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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!
All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.
Monday, July 4
10am Mass (no noon Mass)
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.
Join our new Pastor, Fr. Daniel Griffith, for donuts and conversation after Mass in Teresa of Calcutta Hall (lower level).
Sunday, August 21, 5:00pm Mass
Sunday, August 28, 7:30am
Fr. Daniel Griffith, was named pastor and rector of The Basilica of Saint Mary effective July 1, 2022. He was ordained in 2002 and has served in a variety of assignments in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis since ordination including pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes for 10 years and as the archdiocesan delegate for safe environment in 2013 and 2014.
Fr. Griffith joined the University of St. Thomas School of Law faculty in 2011 and currently serves as the Wenger Family Faculty Fellow of Law. At St. Thomas Law, Griffith teaches courses in Catholic Thought, Law, and Policy, Jurisprudence, and Restorative Justice, Law, and Healing. Fr. Griffith is the founding director of the Initiative on Restorative Justice and Healing (IRJH) which launched in fall of 2021. Rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition, IRJH seeks to respond to harm that occurs from leadership and institutional failures, racial injustice, and polarization in a way that promotes accountability and healing.
In addition to his work at St. Thomas School of Law, Griffith Fr. Griffith, preaches, teaches, and facilitates restorative practices in response to harm of the three focus areas of IRJH. His work in restorative justice has taken him beyond the Twin Cities where he regularly speaks and facilitates programming.
The youngest of nine children, Griffith grew up in Northeastern Wisconsin and is an avid golfer and sports fan who enjoys music, travel, and cooking.
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
Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary. I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to do well.
Today, I would like to talk about three things with you. First, I wanted to mention once again that as we re-open and renew our various ministries, services, and programs here at The Basilica, we are in need of volunteers to help us with this.
In our weekly newsletter/worship aid we have created a space listing the various areas where we need volunteers. This list is also available on our parish website. If it has been a while since you have volunteered, or if you are looking for a way to get involved, please check out these various volunteer positions.
Second, as always, I want to thank you for your ongoing financial support of our Basilica community. Your financial support, especially during the past couple of years has been especially important. Please know of my gratitude for your past support and for whatever financial support you are able to offer in the future.
Finally, I wanted to thank you for your support and care these past 15 years. I have been blessed in ways too numerous to count these past 15 years. Thank you for being a part of these blessings.
In addition to the blessings I have enjoyed, I will also take with me many fond memories of my time here. Please know of my great gratitude for the blessings and memories I will take with me.
As we continue the transition to a new pastor, I want to let you know of my ongoing prayers for our community. The Basilica is indeed a very special place--made so by our parishioners and staff.
As always, I would like to close today with a prayer.
Lord God, help us never forget all that you have done and continue to do for us.
Strengthen and sustain us with the hope you offer us and with the countless blessings you have given us.
Help us to strive to recognize your presence in our lives and to be open to your grace.
Through the witness of our lives, may your love be made known and experienced by those we encounter, those we serve, and those we love.
We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
News and Resources
Ukrainian Families in Need of Housing
In partnership with St. Constantine Church, The Basilica is seeking housing for families coming from the Ukraine.
St. Constantine parishioners are prepared to sponsor families from Ukraine to Minnesota. The families are ready and paperwork is complete, but they can’t come unless they have housing.
The Basilica is partnering with St. Constantine to support their parishioners, as they sponsor families. We hope to identify possible housing options for the families.
Right now there is a family of 5 waiting to come.