On behalf of the 2022-2023 Parish Council, warm greetings to all. This is my first column as Parish Council Chair. What an honor it is to assume this role! As you may have read in a previous bulletin, I am a retired school administrator in our Catholic schools, a wife, mother of three adult children, and grandmother of 6. I have many interests including quilting, biking, reading and travelling. My faith has always been central to me since I was a small child.

This summer our Parish Council Vice Chair, Steven Kim, and our Secretary, My Lam, and I have spent time together getting to know one another and discussing our hopes for Parish Council this year. Learn more about the 2022-2023 Parish Council members at

The Parish Council has not met in-person for a while due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, we will launch the year with an in-person mini-retreat scheduled for the evening of September 28. The focus of the retreat will be reconnecting in faith and selecting our goals for the year. We would very much like to know what you, our community members, hope that the Parish Council can accomplish and support this year so that your thoughts can be included in our discernment during the retreat. Please email your thoughts to before our September 28 meeting.

Last spring, the Parish Council completed a revised governance document outlining the roles and responsibilities of the Council. They also passed a list of potential action items for the Council. This work and the thoughts of our community will guide our discussions and conclusions on the 28th. Many thanks to our past Parish Council for this work and to Past Council Chair, Katelin Richter Davis, for her leadership in this area and throughout the past year.

As part of our long-term financial picture, a Long-Term Financial Planning/Budget Committee led by Trustee, Tom Paul, has been working hard for several months. As the name suggests, this group aims to create a five-year plan to align our resources with our needs and wants as a parish. More information on this work will be forthcoming.

The Parish Council welcomes Fr. Daniel Griffith as our newly installed Pastor and Rector! What a truly beautiful installation Mass and reception. Much credit to our parish staff and, of course, Archbishop Hebda, for their many contributions in creating this event. We look forward to Fr. Daniel’s leadership and to his interactions with us at our mini retreat.

Our parish is very large, and we are looking for ways to connect with as many of you as we can in community, as volunteers, in worship and as children of God. There are a wide variety of ways that the Basilica serves our community and a wide variety of ways that we can serve the Basilica. Let’s walk together in faith.

May your days be richly blessed.


Jill Reilly
Parish Council Chair
The Basilica of Saint Mary



For more than a century, our beautiful Basilica has prominently marked the downtown Minneapolis skyline. The Basilica of Saint Mary can only serve future generations through a dedicated effort to preserve, restore and advance our historic campus.

Did you know that three of our Basilica campus buildings—the Church, School and Rectory are on the National Register of Historic Places? Our fourth building, Cowley Center, was built in the 1960s, and is also showing its age.

The Basilica Landmark, a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was organized by volunteers in 1993 to preserve and restore The Basilica of Saint Mary and its campus. What does it take to preserve and restore this historic campus? It takes helps from all of us.

Would you join our effort and make a gift to support The Basilica Landmark’s Annual Fund? With your financial help, our campus and historic buildings will continue to provide an essential foundation for the ministries that serve thousands with countless physical, mental, and spiritual needs.

Have you noticed the safety netting recently installed over one of The Basilica’s stained-glass windows? The good news is the interior ceiling plaster in the church is finally drying out after years of moisture damage. The bad news—as this plaster dries, it is crumbling. Falling plaster dust around one of the windows has graduated to falling pieces of plaster, which led to this recent installation of safety netting.

This month, a team including our architects and a church restoration specialist gathered on campus to investigate these issues with the interior ceiling plaster. In the short term, next steps include an assessment of the condition of the ceiling plaster and recommendations to ensure safety for all who enter The Basilica. Long term, our hopes are to raise funds for an extensive exterior and interior restoration of The Basilica.

As you can imagine, The Basilica’s yearly maintenance needs are great and funds are always in demand. This year is no exception. Inflation and supply shortages have added additional pressures. A few of the projects planned and underway include:


· Conducting a comprehensive study of the building exterior to better understand and prioritize how to keep moisture out to meet the restoration needs of our historic building

· Creating a clean room to house the new organ blower and replacing several organ baffles

· Ongoing tuck pointing of the church exterior and roof repairs


This list goes on with smaller maintenance projects that need attention to keep the campus functioning, like fixing cracked concrete, addressing lighting issues, and more.

Please support The Basilica Landmark Annual Fund by making a gift today. You can make your gift by going online at or by calling the Development Office at 651.317.3472.

