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Three people passing blessings forward
From BASILICA Magazine Fall 2016, The Spiritual Works of Mercy—Practicing mercy in our lives
We are often told “be the best you can be.” But can we go it alone and be the best possible person? Scripture calls us to admonish one another, yet hold each other up. Bob Christenson and David Erb have been busy doing just that. Since playing high school football and hockey together, Bob and Dave have been friends, but not continuously connected. Interestingly, it was through some suffering that they came back together. Now they use the blessings they received to pass it forward.
Bob and Dave attended Highland Park Catholic School in St. Paul; they became fast friends, playing sports including football and hockey. Dave states their parents were friends and basically interchangeable. Both of the mothers were church-going, rosary-praying women. Bob will tell you his success can be tied directly to his parents, his father, a teacher, and his mother who partnered in raising the 11 children, instilling the importance of a faith-filled life with gifts of hope, centered in love. His father studied with him nightly making sure he could pass high school. With his dad’s encouragement, Bob overcome the struggles of dyslexia long before it was a diagnosed condition. Through hard work and parental support, he got into college and eventually medical school. When Bob speaks of his wife, he says he would not be here if not for her. After retiring from a wonderful career, Bob wanted to pass on the blessings he received. He chose to become a volunteer at The Basilica’s Outreach Program.
Dave’s story takes him to college and 18 years in the Army Reserves. He worked as an Engineering Manager at Lockheed Martin before retiring. After retirement he decided to head home to Minnesota. He will tell you his life had turned into a wreck; he drank hard, stumbling back, barely able to carry his luggage.
The story between the two friends is a journey through recovery. Thirty eight years ago Bob Christenson found it. Six years ago he helped Dave embark on his path to sobriety. Dave will tell you that Bob saved his life; that was the beginning of a strong bond, rooted in the past with a focus on the future, a reconnection that would help others. When asked, they will tell you their friendship is built on history, but mutual respect is what helps keep it centered. Bob and Dave have nothing to hide from each other. That means there’s been a time or two when one had to get in the other’s face; calling him out to be the best he can be.
Dave was on the way to the liquor store when Bob and a few others called him to a lunch meeting. They sternly told him it was time; time to get his life in order. Dave says it was a unbelievable miracle that he never made it to the liquor store that day and has not had another drink. Life isn’t always smooth in recovery. There have been bumps in the road for Bob. But then he remembers to slow down. Sometimes while driving his car! But typically to remind himself he doesn’t always have to be first. He works on being present, focusing on his emotional sobriety, whichhelps maintain his chemical sobriety.
It wasn’t enough for Bob and Dave to help each other. They felt the need to help others and have done so through the Outreach Program at The Basilica. As they worked on their recovery and their outreach they have encountered others with similar struggles. One of those people was Brenda Winder. Brenda was in recovery after being homeless, a drug and alcohol abuser estranged from her family.
With the help of the gentlemen, Brenda joined the Next Step program. With a bit more than a gentle push from many people including Mary Beth Chapel from Next Step, Brenda eventually agreed to become a volunteer. Early on she helped set up for the Thursday morning Outreach meetings. Later on, Brenda was trained as an advocate for the homeless. Brenda connects with others by sharing her past, which helps participants in the program.
All three can tell you what Proverbs 11:25 says, “Whoever brings blessings will be enriched and one who waters will himself be watered.” The blessings they have received are countless. Brenda is no longer homeless, she has advanced her education at MCTC and most importantly she has reconnected with her family. Brenda proudly states she is a grandmother who cherishes time she spends with her grandchildren.
Brenda gives credit to Bob and Dave. She says the two don’t mince words when it comes time to admonish. They praise her progress and also let her know when she needs to improve. She appreciates their honesty and continues to do more than just agree to disagree. She takes action when they let her know it’s best. She also gives credit to Mary Beth for keeping her on the right path.
The key to the success for all seems to be community. Without support and encouragement from others along the way, the walk would be more difficult. Walking a difficult journey with someone beside you can make each step more bearable. Knowing others are pulling for you helps keep things in perspective.
