Pastor's Blog

A group composed of scholars, psychologists, clergy, restorative justice experts and victim-survivors of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis has developed a set of proposals that encourage the use of restorative justice as a means to help heal victim-survivors and the broader Church.

The proposals are the result of a two-year study supported by an initiative created by the University of Notre Dame’s Office of the President as part of the Notre Dame Forum, ‘“Rebuild My Church’:  Crisis and Response,” to fund research projects that address issues emerging from the crisis. The proposals have been forwarded for consideration to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A cross-section of 25 experts met in 2021 and 2022 at Notre Dame and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, respectively, to examine whether lessons for the Church could be found in the restorative justice traditions of Indigenous peoples and the efforts of nations such as South Africa, Rwanda and Canada.

Used in a variety of settings, restorative justice focuses on reestablishing right relationship among all people wounded by unjust actions by holding offenders — be they criminals, governmental leaders or others — accountable, while empowering victims to actively participate in the process. 

In addition to the proposals that were developed, the participants agreed that significant wounds remain and that the teachings of Jesus call all Catholics to promote holistic justice and healing.

“We exhort Church leaders to listen humbly to the voices of victim-survivors, including those abused as adults who have not been sufficiently included in the conversation, to understand their specific needs for healing and wholeness,” Notre Dame political science professor Daniel Philpott said. “Restorative justice is rooted in the Gospel and animated by the holistic and unifying power of the Eucharist, significantly at a time when the U.S. bishops have called for a Eucharistic Revival.”

The proposals are as follows:

  • Create a national center with experts and practitioners to equip the broader Church in restorative justice, particularly healing circles, to accompany those who have been directly and peripherally harmed by abuse.
  • Establish a national healing garden as a permanent site of healing, prayer and accompaniment for victim-survivors of clergy sex abuse and for the broader Church.
  • Institute an annual day of prayer and penance for healing and reconciliation for victim-survivors of clergy abuse and for broader healing in the Church.
  • Initiate trauma-informed training for clergy, seminarians, lay ministers, lay leaders and parish communities to communicate the realities and effects of trauma in order to compassionately accompany victim-survivors.

“We believe these proposals reflect a synodal Church, which is called to listen to, accompany and heal the broken-hearted, in addition to being a witness to the broader culture, which suffers from similar wounds,” Philpott said. “We understand that for many, further measures are needed such as concrete steps toward greater accountability, due process for the accused and pathways to healing for those rightfully removed from ministry.

“We offer our proposals after much prayer and dialogue, with hope and openness to the Holy Spirit’s guidance on our shared journey of faith.”

Taking recommendations from the broader group, seven participants developed the proposals. In addition to Philpott, they are:

  • Rev. Thomas Berg, professor of moral theology, St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie
  • Mary Glowaski, assistant to the bishop in pastoral care, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana
  • Rev. Daniel Griffith, the Wenger Family Fellow of Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law; pastor and rector, Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis
  • Michael Hoffman, Archdiocese of Chicago advocate for healing and prevention; former president of Prevent Child Abuse, Illinois; victim-survivor of clergy abuse
  • Susan Mulheron, chancellor for canonical affairs, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis
  • Emily Ransom, assistant professor of English, Holy Cross College, Notre Dame; victim-survivor of clergy abuse



Greetings parishioners and friends of The Basilica of Saint Mary, 



Join us this Sunday, for Christ the King
Masses held Saturdays at 5:00pm. Sundays at 7:30am, 9:30, 11:30, and 5:00pm. Weekdays at 7:00am and Noon.
Gregorian Vespers at 3:00pm with The Mirandola Ensemble. 

Thanksgiving Day Mass
November 24, 8:30am
Thanksgiving Day Mass will be celebrated in The Basilica.

Thanksgiving Day Interfaith Service
November 24, 10:00am
The interfaith service will be celebrated at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church.

Evening Prayer During Advent 
Sundays, 3:00pm 
November 27, December 4, 11, 18 
Held in The Basilica choir stalls with The Basilica Schola Cantorum.

