Justice Making a difference in the city and the world

Get involved and make a difference

Biblical justice directs us toward the elimination of oppression, poverty, and everything that keeps men and women from their full development as human beings.

  • Education to housing
  • Health care to environmental justice
  • Racism to global relations

"Lay people have the principal responsibility to transform the social order in light of the Gospel."

- USCCB 2002

Can We Work Together to End Homelessness? 

Zoom recordings of our June 25, 2022 Experiencing Homelessness in our Community forum:

  • Cathy ten Broeke: Executive Director, Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness - Click HERE
  • David Hewitt: Director, Hosing Stability - Hennepin County - Click HERE
  • Katie Dillon: Director, Align Minneapolis - Click HERE

CLM Assessment Process Summary

Building upon our most recent strategic plan, we have initiated an assessment process that reviews our ministries through the lens of addressing homelessness.

Click HERE for an executive summary of the process starting in 2020 through March 2022 and next steps.

Zoom recording of our January 16, 2021 presenation:

Can We Work Together to End Homelessness? 

Listen to a recording of the program with presentations by:

  • Cathy ten Broeke: Minnesota State Director to Prevent and End Homelessness
  • Tyra Thomas: a leader of Street Voices of Change (SVoC), an Align Mpls program
  • Londel French: Minneapolis PA.kark & Recreation Board Commissioner

Align Minneapolis (formerly Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness, DCEH)

Align Minneapolis is an interfaith collaboration of 17 downtown Minneapolis churches, synagogues and mosques working together to end homelessness and poverty. Align Minneapolis focuses on shifting from an immediate needs approach to long term solutions through a combination of education, advocacy and action. Through learning and volunteer opportunities for congregants, community partnerships, and development of effective strategies and programs, Align Minneapolis is committed to impacting the community around us to end homelessness.

There will always be people who are homeless. But, we can change the system so fewer people fall into homelessness and more people move out of homelessness quickly.

  • Prevention costs less and is more humane than allowing people to become homeless and then addressing shelter needs.
  • People need safe, affordable housing before services can effectively address life issues.


The Immigrant Support Ministry (ISM) is a volunteer group with the Basilica of Saint Mary that assists refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. 

Rooted in our Catholic faith, we assist by partnering with community organizations; fostering long-term relationships with our new neighbors in Minnesota; offering financial assistance and other support; and providing education and advocacy on behalf of those we serve.

How can I help immigrants in Minnesota?

Join a team

Circle of Welcome and Accompaniment Teams

Circle of Welcome Teams and Accompaniment Teams work directly with refugees and asylees. Circle of Welcome Teams offer guidance and support to refugee families as they build new lives in our community. Accompaniment Teams walk with and support families seeking asylum in Minnesota.

Teams are groups of four to six volunteers paired with a family. Required trainings are offered for both teams. The Basilica partners with Lutheran Social Services and Advocates for Human Rights to be paired with families.

The Basilica has welcomed twenty-two families to Minnesota since early 2016 and is preparing to welcome more. Our Circle of Welcome and Accompaniment Teams make it possible.

Education & Advocacy Team

The Education & Advocacy Team plans thought-provoking presentations on immigration issues to educate our community, including film nights and hosting guest speakers.

We also act on Catholic Social Teaching to advocate for immigrants through legislative lobbying, acting as prayer witnesses at Immigration and Customs Enforcement sites, and participating in trips to the U.S. southern border to meet with deportees.

Attend an ISM meeting

Not sure about joining a team just yet? Attend our monthly meetings to learn more about the ISM’s mission and activities. Email Glen Boerboom, ISM committee chair, or Janice Andersen, the Basilica’s director of Christian Life, for more information.

Donate money, goods, time or talents

Donate to St. Vincent de Paul

Funding is raised through the Basilica St. Vincent de Paul ministry. 100% of funds raised go directly to help families, including those supported by the Basilica ISM. These funds have supported families with basic living expenses for one year, including rent, furniture, food, household items, clothing transportation, education, and health needs.

Attend a prayer vigil

Stand in prayer and solidarity with immigrant detainees the second Tuesday of each month, 7:30-8:30 a.m., at the Whipple Federal Building at Fort Snelling. This hour of prayer and song is hosted by ICOM and a rotating group of faith communities, including the Basilica. Learn more on ICOM’s website.

Donate furniture

Please donate furniture to Bridging or the Minneapolis St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store.

Donate household items

Please donate other items (such as trash cans/wastebaskets, silverware drawer organizers, etc) needed to set up homes for the refugees to the Minneapolis St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store.

Seeking writers, storytellers

Do you have experience as a writer or telling stories through video, audio or online mediums? Donate your time to help the ISM share the team’s experiences with the wider community.

Frequently asked questions

Who are the Basilica ISM’s partners?

Lutheran Social Services enables the Basilica to partner with and be in relationship with refugee families. LSS has the infrastructure to help place refugee families in supportive environments; the group has worked with refugees since the end of World War II.
Learn about how LSS supports refugees

Advocates for Human Rights offers legal counsel to people in Minnesota who are actively seeking asylum. The Basilica provides support for basic living expenses until they are able to work and provides emotional and spiritual support as we accompany them through their journey.

