A Place of Hope

Our shared journey at The Basilica 


Basilica Magazine Winter 2022


Basilica Magazine Winter 2022



Thank you to the dedicated team of volunteers who work to create this publication.  

The award-winning BASILICA magazine is sponsored by The Basilica Landmark, a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to preserve, restore, and advance the historic Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations.


Each issue includes in-depth features about the people, art, history, and spirituality that make The Basilica a vibrant community.

BASILICA is published twice a year with a circulation of 20,000.

For advertising information please contact Mae Desaire.











christmas altar

Noon Masses December 26-30

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.


Monday, December 26 - No Mass

Tuesday, December 27

Wednesday, December 28

Thursday, December 29

Friday, December 30 - No Mass 



Christmas Season 2022-2023: God is with us!

Christmas: The Word was made flesh!


The Christmas Season begins on the evening of December 24 and runs through Monday, January 9, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Because January 1 falls on a Sunday, The Feast of the Holy Family which is usually celebrated on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year will be celebrated on Friday, December 30. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is usually celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany but because Epiphany is so late in January (January 7 or 8) Baptism of the Lord will be celebrated on Monday, January 9.


What to do in the Domestic Church:


The Manger

Already by the 5th C. the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome featured a chapel with a representation of the scene of Jesus’ birth as described in the Gospels and visualized by artists. It was not until the 12th C. when Saint Francis promoted the use of the manger that its popularity grew dramatically. From the 12thC. on crib-making became widespread throughout Europe.


Today, Christmas scenes known as mangers or crèches, are displayed in churches and homes throughout the world. In most cases these crèches beautifully reflect the race and ethnicity of the people who created them.


The Christmas Tree

The earliest reports of decorated trees date back to ancient Roman times when small trees were decorated with pieces of polished metal during the winter festival of Saturnalia to honor Saturn, the god of agriculture. During the Middle Ages, Adam and Eve were commemorated with mystical plays on December 24 and an evergreen was decorated with apples to symbolize the tree of Paradise. In Germany this tree came to be know as Christbaum or Christ tree which eventually became the Christmas tree. By the nineteenth century the Christmas tree had become ubiquitous in the Western Hemisphere.


Whether it is placed outside or inside the church, a Christmas tree is a wonderful symbol of the tree of life, the tree of paradise. It brings joy to people’s hearts as they indulge in feelings of nostalgia from childhood memories. At the same time, it invites people to look toward the fu­ture when the promise of eternal life will be fulfilled.



A Blessing of your Manger

The leader begins with the sign of the cross.



As we celebrate the birth of Christ, we pause to bless this manger.

The practice of erecting mangers was encouraged by St. Francis as a way to draw attention to the message of Christmas.




A Quick Glance at the Gospel Readings for Christmas

There are four different sets of readings for the celebration of Christmas. We have a set of readings for Mass on Christmas Eve, Mass during the night, Mass at Dawn on Christmas Day and Mass during Christmas Day.


The Gospel for Mass on Christmas Eve: Matthew 1: 18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.


The Gospel for Mass during the Night: Luke 2: 1-4

While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child, 
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, 
because there was no room for them in the inn.


The Gospel for Mass at dawn on Christmas Day: Luke 2: 15-20

Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God 
for all they had heard and seen, 
just as it had been told to them.


The Gospel for Mass during the day on Christmas: John 1: 1-18

And the Word became flesh

and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.


This Week at The Basilica of Saint Mary


Christmas Eve and Christmas Day


Saturday, december 24

2:00pm:*         Vigil Eucharist 

Organ, Cantor, Cathedral Choristers, Children’s Choir and Cherubs

5:00pm:*         Vigil Eucharist 

Mundus & Juventus                                      

7:30pm:          Vigil Eucharist  

Piano, Cantor, Violin, Trumpet

10:30pm:        Prelude Music for Christmas

Organ, Harp, Flute

11:00pm:        Choral Music for Christmas

The Basilica Cathedral Choir, Organ, Harp, Flute                                                                           

11:30pm         Vigil of Lights 

The Basilica Cathedral Choir, Organ

Midnight:*       Solemn Eucharist 

The Basilica Cathedral Choir, Organ, Brass, Harp 


Sunday, december 25

7:30am           Eucharist at Dawn  

                        Organ, Cantor, Violin, Soprano Soloist

9:30am:*         Solemn Eucharist    

The Basilica Cathedral Choir, Organ, Brass, Strings 

11:30am:        Solemn Eucharist    

The Basilica Cathedral Choir, Organ, Brass, Strings 

5:00pm:          Eucharist                   

Christmas music from around the world

Sunday Vespers:


There will be no Vespers on Christmas Day.

On Sunday, January 1, the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God Mirandola will sing Gregorian Vespers at 3:00pm.

On Sunday, January 8, the Solemnity of the Epiphany The Basilica Schola Cantorum will sing Vespers at 3:00pm.


Weekday Eucharist

We celebrate Mass in the St. Joseph Chapel, Monday through Friday at 7:00am and at Noon. The noon Mass is livestreamed.

Please note that there will be no Masses on December 26 as The Basilica will be closed.


Morning Prayer:

On Thursdays we gather in the Basilica Choir Stalls at 9:15am for the celebration of Morning Prayer. This is a simple but beautiful way to begin your day.


The Sacrament of Reconciliation

A priest is available in the St. Joseph Chapel for the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation each Saturday between 9:00-10:00am.



