Weekly Musings

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.


Monday, August 15 - Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Tuesday, August 16

Wednesday, August 17

Thursday, August 18

Friday, August 19

A Culture of Encounters

In his latest Apostolic Letter entitled Desiderio Desideravi or How I have Longed, Pope Francis writes beautifully about the deep meaning of the celebration of the liturgy. I highly recommend it. It can easily be found online. And it is not that long.

I was particularly touched by his reference to the liturgy as a place of encounter. This reminded me of a 1964 letter to the German Liturgical Congress written by one of my favorite liturgical theologians, Romano Guardini. In this letter Guardini writes about the liturgy as an epiphany or a manifestation of the divine. Good liturgy can indeed open a portal to the Divine, allow an epiphany to happen and occasion a profound encounter.

Pope Francis also makes it clear that this encounter is not a right a few of us earn, while others do not. Writing about the Last Supper, he offers the following: “No one had earned a place at that Supper. All had been invited. Or better said: all had been drawn there by the burning desire (Desiderio Desideravi) that Jesus had to eat that Passover with them.”

Today, some 2000 years after the Last Supper Jesus has the same burning desire to encounter each one of us in the Eucharist. None of us has earned a place at the Eucharistic Table. None of us has earned this encounter. All of us are invited to share this encounter.

But what is an encounter? The word has been used in English in diverse ways ranging from a simple meeting to a confrontation, even in battle. As referenced by Pope Francis, an encounter is never “just” a meeting. It is an intentional meeting. It is a meeting with purpose. It is a meeting with consequences. It is a meeting that sometimes even involves a struggle.

Great mystics, like Teresa of Avilla or St. John of the Cross experienced this encounter spiritually, mystically, and even almost physically. St. Teresa wrote about “being all on fire with the love of God” after one of her profound encounters with Christ in the Eucharist.

Our own Eucharistic encounters may not be as dramatic and life-altering as those of the great mystics, nevertheless they are encounters with consequences. One of the most important consequences of an encounter with Christ is that such an encounter binds us all together and compels us to encounter Christ in one another.

Pope Francis holds that our sacramental encounters are a powerful antidote to the ills and evils in our society where confrontation is celebrated, and divisions are promoted. These sacramental encounters are the foundation for a much-needed Culture of Encounter promoted by Pope Francis which advances right relationships among people.

Today is a very special day at The Basilica. Not only do we celebrate our Basilica community, we are also very pleased to officially welcome Fr. Daniel Griffith as our new pastor. Among the many responsibilities a pastor has, one of his primary roles by virtue of his ordination is to preside at the liturgy, our primary place of encounter. Reminiscent of St. Teresa’s words, Pope Francis in Desiderio Desideravi wrote that for a priest “to preside at Eucharist is to be plunged into the furnace of God’s love.” As Fr. Griffith begins his ministry at The Basilica, we pray that he indeed may be plunged into the furnace of God’s love so he may in turn set all of us “on fire with the Love of God.”

Ad Multos Annos!

 

 

 

Mary Garden

Noon Masses August 8-12

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.
 

Monday, August 8

Tuesday, August 9

Wednesday, August 10

Thursday, August 11

Friday, August 12

 

 

Pope Francis concluded his penitential pilgrimage to Canada in late July and both the pictures and stories of his encounters with Indigenous Canadians were moving. Also moving, were Francis’s numerous heartfelt apologies which acknowledged with candor and anguish, the devastating harm that had occurred to so many children who suffered abuse, alienation, sickness, death, and cultural genocide. More than 60% of the residential schools in Canada were Catholic and the pope did not shirk from the colonizing harm that has devastated lives and families, resulting in generational harm that still manifests to this day.

During the pope’s pilgrimage, it was evident to me how closely aligned his journey was to the goals of restorative justice (RJ). Restorative justice is historically rooted in the Indigenous practices of First Nation peoples of North America and New Zealand who, centuries ago, gathered in a peace circle in response to harm that had occurred in their communities. Restorative justice is a gift of wisdom and healing emanating from the rich Indigenous cultures, which has borne fruit broadly. Beginning in the 1970s and now today, restorative justice and has become a world-wide movement, effectively utilized across various disciplines and professions in response to harm. RJ has become a global movement due to its effectiveness at healing harm and restoring relationships, because it includes multiple relevant stakeholders, and because it is highly adaptable to various circumstances.