Archbishop Hebda will release his pastoral letter outlining his vision and Synod Priorities next weekend. More information is available online at



The Catholic Church recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of The Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis—a centrist who masterfully challenges the extremes of the Church to avoid unhelpful reductions – has exhorted Catholics to eschew “worldly progressivism and backward-looking traditionalism.” Both of these movements to the extremes, embraced often by the most vocal Catholics, contradict the true nature of the Church, which is at the same time, both traditional and progressive. The Church, which is called to adhere to tradition, is also called to follow the Spirit which leads the Church to reform, to greater freedom, and to new ways of following the call of Christ to spread and live the good news. A Catholic Church freely and fully alive, embraces the future with both humility and confidence, knowing that the Lord is always out front leading us where God bids us to follow.

Here in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Church leaders, particularly Archbishop Hebda, has exhorted our local Church to follow the Spirit and to listen to the voices, dreams, and concerns of Catholics, as we discern what God is calling us to, consistent with our mandate to announce the saving love and mercy of God. There has been significant planning, dialogue, prayer, and now preparation that has marked our synodal process as a local Church in the Archdiocese. Attendant to this call, all Catholics are called to freely take up the Lord’s invitation to give testimony to what, and more importantly, in whom we believe. At Mass for the Thursday of the 31st Sunday in ordinary time, we hear the fiery words of St. Paul who calls us all to seek the supreme good of knowing Jesus Christ. So, how do we know Christ? W. Through Scripture, the sacraments, the natural world, one another, and always in the poor and marginalized.

Pope Paul VI, Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and now Pope Francis have embraced the synodal way—a way of humility that listens, learns, serves, and accompanies all on our journey of faith. The predominant image of the Church at Vatican II was the People of God on a pilgrim journey of faith. This image continues to resonate powerfully with Catholics as we walk together on our journey of faith—a journey that humbly follows the path laid out before us by God. Soon, Archbishop Hebda will promulgate a new pastoral letter which will mark both the process of fruitful listening to God’s people, and which will set a course for our future as a local Church. I look forward with anticipation and eagerness to Archbishop Hebda’s pastoral vision, borne of dialogue, accompaniment, and openness to God’s liberating Spirit.

At The Basilica of Saint Mary, consistent with the vision and values of our local archdiocesan synod and also consistent with the synodal way inaugurated by Pope Francis, I plan to initiate listening sessions and opportunities for dialogue with parishioners and friends. Our parish council has expressed support and eagerness to help me put this together. As a new pastor, I would like to know what are on the minds and in the hearts of all of you. I would like to know what fills your heart about being Catholic and what are the challenges you face in living out your Catholic faith. In addition, I would like to hear from you about the strengths of our Basilica community and ways in which we could better meet your spiritual needs and accompany you on your journey of faith. A synodal Church is one that is open to the Holy Spirit—a synodal Church is a Church that listens, accompanies, and heals. I look forward to these opportunities to enter into dialogue and share our common hopes and dreams as we continue our journey of faith together at The Basilica.



Pursuing restorative justice amid the Church’s sex abuse crisis

What's restorative justice? Can it heal the wounds of the Church's sexual abuse crisis?


More than 20 years after the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team uncovered a sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, serious wounds remain.

Many victim-survivors say they are still trying to heal. Some Catholics in the pews say they are still struggling to trust Church leaders. And advocates for reform say there still needs to be more accountability and transparency in the Church.

Father Daniel Griffith believes that restorative justice could be one way to pursue healing and reconciliation.

Griffith, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, is the founding director of the Initiative on Restorative Justice and Healing (IRJH) at the University of St. Thomas.



The Pillar



The Basilica is a community rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Join us to learn more about our call to respond to the needs of people experiencing homelessness.

I’m honored to continue this journey of faith together. 

Fr. Daniel




The great St. Irenaeus said centuries ago that the glory of God is the human person fully alive. A fitting corollary to this is that a parish fully alive also glorifies God. Whether as individuals or as communities, God intends for us to flourish and grow. One of the realities that has most impressed me about The Basilica of Saint Mary is the balanced approach to the life, mission, and culture of the parish. This speaks to the care, intentionality, and thoughtfulness that has been applied to how the life of our parish is ordered and lived. When we look to Scripture, there are many dimensions of our faith that Jesus teaches are essential. Correspondingly, these same dimensions should also be nurtured and grown in communities of faith. I would like to highlight four dimensions of our Catholic faith which are on full display this fall at The Basilica and which invite us to take a “discipleship inventory” —places where Jesus might be calling us to enter more deeply into our faith. These four are: praise and worship of God; fellowship; faith formation and learning; and stewardship.

