Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary. I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.

Today, I would like to talk with you about three things. First, I want to invite you to join us for our liturgies during the Triduum and Easter. The schedule of liturgies for these days is available on our website.

The celebrations of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter help us to remember anew that Jesus Christ suffered and died for us and rose, that we might have life eternal. This is the essence of our faith, and the cause for our hope. I hope you will be able to join us for these celebrations. 

As always, though, if you are not able, or don’t feel comfortable joining us in-person for any of our liturgies, we invite you join them via live-stream. A schedule of our livestreamed liturgies is available on our website. Joining us at Easter is a wonderful way for us as a people of faith to celebrate and thank God for the many ways God has blessed us in our lives. 

The second thing I wanted to mention is 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. 

Third, I want to thank those of you who continue to support The Basilica financially. Please know your financial support is greatly appreciated. Parishes rely on their collections at Christmas and Easter to help them balance their budget. The Basilica is no exception to this. Given this, I would ask you to be generous to The Basilica at Easter. Please know your generosity is greatly appreciated. 

Your financial support makes it possible for to continue to offer the many ministries, services and programs that are at the heart of our Basilica community. 

In closing, as we continue to 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. 

God of Love and Compassion, You are always with us. 
As we enter into this time of transition and change we do so with excitement and perhaps some anxiety.

Help us to know of your presence and be open to your grace in this time.

Help us to recall your deep compassion, your presence, and your abiding love.

We thank you for the gifts, talents and skills with which you have blessed us.

We thank you for the experiences that have brought us to this moment.

We thank you for the work of others that gives breadth and depth to our own work.

Be with us as we move forward, rejoicing with you and supporting one another.

We ask this in your Holy Name.


This Lent, some parish members are sharing their Lenten practices and stories with us. Xander Broeffle shares his experiences with our Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) process, plus his Lent and Easter observations, first as a candidate joining the Catholic church and, later, as a sponsor for other candidates and catechumens.





Fasting, Praying and Acting during the Sixth Week of Lent

“Love your Neighbor as Yourself.” (Mk. 12:31)

“Building Bridges that Foster a Culture of Caring.” Pope Francis

In his message on the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees in 2021 Pope Francis invited all people to “make every effort to break down the walls that separate us and, in acknowledging our profound interconnection, build bridges that foster a culture of encounter.”

He went on to say that “Today’s migration movements offer an opportunity for us to overcome our fears and let ourselves be enriched by the diversity of each person’s gifts.”

He summarized his hopes on immigration by stating that “if we so desire, we can transform borders into privileged places of encounter, where the miracle of an ever wider “we” can come about.”

During Holy Week, we invite you to: mend your heart by fasting from Individualism and Exclusion; bend your knees while engaging in Visio Divina on the Passion of Christ; and lend your hand through acts of courage.


  • Mending our Heart by Fasting from Individualism and Exclusion
  • Putting ourselves first as an individual and even as a nation is rather popular these days, here and abroad. Individualism and nationalism are celebrated by many, also by some Christians even though both are antithetical to Christianity.
  • Christianity is rooted in Jesus’ willingness to give his life for others. This is as far removed from individualism and nationalism as one can possibly imagine. Followers of Jesus are called to do the same. In the words of St. Francis: “…it is in giving that we receive…and in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
  • Lent is the perfect time to practice fasting from putting ourselves first by putting the needs of others before our own. The end goal is to embody in our own lives the sacrificial life of Jesus.


