Fr. John Bauer

Rector and Pastor
Clergy

Serves on the Parish Council, Finance Committee, Stewardship Council and as a member of The Basilica Landmark Board.  Fr. Bauer led the successful merger of 3 parishes (St.Therese, St. Gregory, St. Leo) to become the new Lumen Christi in St. Paul, and completed their major building expansion.  Former Pastor of St. Therese, Deephaven and Associate at St. Patrick’s in Edina. 

(612) 317-3502

Recent Posts by Fr. John Bauer

I have never had much luck retrieving my luggage when I have to take two different flights to reach my destination. In fact for several years, it was pretty much inevitable that my luggage would not appear on the baggage carousel when I got to my final destination. Even now, when I approach baggage claim after landing, I can anticipate my luggage will be one of the last ones to come down the chute. I have learned to accept I am not one of those fortunate individuals who, when they get to baggage claim, within minutes can be walking out the door pulling their suitcase behind them. I have also learned that when I travel with people, I need to tell them not to get their hopes up for an early exit from the airport after the flight.

On a flight several months ago, after walking from one of the furthest possible terminals to baggage claim, I got my hopes up that because of the long walk, just maybe my baggage would be on the carrousel when I arrived. Unfortunately, this was not the case. In fact, the baggage carousel had not even started moving. I did notice, though, the carousel next to me was moving and on it were several forlorn pieces of luggage going round and round. It immediately occurred to me that they were probably left over from an earlier flight, and no one had yet arrived to claim them. Perhaps their owners had stopped to get a bite to eat or have drink before proceeding to baggage claim. Whatever the reason, they just kept going round and round on the baggage carousel. I had time to notice this because, while my luggage carrousel had finally begun to move and baggage began to emerge, my luggage was once again one of the last pieces to appear.    

This memory came back to me a few weeks ago when the responsory after the scripture reading for evening prayer was: “Claim me once more as your own Lord and have mercy on me.”  As I reflected on these words, it occurred to me that with God, we never have to worry about being “unclaimed” and ending up in the lost and found. God loves us, and even if we don’t acknowledge that love or turn away from it, God never stops loving us. God patiently waits for us to recognize and respond to God’s love. The thing is God never forces God’s love on us. Rather God waits for us to allow ourselves to be “claimed” by God.

On more than one occasion in my life I have felt like the unclaimed luggage on a baggage carousel—going round and round, but in reality, going nowhere. Fortunate indeed is the person who has not experienced those times in their life—times when they have felt lost and alone. At these times if we can come humbly to God in prayer, we will discover God has been there all along, just waiting to claim us once more as God’s own.  

 

 

 

 

Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary. I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.

Today, I would like to talk with you about three things. First, I wanted to mention once again that as we re-open and renew our various ministries, services, and programs here at the Basilica, we are in need of many volunteers to help us with this. 

In our weekly newsletter/worship aid we have created a space listing the various areas where we need volunteers. This list is also available on our parish website. If it has been a while since you have volunteered, or if you are looking for a way to get involved, please check out these various volunteer positions. Any time you give volunteer to help at the Basilica will be greatly appreciated. 

Secondly, I wanted to say just a few words about the transition process and change of pastors. While change can be difficult, Fr. Griffith and I have tried to be very intentional in this transition process. Both of us have had the opportunity to meet with the leadership and staff of our new parishes. And these meetings have gone very well. 

I think I can speak for Fr. Griffith in saying that while we both will be very sad to leave our current parish, we are both very excited about our new assignments. As we continue to transition to a new pastor, I want you to know of my ongoing prayers for our community. The Basilica is indeed a very special place—made so by our parishioners and staff. As we move forward, I ask you to please remember to keep Fr. Griffith and me in your prayers. 

Finally, I want to thank you once again for your ongoing financial support of our Basilica community. Your financial support of our community makes it possible for us to continue to offer the many ministries, services, and programs that are at the heart of our Basilica community. Please know your ongoing financial support is both needed and greatly appreciated. 


As always, I would like to close today with a prayer. 

God of Love,
You are with us in every transition and change.
As we enter into this new era with excitement and even some anxiety,
we recall your deep compassion, presence, and abounding love.
We thank you for the gifts, talents and skills with which you have blessed us.
We thank you for the experiences that have brought us to this moment.
We thank you for the work of others that gives breadth and depth to our own work.
Be with us as we move forward, rejoicing with you and supporting one another.
We ask this in your Holy Name

 

At the end of February, I wrote a column for this newsletter, lamenting the fact that so many people have difficulty saying they were sorry. My comments were triggered by Pope Emeritus Benedict’s failure to acknowledge any personal wrongdoing regarding four specific cases of clergy sexual abuse that occurred while he was Archbishop of Munich. I suspect that his advisors told him that for legal reasons, or more likely because he was the retired pope, he should not acknowledge any wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness. I lamented his failure to apologize because I thought an apology would have sent a powerful message to Catholics, and to people everywhere, that sin and failure are a part of each of our lives, and that we all need to seek forgiveness and healing when we have hurt others by our words and actions (or inactions.)

Given the above, you can imagine my surprise when a couple of weeks ago Pope Francis issued a historic apology. Speaking to a delegation of Indigenous people from Canada, he said he was asking for God's forgiveness for the Catholic Church's role in running a system of Canadian boarding schools where Native children were, in many cases, taken from their homes and abused. Specifically, the Pope said: “All these things are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” For the deplorable conduct of these members of the Catholic Church, I ask for God’s forgiveness, and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry. And I join my brothers, the Canadian bishops, in asking your pardon.” WOW!!! For a Pope to issue such an apology is nothing short of stunning. More importantly, going forward it hopefully will serve as a model for all the priests and bishops of our Church.

