude.
- Practicing gratitude and joy, while choosing to fast from ingratitude and sadness is not only physically healthy but mentally, emotionally and spiritually enriching. And after all, this is our only possible response to the mystery of God becoming one of us so that we may become more like God.
- Early Christians, based on their Jewish heritage marked sunrise, midday and sunset with prayer, giving thanks to God for the many gifts they received.
- Ever since, Christians have done the same, sometimes in very simple and informal ways. Other times in highly structured and elaborate ways.
- Let’s continue this great tradition by intentionally marking Morning and Evening with prayer, either individual or with family. You may also consider joining us at The Basilica for morning prayer on Tuesday and Thursday at 9:15am or evening prayer on Sunday at 3:00pm.
- Let’s open our eyes and hearts to the good things in our life. Granted, there are many reasons to be sad and weep for our world. But maybe this week we can focus on all the reasons we should be grateful and allow ourselves to celebrate the many blessings bestowed on us.
- Once we have become more attune to the many blessings of everyday life, we can learn to savor them. When we become aware of a specific blessing in our life let’s relish the moment and allow for a deep sense of gratitude to take hold.
- The next step is to give expression to our gratitude. Let’s express heartfelt gratitude to our family, our friends, our God. This is not about mere pleasantries of politeness, rather this is about genuine appreciation. Profound gratitude may even inspire us to act with kindness and thoughtfulness or to return a favor.
This Lent, some parish members are sharing their Lenten practices and stories with us. Laura Madsen, whose husband Jim passed away last year, shares her experiences with our grief ministry, and how she’s approaching this Lent and the one year anniversary of his death.
All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings
On Sunday, March 6, The Basilica was honored to host almost 300 attendees at an Ecumenical Evening Prayer for Peace in Ukraine and Russia. The evening was co-hosted by Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Rev. Ann Svennungsen (Bishop of the Minneapolis Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), Rev. Patricia Lull (Bishop of the St. Paul Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), and Rev. Craig Loya (Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota), with Chorbishop Sharbel Maron (Pastor of the Maronite rite parish St. Maron) and Father Ivan Shkumbatyuk (Ukrainian rite Catholic priest and pastor of St. Constantine Ukrainian Catholic Church). The prayer service included music from The Basilica’s Schola Cantorum and St. Constantine’s choir, which sang in Ukrainian and wore traditional Ukrainian attire.
“This Lent, we gather in gratitude for a God who indeed knows us well,” said Bishop Lull in her homily. “A God who knows the desperation we feel in the face of a massive military invasion of Ukraine. The raw human ache that reminds us how small we are, the long shadow of empires, and the world affairs that unfold before our eyes. This Lent, prayers for mercy and peace are foremost in our hearts and on our lips.”
“Some [in danger] are people those of you who are here know by name,” Bishop Lull continued. “Family, a co-worker, an in-law, a friend, a former schoolmate. The anguish of keeping vigil as you wait for news of safety or harm is almost impossible to bear, as any of us who has ever waited in a hospital corridor can attest. Known to us or not, the people in the midst of this crisis are people with names and faces, hopes for their children, and a deep desire for peace. One of the Insidious tricks of war is that it causes us to lose sight of the humanity of those on the other side—civilian or soldier.”
Father Ivan Shkumbatyuk spoke passionately, saying, “Two days ago we had a panel about the events in Ukraine, and how we can help during these times. One of the questions was, ‘Why is the war in Ukraine different from other wars in the world?’ This is not a war of aggression, rather this war has a different purpose. The destruction of the Ukrainian nation and its history. The destruction of a specific Ukrainian identity. The killing of innocent Ukrainians. Christian values such as justice, freedom, solidarity, unity and patriotism are being destroyed in Ukraine. Man cannot see the face of God, but we have seen the face of the devil.”
“Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is praying. Ukraine is working. I ask all of you today to do everything possible to stop this war. Let your voice be heard. Act. We cannot remain silent and do nothing.”
Helping Ukraine: Catholic Relief Services
The Archdiocese recommends that donations be made to Catholic Relief Services at crs.org.
Your help is needed in Ukraine where there are already more than 2.9 million people in need of assistance!
There is great risk of additional suffering both within Ukraine and for those who are fleeing to neighboring countries for safety. CRS and our partners need immediate support to meet both ongoing needs as the situation intensifies.
Years of conflict along the eastern border have already displaced 1.3 million people from their homes and claimed 14,000 lives and now 2 million people have fled Ukraine. Throughout this time, Caritas Ukraine, with support from CRS, has been providing emergency relief and recovery.
CRS and Caritas partners on the ground are preparing across Ukraine and in bordering countries, ready to provide safe shelter, hot meals, hygiene supplies, transport to safe areas, counseling support and more.