  • Bending our Knees by engaging in Visio Divina on the Passion of Christ
  • As we try to live out our Christian calling Holy Week is the perfect time yto meditate on the Passion of Jesus. One way of doing that is through Visio Divina or Divine Seeing. This is an intentional and prayerful contemplation of an image of the crucifixion. The objective is to allow God to speak through the art in a most profound way.
  • As you prepare for Visio Divina select an image of the crucifixion.
  1. Visio: Spend some time contemplating the art you selected. What is it you see? If you are using a figurative representation, ask yourself who and what is represented in the image. If non-figurative, consider the shapes, the forms, and the colors. Feel free to write down any words that come to mind.
  2. Meditatio: Let your imagination dialogue with what you see. There is always more to an image than what the eyes behold. Is a deeper story forming in your imagination? Are you experiencing any specific feelings or emotions? Again, feel free to write down any words that come to mind.
  3. Oratio: Formulate a prayer response. This can be a prayer of gratitude, or it might be a prayer of intercessions. Feel free to use the words you have written down in step 1 or 2.
  4. Contemplatio: Let go of all words and to quietly rest in prayer. Give yourself over to God who will mold you in prayer.
  5. Actio: did any action come to mind you might take after


  • Lending our Hands through Acts of Courage
  • The Joy of Christianity gives us the courage to speak and act on behalf of those in need without any fear as we strive for a better world, the kind of world God has dreamt for us.
  • This week as we contemplate the suffering of Christ, let us think about the many injustices and concerns that plague our world and ask ourselves how we can make a difference in terms of racial justice, adequate housing, mental health funding, the care for the unborn, health insurance for all, immigrants and asylum seekers, the death penalty, endless cycles of poverty, gun violence…
  • As the world is experiencing yet another mass migration as the result of the war in Ukraine let’s learn about ways to engage with The Basilica Immigrant Support Ministry at or with the Minnesota Interfaith Coalition on Immigration at


And please remember to be patient with yourself and others.  Lent is neither an endurance test nor a time to prove our Christian heroism. Rather, Lent 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 with yourself and others.


As we look ahead to spring, we think about reemerging after winter. We look to connect with our neighbors and places that we may have been away from for many months. This spring feels especially significant, as we have lived through another COVID winter.

At The Basilica one of our key strategic directions is reaching out to other organization in our city. The goal is stated in the Our Parish Our Future plan as; Strengthen our Presence and Partnerships in the Twin Cities: Invite community-wide participation in our vision and mission.


Just a few of the many examples of these partnerships include:

The Minnesota Sinfonia is a professional, nonprofit, chamber orchestra offering free concerts and educational programs to people in the Twin Cities metro area. The Minnesota Sinfonia hold free, family friendly concerts at The Basilica regularly. 

Prisoners or Patients? Task Force is a group of volunteers who come together to discuss issues around when the criminal justice and mental health systems connect. The group is made up of members of The Basilica’s Mental Health Ministry, its Voices of Justice Ministry, and the larger Twin Cities community. The committee has worked in partnership with NAMI-MN, Minnesota DHS, Hennepin County Corrections, Hennepin Healthcare, Minnesota State Legislators, Amicus, Minneapolis College, and other organizations.

The Basilica staff has worked with the Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement (MAVA) for volunteer training and strategic planning. MAVA works to develop leadership of volunteers and best practices in organizational volunteerism.

Looking ahead, mark your calendar for Seven Fates: Racial Healing Stations on May 22 at 1:00pm at The Basilica. The powerful program includes community partners in our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) work from the Penumbra Theatre. This evocative and devotional prayer service invites us to meditate on the inequities caused by racism through sacred art, music, lived experience and prayer.


The Basilica of Saint Mary is committed to the future growth of our parish and to truly live out our vision:

Seek the well-being of the city to which I have sent you. Pray for it to the Lord. For in seeking its well-being, you shall find your own. - Jeremiah 29:7


 To review the full Our Parish Our Future strategic plan visit



Noon Mass April 4-8

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings


Monday, April 4

Tuesday, April 5

Wednesday, April 6

Thursday, April 7

Friday,  April 8



1. Pastor Transition: Even though, I will continue as pastor of The Basilica through June, the transition process has begun. Fr. Dan Griffith has met with or will be meeting with the trustees, our parish staff and parish leadership. His intent in these meetings is to listen and learn, so he can hit the ground running July 1 and serve the parishioners of The Basilica of St. Mary.

