Weekly Musings

Living Through Change

Change is an inevitable part of life. Some people dread change while others relish it. Both The Basilica and The Basilica Landmark are facing many changes, navigating transitions from the old to the new.

Over the past two years, the pandemic has presented The Basilica with one of our biggest challenges. Pivoting to livestreaming services and virtual programming required thinking outside the box and an all-hands-on deck approach. Likewise, The Basilica and The Basilica Landmark events have gone through a number of transitions. The Basilica Block Party was cancelled in 2020, as was the Landmark Spark gala. 2021 shifted the Block Party to September and Spark to a virtual format. Last year also brought the 25th and final Basilica Ascension Golf Tournament. 2022 has produced even more change:  hiatus and reimaging of the Block Party and back to an in-person celebration of Landmark Spark.

Staff and volunteer departures and arrivals have prompted shifting relationships and job responsibilities. Mara Stolee Cable knows all about change. She leaves the Parish Council after four years of service as the Development Representative. Mara has gone through many transitions at The Basilica. She joined The Basilica Young Adult group after college, participated in Bible Study and volunteered with Christian Life outreach but was unsure how to transition from being a Basilica “young adult” to being a Basilica “adult.”  Serving on the parish council was a big step, but Mara says she has always tried to discern what steps God is calling her to take. God is now calling Mara to move to Boston to pursue a PhD program.

Meade Arseniadis, while not new to The Basilica, is a most recent addition to The Basilica Landmark Board. Meade witnessed her mother’s and friend’s involvement in The Basilica community, in particular the golf tournament. This motivated her to become involved. She would like to pass down that passion for what The Basilica stands for to her own children. She is excited to be part of The Basilica Landmark Board with all its knowledge and passion. “There is a lot of transition in the works for both The Basilica and The Basilica Landmark. We can create a new story with a lot of strategic direction behind it.”

Of course, one of the biggest changes we all face is Fr. John Bauer’s departure for Our Lady of Lourdes, after fifteen years as pastor of The Basilica and Fr. Daniel Griffith’s installation as our new pastor. Mara is happy for Fr. Bauer and pleased with how much confidence he has that Fr. Daniel will carry The Basilica into the future. “God gives us the courage to move forward,” states Mara. “Prayer is a resource in our faith. We need to invite God to walk with us through changes like this.” Likewise, Meade says, “While Fr. Bauer’s stepping aside is sad, Fr. Daniel brings a whole new chapter. This change is an opportunity for growth. We are ready for this transition.”

As Fr. Bauer’s tenure comes to a close, many parishioners and community members have been asking what they could do for him before he departs. You can follow Fr. Bauer’s example of commitment to The Basilica by making a tribute gift to The Basilica Fund. Fr. Bauer’s steady leadership has set a foundation for The Basilica’s future and your gift can support our beloved Basilica in delivering on our mission as we welcome our new pastor. You can make a gift at mary.org/give.

 

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.

Monday, June 13

Tuesday, June 14

Wednesday, June 15

Thursday, June 16

Friday, June 17

 

The last few weeks have been tough. The news cycle has been heartbreaking. We continue to struggle with the ongoing pandemic. People are tired - physically, emotionally and spiritually. I hope you’ll take time to take care of yourself and to take advantage of The Basilica’s services and programs to nourish your spirit.  Visit the events calendar at mary.org/news.

Now, for some good news:

Parish Council Elections:  This spring we have a great roster of candidates seeking election on behalf of a variety of ministry areas of the parish. Voting will be active on the parish website through Friday, June 13 at 5:00pm. Please take a moment to read the candidates’ biographies and cast your vote for your parish representatives at mary.org/vote.

Parish Council Chair:  I am delighted to announce that Dr. Jill Reilly will be succeeding me as chair of the Parish Council.

Jill has belonged to The Basilica since 2007. She served in various ways including six years on Finance Committee, work on the Strategic Plan, and the Assessment Team. Dr. Reilly was President of the Academy of Holy Angels (AHA) and Superintendent of Schools within the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. She received the 2008 Leading with Faith Award from The Catholic Spirit.  Jill is a wife, mother of three adult children, and grandmother of six. You can get in touch with Jill at mary.org/parishcouncil.

Celebrating Fr. Baur and Welcoming Fr. Griffith: We’ll have an opportunity to say farewell and thank you to Fr. John Bauer as he departs to become pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Minneapolis. Mark your calendars for ice cream socials after Mass on June 19, 25 and 26. We also look forward to welcoming Fr. Dan Griffith as pastor and rector of The Basilica in July and at his Installation Mass on August 13 at 5:00pm.

The Basilica Fund Update: Thanks to parishioner support, we are so close to our philanthropic goals for this year! We have just $48,000 left to raise by June 30 to continue powering our mission, ministries and programs. If you have already given this year, thank you! If you have not yet made a gift, please consider a gift of any size by June 30 to help meet our goals. The Basilica Fund powers everything we do, and every gift matters. Visit mary.org/give to give.

