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Events of this year, and particularly this summer, have gotten me thinking about how we, as Catholics, respond to all attacks on the dignity of human life.
Many times, I only hear Catholics speak about the sanctity of life regarding the abortion debate. I believe that we are called to support policies that promote and protect ALL life: life that is easy to protect as well as lives which are more complex to defend.
Jesus was clear about our obligations toward our neighbor. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, he is clear that loving our neighbor even means caring for our enemy (Lk 10:29-37). Jesus also speaks of a rich man who finds himself in Hades for failing to care for the poor man at his door (Lk 16:19-31). Moreover, Jesus tells us that when we fail to help “the least of these” we fail to care for Him (Mt 25:31-46). As Christians we must allow Jesus’ teaching to form our consciences. Like every moral question, there are rights that must be protected as well as duties that must be observed.
The Vatican announced this month that Pope Francis approved changes to the compendium of Catholic teaching published under Pope John Paul II. “The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” reads the Catechism of the Catholic Church now on the death penalty. Pope Francis declared on October 11, 2017 that the death penalty is “contrary to the Gospel.” He said that “however grave the crime that may be committed, the death penalty is inadmissible because it attacks the inviolability and the dignity of the person.”
Founded on natural law and enlightened by faith, the Church’s position on immigration also recognizes certain rights and obligations. These include the requirement to defend the right to life for all individuals, regardless of legal status.
The Church expects us to protect the right to life of those who cannot find work, food, or safety where they live. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “The more prosperous nations are obliged to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin” (No. 2241). While nations are not obliged to have open borders, Christians are obliged to welcome those whose lives are in danger due to conditions such as violence or extreme poverty. To be pro-life means promoting consistent protection of those whose lives are in danger. Therefore, Christians must advocate that life should be the standard for immigration reform.
Because the family plays an important role in Catholic social teaching, the rights of the family must also be taken into consideration when looking at how Catholics should view immigration. The Church teaches that needs of the family precede the desires of the state. When we see families torn apart at the border and parents deported while their children remain in cages or foster care in the US, we are not fulfilling our responsibilities to respect the sanctity of human life and families.
Human dignity must be under consideration in any implementation of new, or enforcement of existing, laws. Rules must be “aimed at protecting and promoting the human person,” said Pope Francis in 2014.
As we close this summer, The Basilica wraps up strategic planning for the next 3-5 years and as our country enters the contentious election season, I encourage you to consider what it truly means to be pro-life. Do we as Catholics defend life in all forms, in all places, regardless of our perception of “worthiness"?
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
This weekend is the last weekend when our Gospel reading is taken from the Gospel of John. (We are in year B of a three year cycle for our weekend readings, and in year B we read from the Gospel of Mark. However, since Mark is the shortest Gospel, we have to supplement it with selections from the Gospel of John.) Our Gospel today is the conclusion of what is known as the “Bread of Life” discourse.
In the Gospels preceding today’s Gospel, Jesus has identified himself as the living bread come down from heaven, and his invited people to eat his flesh and drink his blood. In our Gospel today we are told “Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, ‘This saying is hard, who can accept it?’” And “As a result of this many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.” Clearly Jesus knew that some of his followers would not be able to accept his words. He wanted them to make a clear choice, though, whether to continue as his followers. Peter responded for the disciples who had decided to remain with the unambiguous statement: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Our first reading for this weekend also emphasizes the idea of choice. In this reading Joshua challenges the tribes of Israel to make a clear choice in regard to God. “If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve………………As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Our second reading for this weekend is taken from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Its opening lines --- which are usually omitted --- are every preacher’s nightmare: “Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.” As we read these words we need to remember, though, that they were written at a time and place, and in culture, where wives were often considered property. I suspect Paul would have written them differently, if we were writing today. Also, and more importantly, the main point of Paul’s words is to remind us of how we are to conduct ourselves as followers of Jesus Christ. In this regard, we are to be “Subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Has there been a time when you have found Jesus’ words too demanding/challenging?
