Journeying Together Toward Healing August 24, 2023

The Basilica of Saint Mary has many ministries that invite people to connect at important transitional moments of their lives. Something may happen that sparks a need to reach out for a helping hand, a resource, or a listening ear. The façade of independence shatters, and they reach out to The Basilica looking for spiritual strength, assistance, or guidance.

Sometimes, people reach out because they are facing homelessness and need help. Sometimes they reach out because they seek community or support for a life change. Often, they see The Basilica as a place of hope.

I am honored to witness the transformation people experience as they journey together through life transitions.

Some of the ministries that invite deep engagement include our Emmaus Ministries, Immigration Circle of Welcome Teams, Daily SVdP Outreach, Minneapolis College Mentoring for those who have lived experience of homelessness or Prisoners or Patients Mentoring for those who are coming out of prison. There is also a powerful SVdP program on Saturday morning that invites those who are unhoused to come together, side-by-side, with people who are housed to slow down and focus on personal wellness. Together, they build meaningful connections and community.

One of the barriers to engaging across differences is fear. Fear can be veiled in so many ways, appearing as anger, resistance, arrogance, or passivity. Sometimes, as people get honest and vulnerable, they share the fear that they are not worthy of the help and guidance they are asking for. It is not surprising that some interactions can be uncomfortable or tense. They are sacred connections, but not easy.

Together, over time, we build trust. Our gift is our faith. Our gift is the driving motivation of God’s unconditional love that we know in our hearts, and we seek to share.

Pope Francis continually echoes the words of Jesus as he encourages us, “Be not afraid!” He pushes us toward encounter with those on the margins—those who bring different gifts and experiences than our own. At the World Youth Day in Portugal in August, he reiterated the call to follow the example of Jesus and be “sensitive to situations around us, to other cultures, to the pleas of the poor and vulnerable, and to the cry of our wounded and mistreated earth.”

We have many opportunities at The Basilica to reach out and experience healing of our own lives, and healing of our neighbor. We need your help as a volunteer and in prayer support for these ministries. We are all invited to engage boldly and humbly. Together, let us each play our part and make a difference in our community.

Janice Andersen