Weekly Musings

Stations of the Cross 

Friday, March 4



Mary Untier of Knots webcrop

Please Forgive Me

I am sorry. I was wrong. I made a mistake. Please accept my apology. Please forgive me.

I don’t know why it is so hard for so many of us to say these words. Perhaps it is our pride, or perhaps we worry that we will look weak, or will be perceived as being vulnerable. Whatever the reason, I’ve noticed that lots of us have trouble saying: I’m sorry. I was wrong. I made a mistake. Please accept my apology. Please forgive me.

Sometimes people offer a pseudo apology, for example, by saying “I’m sorry that happened.” or “If I offended you, I’m sorry.” In reality, though, these are just pretend apologies. They lack sincerity and have no real meaning. A real and genuine apology comes with no strings attached. It is an admission that we have done something wrong or something that hurt someone, and we ask for their forgiveness.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on our seeming inability to apologize. My reflections started when retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI issued a statement on February 8 after a report, requested by the Munich Archdiocese, concluded that during his tenure as Archbishop of Munich there were four specific cases in regard to clergy abusers that he could be accused of mishandling. In his statement, while retired Pope Benedict acknowledged past failings of the Catholic Church in confronting clergy sexual abuse under his watch, he stopped short of a direct, personal apology. He did ask for forgiveness for any "grievous faults" in the Church’s handling of clergy sex abuse cases. And he did express his feelings of great shame and sorrow for the abuse of minors and requested forgiveness from all victims of sexual abuse, BUT he did not acknowledge any personal or specific wrongdoing. In other words, he did not say: I am sorry. I was wrong. I made a mistake. Please accept my apology. Please forgive me.

Now, I suspect that his advisors told him that for legal reasons, or more likely because he was the retired Pope, he should not acknowledge any wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness. And yet, at the same time, I think that it would have sent a powerful message to Catholics and to people everywhere, if he had simply said: I am sorry. I was wrong. I made a mistake. Please accept my apology. Please forgive me. These simple words would have sent a clear and unmistakable message that sin and failure are a part of each of our lives, and that we all need to seek forgiveness and healing when we have hurt others by our words and actions (or inactions).

Words are necessary and important, but they are heard best when they are accompanied by the witness of lives. May God grant to all of us—and especially the leaders of our Church—the ability to say more often and more sincerely: I am sorry. I was wrong. I made a mistake. Please accept my apology. Please forgive me.



All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings

Monday, February 28

Tuesday, March 1 

Wednesday, March 2 - Ash Wednesday

Thursday, March 3 - No recording due to internet outage

Friday, March 4


All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings

Monday, February 21 - No Mass recorded Presidents' Day

Tuesday, February 22

Wednesday, February 23

Thursday, February 24

Friday, February 25 - Due to technical difficulties, the recording starts at the homily. We apologize for the inconvenience.



Afghan Family: Adjusting well to new colder climate

December 2021


Come in! Come in! Come in! That was the greeting we received the first night we met the family that the Basilica is helping from Afghanistan. The young man that greeted us is in middle school and is part of the family of 10.  He gestured for us to come up for green tea. The dad arrived a few minutes later having gone to a store to get nuts and fruit to welcome us. Our Circle of Welcome team from the Basilica and Lutheran Social Services were there to meet and greet the new family. The family left Kabul, Afghanistan in August. It was quite a struggle to get all of this large family on a plane to the US.  They have eight children ranging in age from 11 months to 17 years old. 

Over the past two months the Basilica has outfitted the family in winter gear, rugs, a vacuum and various other things. Our Circle of Welcome team has taken them on outings to Como Zoo, the Lake Harriet kite festival and sledding.

On one of our visits when we were bringing over a rug, we were once again greeted by the same gregarious young man that had greeted us the first night. He motioned for us to come in for green tea and showed us to their dining table. All of the children came around to greet us. As soon as we sat down a feast appeared before our eyes with mom dishing up very delicious food. Large flat bread, beef stew, saffron rice and chickpeas and two spoons appeared. Never having eaten food from Afghanistan we assumed we each had a spoon and we started eating only to realize later the bread was meant to be broken and the beef stew and everything else was to be spooned on top of the bread and then into our mouth and the spoons were serving spoons. 

The family is doing very well.  The dad is fluent in English and three other languages and the others are learning. The children are all in school. The dad just got a job and they all seem to be adjusting to this very new and different life especially living in this new colder climate.

