Fr. Bauer's Blog

 

Basilica Community,

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

Today I have three things I would like to mention. First, next Wednesday February 17, is Ash Wednesday. We will have three Masses at 7:00am, Noon, and 5:30pm. The Noon and 5:30pm Masses will be livestreamed and ashes will be offered at each of these Masses.

Due to the pandemic, we won’t be making the sign of the cross with ashes on people’s foreheads. Instead we will drop a few ashes on the crown of each person’s head. This is the custom in much of Europe and it was suggested by our Liturgy Office as a way to distribute ashes this year. After the Noon and 5:30pm Masses ashes will also be offered to those who want to come to The Basilica.

The process will be the same as we have in the past. People will drive up 17th Street, stop at the rectory to receive a prayer card, and then drive to the front of the school to receive ashes. Given the logistics of offering ashes to people in their cars, we will use Q-tips to offer these ashes. Certainly none of this is ideal, but we want to do everything we can to ensure people’s safety and security.

The second thing I want to mention is that after the 9:30am Mass on the First Sunday of Lent, February 21st, we will once again distribute communion to those who want to come to The Basilica after livestreaming Mass at 9:30am. As on Ash Wednesday, we ask you to stop at the rectory to receive a prayer card and then drive to the front of the school to receive communion.

The third thing I want to mention is that, as is clearly evident, Lent will be very different this year. If you are not able, or don’t feel comfortable joining us in-person for any of our liturgies, we invite you join via our livestream. Also on our website you will be able to find suggestions for celebrating Lent and Holy Week at home this year.

Finally, as always, if you have questions or concerns about anything that is happening at the Basilica, please contact me at the parish office or send me an email. My contact information is available on our parish website.

Let me close today in prayer.

 

Loving God, Your desire is for our wholeness and well being.
We hold in tenderness and prayer the collective suffering of our world at this time.
We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened.
We ache for ourselves and our neighbors, standing before an uncertain future.
We pray: may love, not fear, go viral.
Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely, aligned with the common good.
Help us to practice social distancing and reveal to us new and creative ways to come together in spirit and in solidarity.
Call us to profound trust in your faithful presence,
You, the God who does not abandon.

Amen.

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Basilica Community, 

I hope you and your family had a blessed Christmas and that this New Year is off to a good start, and that it will be filled with God’s abundant blessings.

Today, I have three things I would like to mention. First, I want to thank everyone for their financial support of our parish during the past months and particularly at Christmas. Your ongoing financial support enables us to continue to offer the many programs, ministries and services that are at the heart of our Basilica community. It has been a blessing for our parish. As your pastor, please know of my great gratitude for your ongoing financial support.

The second thing I want to mention is that now that our livestreaming cameras have been permanently installed, we are able to open our 9:30am Mass for people to attend. As with the 11:30am and 4:30pm Masses, we do ask people to register to attend the 9:30am Mass, in the unlikely event that we need to do some contact tracing.

I also want to remind people that the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days continues to be suspended. Given this, if due to age, health issues, or other concerns, please know that you don’t have to attend Mass, and that we encourage you to join us for one of livestreamed Masses.

The third thing I want to mention is that we have begun looking ahead to our liturgical celebrations during Lent and Easter. Before we begin planning these celebrations, however, we would like the chance to de-brief people in regard to our liturgical celebrations during Advent and Christmas.

Given this, I would like to invite you to join me for coffee and conversation next Wednesday at 9:00am via Zoom. I’d like to hear from you about what worked well these past few months, and particularly at Christmas, as well as ideas and suggestions you might have for what we can do differently or better. The link to the Coffee and Conversation next Wednesday can be found on our parish website.

Finally, as always, if you have questions or concerns about anything that is happening at the Basilica, please contact me at the parish office or send me an email. My contact information is available on our parish website.

 

 

Ever-loving God,
font of harmony and source of unity,
we ask for the grace to face the sin of division in our society;

we beg for mercy and forgiveness for the harm we have done,

we implore that you open our hearts and minds to ways that will bring about      justice, equality, healing, harmony and peace,

and we pray for the conversion of heart of all those who perpetuate fear, promote supremacy and cultivate hatred.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

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A Future Full of Hope

As I write this column, we are coming to the end of 2020. I suspect all of us are exhausted, but at the same time excited that this year has come to an end. We have had to deal with many changes and in some cases accept unanticipated losses. There also have been a seemingly never ending number of adaptations and adjustments we have had to make, often with little or no notice. Tempers are on a short fuse, and the ability to deal with differences and disagreements is almost non-existent. And yet, every now and again, a cause for hope emerges. 

