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 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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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?” 

 

 

 

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 at and where we are going at The Basilica in regard to the pandemic. As I hope all of you know, a few weeks ago when the city of Minneapolis dropped its mask mandate, we also dropped our mask mandate for people coming to The Basilica. We do encourage people, though, to wear a mask if they feel more comfortable doing so.

We also encourage social distancing, and have removed the tape from the pews to give people more room to do this. Additionally, we are still asking people to sanitize their hands before receiving communion.

As have mentioned previously, beginning the first weekend in July we will resume our normal Mass schedule. Mass will be held at 5:00pm on Saturday and 7:30am, 9:30, and 11:30 Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon Mass will be held at 5:00pm.

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 beginning the first weekend in July we will start livestreaming the 11:30am Mass. We are looking for volunteers to help with this, so if you are interested in volunteering, please let us know.

I also want to thank everyone for your ongoing financial support of our Basilica community. Your financial support enables us to continue to offer 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.

Finally, we have started to resume some activities on our campus, and will continue to do so throughout the summer. Our primary concern, as always, will be the safety and well-being of those who come to our campus.

I will continue to try to keep you informed as we move forward into our new normal. 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. 

 

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 way that will bring about justice, equality, healing, harmony and peace;
And we prayer for the conversion of heart of all those who perpetrate fear, promote supremacy, and cultivate hatred.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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The other day when I got into my office I noticed the red message light on my office phone was blinking. As I looked at it, it took me a moment to remember how to retrieve the message. The reason it took a couple of moments was that it had been a few weeks since someone had left me a message on my office phone. Now I receive lots and lots of emails, texts, and messages on my cell phone but it had been a while since someone had actually left me a message on my office phone. 

As I thought about this, it led me on a trip down memory lane. When I was grade school, we had one phone in our house. In high school we added an extension phone for the upstairs. This continued while I was in college. Later in the seminary, four of us got together and paid for a phone that we located at the end of the hall so we could all use it. 

It wasn’t until my first assignment that I actually had a phone of my own in my office. Even then there was no way to leave a message. The parish secretary used the infamous “pink message slips” when someone called and we weren’t there. In my second assignment, the parish had upgraded to an answering machine so that people could leave a message if they called after hours. Eventually computers and email became common place, and I had to learn to communicate using them. It wasn’t until I became a pastor that I eventually got a cell phone —it resembled a small walkie-talkie—and I remember at the time thinking I was quite the technophile. 

Nowadays, of course, I can’t imagine life without a cellphone and a laptop. I am amazed at how much has changed just within the past 25 years in regard to the ways we communicate with each other. And while the ways we communicate have changed, what has not changed is the basic need and desire for us to communicate with one another. 

I believe the above is not true just for us, but is also true for God. Just as our desire to communicate with each other and have done and continue to do so in a variety of ways, so too, God wants to communicate with us. And perhaps more importantly, God is not limited in the ways/manner God does this. If we are looking for God to communicate with us using only the spoken or written word, we will miss much that God has to communicate with us. 

God communicates with us in the movements of our spirits, in the musings of our minds, and in the longing of our hearts. If we are going to come to know what God wants us to know, we need to listen with our hearts, our minds, our spirits, and our whole being. If we only listen with our ears, we are limiting our awareness and understanding of what God wants us to know. 

 

 

 

 

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 the decision by the city of Minneapolis to drop its mask mandate and what this decision will mean for us at The Basilica. First, this decision came as a surprise. I expected the mask mandate to be in place for a few more weeks.

However, since the mask mandate has been dropped, trying to continue to enforce it at The Basilica would put our staff and volunteers in a very difficult position. Given this, we will no longer require masks for people who attend services at The Basilica.

We will also no longer ask people to pre-register to attend services at The Basilica. We will, however, strongly encourage people to wear masks while attending services here. And we will continue to ask people to maintain social distancing. Finally, at least for now, we will also keep every-other pew taped off.

I have discussed these changes with our staff and I believe they will continue to ensure the safety and well being of our staff, our volunteers, and those who come to The Basilica, while at the same time helping us return to a new normal.

On a related note, as I have mentioned previously, beginning the first weekend in July we will resume our 5:00pm Mass on Saturday and 7:30am Mass on Sunday morning. Additionally, we will eliminate the 6:30pm Mass on Sunday and change the time of the Sunday afternoon Mass from 4:30 to 5:00pm.

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 our livestream. I will continue to try to keep you informed as we move forward into our new normal.

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. 

 

Lord, Father of our human family, you created all human beings equal in dignity;

Pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit and inspire in us a dream of renewal, encounter, dialogue, justice and peace.

Move us to create healthier societies and ma more dignified world; a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.

