Weekly Musings

People are still buzzing about Pope Francis’ recent U.S. visit. They are talking about what he said, what he did, who he visited, and even where he ate lunch. Prior to his visit, Pope Francis proclaimed a Year of Mercy. Here at The Basilica we’ve been thinking about what mercy means to us, talking about the Corporal Works of Mercy and the opportunities and challenges we have.

Every day at The Basilica, I witness and experience small acts of mercy happening on our campus and in our community made possible by the generosity of our parishioners. Please consider how you can help us make sure these good works continue by making a commitment to financial stewardship. It’s clear to me—your commitment and involvement makes our ministries and these every day acts of mercy possible. 

Feed the Hungry . . . Teams of Basilica volunteers prepare and serve nutritious meals at The Basilica to approximately 200 men at Catholic Charities Higher Ground shelter. I’ve heard them share their stories of how privileged they are to serve in this way. One family has signed up to serve on Christmas for many years. Together they make the meal festive and special for those without a home to call their own. Other volunteers spend their lunchtimes driving hot meals to seniors in our neighborhood as part of our partnership with Meals on Wheels.  

Bury the Dead . . . Last week, I attended the funeral of a long time Basilica choir member. At his funeral, I listened to his friends, a group he’d been with twice a week for years for rehearsals and Masses, serenade him home to Christ. Grieving families and friends often come together at The Basilica to celebrate the lives of their loved ones.  

Visit the Sick . . . I’ve been moved to tears as I listen to volunteers pray over the prayer shawls they knitted, soon to go to the sick and grieving. After an unexpected death in the family, a parish friend had to fly to the funeral. We sent her with a prayer shawl. On her return, she shared that she wrapped herself up in the shawl on the plane ride. Even though she was far away from her faith community, she felt our presence and support because of that shawl. Many volunteers take the Eucharist to the homebound and those living in care centers. Our Prayer line volunteers offer support to all those who seeking spiritual, physical, and emotional healing.  

Shelter the Homeless. . . . This past summer, a new house went up in North Minneapolis.  I watched our volunteers cut wood, build stairs as they shared their days along with others in the community as part of Habitat for Humanity. By Christmas, a mom and her children will be snug in their newly-built home.

Every day good works . . . At the Basilica, volunteer job coaches assist those struggling with unemployment and seeking a new chance. Other volunteers help in our Pathways program teaching life skills to those committed to stabilizing their lives. Daily at our Reception Desk, volunteers and staff answer our phones and welcome those who come to our doors. Sometimes a caller asks us to connect a priest or an Emmaus Minister to someone sick in the hospital.  Daily, the pleas for help making ends meet come over the phone and face-to-face at the door. Hungry guests are greeted with a warm smile, a cup of coffee and a sandwich. 

Consider how you will participate in the Year of Mercy. There is so much more we are called to do. Please explore the many Year of Mercy opportunities available at The Basilica in the coming months.  You will find opportunities for learning, prayer, service and reflection.  

And please, make a pledged financial commitment to help us create small acts of mercy every day at The Basilica. 


Each evening, I send our three-year-old out to the mailbox to do her favorite “chore” of the day—getting the mail. She usually reports on what arrived and who it was from, despite the occasional toy catalogue distraction.

Last week, she sorted through the pile and told me we had a Highlights magazine, a couple pieces of unidentifiable (junk) mail, and a letter from Jesus. 

I carried on with cooking dinner until her words registered. 

A letter from Jesus?

Perplexed, I looked over to the pile strewn throughout the kitchen. I didn’t see anything from Jesus, not that I would know what a letter from Jesus would look like. I thought maybe her sense of humor was at work again.

But then the lightbulb went on and I spotted it—a letter from Fr. Bauer asking us for our stewardship pledge. 

I know what you’re thinking: Fr. Bauer is not Jesus. 

Actually, what she had spotted was The Basilica crest in the upper left corner. To her, that stands for Jesus. Forget any fancy branding or marketing plan—for my little girl, The Basilica is Jesus. Isn’t that great? All of those Sundays. All of those days rushing to the car. All of your greetings of peace. All of the singing and prayers. All of our patience (and testing of patience) and encouragement at Mass to be attentive or, at least, not disruptive. All of those visits to the Undercroft mid-liturgy to ensure we don’t have an accident in the pews because someone “needs go potty.” Her timing is impeccable.

