Melissa Streit

Director of Engagement

Melissa Streit has been a parish member and active volunteer at The Basilica for over 20 years. She was on The Basilica staff from 1997-2007 and returned to the staff in 2020 as the Director of Engagement. In her current role, Melissa works across programs and ministries to develop and implement strategies to increase parishioner volunteerism, leadership, and engagement. She previously worked at Jeremiah Program and the Minnetonka Public Schools Foundation. She lives in Minnetonka with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, baking, and crafts.

Melissa Streit
(612) 317-3417

Recent Posts by Melissa Streit

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Noon Mass January 15

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Noon Mass January 14

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Prayer for the New Year

I am not an enthusiast of new year’s resolutions. Perhaps it comes from seeing too many advertisements for gym equipment, dating sites, or weight loss programs during the last week of December, knowing most resolutions fade just a few weeks later. While the desire for self-improvement is admirable, some resolutions feel half-hearted or even self-loathing.

But 2020 has been a year like no other and, as it comes to a close, I have been thinking more about new year’s resolutions. As we near the Epiphany of the Lord, I am considering new year’s resolutions with a new perspective. Epiphany means manifestation, and the Epiphany of the Lord is Jesus’ manifestation to the three Magi and to the whole world.

In 2020, the whole world has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. So much of what we’re accustomed to -- our routines, habits, and activities -- came to a screeching halt. That lockdown continues in many ways as we begin 2021. 

I have come to see a small silver lining in the lockdown. With most commitments on hiatus, if and when things “open up” and we can start activities again, I hope to carefully evaluate what I choose to bring back. The difficulties of 2020 may bring an epiphany of sorts in 2021, with the invitation to prayerfully and deliberately evaluate what I do -- and, more importantly, what I don’t do. Every activity, every commitment, every social or volunteer opportunity, is an invitation for me to prayerfully ask, “Why should I do this? Does this help someone? Does this bring me joy? Does this bring me closer to God? Or should I not bring this back?”

While I, like you, anxiously await for the pandemic to ebb (hopefully soon!) and for life to return back to “normal,” I pray for an epiphany in this new year. As we wade into 2021, may we look for the star that God is using to call us. May our new normal be focused on God and how God is speaking to us, now more than ever.

A regular highlight of my Advent season is our bilingual celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, whose feast day is December 12. Although more subdued and socially distant this year, we will have a bilingual celebration on Sunday, December 13, at 4:30pm Mass, in partnership with the Spanish speaking community at our sister parish, Church of the Ascension, on the near north side of Minneapolis. Ascension pastor (and former Basilica vicar) Fr. Dale Korogi will be the celebrant. You are invited to join us via livestream or in person.

Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to an indigenous man, Saint Juan Diego (whose feast day is December 9), outside of Mexico City on a hill called Tepeyác in 1531. Our Lady had both indigenous Aztec and Spanish characteristics, and in his native language she told Juan Diego to ask the bishop to build a church in her honor. The bishop requested proof of her request, so Our Lady instructed Juan Diego to gather blooming roses in his tilma (cape). When he unfurled his cape before the bishop, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe miraculously appeared on the cape. The Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe was constructed on the hill in her honor. A beautiful mosaic of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, made at the Vatican Museums in Rome, is installed in the southwest corner of our Basilica.

In other years, Aztec dancers, in beautiful feathered attire, would joyously dance on our front plaza and in the church. Guests wearing traditional attire would process with statues and banners of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and a festive celebration with customary foods would follow in our Teresa of Calcutta Hall.

Though more subdued this year, without dancers, processions, or delicious treats, the celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe provides us inspiration during COVID-19. By choosing Juan Diego as her messenger in 1531, she often represents empowerment for the least powerful and marginalized. She has also been a source of comfort and strength for Latinos and others almost 500 years. During our global pandemic, may her example of patience, solidarity, and grace provide us all with comfort and inspiration.

Many of us mourn the changes, big and small, to our everyday life due to COVID-19. We yearn for a return to “normal” and wonder if that is even possible, much less when. We long for our familiar routines, hugs with friends and family, a return to school, work, and serving, and much more. Many grieve the passing of a loved one. The past few months have altered who we are, both individually and collectively.

In times of change and turmoil, one constant is that God is with us and we are able to share all of these feelings and worries with our loving God. The other constant is our faith community. 

While we have had to adapt, The Basilica is the same in many ways. We offer sandwiches, coffee, and a warm greeting to our neighbors in need. We have beautiful liturgies and insightful homilies, with options for in-person and livestream attendance. We share a variety of prayer services online and offer in-person reconciliation. We celebrate music and sacred art in a variety of forms and origins. We commence another year of religious education for our children and youth, plus an updated, flexible RCIA process to accommodate the needs and timing of our candidates. We accompany the unemployed/underemployed, the grieving, and those struggling with the burdens of life. We are offering thought-provoking programming on faithful citizenship, immigration, mental health, and more. We will even offer a drive-up opportunity to get your fall pumpkins, brought directly to your car.

One of my roles during COVID-19 is to manage the brief check-in and health screening process for guests on campus. I’ve been moved by people’s support, patience, and graciousness as we adapt to a new way of coming to The Basilica—thank you. Many have expressed gratitude for the extra steps we take to welcome you back safely.

It’s been an honor to meet more parish members and visitors, and to hear your stories. People have been visibly moved by the experience of physically returning to their beloved Basilica. Pre-registered Mass visitors from out-of-state are awed by seeing our beautiful building for the first time. We even welcomed a koala stuffed animal (wearing its own custom face mask!), carried by a young girl wearing her Sunday best.

As our times of uncertainty linger, we invite you to engage with your spiritual home, with your Basilica. We proudly continue to be a place of worship, a place of refuge, and a place of peace—seeking the well-being of our city and world.