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Thank you to the patrons, guests and volunteers who made the 2017 Basilica Landmark Ball a success. 

Through your generosity, the Ball raised a gross amount of more than $345,000, which will help us fulfill The Basilica Landmark's mission is to preserve, restore, and advance the historic Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations.

The Fund-A-Need program brought in a record $120,000 to use towards making The Basilica campus and grounds more accessible. These projects  starting this summer.

 

Click here to view the event photos. Thank you to our photographers, Elyse Rethlake and Barbara Broten, for donating their time and talent and capturing this special evening! 

 

 

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In just a few short weeks I will celebrate my 10th Basilica Block Party. In 2007 when I started as a wide-eyed Block Party intern I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I was completely out of my depths. I had never even attended a Block Party and had no idea what to expect when the gates opened that first night.

Fast forward to today and even after all these years it still hasn’t lost its charm. It is still my absolute favorite event of the summer.

Over the years I have made countless friends by working on this event. I even met my now husband five years ago when working together on the Block Party committee.

The dedication and work everyone puts into this event is unparalleled. It is truly a collaborative effort, each person playing an important role in executing this summer tradition: from the 1,600 volunteers that do everything from scan your ticket on the way in to the green team, who picks up and makes sure every last bottle is recycled into the early morning hours long after you leave for the evening, to the staff and committees that plan for almost a full year to ensure a safe and successful event. Not to mention our partners and sponsors that we couldn’t do the event without.

Over the years I have also gotten to see some pretty amazing concerts and been exposed to bands that I would otherwise never have taken the time to see. In my opinion, there is no better way to spend a warm summer night in Minnesota then to be outside listening to live music with The Basilica as your backdrop.

It still gives me chills looking from our beloved Basilica back to the band rocking out on stage with a sea of people in-between enjoying what so many have worked so hard to put together. It is an incredible event and this year once again promises to be a great weekend of fun and music benefiting the efforts of The Basilica Landmark’s mission to preserve, protect, and restore The Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations and St. Vincent de Paul to help our neighbors in need.

I hope you will join us on July 7 and 8 for 2017 Cities 97 Basilica Block Party to celebrate this summer tradition with great food, good friends, and tasty beverages. And don’t forget the unbelievable bands including Brandi Carlile, WALK THE MOON, The Shins, AWOLNATION, NEEDTOBREATHE, Gavin DeGraw, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Walk Off The Earth, and many more!

Check out our Basilica Block Party website for ticket information.

 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/061817.cfm 

Many years ago when I was growing up, my mother decided she would bake bread and rolls for our family rather then purchase them at the store.   This practice stopped when my youngest brother was born.  I think with 7 children, one of them being a new born, something had to give.  For a few years, though, it was great to wake up to the smell of fresh bread a couple times a week.  Even as a child, I knew that making bread was a way for my mother to express her love for us.    Given this, it wasn’t difficult at all for me to understand that the Eucharist --- the Bread of Life --- was an expression of Christ’s love for us.   

I mention the above because this Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.    This feast celebrates our belief, as Catholics, that in the Eucharist Jesus Christ is really and truly present.    We offer no proof for this belief.  There is no rational explanation for it.  There is no way to logically reason to it.  For us it is a matter of faith.   And, as we read in the Letter to the Hebrews: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”  (Heb. 11.1) 

In our Gospel this weekend, Jesus tells the people:  “I am 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 these words we believe Jesus has promised to be with his people in the Eucharist that we celebrate and share in his name.   Further, we believe that in the Eucharist not only do we share in Christ’s life in this world, but also we are given the promise of eternal life.

Our first reading this weekend is taken from the book of Deuteronomy.  In it Moses reminded the people not to forget the Lord their God who “fed you in the desert with manna, a food unknown to your fathers.”  We see manna as prefiguring the Eucharist.

Our second reading this weekend is taken from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians.  In it Paul reminded the people of Corinth that “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. How was the Eucharist explained to you as a child?   How do you understand it now?   
  2. How would you explain the Eucharist to someone who does not come from a Christian background? 
  3. What is your strongest memory of receiving the Eucharist? 