Together we can continue to preserve and restore our beloved Basilica so it will remain the beautiful gateway for this vibrant parish that serves, engages, and inspires the surrounding community.



Support our school supply drive for the scholars at Church of the Ascension Catholic School in North Minneapolis. 

You can order items directly from the Target Charity Registry to ship to Ascension School by September 6.


Come & See...Come & Be 

September 17, 18, 24 & 25

Saturdays, 6:00pm

Sundays, 8:30am 12:30pm or 6:00pm

“Though many parts we are all one body in Christ.” Serving in the role as a liturgical minister is one way of expressing your faith, skills, and talents while serving the body of Christ.
Explore the possibility of serving as a Minister of Hospitality, Eucharistic Minister, Acolyte, or Lector.

Learn more about volunteering.


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Gathering around the hospital bed, the generations of Chenne’s family found comfort in the rituals of prayer. As I intoned the Our Father, both old and young voices chimed in unison with the traditional sequence of words. The family was intent on praying this “good man” into heaven. Battling a damaging stroke in 2010, Chenne was now in a hospice unit preparing for death. Having escaped from Cambodia and the clutches of Pol Pot, he and his wife became political refugees who found their way to America in 1979. He kept alive the struggle to free Cambodia from the tyranny of this dictator. Anointing him in the company of his wife, children and grandchildren became a family affair. Family members would take turns praying out loud and describing the importance of this brave man in their lives. There was no doubt in their minds that he was heavenly bound.

Getting into heaven becomes a reasonable question for all of us, and fortunately our gospel reading for the Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time offers us some guidelines for getting there. In this week’s passage from the gospel of Luke (13:22-30), we are tracking Jesus’ journey through one small town after another. This peripatetic lifestyle was reflective of Jesus’ expectation for his disciples: “The foxes have their holes and the birds of the air have their nests; but the son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58; Matthew 8:20) To follow Jesus is to accept an invitation to leave those things, places or people who would inhibit a serious understanding of what the cost of discipleship might entail. “Making his way to Jerusalem” was a metaphor for Jesus’ prediction of his own suffering and death. Concerned about the dangerous challenge of following Jesus to Jerusalem, the disciples found the courage to ask the right question: “Lord, will only a few be saved?” The disciples began to hear Jesus’ tough love message. No one can take salvation for granted.

The paradoxical responses of Jesus can be aggravating at times, especially if you want a “yes or no” answer. I am reminded of the Irish priest who went into a bar and invited all those who wanted to give up alcohol and go to heaven to line up against the wall. Dutifully, all the fellows, except for Paddy O’Sullivan, lined up. Turning to O’Sullivan the priest asked: “Paddy, don’t you want to give up the evils of alcohol and go to heaven?” Paddy replied, “Yes, of course, I want to go to heaven. But I thought you were going right now!”

Robert Frost, the great American poet, once summed up his understanding of life: “In three words I can sum up everything I have learned in life: It goes on.” Frost, a beloved but cranky poet, ended up having inscribed on his tombstone: “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.” This epitaph was taken from the last stanza of his poem entitled, “The Lesson for Today.” Being quarrelsome with the world is not a bad way to approach evil. Wrestling with worldly values that are destructive to Jesus’ invitation to be signs of peace, justice and compassion in the world must be pursued if the Kingdom of God is to be found.

Borrowing from another of Frost’s poems, The Road Not Taken, the invitation of Jesus is to take the road less taken when we are faced with choices. Taking the one less traveled by will make all the difference in this world and in the next. Is the road to heaven all that clear for you? Jesus’ sense of humor emerges when he reverses our human perceptions of the right road: “Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Learning to see through the “eyes of Jesus” requires a willingness to let God’s grace take control of our life, to “Let go, and let God.”

As I left Chenne’s room, he was surrounded by his family who were singing hymns in Cambodian. Surviving the terrors of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, Chenne’s life would go on whether on earth or in heaven. His faith and that of his family would exemplify what the sign that greeted all who entered this hospice unit: “Together we make a family.”

Listening to the radio as I was driving home, the song We are Family, by Sister Sledge, jarred me out of my grief and set my toes to tapping and my body to swaying! I cranked up the volume and listened intently to the lyrics: “We are family, I got my sisters with me! Here’s what we call the golden rule, you won’t go wrong, have faith in you and the things you do. So get up everybody and sing, we are family!”


Fr. Joseph Gillespie, OP
Senior Associate
The Basilica of Saint Mary