In his encyclical Laudato Sì. On Care for Our Common Home, which is addressed to “everyone living on this planet” 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 references the fact that “dominion” over the earth was entrusted by God to humans as found in Gen. 1:28. He argues that this is often used to justify the relentless exploitation of our planet. As a corrective he then offers Gen 2:15 where God calls on humans to both “cultivate and care” for our planet. Too often, he says we have excelled at cultivating or tilling 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.
In terms of our Catholic Social Teaching Pope Francis points out that all decisions we make have an effect on the environment. At the same time he points out that 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.
As we continue our Lenten journey we invite you to consider the following suggestions for the three Lenten disciplines of fasting, prayer and charity. These can either be in addition to our previous suggestions or you can start anew. 
Fasting from the use of 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.” 
• Inspired by Laudato Sì as well as by the great passion my late niece had for our planet I recently took stock of my kitchen and bathroom supplies and found so many one-time-use plastic containers. Granted, I am very diligent about recycling but even if all the recyclable plastic were recycled - which is not the case as much of it ends up in land fills at best and in oceans at worst – the energy it takes to recycle plastic contributes to the pollution of our planet. 
• In addition to fasting from food and drink this week lets consider fasting from the containers that are used to package these. Maybe we can consider alternatives to liquid cleaning products that so handily come in plastic containers. And we could investigate bamboo alternatives to plastic and paper made from wood. For many  practical and attainable suggestions please go to:
Praying with Pope Francis
Pope Francis ends Laudato Sì with  prayers which he invites us to pray often. During this fifth 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
Charity: purchase sustainably and ethically sources products
• In his encyclical 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 enormous 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 examine our buying behavior to make sure we know where any products we buy come from. The important question to ask is how these products impact the lives of others 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 as I have mentioned since we began this series, 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.



The fourth Sunday of Lent is also known as Laetare Sunday. This name is based on the first word of the introit or entrance chant for Mass that day which invites us to rejoice always.
Lætare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum lætitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestræ.
Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.
As we embark on the Fourth Week of Lent we invite you to meditate on the Joy of Christianity and consider the following suggestions for the three Lenten disciplines of fasting, prayer and charity. These can either be in addition to our previous suggestions or you can start anew. 
Johan M. J. van Parys, Ph.D.
Director of Liturgy and the Sacred Arts
Fasting from sadness and ingratitude
• In a homily preached on May 23, 2016 at morning Mass in the Chapel of Casa Santa Marta where he lives, Pope Francis stated that “the Christian identity card is joy, the Gospel’s joy, the joy of having been chosen by Jesus, saved by Jesus, regenerated by Jesus; the joy of that hope that Jesus is waiting for us, the joy that - even with the crosses and sufferings we bear in this life - is expressed in another way, which is peace in the certainty that Jesus accompanies us, is with us."
• Practicing gratitude and joy, while choosing to fast from ingratitude and sadness is not only physically healthy but mentally, emotionally and spiritually enriching, too.  And after all, it is our only possible response to the mystery of God becoming one of us so that we may become more like God
• So this week, let us fast from sadness and ingratitude even though so much in the world invites us to do just that. And let us wholly embrace the Joy of Christianity so our hearts our heart, our homes, our city, our country and indeed our world may be aflame with the hope and joy of the Resurrection we are about to celebrate.
Centering Prayer
• Gratitude and joy flow from the assurance that God knows us, remembers us, accompanies us, loves us and awaits us. The reality of God’s covenant with us is expressed in prayer and is at the same time impressed on us during prayer, particularly in the quiet of contemplative prayer.
• One form of Contemplative Prayer is known as Centering Prayer. The goal of Centering Prayer is to open one’s mind, heart and soul completely to God who is the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words and emotions. In the silence of this prayer we are invited to an intimate encounter with God who is considerate, caring and compassionate. Our response to God’s love can be nothing but gratitude and joy which we are want to share with others.
• You can find more information at the following websites
Charity: Act with Courage
• The Joy of Christianity gives us the courage to speak and act on behalf of those in need without any fear. As we consider our society during these weeks of Lent let us commit ourselves to a better world, the kind of world God has dreamt for us.
• This week 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…
• We can’t tackle all of these at once but lets select one or two and see how we may occasion change by speaking up, donating money, volunteering, lobbying our legislators…
And as I mentioned the last three weeks, 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.