A few months ago I got together for dinner with a friend. During our dinner conversation he told me that on a recent trip to the East coast, he had seen GOD’S truck on the highway. Since I am not one to be easily taken in, I asked him what he meant. He said that while he was driving to the East Coast to visit some relatives and friends, in the distance ahead he saw a truck with the word G O D written in large letters across its back doors. He went on to say that as he got closer to the truck he realized that it wasn’t really GOD’S truck after all. Rather it was a truck with very large lettering that announced: Guaranteed Overnight Delivery. As he told this story we both had a good laugh. I then suggested that he get his eyes checked relatively soon. 

As I reflected on my friend’s encounter with GOD’S truck, it occurred to me that perhaps there was a message in this experience. Specifically, it struck me that for most of us when we pray to God we often expect “Guaranteed Overnight Delivery” in response to our prayers. We expect God to hear our prayers, to understand the wisdom, goodness, and unselfishness behind them, and then to respond to them completely, swiftly, and preferably overnight. The reality is, though, that God doesn’t operate according to our timeline and/or agenda.

 Certainly this can be frustrating and it can cause people to wonder why many times their best and most unselfish prayers go unanswered. In some cases people can begin to wonder if they aren’t saying the right prayers, or if they aren’t praying hard enough, or if they just aren’t holy enough. Sadly, for some people, it can even cause them to give up on prayer all together. 

The reality is, though, that it is fairly presumptuous of us to expect that God’s response to our prayers should take the form of “Guaranteed Overnight Delivery.” God is not under any obligation to respond to our prayers according to our timeline and in exactly the manner we want. This doesn’t mean, though, that God doesn’t respond to our prayers. 

More times than I can count I have realized (most often in retrospect) that God had responded to my prayers, but in ways I hadn’t imagined or in ways I hadn’t been open to at the time. Often times too, instead of doing things for me, I have discovered that God has given me the strength, the courage, ability, and the grace to do something I had been praying and asking God to do. 

God never promised Guaranteed Overnight Delivery in response to our prayers. If we can pray with open hearts and minds, though, and if we can trust and believe that God does indeed hear and respond to our prayers, we will discover that God has responded to our prayers. This response may not occur in the way we had wanted or hoped, but most certainly in the way we need.

Visitors to the studio and gallery of Sister Mary Ann Osborne, SSND are surrounded by stories carved in wood or printed on paper. There stories are taken from Scripture and inspired by feast days such as the Annunciation, Epiphany and Pentecost. They draw viewers in and invite them to discover their own stories.

The work of Sister Mary Ann is also inspired by conversations, writings and music, old and new. Her art at times comments on local and international events, peace and justice issues and acts of nature, like the tornado that devastated her home town of Saint Peter, MN, in 1998.

Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger, foundress of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) has been a major influence on Sister Mary Ann's work. The art she created for With Passion, her 2015 exhibition at The Basilica, was inspired by quotes from Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger and Pope Francis. An exhibition she conceived for Saint Paul Monastery in Saint Paul, MN a few years ago was entitled Love Cannot Wait. Sister Mary Ann borrowed this title from1882 writings by Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger. An imagined diary of the foundress accompanies the art. The work is now rotated monthly in a space near the Monastery's Good Counsel chapel.

 

Sister Mary Ann Osborne Art Studio

Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger' influence on Sr. Mary Ann actually goes back to the very beginning of her art making as her first carvings (1985) were created to honor the SSND foundress on the occasion of her beatification. At that time Sister Mary Ann had taken only two summer workshops in wood carving, for a total of three weeks. After thirteen years of teaching in elementary schools in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa, Sister Mary Ann felt her future had a different path. She loved the students and enjoyed teaching but she felt called to teach in a new way. She was given permission to study and work as an apprentice with a wood carver in Faribault, MN. The original agreement was for one year, then followed by a second year. By 1988 she was a full-time artist, with her first studio space at Our Lady of Good Counsel. A couple years later she pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Metropolitan State University and studied for six months with Franciscan Sister Sigmunda May in Stuttgart, Germany.

