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This past week as I was reflecting on our Gospel today I kept returning to Jesus’ question to his disciples: “Do you also want to leave?” Given the news involving priests and bishops in the Catholic Church the past couple weeks, this is a question I have asked myself. I suspect many of you have also asked yourself this question.
And to be honest, I know more than a few people for whom the latest news was the straw that broke the camel’s back. They have decided that --- at least for now --- they need to take a step away from the Catholic Church. While I am grieved and deeply saddened by this, I understand and respect their decision.
For myself, though, despite the news of the past couple of weeks, despite the failures of our bishops, and despite the sinful and evil actions of many priests, I cannot leave the Catholic Church. I say this for two specific reasons.
1. I need to belong to a community. I need to be with people who believe as I do. I don’t think we can be our best selves unless we are part of a community. And I don’t believe that we are saved alone, as isolated individuals.
Rather, I believe that God draws us to himself, through the communities of which we are a part, and for me the Catholic Church --- and particularly the Basilica --- is my community. It is too much a part of me for me to let it go.
2. I need the Eucharist and the other sacraments. As I tell the children making their First Communion each year, I know I am not the best person/priest that I could be, BUT I would be far worse without the Eucharist.
The Eucharist helps me to be a better person than I would otherwise be. I need the Eucharist to live as a follower of Jesus, and I need the faith of the community to make the Eucharist real and alive in my life.
Now in deciding to stay in the Catholic Church, I also want to be absolutely clear that this does not mean that I think we can gloss over the events of the past few weeks.
It is essential that we acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by priests, by bishops and by those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for the most vulnerable among us.
With shame and repentance, we must acknowledge that the leaders of our church allowed grave damage to be done to so many young lives. We need to beg forgiveness for this. As Pope Francis said in his recent letter: “We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”
We also need to be clear that no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient.
The pain of the victims and their families is a wound from which our church will not soon recover. It is vital that we reaffirm our commitment --- and take steps to ensure --- the protection of children and vulnerable adults. Specifically what this means is that all of us must demand honesty, accountability, transparency, and a willingness on the part of our leader to accept responsibility for their actions.
No effort must be spared to create a culture which will prevent such situations from reoccurring and to ensure that there is no possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.
I believe that if there is a lesson to be learned from the current crisis facing our church, it is that we must listen to the voice of you --- the laity --- the people in the pews. Reform, healing, renewal must come about from every single member of the church. Since the ordained haven’t or can’t provide it, you must demand it of us. You’ve been commissioned by your baptism to be salt and light, leaven and courage, agents of renewal, and witnesses to hope in our world. And at this moment, particularly, our church desperately needs to hear your voice.
As sinful and incompetent as the leaders of our church have been in responding to the issue of sexual abuse, however, this Church is still my home. And so as I close today I paraphrase Peter’s words in our Gospel today: “Master to whom shall I go? Your church is my home. I can have no other.”
Lately it has been hard to be a Catholic. A few weeks ago we heard of multiple accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. More recently, a grand jury in Pennsylvania released a report about the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests in six dioceses in Pennsylvania. In regard to former Cardinal McCarrick, the accusations go as far back as his time as a newly ordained priest. In regard to the grand jury report, it listed credible allegations of sexual abuse of children by 300 priests over a period of 70 years. In each case, those who were in positions to do something either chose not to, or simply looked the other way. This was not just bad decision making. Those individuals bear both legal and moral culpability for their inaction. In the face of this situation, it would seem that there is very little I, or any other priest or bishop, could or should say. And yet to say nothing could be misconstrued as acquiescence to or acceptance of this situation. Given this, I would like to offer the following thoughts.
1. First and foremost, we must be clear and unmistakable in our absolute condemnation of the sexual abuse of children. There is no excuse to be made for it and no defense to be offered for those who would victimize a child in this way. When anyone (most particularly a child) is a victim of sexual abuse, we must be clear and unequivocal in our condemnation of this activity. Any attempt to explain or minimize this behavior is quite simply wrong.
When priests or bishops engage in behavior that is sexually abusive or exploitive they cannot, nor should they be shielded from the consequences of their actions. Where illegality has occurred or is suspected, our legal system must be engaged and allowed to function without hindrance. Where actions of Church officials are found to be insufficient or negligent, they also must face the consequences of their actions or inaction.
