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A regular highlight of my Advent season is our bilingual celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, whose feast day is December 12. Although more subdued and socially distant this year, we will have a bilingual celebration on Sunday, December 13, at 4:30pm Mass, in partnership with the Spanish speaking community at our sister parish, Church of the Ascension, on the near north side of Minneapolis. Ascension pastor (and former Basilica vicar) Fr. Dale Korogi will be the celebrant. You are invited to join us via livestream or in person.
Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to an indigenous man, Saint Juan Diego (whose feast day is December 9), outside of Mexico City on a hill called Tepeyác in 1531. Our Lady had both indigenous Aztec and Spanish characteristics, and in his native language she told Juan Diego to ask the bishop to build a church in her honor. The bishop requested proof of her request, so Our Lady instructed Juan Diego to gather blooming roses in his tilma (cape). When he unfurled his cape before the bishop, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe miraculously appeared on the cape. The Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was constructed on the hill in her honor. A beautiful mosaic of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, made at the Vatican Museums in Rome, is installed in the southwest corner of our Basilica.
In other years, Aztec dancers, in beautiful feathered attire, would joyously dance on our front plaza and in the church. Guests wearing traditional attire would process with statues and banners of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and a festive celebration with customary foods would follow in our Teresa of Calcutta Hall.
Though more subdued this year, without dancers, processions, or delicious treats, the celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe provides us inspiration during COVID-19. By choosing Juan Diego as her messenger in 1531, she often represents empowerment for the least powerful and marginalized. She has also been a source of comfort and strength for Latinos and others almost 500 years. During our global pandemic, may her example of patience, solidarity, and grace provide us all with comfort and inspiration.
I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these very challenging times.
Today, I would like to mention three things. First, at this point, barring any unforeseen issues or circumstances, we anticipate having our usual schedule of Masses for Christmas, and the weekend after. Beginning this past Tuesday and continuing until Monday, December 7, you have the opportunity to submit your preferences for our pre-registration system if you want to attend Mass in person during the Christmas season. You can find the pre-registration form on our website.
We also plan to livestream several of our Masses during the Christmas season, for those who don’t feel comfortable attending Mass in-person. Also I want to remind people that the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days continues to be suspended. Given this, if due to age, health issues, or other concerns, please know that you don’t have to attend Mass, and that we encourage you to join us for one of livestreamed Masses.
The second thing I want to mention is that on Sunday, December 20 after the 11:30am Mass, we invite you to bring the baby Jesus from your Nativity set to the Basilica to be blessed. The Blessing of the Bambinelli will take place in front of the parish office building on 17th Street. I will bless the baby Jesus from your Nativity set while you remain in your car. We will also give you a home blessing kit so that you can bless your home at the beginning of the new year.
Third, I want to thank all of those who have continued to support the Basilica financially during the pandemic. Your contributions to our Annual Fund allows us to offer the many programs, services and ministries that are at the heart of our Basilica Community.
I also ask you, though, to start thinking now about your Christmas contribution to the Basilica. The Basilica, like all parishes, relies on its collections at Christmas and Easter to balance its budget. Your financial generosity at this time will be greatly appreciated.
Finally, as always, if you have questions or concerns about anything that is happening at the Basilica, please contact me at the parish office or send me an email. My contact information is available on our parish website.
God who gave,
We are tired. We want desperately to have the freedom to love, touch, move, and breathe how we want to. We want the fear gone, the suspicion gone. It is exhausting and we have become numb to the death toll just to survive mentally ourselves.
Our longings to go back to how things were are so strong that our compassion is waning. Keep us from sliding into what feels good and normal, that we might become fierce protectors of our neighbor, of our loved ones, and even our enemies.
Train us in new ways of being together, grant us gifts of connection and coping that do not further endanger our bodies nor the bodies of the most vulnerable among us.
And Grant the vulnerable, the people of color who affected disproportionately, the sick, the financially vulnerable, a holy shrewdness and wisdom to decipher who and what spaces are truly safe for them, that they might put boundaries in place in the name of love. Let us not grow weary of compassion.
News and Resources
Annual Advent Blessing and Virtual Presentation: The Science of Hope with Dr. Henry Emmons
Annual Advent Blessing with Father John Bauer
The Science of Hope: Blending New Science and Ancient Wisdom to Sustain a Healthy Mind, Mood and Heart
Henry Emmons, MD, is a psychiatrist who integrates mind-body and natural therapies, mindfulness and neuroscience into his clinical work. He practices with Partners in Resilience in Minneapolis, and is a co-founder of NaturalMentalHealth.com, offering trusted information and holistic products to help individuals of all ages build their resilience and rediscover joy. Henry is the author of The Chemistry of Joy, The Chemistry of Calm, and Staying Sharp, and is in demand as a workshop and retreat leader for both healthcare professionals and the general public.
Sponsored by The Basilica Disability Awareness, Employment, and Mental Health Ministries
In our weekly video series "Art That Surrounds Us," Johan van Parys, Ph.D., our Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts, shares information about a piece from The Basilica of Saint Mary's art collection. This week, Johan shows us three representations of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception at The Basilica, in honor of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. May Mary, the one full of grace, guide us through Advent to the great celebration of the Incarnation, the birth of her Son.