Blog

This Lent, some parish members are sharing their Lenten practices and stories with us. Laura Madsen, whose husband Jim passed away last year, shares her experiences with our grief ministry, and how she’s approaching this Lent and the one year anniversary of his death.

Noon Mass March 21-25

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings

 

Monday, March 21

Tuesday, March 22

Wednesday, March 23

Thursday, March 24

Friday, March 25

 

On Sunday, March 6, The Basilica was honored to host almost 300 attendees at an Ecumenical Evening Prayer for Peace in Ukraine and Russia. The evening was co-hosted by Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Rev. Ann Svennungsen (Bishop of the Minneapolis Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), Rev. Patricia Lull (Bishop of the St. Paul Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), and Rev. Craig Loya (Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota), with Chorbishop Sharbel Maron (Pastor of the Maronite rite parish St. Maron) and Father Ivan Shkumbatyuk (Ukrainian rite Catholic priest and pastor of St. Constantine Ukrainian Catholic Church). The prayer service included music from The Basilica’s Schola Cantorum and St. Constantine’s choir, which sang in Ukrainian and wore traditional Ukrainian attire.

“This Lent, we gather in gratitude for a God who indeed knows us well,” said Bishop Lull in her homily. “A God who knows the desperation we feel in the face of a massive military invasion of Ukraine. The raw human ache that reminds us how small we are, the long shadow of empires, and the world affairs that unfold before our eyes. This Lent, prayers for mercy and peace are foremost in our hearts and on our lips.”

“Some [in danger] are people those of you who are here know by name,” Bishop Lull continued. “Family, a co-worker, an in-law, a friend, a former schoolmate. The anguish of keeping vigil as you wait for news of safety or harm is almost impossible to bear, as any of us who has ever waited in a hospital corridor can attest. Known to us or not, the people in the midst of this crisis are people with names and faces, hopes for their children, and a deep desire for peace. One of the Insidious tricks of war is that it causes us to lose sight of the humanity of those on the other side—civilian or soldier.”

Father Ivan Shkumbatyuk spoke passionately, saying, “Two days ago we had a panel about the events in Ukraine, and how we can help during these times. One of the questions was, ‘Why is the war in Ukraine different from other wars in the world?’ This is not a war of aggression, rather this war has a different purpose. The destruction of the Ukrainian nation and its history. The destruction of a specific Ukrainian identity. The killing of innocent Ukrainians. Christian values such as justice, freedom, solidarity, unity and patriotism are being destroyed in Ukraine. Man cannot see the face of God, but we have seen the face of the devil.”

“Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is praying. Ukraine is working. I ask all of you today to do everything possible to stop this war. Let your voice be heard. Act. We cannot remain silent and do nothing.”

 

Helping Ukraine: Catholic Relief Services

The Archdiocese recommends that donations be made to Catholic Relief Services at crs.org.

Your help is needed in Ukraine where there are already more than 2.9 million people in need of assistance!

There is great risk of additional suffering both within Ukraine and for those who are fleeing to neighboring countries for safety. CRS and our partners need immediate support to meet both ongoing needs as the situation intensifies.

Years of conflict along the eastern border have already displaced 1.3 million people from their homes and claimed 14,000 lives and now 2 million people have fled Ukraine. Throughout this time, Caritas Ukraine, with support from CRS, has been providing emergency relief and recovery.

CRS and Caritas partners on the ground are preparing across Ukraine and in bordering countries, ready to provide safe shelter, hot meals, hygiene supplies, transport to safe areas, counseling support and more.

 

Join the Journey!  Bend your knees, mend your heart, and lend your hands.”

The Third Week of Lent

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:28

 

In a response to the killing of George Floyd Pope Francis powerfully stated during his general audience of June 3, 2020, that “we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”

 

And in a tweet dated March 21, 2021, he said: “Racism is a virus that quickly mutates and, instead of disappearing, goes into hiding, and lurks in waiting. Instances of racism continue to shame us, for they show that our supposed social progress is not as real or definitive as we think.”

 

These are just two of many instances in which Pope Francis has spoken out against racism calling it sinful and evil behavior not becoming of the followers of Christ.

 

During the third week of Lent let us mend our heart by fasting from privilege and comfort; bend our knees by praying the Sorrowful Mysteries; and lend our hands as we strive for justice and equity for all.

 

  • Mending our Heart by Fasting from Privilege and Comfort
    • Most of us do not see ourselves as racists. We have BIPOC friends. We are careful in the language we use. We support BIPOC owned businesses. And yet we quietly support the status quo of white privilege.
    • It is difficult and hard work to face the reality that our institutions and even our church are stained by racial prejudice and discrimination.
    • During this week of Lent let’s fast from the comfort of our place of privilege and let’s honestly face the harsh reality of racism that permeates most everything we do.