As this is my final newsletter as Parish Council chair, I want to express my deep gratitude for the opportunity to serve. It has been an honor, and I look forward to seeing you around The Basilica!

Katelin Richter Davis
Chair, Parish Council
The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

“We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.” Acts 2: 9-11

I was about 12 years old when I was asked to proclaim the first reading on the Solemnity of Pentecost. As our lectors know, this is not an easy reading to proclaim. Mother Hildegard, my dear great-aunt, worked with me on the pronunciation of the many names in this reading. And she seized the opportunity to elaborate on what happened that first Pentecost.

My great-aunt’s introduction to the early church opened my imagination to the world in which the Gospel was first proclaimed some 2000 years ago. This lively Pentecost scene somehow reminded me of the Sunday Market in Brussels, the capital of Belgium and Europe. When I went there for the first time, I could not believe my eyes. Coming from a small and traditional town in Flanders, the sight of people from all around the world made me dizzy with excitement. I could not believe the exuberant and colorful clothes. Competing music in unknown languages blared from the different booths. I tasted dishes previously unknown to me. And to this day, I remember being olfactorily overcome by the scent of the many different spices. It was an absolute delight and it felt like I was traveling from country to country in a matter of moments. This is how I imagined Jerusalem on a holiday in the time of the apostles. A rich cacophony of humanity in all its diversity: just like the cradle of the church.

Visualizing my great aunt’s description of that first Pentecost, I knew exactly where the apostles were. I saw them hiding in the upper room. In stark contrast to the festive atmosphere outside, the apostles were laden with angst and burdened by uncertainty. And then, in an instant, everything changed. Aflame with the Holy Spirit, they threw open the doors and windows, burst into the streets and started speaking of the marvelous deeds of God.

This happened with so much energy that it drew the attention of passers-by and quieted them down. And to everyone’s amazement, they all heard the apostles speak in their native tongue. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was proclaimed in multiple languages and received by people from different countries, cultures, races, and ethnicities. This is a powerful testimony to the fact that though we all believe in the one, true God, we are as diverse as our world.

In contrast to this great Pentecost scene, where the diversity of the people was honored and lifted up, a dangerous fog of cultural fear and anger clouds our world today. These days diversity is met with suspicion and often leads to division.

The political world is particularly affected by this. Yet, our church is not immune to this either. Rather than welcoming the richness that comes from respectful dialogue between diverse races and opinions we clammer for uniformity. And rather than listening to one another we resort to speaking louder and louder in a desperate attempt to win whichever battle we are waging. Sadly, we lack the inner peace and the mutual respect needed to listen intently to one another and learn from one another. Tragically, we seem to have lost the way of the apostles who were able, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to rejoice in the richly diverse tapestry of humanity.

I look forward to the day when it will be said:

“We are republicans, democrats and independents; rich and poor; liberals, conservatives and moderates; women and men and children; gay and straight; Africans, Asians and Americans; Australians and Europeans, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongue of the mighty acts of God.”

What an exciting and holy time that will be. May that day come soon!

 

I have never had much luck retrieving my luggage when I have to take two different flights to reach my destination. In fact for several years, it was pretty much inevitable that my luggage would not appear on the baggage carousel when I got to my final destination. Even now, when I approach baggage claim after landing, I can anticipate my luggage will be one of the last ones to come down the chute. I have learned to accept I am not one of those fortunate individuals who, when they get to baggage claim, within minutes can be walking out the door pulling their suitcase behind them. I have also learned that when I travel with people, I need to tell them not to get their hopes up for an early exit from the airport after the flight.

On a flight several months ago, after walking from one of the furthest possible terminals to baggage claim, I got my hopes up that because of the long walk, just maybe my baggage would be on the carrousel when I arrived. Unfortunately, this was not the case. In fact, the baggage carousel had not even started moving. I did notice, though, the carousel next to me was moving and on it were several forlorn pieces of luggage going round and round. It immediately occurred to me that they were probably left over from an earlier flight, and no one had yet arrived to claim them. Perhaps their owners had stopped to get a bite to eat or have drink before proceeding to baggage claim. Whatever the reason, they just kept going round and round on the baggage carousel. I had time to notice this because, while my luggage carrousel had finally begun to move and baggage began to emerge, my luggage was once again one of the last pieces to appear.    

This memory came back to me a few weeks ago when the responsory after the scripture reading for evening prayer was: “Claim me once more as your own Lord and have mercy on me.”  As I reflected on these words, it occurred to me that with God, we never have to worry about being “unclaimed” and ending up in the lost and found. God loves us, and even if we don’t acknowledge that love or turn away from it, God never stops loving us. God patiently waits for us to recognize and respond to God’s love. The thing is God never forces God’s love on us. Rather God waits for us to allow ourselves to be “claimed” by God.