In all seriousness though, my heart was warmed hearing her simple thought. You—the community of The Basilica—and all that she sees here is a representation of Jesus. 

No pressure.

We see it, though. You are Christ to the world when you help to feed those who are hungry who knock at the Rectory Door. You are Christ when you give your time as volunteers. You are Christ when you welcome everyone who enters The Basilica, no matter what. You are Christ when you come together as a community to worship and pray. And you continue all of these ministries and extend Christ’s love when you give your time and your money to support the mission of The Basilica. 

Inside that envelope, Fr. Bauer’s letter starts, “For more than 100 years, parishioners like you have been a part of the good work The Basilica does in our community: sharing God’s love, comforting the sick and marginalized, giving thanks, welcoming everyone, and demonstrating what the word “community” can and ought to mean.”

These words describe the good that has been and will continue to be at The Basilica. 

This fall, I hope you will consider that envelope to be an invitation not only from The Basilica to give, but also an invitation to give back to God what you have been given. As Fr. Bauer asks us to make a Financial Stewardship pledge this fall, I hope you will consider all of the good that stems from ministries, service, and worship that spread God’s love throughout our community and continues to put Jesus on our return address. 


Expectations. We all have them. We have expectations that the stock market will be stable, that so-and-so will understand what your needs are, that someone will behave in a certain way, that another will keep their word, that your job will be there tomorrow, or that there will even be a tomorrow. It seems that expectations are a part of our everyday lives. They seem to be the lens through which we all operate.

But what comes with expectations—especially high expectations—can be grave disappointment, resentment, hurt, anger, fear and hopelessness. Each of us knows this from experience. I remember many times when someone I trusted promised me something and didn't come through with it. I also remember when someone I respected and cared about betrayed me in some way.  These experiences are very difficult to overcome, to try to work through, and, especially, to forgive, if at all. Within myself, it is a struggle between my ego and my conscience. It is also a struggle managing all the feelings and emotions that go with it. I can run the whole gamut of emotions within a matter of seconds. But most of the time I am able to settle down after a couple of hours or a day or two. And then I pray that I have the willingness to respond in a way that is respectful of my integrity and values.

What do we do with the person or persons who have disappointed us? Do we move on from that relationship because it is unhealthy? Do we choose not to forgive? Do we approach them with love and understanding for their shortcomings? Can we forgive them? 

But what happens when the persons who have betrayed us are connected to our church and our faith? The sense of loss and betrayal is much deeper. How do we ever recover from it? Where is God in all of this mess? Can our faith ever be the same?

I believe that for most of us, our faith is extremely strong. When you come to church, look around at all those people who have stuck with it despite the ugliness of what happened to thousands of innocent people. Maybe it is because the people realized that they are the church and that their church will continue and come through this crisis and be stronger for it. Many of us realize that our Catholic faith will always be there for us and our community as well. We are all in this together and together we can support each other through listening, caring, and loving each other. And we can pray not only for the victims, but for those of us who could not stick with it because the hurt was so deep. I think we can all understand those who have left. They need our love and prayers as much as the victims do because they also are victims, as we all are.
During the first four Sundays in November, we will have panel discussions and speakers on Responding to Abuse. During these panels, we will hear about all types of abuse, the effect of abuse on the human person, how to remove yourself from abusive situations, resources that are available for victims and families, and how to find spiritual recovery from trauma and abuse. This series will be widely advertised throughout our Archdiocese. If you or someone you know could benefit from this, please spread the word. Flyers will be available throughout the church. Please pick one up and pass it along.


As someone who identifies himself as pro-life, I have, over the years, attended numerous pro-life demonstrations/rallies. Almost without exception these events have been peaceful and orderly. I have to admit, though, that there have been a few times when I have felt uncomfortable with the emotionally charged atmosphere which, on rare occasions, occurs at these events. I am not someone who thinks loud chanting and waving placards with sometimes graphic pictures and questionable slogans is the best way to get across our message that all life is sacred. I also believe that we cannot call ourselves pro-life when we do not respect others—most especially those with whom we disagree. 

