Weekly Musings

January 22nd marked the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade. Legalized as a private act, abortion remains a very public and divisive issue. I understand that as a celibate male, my concerns and questions in regard to abortion can be easily dismissed by those who advocate abortion. I hope, though, that those who espouse a pro-abortion position would be open to dialoguing about some of the issues surrounding abortion. Below are five for your consideration.  

1. In 1973 the Supreme Court ruled a woman’s choice to have an abortion outweighed the states concern for prenatal life-up until the point of viability, which in 1973 was deemed 28 weeks. Since that time, however, there have been significant advances in medical science.  Children have been born as young as 21 weeks of pregnancy. I believe we can’t ignore this fact. Why are we using outdated medical information regarding viability? This doesn’t make sense to me, and we need to talk about it. 

2. We need to continue to look for ways we can support women and men who are experiencing a problematic pregnancy and/or who are concerned about having the necessary resources to raise a child. As people who are pro-life, it is not enough for us simply to be opposed to abortion. We also need to be concerned about the issues of health care and nutrition for infants. We need to be concerned about paid parental leave, childhood education and food security. And we need to be concerned about safe housing for children and families. We need to talk with those who support the choice of abortion about how we, as individuals and as a society, can protect and enhance life not just in the womb, but after birth as well. 

3.  Many times when people who are pro-abortion talk about this issue, they use words like “safe” “legal” and “rare.” The use of the word “rare” has always concerned me. It suggests one of two things. Either people are using that word as a cynical concession to those who are opposed to abortion, or deep down they recognize that there is something improper and/or wrong about the procedure. In the case of the former, people who are pro-abortion need to fess up and acknowledge that they use the word “rare” as a verbal contrivance and not in any meaningful way. In the latter case, when they use the word “rare” they must realize that at root there is something wrong with the practice of abortion. In either case, we need to talk about it. 

4.  Likewise, polls continually indicate that people believe too many abortions are occurring. We need to talk with each other about how we can reduce the number of abortions. A woman should never feel that she must choose between her well-being and her unborn child’s life. We need to provide concrete, specific and practical services and programs to help women and men in problematic pregnancies. While our Church, and particularly our Archdiocese, have done much in this area, imagine how much more could be done if we worked with those who advocate a pro-abortion position. Let’s talk about this.

5.  We need to tone down the rhetoric and eliminate the inflammatory language that increasingly has been part of the discussion of the issue of abortion. I think those of us in the pro-life camp need to take the lead in doing this. It is too easy for people to dismiss our position on the basis of our often volatile language. We need to invite people into dialogue, to make our case and demonstrate the moral rightness of our position. In this regard, I believe we are far more apt to convince people than we are to coerce them. Using language that is simple, direct, non-inflammatory, and open to dialogue is a step in this direction.

The above are my suggestions as to how, on the 49th anniversary of Roe v Wade, we might proceed. I believe that if we are ever to come to a resolution in regard to the issue of abortion, this can only occur when we change the way, the manner, and the form in which we talk about this issue and seek new ways and means to engage each other in dialogue. As people committed to life, I think we need to be in the forefront of this activity. I believe that ultimately it is only in this way that we can help others come to understand the value, dignity and worth of every human life.

 

Happy new year! I pray that this new year is a healthy, safe and productive one for all of us.

As we begin 2022, I’m writing to ask your consideration of three New Year’s resolutions as a member of our Basilica community.

1. Share gratitude for each other. The last two years have presented significant challenges for all members of our community. This pandemic has required us to stretch ourselves when we are already stretched thin, to keep showing up even when the going is tough, and often to be apart from those we hold dear. Despite these challenges, the spirit of our parish remains strong: We have been able to gather for beautiful liturgies — and even more members of our community gained critical access to Mass via our new live-streaming program; We’ve come together for meaningful programs and events; provided support to those in need; advocated for change in our community; implemented a strategic plan….and so much more.

This sense of community has been so important during this time of separation. I am grateful for you, our Basilica community. In particular I want to express gratitude for The Basilica staff, and encourage you to do the same! They have made everything possible, and it is a testament to their resilience, dedication and adaptability. Please take a moment to thank a staff member when you see them at Mass, to drop a comment in the livestream chat, or to send a note of gratitude at mary.org/staff.

2. Protect those most vulnerable among us. The ever-shifting landscape of the pandemic requires us all to pitch in to protect those most vulnerable among us. Once again this requires us to mask up at Mass. When attending Basilica services or events in-person, please wear your mask not only to aid The Basilica in its compliance with public safety requirements, but also as an expression of care for those most vulnerable in our community. It is our mission to be a home of spiritual nourishment — and masking up helps all members of our community feel safe so they can come home to The Basilica.

3. Pledge your support. This January, I hope you’ll make a new year’s resolution to support The Basilica Fund with a monthly recurring donation. These donations sustain our mission, allow us to provide critical support to those in need, and maintain our wonderful professional staff who make our mission and vision come to life. Recurring donations are one of the most effective ways to support The Basilica because they are reliable, and during this tumultuous time, allow The Basilica to forecast with greater certainty. Because monthly recurring gifts continue indefinitely until you cancel, they are also one of the most reliable new year’s resolutions one could make! (I feel very confident my monthly recurring gift will outlast my new daily workout routine…)

Please take action now to support the community and work you care about. If you already support The Basilica with a recurring gift, please consider an increased monthly amount. Your support is vital, and gifts of all sizes make a difference! Join me in making this new year’s resolution by initiating your gift at mary.org/give before January 31.