Brenda will tell you that Dave and Bob let her know she was worth it. She says she now has hope and that is a wonderful thing. Dave is proud to say that he was able to tell his mother he had come back to the Church and quit drinking before she passed a few years ago. They will all tell you it is blessings that each one of them get from the other. Blessings Repeated.
Judy Ring is a wife, mother, grandmother, and volunteer who works at Xcel Energy as an Account Manager. She is a member of the finance committee and Spiritual Gifts Team at The Basilica.
Join us for a 3-part series: The Prophets of Love and Tenderness
Continuing on the theme of A Revolution of Love and Tenderness, we will explore various prophetic figures from the Old Testament.
Explore various prophetic figures from the Old Testament, look at the historical and cultural context of the stories, and explore how we can incorporate their messages into our lives today. Cost is $20/3 sessions.
Sundays, January 8, 15, 22 - 11:00am
At the beginning of each New Year, our Pope offers a special message to celebrate the World Day of Peace. Directed to all people and nations of the world, Pope Francis focused his 2017 message on the role of civic and community engagement, Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace.
This message is not limited to those in formal political roles. Rather, we are all invited to make this a way of life. He asks “God to help all of us to cultivate nonviolence in our most personal thoughts and values. May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other as individuals, within society and in international life.”
It is important to clarify that nonviolence does not mean “surrender, lack of involvement and passivity.” Rather, Pope Francis is calling us to “active nonviolence.” This practice of consistent and decisive nonviolence compels us to get together and love one another through direct, bold action. “Active nonviolence is a way of showing that unity is truly more powerful and more fruitful than conflict. Everything in the world in interconnected.”
Pope Francis points out that Jesus taught “that the true battlefield, where violence and peace meet, is the human heart.” Quoting Benedict XVI, he states, “For Christians, nonviolence is not merely tactical behavior but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is so convinced of God’s love and power that he or she is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and trust alone. Love of one’s enemy constitutes the nucleus of the ‘Christian Revolution.’”
Pope Francis challenges us. “In the most local and ordinary situations and in the in the international order, may nonviolence become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, indeed of political life in all its forms.” Let us take up this call and work for peace together.
Janice Andersen, Director of Christian Life
Message from Pope Francis
Throughout the coming year The Basilica will be exploring and celebrating Pope Francis’ call for A Revolution of Love and Tenderness.
Learn more by attending an upcoming event and reviewing recent newsletter columns.
In his Apostolic Letter entitled: “Misericordia et Misera” or “Mercy and Misery” or one could say: “mercy meets and heals misery” Pope Francis calls on us to “unleash the creativity of mercy” so as “to bring about new undertakings, the fruit of grace.”
In response we decided to continue on the path of mercy by initiating a Revolution of Love and Tenderness. Revolutions, peaceful and otherwise have changed the world. Our suffering world is in dire need of a great change. So we propose a peaceful revolution accomplished through love and tenderness, two Christian strengths Pope Francis often links to mercy.
The post-revolutionary world we envision is a world where people respect and honor all life and protect all of creation; where people bridge divides and work toward the common good; where people end all discrimination and accept one another no matter who they are; where people end all speech and acts of hatred and division; and where people have learned how to put the “we” before the “I.”
This is the world God had envisioned, it is the world we envision.
Recent Director’s Columns
Janice Andersen, Director of Christian Life
A Revolution of Love and Tenderness, November 21, 2016
Johan van Parys, Ph.D., Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts
A Revolution of Love and Tenderness, December 7, 2016
Looking to volunteer this Christmas Eve?
Help to cook and serve lunch on Saturday, Dec 24 to those facing the challenges of hunger at the Catholic Charities Opportunity Center 740 E 17th Street, Minneapolis. 9am-1:00pm. Limited volunteer slots available. Contact Julia to volunteer.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated this year’s Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe as a National Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees.
Pray for those who are living in fear and uncertainty, away from their home countries due to violence, famine, oppression, and economic desperation.
Archbishop Hebda’s recent letter states, “We can all make a difference by simply reaching out to those who have come here from another country. Every person has a unique story to tell and the simple acts of welcoming and listening can bring people together.”
