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Archives: April 2022
All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings
Holy Week and Easter April 14-17
Throughout history humans have pondered the meaning of life and tried to find answers for the many difficult problems we have faced. Today’s experience prompts many questions as we are confronted with the devastating effects of COVID-19; the destructive powers of the numerous wars around the world, most recently the invasion of Ukraine by Russia; the damaging breakdown of civil interaction between people; the distressing divide between rich and poor, white and BIPOC, conservative and liberal; to name but a few.
Christians have turned to the Bible in their quest for answers and meaning, especially when facing trials and tribulations. Such questions as “Where is God?” and “Why did God let this happen?” are frequently asked. And yet, as Metropolitan Kallistos Warre, Orthodox theologian and archbishop holds: “it is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not as much the object of our knowledge, as the cause of our wonder.”
Archbishop Shelton Fabre of Louisville, KY challenged those attending his installation Mass not to let “what we are facing” distract us from “where we should be looking” or “for whom we should be looking:” Jesus Christ. In other words, we should not let ourselves be absorbed by all the things that are going wrong, rather we should look at Jesus and heed his voice no matter the gravity of the situation because Jesus, Immanuel, is God-with-us, always.
Admittedly, this is easier said than done but we are about to begin the greatest celebration and practice of our faith in this mystery. Today we commence the celebration of Holy Week, the most important week of the entire liturgical year. During this week we celebrate the mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; the mystery of Immanuel, God-is-with-us. It is during this week above all other weeks that we become “progressively aware” of the “cause of our wonder” and behold the one “we are looking for,” Jesus the Christ.
To be sure, it is impossible for us to fully comprehend the mystery of our faith, the cause of our wonder. That will only happen when we see God face-to-face at the end of time. For now, mere portals to this mystery are opened during the celebration of the liturgy when the veil of the mystery is lifted just enough so we can get a glimpse of this mystery. Yet even but a mere glimpse is enough to get us on our Christian way to face the realities of life, unpleasant as they might be, because we know that God is with us even in the darkest of times.
During the next eight days we will recall and honor the last days in the life of Jesus. We start on Palm Sunday with the remembrance of Jesus’ glorious entrance into Jerusalem. On Holy Thursday we remember how Jesus embodied Divine Mercy by washing the feet of his disciples and by instituting the Eucharist. On Good Friday we behold the unfathomable mystery of the passion and death of the Son of God. On Holy Saturday we observe a solemn silence as Jesus lies in the tomb and breaks down the gates of hell. And on Easter Sunday we celebrate his glorious resurrection.
The great liturgies of Holy Week invite us to engage in many symbolic acts that evoke the mystery of our faith as we engage in extended processions; we wash one another’s feet; we honor the Blessed Sacrament; we pass and venerate the cross; we baptize and confirm; and we share in the Paschal Eucharist. The physicality of these symbolic acts is unmistaken. The best way to experience these symbolic acts is by participating in them in person together with our Christian community.
We are so glad and blessed that many of you have returned to The Basilica for in-person celebration of the liturgy. It is so great to worship together. If you have not yet returned and are able to do so, please consider returning during Holy Week. Our community will be the richer for your presence. If you are not yet able to return to in-person worship, we will continue to livestream all our Holy Week liturgies so you can participate remotely.
We truly look forward to that day when all of us will be able to gather in The Basilica for the celebration of our liturgy where together we may behold the “cause of our wonder” and find the one “we are looking for” so we may be ready to face whatever comes our way during our earthly journey.
Blessed Holy Week!
Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary. I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.
Today, I would like to talk with you about three things. First, I want to invite you to join us for our liturgies during the Triduum and Easter. The schedule of liturgies for these days is available on our website.
The celebrations of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter help us to remember anew that Jesus Christ suffered and died for us and rose, that we might have life eternal. This is the essence of our faith, and the cause for our hope. I hope you will be able to join us for these celebrations.
As always, though, 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 live-stream. A schedule of our livestreamed liturgies is available on our website. Joining us at Easter is a wonderful way for us as a people of faith to celebrate and thank God for the many ways God has blessed us in our lives.
The second thing I wanted to mention is that as we re-open and renew our various ministries, services and programs here at The Basilica, we are in need of volunteers to help us with this. In our weekly newsletter/worship aid we have created a space listing the various areas where we need volunteers. This list is also available on our parish website.
