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A group composed of scholars, psychologists, clergy, restorative justice experts and victim-survivors of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis has developed a set of proposals that encourage the use of restorative justice as a means to help heal victim-survivors and the broader Church.
The proposals are the result of a two-year study supported by an initiative created by the University of Notre Dame’s Office of the President as part of the Notre Dame Forum, ‘“Rebuild My Church’: Crisis and Response,” to fund research projects that address issues emerging from the crisis. The proposals have been forwarded for consideration to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
A cross-section of 25 experts met in 2021 and 2022 at Notre Dame and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, respectively, to examine whether lessons for the Church could be found in the restorative justice traditions of Indigenous peoples and the efforts of nations such as South Africa, Rwanda and Canada.
Used in a variety of settings, restorative justice focuses on reestablishing right relationship among all people wounded by unjust actions by holding offenders — be they criminals, governmental leaders or others — accountable, while empowering victims to actively participate in the process.
In addition to the proposals that were developed, the participants agreed that significant wounds remain and that the teachings of Jesus call all Catholics to promote holistic justice and healing.
“We exhort Church leaders to listen humbly to the voices of victim-survivors, including those abused as adults who have not been sufficiently included in the conversation, to understand their specific needs for healing and wholeness,” Notre Dame political science professor Daniel Philpott said. “Restorative justice is rooted in the Gospel and animated by the holistic and unifying power of the Eucharist, significantly at a time when the U.S. bishops have called for a Eucharistic Revival.”
The proposals are as follows:
- Create a national center with experts and practitioners to equip the broader Church in restorative justice, particularly healing circles, to accompany those who have been directly and peripherally harmed by abuse.
- Establish a national healing garden as a permanent site of healing, prayer and accompaniment for victim-survivors of clergy sex abuse and for the broader Church.
- Institute an annual day of prayer and penance for healing and reconciliation for victim-survivors of clergy abuse and for broader healing in the Church.
- Initiate trauma-informed training for clergy, seminarians, lay ministers, lay leaders and parish communities to communicate the realities and effects of trauma in order to compassionately accompany victim-survivors.
“We believe these proposals reflect a synodal Church, which is called to listen to, accompany and heal the broken-hearted, in addition to being a witness to the broader culture, which suffers from similar wounds,” Philpott said. “We understand that for many, further measures are needed such as concrete steps toward greater accountability, due process for the accused and pathways to healing for those rightfully removed from ministry.
“We offer our proposals after much prayer and dialogue, with hope and openness to the Holy Spirit’s guidance on our shared journey of faith.”
Taking recommendations from the broader group, seven participants developed the proposals. In addition to Philpott, they are:
- Rev. Thomas Berg, professor of moral theology, St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie
- Mary Glowaski, assistant to the bishop in pastoral care, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana
- Rev. Daniel Griffith, the Wenger Family Fellow of Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law; pastor and rector, Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis
- Michael Hoffman, Archdiocese of Chicago advocate for healing and prevention; former president of Prevent Child Abuse, Illinois; victim-survivor of clergy abuse
- Susan Mulheron, chancellor for canonical affairs, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis
- Emily Ransom, assistant professor of English, Holy Cross College, Notre Dame; victim-survivor of clergy abuse
All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.
Tuesday, November 29 Communion Service
Thursday, December 1
Friday, December 2
Honor your loved ones this Christmas through beautiful altar flowers, evergreen trees, and greenery. Names of those honored through flower gifts given by December 14 will be listed in the Christmas leaflets. Please use the envelopes in the pews or donate online at www.mary.org/give with the Gift Designation of Christmas Flowers.
My early years in Minneapolis were not always easy as I greatly missed my family in Belgium and my friends at Notre Dame. Christmas time was particularly difficult. I was very glad that my late parents came to Minneapolis for my first Christmas here in 1995 and my dear friend, the late Fr. André Laurier joined me in 1998. My parents had the pleasure of lots of cold and snow which they had not experienced before. And Fr. André taught me an important lesson which I treasure to this day.