 

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

 

 

Noon Masses: January 17-21

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings

 

Monday, January 17: Office closed; no livestreamed Mass

Tuesday, January 18

Wednesday, January 19

Thursday, January 20

Friday, January 21

Up until a few years ago, many of us upon hearing the word Synod would perhaps remember hearing that word from, church history perhaps. Then in 2019, out of Rome from Pope Francis, out of our Archdiocese from Archbishop Hebda, we began hearing much about “Synod.” Synod listening sessions were held and plans made, only to be upended as most everything was, by COVID-19.

 

As most of us are aware, the next part of the Synod was held through six sessions, in most every parish community, in the fall of 2021.

So, what happened?

What did we learn?

And what are we going to do with that knowledge?

 

The Basilica surveyed participants halfway through the process and following the conclusion of the sessions. Additionally, we compiled the data from the session questionnaires for our Basilica community. Data from the session questionnaires will, at an unspecified date, be available from the Archdiocese as well, letting us understand the thoughts and experiences of other communities. Following is a condensed report of information from The Basilica’s experience.

Individuals: The participant group was a diverse group; ages ranged from 20’s to 80’s of married and single, mixed gender, newly Catholic to cradle Catholic. Some people thoroughly enjoyed the process, the videos, and prayers while others were so irritated, they opted out of the main video and recorded prayer portion after the second session.

It was reported  that we very much value gathering in small groups to learn from, about and with each other. There is a need to learn to pray, in multiple ways, including with our children both in church and at home. Parents request age-appropriate resources for living our faith and integrating it into daily life. Social media should be expanded to allow virtual communities of people to connect beyond Sunday liturgy. The Basilica as a spiritual home is important.

Archdiocese:  There was an overall disappointment for the participants with the topics and process selected by the Archdiocese for the Synod sessions. Of the topics addressed in the videos, the following three ranked highly: There should be an increase in ecumenical events. Retreats and events to gather the greater church should be planned.

Efforts should be made to ensure a true welcome, that is culturally sensitive and values diversity. Of more concern to the participants for our greater church and omitted from the list of topics were, the shortage of ordained ministers, systems of injustice in our institutional church that need to be addressed and the church’s involvement in racism and sexual abuse scandals.

Basilica Community: Highly valued: Radical hospitality as a sign of the visible presence of Christ. Highly encouraged: a commitment to participation in vigils and public demonstrations for justice, listening to and including young people in decision making, an increased empowerment of lay leadership, a significant effort to recruit BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) for positions of leadership, recognizing the importance of connecting Jesus’ teaching with actions of justice and works of service, creating small group ministry, and improving digital communication to appeal to younger age groups.

Also, important to continue to promote were, Liturgy, Service, and the Arts, continue keeping Mass, Reconciliation, and other liturgies available, continue making volunteer ministry a part of parish culture.  Overall, there is a tremendous pride for the priorities and mission of The Basilica community. 

 

 

 

Saint Joseph Chapel

Noon Masses: January 10-14

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings

 

Monday, January 10

Tuesday, January 11

Wednesday, January 12

Thursday, January 13

Friday, January 14

 

Please note that our offices are closed on Monday, January 17, in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. There is a 7am in-person Mass, but no livestream/in-person noon Mass.

At daily Mass a few weeks ago, the Gospel focused on John the Baptist. After reading the gospel, I told the story of a priest in our diocese many years ago who loved to talk. I had only been ordained a year or so when I first experienced this priest. At any and every opportunity he never missed the chance to share his thoughts and ideas concerning just about anything. He liked to think of himself as akin to John the Baptist—a prophetic voice for his time. It didn’t take me very long to realize, though, that he really wasn’t much of a prophet. Rather he was just an irascible man who, I think, enjoyed irritating people. I never learned the backstory of this priest. I suspect, as with all of us, there was a reason for his behavior. I did learn, though, never to sit anywhere near him whenever there was a gathering (large or small) of priests.

I do believe that prophetic voices still exist in our midst. These voices call to us in each of our lives. In helping to distinguish these voices, I’d like to suggest that there are at least three things that are common to these prophetic voices. The first is that their call comes from God. To be a prophetic voice it isn’t enough that an individual has something to say. Rather the impetus to say something comes from outside themselves. It comes from God. And if the prophets from the Old Testament are any indication, most often the person who receives a call to be a prophet is, at least initially, reluctant to respond to that call.

The second thing that is common to prophets is that while their message may irritate or upset people, there is a sense that there is something “right” about what they are saying. For myself, there have been numerous times in my life when I have not much liked what someone has told me, yet in the depth of my heart, I knew what they were saying had a truth for me and that, much as I disliked it, I needed to hear it.

The third thing about prophets is that they call people to see things in a new/different way, or to see a bigger reality. It is very easy for us to get so locked into a particular perspective or view of things/people. Prophets, though, call us to set aside our beliefs and presumptions, and to see things differently. They invite us to reformate our way of thinking/living and see things from a new perspective.

Now I mention the above, because as we begin a new year, I would like to suggest that it would be a good resolution for all of us to try to be open to those prophetic voices that speak and call to us in each of our lives. These are the voices that come to us from God. They call us to go beyond our comfort zones, to see things differently and to make some changes in our lives. And as noted above, we don’t have to like those prophetic voices that God sends into our lives. I do believe, though, that we will be better people if we hear and respond to them.

 

Exterior west winter

Noon Masses: January 3-7

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings

 

Monday, January 3: Office closed; no livestreamed Mass

Tuesday, January 4

Wednesday, January 5 

Thursday, January 6 

Friday, January 7

Mary, Mother of God

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