- Has there been a time when you have had to make a clear and decisive choice for God?
- What words of Scripture do you find difficult or that rankle you?
Lately it has been hard to be a Catholic. A few weeks ago we heard of multiple accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. More recently, a grand jury in Pennsylvania released a report about the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests in six dioceses in Pennsylvania. In regard to former Cardinal McCarrick, the accusations go as far back as his time as a newly ordained priest. In regard to the grand jury report, it listed credible allegations of sexual abuse of children by 300 priests over a period of 70 years. In each case, those who were in positions to do something either chose not to, or simply looked the other way. This was not just bad decision making. Those individuals bear both legal and moral culpability for their inaction. In the face of this situation, it would seem that there is very little I, or any other priest or bishop, could or should say. And yet to say nothing could be misconstrued as acquiescence to or acceptance of this situation. Given this, I would like to offer the following thoughts.
1. First and foremost, we must be clear and unmistakable in our absolute condemnation of the sexual abuse of children. There is no excuse to be made for it and no defense to be offered for those who would victimize a child in this way. When anyone (most particularly a child) is a victim of sexual abuse, we must be clear and unequivocal in our condemnation of this activity. Any attempt to explain or minimize this behavior is quite simply wrong.
When priests or bishops engage in behavior that is sexually abusive or exploitive they cannot, nor should they be shielded from the consequences of their actions. Where illegality has occurred or is suspected, our legal system must be engaged and allowed to function without hindrance. Where actions of Church officials are found to be insufficient or negligent, they also must face the consequences of their actions or inaction.
2. While several Bishops have offered their apologies for the mistakes that occurred in the past and the suffering these mistakes caused, I am deeply disappointed that those Bishops, whose ill-advised decisions to re-assign priest abusers led to the further abuse of children, have not resigned their positions, or if they are already retired, why they haven’t publicly acknowledged their failure and begged for forgiveness. Where their actions were illegal they need to be charged. And even if there are no legal repercussions for their actions, for the sake of those who were abused and for the good of the church, I think these bishops need to publicly take responsibility for their actions. While this act in itself will not restore the trust that has been broken, it is a beginning.
3. While acknowledgement of the source and depth of the problem and offering our deepest and most humble apologies are necessary first steps in responding to the victims of sexual abuse, our efforts cannot stop there. When innocent people, most particularly children, have been the victims of sexual abuse we, as a Church, must recognize our responsibility and offer the full measure of our support and assistance to those who have been victimized. Very practically this means that we must offer recompense to victims of sexual abuse in the form of services and monetary compensation. Further, we must ensure that the policies, procedures and safeguards that have been put in place to protect children and vulnerable adults are adhered to strictly. We must also offer programs to help our individuals and parishes grapple with this issue. In this regard, specifically, I would invite you to attend a program here at The Basilica entitled “Restorative Justice as a Path to Healing.” It is scheduled for Thursday evening September 20, from 6:30-9:30pm in the lower level of The Basilica.
4. At some point we, as individual Catholics, and as a parish community, are going to need to begin the hard work of forgiveness. I don’t know how we will go about this, but for the spiritual health and vitality of our Church, I believe that eventually we will need to forgive those priests who abused children, as well as those bishops and other leaders who allowed this abuse to happen. This is not to say that forgiveness is easy, or that in forgiving we are accepting and/or forgetting the horror of sexual abuse. Rather it is an acknowledgement that, as followers of Jesus, ultimately forgiveness is not optional for us.
Personally, I find forgiveness to be one of the hardest things that is asked of us as Christians. I do know, though, that with God’s grace forgiveness is possible, and that it starts with prayer. Prayer is the essential first ingredient to forgiveness. We need to pray for and with each other, and most particularly for those who brought this stain upon our Church. Certainly prayer cannot change what has happened, but it can have a salving effect on wounded souls and eventually it can bring about healing and peace.