If it has been a while since you have volunteered, or if you are looking for a way to get involved, please check out these various volunteer positions.
Third, I want to thank those of you who continue to support The Basilica financially. Please know your financial support is greatly appreciated. Parishes rely on their collections at Christmas and Easter to help them balance their budget. The Basilica is no exception to this. Given this, I would ask you to be generous to The Basilica at Easter. Please know your generosity is greatly appreciated.
Your financial support makes it possible for to continue to offer the many ministries, services and programs that are at the heart of our Basilica community.
In closing, as we continue to transition to a new pastor, I want to let you know of my ongoing prayers for our community. The Basilica is indeed a very special place—made so by our parishioners and staff.
As always, I would like to close today with a prayer.
God of Love and Compassion, You are always with us.
As we enter into this time of transition and change we do so with excitement and perhaps some anxiety.
Help us to know of your presence and be open to your grace in this time.
Help us to recall your deep compassion, your presence, and your abiding love.
We thank you for the gifts, talents and skills with which you have blessed us.
We thank you for the experiences that have brought us to this moment.
We thank you for the work of others that gives breadth and depth to our own work.
Be with us as we move forward, rejoicing with you and supporting one another.
We ask this in your Holy Name.
This Lent, some parish members are sharing their Lenten practices and stories with us. Xander Broeffle shares his experiences with our Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) process, plus his Lent and Easter observations, first as a candidate joining the Catholic church and, later, as a sponsor for other candidates and catechumens.
Fasting, Praying and Acting during the Sixth Week of Lent
“Love your Neighbor as Yourself.” (Mk. 12:31)
“Building Bridges that Foster a Culture of Caring.” Pope Francis
In his message on the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees in 2021 Pope Francis invited all people to “make every effort to break down the walls that separate us and, in acknowledging our profound interconnection, build bridges that foster a culture of encounter.”
He went on to say that “Today’s migration movements offer an opportunity for us to overcome our fears and let ourselves be enriched by the diversity of each person’s gifts.”
He summarized his hopes on immigration by stating that “if we so desire, we can transform borders into privileged places of encounter, where the miracle of an ever wider “we” can come about.”
During Holy Week, we invite you to: mend your heart by fasting from Individualism and Exclusion; bend your knees while engaging in Visio Divina on the Passion of Christ; and lend your hand through acts of courage.
- Mending our Heart by Fasting from Individualism and Exclusion
- Putting ourselves first as an individual and even as a nation is rather popular these days, here and abroad. Individualism and nationalism are celebrated by many, also by some Christians even though both are antithetical to Christianity.
- Christianity is rooted in Jesus’ willingness to give his life for others. This is as far removed from individualism and nationalism as one can possibly imagine. Followers of Jesus are called to do the same. In the words of St. Francis: “…it is in giving that we receive…and in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
- Lent is the perfect time to practice fasting from putting ourselves first by putting the needs of others before our own. The end goal is to embody in our own lives the sacrificial life of Jesus.
- Bending our Knees by engaging in Visio Divina on the Passion of Christ
- As we try to live out our Christian calling Holy Week is the perfect time yto meditate on the Passion of Jesus. One way of doing that is through Visio Divina or Divine Seeing. This is an intentional and prayerful contemplation of an image of the crucifixion. The objective is to allow God to speak through the art in a most profound way.
- As you prepare for Visio Divina select an image of the crucifixion.
- Visio: Spend some time contemplating the art you selected. What is it you see? If you are using a figurative representation, ask yourself who and what is represented in the image. If non-figurative, consider the shapes, the forms, and the colors. Feel free to write down any words that come to mind.
- Meditatio: Let your imagination dialogue with what you see. There is always more to an image than what the eyes behold. Is a deeper story forming in your imagination? Are you experiencing any specific feelings or emotions? Again, feel free to write down any words that come to mind.
- Oratio: Formulate a prayer response. This can be a prayer of gratitude, or it might be a prayer of intercessions. Feel free to use the words you have written down in step 1 or 2.
- Contemplatio: Let go of all words and to quietly rest in prayer. Give yourself over to God who will mold you in prayer.