The artist spends most of her days working in her sunny studio, a former laundry where she moved in 2004. Sometimes she will sketch ideas on paper, but she prefers to start with the wood, carving soon after some initial drawing directly on the surface. She usually begins with the faces. When studying with Sister Sigmunda she was encouraged to follow her heart, listen to God and let the characteristics of the wood guide her process. For carvings she typically uses kiln dried wood, bass or linden. The embellishments she adds to her wood sculptures often have their own stories. She has repurposed arches and copper from buildings under renovation. And people often drop off items they think she may be able to use; parts of a beautiful broken vase, pieces of glass or silver, or small logs from a beaver dam. Eventually these items find their way into a piece of art.

Sister Mary Ann has admired and been inspired by other artists including her teacher Sister Sigmunda May, Corita Kent, Henry Moore, Joseph O'Connell, Ernst Barlach and Käthe Kollwitz. Her work can be found around the world in churches, schools, hospitals and homes. In addition to wood carving, she does woodcut prints and works with glass.

 

Sister Mary Ann Osborne

The Basilica selected her piece One Breath from our art collection to visually represent the Revolution of Love and Tenderness initiatives this year.  The piece of art was selected given its heart shape reference embracing the people of the world with love and tenderness and will be displayed in The Basilica throughout the year. Sister Mary Ann shares the meaning as, “Through the spirit we must work together sharing love and tenderness, to make the world a better place. All it takes is one breath of God in our direction.”

It is good to keep in mind that Love Cannot Wait has been the directional statement for the School Sisters of Notre Dame for the past five years. The statement commits this international congregation of women religious to embrace dialogue as a way of life that leads to new discoveries about themselves and others, and to conversion, reconciliation and healing. It is a call to change lives and the world. Sr. Mary Ann does this beautifully through her art.

 

Sister Mary Ann’s studio is located in Florian Hall at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Mankato. She welcomes visitors.  sistermaryannosborne.com  

 

By Kathy Dhaemers, Associate Director of Sacred Arts

Published BASILICA Magazine Spring 2017, A Revolution of Love and Tenderness

 

For the readings for this Sunday click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/061117.cfm   

Three = One.   Huh?   

This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.   This Feast celebrates the ONE God who has revealed God’s Self as Creating Father, Redeeming Son, and Sanctifying Spirit.    The Preface for this feast (The Preface is that part of the Mass that leads into the Holy, Holy, Holy.) declares:  “For what you have revealed to us of  your glory we believe equally of your  Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  

Our readings this Sunday speak of the relationship of humans with God, beginning with the Israelite people.   In the first reading from the book of Exodus, Moses on Mount Sinai encounters God.   We are told that God passed before him and cried out:  "The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindess and fidelity."  

In our second reading this weekend, from the letter to the Corinthians,  Paul states our Trinitarian belief succinctly: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God , and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you."   

Finally in our Gospel reading we are reminded that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might  not perish, but might have eternal life."   

All three of our readings for this Feast remind us that the God we worship today is the same God who chose the Israelites, who was fully revealed to us by Jesus Christ, and who continues to abide with each of us and with our Church today.   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. I think sometimes the Trinity is perhaps best grasped through analogy, rather than through theological language.   So think of your mother.   To you she is mother; to her mother she is/was daughter; to her husband she is/was wife.   She is one and the same person, yet viewed in different ways at different times.    What analogy has helped (or still helps) you to understand the Trinity?
  2. We often use words to describe the different Persons in the Godhead.  What words would you use to help distinguish the different Persons in the Triune Godhead?    Hint:  some people use Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.  
  3. What do you think is the biggest stumbling block to belief in a Triune God? 

After opening at the Vatican Museum in Rome, this unique Swiss Guard exhibit has appeared in only three US cities: Los Angeles, Boston, and Washington DC, and makes its last US stop in Minneapolis at The Basilica from June 3-July 30. 

Why stop at The Basilica in Minneapolis? In addition to his Basilica responsibilities, Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts Johan van Parys chairs the local chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums. The Patrons’ mission is to promote, protect, and restore the art and artifacts of the Vatican Museums. With over 6 million visitors annually and one of the largest collections in the world, the Vatican Museums reach out to make their collection available to those who can’t travel to Rome. 