Far too often when the leaders of our church have responded to the issue of abuse they have done so with denials, reluctance, half-heartedly, or with qualifying statements of regret or sadness. Seldom, though, have there by clear cut, unqualified apologies. The sad fact is that until Pope Francis I cannot remember anyone in leadership in our church uttering the simple words. I am sorry. I ask pardon.

In issuing an apology Pope Francis has clearly indicated that the Church and its leaders can no longer pretend that they didn’t/do not make mistakes, and that there is never a need for them to apologize. The fact is, we all make mistakes; the leaders of our church are no exception to this. And because we all make mistakes, we all need to learn to say and mean the words: I am sorry. I ask pardon.

I am very mindful that Jesus, who was like us, in all things but sin, has modeled for us that reconciliation and peace are to be the hallmarks of our lives as Christians. In order to be reconciled and at peace with others, however, we sometimes (and even often) need to say I am sorry; I was wrong. These words might not spring immediately from our lips; and we may not say them well or often, but that does not change the fact that seeking and offering forgiveness are part and parcel of our lives as followers of Jesus. Inspired by the recent example of Pope Francis, and empowered by God’s grace, may we never tire of or be afraid to say: I am sorry. I was wrong.

 

 

Jesus is Present

While I am a little embarrassed to admit it, there are times when I feel some kinship with Mary Magdalene. As you will remember, Mary was the one who, in John’s Gospel went to the tomb early in the morning and upon seeing that the stone had been rolled back from the tomb, ran off to Simon Peter and John, and told them: “The Lord has been taken from the tomb! We don’t know where they put him.” (Jn20:2) Mary had gone to the tomb expecting to find the body of Jesus. And when she did not find Jesus where she expected to find him, she was distraught and fearful, and probably more than a little uncertain about what she should do.

Mary’s experiences of not finding Jesus in an expected place is one that is very familiar to me. Most often I expect to find/experience the presence of Jesus in my prayer. And, in fact, prayer is indeed the place where I regularly do find and experience Jesus’ presence. There are times, in my prayer, though, when this has not been the case. At these times it feels as though Jesus has been taken away, and I don’t know where he is.

I suspect the above is something that is true for all of us. There are places/activities/special moments in our lives where we have felt Jesus’ presence in the past, and as a result, we continue to expect that we will find/experience the presence of Jesus in those places/ activities/moments. When this turns out not to be the case, we wonder what happened, and we feel as though Jesus has been taken away and we do not know where he is to be found.

When the above happens, we need to remind ourselves that Jesus is still present, even though it is not in the place or in the way that had been the case in the past. Certainly, this is what happened with Mary Magdalene. When she went to the tomb, she did not find Jesus where she expected to find him. At that point it would have been easy for her to give in to discouragement and give up the search, but instead she sought help and went looking a second time, and it was then that she experienced the presence of Jesus in a new and glorious way.

This same thing can be true for us. If we don’t find/experience the presence of Jesus in the usual ways/places, if we can persevere in our search, if we can wait in hope, seek in love, and believe in Jesus’ resurrection and his promise to be with us always, even until the end of the world, we will discover anew Christ’s abiding presence with us in new and unexpected ways.

On this Feast of Easter, my prayer is that all of us will continue to look for and discover the presence of Jesus in our lives—in familiar as well as in new ways—and that the grace of Christ’s resurrection will sustain and support us in our search and ultimately reward our efforts.

 

 

 

Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary. I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.

Today, I would like to talk with you about three things. First, I want to invite you to join us for our liturgies during the Triduum and Easter. The schedule of liturgies for these days is available on our website.

The celebrations of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter help us to remember anew that Jesus Christ suffered and died for us and rose, that we might have life eternal. This is the essence of our faith, and the cause for our hope. I hope you will be able to join us for these celebrations. 

As always, though, if you are not able, or don’t feel comfortable joining us in-person for any of our liturgies, we invite you join them via live-stream. A schedule of our livestreamed liturgies is available on our website. Joining us at Easter is a wonderful way for us as a people of faith to celebrate and thank God for the many ways God has blessed us in our lives. 

The second thing I wanted to mention is that as we re-open and renew our various ministries, services and programs here at The Basilica, we are in need of volunteers to help us with this. In our weekly newsletter/worship aid we have created a space listing the various areas where we need volunteers. This list is also available on our parish website.

If it has been a while since you have volunteered, or if you are looking for a way to get involved, please check out these various volunteer positions. 

Third, I want to thank those of you who continue to support The Basilica financially. Please know your financial support is greatly appreciated. Parishes rely on their collections at Christmas and Easter to help them balance their budget. The Basilica is no exception to this. Given this, I would ask you to be generous to The Basilica at Easter. Please know your generosity is greatly appreciated. 

Your financial support makes it possible for to continue to offer the many ministries, services and programs that are at the heart of our Basilica community. 

In closing, as we continue to transition to a new pastor, I want to let you know of my ongoing prayers for our community. The Basilica is indeed a very special place—made so by our parishioners and staff. 

 

As always, I would like to close today with a prayer. 

God of Love and Compassion, You are always with us. 
As we enter into this time of transition and change we do so with excitement and perhaps some anxiety.

Help us to know of your presence and be open to your grace in this time.

Help us to recall your deep compassion, your presence, and your abiding love.

We thank you for the gifts, talents and skills with which you have blessed us.

We thank you for the experiences that have brought us to this moment.

We thank you for the work of others that gives breadth and depth to our own work.

Be with us as we move forward, rejoicing with you and supporting one another.

We ask this in your Holy Name.
Amen. 

 

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