The Basilica of Saint Mary
Star of the Sea
"Since it first shed its light in Key West, Saint Mary's Church has, like a star of the sea to the wandering mariner, been a star of hope and comfort in times of despair and sorrow, and a star of joy to those who have lived in its teachings."February 26, 1851 by Father Sylvanius Hunineq
Be the Light Capital Campaign
For over 140 years, our parishioners have served as a shining star in Key West. St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish has evolved and responded to the ever-changing needs of our community, representing the light of Christ to so many others. While the Basilica itself serves as the most visible beacon of our faith, our School and Convent are no less important. Through your hard work and generosity, the Basilica and the Basilica School are well positioned to shine just as brightly for many years.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the Convent/Renewal Center. The light that has emanated from this building for over fifty years is in danger of being extinguished. Whole sections have been rendered unusable by structural deficiencies, mold, leaking roofs, inadequate climate control, and a host of other problems too numerous to mention. The Holy Spirit Sisters have agreed to increase their numbers to four Sisters in our Convent but we need to provide safe and adequate housing. The roof of the Adoration Chapel has leaked; there was an electrical fire in its ceiling light fixtures. The entire dormitory wing has been closed since January due to the collapse of the plumbing.
To whom much is given, much is required, said the Lord. We have been truly blessed at St. Mary Star of the Sea. Much light emanates from the Sisters, the Adoration Chapel, and the many ministries and events that take place in the Convent/Renewal Center. The activities from this building generate hope, comfort and joy in our need as well as to our neighbors. We cannot afford to lose this building. We need to begin a large-scale renovation of the building. I ask for your prayers and financial support.
We need your help to be a Star of the Sea, a Star of Hope and Comfort, a Star of Joy. Be the light and help ensure that our Parish continues to shine for the next 140 years.
Fr. John C. Baker
Catholic Social Teaching
Last year, St. Mary’s began a monthly informational series on Catholic social teaching (CST); often coined “the Church’s best kept secret”. As a continuation of this effort, we will again highlight a CST principle each month and then explore its practical applications and suggest subsequent actions to take in our lives and community.
October’s highlighted CST Principle:
The Dignity of the Human Person.
We often hear the terms “respect life”; “from womb to tomb”; “pro life” and “the seamless garment”. These terms may connote different things to different people but their foundation and underpinning comes from the Catholic social teaching principle The Dignity of the Human Person and so have similar meanings.
The Dignity of the Human Person:
Belief in the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all Catholic social teaching. Human life is sacred, and the dignity of the human person is the starting point for a moral vision for society. The principle of human dignity is grounded in the idea that the person is made in the image of God. The person is the clearest reflection of God among us. We are required to honor the human person, to give priority to the person. (Used with permission from the Diocese of Minneapolis /St. Paul)
This CST principle tells us that all human life is created, cherished and loved by God, and therefore it has profound implications in the many issues we grapple with as a human family. Cardinal Bernadin, former Arch Bishop of Chicago, coined the term “the seamless garment” illustrating the necessity to apply our moral values equally to any issue and circumstance that threatens the dignity of human beings. We are called to uphold all life equally even in the most challenging of circumstances.
In light of this teaching, we must ask ourselves how we can make decisions and act to uphold God’s love and care for all life and each human being in our personal lives, community and world. How for example, do we uphold the dignity of the human person in the criminal justice system; when threatened and experiencing conflict with community members or other nations; in relational issues with people of other religions, beliefs, sexual orientations or races? How do we make decisions which will uphold human dignity in situations of sickness and terminal illness; and decisions impacting children and families?
To Learn More:
Catholics are encouraged to learn more about this social teaching. Visit the following link to an article which provides a wonderful example of how to view the current issue of sweat shops in Bangladesh through the lens of The Dignity of the Human Person and other Catholic social teaching principles: http://sojo.net/magazine/2013/08/life-dignity-and-tragedy-bangladesh#.UhIKaxWmNd4.email For a list of resources on The Dignity of the Human Person please visit the following web site: http://usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/life-and-dignity-of-the-human-person.cfm. With information we can further explore this teaching’s implications on many issues such as the death penalty, racism, torture, abortion, health care, immigration, hunger, poverty, homelessness, ecology, living wages and violence. Although there are no easy answers to these complex issues, the social teaching of the church gives us a faith lens and framework in which to expand our understanding, and develop decisions and actions to live our faith in the world.
Practical applications and suggested actions:
One example of how this principle can be upheld in our own lives and community comes on the heels of multiple media reports on family and domestic violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Take this opportunity to talk to your children and family members about healthy and loving ways to resolve feelings of anger and conflicts with others. Take a zero tolerance stance on language and jokes which demean women and perpetuate a culture which allows violence toward women and others. Be aware that there are businesses which value human life and dignity by educating employees on domestic and other forms of violence including human trafficking. Find out about these businesses and give them your support. Encourage local businesses to post information and local resources which help victims of domestic violence.
In addition, become informed on the many other issues which touch on the dignity of the human person. Notice how they are addressed locally, nationally and globally. Reflect on them in light of Catholic social teaching principles and take action on your reflections by contacting your legislators to inform them of your views. The Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center www.ipjc.org/ is an excellent resource which provides information on social justice issues and provides information on how to contact your legislators on issues of concern.
For more information you may contact Patrice Schwermer: firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to requests from parishioners, we have enhanced the Online Giving program. Now you can create your own account, login and manage all of your giving 24/7 from one convenient place.
Key advantages of Online Giving:
- Convenient, anytime, anywhere access through the Internet.
- Secure and confidental. Adheres to banking standards.
- Start, stop, or change your contributions at anytime.
- Simple. No need to contact your bank or the parish office.
- Contribute using direct withdrawal (ACH) or credit cards.
Here is a wonderful post on the Catholic Review from the Archdiocese of Baltimore
Help us add names to our Book of Remembrance
Most physical books are only available to those connected to the church. Our virtual book is available to all whether they have had the chance to visit our church or not. Please feel free to enter the names of your departed loved ones.
The Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea is the first to host a Friends and Relations Book of Remembrance in the United States. Donated by British founder Jonathan Haward, these books have memorialized some of England most honored dead.
The Solemn Mass with the Conferral of the Insignia of the Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea
Homily preached by Archbishop Thomas Wenski May 31, 2012 at the dedication of the minor basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea in Key West.We gather today, on this feast of the Visitation of Mary, to give thanks for the favor shown to this historic parish church dedicated to Mary, Star of the Sea, to the Key West community and to our archdiocese. We are all extremely grateful that Pope Benedict XVI has seen fit to raise this church to the status and dignity of a minor basilica.more...
The Basilica of Saint Mary Star of the Sea in Key West is talked about in Rome