We are blessed with this unique opportunity to have the Vatican Museums come to us. Long time Patrons members, Jack and Cathy Farrell and Lydie and Jacques Stassarts helped sponsor the exhibit. The Basilica is doing its part by offering exhibit space in the church, St. John XXII Gallery, and Teresa of Calcutta Hall in The Basilica’s lower level. 

Vatican exhibit curator Romina Cometti is on hand to supervise the installation. While the truck has arrived, Johan van Parys shared his excitement to finally see items only viewed in the Exhibit Catalogue by saying, “While many of us know the colorful Swiss Guard uniforms, this exhibit takes us behind the scenes for an insider’s view into the lives of these young Catholic men who dedicate at least two years to protect the Pope.” 

Johan explained that this exhibit grew out of a one time shoot by photographer Fabio Mantegna, well renowned in Italy. Mantegna received permission for an extended behind the scenes photo shoot. His incredible photographs show these young men during their training, at prayer, working out, receiving their uniforms, and joining the Swiss Guard. 

Over 80 stunning photographs serve as the exhibit’s centerpiece and could stand alone, but much more is on display. Romina Cometti interviewed the young men about why they’ve chosen to join the Swiss Guard. Quotes from her interviews accompany the photos, and the exhibit also includes artifacts from the Swiss Guards 500 year history like uniforms and security gadgets. 

Founded in 1506 by Pope Julius II, best known for commissioning the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo, the Swiss Guard was given the express mission of protecting the Pope and the Vatican. Their historic multi-colored uniforms may distract from the seriousness of the Swiss Guards’ responsibilities. Early in the Guards history on May 6, 1527, the army of the Holy Roman Empire sacked Rome and two-thirds of the Guards were massacred defending the Pope. Succeeding in their mission, Pope Clement VII escaped with his life to Castel Sant’Angelo just outside the Vatican walls.

Today, new Swiss Guards are sworn in on May 6 to commemorate those Guards who lost their lives protecting the Pope.

THE LIFE OF A SWISS GUARD: A PRIVATE VIEW 
EXHIBIT: JUNE 3-JULY 30
RECEPTION & TALK: SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 1:00PM

Swiss Guard Exhibit Hours: Open weekends, or tours by appointment. Tours of the exhibit are not available until noon, Monday through Thursday. Tours available morning and afternoon on Fridays.

Register online at mary.org for a tour or call 612.317.3410. Exhibit catalogues will be on sale, along with a wonderful Swiss Guard cookbook which includes favorite recipes of the Guards as well as favorites of our recent Popes. 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/060417-day-mass.cfm 

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost.  Along with Christmas and Easter, Pentecost  is really the third great Feast of our Church year.  Unfortunately, coming as it does at the beginning of summer, Pentecost doesn’t get nearly the attention that Christmas and Easter do.   And yet Pentecost, because it celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church, is very important.   

If we are honest, I think another reason why Pentecost doesn’t get the attention it deserves is that the Holy Spirit is the least understood member of the Trinity.   In fact, when I was growing up the Holy Spirit was referred to as the Holy Ghost.   And if you think understanding the Holy Spirit is difficult, you can only imagine what it was like for a teacher to explain the Holy Ghost.   And yet, the work of the Spirit is experienced in a variety of ways both in our Church and in our individual lives.   In this regard some of the words we use to speak of the work the Spirit are:  Animator, Counselor, Advocate, Guide, and Comforter.   We also speak of the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit.   While we may not have the precise clarity of understanding we would like in regard to the Holy Spirit, what is clear is that the work of the Holy Spirit is essential to our Church and our individual lives.  

Our readings for this weekend speak clearly of the work of the Spirit.   Our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us of the very first Pentecost.    The gift of tongues, so that all people could hear of the “mighty acts of God” in their own language, reverses the “babel” that resulted when the people in Genesis tried to build a tower to the heavens.   The Gospel reading recounts the gift of the Holy Spirit to the first disciples.   And the Second reading from Corinthians reminds us that there are “different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. How would you describe the Holy Spirit to someone who didn’t come from a Christian background?
  2. How have you felt the Spirit working in your life?
  3. What gifts of the Spirit have you been given?