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 preparation for the beginning of the third Christian Millennium, The Basilica of Saint Mary commissioned mono-prints of the fifteen Scriptural Stations introduced by Saint Pope John Paul II in 1991. We explicitly requested an abstract rendition of the Stations, which Johan will discuss in this video.

Please join us on the Fridays of Lent for the celebration of the Stations of the Cross at 5:30pm (central time), either in person or via livestream. This year we will be praying a different version of the Stations each Friday and will meditate on different art.




Guide us in ways that will bring about the world as you had imagined it.

We join with sisters and brothers around the Twin Cities and worldwide with prayers for peace, healing and justice.
We pray for George Floyd and all those who suffered a shameful and cruel death,
for the grace to seek forgiveness and to forgive,
and for healing to relationships that are strained and broken.


Our community offers this Litany for a Better World.


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, just a reminder that during the Season of Lent, in addition to our usual Sunday and weekday liturgies, we also have Stations of the Cross on the Fridays of Lent and Vespers at 3:00pm on the Sundays. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:15 you are invited to join us via Zoom for Morning Prayer. 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 after the 9:30 and 11:30am Masses on Palm Sunday you are invited to come to The Basilica to receive a palm and Holy Communion. We ask you to stop at the rectory to receive the palm and then drive to the front of the school to receive communion. In regard to the other liturgies of Holy Week, I will have more information  in a couple of weeks. 

The third thing I want to mention is that a couple of weeks ago we began the 2021 Catholic Services Appeal. The CSA is an independent foundation. The money raised through the CSA helps fund many programs, services and ministries throughout our Archdiocese. I strongly support the CSA and I invite you to make a pledge of support as well. 

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, we ask you…

If we are ill, strengthen us.

If we are tired, fortify our spirits.

If we are anxious, help us to remember your abiding presence with us. 

Don't let fear cause us to overlook the needs of others more vulnerable than ourselves.

Fix our eyes on You and our hearts on your grace.
Help us always to hold fast to the good, and to strive to see the good in others.

Give us generous hearts, resilient love, and enduring hope.  

