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A few weeks ago, my husband sent me a link for a quiz he found in his work with undergraduate students. I’m generally skeptical of these black & white quizzes but it was a slow day at work….
The quiz was called “The Four Tendencies” and it focuses on what motivates people and how understanding that can help you get more done.
After only a few minutes of clicking, my results were in. Apparently, I’m an Obliger: “I do what I have to do. I don’t want to let others down, but I may let myself down.” My husband was surprised, he thought for sure I’d be a Questioner: “I do what I think is best, according to my judgment. If it doesn’t make sense, I won’t do it” or a Rebel: “I do what I want, in my own way. If you try to make me do something—even if I try to make myself do something—I’m less likely to do it.”
I wasn’t particularly surprised by my results. While I tend to come across as constantly questioning the status quo (my mom used call me “Contrary Mary”), I find that unless I have someone depending on me to produce, I procrastinate.
This is where you come in. I care deeply about the welfare and longevity of our Basilica and our Catholic Church in general. However, I can get overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done and exhausted by all the competing priorities in my life. But knowing that you, the parishioners of The Basilica and the members of Deanery 13 have elected me to be your voice, motivates me to show up.
So whether you are an Upholder who wants to know what should be done, a Questioner who wants justifications for actions, an Obliger who needs accountability or a Rebel who wants freedom to do something your own way—I encourage you to find that why and put it to use for the good of our home, The Basilica.
We will soon be accepting nominations for Parish Council positions—consider if you (or someone you know) may be ready to take their experience in the pews to the next level as a Parish Council Representative. Parish Council members serve as an advisory group to the Pastor and assist with strategic planning, creation of effective communication structures, policies and procedures, and educating parishioners about biblical stewardship. They bring concerns of parishioners to the attention of Fr. Bauer and help direct the focus of parish departments.
Are you worried that you don’t have enough experience or the right skills to participate?
I urge each of you search your hearts and consider if you might be ready to take the humbling step of becoming a volunteer in any capacity! Council members and other parish volunteer leaders will be available after weekend masses in the back of church. Please come and say hi, ask about how and why they serve or let them know if you have questions or concerns.
Thank you for your prayerful consideration of this call to leadership and please continue to pray for the wisdom and humility of all those in leadership positions.
Parish Council Secretary
The Basilica of Saint Mary
PARISH COUNCIL NOMINATIONS
Parishioners are invited to nominate excellent candidates to represent the Liturgy and Sacred Arts and Christian Life areas to the Parish Council by April 15. Submit the form online at mary.org/pcnominations.
In the Catholic Church every five years diocesan bishops travel to Rome to meet with the Pope and members of the Curia to report on the state of their dioceses. It is a formal trip known as the “ad limina.” It is usually made together by all the bishops of a single region. The bishops of Minnesota and North and South Dakota made their “ad limina” visit to Rome this past January. On February 10, 2020, Pope Francis met with the bishops from New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming as part of their “ad limina” visit to Rome.
After the meeting at least two of the bishops, who were present, spoke anonymously to the Catholic News Agency (CNA is owned by The Eternal Word Television Network. It provides news related to the Catholic Church to the global English speaking audience.). These bishops said that as part of their conversation Pope Francis indicated that while he had accommodated a request for a meeting with Fr. James Martin, S.J. he was clear with them that he did not intend for it to convey any significance. One of the bishops was quoted (anonymously) as saying that Pope Francis “made his displeasure clear” about the way the meeting was interpreted, and framed by some journalists.’ Another bishop said: "He told us that the matter had been dealt with; that Fr. Martin had been given a 'talking to' and that his superiors had also been spoken to and made the situation perfectly clear to him.” One of the bishops went on to say; “I do not think you will be seeing that picture of him (Martin) with the pope on his next book cover."
As background to the above, it is important to know that Fr. James Martin, S.J. is a best selling author who advocates for and ministers to LGBT Catholics. In 2017 he authored the book “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community can enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity.” On September 30, 2019 Fr. Martin met for 30 minutes in a private audience with Pope Francis and had his picture taken with the Pope. While Fr. Martin did not reveal what the Pope said to him in the course of their conversation, he did say that “among other things, I shared with Pope Francis the experiences of LGBT Catholics around the world, their joys and their hopes, their griefs and their concerns. I also talked about my own ministry to them and how they felt excluded.” Fr. Martin concluded by saying “I saw this audience as a sign of the Holy Father’s care for LGBT people.”
