The Basilica of Saint Mary
March 23, 2017
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The Basilica of Saint Mary
We are located on Hennepin Avenue between 16th & 17th Streets in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Phone: 612.333.1381
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Weekly Musings Blog
Our pastor and staff directors share their thoughts, insights and inspirations.
Recent Publications
· Weekly Newsletter
  January 16, 2014
· Parish Bulletin
  December 27, 2013
· BASILICA Magazine
  December 6, 2013
Today's Reading
Wednesday of the 3rd week of Lent

Paschal Cycle

This cycle includes all liturgical celebrations between Ash Wednesday and Pentecost.

Lent

Lent, or the Forty Days is a time of preparation. This time, during which the community moves toward Easter, is characterized by two major theological themes: baptism and penance. Catechumens are prepared for initiation and those who were alienated from the ecclesial community are prepared for their return through the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation (Catholics Coming Home).

The communality of the Lenten journey is highlighted as catechumens and penitents alike prepare for the Easter sacraments within the bosom of the Christian community. This Christian community in its entirety, moves toward the celebration of the paschal mysteries and applies itself to the three great Christian disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Palm Sunday of our Lord's Passion

Palm Sunday of our Lord's Passion marks the beginning of Holy Week. On this day, we commemorate the solemn entry of Jesus into Jerusalem through the blessing of palms and the procession into the church. The liturgy begins with great fanfare and festivity. As the opening prayer is proclaimed, the liturgy segways into the somber mood of Holy Week. After the readings, the passion of our Lord is proclaimed according to the Gospel of Mark, Matthew or Luke.

The Paschal Triduum

The Paschal Triduum celebrates the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and our incorporation into that mystery by the power of the Holy Spirit. Again, we do not simply celebrate the Easter mystery of the resurrection. Rather, we look at the whole of Christ's life of ministry unto death, His resurrection and sending of the Holy Spirit.

To reduce the Triduum, or any one of its liturgies to one dimension of the mystery, impoverishes it beyond proper theological and liturgical recognition. How appropriate that the entrance antiphon for the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper should read: "We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Salvation, our life and resurrection; through Him we are saved and made free."

Holy Thursday

The legacy of this splendid night is Jesus' living and is handed over to us in the breaking of the bread and the washing of the feet.  On this night, we are reminded that we are to bend over the feet of our brothers and sisters and pour out our love in extravagant service. Is this not how we are to be, the body broken like bread and the blood poured out like wine?

We observe the liturgy of this holy night with the most splendid resources. We adore and embrace the sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood. We carry his life-giving sacrament in procession, exultantly, and enshrine it for worship. However, if we are really to recognize the Lord's Body for what it is, we are called to keep the command of the washing of the feet.

As we bend down to wash one another's feet, we are reminded of this very important question which should haunt us, especially these days: Why is it that Christian assemblies can celebrate the Eucharist day in and day out, year after year, without any apparent change in personal or social relationships? Is it because they have never discovered the way to keep the commandment about the washing of the feet?

Good Friday

The cross is first the instrument of our redemption. Secondly and paradoxically, the cross is the royal throne where God's glory is revealed. Finally, the cross is the sign of the Lord's eschatological presence and the promise of His return. The public veneration of the cross on Good Friday signals the dawning of the day of the Lord. We behold the instrument of our salvation; reach for it; carry it on our shoulders; reverently kneel before it and finally touch our lips to this mysterious sign which reveals, yet, conceals the awaited Lord. Then, we commune sacramentally with Him who once hung upon the cross, who now reigns in glory and will one day come again to fulfill the promise.

To celebrate the cross on Good Friday is to embrace the gift of creation now made whole by the sacrifice of the Lord, whose body was raised on the cross. Remember, this veneration of the cross and our communion with its victim is not a free act, without any consequence. By doing so, we commit ourselves to become that what we eat and endure that what we kiss. Bear one another's cross!  

© Ash Wednesday »
A parishioner receives ashes in the form of a cross on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent and the Paschal cycle. – Photo by Michael Jensen. [Close]

Holy Saturday

On this most holy night, we enter into the unfathomable mystery of life conquering death. The crucified and risen Christ is brought out of the remoteness of history and heavenly glory and placed as a living and redeeming reality in the midst of our suffering world. Because of this, our own pain and the pain of the entire world, our inner conflicts and ultimately our death are restored to life.

This is the mysterious image into which Christian communities are created and recreated by the power of the Holy Spirit. Each of us has been molded into the image of Christ through the sacrament of baptism. Tonight, we are reassured that those who have died with him in baptism will also be one with Him in heaven. Welcome One Another into the Body of Christ.

Easter Season

The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar notes that "the fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost are celebrated in joyful exaltation as one feast day, or better as one great Sunday." This, however, poses a number of challenges. First, even well-informed Catholics tend to view Easter, Ascension and Pentecost as three separate and independent feast days, each with its own, largely independent theme. Our liturgical history greatly contributed to such perception. For example, there was a fast before Pentecost, an Octave of Pentecost, the custom of extinguishing the Easter candle on Ascension. It will prove to be quite a task to abandon such separatist perceptions and recover the unified view of a fifty day celebration.

Secondly, we love to prepare for a feast, but we really don't know how to celebrate, let alone for fifty long days. That's why Lent is such a great success, and Easter at a great loss. Nevertheless, during the Easter season we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and our participation in the resurrection through the sacraments of initiation.

Ascension

Forty days after Easter we celebrate the ascent of the Risen Lord into heaven. This is the last physical manifestation of Jesus Christ on earth. It is the time when Christ assumes his place in heaven and promises the Holy Spirit to all his followers. In many dioceses, this feast is celebrated on the Sunday after Ascension Thursday.

Pentecost Sunday

Fifty days after Easter we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. From this day on the apostles and their missionary successors have spread the message of Jesus to the world. Therefore, this feast also celebrates the birth of the Church and its vital and diverse nature.
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