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Mornings at the Manger

This Advent, spend Mornings at the Manger as Dr. Johan van Parys, Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts, tells us about various nativities in his personal collection from around the world.


December 9

Holy Family created by the Adianto Ceramics Workshop in Cumbaya, Ecuador. Mary and Joseph wear traditional Ecuadorian clothing. The pieces are created out of rolled sheets of clay to which such details as clothing, ears, hair, and coats are added. After the clay have semi-dried additional details are carved into the figures. Then the figures are fired in a kiln. Finally the artisans paint the figures.


Holy Family created by the Adianto Ceramics Workshop



December 8
Stylized and semi-abstract Holy Family. Nevertheless, the devotion of Mary; the protection of Joseph and the sweetness of Jesus are clearly conveyed.
The work is signed by Jorge Monares of Santiago, Chile. Jorge learned the copper trade working in his father’s workshop starting in 1976. He works together with his wife to make decorative work such as nativities, jewelry as well as utilitarian pieces like pots. They use the traditional colonial forging technique which is characterized by only using fire and a hammer as their tools.


Stylized and semi-abstract Holy Family


December 7
Charming nativity scene from Guatemala.  Jose Canil Ramos carved each figurine by hand from pinewood which he weathers and dries during the summer months. The characters’ florid orange robes and purple cloaks are painted by hand, including their smiling faces. Featuring nine pieces, this nativity scene preserves a tradition that was brought to Guatemala in 1649. Jose Canil Ramos was born on May 25, 1981, in Chichicastenango. He learned his craft from his father who used to carve masks and saints to sell at the Chichi market. Jose now shares a workshop with his mother.


nativity scene from Guatemala





December 6
Playful Brazilian presépio, or nativity, which has 19 painted clay pieces.
Two pieces are of note are the cactus and the rooster. The rooster refers to the legend that a rooster was present in the stable where Jesus was born. Immediately after Jesus’ birth the rooster started to crow, thus announcing the divine birth to the world. The Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve is known as the “Mass of the Rooster” in Brasil and other countries, such as Spain and Bolivia. One cannot but make an additional connection with the rooster that crowed three times as Peter denied Jesus. The cactus is a great example of inculturation. As each culture started to depict the nativity they added elements borrowed from their own experience.
playful Brazilian presépio nativity
December 5
Colorful nativity from Nicaragua, which is carved from cedar wood and then painted with unique floral motives. Of note is that the Christ child, rather than lying in a manger, the child is placed on a pineapple. The symbolic meaning of a pineapple is welcome, generosity and hospitality.
colorful nativity from Nicaragua
Interior Advent

Noon Masses December 5-9

All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.


Monday, December 5

Tuesday, December 6

Wednesday, December 7

Thursday, December 8
Noon Mass, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

Friday, December 9



 Support our St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Ministries 

“Mary” is a student in our Basilica mentoring program with Minneapolis College. Persevering against great odds, she is committed to her education while working fulltime to meet the needs of her family. She faced a crisis when her funds went to repair the car she needs daily to shuttle between childcare, work, and classes at Minneapolis College. The Basilica’s SVdP Ministry was able to provide one-time rent assistance to keep “Mary” and her family securely housed.

Preventing homelessness is a first and important step to ending homelessness. When you are one-crisis away from homelessness, there is constant stress. The Basilica’s SVdP can support our neighbors, ensuring they are not alone.

Your donation can help families like “Mary’s”—working hard to move out of poverty. 100% of your donation goes directly to support people in need.


You can make your gift online at or by check with SVdP in the memo line.



SvdP 2022





“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love…Let us love one another.”                                                           1 John 4: 7,8


During Advent, we reflect on and anticipate God’s incredible love for us. God, manifesting love as a small, vulnerable child. Christ, reaching out to the marginalized and broken, modeling radical love. Spirit, present in every facet of our lives. We know, through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, our daily life is not separate from our faith. Our whole life—every thought and action—can bring love into our world.


During Advent, we embrace a journey to learn and grow in love each and every day. In small and big ways, in everything we do, think, or say we are challenged to know and live love. Indeed, we are invited to be part of a revolution of love and tenderness—transforming the world through love.


There are three facets of life to consider as we grow in love. They are all crucial and all connect. Like ripples, they affect one another. We are called to grow in love attentive to our internal, individual, and institutional life.


Internal: What is going on in our heart and mind, as we live each day? Our prayers continually call us to reflect on and become aware of the state of our heart. The psalmist cries out, “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Are there ways we have become consumed with hatred or fear? Have we been hurt, and do we seek retribution? Have we become overwhelmed or numb to the suffering in our world? We are invited to bring these to prayer and find healing, comfort, and strength. God calls us to renewal and peace. Let us open our hearts to this call.


Individual: The way we interact—person to person— reveals the individual facet of our life. Whatever condition we find our heart, we are called to reach out and engage with compassion. Seeking spiritual progress, not perfection—and always considering one’s safety and care—our faith challenges us: If we are afraid, can we find a way to be kind? If we find ourselves consumed with hatred, is there a way to be humane? If we are hurt and alienated, can our faith give us strength to find a place to engage? Our actions matter. Jesus reminds us, “All will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35.