In Jesus we make our prayer,

The one who suffered, died and was raised to new life,

In whom we trust these days and all days,


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In his Lenten message of 2013, the last of his pontificate, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote about the priority of faith and the primacy of charity. On the one hand he praised a deepening of our prayer life and strengthening of our faith as good and worthy Lenten disciplines. In addition, he challenged us to witness to our faith by extending charity to others and to allow our prayer life to drive our charity. This, according to Benedict XVI is the key to a fruitful Lent and the essence of our Christian life.
As we embark on the Third Week of Lent we invite you to consider the following suggestions for the three Lenten disciplines of fasting, prayer and charity. These can either be in addition to our previous suggestions or you can start anew. 
Fasting from putting ourselves first
• Putting ourselves first as an individual and even as a nation is quite popular these days. Individualism and nationalism are celebrated by many, even by Christians despite the fact that both are antithetical to Christianity. 
• Christianity is rooted in Jesus’ willingness to give his life for others. He embraced death so we might live, all of us. 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 way we do that is by starting with small things such as checking in on a elderly neighbor. The ultimate goal is that we embody in our own lives the sacrificial life of Jesus. 
Prayer: Vision Divina on the Passion of Christ
• As we try to live out our Christian calling it might be good to meditate on the Passion of Jesus. One way of doing that is through Visio Divina or Divine Seeing which 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 chose an image of the crucifixion and select a Passion Narrative as found in one of the Gospels.
1. Lectio: take you time to slowly read through part of one of the Passion Narratives. Be attentive to any words that speak to you and feel free to write those down.
2. Visio: after reminding yourself of the textual description of the Passion of Christ now 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.
3. Meditatio: Now 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.
4. Oratio: Once you are content that the image has fully spoken to you it is now time to 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.
5. Contemplatio: After praying with words it is now time to let go of all words and to quietly rest in prayer. Give yourself over to God who will mold you in prayer to be more like God.
6. What do you take away from this experience.  What might you do differently in your life, inspired by the Passion of Christ?
• An example of a semi-guided Visio Divina on the Passion of Christ may be found on the University of Portland website:
• As you fast from putting yourself first we invite you to engage in small acts of kindness, thus putting others before you. St. Thérèse de Lisieux noted that not all of us are called to live heroic Christian lives. Most of us are called to engage in many small acts of kindness done with great love. 
• Simply select a few smalls acts of kindness you will commit yourself to in the next week and beyond. This may be opening a door for someone; allowing someone to go first in line; checking in on an elderly neighbor; providing food for someone in need; offering support to someone who is struggling with loss; shoveling snow should we still get some; etc.
• There are many, many small acts of kindness we can engage in on a daily basis. As we do that we will train ourselves in the very ways of thinking and acting God asks of us as followers of Jesus Christ.
And as I mentioned the last two weeks, 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.

Art That Surrounds Us





Parishioners are invited to nominate excellent candidates to represent the Learning and Christian Life areas to the Parish Council by April 15. You may nominate yourself or someone you think would thrive in one of the positions. Parish Council members serve as a collaborative advisory group to the Pastor and assist with strategic planning, creation of effective communication structures, policies and procedures. 

Parish Council members represent the voice of over 12,000 parishioners and help carry out The Basilica’s mission and vision. Share your talents and leadership to impact our community.


Submit the form at Please call Terri Ashmore at 612.317.3471 for more information.

2020-2021 Parish Council 
Thank you to our Parish Council Representatives for their service to The Basilica community. Visit to learn more about the Parish Council. 

Liturgy Department p. 4
Learning Department p. 6
Christian Life Department p. 8
Development Department p. 10
St. Vincent de Paul Financial p. 12
Sacred Art News: 
  Angels Unawares                  p. 13
Parish Council Nomination form p. 14