While I am concerned about how the pro-life message is communicated, I also am very concerned with the words and tone used recently by representatives of Planned Parenthood. In many public statements they have sought to portray pro-lifers as extremists whose beliefs are radical, ill-informed, and dangerous. I found this to be especially true the past few weeks with the publicity surrounding the release of several videos regarding Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs—the tissue being procured from abortions. In response to a demonstration in St. Paul against this practice Planned Parenthood posted an online statement. In part it read: “The more we learn about this, the clearer it is that it’s part of a much bigger pattern of harassment by extremists whose real goal is to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood. The people behind this attack will stop at nothing in their quest—including breaking the law themselves and willfully misrepresenting the facts to the public. The protesters here today are simply an extension of that effort.” 

I am concerned about the use of the words: “harassment,” “extremists,” “attack,” “stop at nothing,” and “breaking the law.” Now certainly there are some in the pro-life movement who could be described as extreme in their views. In this instance, though, Planned Parenthood painted all pro-lifers with the same brush. This is not fair. It is not just. It is not right. Almost all of the pro-life advocates I know are reasonable people who hold firm to their beliefs, but at the same time are not mean-spirited or malicious. They are simply people who believe in the sanctity of life and who want to share that belief—not just with their words, but with their actions. In this regard, I think it is important to mention that today there are about 2,500 Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the United States, compared to 1,800 abortion clinics. For the most part these clinics are privately funded. Their mission is simply to help those who are experiencing a pregnancy in difficult circumstances. These 2,500 centers give concrete witness to the fact that pro-life people do care about individuals facing a difficult and unplanned pregnancy. The aim of these centers is life—for women, for children, for fathers—both now and in the years to come.

For many years now the month of October has been designated by the Bishops of the United States as “Respect Life Month.” Our observance of this month reminds us that, as Catholics, we believe and proclaim that human life is a precious gift from a loving God. Consequently every individual has an obligation to respect and protect life from the time of conception to the moment of death. Further, our respect for life must be evident in the way we treat each other, perhaps most especially those with whom we disagree. Those of who identify ourselves as pro-life need to give concrete witness to this belief in our words and actions. Where we have failed to do this we need to apologize, and we need focus our efforts more clearly, not on demonizing those with whom we disagree, but on finding better and more effective ways of communicating our message regarding the sacredness of life. 
It seems to me that most concretely and specifically we, who identify as pro-life, can do the above by taking the lead in toning down the rhetoric that surrounds the issue of abortion. We need to be open to respectful dialogue with those with whom we disagree and invite them to do the same. Using language that is simple, direct, and non-inflammatory is a step in this direction. If we can do this, perhaps those with whom we disagree will reciprocate, and civil discourse will prevail. I believe that ultimately it is only in this way that we can help each other come to understand the value, dignity, and worth of every human life.



This fall, members of The Basilica will once again be invited to participate in our annual stewardship campaign with a pledge for 2016. Your participation, making a commitment at any level, is a way to express your investment in The Basilica, and the good that is possible in our community through the combined efforts of our parish membership.

By making a financial stewardship pledge to The Basilica, you ensure that every day, all year long, your gifts will be part of continuing the good works The Basilica does in our community. Your prayerful generosity will help us be the light of God’s love and acceptance to all those who come to our doors. Your pledge will keep The Basilica’s heat on and create a warm welcome for everyone who wants to explore, connect, worship, and give thanks. 

I’ve witnessed, time and time again, that The Basilica is a faith-filled community, continuing to demonstrate faith from works. You respond when there is a crisis, both overseas and down the street. You hand out sandwiches from our door to those in need, and shoes or backpacks for kids returning to school. You build up the faith and insights in the children in our parish so their lights might shine wherever they go. You return, Sunday after Sunday, to worship together as a community of faith, greeting visitors with a warm welcome. To me, all of these are the good that continues to inspire us, even through the ups and downs of our Catholic experience. This good hasn’t faltered. And it continues with your love, involvement, and generosity.

The good that is faith formation and education.

The good that is service and caring for those less fortunate.

The good that is found through prayer, meditation and worship.

The good that is possible through a collective volunteer effort.

Each day, you plant the seeds of your faith, and good blossoms. And all of this good today will inspire so much tomorrow, and for years to come. For more than 100 years, Basilica parishioners like you have been a part of the work The Basilica does in our community: sharing God’s love, comforting those who are marginalized, giving thanks, welcoming everyone, and demonstrating what the word “community” can and ought to mean. One can only begin to imagine the exponential impact of this generosity.