Institutional: Our lives don’t end with one-on-one interactions. We are part of systems and organizations. Our lives are shaped by policies and laws. Pope Francis states, “A good Catholic meddles in politics.” In his provocative way, he affirms this “is one of the highest forms of love, because it is in the service of the common good.” We share a responsibility for the way our institutions are organized. We are challenged to consider ways to impact society with love—ensuring all develop to their full potential. Collectively, we must consider how love can influence our family, church, neighborhood, city, country, and world. This is not easy work, but it is crucial work.


Together, we attend to all these facets of our lives. As a community, we sponsor refugee families, accompany the grieving, assist the unemployed, protect the marginalized, and serve those in need. Let us share, celebrate, and bless our community by our honest journey toward love and peace.



Advent 2022: A Season of Longing and Listening

The Second Week of Advent: Prepare the Way of the Lord!


The English word Advent comes from the Latin Adventus Domini, meaning the Coming of the Lord. Most of us understand this to mean Jesus’ presence with us at Christmas as we commemorate and celebrate his birth. The full meaning of Adventus Domini, however embraces Jesus’ birth some 2000 years ago; his presence with us today as well as his return at the end of time. Advent thus becomes a time of preparation not only for the celebration of Jesus’ birth 2000 years ago. It also is a time when we become more aware of Jesus’ presence in our lives today. And it is a time of  preparation for his Second Coming at the end of time.

As Christians we believe that Christ’s return in Glory will complete the Messianic Times. The Prophet Isaiah prophesied some 2700 years ago that this will be a time when “they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks;” when “the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;” when “there shall be no more ruin on all my holy Mountain;” when “the steppe and the parched land…will bloom with abundant flowers.”

During Advent we are invited to dream of Isaiah’s perfect world without diseases, disasters, and death; a world where all God’s children and all of creation exist together in perfect harmony. The Season of Advent also moves us to act and invites us to help in bringing about that harmonious world.

So, let’s sing Maranatha, Come, Lord Jesus with full voice and let’s act in ways that will hasten the arrival of that perfect and peaceful world.


What to do in the Domestic Church:


Advent Wreath

On the second Sunday of Advent, we light the second candle on the Advent wreath.

As I mentioned last week, the origin of the Advent wreath is unclear. There is evidence of a pre-Christian custom of decorating a wheel with candles, while prayers were offered for the wheel of the earth to turn so that light and warmth would reappear. Christians then adopted this ritual and began to use it in domestic settings during the Middle Ages.

The wheel itself, a circle with neither beginning nor end, signifies eternal life. The evergreens, too, represent eternal life, with holly implying immortality, cedar expressing strength and healing, laurel touting victory over suffer­ing, and pinecones or nuts lauding life and resurrection. The four candles that were added to the wreath over time represent the four weeks of Advent.


A Blessing for the Lighting of the Second Candle

After someone in the family has lit the first and second candle on the Advent Wreath the prayer begins with the sign of the cross and continues as follows:


Leader:           Today we begin the second Week of Advent.

We open our hearts to God’s love

as we prepare to welcome Christ.

The candles of this wreath remind us that

Jesus Christ came to conquer the darkness of sin

and to lead us into his glorious light.

Let us pray that we may always be ready to welcome him.


Leader:           You came as herald of the good tidings of God’s salvation:

                        Lord, come and save us.

All:                  Lord, come and save us.


Leader:           You come to bring forth in us

                        a rich harvest of justice and peace:

                        Lord, come and save us.

All:                  Lord, come and save us.


Priest:             You will come to bring to completion

                        the good work you have begun in us:

                        Lord, come and save us.

All:                  Lord, come and save us.


Leader:           Let us pray:

Ever-living God, we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ,

whose advent we await.

As we light the second candle of this wreath,

kindle within us the fire of your spirit,

that we may be light shining in darkness.

Enlighten us with your grace,

that we may welcome others as you have welcomed us.

We ask this through the same Christ our Lord

whose coming is certain and whose day draws near.

All:                  Amen.


The leader ends with the sign of the cross.


A Quick Glance at the Readings for the Second Sunday of Lent


From the First Reading: Isaiah 11:1-3

On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.


From the Second Reading: Romans 15: 5-6

May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you to think in harmony with one another,
in keeping with Christ Jesus,
that with one accord you may with one voice
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


From the Gospel: Matthew 3:1-3

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.


The Advent Calendar

Last Sunday, having read my first Advent Aid, someone mentioned that behind the door for each day in their calendar they hide one of the figurines of their nativity. Each day they place one more figurine in their nativity scene ending on the 25th of December with the Christ child. Other calendars have a Bible verse hidden behind the little door or maybe a suggestion for a good deed.

Advent Calendars allow children and adults alike to keep up with the progression of Advent and countdown to Christmas as they open one little door each day.


This Week at The Basilica of Saint Mary


Sunday Eucharist

You will notice that the rituals are somewhat different and that the tone of the liturgy is one of deep longing for Christ’s presence in our midst. We celebrate Sunday Eucharist on Saturday at 5:00pm and on Sunday at 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, and 5:00pm.