In a few weeks, from June 18 - June 22, the priests of our Archdiocese will gather at the Kahler Hotel in Rochester for our biennial Presbyteral Assembly. Every other year, for many years now our Archbishops have asked the priests of our Archdiocese to set aside their parish or institutional responsibilities and gather together for a few days to talk about some specific areas of our lives/ministries. This year the various speakers will focus on the Spirituality of the Diocesan Priesthood; Priestly Fraternity; and Affective Maturity. (I’m not at all sure what that last topic means.)

These gatherings are good and important. As priests, we gather in all our diversity and with all our differences, and spend time together in fraternity. During our time together we are well aware of the things that unite us as well as those things about which we disagree. And often times the things about which we disagree are brought up in very public ways. In fact, in the years I have been attending these assemblies, I have often been reminded of an old Phyllis Diller line from many years ago: “Never go to bed angry. Stay up and fight.”

We priests are very much like most other Catholics. We don’t always agree with each other. In fact, if the truth be told, we differ; we disagree; and sometimes we argue. But through it all we stay together. We don’t walk away from each other. I believe the reason for this is that we realize that, at root, the things that unite us are more important than the things that might divide us.

Disagreement and tension have always been a part of the life of our Church. In the Acts of the Apostles, Paul fought with Peter over the issue of Gentile converts. Moreover, through the centuries, disagreement and dissension have been part of more than one Council and/or Conclave. Yet through it all our Church not only has survived; it has thrived. I think the reason for this is twofold.

First, we believe that the Spirit of God has guided and continues to guide our Church. And with the guidance of the Spirit comes the promise and gift of Indefectibility. The gift of Indefectibility tells us that because the Holy Spirit leads and guides our Church, the Church cannot and will not deviate fundamentally from the truth of the Gospel, from the Mission of the Church, or from the Life of Faith. The guidance of the Holy Spirit ensures that despite disagreements that might arise, despite any appearance of division, our Church cannot deviate in fundamental and essential ways from the Gospel, the Mission that Christ entrusted to it, or from the Life of Faith.

The second thing that has ensured that our Church has thrived through the centuries is the grace of God poured out on the Church as a whole, and upon each individual member. I am more and more convinced that God’s grace has enabled and continues to enable us to identify, to discuss, to work through, and/or accept the differences and disagreements that exist within our Church. It is the grace of God that allows us to see beyond the differences that would divide us, to the many and foundational things that unite us. Our Church, both locally, as well as internationally, is very diverse. But diversity does not necessarily need to lead to division. Nor does diversity mean that we can’t stand on the common ground that is foundational for us and that ultimately unites us with God.

“Big God, Big Church” is a phrase that is really a mantra for me. It reminds me that the embrace of our Church cannot be anything less that the embrace of our God’s love. Occasionally all of us—even priests—need to be reminded of this fact. The things that unite us are far more important than the things about which we might differ or disagree. The challenge for all of us is to rely a little more on God’s grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and a little less on our own ideas and biases. As followers of the Lord Jesus this must always be our hope and our goal.

 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser: https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052817-ascension.cfm   

This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of Jesus into heaven.   When I was pastor of a parish with a school I loved celebrating Mass with children on this day.   After the Gospel I would stand in front of the altar and stare up at the ceiling.  Within a few seconds every child in the place would also be staring at the ceiling.   After about a minute of this, I would tell them that they were dong the exactly the same thing Jesus’ disciples did when Jesus ascended into heaven.   

We read of Jesus’ Ascension in our first reading this weekend which is taken from the Acts of the Apostles.  In that reading we are told that when Jesus gathered with his disciples for the last time after his resurrection he told them: “When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’  When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.  While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.  They said ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?’ This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”   

Our Gospel reading this weekend contains the final verses of Matthew’s Gospel.  In it Jesus commands his disciples to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit………”  Jesus also reminded his disciples, that “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”   

Our second reading this weekend is taken from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians.   In it Paul prays that the “eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Sometimes I am like the disciples.  I stare off into the heavens looking for Jesus, and forget his promise to be with us always, until the end of the age.   Is this true for you as well? 
  2. How are you called to give witness to Jesus in your life?
  3. How would you explain to someone our belief that Christ is both in heaven and yet with us here on earth?   

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