With this column I would like to update you in regard to several areas of our parish’s life.
1. Christmas at The Basilica: While Christmas was very different this year because of the pandemic, there were also many blessings associated with it. Our staff did a great job of adapting, adjusting, and pivoting to help make our Christmas celebrations safe, meaningful, and reverent. They registered and checked people in for our Masses, they helped with livestreaming the Masses, and they also assisted in various liturgical ministries. I am very grateful to them—and to those volunteers—who made this year’s Christmas celebrations so special. As pastor of The Basilica, I have much to be proud of and even more to be grateful for this year. 
2. Our Parish Finances: First and foremost, I want to thank all those who made a commitment of financial support to our parish community during our financial stewardship campaign this past fall. Please know your commitment of financial support to our parish community is greatly appreciated. Your pledge—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. 
In regard to our parish finances, I especially want to thank all those who contributed financially to The Basilica this past year and particularly at Christmas. Your generosity helped us surpass our income goal for December, which is a very important month for us. Thank you for your ongoing generosity. Please know of my great gratitude for your ongoing financial support of our parish. 
3. 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. 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. Visit for a list of our Lenten activities and services. 
4. Catholic Services Appeal: The 2021 Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) will begin the weekend of February 20 and 21. 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 insure that 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 at
5. Maintenance Update: This summer and fall we undertook some major tuck-pointing on the western exterior walls of The Basilica. Fortunately, this work was able to be completed before the cold weather set in. This tuck-pointing will help seal the exterior of The Basilica from water infiltration. Given the age of The Basilica, we anticipate that tuck-pointing some part of the exterior of our beautiful Basilica will be an annual maintenance item. We are blessed in that The Basilica Landmark paid for this work. 
Speaking of water, we had a minor flood on Christmas Day in the lower level of The Basilica. A sprinkler head broke in the St. Vincent de Paul storage room in the lower level of the church and the flooring and several items in the storage room as well as the carpeting in the Teresa of Calcutta Hall were saturated with water. Fortunately, we were able to turn off the water and get a company to dry vacuum the carpet and get dehumidifiers set up. Things were going well until a week later the tubing on the coffee maker in the lower level sprung a leak and the carpet was once again saturated. The same company returned to dry vacuum the carpet and set up dehumidifiers. The good news in this situation is that because of the pandemic no activities were scheduled for the lower level, and most of the cost of the repairs will be covered by our insurance. 
6. Parish Life during the Pandemic: While most of our activities, services, and ministries are being conducted virtually, we continue to ask the question of when, how, and where, we can resume some of these activities on campus. At this point, and for the foreseeable future, we are making decisions on a case by case basis. We also continue to look for new opportunities/ways to celebrate the life of our parish community. 
Clearly, we all miss the opportunities to gather and celebrate our faith. We miss gathering with others, worshipping, and praying together. We also miss the opportunities to give witness to that 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.
7. Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Initiative: In 2016, after the death of Philando Castile, The Basilica recognized a need to address the important issue of racism in our parish, in our lives, and in society. As we began this work, we partnered with Penumbra Theatre and Sarah Bellamy, Penumbra’s Artistic Director. Through small group conversations and workshops with staff and parishioners, Sarah created a strategic and comprehensive report for The Basilica. 
After this report was presented, it was recommended to our parish leadership that a EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Leadership Team comprised of parishioners be established. This team began meeting in September 2020. With guidance by Sarah Bellamy, they are working on parish-wide goals, strategies, etc. within The Basilica and the larger community.
One of the first things this group did was to develop a Basilica EDI Position Statement, which would set a foundation and a direction for the work of this team. This position statement describes: 
The Why – What does our faith say? What are the conditions of our community? What does the gospel say to cause us to speak out? 
The What – What does The Basilica claim; what are the beliefs of The Basilica as it relates to equity, diversity, and inclusion?
And the future state – What do we hope for the future; how do we at The Basilica see our role and the role of The Basilica, both within the parish community and within our neighborhood, city, and state?
This Position Statement was presented at the January meetings of our Parish Finance Committee and Parish Council.
As a next step the team will work with Sarah Bellamy to begin the work of identifying goals. The visioning sessions will be held early in 2021. We expect to have a draft of goals by April/May 2021. In addition, Sarah Bellamy will work with staff to develop focused curriculum for The Basilica to address identified needs. If you have any questions about this initiative, or if you are interested in working on this issue, please contact Janice Andersen at 
8. Live Streaming Masses: As I hope you are aware, now that our livestreaming equipment has been permanently installed, we are able to open our Sunday 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. You can register for Mass via our website or by calling the parish office if you don’t have access to a computer. At this point, we anticipate continuing with our limited weekend Mass schedule at least until Easter. We will evaluate this during Lent to see if any changes need to be made.
At the present time, members of our parish staff cover the livestreaming of our 9:30am Sunday Mass, and our noon daily Mass. Going forward, though, we will be inviting and recruiting volunteers to help with this new ministry. If this new volunteer ministry has some interest to you, or you know someone who might be good at it, please contact Travis Salisbury at 

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

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. As he contiunues our Lenten series on our collection of Stations of the Cross, Johan discusses the concepts of figurative and representational art in the context of sacred art.

Please join us on the Fridays of Lent for the celebration of the Stations of the Cross at 5:30pm (central time), either join us in person or via livestream. This year we will be praying a different version of the Stations each Friday and will meditate on different art.