The Nativity Scenes from our Basilica collection are now on exhibit in The Basilica and in the Undercroft.

We will continue to post one of the nativities in my personal collection on Facebook throughout the Christmas Season.


And please remember to be pace yourself!

Christmas is neither an endurance test nor a time to prove our Christian heroism. Rather, Christmas is a time to slow down and savor what is essential to our faith and our life as Christians. So please pace yourselves. Give yourself and others the necessary space. And above all be patient.


Our Basilica YES teen group is collecting new hats, scarves, mittens, and socks for our St. Vincent de Paul ministry. Please bring your donation to The Basilica this Christmas. Let’s help our neighbors in need stay warm this winter. Wrapped bins are located near the church entrance.


wrapped bin












Jesus Christ, the Light of the World

When we think of Christmas, there are many images and symbols that flood to mind, but no symbol is more prominent to the meaning of Christmas than light. Light has been equated with God from the beginning of the creation accounts in the Book of Genesis and light as a symbol is seen throughout the Hebrew Scripture and the New Testament. Jesus Christ, the incarnate son of God, is known by many titles, but no title is more important at Christmas than Jesus Christ—the Light of the World. In our ancient Nicene Creed we profess our belief in Christ who is described as begotten of the Father—God from God, light from light.

In our celebration of Christmas, the symbol of light predominates—from our celebration of Mass to our cultural celebration of Christmas with family and friends. In the first reading from Christmas Mass we hear the prophet Isaiah speak these words: “[t]he people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown.” In the prologue of John’s Gospel heard on Christmas Day, the evangelist writes: “what came to be through him was life and this life was the light of the human race and the darkness has not overcome it.” Here, in this moving passage from St. John, we see why the virtue of hope is connected with the Christmas story. In Jesus Christ, God manifests his light to the world and we are emboldened by the promise that the darkness will not overcome the light. In Christ, God’s eternal light is manifest and triumphant and this truth is indeed a source of hope for Christians.

There are three particular ways that the Incarnation of God in Christ is a source of light. First, as we hear in the Nicene Creed, the light of God is revealed in life itself and its attendant dignity. God’s light is seen in the gift of human life because we are created in the image and likeness of God. What is more, God restores and redeems human life through the Incarnation which we celebrate at Christmas and through Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection which we celebrate during Holy Week and Easter. Second, the light of God is seen as overcoming the darkness of ignorance and untruth. The Christmas story is extraordinary because it’s true! In the Incarnation, we witness the truth of God’s redeeming love and the truth of his way—the way of discipleship, which we are called to follow. God’s truth—manifested in both Scripture and Tradition—lights our path as we seek to live as faithful disciples in the world. Finally, in the Incarnation, God’s light triumphs over the darkness of sin as God unfolds in Christ his plan of reconciling love.

As said above, light is seen throughout our religious and cultural celebration of Christmas. Whether it is the lighting of the Advent wreath that symbolizes the coming of the light or the lighting of Christmas trees throughout the world, light is synonymous with Christmas. Think too of the comfort and warmth of a fire during the holiday season as friends and family gather around to share love and fellowship. In November, I was watching the Vikings game which was on national television and was pleasantly surprised that the broadcast included images of The Basilica beautifully lit up at night. Such is the power of light and it is no surprise that this symbol is so closely associated with the presence of God. One of the things that has been clear to me since beginning my service as pastor in July is that The Basilica is a place of light! If you are a visitor or friend, wherever you are on your journey of faith, I invite you to come and experience the light of The Basilica of Saint Mary.

Given the importance of light in our story of faith, it is critical that Christian disciples commit to becoming and living as people of light. The darkness of ignorance and sin continue to be experienced throughout the world. Thus, it is essential that people of faith respond with the light of faith, the light of truth, the light of hope, and the light of love. This only happens when we respond to God’s invitation to enter deeply into the mystery of the incarnate son of God—Jesus Christ. When we enter into deep fellowship and friendship with Christ, God’s light begins to shine brightly through us and once again the ancient promise of Christmas is fulfilled: “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” This is the great mystery we celebrate at Christmas: the Incarnation of God—Jesus Christ, the light of the World!


Merry Christmas,

Fr. Daniel Griffith



Celebrate Christmas at The Basilica 

The historic Church will be beautifully decorated with evergreen trees and poinsettias. The music, liturgy, and community create a special Christmas experience for all. 


Eve of the Birth of the Lord

Saturday, December 24

2:00pm     Vigil Eucharist*                          Archbishop Bernard Hebda with children’s choirs, cantor, organ
5:00pm     Vigil Eucharist*                          Mundus & Juventus ensembles, music from around the world
7:30pm     Vigil Eucharist                           piano, cantor, violin, trumpet
10:30pm   Prelude Music for Christmas     organ, harp, flute
11:00pm   Choral Music for Christmas       Cathedral Choir, organ, harp & flute
11:30pm   Vigil of Lights                            Cathedral Choir, organ
Midnight   Solemn Eucharist*                     Cathedral Choir, brass, harp, organ


The Birth of the Lord

Sunday, December 25

7:30am     Eucharist at dawn                      cantor, organ, violin
9:30am     Solemn Eucharist*                      Cathedral Choir, brass, strings, organ      
11:30am   Solemn Eucharist                       Cathedral Choir, brass, strings, organ      
5:00pm     Eucharist                                    music from around the world


Make a special gift to The Basilica this Christmas.


*ASL Interpreted/Livestream

Parking and Tips

The MCTC ramp will be free Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.