Today in my religious tradition is the First Sunday of Advent. This seems a good day to introduce three topically related items for your reflection, if you are interested: 1) Journeying Towards Healing through Listening and Truth-Telling; 2) the new film, Till; 3) Frank Kroncke, “Captive and Captor”

Johan van Parys, Basilica’s Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts had an excellent column on the topic of Advent in todays Basilica newsletter.  It is here: Johan VP Advent 2022.


1.  Journeying Towards Healing…: If you happen to be in the Twin Cities, the morning of Dec. 3, my Church, Basilica of St. Mary, 1600 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, is having a retreat on the issue of race.

Details follow.  Note that registration is required.  I plan to attend.

Invitation: We invite you to attend an important event for our community as we listen and reflect together on this Advent.

Why attend? And Why hold this event now?
As members of the Basilica community, this event offers us a safe space to listen and think about how we see ourselves in the community with other members of our Catholic Faith. 


We will learn about aspects of our history that we may not know. We will listen, be curious, and reflect on the experiences of individuals who make up this spiritually rich community. As we move through Advent, we will be aware of and reflect on our beliefs, practices, and actions.

We are opening ourselves up to experience the fullness of community that is possible and needed now more than ever, uncovering the fullness of community that we need now more than ever.
What will I experience?

 There are three phases of the event.

 1.  Listen to Learn (Mind)

Come and learn about Minnesota and Catholic history that you may not know from the sought-after speaker Dr. Yohuru Williams at the University of St. Thomas. Dr. Williams will ground us in our Catholic Faith, guide us in understanding our history and context for our day, and invite us to embrace the stories of our brothers and sisters.  
  1. Listening in Prayer (Heart)
We will hear from fellow parishioners of color as they share their challenging experiences navigating parish life at the Basilica.
  1. Reflecting on our Heart and Mind (Action)
We will gather in smaller groups to reflect and process.
Gathering Details
Saturday, December 3, 2022, from 9 am to Noon 
Join us online or in person at Teresa Of Calcutta Hall, Basilica’s Lower Level
Register to attend at:

2.  Till.  We watched the new film “Till” Friday.  It is very powerful.  Details about the film are accessible here.

This is a film about American history, which continues in many ways to this day.  Perhaps ironically, it was also this year when Congress finally passed, and the President signed, anti-lynching legislation, motivated in substantial part by Emmett Till’s death at age 15 in Mississippi 67 years ago.

I always try to get at least a little personal perspective when dealing with matters of history and geography.  Emmett Till died in the summer of 1955, at age 14.

In the summer of 1955, I had just turned 15.  We lived in the country in southeast North Dakota.  We would not get television for another year.  The odds are almost zero that I would have heard, then, about Emmett Till.

It was also that summer, however, that we made our first ever long trip by car, to Chicago, to visit our Uncle and Aunt who had very recently moved to the near west side suburb of Broadview.  Life happens differently for everyone, so while its conceivable that Emmett Till had not left Chicago by the time we arrived for our short visit, we could have been there….

By the summer of 1955, I doubt I had ever seen a ‘black person’ though racism was no stranger to we country folk in the rural midwest.  The killing of Emmett Till only brought the horror to public view.  Forty years later, in 1995, I tried to summarize my own history: Race, a personal view.  

But that’s another story.  See the film.


3.  Frank Kroncke: Captor-Captive.  This is a 15 page extraordinary personal account of going from peace activist to prisoner, 50 years ago.  Frank is a good friend, and this is passed along with his permission.  This is very powerful.  I need say no more.


What our society will become is up to each of us.  What will your part be?

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