Most recently for me a cause for hope occurred in the form of a note from a friend in her Christmas card. After acknowledging that the year had not gone as planned, my friend said: “And yet, there have been several blessings.” My friend went on to say that she had learned to slow down and enjoy some of the small pleasures that came her way. She had learned to listen better, to enjoy quiet, and to communicate in new/different ways. Additionally she had learned to enjoy and appreciate times with family and friends virtually, or when wearing a facemask. She also mentioned that her prayer life had improved. She found that she wasn’t squeezing prayer in amongst other activities, but rather giving prayer its own time and place in her day. 

I have to admit that my friend’s note was exactly what I needed. Prior to receiving her Christmas card, I had been lamenting everything that had gone wrong the past year. Her note, though, caused me to realize that in the midst of all the difficult and bad things that had happened, there was cause for hope. God is still with us, and is always and everywhere offering us God’s good grace. To be honest, though, recognizing and being open to God’s grace is not always easy. 

Often without choosing or intending it, I can get caught feeling sorry for myself. I take on a “woe is me” attitude and in its worst expression throw myself a little “pity party.” (The upside is that I serve my favorite foods at my pity parties.) When I recognize these times in my life, I have learned that I need to take things to prayer. Prayer doesn’t change the situation, but it does change me and my attitude. And even in difficult situations, I am reminded that there is cause for hope. 

Our God is a God of second chances and new beginnings. Our God is constantly inviting us to new life in those situations where we feel helpless and where things seem hopeless. The thing is, though, that God never forces God’s way into these situations. Rather God waits patiently for us to invite God in and to open ourselves to God’s grace. As we begin this New Year, let us pray that we might to open to the grace that God is offering us that even in the midst of this pandemic that we might see and choose anew, a future full of hope. 

 

 

 

Basilica Community,

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

Today I have three things I would like to mention. First, at this point, barring any unforeseen issues or circumstances, we anticipate having our usual schedule of Masses for Christmas and the weekend after. While our 3:00pm and Midnight Masses on Christmas Eve are both full; people will still have the opportunity to register to attend any of the other Masses on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. You can do this through the registration link on our website. Registration will be open until Monday evening December 21.

We also will be livestreaming several of our Masses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, for those who don’t feel comfortable attending Mass in person. I also want to remind people that the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days continues to be suspended. Given this, if due to age, health issues, or other concerns, please know that you don’t have to attend Mass, and that we encourage you to join us for one of livestreamed Masses.

The second thing I want to mention, is that after the 9:30am Mass on Christmas Day, we invite those who have participated in Mass via livestream to come to The Basilica to receive Communion.

The process will be very simple, and there is no need to pre-register. You just come to the rectory on 17th Street, where you will receive a prayer card. You will then proceed to the front of our School building to receive Communion while you remain in your car. We will distribute communion from approximately 10:30am to 11:00am.

The third thing I want to mention is that this Sunday December 20 after the 11:30am Mass until about 1:00pm, we invite you to bring the baby Jesus from your Nativity set to the Basilica to be blessed. The blessing of the Bambinelli will take place in-front of the parish office building on 17th Street.

I will bless the baby Jesus from your Nativity set while you remain in your car. We will also give you a home blessing kit so that you can bless your home at the beginning of the New Year. Again, this blessing will take place after the 11:30 Mass on Sunday December 20th in front of the rectory on 17th Street.

Finally, I want to thank all of those who have continued to support The Basilica financially during the pandemic. Your contributions to our Annual Fund allows us to offer the many programs, services, and ministries that are at the heart of our Basilica Community.

I also ask you, though, to start thinking now about your Christmas contribution to The Basilica. The Basilica, like all parishes, relies on its collections at Christmas and Easter to balance its budget. Your financial generosity at this time will be greatly appreciated.

Finally, as always, if you have questions or concerns about anything that is happening at the Basilica, please contact me at the parish office or send me an email. My contact information is available on our parish website.

 

 

Dear God:
We pray for your love and compassion to abound
as we walk through this challenging season.

We ask for wisdom for those who bear the load
of making decisions with widespread consequences.

We pray for those who are suffering with sickness
and all who are caring for them.

We ask for protection for the elderly and vulnerable
to not succumb to the risks of the virus.

We pray for misinformation to be curbed
that fear may take no hold in hearts and minds.

As we exercise the good sense that you in your mercy provide,
may we also approach each day in faith and peace,
trusting in the truth of your goodness towards us.