Over the course of the past several years each time new charges of sexual impropriety against a priest has become public, I have been shocked, saddened, and angry. These incidents have been and continue to be a source of great pain and sadness for me. I had hoped that by this time we would have dealt with all the instances of sexual impropriety on the part of priests. Unfortunately, these latest cases have proven this to be a false hope. These cases are a wound from which our church will not soon recover. I do know and believe, though, that in order to move forward, prayer is where we need to begin.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary
Throughout my 40-plus years in ministry, some have asked me why I have worked for such a long time in the Church. I admit, this question always causes me to pause. It brings me back to the beginning days when everything was new and fresh and exciting. Since coming to The Basilica years ago, it is much like those beginning days. One never knows what each day will bring. Some days are filled with wonderful surprises while others seem laden with painful stories of long-lost faith or times of deep loss. We are all less than human at times and sometimes it shows through a bit more than we would like it to.
We all know this is not a perfect Church. Far from it. I don’t know of any other faith community that is without its own set of challenges. We all struggle with our growing pains as we journey through the ups and downs of life. Each Sunday when we come together for worship we bring ourselves as we are and sometimes that isn't exactly our best self.
Life just happens to each of us and we don't often react well to some of those many experiences that take place during the week. Yet we bring that with us each week as we gather, and in faith we know in some way that when we leave, we will be changed and nourished to return to the world and in some small way, bring the good news of our God’s love to those who cross our paths. For it is the very God whom we find in each other, whom we recognize in each other’s stories of triumph and failure, that keeps us coming back week after week.
We know we are not in this alone. All of us are there to offer prayer and hope to each other which enables us to carry the important message with us that we have a God who loves us enough to entrust us with each other’s lives. And that is the miracle of what happens each week as we celebrate Eucharist together. We are a privileged people. We have the responsibility of being Christ for each other.
So when someone asks me why I continue to work in the Church, it is quite simple. I need to encounter the God within you and you need to meet the God within me so that together, we will walk hand in hand to bring that God to those who so desperately need a sign of hope in the midst of the suffering and chaos of this world.
The annual Ministry Renewal process for all volunteer ministers deadline is August 31. The renewal process is all online this year. Please watch for your renewal email. The Basilica requires all volunteers to read and sign the Volunteer Code of Conduct every year.
Contact Ashley with questions.
Directions to Complete
1) First click on the "MyBasilica" link located on the top right side of the screen.
2) Once a new screen opens you will be asked to sign in - if you have forgotten your password simply click on the bottom link to receover or reset it.
3) After you have logged in click on the "MyMinistry" link located on both the top and right side of the screen.
4) First check your contact information for any errors - make edits by clicking on the "MyProfile" link.
5) Then check your ministry commitments - make sure all your ministries are listed. Let us know if anything is missing - or if something is listed but should be removed.
6) Then start your ministry renewal - if you have questions on the process please do not hesitate to contact me via email or phone 612.317.3417. Part of ministry renewal includes signing the code of conduct - if you would like to review the code click here.
7) Once you have completed ministry renewal check to see if you have any Safe Environment Requirements to complete. Any specific protocols you need to complete will be listed - along with instructions on how to complete them.
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
As I have mentioned previously, on the Sundays of August we read the “bread of life” discourse from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. In the section of the discourse we read this weekend, Jesus urges the crowd to believe that: he is “the living bread that came down from heaven, whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” In response to Jesus’ words we are told that “The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’”
The Jews would have had great difficulty with these words of Jesus. The idea of eating someone’s flesh would have been repugnant to them. They were not able to see beyond the surface and to understand that at a deeper level Jesus was talking about being present to and within his disciples in the Eucharist under the forms of bread and wine. As Catholics, it is our belief in the Eucharist that really distinguishes us from other religions. For as Catholics we believe that in the Eucharist we share in Jesus’ name and memory that Jesus Christ is really and truly present. This presence is not transitory or conditional. It is not based on logic or rational argument. It is for us a matter of faith. The Eucharist inspires and empowers us in this life, but also it is the foretaste and the promise of the life to come.
Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Book of Proverbs. It speaks of a meal that truly satisfies. “Come eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.” As Christians we see this feast as fulfilled in the Eucharist.
In our second reading this weekend, we continue to read from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians. In the section we read this weekend, Paul urges the Ephesians “not to continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- As Catholics, the Eucharist is at the core of our faith. How would you explain the Eucharist to a non-believer?
- What helped/caused you to believe in the Eucharist?
- How do you come to know the will of the Lord in your life?
My journey with cancer began on March 26, Monday of Holy Week. It made for the most incredible celebration of the Paschal Mystery. Then, on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul I received the great news that after three months of chemo the tumor was gone. For the next five years I will continue to be monitored very closely to make sure the cancer does not return.
As I have mentioned before, this has been a physical and spiritual adventure of great proportions. I do not believe for a second that God causes us to suffer. Rather I believe that life may present us with challenges. And when that happens, our faith in God offers us the necessary strength to handle it and the much needed insights to find meaning in it. So I did not ask God the question “why?” Rather, I asked God for strength and for wisdom so this experience might allow me to grow as a person and as a believer. And God obliged.
On Pentecost, half-way through my treatment I was the Master of Ceremonies for one of our liturgies. When I looked out at our congregation and saw your faces I had the most intense experience of God’s presence I have ever had. Hearing my name spoken during the Intercessory Prayers I felt the power of prayer strengthening my body and nourishing my soul. By the end of this most beautiful Eucharist I was too overwhelmed to do my usual meet and greet. I needed silence and solitude to process what just happened and to stay in the profound experience of God’s love and the support of my sisters and brothers in Christ.
As I sat quietly and listened to my inner voice, I realized again how important Sunday Eucharist is for us. And I thought of the many people who have asked me over the years: “Why should we participate in the celebration of the Eucharist every Sunday? What do we get out of it?” The answer I have given in the past all the sudden was no longer theoretical but thanks to my experience with cancer I found it to be very real.
Above all we gather to give thanks to God for the many miracles in our lives. We also gather so we might be changed in three profound ways. First, in the words of St. Teresa of Avilla, we celebrate the Eucharist so we may be “all on fire with the love of God.” For indeed, when we are on fire with God’s love no fear can overcome us. Second, in the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, we celebrate the Eucharist so we may be gathered into a “deep communion of existence” because in the Eucharist “the Lord joins us to one another.” It is this sense of community, the sense that we are never alone that gives us the strength to face whatever life brings us. And third, in the words of my late professor Mark Searle, we celebrate the Eucharist so we may be rehearsed in what it means to live the Paschal Mystery. And if we do this well we will be able to say “I have lived the Paschal Mystery long enough not to forsake it or doubt it when it becomes most real.”
As we celebrate Basilica Day let us remember why we, like so many Basilica members before us have come together for the celebration of the Eucharist every Sunday. And let us gather with ever greater fervor and devotion so that when our time of sorrow or suffering comes we will feel strengthened by the love of God, we will feel supported by our community and we will be able to say: “I have lived the Paschal Mystery long enough not to forsake it our doubt it when it becomes most real.” But above all, in the Eucharist we are assured that God works miracles in our lives, even if we might not recognize them.
Thank you all for your great support during this incredible journey.
For this Sunday’s readings, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/081218.cfm
Three things are happening in our Gospel this weekend. First the people “murmur against Jesus” because he was known to them, and had said that he had “come down from heaven.” Second, Jesus responds to them and identifies himself as the “one sent by the Father” and the “Bread of Life.” Third, Jesus promises “eternal life” to those who believe. Each of these things is important. Let me say a brief word about each of them.
Certainly it is difficult to see familiar people in a new way. We sometimes “lock” people into an early perception of them and refuse to see more than that. This is what happened with the people in our Gospel today. However, if we truly believe Jesus’ words, that “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do to me,” it behooves us to be open to the presence of God in everyone --- even those who are known and familiar to us.