May our hearts be open to all the peoples and nations of the earth.

May we recognize the goodness and beauty that you have sown in each of us, and thus forge bonds of unity, common projects, and shared dreams. Amen 

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This past January Pope Francis issued a Motu Proprio: Spiritus Domini, which modified the first paragraph of Canon 230 of the Code of Canon Law. Through this action, Pope Francis made the decision that from now on the ministries of Lector and Acolyte were to be open to women. (A Motu Proprio refers to a document issued by the pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him.) 

Now, there is nothing new about women proclaiming the Word of God during liturgical celebrations, or ministering as Eucharistic ministers or altar servers. In many communities throughout the world these practices have been authorized by local bishops, and have been in place for many years.

However, up to this point, the above has occurred without an institutional mandate. Rather, it has occurred as an exception to the protocols that were established by Pope Paul VI in 1972. At that time Pope Paul abolished the so-called “minor orders,” but decided that access to the ministries of lector and acolyte should be granted only to men because both of these ministries were considered to be preparatory to the eventual admission to holy orders. However, after the conversations and consultation which took place and emerged from the last Synods of Bishops, Pope Francis decided to formalize and institutionalize the presence of women at the altar.

Now you would think that a change of this kind would be recognized and shared broadly. However, as I was writing this (at the beginning of May), I checked the United States Conference of Bishops’ website and found no mention of it there. Further, I have heard of only a handful of bishops who have commented on it. I think this is a real missed opportunity. And in regard to missed opportunities Author Jodi Picoult once said: “Missed opportunities are never superficial wounds; they cut straight to the bone.” 

For centuries, women have served in our Church well, selflessly, and most often with little recognition and meager compensation. Now that Pope Francis has opened the ministries of Lector and Acolyte to women, you would think this would be cause for celebration—or at least acknowledgment. Sadly, for some reason, the leadership of our Church has not done this. I believe this is not just a superficial wound. More importantly, it is not only a wound for woman, but also it is a wound for our Church.

Whenever we can’t or won’t recognize the gifts of people in our church—in this case specifically the gifts women have to offer—we are less than we can and should be as a church. Church is at its best when it is able to recognize, accept, and celebrate the gifts and contributions of everyone, woman and men, young and old, rich and poor, named and unnamed; progressive and conservative; people of every race and nationality. 

The muted response of our bishops to Pope Francis’ “Motu Proprio” admitting women to the ministries of Lector and Acolyte is not just a superficial wound to our Church; rather it is a wound that cuts straight to the bone.

 

Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

 

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 about some changes to our protocols at The Basilica. I have discussed these changes with our staff and parish leadership and we believe they will continue to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and those who come to The Basilica, while at the same time allowing our gradual return to a new normal.

I would like to highlight 6 changes. First, beginning May 30th, while we will continue to maintain social distancing by taping off every other pew in the church, we will increase the maximum number of potential attendees to 450.

Second, we will continue to encourage people to pre-register for any service where we anticipate there will be more than 50 people. This means we won’t ask people to pre-register for daily Mass or other small services.

For services with over 50 attendees, we will continue to ask people to pre-register, but we will also continue to welcome those who show up without pre-registering. Check-in will continue to take place at the southeast ground level doors. Now, let me emphasize that the reason we want to continue to check-in people is in the unlikely event that someone who attended one of our services tests positive for Covid and we need to contact people and let them know.

Third, at check-in we will eliminate the temperature check, but we will continue to ask people if they have had any symptoms or exposures.

Fourth, in regard to facemasks, while I realize the CDC has rescinded this requirement for people who have been vaccinated, the city of Minneapolis has not rescinded its facemask requirement. Given this, we will continue to require people to wear a facemask at The Basilica. As pastor of The Basilica I ask you not to put our staff or volunteers in a difficult position by not complying with this requirement.

Fifth, beginning Sunday May 30th, we will go back to distributing communion at the regular time, instead of at the end of Mass.

Sixth, beginning the first weekend in July we will resume our 5:00pm Mass on Saturday and 7:30am Mass on Sunday morning. Additionally, we will eliminate the 6:30pm Mass on Sunday and change the time of the Sunday afternoon Mass from 4:30 to 5:00pm.

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 our livestream.

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. 

 

We pray for your love and compassion to abound
as we walk through this challenging time
We ask for wisdom for those who need to make decisions with widespread consequences.

We pray for those who are suffering with sickness
and for those who care for them.
We ask for protection for the elderly, the vulnerable, and those who are alone.

We pray that fear may take no hold in our hearts and minds.
And we pray that we might exercise the good sense you have given us, and that we may approach each day in faith and peace,
trusting in the truth of your goodness and love.

Amen.