Please join us again to keep all of this good work going strong. This fall, please consider a Financial Stewardship pledge to The Basilica for 2016. Your pledge of any size will have a powerful impact—in your own life and in the life of The Basilica community. Please watch for pledge forms in your mail and in the pews, and prayerfully consider making a pledge for the coming year. Thank you for your consideration, and for being a part of this community that gives so much.


It’s hard to believe how fast a year can fly by in a blink of an eye. And yet, that’s exactly what has happened to me. Just one year ago I was sitting in these very pews thinking about how my life would change as a staff member at The Basilica. I had just stepped down from my position in the U.S. Air Force and my husband and I drove our three-month-old daughter across the country to our new-again home. While we grew up in the region, we weren’t the same people who lived here years ago. We were now a family. We owned a home. Life now carried a new meaning.

And it was hard.

We’ve all experienced some sort of transition in our lives. Maybe it’s a move across the country, the loss of a loved one, meeting your life partner, a miscarriage, or a loss of a job. Any transition is hard. The minute we think we have everything together, we are quickly reminded we don’t. 

For my family and I, I was fearful of my inadequacies. I was worried my military life had changed me from who I once was and that perhaps my talents weren’t really what was needed in a staff member at The Basilica. On the other hand, I was scared. This new job meant new faces, new tasks, new stress. With my new family, I felt overwhelmed and fearful that we had just made the worst decision of our lives by leaving behind our stable careers, reliable health insurance, and support system from our last home.

As the days passed and fall turned into summer seemingly overnight I found out that we survived the transition just fine. There were plenty of bumps along the way, but we made it. And I am so grateful.
As I reflected on the readings today, the psalm reminded me that “God is my helper…the Lord upholds my life” (Ps 54:6). Why didn’t I remember this a year ago when everything seemed crazy and out of control? Because I’m human. And sinful. And I forget just how great our God really is.

I also found out God wanted me to use my gifts here and it is incredibly humbling to know that I have been given the gift to call this Basilica family my home. If you know any of the staff here, you know they are all incredibly talented. I feel humbled to just say I am part of the team. But then there are the volunteers. They give so much of their time, talent, and treasure. There’s so much good happening in and around The Basilica. 

And there’s so much good yet to come. This week Pope Francis will come to the U.S. I am confident his visit will be nothing less than incredible. But I also know it will be challenging. I expect he will deliver a message that is not easy for us to understand or even carry out. But I pray that we can all remember the psalm from today: “God is my helper…the Lord upholds my life.”

After the Pope’s visit, we as a global Church will begin the Year of Mercy—another challenging topic but an important one—important to our global Church, local Church, and every single person we meet. This will be an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how we give mercy and receive it as well as how it can change our lives and the lives around us.

For now, I simply pray that we all take the time to listen to the call in our lives and trust in God as our helper. Because through God, all things are possible.


If you haven’t visited the Reardon Rectory this summer, you may not be aware of all the work that is going on. This summer we are renovating the fourth floor to create space for our art and archives storage; installing some handicapped accessible bathrooms; renovating the third floor kitchen; installing a fire sprinkler system; and adding central air conditioning. Trying to work amidst the noise and general commotion has, at times, been challenging. It reminded me of a comment some friends made many years ago when they were remodeling their home. They told me that they could have afforded it, they would have moved out while their house was being remodeled.  

Perhaps the biggest challenge during the renovation and upgrading of the Reardon Rectory has been the fact that, for various periods of time, our staff has had to vacate their offices while work was being done in them. This has necessitated relocating people to various areas of the campus. Some are temporary office-ing in our school building; others are in the ground level rooms in the church; others are in Cowley Center; and others have needed to share office space. The difficulty has been trying to remember where someone is when you are trying to locate them. At times it has reminded me of the “Where’s Waldo” game from several years ago. You knew Waldo was somewhere in the picture, but you had to look hard to find him.   

As I reflected on this experience, it reminded me of my sometimes vain attempts to find God’s presence in my life. Now I know and believe that God is present in my life. Unfortunately, there have been—and no doubt will continue to be—times, when despite my best and most prayerful efforts, I can’t seem to find or feel God’s presence in my life. Now these times don’t occur regularly or with any consistency. Most often they occur when I am trying to make a decision or come to clarity about something. At these times, I tell myself that I am trying to understand and follow God’s will. The reality is, though, that more often I am trying to “push” God to give me a sense of clarity and direction. I have discovered, though, that God does not operate on my timeline or according to my agenda.   