As a Eucharistic people we are very familiar with Jesus as the Bread of Life. We believe that in the Eucharist we celebrate and share in Jesus’ name and memory that Jesus is really and truly present, and that he is for us the Bread of Life.
The idea of eternal life would have been foreign to the Jews of Jesus times. For the Jews of Jesus’ time (and even for many Jewish people today) people lived on through their descendents. That was why it was so important to have children. We who have grown up with the promise of eternal life would do well to take a step back every now and then, and remember and give thanks for this gracious and unmerited gift.
In our first reading today the prophet Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert and was ready for death. An angel of the Lord brought him a hearth cake and a jug of water and ordered: “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you.” These words speak to us today and remind us why the Eucharist is so important.
Finally, in our second reading today we are reminded of the vices that need to be removed from our lives and virtues we are to exhibit as followers of Jesus.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Can you remember a time when you discovered God’s presence and/or grace in a person or place that was known and familiar to you?
- When has the Eucharist helped you when the journey seemed long and difficult?
- What vices do you need to remove from your life or conversely what virtues do you need to develop?
From the Pastor:
With this column I would like to update you in regard to several areas of our parish’s life.
1. Parish Council Elections: I am pleased to inform you that in the recent elections for our Parish Council, Erik Miles (representing Christian Life) and Xander Broeffle (representing Learning) were elected to our Parish Pastoral Council. I am also pleased to report that Eric Brandt has accepted re- appointment to the Council as an at-large member; Alfonso Cornish has accepted appointment as the Finance Committee Representative to the Council; and Mara Stolee has accepted appointment as the Development Committee representative to the Parish Council. I am very grateful to each of these individuals for their willingness to serve on our Parish Council.
The members of our Parish Council represent a cross section of our parish. The Parish Council meets monthly and works with me and our staff to determine the needs, aspirations, and direction of our parish. As such it plays a vital role in our parish community. I am enormously grateful to our Council members for sharing their insights and expertise as we work together to carry out the mission of our parish.
2. Strategic Planning: As I have mentioned in previous bulletins, a few months ago we received approval from our Finance Committee and Parish Council to engage the services of the MacCallum Ross company to help us begin the process of developing a new strategic plan for our parish. (Our previous plan carried us through spring of 2018.) This plan will serve as a road map to guide and direct our efforts for the next three to five years.
The reason we engage in strategic planning is simple. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29.18). If we don’t consciously and prayerfully plan for our future, we are at risk of drifting into a future not of our choosing and certainly not of our making.
David MacCallum and Patti Ross have been guiding the development of a new strategic plan by reviewing our previous strategic plan as well as demographic and other information. An extensive process has been put in place to ensure that relevant information and perspectives are reflected in the plan. They also have interviewed key members of our staff, parish leadership, and community leaders. You will be hearing more about this process in the days ahead. We anticipate that the rollout for our new strategic plan will take place this summer or fall.
3. This year’s Landmark Ball: Many thanks to all those who attended and/or supported this year’s Landmark Ball. For those of you who are new to our parish, The Landmark Ball is an annual fund-raiser sponsored by The Basilica Landmark to help support the ongoing maintenance and renovation of The Basilica of Saint Mary and it campus. This year $102,763 was raised for this ongoing work. Our thanks go to Jen and Roshan Rajkumar who chaired this event, and to Holly Dockendorf, our Event Manager. I am also very grateful to the many people who worked on the committees for this event. They did an outstanding job.
Each year as part of The Landmark Ball we include a Fund-A-Need project. This year the Fund-A-Need project was the interior lighting of The Basilica Dome. We will be replacing the old (and large) lights with new LED lighting. The new lighting will be brighter, less expensive and will not produce nearly as much heat as the old lighting— something for which I am particularly grateful.