 

  • Bending our Knees while Praying the Sorrowful Mysteries
    • Though white herself, Janet McKenzie has delved deep into the sin of racism and through her art confronts this evil. Her painting “sanctuary” is a striking rendition of Mary and Jesus as a Black mother with a teenage boy.
    • Like Mary, many BIPOC mothers have lost their young sons to violence, sometimes even state sanctioned violence.
    • During this week let’s pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary (https://www.mary.org/liturgical-celebrations/devotions/rosary#.YhK3POjMJD9)  as we meditate on the suffering of Mary and Jesus and all victimized Mothers and Sons.
  • Lending our Hands as we Strive for Justice and Equity for All:
  • Grounded in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, Pax Christi USA strives to be the “peace of Christ” in the world today.
    You can learn about their anti-racism movement by visiting: https://paxchristiusa.org/racial-justice/

 

  • You can learn about the work of The Basilica Equity-Diversity-Inclusivity Initiative at www.mary.org/edi. There you will find the Basilica EDI Position Statement as well as suggestions for ways you can get involved in this important work.

 

  • The Basilica staff is reading Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad.  The book is broken up into four weeks, with each week offering a short daily reading and some reflection questions.  Consider reading/discussing this book with family, friends, or neighbors.

 

  • Mark your calendar for Basilica Seven Fates: Racial Healing Stations on May 22 at 1:00pm in The Basilica.  This evocative and devotional prayer service invites us to meditate on the inequities caused by racism through sacred art, music, lived experience and prayer.

 

And please remember to be patient with yourself and others.  Lent is not an endurance test or 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 pace yourselves. Give yourself and others some space. And above all be forgiving.

 

 

Home Sweet Home

Five years ago, The Basilica started an Immigration Support Ministry and entered a strategic partnership with Lutheran Social Services (LSS) to co-sponsor refugee families and they’ve helped 22 families settle in new homes in their new country.

Volunteer Dorene Wernke has been part of the Immigration Support Ministry since its inception. Dorene and her husband had lived overseas and experienced first-hand what it is like to acclimate to a new culture and new ways of doing things. Thinking back, she remembers fondly the people who welcomed her during this experience. Dorene wanted to provide that same warm welcome to people who come as refugees to our country. She finds her volunteer experience gives her a greater perspective on other cultures. She has stayed with this ministry because it is interesting and rewarding.

About six months ago, Dorene stepped in as Volunteer Coordinator of The Basilica’s Circle of Welcome for refugees, an important part of The Basilica’s Immigration Support Ministry. Circle of Welcome volunteers work with refugee families for 6 to 12 months or longer if needed. The process starts with an initial meeting with the family along with the LSS case manager.

Volunteers help the family get acquainted with their new community and provide a variety of tangible support. They might help the family find a grocery store with the types of food they enjoy and help them get there. Volunteers help families find doctors and dentists and assist with setting up appointments. They help families as their children settle into new school situations and provide follow-up in any way needed. An important role is to help families make their new living situation feel like home by finding furniture and household goods.

Circle of Welcome Ministry has been well received by Basilica volunteers and we are grateful for the important work they are doing. While Welcome Teams are filled right now, there are many ways you can help.

Families are large and finding suitable housing is challenging. If you have housing available that would work for a large family, learn more on our website at mary.org/refugeesponsorship. You will find a Housing Form and specific criteria there.

At this moment, many families need to set up new homes and this is happening all at once. Sometimes it takes families months to get needed furniture and household goods. Two other non-profit partners of The Basilica welcome your donations.

Donate furniture to Bridging bridging.org or the Minneapolis St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store at svdpmpls.org/storedonations_2.html.

Donate household goods like trash cans, wastebaskets, silverware drawer organizers, everything any family needs to set up their new home to the St. Vincent de Paul Store. The Store is located at 2939 12th Ave. S. in Minneapolis, MN 55407. You can call the Store at 612.722.7882 and hours are Monday to Friday from 10:30am to 5:30pm, and Saturdays from 10:30am - 4:00pm.

Please hold these refugee families in your thoughts and prayers as they build new lives for themselves in our community and take the time to learn more about The Basilica’s Immigration Support Ministry.

 

 

Lenten banners hung above sanctuary

Noon Mass March 14-18

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings

Monday, March 14

Tuesday, March 15

Wednesday, March 16

Thursday, March 17

Friday, March 18

 

 

It seems any direction you look, these days, there is trauma, grief, loss, and sadness. More than ever, life seems colored by weariness and struggle. While people continue to hold on to threads of gratitude and faith, life is hard. Whether it is division or loss within families, violence in neighborhoods and cities, discord in local and national politics, or international suffering and brutality, these are days that call us to dig deep into our hearts to find strength.

In February 2019, the UN General Assembly set up The International Day of Human Fraternity to commemorate the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayyeb. In this document, “the Muslims of the East and West, together with the Catholic Church and the Catholics of the East and West, declare the adoption of a culture of dialogue as the path; mutual cooperation as the code of conduct; reciprocal understanding as the method and standard.” All people were called upon to “rediscover the values of peace, justice, goodness, beauty, human fraternity and coexistence in order to confirm the importance of these values as anchors of salvation for all, and to promote them everywhere.”