- Actio: did any action come to mind you might take after
- An example of a semi-guided Visio Divina may be found on the University of Portland website: https://www.up.edu/campusministry/resources-for-spiritual-growth/viso-divina.html
- Lending our Hands through Acts of Courage
- The Joy of Christianity gives us the courage to speak and act on behalf of those in need without any fear as we strive for a better world, the kind of world God has dreamt for us.
- This week as we contemplate the suffering of Christ, let us think about the many injustices and concerns that plague our world and ask ourselves how we can make a difference in terms of racial justice, adequate housing, mental health funding, the care for the unborn, health insurance for all, immigrants and asylum seekers, the death penalty, endless cycles of poverty, gun violence…
- As the world is experiencing yet another mass migration as the result of the war in Ukraine let’s learn about ways to engage with The Basilica Immigrant Support Ministry at www.mary.org/immigration or with the Minnesota Interfaith Coalition on Immigration at https://mnicom.org/
And please remember to be patient with yourself and others. Lent is neither an endurance test nor a time to prove our Christian heroism. 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.
As we look ahead to spring, we think about reemerging after winter. We look to connect with our neighbors and places that we may have been away from for many months. This spring feels especially significant, as we have lived through another COVID winter.
At The Basilica one of our key strategic directions is reaching out to other organization in our city. The goal is stated in the Our Parish Our Future plan as; Strengthen our Presence and Partnerships in the Twin Cities: Invite community-wide participation in our vision and mission.
Just a few of the many examples of these partnerships include:
The Minnesota Sinfonia is a professional, nonprofit, chamber orchestra offering free concerts and educational programs to people in the Twin Cities metro area. The Minnesota Sinfonia hold free, family friendly concerts at The Basilica regularly.
Prisoners or Patients? Task Force is a group of volunteers who come together to discuss issues around when the criminal justice and mental health systems connect. The group is made up of members of The Basilica’s Mental Health Ministry, its Voices of Justice Ministry, and the larger Twin Cities community. The committee has worked in partnership with NAMI-MN, Minnesota DHS, Hennepin County Corrections, Hennepin Healthcare, Minnesota State Legislators, Amicus, Minneapolis College, and other organizations.
The Basilica staff has worked with the Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement (MAVA) for volunteer training and strategic planning. MAVA works to develop leadership of volunteers and best practices in organizational volunteerism.
Looking ahead, mark your calendar for Seven Fates: Racial Healing Stations on May 22 at 1:00pm at The Basilica. The powerful program includes community partners in our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) work from the Penumbra Theatre. This evocative and devotional prayer service invites us to meditate on the inequities caused by racism through sacred art, music, lived experience and prayer.
The Basilica of Saint Mary is committed to the future growth of our parish and to truly live out our vision:
Seek the well-being of the city to which I have sent you. Pray for it to the Lord. For in seeking its well-being, you shall find your own. - Jeremiah 29:7
To review the full Our Parish Our Future strategic plan visit mary.org/ourfuture.
All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings
1. Pastor Transition: Even though, I will continue as pastor of The Basilica through June, the transition process has begun. Fr. Dan Griffith has met with or will be meeting with the trustees, our parish staff and parish leadership. His intent in these meetings is to listen and learn, so he can hit the ground running July 1 and serve the parishioners of The Basilica of St. Mary.
I am enormously grateful and extremely excited that Fr. Griffith will be the next pastor of The Basilica. He will bring an abundance of gifts, as well as great experience and expertise to his role as pastor of The Basilica. As we continue to move forward, I ask you to please keep both of us in your prayers.
2. Our Parish Finances: First and foremost, I want to thank all those who continue to support to our parish community financially during the pandemic. Please know your commitment of financial support to our parish community is greatly appreciated. Your contribution - no matter the size - is important and makes a difference. It allows us to continue to offer the many programs, ministries and services that are the hallmark of our Basilica community.
Your ongoing generosity is very important to the financial health of our parish. Please know of my great gratitude for your ongoing financial support.
3. Lent: As you read this, we are well into the season of Lent. As a child I never really appreciated Lent. As I’ve grown older, though, I’ve come to realize how important and how good the season of Lent is for me and for all of us. With the pace of our world and its multiple distractions, it’s so easy for us to miss the fundamental mystery of our faith: Jesus Christ, died and rose again to offer us the promise and gift of eternal life.
