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Archives: June 2018
In the early 1990s, The Basilica adopted a parish vision taken from the bible verse Jeremiah 29:7: “Seek the well-being of the city to which I have sent you. Pray for it, says the Lord, for in its well-being you will find your own.”
This vision has propelled parishioners beyond the pews into the city, to put their faith in action. Like our parish, the South African group New Hope International Exchange (NHIE) also draws inspiration from the prophet Jeremiah, as they focus on learning from the past and building bridges to a new future.
Sharing messages of reconciliation with a cultural music exchange, New Hope International is celebrating the 100th year celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birth. Mandela was the first democratically elected leader of South Africa. To celebrate Mandela, NHIE’s singing group known as 29:11 is embarking on a year long journey called the Reconciliation Music Exchange Tour. The group took its name from the bible verse in Jeremiah 29:11: “I know well the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans for your well-being, not your woe. Plans to give you a future full of hope.”
Why music exchange? Coming together around music helps us to celebrate what we have in common. NHIE is committed to a full year of exchange concerts and culture and learning partnerships with churches, schools and others. They see music as the “universal unifier and a catalyst for change we wish to see in the world.” In the Twin Cities, they are partnering with Bethel University, Luther College, the Minnesota Chorale, the National Baptist Convention, the Leadership Institute-Minnesota Honorary Council to South Africa and the Minnesota Orchestra. Their goal is to reach tens of thousands to open dialogues on reconciliation.
The group 29:11 describes their music as “food for the soul.” Their instrumentalists and vocalists will offer traditional South African music and original pieces. For a taste of 29:11’s music join us at the 9:30am Mass on Sunday, June 10. 29:11 return to The Basilica at 7:00pm Thursday, June 28 for an in-depth collaboration with our parish including a concert and program in partnership with 16 Basilica parishioners and friends who travelled to South Africa last January.
Trip participant, Susan McGuigan said her challenge is “to use what I learned to make me a better person and my community a more loving and just place to live. Parishioner Joan Prairie described her striking memory of visiting a Cape Town township and learning about their water shortage. “They’ve experienced extreme drought and have been rationing water for 3-4 years. We learned some communities were facing a total shut off of water this spring,” said Joan. Linda Atwood shared that “The South Africa post-apartheid truth and reconciliation journey challenged me to reflect beyond my familiar cultural comforts and political viewpoints.”
New Hope International Exchange (NHIE)
Originally from South Africa, Brendon Adams and his wife Gaylene co-founded NHIE and operate from their Eden Prairie home. Gaylene visited South Africa in 1996, returning in 1998 for work in children and youth ministry in Cape Town. Brendon and Gaylene met and married in 2000, and ran New Hope International Exchange in Elsies River, a Cape Town Flats township created by the mass removals of blacks from their homes during the Apartheid era. Twenty five years after the end of Apartheid, people in communities like Elsies River still struggle with poverty and high rates of unemployment, crime, gang activity and teen pregnancy.
NHIE offers opportunities to individuals and groups to put hope in action by serving and supporting communities in need within Cape Town, South Africa through volunteer missions and foreign exchange.
29:11 CONCERT AND RECONCILIATION PRESENTATION
THURSDAY, JUNE 28, 7:00PM
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/061018.cfm
This Sunday we return to what is known as “Ordinary Time” in our Church’s calendar. It is called Ordinary Time, to distinguish it from the seasons of Advent/Christmas and Lent Easter. At the beginning of our Gospel this Sunday we are told that when the crowds gathered around Jesus his relatives “set out to seize him for they said: ‘He is out of his mind’.” In the verses that follow, Jesus responded to the people who questioned whether he was using demonic power to case out demons by telling them: “How can Satan drive out Satan?” He then told them: “But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin. For they had said: “He has an unclean spirit.” The Gospel closes with Jesus’ family finally arriving. When told his family had arrived, Jesus responded by saying: “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
While our Gospel today is a bit of a hodgepodge in regard to its meaning. It does tell us, though, that people were suspicious and even hostile toward Jesus because he did not conform to their expectations. Their resistance to Jesus was fueled by the suggestion from the religious leaders that he was out of his mind and/or possessed by Satan. More importantly, though, this Gospel also reminds us that those who believe in and seek to follow Jesus are in a new relationship with Jesus and with each other. We are brother and sister, mother and father to one another.
Our first reading this Sunday is from the Book of Genesis. It records the aftermath of the sin of Adam and Eve. The point of the story is that when sin entered the world our relationship with God changed. The mutuality and the close and open relationship with God that humans once enjoyed was forever changed because of sin.
Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the second letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians. In it St. Paul reminded the early Christians (and us) that when we encounter pain and difficulties --- even the pain associated with death that we are not to be discouraged. “For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comprehension, as we look not to what is seen, but to what is unseen; for we know that what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Why is it easy to think of some people as our brothers and sisters, and not so easy for us to think of others as brothers and sisters?
- How do you imagine our relationship with God was before sin entered the world?
- Our second reading today is often used at funerals. What do you find most consoling about it?