This document “reflected on the level of poverty, conflict and suffering of so many brothers and sisters in different parts of the world as a consequence of the arms race, social injustice, corruption, inequality, moral decline, terrorism, discrimination, extremism and many other causes.”

With profound hope for the future of all human beings, the idea of “fraternity” was advanced. This document invites all persons to unite and work together. It seeks to be a guide to evolve a culture of mutual respect: “Faith leads a believer to see in the other a brother or sister to be supported and loved.”

The UN General Assembly called for a Second International Day of Human Fraternity in February 2022. So great is the threat to the social order—and so high the desire “to build fraternity as a bulwark against hatred, violence, and injustice,” Pope Francis calls all people to attention.

“Now is the fitting time to journey together…Do not leave it to tomorrow or an uncertain future…This is a good day to extend a hand, to celebrate our unity in diversity—unity, not uniformity, unity in diversity.”

“Now is not a time for indifference: either we are brothers and sisters, or everything falls apart. This is not to be melodramatic; it is the truth! Either we are brothers and sisters, or everything falls apart.”

Truly, the only answer to the suffering and trials of our day is found in our willingness to trust God and find the grace and strength to stay “committed to the cause of peace and to respond concretely to the problems and needs of the least, the poor and the defenseless.” Pope Francis warns, “the path of fraternity is long and challenging, it is a difficult path, yet it is the anchor of salvation for humanity.”

Let us walk side-by-side, in the harmony of differences, with respect for the identity of each. With concrete actions, let us be brothers and sisters, all.

 

 

Join the Journey!  Bend your knees, mend your hearts, and lend your hands.”

The Second Week of Lent

“On the Care for our Planet and One Another.”

 

In 2015 Pope Francis addressed his encyclical Laudato Sì. On Care for Our Common Home to “everyone living on this planet.” With this encyclical, Pope Francis calls for a radical and urgent “Ecological Conversion” which he grounds in Scripture and adds to our body of Catholic Social Teaching.

 

Pope Francis wrote that God’s granting “dominion” over the earth in Gen. 1:28 is often used to justify the relentless exploitation of our planet. As a corrective he offers Gen. 2:15 where God entrusts both the cultivation and the care for our planet to us. Too often, he says we have excelled at cultivating the earth but have failed miserably at caring for our planet.

 

Now is the time to change that and to urgently start caring for our planet and for one another.  Poor people and poorer countries bare the brunt of climate change while they are victimized by the unbridled pursuit of money and possessions in richer parts of the world.

 

You can find more information about Laudato Si’ and how we might collaborate on its implementation at: https://laudatosiactionplatform.org/ The Laudato Si’ Action Platform is a unique collaboration between the Vatican, an international coalition of Catholic organizations, and “all men and women of good will.”

 

During this Second Week of Lent let’s mend our hearts by fasting from single-use plastic; bend our knees by praying with Pope Francis; and lend our hands by purchasing sustainably and ethically sourced products.

 

  • Mending our Heart by Fasting from Single-Use Plastic
  • Pope Francis does not mince words when he says: “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”
  • Though most of us are diligent about composting and recycling far too much plastic still ends up in our ocean. In an TV interview in February Pope Francis said “Throwing plastic into the sea is criminal. It kills biodiversity, it kills the earth, it kills everything.” The best way to prevent this from happening is by eliminating the use of plastic.
  • This week let’s consider fasting from products that come in one-time use plastic containers. For many practical and attainable suggestions please go to: https://ourcommonhome.org/media/docs/Lenten-Plastic-Fast.pdf

https://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/en/

https://www.ncronline.org/earthbeat

 

  • Bending our Knee by Praying with Pope Francis
  • Pope Francis ends Laudato Sì with prayers which he invites us to pray often. During this second week of Lent let us offer the following prayer on a daily basis.

 

O God of the poor,

help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,

so precious in your eyes.

 

Bring healing to our lives,

that we may protect the world and not prey on it,

that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

 

Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain

at the expense of the poor and the earth.

 

Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,

to be filled with awe and contemplation,

to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature

as we journey towards your infinite light.

 

We thank you for being with us each day.

Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace

 

  • Lending our Hands by Purchasing Sustainably and Ethically Sourced Products
  • In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis praises St. Francis for lifting up the “inseparable bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.” Pope Francis then goes so far as to say that we need to respond to “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” as both are profoundly connected.
  • This seems like an overwhelming task. Besides we are not decision makers. We are subject to decisions made by others who have much more power and wield much greater influence than we do. Yet maybe the task is not for one person to make big changes but rather for a great number of people to institute small changes.
  • This week maybe we can carefully consider the products we buy. The important question to ask is how these products impact our planet, the lives of others and especially the lives of those making them. In other words, let’s commit ourselves to buying products that were sustainably sourced and ethically produced.

 

And please remember to be patient with yourself and others and don’t let yourself be overwhelmed.  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.

 

Johan M. J. van Parys, Ph.D.

Director of Liturgy and the Sacred Arts

 

 

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