Through its various penances and ascetical practices, Lent helps us choose the way of the Lord Jesus once again. It brings us to a full stop, calls us to prayer and to attend to the poor, and summons us to other practices, so the value of our lives and the purpose of our discipleship can be rediscovered.
During this special season, I invite and encourage you to look at your calendar and to plan on participating virtually or in-person in the services and activities that will be offered at The Basilica during Lent. Visit our web site at mary.org for a list of our Lenten activities and services.
4. Catholic Services Appeal: We began the 2022 Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) the weekend of February 12th and 13th. This yearly appeal helps support the many ministries, services and programs within our Archdiocese. Now obviously, many people are concerned that contributions to the Archdiocese will be used for purposes they didn’t intend. In this regard, it is important to note that The Catholic Services Appeal is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization. This was done to ensure all the money that is collected through the Appeal would go directly and solely to the ministries, services and programs supported by the CSA. No CSA funds go to the Archdiocese.
By pooling the financial resources from generous donors throughout our diocese, much important and necessary work is funded by the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). As your pastor, I wholeheartedly endorse the work of the Appeal. I support it financially and I encourage you to make a gift to support these important ministries, services and programs. Please look for the Catholic Services Appeal information in pews or learn more at csafspm.org.
5. Parish Life During the Pandemic: At the present time, many of our parish activities, services, and ministries are back in person; some are being conducted virtually; and some can be done hybrid. We continue to ask the question of when, how and where we can resume all of these activities on campus. At this point, and for the foreseeable future, we are making all decisions on a case-by-case basis. We also continue to look for new opportunities to celebrate the life of our parish community.
Clearly, we all miss the opportunities to gather and celebrate our faith as we used to. We miss gathering with others, and worshipping and praying together. We also miss the opportunities to give witness to our faith through our community activities. When we gather again as we used to—and I believe we will—it is my hope and sincere prayer that church will have a renewed meaning for all of us.
6. Covid and Me: As I write this column, (2/23) I have tested positive for Covid and am quarantining at home. The worst of the symptoms have passed, and I am waiting for a negative test so I can return to work at The Basilica. Fortunately, I have been vaccinated and boosted, so my symptoms were just fatigue, congestion and body aches.
Since I was being very careful, catching Covid turned out to be much easier than I would have thought. I was scheduled to have dinner with some friends, (who were also vaccinated and boosted) and when we got to the restaurant, we had to wait in the bar for a few minutes for the restaurant to get our table ready. Of course, the bar was packed, and that’s all it took.
I am grateful that I was vaccinated and boosted, and even more grateful that my symptoms were fairly mild. I am most grateful, though, for Frs. Berger, Tasto and Gillespie, who filled in during my absence. They were/are a great grace for me and for our parish.
7. EDI: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: As I have mentioned previously, for the past few years The Basilica has recognized a need to address and respond to the issue of racism in our lives, our parish, and our community. After meetings with Sarah Bellamy, an equity consultant, in the spring of 2019, and with the establishment of an EDI Leadership Team, a Position Statement was created to guide our efforts as we seek to respond to the sin of racism. We were challenged to do this particularly by the words of Pope Francis in reflecting on the death of George Floyd: “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of human life.”
Responding to racism is a process not an event. It is a process in which we all must be involved. Our EDI Team continues to invite people to engage with the EDI Position Statement and by laying out the goals we have identified to work on as a parish community. In April and May our EDI team will be hosting some anti-bias training sessions for interested parishioners. To find out more about the important work of EDI, visit mary.org/edi.
8. The Archdiocesan Synod: Despite the pandemic, the work of preparing for the Synod continues. As I write this column, our parish Synod group is preparing to meet on a Saturday morning for 5.5 hours to discuss three specific topics in regard to future of the Church in our Archdiocese: 1.Sharing the Gospel in word and deed; 2.The universal call to holiness; 3.Young adult ministry. The outcome of these discussions will form the basis of our parish’s representatives’ input at the Archdiocesan Synod Assembly on June 3-5. I invite you to continue to pray for the success of the Synod process, and for the future of our parish and local Church.
Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary