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Dear Archbishop Hebda, Bishop Cozzens and Fr. Lachowitzer:

Archbishop Hebda, I want to welcome you to our Archdiocese as Apostolic Administrator. Please know that you are in my prayers and the prayers of our parish, as you begin this important ministry. I pray it will be a time of healing and new hope for our Archdiocese.

I write this letter with a very troubled heart. During the past two years, at listening sessions and at various meetings, I have heard my parishioners describe feelings of outrage, betrayal, breach of trust, and deep sadness over the manner in which certain events have been handled in our Archdiocese. Very sadly, some people have even chosen to leave the church. The loss of these good people is a wound from which our church will not soon recover.

In recent accounts in various media and most recently in a report last Friday by Madeleine Baron of Minnesota Public Radio, questions have been raised in regard to the manner in which the Archdiocese has shared or not shared important information regarding Archbishop Nienstedt. These reports are concerning on several levels. Most specifically, however, they suggest that the Archdiocese has not been transparent, honest and forthcoming in the information it is has shared with the faithful of the Archdiocese in regard to Archbishop Nienstedt. 

Given the events of the past two years, and most recently the resignations of Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Piché, I think it is absolutely imperative that, unless prohibited by law or promise of confidentiality to lay witnesses, the Archdiocese release all information regarding the investigation of Archbishop Nienstedt. I realize objections will be raised in regard to the release of this material. Given the fact that Archdiocesan funds were used, however, I firmly believe that the right of the faithful to this information outweighs any objections. More importantly, I believe that in order for our Archdiocese to rebuild the trust needed for the healing process to begin, full disclosure is essential so that we can move forward with the clear and certain knowledge that nothing has been or is being hidden or concealed.

I request that the release of information specifically needs to include:

  • the report(s) from Greene Espel;
  • the report(s) from Peter Wold;
  • the report(s) to Archbishop Vigano;
  • a full and accurate accounting of costs associated with these reports;
  • a general outline of the financial obligations of the Archdiocese to Archbishop Nienstedt, as defined by canon law and the regulations of the USCCCB.
  • Any additional information necessary to reveal any remaining issues and restore openness between the Archdiocese and parishioners, unless prohibited by law or promise of confidentiality to lay witnesses;

I have shared this letter with our parish leadership and I will also publish it in an upcoming parish bulletin as I have done in previous correspondence with Archbishop Nienstedt and in summaries of various listening sessions. I will do the same with any response you have. I believe that ongoing transparency is both necessary and critical during this time of crisis. It is my firm belief, as I hope it is yours as well, that it is only through this kind of transparency and openness that our Archdiocese will be able to move forward in healing and hope.  

Thank you for your ministry in and to our Archdiocese.  

Sincerely yours in Christ,

John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

As our choirs take their break for the summer, we will welcome a variety of guest musicians in their stead. Please join us for the 9:30am Mass on Sunday morning's to hear these amazing musicians.

Summer Soloist Series for 2015

June 14: Patricia Kent, soprano; Kim Kasling, organ

June 21: Lynn Erickson, trumpet

June 28: Emily Gerard, harp

July 5: Alicia McQuerrey, flute and piccolo*
          *Featuring John Philip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever as Postlude 

July 12: Daniel McIntosh, cello

July 19: The Schmitt Music Brass Ensemble, David Baldwin, director

July 26: Mark Seerup, oboe and English horn

August 2: Andrea Stern, celtic harp

August 9: to be announced

August 16: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (transferred) BASILICA DAY | The Basilica Cathedral Choir, Teri Larson, conductor; Christopher Stroh, organist

August 23: to be announced

August 30: to be announced 

September 6: to be announced

 

France Choir Tour 2015

Photos provided by Paul Bergstedt

Reardon Rectory Update

The crew from Mortenson Construction continues to plow through the remodel at the Reardon Rectory. This week, the drywall will be installed on the fourth floor by a custom drywall company. A floor below, on the south side, the recently drywalled office space and dining room will have trim and doors installed, followed by an intense cleaning.

The kitchen is nearing completion as it is being sanded and will be ready for paint by the end of the week. On the north side of the third floor, fire protection is being added and the second floor currently has ductwork being installed.

Laudato Si' Encyclical: On the Care of our Common Home

Pope Francis has recently released a new encyclical on the environment. An encyclical is a papal letter surrounding a particular topic - in this case, it is about care for our common home. Here are a few powerful quotes from the document:

"The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish."

"Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years."

"We are not God. The Earth was here before us and was given to us."

"The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology ... is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth's goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit."

"Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start."

You can read the whole encyclical here

If you are interested in learning more about this encyclical, or leading a conversation with the parish, contact Janice Andersen.

For this Sunday’s readings, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/062815.cfm 

In today’s Gospel we have a story within a story.   The main story is about a synagogue official named Jairus who sought out Jesus’ help because his daughter was “at the point of death.”   Jesus set off with him, but while they were on the way to Jairus’ house a woman with a hemorrhage touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak, hoping to be healed.   She was healed and when it was discovered that she was the one who had touched his cloak, Jesus said to her.  “Daughter, your faith has saved you.”   While this was taking place “people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said: ‘Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?’”   Jesus, though, disregarded the message and told Jairus:  “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”   When they arrived at the house, Jesus asked those who were mourning the child’s death:  “Why this commotion and weeping?  The child is not dead, but asleep.”  Jesus then put them all out and “he took the child by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum.’ which means ‘Little girl I say to you arise!’”  The child arose immediately, the people were astounded, but Jesus “gave them strict orders that no one should know about this.”     