2. While several Bishops have offered their apologies for the mistakes that occurred in the past and the suffering these mistakes caused, I am deeply disappointed that those Bishops, whose ill-advised decisions to re-assign priest abusers led to the further abuse of children, have not resigned their positions, or if they are already retired, why they haven’t publicly acknowledged their failure and begged for forgiveness. Where their actions were illegal they need to be charged. And even if there are no legal repercussions for their actions, for the sake of those who were abused and for the good of the church, I think these bishops need to publicly take responsibility for their actions. While this act in itself will not restore the trust that has been broken, it is a beginning.
3. While acknowledgement of the source and depth of the problem and offering our deepest and most humble apologies are necessary first steps in responding to the victims of sexual abuse, our efforts cannot stop there. When innocent people, most particularly children, have been the victims of sexual abuse we, as a Church, must recognize our responsibility and offer the full measure of our support and assistance to those who have been victimized. Very practically this means that we must offer recompense to victims of sexual abuse in the form of services and monetary compensation. Further, we must ensure that the policies, procedures and safeguards that have been put in place to protect children and vulnerable adults are adhered to strictly. We must also offer programs to help our individuals and parishes grapple with this issue. In this regard, specifically, I would invite you to attend a program here at The Basilica entitled “Restorative Justice as a Path to Healing.” It is scheduled for Thursday evening September 20, from 6:30-9:30pm in the lower level of The Basilica.
4. At some point we, as individual Catholics, and as a parish community, are going to need to begin the hard work of forgiveness. I don’t know how we will go about this, but for the spiritual health and vitality of our Church, I believe that eventually we will need to forgive those priests who abused children, as well as those bishops and other leaders who allowed this abuse to happen. This is not to say that forgiveness is easy, or that in forgiving we are accepting and/or forgetting the horror of sexual abuse. Rather it is an acknowledgement that, as followers of Jesus, ultimately forgiveness is not optional for us.
Personally, I find forgiveness to be one of the hardest things that is asked of us as Christians. I do know, though, that with God’s grace forgiveness is possible, and that it starts with prayer. Prayer is the essential first ingredient to forgiveness. We need to pray for and with each other, and most particularly for those who brought this stain upon our Church. Certainly prayer cannot change what has happened, but it can have a salving effect on wounded souls and eventually it can bring about healing and peace.
Over the course of the past several years each time new charges of sexual impropriety against a priest has become public, I have been shocked, saddened, and angry. These incidents have been and continue to be a source of great pain and sadness for me. I had hoped that by this time we would have dealt with all the instances of sexual impropriety on the part of priests. Unfortunately, these latest cases have proven this to be a false hope. These cases are a wound from which our church will not soon recover. I do know and believe, though, that in order to move forward, prayer is where we need to begin.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary
The annual Ministry Renewal process for all volunteer ministers deadline is August 31. The renewal process is all online this year. Please watch for your renewal email. The Basilica requires all volunteers to read and sign the Volunteer Code of Conduct every year.
Contact Ashley with questions.
Directions to Complete
1) First click on the "MyBasilica" link located on the top right side of the screen.
2) Once a new screen opens you will be asked to sign in - if you have forgotten your password simply click on the bottom link to receover or reset it.
3) After you have logged in click on the "MyMinistry" link located on both the top and right side of the screen.
4) First check your contact information for any errors - make edits by clicking on the "MyProfile" link.
5) Then check your ministry commitments - make sure all your ministries are listed. Let us know if anything is missing - or if something is listed but should be removed.
6) Then start your ministry renewal - if you have questions on the process please do not hesitate to contact me via email or phone 612.317.3417. Part of ministry renewal includes signing the code of conduct - if you would like to review the code click here.
7) Once you have completed ministry renewal check to see if you have any Safe Environment Requirements to complete. Any specific protocols you need to complete will be listed - along with instructions on how to complete them.
From the Pastor:
With this column I would like to update you in regard to several areas of our parish’s life.
1. Parish Council Elections: I am pleased to inform you that in the recent elections for our Parish Council, Erik Miles (representing Christian Life) and Xander Broeffle (representing Learning) were elected to our Parish Pastoral Council. I am also pleased to report that Eric Brandt has accepted re- appointment to the Council as an at-large member; Alfonso Cornish has accepted appointment as the Finance Committee Representative to the Council; and Mara Stolee has accepted appointment as the Development Committee representative to the Parish Council. I am very grateful to each of these individuals for their willingness to serve on our Parish Council.
The members of our Parish Council represent a cross section of our parish. The Parish Council meets monthly and works with me and our staff to determine the needs, aspirations, and direction of our parish. As such it plays a vital role in our parish community. I am enormously grateful to our Council members for sharing their insights and expertise as we work together to carry out the mission of our parish.
2. Strategic Planning: As I have mentioned in previous bulletins, a few months ago we received approval from our Finance Committee and Parish Council to engage the services of the MacCallum Ross company to help us begin the process of developing a new strategic plan for our parish. (Our previous plan carried us through spring of 2018.) This plan will serve as a road map to guide and direct our efforts for the next three to five years.
The reason we engage in strategic planning is simple. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29.18). If we don’t consciously and prayerfully plan for our future, we are at risk of drifting into a future not of our choosing and certainly not of our making.
David MacCallum and Patti Ross have been guiding the development of a new strategic plan by reviewing our previous strategic plan as well as demographic and other information. An extensive process has been put in place to ensure that relevant information and perspectives are reflected in the plan. They also have interviewed key members of our staff, parish leadership, and community leaders. You will be hearing more about this process in the days ahead. We anticipate that the rollout for our new strategic plan will take place this summer or fall.
3. This year’s Landmark Ball: Many thanks to all those who attended and/or supported this year’s Landmark Ball. For those of you who are new to our parish, The Landmark Ball is an annual fund-raiser sponsored by The Basilica Landmark to help support the ongoing maintenance and renovation of The Basilica of Saint Mary and it campus. This year $102,763 was raised for this ongoing work. Our thanks go to Jen and Roshan Rajkumar who chaired this event, and to Holly Dockendorf, our Event Manager. I am also very grateful to the many people who worked on the committees for this event. They did an outstanding job.
Each year as part of The Landmark Ball we include a Fund-A-Need project. This year the Fund-A-Need project was the interior lighting of The Basilica Dome. We will be replacing the old (and large) lights with new LED lighting. The new lighting will be brighter, less expensive and will not produce nearly as much heat as the old lighting— something for which I am particularly grateful.
4. Our Parish Finances and Budget for Next Year: A big Thank You to all those who have been so generous in their financial support of our parish this year. As I write this column (at the end of June) we are slightly ahead in regard to our anticipated revenue, and we are also under budget in regard to our expenses. Given this, we hope to end the fiscal year with a smaller than expected deficit. (The deficit will be covered by a portion of the income from the rental of our school building. The reminder of the school rental income goes into our parish reserve fund.)
In our budgeting for next year we are anticipating a slight increase in our revenue, and have budgeted accordingly. As your pastor, I want you to know of my gratitude for your ongoing support of our parish. Please know, it is greatly appreciated.
5. Special Collections: While no one likes special collections, it is heartening for me to report that people of The Basilica have been very generous to the last few special collections here.
On the weekend of April 28 and 29, $6,796 was collected for the second collection for The Basilica Landmark Annual Fund.
On the weekend of June 2 and 3, (and afterwards with contributions that were mailed in) $22,253 was donated to help support Ascension School.
And on the weekend of June 16 and 17, $7,400 was contributed to help defray the cost of air conditioning The Basilica during the hot summer months.
The contributions to these collections testify to the generosity of the people of The Basilica. Please know of my gratitude for your generous and caring response.
6. Change in Staffing: As some of you already know, this summer Cathy Edwards, who has served as our Coordinator of Caring Ministries for the past several years, is retiring. I am enormously grateful for Cathy’s work these past years. We will certainly miss her, but wish her well in her retirement. While we are sad to see Cathy leave, we are grateful that Wendy Cichanski Caduff has been hired to fill this position. Wendy comes to us from Sacred Heart and Holy Trinity parishes in Owatonna, where she was a Pastoral Associate for four years. Before that, she worked at Christ Church Newman Center in St. Cloud. She has many years of experience working in different parish settings. Wendy has a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Ministry from Saint John’s University of Theology and Seminary, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from St. Cloud State University. And if Wendy’s last name sounds familiar that is because Ben Caduff, our Coordinator of Family and Young Adult Ministry is her husband. We are happy to welcome Wendy to her new position. Her education and work experience will surely be an asset to our parish and community.