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The Season of Advent

Being the second oldest of seven children, when I was growing up I spent a lot of time chauffeuring my younger brothers and sisters to various places for various activities. Since one of my grandmothers also did not drive, I often would have to drive her to various events and activities as well. Now I wish I could tell you my motives for being the family chauffeur were completely altruistic. The reality was, though, that it was simply the price I had to pay if I wanted to use the family car on weekends. 

Now to be quite honest, chauffeuring my brothers and sisters around was no picnic. They were almost never ready to leave when they were supposed to be. There were often unplanned stops and/or detours on the way to our destination, and they were seldom ready and waiting when I arrived to pick them up. Worse, though, was that their gratitude was almost non-existent. Occasionally, I’d get a quick thank you, but those times were rare. 

My grandmother, on the other hand, was different. She never failed to be ready when I stopped to pick her up and, in fact, was almost always waiting for me. This same thing was true when I returned to take her home from wherever she had been. Even in cold weather she would be standing either outside or close by the door waiting and watching for me so that I wouldn’t be kept waiting. And she never failed to express her gratitude to me. 

My grandmother was truly an Advent kind of person. She knew how to be prepared and how to wait expectantly. Even when her timetable had to be adjusted, she never complained. I think she realized, perhaps better than most, that time spent waiting does not have to be wasted time. It can be used for quiet reflection or interior preparation. Waiting can be a time when anticipation grows and expectations develop. Or, as in my grandmother’s case, it could also be used for a decade or two of the rosary for some of her errant grandchildren. 

Now I mention this today because in these waning days of the season of Advent, while the world around us seems to speed up and become busier than ever, this season calls us to slow down and wait—to wait in joyful hope and faith filled expectation. And even though we know what it is we are waiting and preparing for, there is (or should be) a sense of newness and excitement about it. For the great miracle of the Incarnation did not happen once long ago only to exist now as a pleasant memory. Rather, it is an ongoing event. God continues to touch the world with God’s grace and God’s love. At times, though, we can become so busy that this most basic fact of our existence can recede into the background, or worse, be forgotten altogether. 

As modern day believers, we need to be reminded on a regular basis that the Incarnation—the Word becoming flesh—is a wondrous and ongoing miracle. My prayer during these last days of Advent is that we might use these days as a time of remembering, a time of quiet preparation, a time of waiting in joyful expectation, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, that we might welcome him with love and be open to his grace. 

 

 

Basilica Community,

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

Today, I would like to mention three things. First, at this point, barring any unforeseen issues or circumstances, we anticipate having our usual schedule of Masses for Christmas, and the weekend after. Beginning this past Tuesday and continuing until Monday, December 7, you have the opportunity to submit your preferences for our pre-registration system if you want to attend Mass in person during the Christmas season. You can find the pre-registration form on our website.

We also plan to livestream several of our Masses during the Christmas season, for those who don’t feel comfortable attending Mass in-person. Also I want to remind people that the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days continues to be suspended. Given this, if due to age, health issues, or other concerns, please know that you don’t have to attend Mass, and that we encourage you to join us for one of livestreamed Masses.

The second thing I want to mention is that on Sunday, December 20 after the 11:30am Mass, we invite you to bring the baby Jesus from your Nativity set to the Basilica to be blessed. The Blessing of the Bambinelli will take place in front of the parish office building on 17th Street. I will bless the baby Jesus from your Nativity set while you remain in your car. We will also give you a home blessing kit so that you can bless your home at the beginning of the new year.

Third, I want to thank all of those who have continued to support the Basilica financially during the pandemic. Your contributions to our Annual Fund allows us to offer the many programs, services and ministries that are at the heart of our Basilica Community.

I also ask you, though, to start thinking now about your Christmas contribution to the Basilica. The Basilica, like all parishes, relies on its collections at Christmas and Easter to balance its budget. Your financial generosity at this time will be greatly appreciated.

Finally, as always, if you have questions or concerns about anything that is happening at the Basilica, please contact me at the parish office or send me an email. My contact information is available on our parish website.

 

 

God who gave,

We are tired. We want desperately to have the freedom to love, touch, move, and breathe how we want to. We want the fear gone, the suspicion gone. It is exhausting and we have become numb to the death toll just to survive mentally ourselves.

Our longings to go back to how things were are so strong that our compassion is waning. Keep us from sliding into what feels good and normal, that we might become fierce protectors of our neighbor, of our loved ones, and even our enemies.

