Today I ushered at church – first time since March 15, 2020.  It felt good to be so engaged.  “Normal” is returning, though still the Mass has live and virtual components.  There was a good attendance in the pews; and a pretty sophisticated virtual system which, I noted, utilizes six cameras – sort of an on-site TV studio.

I took a photo.  The Facebook production was quiet, efficient.

Basilica of St. Mary, July 11, 2021.

Today’s scripture readings might be uncomfortable for the comfortable, which is most of us who have the most in terms of temporal riches.  The U.S. is a very rich country, where the gap between rich and poor has grown almost exponentially in the last few years.  (The readings were Amos 7:12-15, Ephesians 1:3-14 and Mark 6:7-13.). In the Catholic tradition the homily focuses on the Gospel from the New (Christian) scripture.  Today’s Gospel was (my interpretation) about hospitality – who deserves it.  Everyone.  Father Tasto was masterful in his treatment of the topic, as he always is.

Our American society, super wealthy compared to the vast majority of societies world-wide, tends to prize winners, who control most of the things we value.  The rich get richer, obscenely so.  It’s “too bad, so sad” for the losers.  In the Gospel context, essentially Christs ministry, of those who have the most, the most is expected,  to the benefit of those who have the least.  This seemed to be the message yesterday, and is not a comfortable one.

Basilica of St. Mary, in my 25 years as a member, has always had a very strong focus on social justice and peace.  If you’re looking for a faith home base, check us out.

After Mass, those who wished could stop by for some ice cream from the Habitat for Humanity group, marking 25 years at Basilica this year.  Here’s the flier for this years build Aug 2-6 in suburban New Hope: Basilica 25th anniv build 2021.  In earlier years I was active in the Basilica program.  At home I dug out some old pictures, this one from April, 1999.

April 1, 1999. Basilica group, Habitat for Humanity.

Also, my friends, Rich and Donna, advised me of a special event at Basilica and around the world, called Angels Unawares, calling attention to migrants everywhere.  Details are here, regarding the Basilica of St. Mary programs beginning August 1.

Regardless of your ‘brand’ of faith, there are many ways to be engaged in the matter of justice and peace for all.

POSTNOTE:  Not directly related to Basilica, but relevant: Another organization I’m part of, Citizens for Global Solutions MN, sponsors an online film discussion group most Third Thursdays.  This months offering is the documentary: THE WALL: Raw Stories From 2018 Minneapolis Homeless Camp”, a documentary from 2018″.

“The Wall” provides a unique and raw look into the struggles of American poverty, addiction, and homelessness. As a result, viewers walk away with a better understanding of what might be done to address these issues.
BRANDON FERDIG, the filmmaker and producer of the documentary, founder and President of The Periphery Foundation (
NOYA WOODRICH, Deputy Commissioner of the Minneapolis Health Department
Pre-registration is required to participate in the discussion Thursday, July 15, tp.m. CDT.  Information here.


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