Ben Caduff

Coordinator of Young Adult, Young Family and Marriage Ministry
Learning

Ben Caduff joined the Basilica staff in 2014 as the Coordinator of Young Adult Ministry. Prior to working at the Basilica, Ben worked in campus ministry and social justice ministry for eight years.  He has a bachelor’s degree in Theology from the University of St. Thomas and a Master of Divinity Degree from St. John’s School of Theology/Seminary in Collegeville.  Currently, he is pursuing his Master of Arts in Theology at St. John’s School of Theology/Seminary in Systematic Theology. He is married with a young son and two dogs and enjoys a good baseball game and time with family and friends.  

(612) 317-3478

Recent Posts by Ben Caduff

We’re about six weeks in now, to our new home routine.  We have our daily schedule for getting our work done for the Basilica, school work done with our kindergartener, getting outside, nap times (for our two year old, not us!), meals, the daily activities of family life.  We have had a daily schedule posted like so many families, which most days is more of an indictment of our parenting and homeschooling skills rather than an organized plan for the day. I’ve found, like many, that most of our days really come down to about an hour at a time at most.  

One hour I’m beginning the day thinking of those I know who are ill, or are not working, or just struggling with all that’s going on. 

A bit later I’m wondering if a kindergartener could actually fail at distance learning? 

Another hour I’m on my third scheduled Zoom meeting of the day.

Then I realize I missed the second scheduled Zoom meeting of the day (sorry Learning team). 
  
One hour I’m explaining that we only have so many pairs of pink toddler pants to wear, and that black is the new spring color for two year olds.  

Another hour I am so impressed by the way young adults support each other as they navigate this unprecedented time in different ways. 

Then I’m saddened by another engaged couple emailing about the need to reschedule their upcoming wedding, having to completely re-think their special day. 

Then I find myself reaching simultaneously with my wife for the iPad, to sign in  to one more  meeting, each of us assuming that the other one was going to watch the children for a bit.  Communication is indeed a life long practice in marriage! 

Finally I wonder if I’ve done enough to support my family, church and those in need that day.  Most days end wondering when we can get back to normal, and asking where God is in all of this. Of course, I know that God promised to be with us, most especially with those who are hurting, but many days I can’t make much sense of this.  And I take solace that in the very first “Easter season,” most of the disciples did not really understand what was happening either.  What would their future be like? What were they to make of all that had occurred? What would happen to them, to those they loved?  And in the midst of all that, Jesus came and offered his wisdom, peace and very self in breaking open the scriptures and sharing  the bread.  May we continue to share this goodness with each other in this season of resurrection, even as we struggle through this most difficult time. 

 

 

Working previously in college campus ministry, and now with young adults, I have to be engaged with social media, at least to some degree. Usually, it’s a helpful way to invite others into The Basilica, and Basilica Young Adult (BYA) community, but I have to admit it has been a while since I have been on Catholic Twitter. Not Twitter as a whole, just Catholic Twitter. I used to follow a variety of Catholics on Twitter, to keep up on what was happening in the Church and get various perspectives on different issues. After several weeks of seeing the vitriol, name calling, and almost complete lack of charity for one another, it was time to stop following those accounts. (The rest of Twitter isn’t much better, but Christians are called to love their neighbor, so it is especially troubling to see this behavior from people of faith). 

This weekend, we are grateful to have Dr. William Doherty from the University of Minnesota here to present on how we can have difficult political conversations with those who disagree with us. This presentation will lead into a series of workshops in March where we can learn more practical skills in how we engage others. We also are encouraging all interested to take the Civilize It pledge from our  United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to engage others with civility, clarity, and compassion during this 2020 election year—visit mary.org/civilizeit for more information and the link to the pledge form at Civilizeit.org. There is a similar ecumenical effort shared by a number of Christian denominations called Golden Rule 2020, inviting all Christians to engage each other with love.

It strikes me as a little sad that we have to take a pledge to be civil to each other; if we really believe in one God who created all of us out of love, we would treat each other with some level of respect. However, until the Kingdom of God is fully realized, I suppose we will need occasional reminders, myself included. I read an article recently by a priest who shared the saying, “You will know they are Christians by their love, and you will know they are Catholics by their fights.” This priest intimated that this was well known; I was startled by it. I had never heard that before, and if that is how people engage the Catholic community in their daily encounters, it is no wonder people are tempted to disengage from the Church. 

One of the places where I find hope in this community is in the various events I attend with young adults. The young adults I have encountered here, and throughout the Archdiocese, come with diverse ideas involving political issues, and how they engage with, and live out their faith. Certainly I have seen disagreements, but more often than not, everyone is respectful, and comes away with greater understanding, if not agreement. Hopefully we can be an example of a faith community that always practices civility, clarity, and compassion with each other and beyond. 

My wife and I got married during the season of Advent. We love this season, with Advent wreaths, hymns like O Come, O Come Emmanuel, adding more and more decorations to our tree to mark each week, and of course, calendars with their chocolate for a little daily treat. (Incidentally, you may have heard that Tiffany and Co has released their own Advent calendar this year, with a different piece of jewelry each day of December, starting at $112,000. Come, Lord Jesus indeed!)

The night before our wedding, my wife surprised me with a little gift. She left the room, and I was so excited, I opened the gift before she came back in. That was not a good decision on my part—it did NOT go over well. I’m lucky we still exchanged vows the next day!

Just a couple of weeks ago, while driving to The Basilica I heard Christmas music on the radio. In that excitement, I made multiple phone calls (hands free) to alert loved ones that we can begin listening to our holiday favorites a full two weeks before Thanksgiving! One of those calls was to my wife, who did not share my excitement! She is a bit better at waiting than I am. 

Perhaps I’m drawn to this particular season because it forces me to stretch myself and grow in patience and faith. And perhaps I’m not alone in needing that growth. The Church gives us this season because we all need this grace of waiting, as difficult as it can be at times. Some of this waiting is good—like children waiting for Santa to come or families waiting to see loved ones during the holidays.

For others, the waiting is so difficult: for a loved one to come home from being deployed abroad, for a medical test result to come back or an upcoming surgery. Millions wait at borders and in camps for the chance at a better life for their families and the list goes on. 

December 8 is the traditional date on the Church’s calendar to celebrate Mary’s Immaculate Conception, her being freed from sin so that she could conceive and bear the Christ child, our Savior and Redeemer. The Gospel for the Immaculate Conception tells the dramatic story of Mary being visited by the angel Gabriel and being told she would conceive and bear her son, Jesus. After the angel departs, Mary was left to wait. No doubt she had lots to ponder! And yet, in her waiting, she did not stay alone. She went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, to wait and be together. 

Perhaps that is where the grace we need to wait comes from, in family and community. That’s why we gather these weeks for Mass, holy days, vespers, Taizé prayer, etc. All so we can receive the grace to wait, and prepare our hearts again, for the coming Christmas feast. Together, may we all know the grace of holy waiting in this holy season. 

In just over a week, our son will begin kindergarten. How can this be when he was just born yesterday? He has been in pre-school, so the transition to kindergarten will not be a shock to any of us, but it does mean a new school, new teachers, meeting new children who will (and won’t) become his friends, and letting go of what was known in his old school. He won’t see Scotty, Charlotte, or Joey anymore, and for a five year old there is some sadness that comes with that. My daily prayer is that he listens to his teachers (better than at home!), makes some good friends, and is anything other than the “mean kid” in his class.  

Many of us are going through changes at this time of year. It can be parents who are sending little ones off to school for the first time. Some are getting older children ready for middle school or high school, with all of the anxiety and excitement that comes with that. Some parents will soon be loading up their cars and traveling with young adults beginning college, making one more trip to Target and/or the campus bookstore to make sure they’ve done all they can to help their son and daughter with a major transition. They might be new “empty nesters,” having to adjust to the reality of not seeing their children and being in a quieter home.  In all of these situations, we do what we can but have to let go, knowing that once the children are on the bus, dropped off, or we drive away from campus, we have to let go and entrust them to God’s loving care. 

For others, transitions can happen when one retires, and beyond trying to figure out what to do with extra time, a sense of identity can be lost when we don’t have a career anymore.  Transitions come when a loved one’s (or our own) health deteriorates, and we know that things won’t ever be the same again.  Of course, when a spouse, child, or loved one dies, we face those transitions too, often with grief, anger and confusion, and fear of not knowing what will come next.  On a national level, we are wrestling with how to welcome those who come to our borders: transitioning from the often harsh realities of violence and corruption in their home countries; looking for a new start with their families. 

A priest I know well told me many times that “God is faithful…God is faithful…God is faithful.” He told me that as we were waiting for our son to be born, going through the adoption process, not knowing exactly how it would all work out. It can be a helpful reminder for us, a simple truth that we can hold on to. It’s also a call to be faithful, to God and to each other. We know “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), and so we can be faithful in our call to love our neighbors through all of life’s transitions, large and small.