Christmas Festival: Angels Hovering Round with the National Lutheran Choir
Tickets 1-800-838-3006 or order online at NLCA.com
Friday, December 9 - 4:30pm - SOLD OUT! "Friend" Vouchers will be honored at the door.
Friday, December 9 - 8pm - ONLINE ticket sales are now closed. Tickets will be available at the Basilica 1 hour prior to the performance. Box office opens at 7pm.
This cherished annual event creates a holy experience for audiences in the awe-inspiring Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis. Kevin Siegfried’s “Angels Hovering Round” provides the theme for this year’s message, inviting the listener to ponder a contemporary understanding of Christ’s birth with the angels’ proclamation to “have no fear.” The story is told though an eclectic array of poetry, exquisite choral music and carols sung by all, painting a tapestry experience which removes one from a sense of time and space.
The National Lutheran Choir, under the direction of Dr. David Cherwien, seeks to strengthen, renew and preserve the heritage of sacred choral music through the highest standards of performance and literature.
The Basilica of Saint Mary proudly releases BASILICA Magazine Fall 2016 issue, The Spiritual Works of Mercy: Practicing mercy in our lives.
Thank you to the volunteer Magazine team for their dedication creating this issue.
Cecilia Hofmeister, Carol Evans, Rita Nagan, Michael Jensen, Elyse Rethlake
Features inside this issue:
The Basilica Welcomes Archbishop Hebda: Interview with Johan van Parys
The Spiritual Works of Mercy: Emulating mercy in every aspect of our lives
Admonish One Another: Three people passing blessings forward
Encourage One Another: Providing support in times of struggle
Comfort One Another: Sharing our humanity
Be Patient with One Another: Sharing a spirit of helpfulness
Forgive One Another: Practicing forgiveness starts in the family
Pray for One Another: Mercy and grace in times of trouble
Enlighten One Another: The importance of art in a church of words
In Reverence and Respect: Taizé prayer at The Basilica
Who is Our Neighbor? Welcoming immigrant families
Planned Giving: Maximize the tax benefit of your charitable gift
The award-winning BASILICA magazine is sponsored by The Basilica Landmark, a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is the preservation and restoration of the historic Basilica of Saint Mary and it campus. BASILICA is published twice a year (spring and fall) with a circulation of 20,000.
For advertising information please contact Mae Desaire.
The Harvest Pack volunteer event Sunday, November 13, 2016 brought our community together for a great cause with a big impact. Volunteers of all ages enjoyed giving an hour of their time to participate in the day of service dedicated to the Year of Mercy.
The meals from Harvest Pack include carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins that are easily digestible. The Basilica team packed two types of meals including one of rice and lentils and one of oatmeal with cinnamon and sugar.
Over the course of three hours, 184 volunteers packed a total of 30,400 meals. A little more than half of the meals packed will be shipped to the Philippines. The meals will help feed families working through life skills and job training programs.
The other half of the meals packed were donated to Community Emergency Services in Minneapolis for their East African Food program. The pallet that Basilica volunteers packed will help feed families for three months.
Thank you to everyone who helped with this event including our parishioners, the St. Vincent de Paul ministry who funded the project, and Harvest Pack who helped coordinate the packing event!
The Development team is excited to welcome two new members to The Basilica staff.
Peggy Jennings, Development Officer
Peggy joined the Development Team in June of 2016. She is a longtime parishioner and volunteer with the Basilica. As Development Officer, she promotes giving opportunities and programs to advance The Basilica of St. Mary and The Basilica Landmark.
In 2015, Peggy worked for several months as Interim Volunteer Director for The Basilica. Prior to that, she retired from the marketing department of Gabberts/HOM Furniture, where she was responsible for community outreach and involvement, public relations and events, non-traditional advertising and coaching for presentation skills.
Monica Stuart, Development Officer
Monica began working at The Basilica in 2016. She promotes giving opportunities and programs to advance The Basilica of Saint Mary and The Basilica Landmark. Prior to her work as Development Officer, she cofounded a mobile app company, freelanced in communications, and worked in healthcare sales. Monica is married and has three school age children. She volunteers her time as a tour guide at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and serves on the board of directors for Breanna’s Gift.