Restorative justice asks three fundamental questions: who was harmed; what was the nature of the harm; and how can the harm be repaired? One of the challenges with RJ is overcoming the significant knowledge gap surrounding it—many people either don’t know what RJ is, its proven effectiveness, or disregard it as ethereal or new-age. One of the reasons RJ is so effective is because it engages the particular needs of victim-survivors and their desire for healing and wholeness. It also promotes accountability because those who have perpetrated harm, if they take place in the process, come to a better sense of the effects of the harm they caused. Over the last several years, I moved from an initial skeptic of RJ to an ardent supporter, as I have taken part in numerous restorative justice processes in response to the harm of clergy abuse and leadership failures in the Catholic Church. The Spirit of God, which works for the healing and restoration of humanity, has been consistently manifest through the RJ sessions in which I have taken part.

Which brings me back to Pope Francis’s pilgrimage to Canada. This pilgrimage was consistent with principles and goals of RJ because his journey acknowledged the significant harm that had occurred to Indigenous people, expressed sincere contrition and sorrow for the devastating acts of abuse and cultural genocide, and included robust dialogue with victim-survivors and leaders about how this harm could best be healed. In fact, the request for the pope to visit Canada to offer an apology came out of a 2015 truth and reconciliation process, which listed several recommendations aimed at healing and restoration. While the wounds and the effects of this deep trauma will continue to be carried by victim-survivors, a step forward for the good of humanity was taken in Canada this summer and serves as a beacon for others who seek justice and healing.

As we continue our collective journey as a parish community and the call to meet the needs of our own wounded community in the Twin Cities, I have been moved by witnessing the dynamism of restorative justice and Catholicism —and the shared goals of promoting greater dignity, justice, and healing within the Church and broader society.

Peace,
Fr. Daniel

 

Before Covid hit, The Basilica St. Vincent de Paul Ministry began strategically evaluating our ministries and listening to the needs of the community. Grounding ourselves in prayer and intentionally discerning direction, we have come out of the pandemic with a new model of ministry for Saturdays at The Basilica. While we continue to provide services and resources during weekday SVdP Ministry, we are beginning a new chapter on Saturdays. We would love your participation!

This new opportunity of SVdP Ministry on Saturday mornings unites a strong invitation by Pope Francis and an articulated need in our community.

A Clear Invitation

Pope Francis continually calls us to reach out to others in a “culture of encounter.” He invites us to meet people, engage in dialogue, and create relationships. More specifically, he encourages us to engage with people who are different from us: we are challenged to listen, respect, and build bridges.

An Articulated Community Need

Our parishioner leaders met with people who have utilized Basilica SVdP services, those with lived experience of homelessness, and people who work in partner non-profits in Minneapolis. We listened for unmet needs that could be addressed during 90 minutes on Saturday mornings at The Basilica. A strong message came through: While there are a lot of services provided in the community, a deep unmet need includes helping people feel connected. So often, people feel isolated. Some who experience homelessness spoke of being around all day with being “seen” or without meaningful conversation.

Side-by-Side Saturdays

After much prayer and conversation, we began a new Saturday SVdP program in Spring 2022.

  • We invite The Basilica parishioners to participate not as a “volunteer” who engages in a transactional service with people in need. Rather, you are invited to come and participate side-by-side with others in the community: Those who slept outside last night. Those who stayed at a shelter. Those whose housing is vulnerable. Those whose housing is secure—all coming together, side-by-side, to share values, struggles, and fears—to learn from one another and be enriched by different perspectives.
  • The morning is intentionally structured to ensure respect for all. As we engage with no judgement, we see the inherent dignity in the other and recognize the similarity of our lives.
  • The time begins with a shared breakfast and moves into a facilitated session on personal development, wellness, and healing through things like mediation, art, journaling, physical movement.

Responses:

This new ministry creates a culture of encounter. Some comments of those who participate show the impact of the time together:

  • A Basilica parishioner shared she was nervous to come—not knowing what to expect. But she was deeply moved and was grateful she came. She shared she felt so connected to everyone and left full of hope.
  • A man who had slept at a shelter the night before shared he was unsure what the morning was about. He was grateful for the breakfast and considered leaving—but he stayed. He revealed he was so glad he stayed—feeling hopeful even among his challenges. He felt God’s presence in the group and in himself. Today would be a good day, he said.

It is easy to slip into focusing on what divides us, rather than what binds us together. Our new St. Vincent de Paul Ministry seeks to offer a simple yet profound opportunity to look beyond fear, indifference, or simply distance. Let us grow in love of one another.

Call the Christina Life office for more information or to get involved in Side-by-Side Saturdays or any SVdP Ministry. 