When we volunteered to be part of the Circle of Welcome team we were delighted to help. Since then we have been humbled by the hospitality and friendliness of this Afghan family. Minnesota is so very blessed to have them.


Refugee Family News
News and updates on the families we are welcoming.



Before we embark on our Lenten journey this year, Ordinary Time gives us the opportunity to reflect on our lives and where we are called to serve. The Gospel this weekend tells us this: how we give is how we will receive. “Do to others as you would have them do to you. … Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and gifts will be given to you.” Luke 6:31, 37-38.

The Church calls us to serve those in need of spiritual, emotional, and physical nourishment. Catholic Social Teaching provides us with a basic moral test: how do we treat the most vulnerable among us. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first. Consequently, The Basilica of Saint Mary has identified homelessness, along with The Arts and Inclusivity, as one of our Strategic Areas of Focus. In undertaking this focus area, we are collaborating with other organizations to address the root causes of homelessness and reduce the prevalence of homelessness in our community.

The Homeless Jesus sculpture by Timothy Schmalz located on The Basilica Plaza reminds us both that we must serve the poor and homeless and that any of us could easily become one of those in need. During these difficult economic times, nearly 40% of people in the United States would experience significant financial hardship should their income be suddenly interrupted.

Like our community at large, The Basilica is also facing uncertain economic times. The Basilica’s year-to-date revenue is down and our expenses are up. While we are tightening our belts wherever we can, we still need your assistance. As members of The Basilica community, help us attend to the needs of the poor, and financially support our parish programs, ministries, and services. Consider a gift to the 2022 Basilica Fund whether you are participating in our community in person or through livestreaming masses and virtual programming.

If you plan to give to The Basilica regularly (weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually) in 2022, please let us know your plans. When you tell us how much you are committing to give, it allows us to budget more accurately for the year ahead. Electronic recurring gifts through your credit card or checking account mean less paper and lower administrative costs. Please give online at mary.org/give. If you have already made your 2022 gift commitment, THANK YOU!


In recent years disagreements and divisions among people have been magnified and amplified. This is undoubtedly due to the indiscriminate use of social media, the politization and depreciation of the media, and a general penchant for the sensational. It seems to no longer shock anyone when politicians and pundits hurl insults and lies at one another. And the most popular criterion for truth seems to be whether something supports one’s own version of reality.

To experience this in the world of politics and business is upsetting enough. It is even more disturbing to see this happen among people of faith, even people of the same faith, and most disturbingly, among people in our own church. Though this phenomenon is nothing new, tragically it seems to have gotten worse in recent years. Whatever happened to: “You will recognize them by their love for one another?”

When Jesus had washed the feet of his disciples, an extraordinary gesture of humility and service, he left his Disciples with a new commandment: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” He went on to say that “this is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34-35)

If Christians are to be recognized by their love for one another, then maybe we are not doing the best of jobs. And the value of humility exercised by Jesus when washing his disciples’ feet also seems to have been lost. Maybe it is time that we learn what it truly means to wash one another’s feet; to bend down before one another and to “do what Jesus did.”

When I first moved to the United States, I was given a sticker with four letters on it: WWJD. It was explained to me that these letters stood for “What Would Jesus Do.” I found it a bit silly and simplistic at first, yet over the years I have come to see the value of it, especially after someone sarcastically suggested it stood for “What Would Johan Do.”

This is indeed a simple question, yet it is, at the same time, a very profound question. If all of us Christians asked ourselves “What Would Jesus Do” before speaking and acting, maybe we would not be in the situation we are in today. We might be less selfish, less self-centered and more concerned with the fate of others. We might be less judgmental and more open to dialogue with others. We might be more courageous and speak out against injustice and discrimination. We might even be more caring and loving, a trait indicative of Jesus’ disciples. Of course, this will require that we put Jesus before ourselves.

John the Baptist, who as we know took holiness very seriously said: “He (Jesus) must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3:30) This was probably not a very popular stance in John’s time, neither is it in our time. After all, who wants to decrease? And yet, as Christians we are called to do just that, so that Christ may increase in each one of us, in the Church and in society.

Decreasing is an act of humility which is not easy for anyone, including myself, but it is what Jesus asks of all of us. As we prepare ourselves for Lent, maybe we take on John’s motto to decrease, so Christ may increase; maybe we commit to asking ourselves “What Would Jesus Do?” before we speak or act; and maybe we can foster greater love among us, for it is by our love for one another that we will be recognized as followers of Jesus.



