Rose French writes about religious and spiritual matters for the Star Tribune. Before arriving in the Twin Cities this fall, she covered religion for the Associated Press in Tennessee, where she wrote about the Southern Baptists, United Methodists, Gideons and other religious groups and issues.
E-mail Rose with your thoughts or questions.
The Basilica of Saint Mary is holding its 5th Annual Blessing of Bicycles at the historic downtown Minneapolis church on Saturday.
The Twin Cities community is invited to this unique and free event -- with or without a bike -- to receive bike oil blessed by a priest as well as prayers and blessings for safe travels during the biking season.
Bike enthusiasts will gather on the basilica’s plaza at 3 p.m. and join a procession into the church for a blessing. Following the blessing, there will be a group ride for all ages.
Started in 2009, the Blessing of Bicycles at the basilica is meant to bring greater awareness to using bikes as a means of transportation and encourage non-motorized transportation, healthy lifestyles and a safe cycling season.
Close to 700 University of St. Thomas students are expected at a special event on campus today in honor of retiring president Fr. Dennis Dease.
In February, the school announced Julie Sullivan would take over as the new president of the St. Paul Catholic school, the largest private college in Minnesota with close to 10,000 students.
The first lay person to lead St. Thomas, Sullivan, 55, served as executive vice president and provost at the University of San Diego. St. Thomas officials have said Sullivan is expected to officially start as president in July.
At Tuesday's event, "students will say their goodbyes and thank-yous to retiring Father Dennis Dease at a celebration that starts at 11:45 p.m.... on the lower-quadrangle’s John P. Monahan Plaza. Dease is retiring on June 30 after serving 22 years as St. Thomas’ president," according to a released statement from the school.
A free lunch as well as ice cream and cupcakes will be served on the plaza. Hundreds of students have already shown their gratitude by signing thank-you banners that will hang in the Anderson Student Center.
Close to 200 black clergy and religious leaders gathered Thursday for a rally at the Capitol in recognition of the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.
The event was held in the rotunda and organized by ISAIAH, a non-profit coalition of over 100 congregations from various faith traditions in the metro area.
The religious faithful want to urge “public leaders to work together to create new opportunities. They will challenge them to eliminate inequities through real structural reform and repair the harm that has been done in the past,” according to a released statement from ISAIAH.
The group was told no singing was allowed in the rotunda, so ISAIAH's president, the Rev. Paul Slack, led the group in a rendition of "Amazing Grace" outdoors on the Capitol steps.
To check out photos from the event, go to www.startribune.com
Pope Francis was officially installed this morning during a mass ceremony and highlighted the issues he hopes to emphasize as leader of the Catholic Church -- chief among them, protecting the environment and defending the poor and vulnerable.
“It was a message Francis has hinted at in his first week as pontiff, when his gestures of simplicity often spoke louder than his words. But on a day when he had the world’s economic, political and religious leadership sitting before him on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica for the official start of his papacy, Francis made his point clear,”the AP reports.
In other pontiff news, Religion News Service reporter David Gibson offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes account of how the new pope -- Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, of Argentina -- was picked.
“...Bergoglio’s name had not surfaced as an option in the week of closed-door discussions among the cardinals before the conclave, and Bergoglio had also dropped off the radar of most journalists. He was 76, and many cardinals said they would not vote for someone older than 70. Bergoglio was also reportedly the runner-up to Benedict in the conclave of 2005 and unlikely to return as a candidate.”
Pope Benedict XVI’s historic resignation from the papacy will be the topic of discussion at a panel talk at the University of St. Thomas on Wednesday.
The school’s theology department organized the panel, which is aimed at “understanding the historical and theological meaning of this unprecedented event in Church history,” according to a released statement from St. Thomas. Benedict is the first pontiff in the last 600 years to resign from the papacy.
On Thursday, at 8:00 p.m. Rome time, the Apostolic See will become officially vacant and cardinals from all over the world will be called to Rome for the conclave that will elect the new pope.
Questions posed at the panel will include: How does the conclave work? What is its history? Who are the cardinal electors in 2013? Will we have an American Pope? What issues will be discussed in the conclave? What are the consequences of the conclave for the local Churches?
Three members of the theology department will give short presentations, followed by a Q&A session. The panel, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. at St. Thomas’ OEC Auditorium, 2115 Summit Ave, St. Paul.
Today is Ash Wednesday -- though it's probably safe to say the annual celebration marking the beginning of Lent has been overshadowed by the shocking news this week that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning.
This Ash Wednesday will be Benedict’s last major liturgical celebration before he vacates the papacy on Feb. 28.
Ash Wednesday is celebrated by Catholic as well as Episcopal, Methodist and Lutheran churches.
In Minnesota, one of the largest events will be held at theBasilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. The church is distributing the Eucharist and ashes at 7 a.m., noon, 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. services.
More and more churches are also offering “drive-thru” Ash Wednesday services for those with hectic work schedules -- just drive up in your vehicle and receive ashes. St. Nicholas Episcopal in Richfield is offering such a “drive-thru” as well as regular Ash Wednesday services. For more information, check out facebook.com/saintnicholasepiscopal.