In the Catholic tradition, the highest form of prayer is doxology or praise. In the beginning of Luke’s Gospel, the shepherds are among the first to hear the good news of the birth of the Christ child as the Angels praise and glorify God. In the Eucharistic liturgy, we are invited to enter into a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to the Father for the gift of Jesus Christ. I begin here because the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith—the greatest gift given to us down through the ages. The celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy is marked by great beauty and reverence at The Basilica and this invites us to raise our hearts in worship of the living God. Our new icon of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily of the Mohawks—invites us to join the saints in their perfect praise of God. The liturgy is not a static reality. Rather, its dynamism transforms our hearts and calls us beyond ourselves and beyond the doors of our church to see and serve Christ in our neighbor. If you have been away from The Basilica during the pandemic, I invite you back—come and experience the dynamic love of God in-person.

Jesus teaches often in the Gospels about koinonia, which is translated as Christian fellowship or communion. In its essence, the Catholic Church is a communion of disciples united by the Holy Spirit and one in Christ. Given this reality, all parishes, including The Basilica, are called to provide opportunities where we can enter into and strengthen our fellowship. This begins again with the Eucharist and flows from there to the entire life of the parish. Here at The Basilica, there are so many opportunities to deepen our fellowship with one another in Christ. In early October, on a glorious autumn day, we blessed the animals and celebrated the great lover of all creation, St. Francis. The joy was palpable. Fall also provided the opportunity to celebrate Octoberfest last Sunday and November 5 we will host the Dia De Muertos event. Join us for one of the many fellowship events this fall at The Basilica, including coffee and doughnuts on Sundays.

Before commissioning his disciples to continue his saving work, Jesus taught them for three years about God, God’s love, and how they (and we) are to live as disciples. One of the central teachings of Jesus is that we are called to serve and help heal those who have been wounded. This has also been a consistent teaching of Pope Francis who has likened the Church to a field hospital. He has called Catholics to a culture of encounter and accompaniment. Sadly, some of our sisters and brothers have been wounded by clergy or have suffered wounds inside the Church. Much works needs to be done to bring greater justice and healing to those who have been wounded by the Church and in our broader society. I would highlight two opportunities later this fall to enter into the wounds experienced by our brothers and sisters—Ministering on the Margins with Monsignor Chad Gion and a very important event December 3 on racial justice and healing entitled, Here I am Lord – Journeying Toward Healing through Listening and Truth-Telling. These are vital programs which invite us to listen, to learn, and to accompany those who have experienced harm. These events are part of our Faith, Justice, and Healing series which includes other important events as well.

Lastly, but not least in importance, Jesus calls us repeatedly in the Gospels to be good and generous stewards of the gifts we have been given by God. Stewardship for disciples is a way of life lived faithfully throughout the year. Fall is often the season in Catholic parishes to reflect on Christian stewardship and the invitation to give back to God. On the first weekend of October, I highlighted in my homily the example of my father who has been a generous steward throughout his life. This approach to stewardship should not be the exception but the norm for Christians. The Basilica Fund Appeal is now launched and I would ask you to prayerfully reflect on your gifts and blessings, the needs and opportunities of the parish—both of which are robust— and where your generosity can help us prepare for the vibrant future to which God is calling The Basilica community.

These four dimensions of our Catholic faith outlined above provide us with a spiritual inventory as disciples—how am I doing as a follower of Jesus? This is a perennial question for all of us as we continue our journey of faith together.


Fr. Daniel


From the Pastor: Open Wide the Doors for Christ  

When John Paul II was elected pope in October of 1978, he greeted the world in his inaugural homily with these words – “brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power….open wide the doors for Christ.” This message of opening up to Christ and the broader world was also a consistent theme of the Second Vatican Council which was initiated by John XXIII, who when calling the council, a surprise to many at the time, said the Catholic Church needed to throw open its windows so we could look out to the world and have the world glimpse inside the Church. This evocative description was accompanied by the overarching Italian word, aggiornamento which means “update” and provided a clarion call as the ecumenical council began. Notwithstanding the strengths and weaknesses of our modern popes and notwithstanding the disagreements about whether the reforms of Vatican II have been fully realized or integrated, this call – the call for the Church to open up and to go outside of herself has continued. This has also been the consistent message of Pope Francis since 2013, who has called the Church to go out to peripheries—geographical and existential—with the joy of the Gospel.


