For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.     

Our Church has always taught that Jesus is true God and true man.  In this Sunday’s Gospel --- the familiar story of the cleansing of the temple --- we get a glimpse into Jesus’ humanity.  We are told that Jesus “found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep and doves, as well as the money changers seated there.  He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, ‘Take these out of here and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.’”   

In addition to being a good example of Jesus’ humanity, what are we to make of this incident?   First, it would be wrong to use this incident to justify our own outbursts of anger.  I say this because Jesus’ anger was directed at a situation, not a person.  It was not hurtful or vengeful.  It was very controlled, specific and limited in duration.  And its purpose was not to offend or put down.   Rather, the point and purpose of Jesus’ anger was to call people back to the reason they came to the temple.  The temple was not a place to conduct business; rather it was a place where people could worship and attend to their relationship with God.   Jesus’ anger reminded them (and us) of this fundamental truth.   

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of Exodus.  It is the story of God giving the Ten Commandments to the Israelites.  And as we all know, the third commandment is “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.”  Clearly the people in today’s Gospel were not heedful of this commandment.   

Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the first letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.  In blunt and stark terms, Paul reminds us that “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.”    

Questions for Reflection/Discussion: 

  1. Have you ever used Jesus’ display of anger to justify your own anger?
  2. How do you keep holy the Sabbath day? 
  3. I suspect that for people who don’t come from a Christian background, the idea of a crucified Savior could be a stumbling block.  How would you explain Jesus’ crucifixion to a non-Christian?  


Currently, nearly two million young people who qualify as Dreamers are anxiously waiting for lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to come up with a bipartisan bill ahead of the March 5 deadline, when protections for DACA youth expire.  

Archbishop Hebda has asked all people of good will to call their federal lawmakers on Monday, February 26, and urge them to move forward with debate on legislation to provide relief to Dreamers – those young people who were brought to the U.S. by their parents without proper documentation.  For more information, vistit the Archdiocesan website.


The Basilica Landmark’s mission is to preserve, restore, and advance the historic Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations. This mission is lived out in various ways every year on projects both big and small. Some are highly visible like the recent restoration of the St. Anthony Chapel or tuckpointing of the church exterior.  
On the other hand, some projects go unnoticed. These do not have the glitz of a restored chapel or the visibility of tuckpointing. However, after several years of significant renovations and capital investments made possible by The Basilica Landmark, I am proud to report the City of Minneapolis awarded The Basilica of Saint Mary a 2017 Building Energy Performance Award for outstanding energy reduction. By working with the Facilities Assessment and Ecological volunteer committees, we have identified slightly less visible, but extremely impactful energy savings solutions that meet our ecological goals.
Over the past three years with the help of our generous donors we have:
  •  Replaced three original 1913 boilers with new more efficient equipment.
  •  Renovated the Rectory and School buildings with central air conditioning, replacing 35 window units.
  •  Updated to LED lighting in the campus interior and exterior including the bell towers, church sanctuary, and lower level.
These improvements resulted in a 21% energy use reduction, lowering our energy costs and increasing our energy efficiency. With your help, we can continue to improve our energy reductions.
The Basilica Landmark Board has determined the “Fund-a-Need” program at this year’s Basilica Landmark Ball will support converting interior dome lighting to responsible LED lighting. Existing power loads at full intensity utilize 29,000 watts. During one hour of Mass, they cost $2.90. With the same light output, the new LED power load will use approximately 5,220 watts and cost $0.52. Not only will this project reduce our energy use by 82%, it will also provide significant cost savings that can be reinvested in programs and ministries.
We hope you will consider supporting the “Fund-a-Need” program by joining us for an evening of illuminating power at The Basilica Landmark Ball on May 5, 2018, at the Solar Arts Building. It promises to be a wonderful evening of dinner, dancing, and amusements for a wonderful cause. 
If you would like to support the “Fund-a-Need” project for this year’s event but are unable to attend, you can do so online or contact Monica Stewart. Your gift will ensure a future of sustaining power for the people and the purpose we serve.
Help us illuminate the mission of The Basilica Landmark as we transform our interior dome lighting to LEDs—offering our historic space a life-sustaining future for the people and purpose we serve. To purchase tickets, visit
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
Each year on the 2nd Sunday of Lent we read one of the accounts of the Transfiguration of Christ.   The various parts of the story are well known.  Jesus led Peter, James and John “ up a high mountain,” his “clothes became dazzling white,” then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were “conversing with Jesus.”   Peter announced “it is good that we are here,” then a cloud overshadowed them and from the cloud came a voice proclaiming: “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him.”   After the experience Jesus charged them not to tell anyone what they had seen “except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.”   
All these various details are important.  The high mountain and the dazzling garments suggest the presence of God.   Moses and Elijah represented the law and the prophets, the two most important elements of Judaism.  The voice from heaven affirms that it was a divine experience.  And the admonition not to tell anyone until the Son of Man had risen from the dead was meant to incite hope in the disciples that the glory that was revealed in Jesus would also be his after his death.    
I believe that in each of our lives, we have “transfiguring” moments ----- certainly not as profound or as deep as the transfiguration the disciples experienced -----  but moments nonetheless when we experience God’s presence and grace --- God’s love and life.  They give us hope in the face of life’s pain.  They help us believe that if we hold on to God, God will hold on to us.   This was Paul’s message in our second reading this Sunday from the Letter to the Romans.  In that reading Paul is clear:  “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  
Our first reading this Sunday is taken the Book of Genesis.   It is the story of God putting Abraham to the test by asking him to offer his only son, Isaac, as a holocaust.   While the story is grim, the point is that at times God can ask much of us, but the God who calls us also gives us the grace and strength to respond to that call.   
Our second readning this Sunday is from St. Paul's letter to the Romans.   In the opening sentence Paul reminds us of a basic tenent of our faith.  "Brothers and sisters:  If God is for us, who can be against us?"
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
  1. When have you had a “transfiguring” moment in your life? 
  2. In what way has the grace of that moment helped you to face any difficult situations you encountered later in life?
  3. When have you felt God asking you to do something difficult or something you didn’t want to do?  