Learn more about the Advocates for Human Rights

The Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (ICOM) stands in solidarity with immigrants, refugees and their families and our active volunteer network provides a variety of compassionate support while advocating for systemic justice through policy change. Their three main mission areas include Vigils and Courtwatch, Accompanying Immigrants in Detention (AID), and Advocacy and Action.

Learn more about the work of ICOM.

How do I volunteer for a team or get more information?

Email Glen Boerboom, ISM committee chair, or Janice Andersen, the Basilica’s director of Christian Life, or call Janice at 612-317-3477.

What is the Basilica’s relationship with refugee families?

We are co-sponsors working with Lutheran Social Services to facilitate a partnership with refugee families. The Basilica’s role is to help families get acclimated to life in the United States. We help with rent for the first six months and provide basic grocery and household items for one year. Over this year, we help the family get acquainted with aspects of living in the United States such as finding work, enrolling in school, making appointments and navigating the public transportation system. 

What is the Basilica’s relationship with asylee families?

We support families that are working with lawyers provided by The Advocates for Human Rights. Our relationship with families seeking asylum is similar to those who come as refugees, as they help families get acclimated to life in the United States. However, the support needed is greater as the families must wait for their work permit and can, therefore, have trouble finding housing etc. The partnership with families seeking asylum lasts for one year. 

What is donated money used for?

One hundred percent of the money donated goes directly to support the families The Basilica is partnered with: families who are refugees, asylum seekers, or are struggling with family members being deported. The funds support these families with basic needs such as rent, food, household items, transportation, or crucial medical care.

What is a refugee?

Learn about the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and the criteria for being considered for refugee resettlement on the State Department’s website.

What is an asylee?

Learn about the criteria for being considered an asylee on the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement’s website.

How many refugees and asylees are there worldwide?

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has facts and figures on the more than 32.5 million refugees and 4.2 million asylum seekers around the globe – people forced to leave their homes because of conflicts and persecution.

Our declaration as a Sanctuary Supporting Congregation provides transparency to our work. It allows us to intentionally partner in a deeper way with people in need of support and other congregations doing this work.

Why did The Basilica become a Sanctuary Supporting Congregation?

As Disciples of Christ we are called by our faith to help those in need. Pope Francis reminds us that “Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age. (Matthew 25:35-43) ” A Sanctuary Supporting parish cares for those most at risk and those living in fear.

We have encountered those living at risk and in fear at our sister parish, Church of the Ascension in North Minneapolis. Many in their congregation have lived, worked and raised their families in the US for decades. Close to 50% of the Ascension parish identify a fear that they, or someone they love, could be impacted by the threat of deportation. Besides basic needs, we have learned that they need assistance from lawyers and from notary publics to prepare guardianship papers for their children. Declaring our willingness to do this work allows The Basilica to develop deeper relationships and trust with The Ascension Church community.

In addition, The Basilica has already been doing the work expected of a Sanctuary Supporting Congregation. Our Liturgies, Sacramental programs, Caring Ministries and St. Vincent de Pau Ministries receive and respond to all people—regardless of their status. There is integrity in naming what we do as a faith community.

Finally, declaring our parish as a Sanctuary Supporting Congregation is grounded in our faith. It is a direct response to the call to compassion by Christ, articulated by Pope Francis. It seeks to place our faith above any considerations of politics or division.

Let your voice be heard.

Get involved two ways:

1. Join a leadership team that provides resources and tools to empower our community to work for justice through education and formation.

2. Join an e-network and receive one or two e-mails each month inviting you to contact your elected officials about justice issues relevant to our community. You’ll also learn about upcoming justice activities related to our advocacy work.

Sign up for Voices for Justice e-mails.

Raise your voice for these issues:

How does our faith connect to advocacy?

Tools for Advocacy

Advocacy Partners

We work for peace and justice in our world

The Basilica was dedicated as a Peace Site on April 19, 2008.

Restorative Justice

Help The Basilica engage in local restorative justice efforts.

Every Church a Peace Church

The mission of Every Church A Peace Church is to call every church to embrace the form of power taught and demonstrated by Jesus, the power of nonviolent struggle.  Join them for monthly potlucks, workshops, retreats, and more.

Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers (MAP)

MAP is a non-partisan, ecumenical coalition of 69 peace, justice, environment, and U.N.-advocacy organizations. MAP plans workshops, speakers, and other events during the year. The Basilica’s Justice Teams are a member of MAP.

11th Day Prayer for Peace with the Sisters of Saint Joseph

The 11th Day of each Month 6:30pm-7:15pm 
Presentation of Our Lady Chapel, 1890 Randolph Ave., St. Paul
Free and open to all 

Join together with others for Peace Prayer on the 11th day of each month.  A variety of groups and people have been planning monthly Peace Prayer since 9/11. The theme is selected by those preparing for this special time to gather in prayer for peace in lives and situations throughout the world.  The Prayer for Peace is sponsored by the Justice Commission of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates.  

Questions? Please Contact:

Janice Andersen

Director of Christian Life

Janice Andersen has been on staff at The Basilica of Saint Mary since 1994, working with programs…