As I begin my first fall as your new pastor and as we continue our new journey of faith together, the call to open-up, to build-up, and to go out with our message of love and faith has been in my heart and on my mind. Getting to know more and more of you has been a gift—I have remarked to friends, colleagues, and brother priests that the parishioners and friends of The Basilica have been warm, gracious, and welcoming. I remain so impressed with the great care for and beauty of the liturgies, the generous and compassionate outreach to those on the margins, and the commitment to learn and grow in our faith, so that we can live as intentional disciples of Christ. As I continue the process of listening and learning as your new pastor, the call to strengthen and build up our community, especially after the toll that the pandemic has wrought, and the readiness to engage our broader community—outside the doors of our church—has been communicated to me by many of you. Consistently in Scripture, we learn that the Spirit of God is a Spirit of openness, courage, and generosity. Sadly, another spirit at times rules our hearts—one of fear, insecurity, and exclusion. As Christians, we follow a God who calls us to freedom – freedom for God and for others. This Spirit bids us to open wide the doors for all.


In looking back at my first few months as pastor, highlights include getting to know parishioners and friends at lunches, dinners, other gatherings, and over coffee and doughnuts after Mass. What has struck me about these opportunities to engage with you is how proud everyone is to be associated with The Basilica. I also enjoyed the opportunity to enter into days of retreat with The Basilica staff—both at St. John’s University and the University of St. Thomas School of Law. These were important days of prayer, fellowship, and fun. Speaking of our Basilica staff, I admire the commitment to The Basilica and excellence our staff manifests. We are going through an unprecedented shift in the labor market here in the United States and globally. The Basilica is part of our broader society and thus not immune from these shifts. You have no doubt seen that some staff members have moved on to their next adventures—with warm regard in their hearts for The Basilica community—while at the same time we have welcomed new staff members who bring their own passion and unique gifts. Change and transition, which is part of life and can be challenging, also provides opportunity for growth and new life. My installation as pastor was also a highlight—a highlight that was both humbling and inspiring. The liturgy was truly beautiful and friends and family who attended remarked at how special The Basilica is—in the beauty of our liturgies and the warmth of your hospitality. I came away from that weekend with a full and grateful heart.


In looking ahead to the fall, there are so many opportunities for parishioners and friends to engage with one another and with the broader community. The Charles Caldwell exhibit now on display at The Basilica invites us to interact with the Arts in a way that is transformative. Additionally, fellowship opportunities abound this fall, including many opportunities for families and a robust early October celebration of creation and Blessing of the Animals through the intercession of the beloved St. Francis. Please join us for these special events. In the areas of Christian life and learning, a dynamic new series which focuses on Faith, Justice, and Healing invites us to engage with regional and national speakers on a variety of topics related to building a more just and peaceful society. Other ways to become involved at The Basilica include volunteering in important ministries, participating in our beautiful weekend liturgies, and financially supporting The Basilica through Sunday giving and through your support of The Basilica Fund. The call to meet this moment—the call to open-up, build-up, and go out takes all of us as we approach our present and future at The Basilica with confidence and hope that comes from God.



Fr. Daniel




Annual Report 2022 cover

Annual Report 2022

Seek the well-being of the city to which I have sent you. Pray for it to the Lord. For in seeking its well-being, you shall find your own.

Jeremiah 29:7

What does it mean to ‘seek the well-being of the city,’ as this prophetic verse from Jeremiah calls us to do? As the new pastor of The Basilica, I am humbled and honored to discern and to live out this call with you, on our shared journey of faith. With over 12,000 parish members, The Basilica community has robust capacity to meet the noble goal of serving the well-being of the city.

We are grateful to reflect on this past fiscal year and the remarkable work that has been done, and look ahead to the opportunity to create and build a vision that is filled with light and hope for all. Both our parish and city face challenges, including financial, but I am confident that with God’s grace and your commitment, we can meet these challenges and together chart a course to a sustainable future. Our work at The Basilica is aligned to our Strategic Areas of Focus: The Arts, Inclusivity, and Homelessness—which remain central to our mission. This annual report captures the highlights of the year, including a few items I’m excited to share with you.

