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

Sanctuary Supporting Congregation 

One of the values we strive to live every day at the Basilica is compassion.  As such we become aware of our shared brokenness, and we deeply respect all of God's people, and gratefully welcome-as we would Christ-all those who come to our door.  We embrace these people as our brothers and sister in Christ, and we share with them hospitality, love, acceptance and care.  We are a community serving the needs of our neighbors. Every day we provide basic tangible and physical resources such as sandwiches, clothing, toiletries, shoes, bus cards, help with I.D. cards and assistance with transportation.

For almost a year, our parish leadership has been learning about and discussing the possibility of The Basilica becoming a Sanctuary Supporting Congregation.  At the April meeting of our Parish Council, the decision was made to become a Sanctuary Supporting Congregation.  In making this commitment we will continue to do what we currently do for those who come to our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry, many of them from Ascension, our sister parish in North Minneapolis.  We would also continue our advocacy work and our prayerful support particularly for those who are on the margins and in need.  The major difference would be that we would be named as part of a network of congregations that are committed to supporting this work.  

It is perhaps most important to note, though, that becoming a Sanctuary Supporting Congregation is very different form being a Sanctuary Congregation.  Being a Sanctuary Congregation requires additional commitments that could put the Basilica at some legal risk.  As your pastor, I cannot do that.   Being a  Sanctuary Supporting Congregation has significantly fewer commitments and would serve as a way to continue to compassionately serve a community in need and as a way of living our faith. 

Now admittedly in today’s world, the word “Sanctuary” comes with some baggage. It may be helpful to note, though, that it shares the same root as the Latin word: “Sanctus,” which means holy.   Jesus has told us that “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do for me.”  Additionally, in his trip to Colombia this past September Pope Francis called on Catholics to “promote the dignity of all our brothers and sisters, particularly the poor and the excluded of society, those who are abandoned, immigrants and those who suffer violence and human trafficking,” Responding without judgement to the needs of those who come to our doors is what we are called to do as followers of Jesus Christ.  

I would encourage anyone who has questions or concerns about this issue to take them to prayer.  If, after praying about them, you would like to share them with me, please contact me.
 

Fr. John M. Bauer
Pastor
The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

For more information visit mary.org/sanctuarysupport

 

 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/052018-mass-during-day.cfm  

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost.  At the time of Jesus, the feast of Pentecost was a Jewish harvest festival.   From our Christian perspective, however, this Feast celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church.   Our first reading this weekend from the Acts of the Apostles describes this scene in dramatic language.  “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in the one place together.  And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.  Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.  And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” 

The scene described above is very dramatic.  And certainly the gift of the Spirit can be manifested in this kind of dramatic way.  I would suggest, though, that more often the gift of the Spirit is seen in less dramatic ways.   This was certainly the case in our Gospel this weekend where we read of an appearance by the resurrected Jesus.  We are told that Jesus appeared to his disciples and said: “‘Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”   The subtlety and intimacy of Jesus “breathing” the Spirit on his disciples reminds us that the gift of the Spirit sometimes comes in a quiet and calming manner. 

Regardless of whether the gift of the Spirit is dramatic or subtle and peaceful, it is not given for our own use.  Rather as St. Paul says in our second reading:  “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. How have you seen the gift of the Spirit manifested?
  2. What gift(s) of the Spirit have you been given?
  3. How would you explain the Holy Spirit to someone who comes from a non-Christian background?   
     

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/051318-ascension.cfm     

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord.   This Feast used to be celebrated as a holy day of obligation on the Thursday after the sixth Sunday of Easter.  Several years ago, however, most dioceses in the United States moved this celebration to the Sunday immediately following what would have been Ascension Thursday.    

Our first reading this weekend, from the Acts of the Apostles, contains the account of the Ascension.  “When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.  While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.  They said:  “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?  This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way you have seen him going into heaven.”  

The Gospel reading for this weekend is taken from the Gospel of Mark.  It too contains an account of the Ascension, (albeit briefer than the one in Acts).  It contains the clear declaration, however, that even though Jesus was taken up to into heaven he “worked with them (the disciples) and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.”  

Our second reading this weekend is taken from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians.   In it Paul prays:  “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. When I think of the Ascension I have this image of Jesus’ disciples staring off into the sky looking for Jesus.   Eventually, though, they had to learn to find his presence here on earth.   Where on this earth do you see signs of Christ’s presence? 
  2. Where have you found the grace of Christ at work in our world? 
  3. I love St. Paul’s use of the phrase:  “the eyes of your heart.”    What have you seen with the “eyes of your heart” that you didn’t recognize with your regular vision?  
     

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050618.cfm 

“I love you:” three simple words, but words that can carry many meanings.   Saying “I love you” to a spouse has one meaning, another when said to an offspring, still another when said to a friend or acquaintance.   In our Gospel for this Sunday we hear Jesus say:  “……… I also love you.”    To understand what Jesus means by these words we need to read the five words that precede them:   “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.”   The Father’s love for Jesus and Jesus’ love for the Father is not a romantic love (Eros) or the love of one friend for another (Philios), but rather an intense, absolute, and unwavering love (Agape).    

Jesus’ love for us is not dependent on our ability to recognize and respond to it, nor is conditioned on our acceptance of it.   Rather, Jesus loves us as we are, simply because we are.   As importantly, Jesus loves us with the same love with which the Father loves him.    It is an intense, absolute and unwavering love.   Because of Jesus’ love for us, we are chosen and invited to be his friends, and called to love one another.   

Of course, we always have the choice whether or not to accept Jesus’ love for us.   The question is, though, why wouldn’t we accept it?   

Our first reading for this weekend from the Acts of the Apostles shares the theme of the Gospel.  In that reading we hear Peter proclaim:  “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.  Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”    

Our second reading for this weekend elaborates on this theme as St. John reminds us that we are called and “to love one another because love is of God.”

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Perhaps I am deliberately naïve, but it seems to me that Jesus is eminently clear that God loves us.  Yet many people see and/or speak of God as vengeful or wrathful.   Why do you think this is?  
  2. If we truly believe that God shows no partiality, why do some people try to restrict God’s love?        
  3. What prevents us from loving one another?   

     

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below, or copy and paste it into your browser.
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/042918.cfm 

I have never been much of a gardener.  Keeping a couple of house plants alive is about as much as I can handle.   I do appreciate, though, those who create beautiful flower gardens and those who grace our tables with fresh fruits and vegetables.  I suspect it not only takes an interest, but also a special set of skills to create and cultivate a garden.  Now I mention this because the image of a garden is evident in our Gospel today as Jesus tells us: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.”  

Friends of mine who are gardeners tell me that if a plant is to produce beautiful flowers or abundant fruit, a certain amount of pruning is necessary.   I suspect this is why Jesus told us that his Father “takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.”    In addition to pruning, though, if a plant is to bear fruit it must also receive the proper nutrients.  Jesus reminded us of this when he went on to say:  “Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.”   

We continue to read from the Acts of the Apostles for our first reading today.   Today’s section is the wonderful story of how Paul (Saul), who had previously persecuted the early Christians, tried to join the disciples.  We are told that they “Were afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.”  Finally “Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles, and he reported to them how he had seen the Lord……”  

Our second reading today is from the first Letter of Saint John.  In the section we read today, John reminds us that we are to “love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. What do you need to allow God to prune in your life in order to become a better Christian?  
  2. When have you been suspicious of someone’s words or actions only to discover that they were acting in good faith and with charity?
  3. How and/or where do you need to love in deed and truth?   

 

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