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In our weekly video series "Art That Surrounds Us," Johan van Parys, Ph.D., our Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts, shares information about a piece from The Basilica of Saint Mary's art collection.
In this episode Johan discusses Pity of War, a new bronze sculpture gifted to The Basilica last year by British artist and sculptor Peter Walker. It is intended to honor the millions of nameless and voiceless and forgotten victims of war and human atrocities whose lives were upended against their will. Pity of War depicts the head of a young child whose eyes are strikingly bound and whose mouth is shockingly silenced.
Though it was conceived to commemorate victims of war, Johan was struck that it also spoke about what is happening in our cities, state and country. He thought of additional titles to the statue, incuding Pity of Violence, Pity of Abuse, Pity of Intolerance, Pity of Bigotry, Pity of White Supremacy, Pity of Racism.
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, as I’ve mentioned before, while some of the restrictions for public worship have been relaxed, the mask mandate and social distancing guideline of six feet are still in place. Given this, 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. Pre-registration helps us anticipate the number of attendees and makes the check-in process much faster. 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.
The second thing I want to mention is that I am happy to report that in addition to the Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization units which have been installed in the Church, and the Saint Cecilia room, we will be installing additional units in the meeting rooms of the Rectory and Cowley Center. These units purify the air of viruses including COVID-19, as well as allergens and mold. This technology is already being used at places like the Mayo Clinic, local schools, and museums. It will be a tremendous help in ensuring the safety and well being of all those who come to The Basilica.
Third, on a very happy note, I want to let you know that one of our parishioners, Michael Reinhardt, will be ordained a priest of our Archdiocese on Saturday, May 29th at the Cathedral in St. Paul. He will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at the 9:30am Mass at The Basilica on Sunday, May 30th. I ask your prayers for Michael and the other men who will be ordained that day.
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.
God of all,
we cry out to you for help.
In your mercy, hear our prayer.
Protect us, Lord, and be with us
especially those of us most vulnerable
at this time.
Move us to reach out in love
to our neighbors near and far.
May that the humble may be exalted,
the hungry filled with good things.
Grant us the courage
not to rush back to our old ways,
but to rebuild our world together,
creating foundations of justice,
with equality and peace for all.
News and Resources
The verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer now convicted on all counts as a result of his role in the death of George Floyd last spring, is a sobering moment for our community. The decision by a jury of peers punctuates the grief that has gripped the Twin Cities in these last months and underscores the soul-searching that has taken place in homes, parishes, and workplaces across the country as we together confront the chasm that exists between the brokenness of our world and the harmony and fraternity that our Creator intends for all his children.
We hold up once again the image of the Crucified Christ, whose resurrection gives witness to the healing power of forgiveness, compassion, reconciliation, and peace. It is our shared brotherhood with Jesus that calls us to a deeper respect for all human life. We ask him to bring healing into our communities, comfort to the family of George Floyd and all who mourn, and satisfaction to those who thirst for justice. May the many reminders of the Lord’s loving closeness even in challenging times inspire us to treat each other with unfailing respect, to work non-violently for the common good and to be instruments of reconciliation.
From Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda
I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Daunte Wright for the loss of their son, father, brother and friend. I have also been praying for his eternal repose, for his family and for all those who loved him. Daunte was created by God in his image and likeness and for a “definite purpose,” as St. John Henry Newman wrote, and we grieve the loss of his young life.
I also am praying for the Brooklyn Center Police officer involved in the shooting, and for her family and friends. I suspect that they are grieving in a different way.
While early indications point towards the shooting being accidental, I encourage allowing investigators from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to complete a thorough investigation before coming to any personal judgments as to what occurred. I hope that we as a community might be able to pause and pray, particularly during this time of already heightened tension due to the Chauvin trial. I am encouraged and inspired by the pleas for peace that have continued to come from the family of George Floyd.
As I did last month when the trial began, I ask that all of us take time daily to pray for justice, but also for peace in our families and in our communities.