Train us in new ways of being together, grant us gifts of connection and coping that do not further endanger our bodies nor the bodies of the most vulnerable among us.

And Grant the vulnerable, the people of color who affected disproportionately, the sick, the financially vulnerable, a holy shrewdness and wisdom to decipher who and what spaces are truly safe for them, that they might put boundaries in place in the name of love. Let us not grow weary of compassion.

@blackliturgies

 

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Openness and Attentiveness

A few weeks ago someone contacted me to arrange a time to meet with them. I suggested that we meet via Zoom. They thought this would be great and we agreed on a time and a date. They said they would send a link to the Zoom meeting. Now, since the pandemic began, I have somewhat reluctantly become very familiar with Zoom, so I automatically set up a Zoom meeting on my own. When the time for our meeting came, I dutifully started the Zoom meeting I had set up. After about 10 minutes, I received an email from the person informing me that they were at the meeting waiting for me. I immediately remembered they had said they would set up the meeting, and so I joined them at the Zoom meeting they had set up. I apologized for my tardiness and explained that I had mistakenly set up my own Zoom meeting and had been waiting for them. Fortunately they were able to see the humor in my gaffe and we had a good laugh over it. 

As I reflected on this experience, it occurred to me it was a good analogy for what sometimes happens in my prayer life. More times than I care to admit when I go to prayer, I am in one place waiting for God, and God is in another place waiting for me. Most often we eventually sync up, but other times we are like ships passing in the night. 

Of course, while I’d like God to shoulder some of the responsibility for the above, the reality is that it is entirely my fault. God does not operate on my schedule and God definitely isn’t at my beck and call. Having acknowledged this, however, it is also very important to note that God is always present and available to us, but it is on God’s terms, not ours. 

Given the above, the obvious question is: how do we become aware of God’s presence and availability to us? I believe the answer is found in two words: Openness and Attentiveness. God is always and everywhere present. We need to be open to that presence, whenever and however it occurs in our lives. One of the ways we can do this is by putting aside our expectations of how and where God should be present, and simply be open to the many and surprising ways God comes into our lives. Attentiveness helps us do that. Attentiveness is nothing more, but also nothing less, than simply putting aside our agenda, our preconceived ideas, and our sense of how things should be, and just resting and trusting in God’s presence, and opening ourselves to God’s grace.

Being open to God’s presence and availability is not easy. It requires patience and practice. And sometimes we end up in one place waiting for God and God is somewhere else waiting for us. When we get it right, though, we will find peace and hope in the tender embrace of our God’s love. 

 

 

Basilica Community,

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

Today, I would like to bring three things to your attention. First, I’d like to invite you to join us either in-person or via livestream for Mass on Thanksgiving Day at 10:30am. Certainly the past several months have been very challenging for us individually, as a community, and as a nation. In the midst of these challenges, though, there is still much for which we have to be grateful. If you would like to attend this Mass in person you will need to pre-register. You can do this online or by calling Melissa Streit at the parish office.

Second, beginning the first week in December, you will have the opportunity to submit your preferences for the pre-registration system if you want to attend Mass in-person during the Christmas season. At this point, barring any unforeseen issues or circumstances, we anticipate having our usual schedule of Masses for Christmas and the weekend after.

The pre-registration system for Mass during the Christmas season will be available for you to preview and plan next week. However, you won’t be able to sign-up until the first week of December. We also plan on livestreaming several of our Masses during the Christmas season, for those who don’t feel comfortable attending Mass in person.

Also, I want to remind people that the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days continues to be suspended. Given this, if due to age, health issues, or other concerns, please know that you don’t have to attend Mass, and that we encourage you to join us for one of livestreamed Masses.

The third thing I want to mention is that on Sunday, December 20, after the 11:30am Mass we invite you to bring the baby Jesus from your Nativity to The Basilica set to be blessed. The blessing of the Bambinelli will take place in-front of the parish office building on 17th Street. I will bless the baby Jesus from your Nativity set while you remain in your car. We will also give you a home blessing kit so that you can bless your home at the beginning of the New Year.

Finally, I want to thank all of those who have made a commitment of financial support to our Basilica Fund. Your contributions to the Annual Fund allow us to offer the many programs, services and ministries that are at the heart of our Basilica community. 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.

Finally, as always, if you have questions or concerns about anything that is happening at The Basilica, please contact me at the parish office or send me an email. My contact information is available on our parish website.

 

 

Loving God,
Help us
to focus on what we have
not on what is removed or changed.

Strengthen us
when we feel discouraged
or overwhelmed.