Now the above would not be all that newsworthy except for the fact that Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico, recently responded publicly to the CNA account. In his statement Archbishop Wester said: “I wish to address the article that appeared in CNA regarding the meeting of the bishops of Region XIII and Pope Francis on Monday, February 10, 2020. The article puts forward a series of statements supposedly made by Pope Francis regarding Fr. James Martin's meeting with the Holy Father on September 30, 2019. The bishops who reported these statements to CNA remained anonymous throughout the article.” Archbishop Wester went on to say: "Our meeting with the Pope lasted almost two hours and forty-five minutes, so it is difficult for anyone to remember with precision anything that was said. "However, the general tone of the Pope's responses to issues raised with him was never angry, nor do I remember the Pope saying or implying that he was unhappy with Father Martin or his ministry." He also said that while Martin and his ministry were discussed, it was not the pope who raised it but rather some bishops. “My recollection is that it was not Father Martin the Pope was talking about, but the way others tried to use that encounter, one way or the other. In my view, the language subtlety, yet incorrectly, leads the reader to believe that Father Martin was the issue while, in fact, it was how others used their meeting that was in play. Furthermore, I have no memory at all of the Pope being angry, upset or annoyed. He spoke gently and patiently throughout our meeting.” Archbishop Wester ended his statement by saying: “Ordinarily, I would not be sanguine about offering these recollections of our wonderful meeting with Pope Francis. However, I believe that I have an obligation to offer my perspective on those matters contained in the CNA article about Father James Martin, SJ, since my understanding of the facts differs from what was reported anonymously.”
After Archbishop Wester’s statement, a second bishop also spoke up to counter allegations that Pope Francis expressed displeasure with Fr. Martin during the meeting with bishops of the southwestern United States. Bishop Steven Biegler of Cheyenne, Wyoming, said he supports the recollections of Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Bishop Biegler said in part: that “Wester's response accurately describes the tone and substance of the short dialogue regarding Fr. James Martin,"
Hmmmmm, we have two bishops speaking publicly about their recollections of a meeting with the Pope, and at least two bishops speaking anonymously about their recollections of that same meeting, And interestingly and remarkably their recollections differ dramatically. What are we to make of this? Who are we to believe? Well, since I believe that the privilege of anonymity belongs only to God and people who are doing good works, my money is on Archbishop Wester and Bishop Biegler as being truthful and honest in their recollections.
I am truly saddened and deeply disappointed, both personally and for our church, by those bishops who chose to make anonymous allegations about Fr. Martin. I believe the example of those bishops who made these anonymous statements is yet another instance of a failure in leadership in our Church. While I do believe that some of our bishops “get it,” this instance is clear evidence that some do not. More importantly, it causes me to wonder if the majority of our bishops will ever understand that truthfulness, integrity, transparency, and accountability are requirements for their job, and not just pious platitudes.
A few weeks ago I made an attempt (which ultimately was only minimally successful) to clean off my desk. In some ways my cleaning attempt was like an archeological dig. The deeper I got, the more interesting things I discovered. Now I used to feel bad about how my desk looked. Several years ago, though, I went to a talk about how to be better organized. The presenter said one thing in particular that really spoke to my heart. Specifically she said: “Some people file things to find them. If you are one of those people your desk is always neat and clean. Other people, though, file things when they are finished with them. If you are one of those people you almost always have piles on your desk. The reason for this is that you need to keep everything you are working on in plain view. If you put something away you are done with it.” These words immediately brought me a sense of comfort and peace. And while I don’t brag about the appearance of my desk, I no longer feel bad about it either.
I suspect that most of us have had similar experiences—times when someone has said something that calmed our fears, eased our distress, or lessened our guilt. These times are islands of peace amid the often stormy sea of life. There are other times, though, when someone says something that can cause us to feel uneasy or even anxious. For me, the words of Jesus often do both of these things.
At times, Jesus’ words can be enormously comforting as when he reminds us that God loves us and forgives our sins. At the same time, though, Jesus’s words can also challenge us as they remind us that we are to love others as we have been loved and to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Jesus’ words are often a two-edged sword. They comfort and console us, while at the same time challenging us and perhaps making us feel a bit uneasy about how we are living.
While I definitely like living in my comfort zone, I find I function best when I am on the edge of my comfort zone as opposed to being in the middle of it. Most often Jesus’ words challenge me to move out of the middle of my comfort zone and live on the edge of it. They remind me that if I want to experience God’s love and forgiveness, then I need to work to extend these to others. This isn’t easy and in fact I fail at it regularly. If I look to Jesus’s words for comfort and consolation, though, I must also hear and be open to the challenge in them. The promise, as well as the challenge of Jesus’s words can not be separated. Being a disciple of Jesus is not just about recognizing this, but also living so as to give witness to it with our lives.