Basilica in winter

Noon Mass: February 7-11

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings


Monday, February 7

Tuesday, February 8

Wednesday, February 9 (not able to record) 

Thursday, February 10

Friday, February 11


From the Pastor

With this column, I would like to update you regarding several areas of our parish’s life.

1. Christmas at The Basilica: While Christmas was once again very different this year because of the pandemic, there were also many blessings associated with it. Our staff did an excellent job of making our Christmas celebrations safe, meaningful, and reverent. They helped with live streaming the Masses, and they also assisted in various liturgical ministries. I am very grateful to them, and to those volunteers, who made this year’s Christmas celebrations so special. As pastor of The Basilica, I have much to be proud of and even more to be grateful for this year.

2. Our Parish Finances: First and foremost, I want to thank all those who made a commitment of financial support to our parish community during our financial stewardship campaign this past fall. Please know your commitment of financial support to our parish community is greatly appreciated. Your pledge, no matter the size, is important and makes a difference. It allows us to continue to offer the many programs, ministries and services that are the hallmark of our Basilica community.

Thank you for your ongoing generosity. Please know of my great gratitude for your ongoing financial support of our parish.

3. Lent: Having just finished the Christmas season, it is hard to believe that Lent is coming, but Ash Wednesday this year is Wednesday March 2nd. As a child I never really appreciated Lent. As I have grown older, though, I’ve come to realize how important and how good the season of Lent is for me, and for all of us. During this special season I invite and encourage you to look at your calendar and to plan on participating virtually or in-person in the services and activities that will be offered at The Basilica. Visit our web site at mary.org for a list of our Lenten activities and services.

4. Catholic Services Appeal: The 2022 Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) will begin the weekend of February 5 and 6. This yearly appeal helps support the many ministries, services, and programs within our Archdiocese. Now obviously, many people are concerned that contributions to the Archdiocese will be used for purposes they did not intend. In this regard, it is important to note that The Catholic Services Appeal is an independent 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. This was done, to ensure that all the money that is collected through the Appeal would go directly and solely to the ministries, services and programs supported by the CSA. No CSA funds go to the Archdiocese.

By pooling the financial resources from generous donors throughout our diocese, much important and necessary work is funded by the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). As your pastor, I wholeheartedly endorse the work of the Appeal. I support it financially and I encourage you to make a gift to support these important ministries, services, and programs. Please look for the Catholic Services Appeal information in pews or learn more at csafspm.org.

5. A new Parish Trustee: A few months ago, Kathy Noecker, who has served as one of our parish trustees for the past six plus years informed me of her decision to retire from this position at the end of her current term. While I was saddened by her decision, I also respected her desire to take a step back to enjoy retirement and time with her new grandchild.

After prayer and reflection, I asked Susan Link if she would be willing to accept an appointment as one of our parish trustees, and she agreed. Tom Paul is our other parish trustee. I am extremely grateful to Kathy for her years of service and to Susan for her willingness to take on this responsibility. They have been and will continue to be blessings for our parish.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the role of parish trustees, let me briefly explain. In our Archdiocese, each parish is an individual corporation. Two members of each parish join the pastor, the Vicar General and the Archbishop as officers of the corporate board. In addition to their responsibilities as members of the corporate board, the trustees are members of the Parish Council and Finance Committee. They also sit on the Board of Directors for The Basilica Landmark.

Perhaps most importantly (from my perspective) they also serve as “wisdom figures” and “truth tellers.” Because of the sensitivity and/or confidentiality of some issues, I look to the parish trustees for prudent counsel, wise insights, and the unvarnished truth. In my years as pastor of The Basilica, and in my previous pastorates, the trustees with whom I have worked have been great blessings for me and the parishes I have served. I am confident that this will continue to be the case with Susan Link as our new trustee.

6. Parish Life During the Pandemic: I suspect most of us thought the pandemic would be over by now and things would have returned to normal. Unfortunately, with the new Omicron variant it seems like normal—whatever that new normal might be —is still not on the horizon.

While we have resumed many activities on our campus, many are being done virtually and some are being done hybrid. At this point, and for the foreseeable future, this will continue to be the case. We will make decisions on a case-by-case basis. And we will also continue to look for new ways to/opportunities to celebrate the life of our parish community.

What is clear to me is that we miss the many opportunities to gather and celebrate our faith. We miss praying and worshipping together and the chance to give witness to our faith through our community activities. When we are able to gather again as we used to—and I believe we will—it is my hope and sincere prayer that church will have a renewed and deeper meaning for all of us.

Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary


February/March 2022 Bulletin