André arrived the Friday before Christmas. On Saturday, we spent the day decorating the Christmas tree. It was a lovely robust and fragrant blue spruce. Carefully unpacking each ornament, I told its story. Many stories resonated with André as he knew the Belgian people and places I was talking about. When we were all finished, we went into the kitchen to prepare dinner. From the kitchen, a terrific noise called us back to the living room where we found the tree on the floor surrounded by shattered glass. André quietly cleaned up, carefully gathering the surviving ornaments while collecting the pieces of those that shattered. I was very upset. Those Christmas ornaments were a tangible reminder of so many cherished memories and of so much love. I excused myself and spent some quiet time in my room. When I finally re-emerged, I found the tree back in place, the surviving ornaments ready to be hung, and the table set for dinner. We had a quiet dinner that night and we talked of all things Belgian.
The next day, when I returned home from Sunday liturgies, I found the tree decorated with the surviving ornaments and some new ones ready to be hung. Cleverly, André had bought some clear glass ornaments which he filled with the remnants of the broken ornaments.
Later that day, as we sat down to admire the tree, André mused that perhaps the many memories had proven too much for the tree and that maybe it was time to let go of some old memories in order to make room for new ones.“ It is not that you have to let go completely” he said, “you can hold on to bits and pieces, but you need to make room for more.” And so, I did! I let go of the old and I welcomed the new.
The season of Advent invites us to let go of all that we unnecessarily cling to, to take stock of our spiritual life, and to approach the future with joy and anticipation, discovering the potential for beauty in that which seems broken, unimportant or insignificant.
Our world often seems on the brink of collapse with relentless wars; global warming; divisive rhetoric; fear mongering… There is so much brokenness and such division. Yet, as Christians we are called to continue to see the potential for beauty and to work toward it. After all, God did not come to us as an imperial ruler but rather as a vulnerable baby. He was not born in a palace but in a stable to a family on the move. He did not live in Rome but in a small country occupied by the Romans.
In the words of Pope Francis given at the Mass for the sixth World Day of the Poor on November 13: “a disciple of the Lord should not yield to resignation or give in to discouragement, even in the most difficult situations, for our God is the God of resurrection and hope, who always raises up. With Him we can lift up our gaze and begin anew.”
I am looking forward to preparing my home for Christmas, this year. It will again be adorned with many ornaments. Some of them are old, reminding me of my family in Belgium, but most of them are new, bearing the memories of my travels, my friends, and my Basilica life. And, still to this day, I treasure the clear glass ornaments filled with the bits and pieces of old and treasured memories for they continue to teach me to let go and to look for the potential of beauty even in the most broken times and places.
This Advent, rather than resigning ourselves or losing hope, let us look for the potential of all that is beautiful and good in the brokenness of our world and our hearts and thus help to build the world which God has imagined for us.
Advent 2022: A Season of Longing and Listening
The First Week of Advent: Let us Walk in the Light of the Lord!
Last Sunday, the liturgical year ended with the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King. During his homily given in the Cathedral of Asti, Italy, Pope Francis challenged the image of Jesus this solemnity evokes. Too often, he said we depict and imagine Christ as a worldly king, and “what comes to mind is a powerful man seated on a throne with magnificent insignia, a scepter in his hand and precious rings on his fingers, speaking in solemn tones to his subjects.” Yet, the truth about Jesus is that he was exactly the opposite. He was not born in a palace but rather in a stable or a cave. He was not born in Rome but rather in one of the poorest outskirts of the Roman Empire. He did not seek the company of princes but rather surrounded himself with sinners and the sick, widows and those wanting, fishermen and carpenters. And he surely never sat on an earthly throne or wore a crown made of gold. His throne was the cross on which he died. His crown was not made of gold but of thorns.
During Advent we meditate on this great mystery of God choosing to come to us not as a king but a baby born in a stable to a humble family so he might show us the true path to salvation. And that path did not involve thrones and crowns and scepters but rather a stable, a manger and a cross.
Advent is a time of deep listening to our most inner being; to one another, and above all to the voice of God. Advent is also a time of intense longing that world God imagined for us, free pf war and violence, suffering and pain. Listening and longing both require time and space, admittedly a challenge especially during Advent. Please allow yourself that much needed time and space to prepare for the Coming of our Lord.
What to do in the Domestic Church:
Today, many churches and homes are decorated with and advent wreath. The origin of the Advent wreath is unclear. There is evidence of a pre-Christian custom of decorating a wheel with candles, while prayers were offered for the wheel of the earth to turn so that light and warmth would reappear. Christians then adopted this ritual and began to use it in domestic settings during the Middle Ages.
The wheel itself, a circle with neither beginning nor end, signifies eternal life. The evergreens, too, represent eternal life, with holly implying immortality, cedar expressing strength and healing, laurel touting victory over suffering, and pinecones or nuts lauding life and resurrection. The four candles that were added to the wreath over time represent the four weeks of Advent.
Since the use of the Advent wreath originated in the homes of Christians, we invite you to continue this custom. Advent wreaths can be easily constructed. The candle for each week is lit and blessed in the evening of the Saturdays or Sundays of Advent.
A Blessing for the Lighting of the First Candle
After someone in the family has lit the first candle on the Advent Wreath the prayer begins with the sign of the cross and continues.
Leader: Brothers and sisters,
today we begin the season of Advent.
Let us open our hearts to God’s love
as we prepare to welcome Christ.
The candles of this wreath remind us that
Jesus Christ came to conquer the darkness of sin
and lead us into his glorious light.
Let us pray that we may always be ready to welcome him.
Leader: You came to turn the hearts of all to love of God and neighbor:
Lord, come and save us.
All: Lord, come and save us.
Leader: You come to enrich us with gifts of grace and knowledge:
Lord, come and save us.
All: Lord, come and save us.
Leader: You will come on a day we cannot know
bringing redemption to all your faithful:
Lord, come and save us.
All: Lord, come and save us.
Leader: Let us pray:
we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ,
whose advent we await.
As we light the first candle of this wreath,
rouse us from sleep that we may be ready to greet him
when he comes with all the angels and saints.
Enlighten us with your grace,
and prepare our hearts to welcome him with joy.
We ask this through the same Christ our Lord.
The leader ends with the sign of the cross.
A Quick Glance at the Readings for the First Sunday of Lent
From the First Reading: Isaiah 2:4
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
From the Second Reading: Romans 13: 12
The night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light
From the Gospel: Matthew 24: 42
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
The Advent Calendar
Printed Advent calendars originated in Germany at the Beginning of the 20th C. It is believed that US soldiers who returned from Europe after the war brought them back for their children.
Advent Calendars allow children to keep up with the progression of Advent and countdown to Christmas as they open one little door each day. The better calendars have a Bible verse hidden behind the little door or maybe a suggestion for a good deed.
At The Basilica of Saint Mary
You will notice that the rituals are somewhat different and that the tone of the liturgy is one of deep longing for Christ’s presence in our midst. We celebrate Sunday Eucharist on Saturday at 5:00pm and on Sunday at 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, and 5:00pm.
We celebrate Mass in the St. Joseph Chapel, Monday through Friday at 7:00am and at Noon.
On Tuesday and Wednesday we gather in the Basilica Choir Stalls for the celebration of Morning Prayer. This is a simple but beautiful way to begin your day.
On Sundays we gather in the choir stalls at 3:00pm to celebrate Vespers. This form of prayer is perfect for the season as it begins with a silent procession in the dark, followed by a lighting of individual candles. We sing beautiful psalms, listen to Sacred Scripture, and pray for the needs of the world. We end Vespers with a prayer to the Blessed Mother who is so central to the Seasons of Advent and Christmas.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation
A priest is available in the St. Joseph Chapel for the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation each Saturday between 9:00-10:00am
As we advance in the Advent Season more and more of the creches or Nativity Scenes from our Basilica collection will be on exhibit in The Basilica and in the Undercroft.
Concerts in The Basilica
Several concerts have been scheduled for the second and third week of Advent. Look for more information on our website.
And please remember to be pace yourself
Advent is neither an endurance test nor a time to prove our Christian heroism. Rather, Advent is a time to slow down and ponder what is essential to our faith and thus to our life as Christians. So please pace yourselves. Give yourself and others the necessary space. And above all be patient.
All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.
Thursday, November 24 - Thanksgiving Day Mass 8:30am (no Noon Mass)
Friday, November 25 - No Mass