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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
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.
All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.
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.
All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.
Tuesday, July 12 (No recording available)
Years ago, I was working in college campus ministry when the state of Minnesota had the proposed marriage amendment on the November ballot. This would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman in our state constitution. You may recall it was a particularly contentious time all over our state, and particularly in our college ministry that fall. I was asked to do a short talk about the amendment to our college students at a meal we were hosting, and when I told one student that I was going to do this, she mentioned she was going to bring tomatoes to throw at me! I laughed at first, as I thought she was joking, but she was definitely upset that I was going to speak on the topic. Now, I did not say anything about what I was actually presenting, just the fact that we were going to talk about this at all was problematic for her.
No doubt, in that room, I knew different students and parishioners had wildly different perspectives on the amendment and what the “right” outcome was supposed to be in November. I finished the talk (thankfully no projectiles where thrown at anyone), but an invitation to dialogue was largely ignored. One of my hopes was that there might be some room to have conversation about it, even among those who had strongly held convictions. As with many hot button issues today, dialogue with people of varying perspectives was minimal in our parish community, not to necessarily change minds, but to just listen deeply to each other.
I thought about this when I heard about the Supreme Court decision recently to overturn the constitutional right to abortion in the United States. Like many, I was somewhat glued to social media and reactions to the ruling across perspectives that whole weekend; one particular Twitter comment from a Catholic commentator has stuck with me. He opened that while the day might be one of celebration for pro-life folks, it was even more a day to listen to those who were struggling with that decision. I know family members and friends who are all over the place with this decision; some are grateful, some are fearful. I know parishioners who are also experiencing many different emotions about it; we all know how difficult conversations around this issue can be.
I don’t agree with all that I have heard from others around this decision and what it might mean, but I keep coming back to that Twitter comment and asking myself how I can best listen to others as they express the wide emotions that have come with this decision. As an adoptive father of two, I have a tiny bit of experience knowing how difficult a pregnancy can be when one is not planning or prepared. I will always be grateful to those birth moms for choosing life; I am also grateful to their families and friends who journeyed with them and supported them through their most difficult days. Now and always, as people of faith we are called to assist all those on the margins in our communities, in whatever ways we are able.
Mary, Untier of Knots, pray for us!
How is it that St. Paul who had once been the greatest persecutor of the early Church, became its most passionate defender and advocate? The answer is simple in one respect - he was converted in and through Jesus Christ. His life was transformed by dying and rising with Christ and thus Paul was compelled to share this good news with all whom he encountered. Ultimately, Paul was transformed by a personal and life-transforming encounter with Jesus - such that he saw the false road he was walking, and a new path opened up before him. How could Paul not share God’s transformative love with a waiting world?
A few years ago, I was in a spiritual direction session with a wise Jesuit priest who explained that there are three stages of Christian discipleship, the last of which is to become, like St. Paul, a fool for Christ. He intimated that I was not there yet - I had no illusions - and I suspect most of us have not reached this last stage of discipleship. St. Paul models often in Scripture a deep and abiding spiritual freedom - a non-attachment to things of this world and a pervasive desire for only one thing - to discern and do the will of God.
In the figure of St. Paul and all the great saints there is a dynamism that opens up to new life - God’s love results in conversion and spiritual freedom as both these gifts provide for the restorative work God intends to accomplish through his disciples. This is our story too and great potential exists when divine love overflows onto spiritual freedom and restoration. This would seem to be the only path forward for Catholics in our modern world and a needed light for our world.
In this present moment - in a parish amidst the transition of pastors, in a Twin Cities community searching for greater justice and peace, and in a nation beleaguered by division and uncertainty, God’s perennial call is personal, transformative, and grace-filled. I am personally thankful to God for his call to serve this amazing community of faith at the Basilica, to all of you for your commitment and faith, and to the great saints, including our patron - Mary, the Mother of God, for showing us that, springing from God’s divine love, spiritual freedom and restoration are indeed possible.
All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.
Thursday, June 30
Thank you, Fr. Bauer!
Friday, July 1
Welcome, Fr. Griffith!
Many years ago, Sister Peter, the nun who taught me in first grade at St. Stephen’s School in Anoka, MN, learned that I had been ordained a priest. For several years thereafter until her death, I would receive a Christmas card from her every year. Of course, she was a teacher until the end. I say this because each card contained a short story or a prayer with the important words underlined. The short story below was one of my favorites. It reminded me of how blessed I am and have been. I hope it does the same for you.
Everything is Relative
They huddled inside the storm door—two children in old coats.
“Got any aluminum cans, Lady?”
I was very busy. I wanted to say no, until I looked at their feet. Thin little shoes, sopped with sleet. “Come in and sit by the fire, and I’ll make you a cup of cocoa.” There was no conversation. Their soggy shoes left marks on the clean hearthstone.
Cocoa and cake would fortify them against the chill outside. After serving them, I went back to the kitchen and started on my household budget, as they sat enjoying the warmth.
After a few minutes, the silence in the front room struck through to me. I looked in. The girl held her empty cup in her hands, looking at it. The boy asked in a flat voice: “Lady, are you rich?”
“Am I rich: Mercy no.” I looked at my shabby slipcovers.
The girl put her cup back in its saucer carefully. “Your cups match your saucers.” Her voice was old with a hunger that was not of the stomach.
They left then, holding their small sack of cans. They hadn’t said thank you. They didn’t have to. They had done more that that. Plain blue pottery cups and saucers—but they matched. I tested the potatoes and stirred the gravy. Potatoes and brown gravy, a roof over my head, my husband with a good steady job—these things matched too.
I moved the chairs back from the fire and tided the living room. The muddy prints of small shoes were still on the hearth. I let them be.
I want them there in case I forget how rich I am.
At the end of the story Sister Peter had appended the following words: “Perhaps we are all a little better off than we think we are. It doesn’t hurt to want something more, but it is just as important to appreciate what we have and recognize how very rich and how very blessed we are.”
Thanks for being the Light of Christ and an occasion of God’s grace for me these past fifteen years. For this I have been blessed. Because of it, I am truly rich.
Fr. John M. Bauer
All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.
Monday, June 20
Our offices were closed in observation of Juneteenth; no noon Mass.
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.