I am enormously grateful and extremely excited that Fr. Griffith will be the next pastor of The Basilica. He will bring an abundance of gifts, as well as great experience and expertise to his role as pastor of The Basilica. As we continue to move forward, I ask you to please keep both of us in your prayers.

2. Our Parish Finances: First and foremost, I want to thank all those who continue to support to our parish community financially during the pandemic. Please know your commitment of financial support to our parish community is greatly appreciated. Your contribution - no matter the size - is important and makes a difference. It allows us to continue to offer the many programs, ministries and services that are the hallmark of our Basilica community.

Your ongoing generosity is very important to the financial health of our parish. Please know of my great gratitude for your ongoing financial support.

3. Lent: As you read this, we are well into the season of Lent. As a child I never really appreciated Lent. As I’ve grown older, though, I’ve come to realize how important and how good the season of Lent is for me and for all of us. With the pace of our world and its multiple distractions, it’s so easy for us to miss the fundamental mystery of our faith: Jesus Christ, died and rose again to offer us the promise and gift of eternal life.

Through its various penances and ascetical practices, Lent helps us choose the way of the Lord Jesus once again. It brings us to a full stop, calls us to prayer and to attend to the poor, and summons us to other practices, so the value of our lives and the purpose of our discipleship can be rediscovered.

During this special season, I invite and encourage you to look at your calendar and to plan on participating virtually or in-person in the services and activities that will be offered at The Basilica during Lent. Visit our web site at for a list of our Lenten activities and services.

4. Catholic Services Appeal: We began the 2022 Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) the weekend of February 12th and 13th. This yearly appeal helps support the many ministries, services and programs within our Archdiocese. Now obviously, many people are concerned that contributions to the Archdiocese will be used for purposes they didn’t intend. In this regard, it is important to note that The Catholic Services Appeal is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization. This was done to ensure all the money that is collected through the Appeal would go directly and solely to the ministries, services and programs supported by the CSA. No CSA funds go to the Archdiocese.

By pooling the financial resources from generous donors throughout our diocese, much important and necessary work is funded by the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). As your pastor, I wholeheartedly endorse the work of the Appeal. I support it financially and I encourage you to make a gift to support these important ministries, services and programs. Please look for the Catholic Services Appeal information in pews or learn more at

5. Parish Life During the Pandemic: At the present time, many of our parish activities, services, and ministries are back in person; some are being conducted virtually; and some can be done hybrid. We continue to ask the question of when, how and where we can resume all of these activities on campus. At this point, and for the foreseeable future, we are making all decisions on a case-by-case basis. We also continue to look for new opportunities to celebrate the life of our parish community.

Clearly, we all miss the opportunities to gather and celebrate our faith as we used to. We miss gathering with others, and worshipping and praying together. We also miss the opportunities to give witness to our faith through our community activities. When we gather again as we used to—and I believe we will—it is my hope and sincere prayer that church will have a renewed meaning for all of us.

6. Covid and Me: As I write this column, (2/23) I have tested positive for Covid and am quarantining at home. The worst of the symptoms have passed, and I am waiting for a negative test so I can return to work at The Basilica. Fortunately, I have been vaccinated and boosted, so my symptoms were just fatigue, congestion and body aches.

Since I was being very careful, catching Covid turned out to be much easier than I would have thought. I was scheduled to have dinner with some friends, (who were also vaccinated and boosted) and when we got to the restaurant, we had to wait in the bar for a few minutes for the restaurant to get our table ready. Of course, the bar was packed, and that’s all it took.

I am grateful that I was vaccinated and boosted, and even more grateful that my symptoms were fairly mild. I am most grateful, though, for Frs. Berger, Tasto and Gillespie, who filled in during my absence. They were/are a great grace for me and for our parish.

7. EDI: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: As I have mentioned previously, for the past few years The Basilica has recognized a need to address and respond to the issue of racism in our lives, our parish, and our community. After meetings with Sarah Bellamy, an equity consultant, in the spring of 2019, and with the establishment of an EDI Leadership Team, a Position Statement was created to guide our efforts as we seek to respond to the sin of racism. We were challenged to do this particularly by the words of Pope Francis in reflecting on the death of George Floyd: “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of human life.” 

