Gratitude—that is what I am feeling on so many levels this week. During this pandemic year, The Basilica has been blessed with an incredible group of volunteer leaders on our Parish Council and Finance Committee.
As you can imagine, the partnership between parish leaders and staff has been critical as they worked together to anticipate, adapt and meet the challenge after challenge brought on by the pandemic.
At this time of year, some volunteer leaders end their service, and the Parish Council will hold elections to select new members. Special thanks to our outgoing Parish Council Chair Erik Miles and at-large member Eric Brandt who each served six years on the Council. Thanks also to James Van Sloun and Mike Luker who each served a three year term on the Finance Committee.
Together, the Parish Council and the Finance Committee serve and advise in the governance and strategic direction of The Basilica parish. Finance Committee members share their expertise and set annual parish budgets, regularly review financials, and oversee investments and make recommendations to the Pastor and the Parish Council. These 15 volunteers lead and participate in ongoing work including Audit, Budget, St. Vincent de Paul Finance and Investment subcommittees.
This year Parish Council
election voting opened Wednesday, May 26, and continues through 3:00pm on Monday, June 7. Parish members are invited to participate by casting a vote online at mary.org. Another option is to cast a paper ballot that all parishioners received by mail at home as an insert the June bulletin. Simply complete that ballot and return by mail to the parish or cast your vote online. All votes must be received by June 7.
The Parish Council plays a crucial role in partnership with the Pastor and staff. A consultative body, the Council advises the Pastor and works with staff to discern the needs of the parish community.
Praying and working together, Council members strive to help The Basilica community achieve its vision to provide a home of spiritual nourishment, offer a beacon of hope welcoming everyone with respect and dignity, and serve as an advocate of change working for justice, peace and equality for all. The principle responsibilities of the Council are to implement the Our Parish, Our Future Strategic Plan, support parish ministries, and offer counsel and support to our Pastor.
The Parish Council is made up of 15 members. Each major pastoral area, Liturgy and Sacred Arts, Learning, and Christian Life has two elected representatives that are elected, for a total of six elected members. This year, voters will select a Learning representative and a Christian Life representative. The Pastor appoints three at large Council members as well as representatives of Finance and Development. These volunteer leaders serve with the two parish Trustees, the Pastor and Managing Director.
Please do your part—cast your ballot online at mary.org/vote
by June 7. If you are interested in exploring leadership roles at The Basilica, please reach out to our Director of Engagement, Melissa Streit
2021 PARISH COUNCIL ELECTION
Please take time to vote. The Parish Council
represents you—our parishioners. The Council plays a key role in working with the pastor to ensure that The Basilica of Saint Mary community continues to live out our mission and vision.
We are in need of two parishioners to serve on our Parish Council—one to represent our Learning ministries and the other to represent the Christian Life ministries. By voting, you will help elect two new members to the Council.
Learning - Andrea Lutterman, Incumbent
Christian Life - Open Seat: Candidates
Jan Buczek and My Lam
We are pleased to announce our candidates, who are well qualified and exhibit the spirit of stewardship, volunteerism, and leadership that make The Basilica of Saint Mary such a special place.
Thank you in advance for your participation and your continued support of The Basilica. Every registered adult parishioner in each household is entitled to vote.
This past January Pope Francis issued a Motu Proprio: Spiritus Domini, which modified the first paragraph of Canon 230 of the Code of Canon Law. Through this action, Pope Francis made the decision that from now on the ministries of Lector and Acolyte were to be open to women. (A Motu Proprio refers to a document issued by the pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him.)
Now, there is nothing new about women proclaiming the Word of God during liturgical celebrations, or ministering as Eucharistic ministers or altar servers. In many communities throughout the world these practices have been authorized by local bishops, and have been in place for many years.
However, up to this point, the above has occurred without an institutional mandate. Rather, it has occurred as an exception to the protocols that were established by Pope Paul VI in 1972. At that time Pope Paul abolished the so-called “minor orders,” but decided that access to the ministries of lector and acolyte should be granted only to men because both of these ministries were considered to be preparatory to the eventual admission to holy orders. However, after the conversations and consultation which took place and emerged from the last Synods of Bishops, Pope Francis decided to formalize and institutionalize the presence of women at the altar.
Now you would think that a change of this kind would be recognized and shared broadly. However, as I was writing this (at the beginning of May), I checked the United States Conference of Bishops’ website and found no mention of it there. Further, I have heard of only a handful of bishops who have commented on it. I think this is a real missed opportunity. And in regard to missed opportunities Author Jodi Picoult once said: “Missed opportunities are never superficial wounds; they cut straight to the bone.”
For centuries, women have served in our Church well, selflessly, and most often with little recognition and meager compensation. Now that Pope Francis has opened the ministries of Lector and Acolyte to women, you would think this would be cause for celebration—or at least acknowledgment. Sadly, for some reason, the leadership of our Church has not done this. I believe this is not just a superficial wound. More importantly, it is not only a wound for woman, but also it is a wound for our Church.
Whenever we can’t or won’t recognize the gifts of people in our church—in this case specifically the gifts women have to offer—we are less than we can and should be as a church. Church is at its best when it is able to recognize, accept, and celebrate the gifts and contributions of everyone, woman and men, young and old, rich and poor, named and unnamed; progressive and conservative; people of every race and nationality.
The muted response of our bishops to Pope Francis’ “Motu Proprio” admitting women to the ministries of Lector and Acolyte is not just a superficial wound to our Church; rather it is a wound that cuts straight to the bone.
Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary