Terri Ashmore

Managing Director
Administration

Terri Ashmore joined the Basilica staff as Director of Development in 1993.  She helped lead a $10 million capital fundraising effort for the structural restoration of The Basilica, the $7.7 million build out of The Basilica's undercroft, and a $4.2 million church tuck pointing and stained glass window restoration project.  Since 2003 as Managing Director, Terri works with the Accounting & Finance, Communications, Development and Facilities teams running day to day operations to support The Basilica's vision and mission.  She is a liaison to parish and Basilica Landmark governance committees.  Terri enjoys volunteering with the Jeremiah Program and serves on the Board for Lundstrum Center for the Performing Arts.

(612) 317-3471

Recent Posts by Terri Ashmore

What adjective would you choose to describe the curve balls 2020 has thrown us? Unexpected, topsy turvy, isolating, crazy, frustrating? (And probably some not fit to print) This list could go on and on. 

In the face of these challenges, one unshakeable experience for me has been working with our team of staff at The Basilica. Their commitment to continue to offer opportunities for worship and ministry has never waivered. We may have changed, but we never stopped. 

In March, we started with an iPhone camera to offer Mass virtually on FaceBook Live. That quickly evolved with a great camera crew from Qwickcast who made us feel like we were in The Basilica during Holy Week and on Easter Sunday, even as we watched from our living room sofas. Your generosity kept us going.

This summer a six camera system of our own was made possible by a Basilica Landmark donor. Since bringing this system online, over twenty Basilica staff members have been trained to use it. We’re still learning, but today livestreaming liturgies like Masses, weddings, funerals, baptisms, confirmations is a regular part of daily life at the parish. Former parishioners and friends from around the country are finding us online and joining these livestreamed liturgies. 

We’ve been able to re-open for the public too—now offering two weekday Masses at 7:00am and Noon (also livestreamed), and Sunday Masses at 11:30am and 4:30pm (with 9:30am livestreamed), and Reconciliation at 9:00am Saturdays. To keep everyone safe in this world changed by COVID-19, new Mass protocols are in place and routine including pre-registration, limited numbers, sanitizing our hands, wearing masks and social distancing. Together, staff and volunteers are working to welcome people into The Basilica as safely as we can. 

Coffee and sandwiches are still available daily for those who are hungry. Volunteers, book clubs and speaker series are all meeting virtually. Speakers offer perspectives from our faith in presentations and discussions on immigration, nationalism, citizenship, mental health, and more. 

Employment Ministry Mentors are meeting with job seekers over Zoom. Mentors of Minneapolis College students who have experienced homelessness continue their work and offer their support. St. Vincent de Paul volunteers are doing outreach by phone. Faith Formation for children and teens is being offered virtually too, with families receiving a home prayer kit and supplies. Young Adult Bible Study and Pathways for those looking to build skills to stabilize their lives are active as well. The response to these offerings has been amazing and we are grateful. 

Day to day ministries continue as volunteers share the gift of their faith in so many ways, albeit often virtually. These ministries and offerings can only continue to happen with your financial support. Will you commit to a recurring gift to The Basilica Fund in the coming year? 

We need your help to empower our mission and our ministries. Consider what gift works for you weekly or monthly. Ideally, set this up electronically for automatic withdrawal. It’s easy, and if you need to, you can change this at any time. Giving electronically helps us plan, saves money and makes your contributions go even farther. We are grateful for your support in these challenging times. 

Too quiet, too empty. As I write, the normally intense Basilica Block Party usually set up by hundreds of volunteers would have been in full swing. With COVID-19 and the common good in mind, cancelling this summer party was clearly the right decision.

Feelings of loss and sadness for what was “normal” go far beyond this fun summer event. We are not gathering in person for liturgies and volunteering… not building Habitat homes… not gathering in person to celebrate our children and catechists’ year of learning about our Catholic faith… not offering St. Vincent de Paul daily outreach. Too quiet indeed. 

Without the experiences that normally mark our liturgical, volunteer and social calendars, the shape of daily life has changed dramatically. The future feels uncertain. As a planner, there are days when I find all of this unnerving, challenging, and sometimes maddening.

However and perhaps in spite of COVID-19, I’m seeing many glimmers of hope for our parish’s future. Young adults gather Thursday evenings on The Basilica lawn for Bible Study—social distancing and discussing Scripture. Recently, 98 people joined a “Grief in the City” webinar and this session is available on mary.org any time to anyone interested. Small weddings are being celebrated. Families are having small funerals to grieve the loss of a loved one. 

We are gaining new skills as we befriend new technologies. Zoom is our new noun, verb, and connecting point, and we’ve rediscovered the telephone. Teams of volunteers are “zooming” as is Thursday Morning Prayer, Wednesday Coffee and Conversation with Fr. Bauer, speakers, and committee and staff meetings. All these and more happen virtually. Staff and volunteers are staying in touch with each other and ministry participants.

While most staff work primarily from home, the Rectory is staffed for a limited daily schedule. Thanks to SVdP donations, staff serve coffee and sandwiches to those who are hungry. Port-a-potties are available to our neighbors who are homeless. Their gratitude for these basic amenities is humbling.

While liturgies aren’t the same without your presence, they are livestreamed daily and with a national and global reach. A new camera system has been installed and staff training started last week. We are learning as we go and committed to livestreaming liturgies into the future. As we learn the ropes, the possibilities for expanded outreach are exciting. 

As we focus on safety for guests, staff and priests, we continue to develop health screening and cleaning protocols. People in limited numbers are now invited to daily Mass in person, with pre-registration, health screening and facemasks required. Our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan is available on mary.org, and the plan will evolve as we continue to learn about this virus. Things may look and feel different on the Basilica campus, but remember our goal is a safe experience for all. 

As we seek a “new normal,” the heart of Basilica parish life, both in person and virtually, has remained the same. Together, we are committed to being a home of spiritual nourishment, a beacon of hope where all are welcomed with respect and dignity, and an advocate for change working for peace, justice and equality. 

 

Volunteer leaders at The Basilica serve in many roles across the parish, leading individual ministries, volunteer teams and planning for the future. One group critical to our leadership structure is our Parish Council. 

We invite you to cast your ballot online for our candidates for the Parish Council at www.mary.org/vote. The election will run from May 26-June 5.  On the ballot this year is incumbent Aara Johnson running for a second term to represent Christian Life and Steven Kim is the candidate for Liturgy and Sacred Arts.

The Council is a consultative group charged with assisting the Pastor and staff in discerning the needs, ambitions and desires of the Parish community and carrying out its mission in the city.  
Made up of 6 elected, 5 appointed and 4 ex-officio members, the Parish Council advises Fr. Bauer about issues happening in our parish and the local Catholic Church.  Council members offer their time, expertise and guidance as challenges arise.  

Elected members represent critical areas of ministry including Liturgy and Sacred Arts, Learning and Christian Life.  Appointees include 3 at large members, and representatives of the Finance and Development Committees.  In their role as corporate officers our two trustees, Fr. Bauer, and the Managing Director serve as ex-officio members by nature of their roles, on both the Finance Committee and the Parish Council.  

The Council’s primary role is to ensure that we have a Strategic Plan, and that our parish focuses thoughtfully and planfully on the future.  The Our Parish, Our Future Strategic Plan was approved in late 2018.  Since that time the Council has worked with parish leaders and staff to identify and implement new ways of working together and new approaches to ministry through the lens of transformative arts, preventing homelessness and inclusion This work is being done with an ongoing commitment to excellence and welcome in Liturgies and Sacred Arts, Learning opportunities for all ages, and Christian Life initiatives like outreach and advocacy for those most in need.  

With a new perspective I can share that there is nothing like a pandemic to crystalize the importance of active volunteer leaders willing to share their expertise and guidance.  Reacting to the impacts of a global pandemic was not part of our parish Strategic Plan and together we are breaking new ground.

However, as we wrestled with how to meet the challenges of the pandemic, the foundation of the Strategic Plan is helping us move into an uncertain future. Some plan initiatives like live streaming of daily and Sunday Masses that we thought wouldn’t happened for years,  are being  realized simply due to necessity.

Our aspirations have not changed.  We seek to offer a home of spiritual nourishment, to be a beacon of hope and serve as an advocate for change as we seek the well-being of the city.  With the help of our current and future parish leaders, The Basilica of Saint Mary will continue to grow and thrive through and beyond the pandemic.  

 

From our seats in the pews of The Basilica, we can make a difference around the world. Each year, our parish community helps a global mission cause. This weekend, Meghan Meros, Associate Director of the Franciscan Mission Service (FMS), joins us to raise awareness and financial support for their ministries. This Catholic, 501(c)(3) nonprofit relies on the prayers and financial support of parishes like ours to serve communities in South America, the Caribbean, and here in US. 

How will your donations help FMS around the globe? FMS focuses on making a difference through sustainable agriculture, and prison ministries. Here are just a few examples. 

FMS ministers accompany communities to create organic in-home gardens and provide healthy food for families. The parish of Santa Vera Cruz and the rural Santa Rosa de Lima community used sustainable agriculture techniques the FMS team learned at regional workshops to improve the soil quality and production of the parish garden. They went from growing a single crop of potatoes one year to growing a variety of healthy vegetables the next. Produce is sold to parishioners twice a week. Food waste is fed to the worm bed to produce hummus and other organic matter used for mulch. 

About 10 women work alongside the parish team in the parish garden, and in the women’s family gardens. Together as a community, they plant, harvest, and share meals. Their gardens have doubled in productivity. Healthy food is now available in an area lacking water, sanitation systems, quality education, and reliable transportation. People in this area face constant marginalization based on race, class, and culture.

In the prisons, FMS ministers affirm the dignity of all. One minister works at seven prisons around Cochabamba, Bolivia. For context, those incarcerated in Bolivia, lose their freedom and must pay for their cells and food. Often, children are sent to prison with their mothers. Many women end up in prison for stealing just to provide for their families. 

Awaiting trial is a lengthy process, and those incarcerated make crafts and goods to earn funds to pay for food and their cells. FMS ministers assist by selling their goods at market, and helping obtain raw materials to make shoes, cards, and other saleable crafts. FMS works with about 200 artisans, carpenters, and shoemakers. Forming friendships is as important as the crafts sold. These ministers help affirm the prisoners’ dignity as human beings. 

Another minister visits with about 20 women imprisoned in Cochabamba. They have formed friendships, and share in Bible study. The ministers recognize the women’s need for meaningful work and assist with their desire to gain skills to so they can find employment upon their release from prison. Some of the imprisoned women knit for an ethical manufacturing company while others learn how to do hair in the prison salon.

Each of us is called to consider what we can do for our brothers and sisters around the world. One way we can engage is simple - by giving donations and our prayers, we can support the Franciscan Mission Service and their work around the globe. 

“I know well the plans I have for you says the Lord . . . Plans for your wellbeing, 
not your woe . . . Plans to give you a future full of hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Have you heard about the “Nones?” A Pew Research Study identified increasing numbers of young adults who no longer choose to affiliate with organized religion and named them the “Nones.” Critical downward trends face many churches and raise serious questions about the future. Fewer people attending church, downward changes in financial giving habits, and volunteering are just a few of the troubling trends impacting many faiths, especially Catholics.

The Basilica has been successful in attracting young adults and we are grateful for their involvement and that of all our parishioners, but we know we can’t simply sit back and relax. That’s why the work of our volunteer leaders to implement the Our Parish, Our Future strategic plan is so important. 

This fall it’s been exciting as parish leaders have gathered for deep dives into pressing questions about creating a future full of hope for our parish. Fifty ministry leaders have agreed to serve as plan ambassadors, to share their ideas and feedback. Another 25 leaders are serving as a Change Management Team and to shepherd this work. They have focused on critical questions: 

  • What do we want to see in place in 3 -5 years? 
  • What blocks us from realizing these hopes, and how can we deal with them? 
  • What underlying contradictions keep us from achieving our goals? 
  • What innovative, substantial actions will address these underlying contradictions and move us toward our achieving our vision?

In depth conversations have resulted in an initial approach to practical goals. Central to our work is an ongoing commitment to living our Catholic faith in the world through our liturgies, learning, and Christian life. As a dynamic Catholic parish, we are committed to our responsibility to minister to our members and to invite and challenge them to minister to those in need. 

We’ve set a goal to broaden and deepen engagement through a focus (both internal and external) on arts, inclusivity and preventing homelessness through a commitment to a continuous process of improvement and accountability. Our work will move us towards:

  • Increasing engagement
  • Strengthening our presence and partnerships—to leverage and extend our reach and engagement
  • Enhancing belonging and excellence in ministry
  • Stewarding our resources

Staff from all parish departments have participated in goal setting sessions to identify how to move forward practically and successfully. Together, volunteers and staff have identified one year accomplishments and two year success indicators necessary to achieve our goals. The resulting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely) goals will guide our work in the coming years. Our conversations have turned toward ways to evaluate the impacts and effectiveness of our ministries, programs, and operations. 

At the end of the day, our goal is to put our faith into action. We strive to accept the challenge of St. Teresa of Avila to take up the work of Jesus Christ and live our faith in the world – “Christ has no body now, but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.” 

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