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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 wanted to mention once again that as we re-open and renew our various ministries, services, and programs here at the Basilica, we are in need of many 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. Any time you give volunteer to help at the Basilica will be greatly appreciated.
Secondly, I wanted to say just a few words about the transition process and change of pastors. While change can be difficult, Fr. Griffith and I have tried to be very intentional in this transition process. Both of us have had the opportunity to meet with the leadership and staff of our new parishes. And these meetings have gone very well.
I think I can speak for Fr. Griffith in saying that while we both will be very sad to leave our current parish, we are both very excited about our new assignments. As we continue to transition to a new pastor, I want you to know of my ongoing prayers for our community. The Basilica is indeed a very special place—made so by our parishioners and staff. As we move forward, I ask you to please remember to keep Fr. Griffith and me in your prayers.
Finally, I want to thank you once again for your ongoing financial support of our Basilica community. Your financial support of our community makes it possible for us to continue to offer the many ministries, services, and programs that are at the heart of our Basilica community. Please know your ongoing financial support is both needed and greatly appreciated.
As always, I would like to close today with a prayer.
God of Love,
You are with us in every transition and change.
As we enter into this new era with excitement and even some anxiety,
we recall your deep compassion, presence, and abounding 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
Preserve, Restore, and Advance
The Basilica Landmark, formerly known as The Friends of The Basilica, was established in 1993 as a separate 501(c)(3) organization to preserve, restore, and advance The Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations. The Basilica Landmark provides essential financial support to uphold and maintain our beautiful buildings and campus. The partnership between The Basilica Landmark and The Basilica of Saint Mary empowers the parish’s ability to serve its more than 12,000 members, as well as the greater community.
Some of the Landmark funded projects that will be accomplished in 2022 include:
- Debris removal from the vault areas in the attic above the sanctuary that are holding moisture in the cavity and creating plaster damage on the interior of the sanctuary;
- Replacement of three condensers on the Cowley roof to repair the A/C system in this building; and
- Routine maintenance of the Church roof due to deficiencies that come with thermal movement and temperature cycles.
We are very excited about returning to an in-person Landmark Spark Gala at The Metropolitan on Saturday, May 15. If you were unable to attend Spark in-person this year, you can still participate by joining our online auction that is open now and runs until 5:00 pm on Sunday, May 16. Bid on a wide variety of interesting items, one-of-a-kind experiences, and exciting excursions at basilica2022.ggo.bid.
In addition, you can donate to our Fund-A-Need initiative that raises the necessary funds to accomplish one vital preservation or restoration project. Proceeds raised for the 2022 Fund-A-Need will help replace campus lampposts and improve exterior lighting surrounding our Landmark. An “old meets new” design will introduce LED efficiency while preserving the architecture to bring a renewed sense of optimism and safety to our community. It is not too late to have an impact!
Please consider making a gift to our Fund-A-Need at theBasilicaLandmark.org/FAN. A special thank you to all those who have already supported this year’s Fund-A-Need project.
We are so grateful for The Basilica Landmark Board of Directors, our sponsors, partners, event attendees, and all those who participate and generously support The Basilica Landmark.
Archbishop Hebda shared a letter with priests containing resources available to the faithful, parish leadership teams, and those facing crisis pregnancies.
All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings
At the end of February, I wrote a column for this newsletter, lamenting the fact that so many people have difficulty saying they were sorry. My comments were triggered by Pope Emeritus Benedict’s failure to acknowledge any personal wrongdoing regarding four specific cases of clergy sexual abuse that occurred while he was Archbishop of Munich. I suspect that his advisors told him that for legal reasons, or more likely because he was the retired pope, he should not acknowledge any wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness. I lamented his failure to apologize because I thought an apology would have sent a powerful message to Catholics, and to people everywhere, that sin and failure are a part of each of our lives, and that we all need to seek forgiveness and healing when we have hurt others by our words and actions (or inactions.)