  • This past year, we launched our Intergenerational Faith Formation program online with 22 participating families—giving families the opportunity to grow in faith together.
  • Throughout the year, our Immigration Family Support ministry worked with nine families, including refugee, asylum, and sanctuary families. Recently, in partnership with St. Constantine Church, The Basilica is also seeking housing for families coming from the Ukraine.
  • In August of 2021, we had the opportunity to host the incredible Angels Unawares sculpture that depicts more than 140 refugees. We worked with over 20 local organizations and churches to gather, reflect, and share the message of this amazing piece of art.

This coming year we plan to build on our commitment to justice and peace here at The Basilica and within our broader community as we fulfill God’s command to ‘seek the well-being of the city.’ Thank you for your commitment to The Basilica and to our shared journey of faith as we walk together in the light of the Lord.


Fr. Daniel Griffith

Pastor and Rector, The Basilica of Saint Mary




Annual Report 2022 cover




A Message from Fr. Daniel Griffith: All are welcome

The Basilica is a place of refuge, a place of welcome, a place of healing for all. 

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the wonderful events and programs held this past weekend. 

I’m proud to be your pastor and journey with you and I hope you will join us. 

Fr. Daniel



Pastor's Blog


Several weeks ago I asked Dr. Johan Van Parys about this post-Easter trip to Europe. He told me about his visit to see his family in Belgium—long overdue, given the challenges of Covid. He also described his amazing trip to Rome in conjunction with his work with PAVM – Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums. He conveyed that one of the highlights of his time in Rome was the opportunity to give a talk to hundreds of people in the Sistine Chapel. I found the title of his talk illuminating – “Beauty that Saves.” I am thankful indeed that a man of Johan’s talent, faith, and passion for the sacred liturgy and the arts continues to serve our community at the Basilica.

In the Catholic philosophic tradition we refer to truth, goodness, and beauty as the transcendentals because we believe that our creator God is the source of every good gift including the sublime gifts of truth, goodness, and beauty. Through our contemplation of these realities we are able to transcend our finite nature and both glimpse and touch the infinite nature of God. Jesus Christ – true God and true man – is the embodiment of the transcendentals, as we see refracted through his life, the goodness of God, the truth of God, and the beauty of God. Certainty, in our modern day we see little focus on the transcendentals because we have eclipsed the divine horizon of God and thus, attendantly, those attributes most closely associated with God.

The transcendentals can literally save us because they can wrench us away from the fixation and lure of this world – fixation on the immanent – and pull is into a realm where we are able to see things as they truly are – life, love, and beauty, from God’s perspective. Truth, goodness, and beauty move us one step closer to the Lord of life and the God who saves us. Like St. Augustine and the great mystics of the Catholic tradition, how could we not desire to move closer to a God who is the source of all life – all that is noble, holy, and lovely?

But how does this happen – how can truth, goodness, and beauty offer salvation from God? It is the truth of God’s saving love and mercy that has transformed sinners and made saints. Pope Francis calls this the first proclamation of the Gospel – the saving love and mercy of God. I have experienced this in my own life – where God’s personal and transformative love can then move me to share this message of love with others. Secondly, I remember fondly attending the beatification of Mother Theresa of Calcutta when I was a young priest. The crowds poured out over St. Peter’s square on a cloudless October day. We were there because we were inspired by and wanted to pay tribute to the goodness of God that was so powerfully manifest through this diminutive nun. And beauty saves because beautiful art – wether paintings, music, architecture, or literature opens us up to the mystery of the human longing for something that can only be satisfied by a transcendent and loving God who made us to be complete in his divine embrace.

Lastly, I warmly welcome those who are with us in Minneapolis and here at the Basilica from around the world who are part of PAVM – the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, including the Vatican delegation. You are all very welcome here at the Basilica.

As your new pastor at the Basilica, I am proud to join a community who has embraced the truth of God’s inclusive love, the beauty of creation and the arts, and the goodness of God, to which we are called to live in our wounded and waiting world.


Fr. Daniel