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Peace Be With You

As we approach Pentecost 2021, and as we remember the solemn anniversary of the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, let us reflect on the Pentecost homily preached by Fr. John Bauer on May 31, 2020.
 
As we recognize the brokenness in our community due to racial injustice: We cannot turn away. We cannot ignore it. We cannot stand aloof from the injustices in our community.
 
“Peace is only possible if we pursue justice…Let us ask God that as individuals, as a community, as a city, that we might know the Holy Spirit’s gift of peace—and let us pray that we might be bringers of that peace to all those we encounter.”
 
 
 
 
 

 

Basilica Community,

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

Today I have four things I would like to mention. First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for your ongoing financial support for The Basilica. Your financial support enables us to continue to offer 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.

Second, I want to let you know about a couple of capital improvement projects that will be taking place this summer at The Basilica. The first is that we will once again be tuck pointing the western exterior walls of The Basilica. This will probably be an on-going project for the next few years, as we remove the old mortar from between the stones and replace it with new mortar. The new mortar will help keep water from penetrating into the interior of The Basilica. 

The second major project will be the water proofing of the basement rooms in our school building. Water penetration has been an issue in the school basement for several years. We hope our work this summer will finally solve this problem. Both of these projects are being funded by The Basilica Landmark

Third, as I’m recording this greeting, there are news reports that Governor Walz will announce the relaxation of some of the current restrictions for public activities. We will certainly review any revisions to the guidelines for public activities. At this time, however, we anticipate maintaining our check-in protocols for the foreseeable future. 

If you are planning to attend any liturgies at The Basilica in the next few weeks, we ask you to pre-register via our website, and enter through the doors on the ground level on the western side of The Basilica. Pre-registration makes the check-in process much faster. Additionally, in the unlikely event that someone who attended one of our liturgies, is diagnosed with the Covid virus, we will be able to contact people and inform you of this. 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 our livestream. 

Finally, I invite you to join us for Zoom Coffee and Conversation next Wednesday at 9:00am. Michael Reinhardt, one of our parishioners will join us. Michael will be ordained a priest for our Archdiocese on Saturday May 29 and will say his first Mass here at The Basilica on Sunday May 33. He will share his faith journey with us from becoming a Catholic to his decision to enter the seminary. You can find the link for this Zoom conversation on our website. 

Let me close today in prayer. 
 

 

Loving God we ask you:

Help us: That we might be grateful for what we have, and not focus on what we don’t have or have lost.

Strengthen us: That we might not feel discouraged or overwhelmed. 

Embrace us: That we might know your loving presence within us, around us and among us. 

Walk with us: That we might bring your love and carry your light into our world.

Stay with us: That we might know your peace and consolation. 

Complete us: That we might come to know the fullness of your love in eternal life. 

We ask all of this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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The Grace of God

A couple of weeks ago I invited a friend, who had recently retired, to join me for a celebratory lunch. (Both of us have been vaccinated. So we decided it would be safe to venture out for lunch. It was the first public outing for both of us in over a year.) As I was walking into the restaurant I suddenly realized that I had left my wallet sitting on my desk. When I got to the table, I immediately asked my friend if he had any cash or credit cards with him, because even though I had invited him for lunch, I wasn’t going to be any help in actually paying for lunch. He jokingly reminded me that he had just retired and was on a fixed income. Nevertheless, he thought he could manage to pay for lunch. I apologized profusely and assured him that I would send him a check as soon as I got back to the office.

The above incident was yet another embarrassing moment in my life. But then again I have had so many embarrassing moments in my life, I have learned to live with them and eventually to laugh at them—sometimes years and years later.

I think we all experience embarrassing moments in our lives. There are times when we misspeak, act in an inappropriate manner, times when we don’t respond as we should, or forget something important (like a wallet). For me, the most embarrassing moments in my life occur when I very publicly and very obviously don’t act as a follower of Jesus. It could be a flash of irritation, a poorly timed comment, or a failed attempt at humor. Whenever those times occur I cringe both externally and internally. Additionally, I renew my resolve to try harder to be a better person and a better Christian.

One of the things that has helped me to cope with the above is realizing that I am not the only individual who has this problem. In fact, even St. Paul struggled with it. In the letter to the Romans we read: “I cannot even understand my own actions. I do not do what I want to do, but what I hate….What happens is that I do, not the good I will to do, but the evil I do not intend.” (Rom. 7. 15 & 19)

Speaking or acting in ways that are contrary to being a Christian seems to be pervasive in the life of Christians. Fortunately, we know and believe that the grace of God is stronger than any sin.  And so I trust that the God who created me understands me better than I understand myself. I also believe that in God’s grace and because of God’s love my sins are forgiven and my many embarrassing (and public) moments forgotten.  

 

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