The season of Lent is a time for reflection and meditation on the meaning of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. The sacred Psalms offer a beautiful, prayerful Lenten devotion in word and song.

Join us Fridays in Lent for Mass at 6:00pm and Stations of the Cross at 7:00pm.



Thank you to those who shared their gifts to create the video:
Johan van Parys: Director of Liturgy & Sacred Arts Liturgy
Walter Tambor: Contemporary & World Music, Piano
Julia Vikesland: Cantor, Parishioner 
Jonathan Vikesland: Video Filming/Editing, Parishioner 



For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and past it into your browser. 

This weekend we begin the season of Lent.   For the next six weeks, through our acts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we will try to show our desire to “repent and believe in the Gospel.”   Each year on the first Sunday of Lent, we always read one of the accounts of Jesus’ Temptation in the Desert.   This year we read Mark’s account.   Now since Mark’s was the first Gospel written and also the shortest, it doesn’t include the details that Matthew and Luke include in their Gospels.  Mark merely says:  “The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among wild beasts and the angels ministered to him.”   The lack of details is not meant to minimize the reality of the temptations Jesus faced in the desert.   They were real and Jesus struggled with them.  For Mark, though, the important thing was not the temptations Jesus faced, but that fact that he overcame them and afterward began his public ministry by proclaiming: “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent and believe in the Gospel.”   

In each of our lives, we too face temptations, but because of Jesus, and the grace he offers us, we are can overcome them and follow the way of Jesus.  

Our first reading this weekend is from the Book of Genesis.   It takes place immediately after the story of the great flood.   The flood waters have receded and God establishes a covenant with his people.  We are told:  “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you; I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”   

Our second reading this weekend is taken from the first Letter of Saint Peter.    In this reading, Peter reminds us that the great flood “prefigured baptism, which saves you now.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. While we all face temptations in our lives, some people seem to resist them more successfully than others.  Why do you think this is? 
  2. Where do you need to repent this Lent?
  3. I take great comfort in the fact that God has made a covenant with us.  At times, though, I also worry that I am not living up to my end of the covenant.   Have you ever felt this way?  
The Basilica of Saint Mary is honored to host Transfer of Memory, an exhibition of portraits and stories of Minnesota Holocaust survivors, on display February 7-March 11, 2018, presented in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC).
Each Holocaust survivor in Transfer of Memory ( shares a story of survival during exceedingly difficult circumstances, yet as a collection, these images focus on life and hope. From Europe to Minnesota, survivors built their dreams, futures, and families—their lives are a constant reminder of the value of freedom and the enduring human spirit. Photographer David Sherman and writer Lili Chester, in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, created this photography exhibition.
“The Basilica is committed to serving the community as a center for the arts and a leader in interfaith dialogue,” said Johan van Parys, director of liturgy and sacred arts at The Basilica. “We welcome all to visit this powerful exhibit.”
“We thank our friends at The Basilica of Saint Mary for their leadership, creativity, and commitment to interfaith relations as they host Transfer of Memory,” added Steve Hunegs, JCRC executive director.
Transfer of Memory: Exhibit Opening Reception
Sunday, February 11, 2018 
1:00-3:00pm, program 1:30pm
Basilica of Saint Mary, 1600 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis
Lower Level, John XXIII Gallery and Teresa of Calcutta Hall
Free of charge. Includes walking tour of the exhibition.
Photo/Interview Opportunities:
• Reva Kibort, Holocaust survivor
• David Sherman, exhibit photographer
• Susie Greenberg & Laura Zelle, curators and Steve Hunegs, JCRC 
About the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas
As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 