Responding to racism is a process not an event. It is a process in which we all must be involved. Our EDI Team continues to invite people to engage with the EDI Position Statement and by laying out the goals we have identified to work on as a parish community. In April and May our EDI team will be hosting some anti-bias training sessions for interested parishioners. To find out more about the important work of EDI, visit 

8. The Archdiocesan Synod: Despite the pandemic, the work of preparing for the Synod continues. As I write this column, our parish Synod group is preparing to meet on a Saturday morning for 5.5 hours to discuss three specific topics in regard to future of the Church in our Archdiocese: 1.Sharing the Gospel in word and deed; 2.The universal call to holiness; 3.Young adult ministry. The outcome of these discussions will form the basis of our parish’s representatives’ input at the Archdiocesan Synod Assembly on June 3-5. I invite you to continue to pray for the success of the Synod process, and for the future of our parish and local Church.



Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary


Full Bulletin

April/May 2022 Bulletin




At their annual meeting this past November, the Bishops of the United States approved a document on the Eucharist entitled: “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church.” As part of their follow-up efforts, it was reported that the bishops have begun planning for a Eucharistic Congress in 2024. The goal of this effort is to rekindle an understanding of and devotion to the Eucharist. The bishops plan to set up a nonprofit organization to handle logistics and raise $28 million over the next two years to cover the costs of the event and all the work leading up to it.

Part of me is very excited about this idea. The Eucharist is at the heart of my faith. As Catholics, we believe that Jesus Christ is really and truly present in the Eucharist. Not present just in memory, not present just symbolically, and not present just spiritually, but really and truly present. How this can be we don’t know. That it can be is our abiding belief. It is an act of faith. And faith, as we read in the Letter to the Hebrews, is “Confident assurance of what we hope for; conviction about things we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) In the Eucharist we receive the body of Christ so we might be and bring the Body of Christ to the world.

Unfortunately, a recent poll by the Pew Research Center found most self-described Catholics don’t believe this core teaching on the Eucharist. In fact, just one-third of U.S. Catholics (31%) say they believe that “during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus.” This is very concerning. At a minimum it suggests we have our work cut out for us if we are to help people understand the beauty, the wonder, and the miracle of the Eucharist. 

Now I have to admit candidly that a part of me questions whether one of the reasons for the lack of belief in our teaching in regard to the Eucharist is a lack of trust in those who proclaim and teach about the Eucharist. While I don’t think that a straight line can be drawn from the lack of belief in the Eucharist to a mistrust of priests and Bishops, I do think it is harder to believe the message, if you don’t trust the messenger. 

Especially since the sexual abuse crisis, I think people have found it difficult to trust priests and Bishops in our church. Sexually abusive priests were routinely transferred from parish to parish at least until the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People which was initiated in 2002. Since then, while this practice has stopped, and while there has been a general acknowledgement of a failure on the part of church leadership, this came slowly and grudgingly.  Also, and more importantly, personal apologies on the part of priests and Bishops have been nonexistent for the most part. I think this has led to a lack of trust in priests and Bishops, and in many instances a lack of trust in what they teach and proclaim. I don’t think this credibility problem is going away on its own. 

Given the above, while I think we have much good and important work to do in helping people understand our teaching and belief in regard to the Eucharist, I believe that rather than a Eucharistic Congress, a better starting point might be an “apology” tour. By this I mean that dioceses across the United States should shut down their usual activities for 6 to 12 months, and priests and Bishops should visit every church, chapel and mission in their diocese and listen to people’s pain and sadness in regard to the way our church has handled the sexual abuse crisis. We should listen until we weep and our hearts break. Then we should apologize over and over again until people are ready to believe and accept our apologies. Perhaps if and when people start to trust us again and they see the love of Jesus in our words and actions, they might more readily believe that Jesus is really and truly present in the Eucharist.