God is always with us in our lives. This we believe. This is our faith. At times, however, for a variety of reasons we may have a hard time finding or feeling God’s presence. At these times it would be easy to give up on God, and presume that God either doesn’t care about us or that God is preoccupied with other matters. At these times, the challenge is to trust that as God has been with us in the past, so God is with us in the present moment and will continue to be with us in the future.  

Having faith in God—believing that God loves us and is always with us—is not always easy.   But then again, if faith were easy we’d all be believers. Faith calls us to trust, though, that God’s hand is guiding us even when the way is uncertain, and that ultimately God will lead us into a future full of hope.  



Keeping faith a priority

Well, here we are…Labor Day weekend, the un-official end to the summer season. One last weekend to enjoy the cabin and boat, cross those last items off on the school supply list, help your college student get moved into his or her dorm, do some fall gardening, pull out the Vikings (or Packers!) gear and begin to dig out the sweaters and rakes in anticipation of the leaves that will begin to fall. 

At The Basilica of Saint Mary, the end of summer means lots of preparation for fall programs. Our RCIA process began this past week on September 1. The inquirers along with their sponsors and the RCIA team will meet weekly until after Easter. Our children and youth will be back to programs in a few weeks. (Parents—there is still time to register if you have not already done so.) The fall will see preparation for First Reconciliation, along with the beginning of Confirmation preparation for our youth. The Rock Solid Marriage Team will begin a marriage enrichment series. The Basilica Young Adults (BYA) will continue with their educational, social, and service opportunities—Sunday Night Live, making sandwiches and a fall retreat. We also have a diverse and interesting line up of adult learning program opportunities available this year, many of our programs focusing on the Year of Mercy that begins in the new liturgical year. (Please see www.mary.org or the fliers at the back of church to learn more.

In our homes, autumn may mean a busier lifestyle…more school commitments, more practices and rehearsals, more volunteer commitments, more meetings. fall just seems to be the time of year when we hit the ground running, full speed ahead. At this time of year it is easy to take on a lot, after all, we are all re-energized and rejuvenated after our wonderfully relaxing summers, right? 

While we look ahead to fall, it is so important that we make our faith lives a priority in the midst of everything else that is going on in our lives. There are so many fulfilling ways to accomplish this goal and deepen our faith lives this season. Keep your preferred weekend Mass time sacred—consider Mass to be a firm commitment each weekend. Participate in hospitality following Mass to meet others within our parish community. Carve out time for morning or evening prayer, in solitude or with your spouse or family. Consider what talents you might share with your parish in a volunteer capacity. Commit to signing up for one (or more!) adult learning opportunities offered at the parish this program year. Take time to listen to God…where or how are you being called to deepen your faith? However you are called, listen! Listen and commit! 

Wishing you a happy, productive, and faith-filled season filled with many blessings. We hope to see you next weekend at our Basilica Parish Picnic!



Lent banners

Leading by Example

On his recent trip to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay, Pope Francis answered questions from journalists who were traveling with him on the flight back to Rome. One of the journalists on the flight asked him if he would study American criticisms of his critiques of the global economy and finance before his trip to the United States in September. Pope Francis replied: “I have heard that some criticisms were made in the United States—I've heard that—but I have not read them and have not had time to study them well. If I have not dialogued with the person who made the criticism,” he said, “I don't have the right to comment on what that person is saying.”  

Once again I am impressed with Pope Francis. He could have responded to the journalist’s question dismissively, or suggested that those who critiqued his words were ill informed or just plain wrong. Instead, he said that now that his trip to South America had concluded he must begin studying for his trip to America and that his preparation would include a careful reading of the criticisms of his remarks about economic life. I find this enormously refreshing. In our world today it is so easy to pigeonhole people with whom we disagree and/or simply dismiss them out of hand. How refreshing it is to find someone who says he needs to study the criticisms of those who disagree with him so that he can enter into dialogue with them.   

I think Pope Francis’ non-dismissive attitude is very Christ-like. In the Gospels we often find Jesus at odds with people—most frequently with the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus, though, never dismissed them or refused to engage them. Time and time again he entered into dialogue with them. And even when they were trying to trap him with a contrived question or fabricated situation, he never rebuffed them or declined to talk with them. Instead he allowed them to be in his company and he continually sought to enter into a dialogue with them. 