Given the above, you can imagine my surprise when a couple of weeks ago Pope Francis issued a historic apology. Speaking to a delegation of Indigenous people from Canada, he said he was asking for God's forgiveness for the Catholic Church's role in running a system of Canadian boarding schools where Native children were, in many cases, taken from their homes and abused. Specifically, the Pope said: “All these things are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” For the deplorable conduct of these members of the Catholic Church, I ask for God’s forgiveness, and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry. And I join my brothers, the Canadian bishops, in asking your pardon.” WOW!!! For a Pope to issue such an apology is nothing short of stunning. More importantly, going forward it hopefully will serve as a model for all the priests and bishops of our Church.
Far too often when the leaders of our church have responded to the issue of abuse they have done so with denials, reluctance, half-heartedly, or with qualifying statements of regret or sadness. Seldom, though, have there by clear cut, unqualified apologies. The sad fact is that until Pope Francis I cannot remember anyone in leadership in our church uttering the simple words. I am sorry. I ask pardon.
In issuing an apology Pope Francis has clearly indicated that the Church and its leaders can no longer pretend that they didn’t/do not make mistakes, and that there is never a need for them to apologize. The fact is, we all make mistakes; the leaders of our church are no exception to this. And because we all make mistakes, we all need to learn to say and mean the words: I am sorry. I ask pardon.
I am very mindful that Jesus, who was like us, in all things but sin, has modeled for us that reconciliation and peace are to be the hallmarks of our lives as Christians. In order to be reconciled and at peace with others, however, we sometimes (and even often) need to say I am sorry; I was wrong. These words might not spring immediately from our lips; and we may not say them well or often, but that does not change the fact that seeking and offering forgiveness are part and parcel of our lives as followers of Jesus. Inspired by the recent example of Pope Francis, and empowered by God’s grace, may we never tire of or be afraid to say: I am sorry. I was wrong.
All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings
In his powerful encyclical, Fratelli Tutti—On Fraternity and Social Friendship—Pope Francis challenges us to look deeply at our individual and collective lives. He articulates a paradigm of communal life shaped and upheld by the immense and steadfast love of our God. With life infused fully with God’s love, the possibilities for culture, connection, and creation are inspiring.
Directly addressing our local and global struggles, Pope Francis confronts us and inspires us to holiness. If you have not read this document, look for it online and read it!
A primary and deep-rooted struggle of our day is racial injustice. We are a country founded with the legal institution of human chattel slavery and all the underlying spoken and unspoken assumptions this rested on. In a myriad of ways, we are still healing from this history.
Sitting with a twenty-first century mind, it is tempting to ease my discomfort and simply claim: Slavery is gone—let’s move on. Yet, Pope Francis warns: “It is easy to be tempted to turn the page, to say that all these things happened long ago and we should look to the future. For God’s sake, no! We can never move forward without remembering the past; we do not progress without an honest and unclouded memory. We need to keep alive the flame of collective conscience, bearing witness to succeeding generations to the horror of what happened, because that witness awakens and preserves the memory of the victims, so that the conscience of humanity may rise up in the face of every desire for dominance and destruction.”
Pope Francis encourages to go into the struggle: ”When conflicts are not resolved but kept hidden or buried in the past, silence can lead to complicity in grave misdeeds and sins. Authentic reconciliation does not flee from conflict, but is achieved in conflict.” We are encouraged to stay in the dialogue—open, honest, and hard.
Over the past year, The Basilica staff and leadership have been learning to address racial injustice in our individual lives and our parish community. We are working on four parish goals.
- Increased understanding of implicit/unconscious biases and its effect on each of us and our parish community
- Thursday, May 19th at 5:30, Zoom session, “Cultivating Equity at The Basilica.” Learn more and register at mary.org.
- Increased opportunities to listen to voices from the community, underserved and marginalized populations in our parish and in the community
- This fall we will share, in respectful and healing ways, stories of racial injustice right here at The Basilica. Ignored and hidden, it eats away at the dignity of our brothers and sisters.
- Increased opportunities for personal transformation to support staff and parishioners in working toward systemic change
- May 22nd at 1:00 in The Basilica: “Seven Fates: Racial Healing Stations,” a meditative experience. Register at mary.org.
- Increase diversity at all staff levels and in volunteer ministries
You are invited to join in this work, wherever you find yourself on this issue. If you are struggling, come to share your concerns. Come and learn how you can get involved in our parish work.
If we believe “God created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and has called them to live together as brothers and sisters,” as Pope Francis states, let us engage together and continue the hard work of love.