4. Our Parish Finances and Budget for Next Year: A big Thank You to all those who have been so generous in their financial support of our parish this year. As I write this column (at the end of June) we are slightly ahead in regard to our anticipated revenue, and we are also under budget in regard to our expenses. Given this, we hope to end the fiscal year with a smaller than expected deficit. (The deficit will be covered by a portion of the income from the rental of our school building. The reminder of the school rental income goes into our parish reserve fund.)
In our budgeting for next year we are anticipating a slight increase in our revenue, and have budgeted accordingly. As your pastor, I want you to know of my gratitude for your ongoing support of our parish. Please know, it is greatly appreciated.
5. Special Collections: While no one likes special collections, it is heartening for me to report that people of The Basilica have been very generous to the last few special collections here.
On the weekend of April 28 and 29, $6,796 was collected for the second collection for The Basilica Landmark Annual Fund.
On the weekend of June 2 and 3, (and afterwards with contributions that were mailed in) $22,253 was donated to help support Ascension School.
And on the weekend of June 16 and 17, $7,400 was contributed to help defray the cost of air conditioning The Basilica during the hot summer months.
The contributions to these collections testify to the generosity of the people of The Basilica. Please know of my gratitude for your generous and caring response.
6. Change in Staffing: As some of you already know, this summer Cathy Edwards, who has served as our Coordinator of Caring Ministries for the past several years, is retiring. I am enormously grateful for Cathy’s work these past years. We will certainly miss her, but wish her well in her retirement. While we are sad to see Cathy leave, we are grateful that Wendy Cichanski Caduff has been hired to fill this position. Wendy comes to us from Sacred Heart and Holy Trinity parishes in Owatonna, where she was a Pastoral Associate for four years. Before that, she worked at Christ Church Newman Center in St. Cloud. She has many years of experience working in different parish settings. Wendy has a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Ministry from Saint John’s University of Theology and Seminary, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from St. Cloud State University. And if Wendy’s last name sounds familiar that is because Ben Caduff, our Coordinator of Family and Young Adult Ministry is her husband. We are happy to welcome Wendy to her new position. Her education and work experience will surely be an asset to our parish and community.
7. Archdiocesan Bankruptcy: Recently we heard the good news that an agreement had been reached to resolve the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese. The agreement establishes a trust fund of approximately $210 million for the victims/survivors. Some of the money for the settlement fund came in the form of voluntary pledges of financial support from parishes and priests of our Archdiocese. I believe this is a wonderful statement of our compassion and support for our brothers and sisters who were seriously wounded and hurt by my brother priests and by others in our church.
In a letter to all parishioners a few weeks ago, I said that The Basilica of Saint Mary was one of the parishes that made a confidential pledge of financial support to the settlement fund. This decision was made in consultation with our Parish Council and Finance committee. After setting a range for this contribution they directed that our Parish Trustees and I make the final decision as to the amount of the contribution. The money for this pledge came from our parish reserves, which are funded by the rental income from our school building. Our financial pledge won’t be payable until the details of the settlement are finalized. It is our hope that making this pledge of financial support will send a strong message of solidarity and support to the victims/survivors.
While the settlement will resolve the Archdiocesan bankruptcy we need to continue to follow up with prayer and outreach to the victims/survivors. This needs to be and must be an ongoing effort. I hope you will join in prayer for those who have been so grievously wounded by members of our Church.
8. Refugee Sponsorship: This past June The Basilica welcomed our eighth Refugee Family through Lutheran Social Services. (So far we have sponsored 3 families from Somalia; 1 from Iraq; 1 from Ethiopia; 1 Karen; and 2 from Mayanmar/Karenni.)
Our newest family is Karenni, originally from Burma. There is a mother, father, and two young daughters ages 4 and 6. They are coming from a camp in Thailand and have been there about 20 years. Lutheran Social Services is hoping to find secure an apartment for them in East St. Paul. The family has some relatives or connections there and they speak some English from working at a hospital in the camp. They arrived on May 23 and our refugee support committee gathered at the airport to greet them.