We will continue to livestream the 9:30am Sunday Eucharist.


Sunday Vespers:

On Sundays we gather in the choir stalls at 3:00pm to celebrate Vespers. This form of prayer is perfect for the season as it begins with a silent procession in the dark, followed by a lighting of individual candles. We sing beautiful psalms, listen to Sacred Scripture, and pray for the needs of the world.  We end Vespers with a prayer to the Blessed Mother who is so central to the Seasons of Advent and Christmas.

Sunday Vespers is Livestreamed.


Weekday Eucharist

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


Morning Prayer:

On Tuesday and Wednesday 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. Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, December 13 at 5:30pm we will celebrate Taizé Prayer with the option to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.



As we advance in the Advent Season more and more of the creches or Nativity Scenes from our Basilica collection will be on exhibit in The Basilica and in the Undercroft.

Also, every day of Advent and Christmas we have a Facebook post that highlights one of the nativities in my personal collection.



This Saturday, December 3 at 2:00pm, Minnesota Sinfonia will bring their annual Family Holiday Concert to The Basilica. This concert is free and open to the public.

Look for more information on our website.


And please remember to be pace yourself!

Advent is neither an endurance test nor a time to prove our Christian heroism. Rather, Advent 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.


A group composed of scholars, psychologists, clergy, restorative justice experts and victim-survivors of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis has developed a set of proposals that encourage the use of restorative justice as a means to help heal victim-survivors and the broader Church.

The proposals are the result of a two-year study supported by an initiative created by the University of Notre Dame’s Office of the President as part of the Notre Dame Forum, ‘“Rebuild My Church’:  Crisis and Response,” to fund research projects that address issues emerging from the crisis. The proposals have been forwarded for consideration to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A cross-section of 25 experts met in 2021 and 2022 at Notre Dame and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, respectively, to examine whether lessons for the Church could be found in the restorative justice traditions of Indigenous peoples and the efforts of nations such as South Africa, Rwanda and Canada.

Used in a variety of settings, restorative justice focuses on reestablishing right relationship among all people wounded by unjust actions by holding offenders — be they criminals, governmental leaders or others — accountable, while empowering victims to actively participate in the process. 

In addition to the proposals that were developed, the participants agreed that significant wounds remain and that the teachings of Jesus call all Catholics to promote holistic justice and healing.

“We exhort Church leaders to listen humbly to the voices of victim-survivors, including those abused as adults who have not been sufficiently included in the conversation, to understand their specific needs for healing and wholeness,” Notre Dame political science professor Daniel Philpott said. “Restorative justice is rooted in the Gospel and animated by the holistic and unifying power of the Eucharist, significantly at a time when the U.S. bishops have called for a Eucharistic Revival.”

The proposals are as follows:

  • Create a national center with experts and practitioners to equip the broader Church in restorative justice, particularly healing circles, to accompany those who have been directly and peripherally harmed by abuse.
  • Establish a national healing garden as a permanent site of healing, prayer and accompaniment for victim-survivors of clergy sex abuse and for the broader Church.
  • Institute an annual day of prayer and penance for healing and reconciliation for victim-survivors of clergy abuse and for broader healing in the Church.
  • Initiate trauma-informed training for clergy, seminarians, lay ministers, lay leaders and parish communities to communicate the realities and effects of trauma in order to compassionately accompany victim-survivors.

“We believe these proposals reflect a synodal Church, which is called to listen to, accompany and heal the broken-hearted, in addition to being a witness to the broader culture, which suffers from similar wounds,” Philpott said. “We understand that for many, further measures are needed such as concrete steps toward greater accountability, due process for the accused and pathways to healing for those rightfully removed from ministry.

“We offer our proposals after much prayer and dialogue, with hope and openness to the Holy Spirit’s guidance on our shared journey of faith.”

Taking recommendations from the broader group, seven participants developed the proposals. In addition to Philpott, they are:

  • Rev. Thomas Berg, professor of moral theology, St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie
  • Mary Glowaski, assistant to the bishop in pastoral care, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana
  • Rev. Daniel Griffith, the Wenger Family Fellow of Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law; pastor and rector, Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis
  • Michael Hoffman, Archdiocese of Chicago advocate for healing and prevention; former president of Prevent Child Abuse, Illinois; victim-survivor of clergy abuse
  • Susan Mulheron, chancellor for canonical affairs, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis
  • Emily Ransom, assistant professor of English, Holy Cross College, Notre Dame; victim-survivor of clergy abuse



All Mass recordings can be found at Mass Recordings.


Monday, November 28

Tuesday, November 29  Communion Service

Wednesday, November 30

Thursday, December 1

Friday, December 2



Christmas altar

A Gift of Christmas Flowers

Honor your loved ones this Christmas through beautiful altar flowers, evergreen trees, and greenery.

Names of those honored through flower gifts given by December 14, 2022 will be listed in the Christmas leaflets.

Please use the envelopes in the pews or donate online at with the Gift Designation of Christmas Flowers.




Christmas flowers