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- 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.
Join the Journey! “Bend your knees, mend your heart, and lend your hands.”
The Third Week of Lent
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:28
In a response to the killing of George Floyd Pope Francis powerfully stated during his general audience of June 3, 2020, that “we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”
And in a tweet dated March 21, 2021, he said: “Racism is a virus that quickly mutates and, instead of disappearing, goes into hiding, and lurks in waiting. Instances of racism continue to shame us, for they show that our supposed social progress is not as real or definitive as we think.”
These are just two of many instances in which Pope Francis has spoken out against racism calling it sinful and evil behavior not becoming of the followers of Christ.
During the third week of Lent let us mend our heart by fasting from privilege and comfort; bend our knees by praying the Sorrowful Mysteries; and lend our hands as we strive for justice and equity for all.
- Mending our Heart by Fasting from Privilege and Comfort
- Most of us do not see ourselves as racists. We have BIPOC friends. We are careful in the language we use. We support BIPOC owned businesses. And yet we quietly support the status quo of white privilege.
- It is difficult and hard work to face the reality that our institutions and even our church are stained by racial prejudice and discrimination.
- During this week of Lent let’s fast from the comfort of our place of privilege and let’s honestly face the harsh reality of racism that permeates most everything we do.
- Bending our Knees while Praying the Sorrowful Mysteries
- Though white herself, Janet McKenzie has delved deep into the sin of racism and through her art confronts this evil. Her painting “sanctuary” is a striking rendition of Mary and Jesus as a Black mother with a teenage boy.
- Like Mary, many BIPOC mothers have lost their young sons to violence, sometimes even state sanctioned violence.
- During this week let’s pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary (https://www.mary.org/liturgical-celebrations/devotions/rosary#.YhK3POjMJD9) as we meditate on the suffering of Mary and Jesus and all victimized Mothers and Sons.
- Lending our Hands as we Strive for Justice and Equity for All:
- Grounded in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, Pax Christi USA strives to be the “peace of Christ” in the world today.
You can learn about their anti-racism movement by visiting: https://paxchristiusa.org/racial-justice/
- You can learn about the work of The Basilica Equity-Diversity-Inclusivity Initiative at www.mary.org/edi. There you will find the Basilica EDI Position Statement as well as suggestions for ways you can get involved in this important work.
- The Basilica staff is reading Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad. The book is broken up into four weeks, with each week offering a short daily reading and some reflection questions. Consider reading/discussing this book with family, friends, or neighbors.
- Mark your calendar for Basilica Seven Fates: Racial Healing Stations on May 22 at 1:00pm in The Basilica. This evocative and devotional prayer service invites us to meditate on the inequities caused by racism through sacred art, music, lived experience and prayer.
And please remember to be patient with yourself and others. Lent is not an endurance test or 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 pace yourselves. Give yourself and others some space. And above all be forgiving.
Join the Journey! “Bend your knees, mend your hearts, and lend your hands.”
The Second Week of Lent
“On the Care for our Planet and One Another.”
In 2015 Pope Francis addressed his encyclical Laudato Sì. On Care for Our Common Home to “everyone living on this planet.” With this encyclical, Pope Francis calls for a radical and urgent “Ecological Conversion” which he grounds in Scripture and adds to our body of Catholic Social Teaching.
Pope Francis wrote that God’s granting “dominion” over the earth in Gen. 1:28 is often used to justify the relentless exploitation of our planet. As a corrective he offers Gen. 2:15 where God entrusts both the cultivation and the care for our planet to us. Too often, he says we have excelled at cultivating the earth but have failed miserably at caring for our planet.
Now is the time to change that and to urgently start caring for our planet and for one another. Poor people and poorer countries bare the brunt of climate change while they are victimized by the unbridled pursuit of money and possessions in richer parts of the world.
You can find more information about Laudato Si’ and how we might collaborate on its implementation at: https://laudatosiactionplatform.org/ The Laudato Si’ Action Platform is a unique collaboration between the Vatican, an international coalition of Catholic organizations, and “all men and women of good will.”
During this Second Week of Lent let’s mend our hearts by fasting from single-use plastic; bend our knees by praying with Pope Francis; and lend our hands by purchasing sustainably and ethically sourced products.
- Mending our Heart by Fasting from Single-Use Plastic
- Pope Francis does not mince words when he says: “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”
- Though most of us are diligent about composting and recycling far too much plastic still ends up in our ocean. In an TV interview in February Pope Francis said “Throwing plastic into the sea is criminal. It kills biodiversity, it kills the earth, it kills everything.” The best way to prevent this from happening is by eliminating the use of plastic.
- This week let’s consider fasting from products that come in one-time use plastic containers. For many practical and attainable suggestions please go to: https://ourcommonhome.org/media/docs/Lenten-Plastic-Fast.pdf
- Bending our Knee by Praying with Pope Francis
- Pope Francis ends Laudato Sì with prayers which he invites us to pray often. During this second week of Lent let us offer the following prayer on a daily basis.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace
- Lending our Hands by Purchasing Sustainably and Ethically Sourced Products
- In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis praises St. Francis for lifting up the “inseparable bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.” Pope Francis then goes so far as to say that we need to respond to “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” as both are profoundly connected.
- This seems like an overwhelming task. Besides we are not decision makers. We are subject to decisions made by others who have much more power and wield much greater influence than we do. Yet maybe the task is not for one person to make big changes but rather for a great number of people to institute small changes.
- This week maybe we can carefully consider the products we buy. The important question to ask is how these products impact our planet, the lives of others and especially the lives of those making them. In other words, let’s commit ourselves to buying products that were sustainably sourced and ethically produced.
And please remember to be patient with yourself and others and don’t let yourself be overwhelmed. 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.
Johan M. J. van Parys, Ph.D.
Director of Liturgy and the Sacred Arts
Join us this Lenten season
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.
As I have mentioned previously, I will be retiring from The Basilica at the end of June, and on July 1 will become pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes. While I will be very sad to leave The Basilica, I am very excited and very grateful that Fr. Dan Griffith will be following me as Pastor. Dan is a good person, a good priest, and a good pastor.
He has already met with some of the staff as well as our parish trustees and will continue to meet with staff and attend meetings as he is able in the weeks ahead. The Basilica is blessed that Fr. Griffith will be the next pastor.
Today I would also like to invite you to join us in person or via livestream for Mass, Stations of the Cross, and Vespers during this season of Lent. Our schedule of services is available on our website. We also invite you to participate in a small faith sharing or bible study group during the season of Lent. You can learn more about these groups on our parish website.
As I have mentioned before, we have taken several steps to promote the safety and wellbeing of those who will be attending any services or activities at The Basilica. While the city of Minneapolis has discontinued its facemask requirement, we still encourage those who will be coming to The Basilica to wear a face mask. We will do this until the CDC changes its guidelines. Wearing a mask is a concrete way to show your care and concern for your fellow Christians.
Today I also want to thank those of you who continue to support The Basilica financially. Please know your financial support 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. Certainly, 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.
Joining us during the season of Lent and Easter 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. 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 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.
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 struggles and confusion to accomplish your purposes;
so that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne;
we ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
News and Resources
Many of the faithful would like to contribute to help our sisters and brothers in Ukraine. Because the situation is so fluid and to maximize the efficiency of the gift, the Archdiocese recommends that the faithful contribute through Catholic Relief Services. Please use this link to CRS for donations and feel free to share the CRS Emergency Factsheet about the relief efforts underway.
CRS Ukraine Fact Sheet