At The Basilica of Saint Mary, the ministries of St. Vincent de Paul are varied and many. All seek to build relationships, respond to basic needs, and advocate for dignity for all.

Our work is as basic as ensuring our neighbors who are homeless have a bathroom available, and as complex as establishing long-term mentoring relationships. We are completing our eighth year mentoring Minneapolis College students who experience homelessness or generational poverty. We assist Basilica parishioners who are struggling and families in the broader community who reach out to The Basilica seeking life-saving assistance.

Most recently, we are supporting refugee families from Afghanistan. We provided furniture, food, clothing, household items and rent assistance. Our Basilica volunteer "Circle of Welcome Teams" develop relationships with the families, helping them as they acclimate to life in America.

A recurring gift to St. Vincent de Paul makes outreach like this possible. Your partnership is crucial and offers hope to those who need it most. To make a gift commitment, please visit




Fasting, Praying and Acting during the Fifth Week of Lent

“Be rich in good works, be generous and ready to share.” (1 Timothy 6:18)

Living in Solidarity with Those who are Poor.” Pope Francis


In 2017 Pope Francis inaugurated the first World Day of the Poor to be held every year on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.

During his homily on the most recent World Day of the Poor marked on November 14, 2021, the pope decried the poverty into which people are often forced, “victims of injustice and the inequality of a throwaway society that hurries past without seeing them and without scruple abandons them to their fate.”

He went on to say that “unless our hope translates into decisions and concrete gestures of concern, justice, solidarity and care for our common home, the sufferings of the poor will not be relieved, the economy of waste that forces them to live on the margins will not be converted, their expectations will not blossom anew.”

He concluded by encouraging all people to improve the world by “breaking bread with the hungry, working for justice, lifting up the poor and restoring their dignity.”


During this Fifth Week of Lent, we invite you to: mend your heart by fasting from greed; bend your knees while engage in praying the Stations of the Cross; and Lend your hand by embracing generosity.

  • Mending our Hearts: Fasting from Greed
  • All of us, to some extent suffer from greediness. Greediness is the tendency to hold on, to claim or to demand something or even someone just for ourselves.
  • Fasting from greed is more difficult than fasting from meat or sweets. Ridding ourselves of this sinful desire requires a complete change of attitude which does not happen in a day or even a week. This is a difficult task which requires commitment and tenacity.
  • As Christians we are to live as Jesus lived. His generosity, even unto death knew no bounds. Let us contemplate and emulate Jesus’ generosity this week as we rid ourselves slowly of our greediness.


  • Bending our Knees: Praying the Station of the Cross
  • Praying the Stations of the Cross is an ancient Christian devotion which invites us to meditate on the mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. A history of this devotion is offered in our series Art that Surrounds Us:  
  • On Fridays of Lent, we pray the Stations of the Cross in The Basilica at 5:30pm. You can join us in person or via livestream. Each Friday we pray a different version of the Stations of the Cross using new texts and images.
  • If you would like to pray the Stations of the Cross at home you can use the weekly recorded livestream or you can find a narrated slideshow of our Scriptural Stations at


  • Lending our Hands: Embracing Generosity
  • During Lent we give thanks for Jesus’ willingness to die for us on the cross. This act of ultimate generosity has deep sacrificial meaning and great theological implications for all of us. Not only are we saved by Jesus’ self-sacrifice, but we are also called to make sacrifices in turn.
  • On the fifth Sunday of Lent, we have a second collection for our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry. This is our opportunity to be generous to the programs our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry supports and the people it serves. We can also volunteer in our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry at The Basilica. You can find more information here:
  • One of our strategic directions at The Basilica is to work toward ending homelessness. You can learn about the realities of homeless in our community and ways to advocate and get involved by visiting the following websites:


And please remember to be patient with yourself and others.  Lent is neither an endurance test nor a time to prove our Christian stamina. Rather, Lent 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 with yourself and others.