In our world today where more and more often people seem to talk “at” each other rather than talk “to” each other, it is good to be reminded that this wasn’t the way of Christ. As followers of Christ, it is our responsibility to try to lead by example and to engage others in dialogue and civil discourse. I believe this is especially true about those with whom we disagree or where common ground seems lacking.  

Now the above is not to say that we need to abandon our convictions or keep our beliefs to ourselves when we engage in dialogue with others—particularly those with whom we disagree. It is to suggest, though, that as Pope Francis said “If I have not dialogued with the person who made the criticism, I don’t have the right to comment on what that person is saying.”  


Landing back in the Twin Cities in the fall of 2002, Anne Jaeger moved into the Walker Art Center neighborhood and she loved walking to Sunday Mass at The Basilica.  

At church, Anne heard the plea for financial and volunteer stewardship. As a U of M student, she wasn’t in a position to give money, but she was strong, had a flexible schedule and knew she could give her time. She joined the parish Shoveling Team. “If it snowed on your assigned day,” Anne explained, “you reported to The Basilica and helped shovel.”  

As an outdoor lover, the Shoveling Team was a great fit for Anne. She described it as her “first step into The Basilica’s inner world.” After hearing about an after-Mass panel discussion on energy conservation, her interest was peaked again. She attended and met Janice Andersen, The Basilica’s Christian Life Director. “Janice was so welcoming, and immediately invited me to an upcoming event.” This led Anne to meet Colleen Maiers, parish leader of Pax Cum Terra, a group focused on justice, peace, and the environment (now our Eco Stewardship Team). Finding this work right up her alley, Anne commented, “the hooks were set.” She still remembers meeting Colleen the first time over coffee after Mass. Anne experienced a feeling of familiarity, mentioned it, and found that Colleen felt it too. They found past connections at both Holy Angels and Annunciation, and Anne learned that at one point, Colleen had been her babysitter. They’ve stayed in touch ever since.  

As Anne’s involvement grew, she joined Dennis Hoffman as co-leader of the Blessing of Bicycles, an event she loves. After a few years, she needed to step back from leadership and tried to find a volunteer leader but wasn’t successful. She announced that she would lead for another year and then step down, but no clear leader emerged. However, more volunteers stepped up and owned various components of the event. Eventually, a great team emerged who shared responsibility and made the blessing happen. 

Anne also served for a year as Facilitator of JustFaith and led others to explore social issues and justice through the lens of Catholic social teaching. Drawn to be most active with Christian Life ministries, Anne recently served as the elected Christian Life representative on the Parish Council.  

As a Saturday Shoe Ministry volunteer since 2010 (part of our St. Vincent de Paul outreach ministry to those in need), Anne helps set up and provide shoe vouchers to families whose children need new shoes for school, or people starting new jobs who need new footwear.  

She remembers starting in this ministry when our U.S. economy was tanking. “Every Saturday there were long lines of people waiting for us to open. Often, volunteers worked longer hours to try and talk to everyone who had waited in line for help.” Over time she has come to measure swings in the economy by the people waiting in line on Saturdays.

Clearly moved by her experiences, Anne had tears in her eyes as she spoke. “I’m struck by the deep faith of the people I meet. People often ask me to say a prayer for them, or sometimes they ask me to pray with them. It’s so simple,” said Anne. “It’s a very brief interaction. The people who come to St. Vincent de Paul trust that they will receive help—but what they may not know is they always leave something of themselves behind.” Serving in SVdP has expanded Anne’s own feelings of gratitude. While her job is to give shoe vouchers, Anne said “what this SVdP ministry truly provides is hope.” 

What does Anne get out of volunteering at The Basilica? At the heart of it is community and friendship. She’s met amazing people who have inspired her to stretch and grow in her spirituality and faith.  Meeting these individuals has challenged her to look at the world in new ways.

“Some people may find The Basilica to be very big initially,” Anne commented. “Simply following my own interests led to meeting just the right person which gave me an instant link to the parish.” Anne got involved and enthusiastically describes her volunteer engagement as “super fulfilling.” She encourages everyone “to make that first connection, and just lean in.”