All of the families we have sponsored have been very different. However, they have all be very grateful and gracious as they settle into life in Minnesota. Their lives are filled with activity as they seek to learn English, enroll their children in school, find work, and care for medical and dental concerns.
If you are interested in helping with this project please Janice Andersen in our Christian Life Department at 612.317.3477.
9. Campus Space Planning: As I mentioned previously, The Basilica Landmark has approved funding for the hiring of liturgical space planning consultants. A few months ago these consultants began a process to help us look at and develop a master plan for The Basilica and its campus. Unfortunately, Robert Habiger, from the firm Dekker Perich and Sabatini out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who had begun this work with us, has decided to retire. Fortunately, Fr. Gil Sunghera S.J. who worked with Robert initially has agreed to continue to work with us to build a vision for our campus spaces that helps us welcome the community and our guests. Fr. Gil is on staff at the University of Detroit Mercy (and works with their) School of Architecture. A committee of parishioners has been formed to work with Robert and Fr. Gil in this process.
Some of the important issues/concerns that will need to be considered are accessibility, making The Basilica and its campus more open and welcoming, and renovating and updating the interior of The Basilica.
This process of developing a master plan for The Basilica and its campus continues as I write this column. It will also occur concurrently with the development of our new strategic plan. We will share more information about this important work as we move forward.
10. Maintenance Projects at The Basilica: Finally, as I mentioned in an earlier bulletin, there will be several maintenance projects occurring this summer on our campus. As I hope you have noticed we are tuck-pointing The Basilica dome. We will also be upgrading the kitchen in the lower level of The Basilica; doing some upgrades to the church sound system; seal coating and re-striping the parking lots; replacing the florescent lights in the lower level of the church with LED lighting; and as mentioned above, we will also be replacing the lighting on the interior ring of lights in the dome with LED lighting. We also hope to reconstruct the South entrance to our school building sometime next spring.
We are hopeful that there will be minimal disruption with these projects. We are grateful that most of these projects will be funded by The Basilica Landmark.
Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary
Download August/September 2018 Bulletin
One of the priests I worked with when I was first ordained was a genial Irishman who seemed to have a saying for every occasion or circumstance. When an unlikely couple presented themselves for marriage he would say: "There's no pot so beaten out of shape that you can't find a lid for it." When someone's clothing choice was a bit questionable or problematic he would say: "They must have got dressed in the dark this morning." My favorite saying, though, was when he was confronted with a situation that defied explanation or understanding. In those cases he would simply say: "Sometimes the Lord uses poor sense." This was his way of acknowledging that sometimes things just happen that are beyond our reason and over which we don’t have any control.
Now to be honest, I have used this saying on more than a few occasions. While it is nice when there is a logical explanation for the things that happen in our lives, this certainly is always or often the case. Now sometimes those unexpected or unexplainable things that happen are good e.g. winning the lottery. I suspect, though, that more often this is not the case, e.g. we face a sudden illness, or someone we love dies unexpectedly. At these times, while we can search for meaning or understanding, these often prove elusive.
The above is not a new problem. In the Old Testament the Book of Job dealt with the question of why bad things sometimes happened to good people. For Job's friends the answer was simple. Job must have done something wrong or bad to deserve all the terrible things that were happening to him. Job, though, knew that wasn't true. He knew he had tried to live a good life and that he didn't "deserve" what was happening to him. The resolution occurs in the final chapters of the Book of Job. God speaks and in essence says: I'm God; you're not. My ways are not your ways.
Now I realize that for some people this is not a very satisfying response. For me, though, it helps me remember that God is in charge, and that ultimately the ways and work of God are beyond my ability to comprehend or explain. It also invites me to believe that God knows what God is doing, and that I need to learn to trust that the God who loved me into being isn't capricious or aloof in continuing to love and care for me.
As there have been in the past, so there were will continue to be times in the future when things happen that cause us pain or anxiety, and over which we have no control. At those times we need to continue to pray. and to remember that it's okay to say: "Sometimes the Lord uses poor sense."