In our Gospel this weekend, we read the story of a healing of a leper.  Now at the time of Jesus, leprosy was a terrible curse.   It was a disfiguring and crippling disease.   There was no cure for it, and since people didn’t know how it was spread, lepers were forced to live apart from others in isolation and loneliness.   Thus, the leper in our Gospel today took a great risk in even approaching Jesus.   Yet we are told that “A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said: ‘If you wish, you can make me clean.”    We are then told that “Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him and said to him, ‘I do will it.  Be made clean.’”   The leper was cleansed.  Jesus told him to tell no one and to go show himself to the priests so that they could certify that he was no longer a leper.    Instead of remaining quiet, however, the leper went off and began to “publicize the whole matter.” 

There are three things to note in this Gospel.  First, the leper came to Jesus in complete honesty and clear desperation.   He knew he needed Jesus, and his request conveyed his raw, naked need.  Second, Jesus knew the leper needed to be healed, but he also knew he lived apart and alone in isolation without any human contact.   I believe it is for this reason that Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him.   Jesus knew that he needed human contact as much as he needed to be healed.   Third, I believe the leper went and publicized his healing after Jesus told him to tell no one because he had been touched in a profound way by God’s grace.  When this has happened to us we just can’t keep it to ourselves.   

Our first reading this weekend provides the background for our Gospel.  It is taken from the Book of Leviticus and it details how lepers were to be dealt with.   They were to make their abode “outside of camp,” and they were to cry out “unclean, unclean” when someone approached.   To understand this treatment it is helpful to remember that at that time illness or hardship were believed to be the result of sin.  Something bad happened to you because you had sinned.   

In our second reading we continue to read from the first letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.  In the section we read today, Paul reminds people to “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Have you ever approached Jesus in prayer with the raw need of the leper?
  2. Jesus knew that the leper needed to be healed, but he also knew he desired simple human contact.   He offered the leper both.   Has Jesus ever given you something you didn’t realize you needed?   
  3. What is one concrete thing you can do to imitate Christ?                                   

Just after Christmas, I spent three days retreating and resting at the Guesthouse at Saint John’s Abbey. Staying at the Guesthouse is a wonderful experience. It is quiet and private. The rooms are simple, but very comfortable. The food, like the rooms, is simple but very tasty, and there are always options to choose from. Perhaps the aspect I like most about staying at the Guesthouse, though, is being able to take a short walk over to the Abbey Church to join the monks for prayer. Their usual schedule is: morning prayer at 7:00am, mid-day prayer at noon, Mass at 5:00pm, and evening prayer at 7:00pm. Now, with all the activities going on in a parish, it would be difficult to keep this rhythm in a parish setting. (I often find myself using my phone to pray evening prayer before a meeting.) This structure of prayer works well at the Abbey, though, and for retreatants especially it makes it easy to schedule other times for reading, private prayer, walks, and reflection. 
Now as much as I enjoy joining the monks for prayer, there is one drawback. As a diocesan priest we use a four volume Liturgy of the Hours. Two of the volumes are for Ordinary Time, and the other two are for the Advent/Christmas season and the Lent/Easter season. And the best part is that you only use one volume at a time. As importantly, it is very user friendly and easy to follow. 
On the other hand, the monks at Saint John’s have six books of psalms and scripture canticles, and three hymn books. And at any given prayer time you could be using four out of nine of those books for prayer. Fortunately, the monks always seem to be able to spot an inexperienced person shuffling though the various books trying to find the ones s/he will need for prayer. In these cases, one of the monks will come over and in a very kind and an uncondescending manner ask if they can help. Now just so you know, usually by day three I have learned to decipher the notations on the hymn board, and have gotten to know the various books well enough that I don’t look like such a rookie. It is great to know, though, that I only need to paste a confused look on my face and one of the monks will come and help me. 
There are times when we all could use some assistance. It could be with something relatively simple (like finding the right prayer book) or it could be with something more serious or important. As Christians, when we see someone in need our response is clear. 
Jesus has told us that we are to help those in need, simply because they are in need. The scene of the Last Judgment in Matthew’s Gospel reminds us of this. In that parable, Jesus has told us: “Whatsoever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
Not only are we called to provide help and assistance to those in need, but this help is not contingent on whether we know and/or like the person, or think they are deserving of our assistance. Similarly, it is irrelevant whether they are close to us or at some distance. We are called to help people whenever we become aware that they are in need. As importantly, the assistance we provide needs to be concrete, specific, and practical, and not just good thoughts and kind words. 
Do we always do the above well? To be honest, I know I don’t. There are times when I put my own needs and wants ahead of those who need assistance. And there have been a few times when I turn a blind eye to those in need. There are other times, though, when I get it right. There are times when I respond to my neighbor in need spontaneously, generously and without reservation. I wish this were always the case, but my selfishness and sinfulness often get in the way of living as Christ has called me to live.  I am challenged though, by the example others set for me. And as importantly, I take comfort in the belief that God never calls us to do something God doesn’t give us the grace to do.  

