You are here
What adjective would you choose to describe the curve balls 2020 has thrown us? Unexpected, topsy turvy, isolating, crazy, frustrating? (And probably some not fit to print) This list could go on and on.
In the face of these challenges, one unshakeable experience for me has been working with our team of staff at The Basilica. Their commitment to continue to offer opportunities for worship and ministry has never waivered. We may have changed, but we never stopped.
In March, we started with an iPhone camera to offer Mass virtually on FaceBook Live. That quickly evolved with a great camera crew from Qwickcast who made us feel like we were in The Basilica during Holy Week and on Easter Sunday, even as we watched from our living room sofas. Your generosity kept us going.
This summer a six camera system of our own was made possible by a Basilica Landmark donor. Since bringing this system online, over twenty Basilica staff members have been trained to use it. We’re still learning, but today livestreaming liturgies like Masses, weddings, funerals, baptisms, confirmations is a regular part of daily life at the parish. Former parishioners and friends from around the country are finding us online and joining these livestreamed liturgies.
We’ve been able to re-open for the public too—now offering two weekday Masses at 7:00am and Noon (also livestreamed), and Sunday Masses at 11:30am and 4:30pm (with 9:30am livestreamed), and Reconciliation at 9:00am Saturdays. To keep everyone safe in this world changed by COVID-19, new Mass protocols are in place and routine including pre-registration, limited numbers, sanitizing our hands, wearing masks and social distancing. Together, staff and volunteers are working to welcome people into The Basilica as safely as we can.
Coffee and sandwiches are still available daily for those who are hungry. Volunteers, book clubs and speaker series are all meeting virtually. Speakers offer perspectives from our faith in presentations and discussions on immigration, nationalism, citizenship, mental health, and more.
Employment Ministry Mentors are meeting with job seekers over Zoom. Mentors of Minneapolis College students who have experienced homelessness continue their work and offer their support. St. Vincent de Paul volunteers are doing outreach by phone. Faith Formation for children and teens is being offered virtually too, with families receiving a home prayer kit and supplies. Young Adult Bible Study and Pathways for those looking to build skills to stabilize their lives are active as well. The response to these offerings has been amazing and we are grateful.
Day to day ministries continue as volunteers share the gift of their faith in so many ways, albeit often virtually. These ministries and offerings can only continue to happen with your financial support. Will you commit to a recurring gift to The Basilica Fund in the coming year?
We need your help to empower our mission and our ministries. Consider what gift works for you weekly or monthly. Ideally, set this up electronically for automatic withdrawal. It’s easy, and if you need to, you can change this at any time. Giving electronically helps us plan, saves money and makes your contributions go even farther. We are grateful for your support in these challenging times.
During the course of the past six months, the staff at The Basilica of Saint Mary has learned to adapt, adjust and pivot. Each of us has been challenged by Father Bauer to be flexible, patient, and resilient as we take on new responsibilities and develop new ways to deliver our programs, ministries and Masses. We have shifted to Google classrooms, Zoom meetings and virtual events to stay connected and to serve the parish. Twenty-two staff members have learned how to support our new livestreaming capability and help deliver six livestreamed Masses per week in addition to streaming prayer services, weddings, and funerals. While we cannot gather together like usual, the vibrant parish you know and love has adapted to current circumstances and continues to deliver on its mission.
In many ways, our coordinated efforts to face the challenges of 2020 have made us more grateful and appreciative of one another, our community, and our commitment to serve the parish and the greater good. We are keenly aware of the simple and ordinary interactions that we used to take for granted and can appreciate their value more than ever before. Staying connected to one another and participating in meaningful fellowship has never been more important. We cherish each new opportunity to worship together while serving and caring for our parish community.
Most of all, we are grateful for you and your support of The Basilica Fund. In fact, none of our daily work would be possible without your financial contributions to The Basilica Fund which provides 79% of our annual operating budget. When you make a gift to The Basilica Fund you directly impact every aspect of parish life. You provide opportunities for community members to replace a lost job, for students to continue their faith formation, for young adults to connect with their peers, and for our Masses and sacraments to continue. Your generosity directly touches the lives and experience of our entire parish on a daily basis.
This year, we encourage you to adapt, adjust, and pivot your support of The Basilica by making a recurring gift commitment to The Basilica Fund online at www.mary.org/give. An electronic recurring gift lowers our administrative costs and enables your gift to go further. When you take the time to inform us of your giving plan for 2021, you also provide the parish with the most financial stability and the ability to make informed budget decisions throughout the year.
Please sustain our mission and renew or establish your recurring gift to The Basilica Fund today. You can make your gift online at www.mary.org/give. You may also contact Stephanie Bielmas at email@example.com or at 612.317.3472 for answers to any questions you may have about supporting The Basilica of Saint Mary.
We offer you our heartfelt gratitude for your generous and faithful support during these challenging times.
Interim Director of Development
The Basilica of Saint Mary