There are three important things to note about this story.  1. The synagogue official was willing to take a big risk for the sake of his daughter.  Other synagogue officials would not take kindly to one of their own approaching Jesus with a request.   They regarded Jesus as problematic trouble maker.   2.  Notice that Jesus restored the little girl to this life.  This is a story of resuscitation, not a resurrection.   3.  Often in Mark’s Gospel, after Jesus has performed a miraculous deed, he told his disciples not to tell anyone about it.  The reason is that the people of Jesus’ time were looking for a messiah who would restore Israel to a place of prominence.   Jesus was not that kind of messiah.    

Our first reading this weekend, from the book of Wisdom, shares the theme of the Gospel.  It reminds us that "God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.  For he fashioned all things that they might have being.” 
 
In our second reading this weekend, Paul is writing to the community at Corinth.  He has asked them to take up a collection for the Christian community at Jerusalem.  He said:  “Not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their needs.”   

Questions for reflection/discussion:    

  1. Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said that many times he had been driven to his knees by the conviction that he had no where else to go.   I think this was the position that Jairus was in.   Have you ever found yourself in this position? 
  2. How would you explain the difference between being resuscitated and being resurrected?  
  3. From our second reading this weekend, it seems that sharing our abundance with others was part of the Christian life from the very beginning.   I suspect, though, that how much we share from our abundance would depend on how you define abundance.   How would you define abundance?  

Archdiocesan Update

It has been an eventful week in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. While we recognize there are still many unanswered questions in regards to the resignations and appointment of our apostolic administrator, the Archdiocese has provided parishes with a question and answer document to try and answer some of your questions. Please find this document below or in the back of church after Mass.

 

The Reardon Rectory continues to be updated as construction moves forward.

The third floor is coming along nicely as the south side offices and dining room are almost completely taped and sanded; painting is expected to start later this week. On the north side, the demolition has been completed and the ductwork should be installed within the next couple of days. The kitchen has been re-framed and the lights are currently being installed. 

Demolition of the second floor will start this week and we are expected to have a few rather loud days as the tile must be removed from the bathrooms. 

The fourth floor is currently being framed and the drywalling is expected to be finished by the week's end. 

 

A few weeks ago I was doing some cleaning at my cabin and had the radio on in the background. At one point the theme song from Mission Impossible came on. As I listened I was transported back in time as I remembered watching the show when I was growing up. (Yes, I know there have been several movies based on “Mission Impossible,” but I still like the old television show the best.) I especially liked the words that introduced each episode “Your mission, should you chose to accept it is….” I like the well defined purpose and the clarity of knowing exactly what was expected and what needed to be done. There are many times when I long for that same kind of clarity in regard to God’s will in my life. It would be great if God would clearly tell me, “John, your mission should you chose to accept it is….”

Unfortunately, more often than I care to admit, when I am trying to discern God’s will or what God would have me do in a particular situation, I am much like a boat without a rudder.

I pray, but my prayer is often directionless and without focus. I want clarity and direction, and worse I want it now. In my efforts to get God to tell me what God wants me to do, I am impatient almost to the point of demanding. I don’t like it when I get this way, and I suspect God isn’t too happy with me either. 

When I encounter these times in my life, one of the things that is helpful for me is to remember and take to heart a prayer that Thomas Merton wrote many years ago. I have kept this prayer in my Breviary since I was ordained. And on times too numerous to mention I have found it very comforting. “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

Discerning God’s will for us, or what God would have us do in a particular situation is not always easy. It can be frustrating, time consuming, and even a little annoying. It would be much easier if God simply told us, “Your mission should you chose to accept it is….” Unfortunately, if God were that direct, it would negate our free will. And our free will is one of the things that defines us as human beings and separates us from other creatures.

And so, at those times when I struggle with discerning God’s will, I take heart and find consolation in the prayer of Thomas Merton. The way I figure it, if one of the premier spiritual writers of the 20th century had trouble discerning God’s will, I should probably cut myself a little slack when I experience the same difficulty. I also take comfort in the knowledge that God will never call me to a mission that is impossible, because with God’s grace all things are possible.

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and past it into your browser. 
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/062115.cfm 

 Our Gospel this Sunday is the familiar story of Jesus calming the storm at sea.  We are told that Jesus was in boat with his disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee and “a violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.”  Jesus was asleep in the stern so the disciples woke him and said:  “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? Jesus woke up, rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet! Be still!’   The wind ceased and there was great calm.  Then he asked them, ‘Why are you terrified?  Do you not yet have faith?’”  

I suspect that most of us can identify with this Gospel.  We may not have been caught in a storm at sea, but certainly there have been storms that have raged in our lives.  It could be a relationship that has ended badly; the loss of a job; the death of a loved one; a health crisis; the list could go on and on.   At these times, like the disciples, we can be tempted to ask:  “Do you not care that we are perishing?” The thing is, though, at these times, Jesus is with us, just as he was with the disciples in the boat.  Their fear, however, prevented them from understanding that even in the midst of the storm, they were not alone.  Jesus was with them.  And just as Jesus was with his disciples, so too Jesus is with us in the storms of our lives. 

Our first reading this Sunday is from the Book of Job.  In the section we read today God addressed Job out of the storm and reminded him that it was God who set limits to the sea and stilled the waves.   Like Job, we too need to be reminded on a regular basis that God is in charge even, and perhaps especially, when we don’t understand God’s will and ways. 

For our second reading this weekend we read a section of the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.   Paul reminds us that “whoever is in Christ is a new creation; the old things have passed away, behold new things have come.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Has there been a “storm” in your life when you wondered if God cared whether or not you perished?  
  2. God had to remind Job that God was in charge even when Job didn’t understand God’s will and ways.  Has there been a time when you have needed to be reminded that God was in charge?
  3. What does it mean to be in a new creation in Christ?   

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