Immediately upon hearing Jesus’ call, Andrew, Simon Peter, James, and John left their boats and nets to follow Him. But in modern times it can be more confusing for us to heed Jesus’ call. We are surrounded by more distractions, more messages, and more noise. In the cacophony of texts, emails, advertisements, and social media posts which make up our daily lives, it is hard to find enough stillness to hear and discern God’s call.

Yet we must remember “God is not the wind or the earthquake or the fire. God is the gentle blowing” (1 Kings 19:12). It is our human challenge to be still and attentive enough to hear God. Basilica Young Adults group member Sunoh Choe recognizes to this challenge, saying “we live in a time with diversity of thought, differing lifestyles, competing priorities, and plenty of distractions. Life has more purpose when we incorporate ‘spiritual food’ into our lives.”

BYA Basilica Young Adults with Archbishop Hebda_Easter 2017 Spring


A 2014 Religious Landscape Study by Pew Research Center study shows growing rates of religiously “unaffiliated” people, most noticeably in the young adult demographic.  Some estimates state US Catholic confirmation rates (typically between ages of 16-18) are less than half that of baptisms (often at birth or early childhood).

Because The Basilica is a recognizable landmark in the midst of a bustling urban center, it has long been a popular parish for young adults. Currently 21% of our parish members are between the ages of 23 and 37, commonly known as Generation Y or Millennials.

The Basilica intentionally reaches out to members in this age group to deepen engagement for many reasons. Young adults are constantly reshaping and redefining our secular world. Their perspectives and needs must be considered in our parish community as well. To paraphrase our vision statement from the prophet Jeremiah, in their well-being we will also find our own.

Basilica pastor Fr. John Bauer cites Saint John Paul II’s urging to “open wide the doors for Christ” as a reason The Basilica dedicates resources toward ministry for young adults. In his invitation to World Youth Day, Pope Francis recently told young people, “God is also watching over you and calling you, and when God does so, he is looking at all the love you are able to offer.”



Basilica Young Adults (BYA) is a Basilica group for social activities and service for people in their 20s and 30s. A visit to their web page or their social media page shows a dizzying array of opportunities each week varying from bible studies, speaker events, and sandwich making for our neighbors in need to sand volleyball and happy hours. The group’s coordinator and Basilica staff member Ben Caduff says there is intentionally “a spectrum of opportunities with something for everyone and a wide variety of on-ramps to participation.”

Rooted in the variety of BYA activities is a focus on religion and spirituality. “The Basilica attracts a diverse group of people in backgrounds, careers, skills, personalities, and stages of faith,” Choe observes. “The group recognizes the personal faith journey each person is on, and everyone is welcome,” adds Caduff. “People can feel comfortable getting more involved.”

Members say authentic relationships are a key difference between BYA and other non-religious social groups. BYA member Grace Kane explains, “within our one triune God we can see how relationship is integral to faith.” Core to all BYA events is the invitation for attendees

to grow in their faith and their relationship with God and Jesus. Participants share a common yearning for authenticity and actively living out their faith, even if they are still seeking answers. Kane defines relationship in this context as “being open, receptive, attentive, and loving.”

This focus creates a unique sense of welcome, community, and belonging because, as BYA member Kyra Knoff notes, "two or more are gathered." In one another they find a group of people intentionally building strong relationships with each other, with God, and with their Catholic faith. Despite modern technology which can promote impersonal communication, BYA members heed the Gospel call to real face-to-face relationships.


Full article BASILICA Magazine, Fall 2017, page 22

by Melissa Streit


The award-winning BASILICA magazine is sponsored by The Basilica Landmark, a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is the preservation and restoration of the historic Basilica of Saint Mary and it campus. BASILICA is published twice a year (spring and fall) with a circulation of 20,000. 

For advertising information please contact Peggy Jennings.