Embrace us
so that us we know your loving presence
within us and among us.

Walk with us
as we bring your love,
and carry your light,
into our world.
Amen.

 

Upcoming Events

November 22, 3:00pm

Join us online or in-person. Pre-registration is required.

Zoom: The Science of Hope

December 3, 5:30pm
The Annual Advent Blessing and Presentation will occur virtually this year and will address that we are living through a stressful, chaotic time. Join Fr. Bauer for the blessing, followed by the presentation by Dr. Henry Emmons. Registration required. Free of charge.

 

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Basilica Community,

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

As I mentioned earlier, I am happy to report that Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization Units has been installed in the Church and the Saint Cecilia room. These units will purify the air in The Basilica.

Additionally, the tuck pointing on the exterior western wall of The Basilica continues. This work was interrupted by the snow and cold in October, but it has now been resumed, and hopefully will be completed within the next week or so. We are very blessed and fortunate that both of these projects are being paid for by The Basilica Landmark.

On another topic, I’d like to invite you to join us either live or via live stream for Mass on Thanksgiving morning. Mass that day will be at 10:30am, and with all of our liturgies we ask that you pre-register if you wish to attend in person.

We have begun working on Christmas at The Basilica. No, we haven’t started playing Christmas music, but barring any unforeseen issues or circumstances, we anticipate having our usual schedule of Masses for Christmas.

We are also developing a combination lottery/pre-registration system to accommodate the numbers of people who want to attend Mass during the Christmas season. We hope to have this lottery/pre-registration system available for people to preview by the end of November. However you won’t be able to sign up until the first week of December. We also plan on live-streaming several of our Mass during the Christmas season. I will have more details for you about our Christmas schedule in the next couple of weeks.

Finally, I want to thank all of those who have made a commitment of financial support to our Basilica Annual Fund. Your contributions to the Annual Fund allow us to offer the many programs, services and ministries that are at the heart of our Basilica Community.

If you have already made a commitment of reoccurring financial support for our Basilica community, please know of my gratitude. I hope you will continue it and if possible increase it. 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.

Finally, as always, if you have questions or concerns about anything that is happening at The Basilica, please contact me at the parish office or send me an email. My contact information is available on our parish website.

 

 

Loving God, Your desire is for our wholeness and well being.

We hold in tenderness and prayer the collective suffering of our world at this time.

We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened.

We ache for ourselves and our neighbors, standing before an uncertain future. 

We pray: may love, not fear, go viral. 

Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely, aligned with the common good.

Help us to practice social distancing and reveal to us new and creative ways to come together in spirit and in solidarity.

Call us to profound trust in your faithful presence,

You, the God who never abandon us. Amen. 

Upcoming Events

November 11, 9:00am

Join our parish online gathering. An opportunity to talk about different aspects of our parish life with Fr. Bauer.

 

November 15, 1:30pm

This service is characterized by mantra-like singing of simple, beautiful songs.

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Are you a practicing Catholic? That was the rather impertinent question a friend on mine was asked by another guest at a dinner party. They had been discussing “Church” issues and my friend had shared her opinion that married priests and women priests might not really be harbingers of the end of the world. The other guest responded to my friend’s declaration with the question: “Are you a practicing Catholic?” My friend, who is much quicker on her feet than I am, replied: “Yes, and I’m going to keep practicing until I get it right.” 
 
Now if the truth be told, I don’t think the person who asked my friend if she was a practicing Catholic was really interested in her answer. Rather I suspect she did so to suggest that somehow her ideas disqualified her from being a “real” Catholic.
 
Perhaps it is my imagination, but it seems to me that more and more often in our Church today people think it is okay, not just to question someone’s thinking, but also to question their faith in general, and more specifically their loyalty to the Catholic Church and their “bona fides” as a real Catholic. Frankly, this disturbs me. 
 
I am increasingly concerned by those who choose certain issues and make them a litmus test for whether one is a practicing Catholic, or even a Catholic at all. Personally, I don’t know anyone who is 100% in accord with the Catholic Church 100% of the time. Certainly even the most saintly among us had gotten angry, or made a judgment about someone, or had failed to share with those in need, or had a jealous thought, or ………… you name it. 
 
We are all flawed and imperfect human beings who try hard to live rightly and in accord with the beliefs and tenets of our faith. Often, though, for a variety of reasons, we fail in our efforts. Does that really mean, though, that we aren’t practicing Catholics? Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d like to think that we are all practicing Catholic, and like my friend that we will keep practicing until we get it right.

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