Music can be defined as “an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color.” I have lived each day of my life surrounded by music. Whether it was listening to my parent’s record collection, participating in my school’s theater department, playing the piano, or hearing the church choir every Sunday at Mass. This passion for music grew as I explored concerts and events beyond my immediate community. It was not long until I discovered the state’s longest running music festival, the Cities 97.1 Basilica Block Party. In 2012, I was one of the lucky block partiers to attend these (very!) sold out nights of music, which marked my first ever festival.
What astounded me most was the incredible feeling of community and welcome that was found throughout the campus and grounds. As my first introduction to The Basilica of Saint Mary, it was apparent the volunteers and committee members shared a passion in creating a space to celebrate outdoor music, summertime, and their love for The Basilica parish and building. As I have come to know these dedicated groups, it is clear their drive and passion for the Block Party is stronger than ever. Whether it be through attending, serving on the committee, or volunteering, it all begins within our parish community.
The 26th annual Cities 97.1 Basilica Block Party will take place on July 10 and 11 on our beautiful Basilica campus. I am really excited about the variety and energy that this eclectic lineup brings to this year’s event. After celebrating our 25th anniversary in 2019, we are stepping into the next evolution of The Basilica Block Party. I wonder if anyone could have predicted the trajectory and reach of the Block Party at its inception in 1995. Founded 26 years ago in hopes of raising funds for emergency roof repairs, the event has grown in attendance and become a staple summer event in the Twin Cities.
Since that fateful weekend in 2012, I have served two internships in the Development department, began my post-collegiate career as the Events and Communications Assistant, and finally landed as the Special Events Coordinator. There are moments I wish I could tell my 2012 Block Party self to look around and soak it in, not knowing the best was yet to come. As I enter my sixth Basilica Block Party season as a staff member, I feel a refreshed excitement for the organization’s future. Each year brings new opportunities, new fans, and a new energy to our campus and community. I am certain the 2020 Cities 97.1 Basilica Block Party will be the best yet.
Tickets, bands, and volunteer opportunities at basilicablockparty.org.
Working previously in college campus ministry, and now with young adults, I have to be engaged with social media, at least to some degree. Usually, it’s a helpful way to invite others into The Basilica, and Basilica Young Adult (BYA) community, but I have to admit it has been a while since I have been on Catholic Twitter. Not Twitter as a whole, just Catholic Twitter. I used to follow a variety of Catholics on Twitter, to keep up on what was happening in the Church and get various perspectives on different issues. After several weeks of seeing the vitriol, name calling, and almost complete lack of charity for one another, it was time to stop following those accounts. (The rest of Twitter isn’t much better, but Christians are called to love their neighbor, so it is especially troubling to see this behavior from people of faith).
This weekend, we are grateful to have Dr. William Doherty from the University of Minnesota here to present on how we can have difficult political conversations with those who disagree with us. This presentation will lead into a series of workshops in March where we can learn more practical skills in how we engage others. We also are encouraging all interested to take the Civilize It pledge from our United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to engage others with civility, clarity, and compassion during this 2020 election year—visit mary.org/civilizeit for more information and the link to the pledge form at Civilizeit.org. There is a similar ecumenical effort shared by a number of Christian denominations called Golden Rule 2020, inviting all Christians to engage each other with love.
It strikes me as a little sad that we have to take a pledge to be civil to each other; if we really believe in one God who created all of us out of love, we would treat each other with some level of respect. However, until the Kingdom of God is fully realized, I suppose we will need occasional reminders, myself included. I read an article recently by a priest who shared the saying, “You will know they are Christians by their love, and you will know they are Catholics by their fights.” This priest intimated that this was well known; I was startled by it. I had never heard that before, and if that is how people engage the Catholic community in their daily encounters, it is no wonder people are tempted to disengage from the Church.
One of the places where I find hope in this community is in the various events I attend with young adults. The young adults I have encountered here, and throughout the Archdiocese, come with diverse ideas involving political issues, and how they engage with, and live out their faith. Certainly I have seen disagreements, but more often than not, everyone is respectful, and comes away with greater understanding, if not agreement. Hopefully we can be an example of a faith community that always practices civility, clarity, and compassion with each other and beyond.