7. Archdiocesan Bankruptcy: Recently we heard the good news that an agreement had been reached to resolve the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese. The agreement establishes a trust fund of approximately $210 million for the victims/survivors. Some of the money for the settlement fund came in the form of voluntary pledges of financial support from parishes and priests of our Archdiocese. I believe this is a wonderful statement of our compassion and support for our brothers and sisters who were seriously wounded and hurt by my brother priests and by others in our church.
In a letter to all parishioners a few weeks ago, I said that The Basilica of Saint Mary was one of the parishes that made a confidential pledge of financial support to the settlement fund. This decision was made in consultation with our Parish Council and Finance committee. After setting a range for this contribution they directed that our Parish Trustees and I make the final decision as to the amount of the contribution. The money for this pledge came from our parish reserves, which are funded by the rental income from our school building. Our financial pledge won’t be payable until the details of the settlement are finalized. It is our hope that making this pledge of financial support will send a strong message of solidarity and support to the victims/survivors.
While the settlement will resolve the Archdiocesan bankruptcy we need to continue to follow up with prayer and outreach to the victims/survivors. This needs to be and must be an ongoing effort. I hope you will join in prayer for those who have been so grievously wounded by members of our Church.
8. Refugee Sponsorship: This past June The Basilica welcomed our eighth Refugee Family through Lutheran Social Services. (So far we have sponsored 3 families from Somalia; 1 from Iraq; 1 from Ethiopia; 1 Karen; and 2 from Mayanmar/Karenni.)
Our newest family is Karenni, originally from Burma. There is a mother, father, and two young daughters ages 4 and 6. They are coming from a camp in Thailand and have been there about 20 years. Lutheran Social Services is hoping to find secure an apartment for them in East St. Paul. The family has some relatives or connections there and they speak some English from working at a hospital in the camp. They arrived on May 23 and our refugee support committee gathered at the airport to greet them.
All of the families we have sponsored have been very different. However, they have all be very grateful and gracious as they settle into life in Minnesota. Their lives are filled with activity as they seek to learn English, enroll their children in school, find work, and care for medical and dental concerns.
If you are interested in helping with this project please Janice Andersen in our Christian Life Department at 612.317.3477.
9. Campus Space Planning: As I mentioned previously, The Basilica Landmark has approved funding for the hiring of liturgical space planning consultants. A few months ago these consultants began a process to help us look at and develop a master plan for The Basilica and its campus. Unfortunately, Robert Habiger, from the firm Dekker Perich and Sabatini out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who had begun this work with us, has decided to retire. Fortunately, Fr. Gil Sunghera S.J. who worked with Robert initially has agreed to continue to work with us to build a vision for our campus spaces that helps us welcome the community and our guests. Fr. Gil is on staff at the University of Detroit Mercy (and works with their) School of Architecture. A committee of parishioners has been formed to work with Robert and Fr. Gil in this process.
Some of the important issues/concerns that will need to be considered are accessibility, making The Basilica and its campus more open and welcoming, and renovating and updating the interior of The Basilica.
This process of developing a master plan for The Basilica and its campus continues as I write this column. It will also occur concurrently with the development of our new strategic plan. We will share more information about this important work as we move forward.
10. Maintenance Projects at The Basilica: Finally, as I mentioned in an earlier bulletin, there will be several maintenance projects occurring this summer on our campus. As I hope you have noticed we are tuck-pointing The Basilica dome. We will also be upgrading the kitchen in the lower level of The Basilica; doing some upgrades to the church sound system; seal coating and re-striping the parking lots; replacing the florescent lights in the lower level of the church with LED lighting; and as mentioned above, we will also be replacing the lighting on the interior ring of lights in the dome with LED lighting. We also hope to reconstruct the South entrance to our school building sometime next spring.
We are hopeful that there will be minimal disruption with these projects. We are grateful that most of these projects will be funded by The Basilica Landmark.
Rev. John M. Bauer
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary
Download August/September 2018 Bulletin
Join us this summer for inspiring music performed on the renowned Basilica organ.
Free of charge. Free-will donations are gratefully received.
