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

“The only purpose of the Church is to go out and tell the world the good news about Jesus Christ. It needed to surge forth to the peripheries, not just geographically, but to the peripheries where people grapple with sin, pain, injustice, and indifference to religion. 

“But the Church had become too wrapped up in itself.  It was too navel-gazing. It had become ‘self referential’ which had made it sick.  It was suffering a ‘kind of theological narcissism.’ When Jesus said: ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock’ people assumed he was outside, wanting to come in.  But sometimes, Jesus knocks from within, wanting to be let out into the wider world. A self-referential church wants to keep Jesus to itself, instead of letting him out to others.”   

The above quotation is part of a pre-conclave talk given by Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis). Another Cardinal, Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, the Archbishop of Havana, said that this speech, given during the cardinals’ pre-conclave meetings, was "masterful" and “clear.” In fact he was so impressed with the talk that he asked Cardinal Bergoglio for his notes and his permission to share them publicly.  

I too like these words of Pope Francis.  They remind us that our Church does not exist for its own sake and well being.  Rather our Church is meant to bring Christ to the world — to be the face, the hands, the body, and the love of Christ in the world.

This weekend we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Mass at The Basilica of Saint Mary. That first Mass has been followed by countless other Masses. Additionally, in the 100 years since that first Mass, almost 26,500 babies have been baptized at The Basilica (161 of them were baptized this past year alone); thousands of weddings and funerals have taken place here; as well as Anointings of the Sick and Ordinations. And in recent years The Basilica has been host to hundreds of Confirmation ceremonies for the Archdiocese. In addition to these sacramental celebrations, The Basilica has also educated thousands in our school, and since 1974 in our faith formation programs. Through our various programs, services and ministries we welcome all those who are seeking to know and follow Jesus Christ in their lives. As I mention at the beginning of every Mass, we welcome people to worship with us whether they worship with us regularly or whether they are just visiting. Whatever brings people to The Basilica and wherever people are on their faith journey, they are welcome here.   

In addition to our parish activities, though, for one hundred years The Basilica has also been a beacon of hope on the Minneapolis skyline. The Basilica is a magnet for attracting people from all over the metro area.  Individuals from more than 540 zip codes call this parish their spiritual home. They provide critical funds and volunteer hours to help thousands of people. And our efforts make a difference. Since its beginnings at The Basilica over 25 years ago, our St. Vincent de Paul Ministry has served countless people.  Some are homeless, some on the edge, and some are working families who just can’t make ends meet. Each year, we serve about 50,000 people.  Last year we provided 7,000 pairs of shoes, 13,000 sandwiches, and hundreds and hundreds of bus tokens, gas cards, and rental assistance. The Basilica campus is the home for this life changing and life saving ministry.

Beyond meeting the needs of those in our community to just survive (food, shelter, clothing,) we also provide life skills programs and sessions as well as mentoring. The Basilica’s employment ministry currently serves more than 470 people who are unemployed or underemployed; helping them search for jobs, providing job search guidance, one-on-one counseling and resume building workshops.   

In addition to our social ministry, The Basilica of Saint Mary also plays an important role in the downtown community. For a hundred years The Basilica of Saint Mary has been a center for civic and cultural activities including ecumenical prayer services, concerts, art shows and speakers. We need to ensure that this continues in the future. 

Thousands of activities fill the calendar each year at The Basilica, involving parishioners and the community we serve. From liturgies to our employment ministry, education programs to to sandwich ministry, concerts to outreach programs, The Basilica Block Party, to art exhibits, we are a thriving community. As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Mass at The Basilica this weekend, let us pray that we will continue the proud tradition of being and bringing Christ, not just to our parishioners, but also and especially, as Pope Francis said, to those on the peripheries — to those people who grapple with sin, pain, injustice, and indifference to religion.

Click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser for this Sunday’s readings.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/060814-day-mass.cfm

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost.  This celebration reminds us that all of us have  been baptized into one and the same Spirit --- the Advocate --- who has been given as gift to the followers of Jesus.   

Our Gospel reading for this Feast is from the Gospel of John.   It records a resurrection appearance of Jesus and his words to his disciples: “Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”    

Our first reading this weekend is from the Acts of the Apostles.  We are told that “………. they were all in 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 all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.”   

We shouldn’t think these two different accounts of the gift of the Spirit are at odds with one another.  Rather, they remind us that at times the Spirit comes to us in a gentle and quiet manner, and at other times the Spirit comes in a powerful and very evident manner.   This connects well with our second reading for this Sunday from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.   In the section we read today, we are reminded that “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit, there are different forms of service but the same Lord; who produces all of them in everyone.  To each individual the manifestation of the Sprit is given for some benefit.”  


Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1.  When have you experienced the Spirit in a quiet and gentle manner?
2.  When have you experienced the Spirit in a manner that has been powerful and evident?
3.  What manifestation (gift) of the Spirit have you been given?  

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser:
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/060114-ascension.cfm 

This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.   (This Solemnity used to be celebrated on the Thursday before the Seventh Sunday of Easter, but several years ago, the Bishops of our Province made the decision to transfer this celebration to Sunday.)  Our Gospel for this Solemnity is taken from the Gospel of Matthew.  It does not speak of the Ascension directly.  Instead we are told that “The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.  When they saw him, they worshipped, but they doubted.”   Jesus then gave them the great commission “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you until the end of the age.”      

We should not be concerned that we are told that while the disciples worshipped Jesus, they still doubted.   Faith, as we know from our own experience, is not the same as certainty.  Rather, faith reminds us that even in our uncertainty, Jesus is always with us, and is leading and guiding us until the end of the age.    

Our first reading this Sunday is the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles.  It records the Ascension of Jesus, but prior to that it also records Jesus farewell words to his disciples:  “’But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’   When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.”   

Our second reading this weekend is from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians.   In the section we read today Paul prays:  “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call………………” 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1.  Have you ever worshipped, but doubted?
2.  How are you called to give witness to Christ in/through your life?
3.  How do you see things through the “eyes of the heart?”  

Recently Pope Francis, in an action that didn’t gain a lot of attention, added the name of Blessed Peter Faber, one of the first companions of St. Ignatius of Loyola (the founder of the Jesuits), to the company of the saints, short-circuiting the normal canonization process. In an August interview with Antonio Spadaro S.J. for Civiltà Cattolica, a periodical published by the Jesuits in Rome, Pope Francis spoke of Faber as a "model" for himself, both as a Jesuit and now in the governance of the universal church.  The Pope said he admired Faber for his ability to "dialogue with all, even the most remote and even with his opponents; his simple piety, a certain naïveté perhaps, his being available straightaway, his careful interior discernment, the fact that he was a man capable of great and strong decisions but also capable of being so gentle and loving."

When I read the Pope’s words, my immediate reaction was: what a great idea, canonizing someone who was able to "dialogue with all, even the most remote and even with his opponents." Holding up someone like Peter Faber as a model of sanctity, and a way of life worth emulating, reminds us that as Catholics we should never disregard or disdain those with whom we disagree. Certainly this runs counter to the way many in our church deal with those they regard as their opponents.  

In our in our church these days there are times when it is not enough simply to disagree with others. Instead, at times we tend to demonize those with whom we disagree, or worse invite them to find another church. This behavior is not limited to a particular group. I have seen people on both ends of the spectrum --- liberal and conservative --- engage in this conduct. Frankly and bluntly, I find this kind of behavior embarrassing at best.   

When Jesus called his first disciples he simply said: "Follow me." There was no litmus test to see if they passed muster. He simply invited them to follow him. And it was in following him that they came to understand what they were called to believe, and how they were called to live as his disciples. And we know from the Gospel that some found his words too difficult and simply left. In fact we are told that as a result of the Bread of Life Discourse in John’s Gospel that "many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him." Notice, though, that Jesus never spoke ill of those who left. He didn’t demonize them. And he never asked them to leave. When people left his fellowship, it was always their decision.

I am excited that Pope Francis has name Peter Faber, S.J. a saint. I am pleased and grateful that he did so because he appreciated Peter Faber’s ability to "dialogue with all, even the most remote and even with his opponents."  And I am going to pray for St. Peter Faber’s intercession so that I can be more like him in my life.

To find this Sunday’s readings, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052514.cfm

Our Gospel this Sunday is taken from that part of John’s Gospel known as the Last Supper Discourse.   In it, Jesus prepares his disciples for his death, resurrection, and eventual ascension into heaven.  He tells his disciples: “I will not leave you orphans.”   Rather, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth………..”   Additionally, twice in this Gospel Jesus invites his disciples to demonstrate their love for him by keeping his commandments.   And his commandments are simply that we “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all you mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  (Lk. 10:27)   

Clearly for Jesus if we strive to love God and our neighbor this creates a new relationship with them --- a relationship of love. In essence we are family to one another and thus are never orphans.

Once again our first reading this weekend is the Acts of the Apostles.   In the section we read this Sunday we hear that Philip “proclaimed the Christ” in Samaria, and “when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John who went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”  

Our second reading this Sunday is taken again from the first Letter of Saint Peter.    In today’s section Peter exhorts the people to “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

1.  Have you ever felt alone or on your own, e.g. orphaned, and then realized God was with you? 
2.  How have you experienced the Spirit of Truth --- the Advocate promised by Jesus --- in your life?
3.  What explanation would you offer as the reason for your hope?  

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