On more than one occasion in my life I have felt like the unclaimed luggage on a baggage carousel—going round and round, but in reality, going nowhere. Fortunate indeed is the person who has not experienced those times in their life—times when they have felt lost and alone. At these times if we can come humbly to God in prayer, we will discover God has been there all along, just waiting to claim us once more as God’s own.  

 

 

Recently, I’ve just been putting one foot in front of the other. Anticipating more change and transition at The Basilica, I have taken a moment to slow down and reflect about the power of coming together in community. During the pandemic, we learned to pivot, adapt, and be flexible.

I am still amazed at what was accomplished and how creatively volunteers and staff tackled the challenges and curveballs of COVID-19. We can and are doing ministry both in person and virtually and are committed to continuing to offer online experiences, but there is something special about coming together that really matters.

I’ve realized how much I’ve missed the presence of people who are making ministry happen. Whether it’s coming in-person for Mass, working with volunteers and getting to know one another, laughing together or praying together, I believe there is something sacred that happens when we gather in person and are present for one another.

I value the energy, enthusiasm, and commitment of our many volunteers who lead and help daily on our campus and from home. You make The Basilica come alive for all those who cross our threshold. Thank you for lifting us up by sharing your time, expertise, leadership and your advice. The Basilica is a welcoming dynamic place because of you.

If you haven’t been back to The Basilica in a while, I invite you to dip your toe in – and I know there are many reasons you may not be ready. Trust me when I say when you hear the choir sing and are transported, when you see the incense wafting through the air, or experience the bright friendly smile of someone you haven’t seen in over a year, it is quite wonderful.

If the time is right for you, please consider returning to worship and volunteering in person. It’s been wonderful to have more activities starting again. In coming weeks, we will celebrate confirmations, weddings, baptisms, graduations, and more. We love seeing you and need your help to keep the wheels at The Basilica turning.

Beautiful celebrations of Pentecost are being planned for June 4 and 5. The last two weekends in June, we will gather for Mass and head outside for ice cream to say thank you to Fr. Bauer for his 15 years of leadership at The Basilica. 

As we transition pastoral leadership, I invite you to also support our volunteer leaders. From June 1-13, parishioners are invited to vote in the Parish Council election to choose council members to lead our parish and welcome and work with a new Pastor. Please take time to cast your ballot online at mary.org/vote or come to Mass, and you’ll find paper ballots in the back of church. 

Your presence is what makes our Basilica community work. I invite you to remember the inspirational words of Teresa of Avila: “Christ has no body now, but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world. Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world."

 

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings

Monday, May 16

Tuesday, May 17

Wednesday, May 18

Thursday, May 19

Friday, May 20

Preserve, Restore, and Advance

The Basilica Landmark, formerly known as The Friends of The Basilica, was established in 1993 as a separate 501(c)(3) organization to preserve, restore, and advance The Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations. The Basilica Landmark provides essential financial support to uphold and maintain our beautiful buildings and campus. The partnership between The Basilica Landmark and The Basilica of Saint Mary empowers the parish’s ability to serve its more than 12,000 members, as well as the greater community.

Some of the Landmark funded projects that will be accomplished in 2022 include:

  • Debris removal from the vault areas in the attic above the sanctuary that are holding moisture in the cavity and creating plaster damage on the interior of the sanctuary;
  • Replacement of three condensers on the Cowley roof to repair the A/C system in this building; and
  • Routine maintenance of the Church roof due to deficiencies that come with thermal movement and temperature cycles.

We are very excited about returning to an in-person Landmark Spark Gala at The Metropolitan on Saturday, May 15. If you were unable to attend Spark in-person this year, you can still participate by joining our online auction that is open now and runs until 5:00 pm on Sunday, May 16. Bid on a wide variety of interesting items, one-of-a-kind experiences, and exciting excursions at basilica2022.ggo.bid.

In addition, you can donate to our Fund-A-Need initiative that raises the necessary funds to accomplish one vital preservation or restoration project. Proceeds raised for the 2022 Fund-A-Need will help replace campus lampposts and improve exterior lighting surrounding our Landmark. An “old meets new” design will introduce LED efficiency while preserving the architecture to bring a renewed sense of optimism and safety to our community. It is not too late to have an impact!

Please consider making a gift to our Fund-A-Need at theBasilicaLandmark.org/FAN. A special thank you to all those who have already supported this year’s Fund-A-Need project.

We are so grateful for The Basilica Landmark Board of Directors, our sponsors, partners, event attendees, and all those who participate and generously support The Basilica Landmark.

 

 

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings

Monday, May 9

Tuesday, May 10

Wednesday, May 11

Thursday, May 12

Friday, May 13

 

 

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