 

If you are interested in getting involved in our Basilica community, here is an amazing opportunity to get involved with both our Basilica community, as well as the greater Minneapolis community. We would love to have you involved in this amazing opportunity!

Faith into Action with
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

August 1-5

8:30am to 3:30pm each day

Sign up at basilica.tchabitat.volunteerhub.com

 

A partnership with The Basilica and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity began in 1996 and this year marks our 26th year hosting a Basilica build week. Last year alone, 818 families partnered with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, including 77 families who bought homes of their own. Our parish community joyfully worked on one of those homes, after taking a year off due to COVID-19.

 

Please consider volunteering for our Basilica build week, August 1-5, 2022. We need you! Our Basilica team is working on a new construction this year at 41st Street and Standish Ave near Lake Hiawatha in Minneapolis. We still need volunteers – especially on the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday shifts. Meals/snacks are provided and all skill levels (or, if you’re like me, lack-of-skill levels) are welcomed.

 

Habitat for Humanity Volunteer FAQs

· Unfortunately, split shifts are not possible.

· Dress for the weather in clothes that can get dirty, with closed toe/heel shoes.

· You may want to bring a refillable water bottle and sunscreen.

· Please bring work gloves.

 

Julia Buege Freeman, The Basilica’s Coordinator of Outreach, reflected on over a quarter century of partnership saying, “affordable housing is so critical to the health of our community, and our volunteers find it rewarding to be involved in building affordable, well-constructed, quality housing for families. In these homes, kids can grow and flourish in stable housing; the research proves the lasting impacts!”

 

If you have questions about being part of this vital ministry, please contact Julia.

 

habitat 2021

 

 

 

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.

 

Monday, July 18

Tuesday, July 19

Wednesday, July 20

Thursday, July 21

Friday, July 22

 

Expressing concern for displaced families worldwide seven years ago, Pope Francis challenged to every Catholic parish to sponsor a refugee family.

After research and conversation, Basilica leaders said “Yes” and launched the Immigrant Support Ministry as part of our St. Vincent de Paul Outreach, working with asylum seekers (a six to nine month plus process), and with refugee families. Our partner, Lutheran Social Services (LSS), coordinates with arriving refugee families.

The Basilica provides $8,000 - $10,000 per family for basic expenses, and intergenerational Circle of Welcome teams of three to five volunteers. They accompany a refugee family for six or more months to help overcome barriers like language, weather, getting proper identification, and finances.

In 2015, Donna Krisch volunteered with the first refugee family from Somalia and is still involved. After her husband Rich traveled to the Mexican border and saw firsthand people fleeing violence and seeking safety in the US, he joined Donna on the Welcome team. Team members bring different gifts to the work. As retirees, Donna and Rich are available daytimes to help, while the children often gravitate to the team’s young adults.

Rich shared, “Even the Holy Family fled Egypt as refugees for their own safety. Jesus was radically welcoming and as Christians, we are asked to welcome the stranger. The Immigration Support Ministry is a tangible way to offer this welcome right here in our own community.”

Fun is part of the program. After learning their Afghan family loves kit flying, they visited the winter kite festival on Lake Harriet. Temps were below zero, and their father commented “the children now know what cold is.” Snow pants and kites were soon purchased for the children. Masters at stringing and flying kites, one small child loved it so much he flew his kite out his bedroom window.

The ministry is a two-way street. Treated as family, volunteers were welcomed with green tea, dates and nuts. Another time, the family cooked a traditional Afghan dinner for the volunteers at Theodore Wirth Park. They noticed the father had quietly gone off to say his midday prayers.

Donna and Rich’s grandparents were immigrants, and this work is personal. Donna shared, “I gain much more than I give. Sometimes it’s complicated and can be uncomfortable, but we have always worked through things. We are so much more alike than different. Their values are our values. They care about family and faith just like we do. These experiences have broadened our horizons. This has been a fun, fulfilling year. We are blessed.”

Team member Rachel Ziegler has worked with families from Iraq and Afghanistan for five years. A teacher, Rachel had seen students in her classroom new to the US and wanted to learn more about their challenges. Impressed by their strong family values and ability to adapt, Rachel finds joy in connecting on a personal level and as Acts of Mercy. She stressed people can help as advocates in the public arena, and more Circle of Welcome mentors are needed to accompany Afghan families with crucial wrap-around services.

Since 2015, Basilica volunteers have accompanied 15 refugee families from eight countries and asylees from eight countries, but there much more to do. To learn more, contact Janice Andersen.

 

 

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