Blessed members of Saint John’s:

I want to draw your attention to the work of the church at a national level. I attend a monthly meeting with leaders across the Episcopal Church, led by Stephanie Spellers of the Presiding Bishop’s Staff. This week, we learned about an active program in New Mexico. St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Santa Fe, NM, is reaching out to families crushed by medical debt through a big gift and a big partnership. Through donations, the parish wiped out nearly $1.4 million of medical debt for 782 households. Working with the non-profit group RIP Medical Debt, they leveraged a grant of $15,000 to clear $1.3 million in medical debt. Read more about that here.

Anyone with an interest in what the church at large is up to can participate in these informative calls. Attached is a brochure that is helpful in understanding the work of the church, From the Pew to the Public Square. This is an example of liberation theology at work.

Also of great interest is the Angels Unawares work at the Basilica of Saint Mary, August 1-30 2021:

ANGELS UNAWARES: CROSS AMERICAN TOUR COMES TO OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!

This powerful sculpture will be on display in front of The Basilica of Saint Mary, August 1-30, 2021, across Loring Park from us at 1600 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis.  Everyone is invited to explore this amazing work, related exhibits, and join in prayer throughout the month.

The work depicts migrants and refugees from all cultural and racial backgrounds and from all historic periods of time together—shoulder to shoulder on a raft or boat. Within this diverse crowd of people, angel wings are visible in the center, suggesting that within the migrant and refugee is the sacred.

The inspiration for the work arises from Hebrews 13:2: “Be welcoming to strangers, many have entertained angels unawares.”

Angels Unawares Blessing and Unveiling
Sunday, August 1 at 10:30am, following 9:30am Basilica Mass

Angels Unawares Opening Ceremony
Sunday, August 1 at 3:00pm, Basilica Plaza

Angels Unawares ICOM (Minnesota Interfaith Coalition on Immigration) Prayer Vigil
Tuesday, August 10 at 7:30am, Basilica Plaza

Angels Unawares Closing Ceremony
Thursday, August 26 at 5:30pm, Basilica Plaza

Sunday Docent Tours 
August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 following the 9:30 and 11:30am Basilica Masses.

The Angels Unawares sculpture by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz depicts more than 140 refugees. The 3.5-ton, 20-foot-long sculpture, is a gift to The Catholic University of America and currently on a national tour. Through this pilgrimage, people across the country have the opportunity to share in its message of welcome and hope.

Angels Unawares is a second casting of a piece commissioned by Pope Francis and created by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz, who has received broad attention for his Homeless Jesus sculpture. The original casting was installed in St. Peter’s Square and unveiled by Pope Francis on Sept. 29, 2019, the 105th observance of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The unveiling and blessing at Catholic University was part of the 2020 observance.

Learn more here about Angels Unawares, including partnering organizations, its national tour, advocate resources, the Green Card Voices exhibit, and understanding migration.

Go peacefully into the world, and be the Church.

Blessings and Peace,

Rex