Sunday, July 29, 2:00pm, Basilica
Katie Moss, Organist and handbell director at Messiah United Methodist Church in Plymouth.
Sunday, August 5, 2:00pm, Basilica
Dr. Jacob Benda, organ
Featuring the Minnesota premier of Pamela Decker’s new large-scale solo organ work titled The Seven Last Words and Triumph of Christ. The world premier of this piece occurred at the 2018 AGO National Convention in Kansas City—the one and only Minnesota reprise at The Basilica!
Sunday, August 12, 2:00pm, Basilica
Tucker Moore, baritone and Christopher Stroh, organ and piano
A recital for accompanied voice featuring the Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, along with other sacred vocal and solo organ “Sunday favorites.”
Starting the first week of August, N 17th Street will permanently become a one-way street directed North from the traffic circle around the corner to Laurel W Ave directed East. You will no longer be able to enter Laurel Ave W from the East.
The Basilica’s safety and facilities teams have been working with the City of Minneapolis and MNDOT for approval to make N 17th Street a one-way street permanently. Restricting the traffic to one direction will improve safety and traffic flow on our campus.
The street has been temporarily directed as one-way for Christmas and Easter for the past several years and provides a great improvement for the people and cars on the road. It is especially beneficial in the winter months when snow and ice limit the road space.
The new signs will be posted in late July and the Minneapolis Police Department will be helping us to implement and monitor the new traffic flow on Sundays.
Please help us improve safety and traffic flow on our campus and adhere to the new one-way direction. Our parishioners who are familiar with the campus will help provide a great example for those visiting The Basilica. Thank you for your cooperation!
Tickets still available for the Basilica Block Party.
Friday, July 6 and Saturday, July 7
Band line up and volunteer information at basilicablockparty.org.
Join us for a great weekend of fun and music benefiting the restoration efforts of The Basilica Landmark and St. Vincent de Paul Ministry.
Due to the Basilica Block Party, on Friday, July 6, Mass is celebrate at 7:00am in the chapel. There is no Noon Mass.
On Saturday, the 9:00am Confession is canceled. There will be no 5:00pm Mass celebrated.
Sunday Masses are as regularly scheduled.
School Supply Drive to benefit Ascension Catholic School
Donations can be dropped off at weekend masses through Sunday, July 1 through August 5. Help fill backpacks at the Basilica Day celebration on Sunday, August 12.
Collection receptacles will be availabale at the rear of the church and east entrance.
- 24 Pack Crayons
- 12 Count Colored Pencils
- Glue Sticks
- Large Erasers
- Washable Markers
- Fiskars School Scissors
- Pencil Boxes
- #2 Pencils
- Spiral Notebooks
- Sturdy Pocket Folders
Guidance for a faithful life
As we seek to live our life faithfully, how do we maneuver through the landmines of ethical and moral decisions of our day? In a given situation, the decisions we make and the actions we take can be driven by a complex array of experience, hopes and fears. What tools do we use to ensure we are living faithfully?
As Catholic Christians, most people are familiar with the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. There is another lesser known treasury of principles that speak to our lives today. Sometimes called the best kept secret of our faith, Catholic Social Teaching proposes principles for reflection, provides criteria for judgment and offers guidelines for action.
Catholic Social Teaching is a way of reflecting on the world today. It is not a fixed block of doctrine or ideology, but the result of prayerful reflection on the complex realities of human existence. Animated by the Gospel, it provides core principles that can address the demands of the time.
This article and more in the spring BASILICA Magazine.
Download full article Catholic Social Teaching
by Janice Andersen
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.
BASILICA is published twice a year (spring and fall) with a circulation of 20,000.
For advertising information please contact Peggy Jennings.
"At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The Attorney General's recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection. These vulnerable women will now face return to the extreme dangers of domestic violence in their home country. This decision negates decades of precedents that have provided protection to women fleeing domestic violence. Unless overturned, the decision will erode the capacity of asylum to save lives, particularly in cases that involve asylum seekers who are persecuted by private actors. We urge courts and policy makers to respect and enhance, not erode, the potential of our asylum system to preserve and protect the right to life.
Additionally, I join Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of USCCB's Committee on Migration, in condemning the continued use of family separation at the U.S./Mexico border as an implementation of the Administration's zero tolerance policy. Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral."