Whether you have already visited St. Basil’s in person, or are checking us out for the first time, my prayer is that in finding this community, you have found God. St. Basil’s is a place of encounter – with God, other people, and yourself. My hope is that you feel like you can belong here, because that belonging will lead to a deeper believing.
In this place, we come together to remember that all wisdom comes from God, and that it is never meant for us alone. Some of us come to this parish for the silence, solitude and anonymity it offers in the midst of a bustling city. Others come to connect with people socially; while others to experience the excellent music and homilies that add to the liturgy.
St. Basil’s is indeed unique, since the people that come here during the week are not the same people who come on the weekend. Within these boundaries are the very wealthy and the very poor. Yet, we realize that we are all bound by a mystical communion and a desire to transform and increase the gifts we have received, so that others may come to know the love and mercy of God, as we have.
Since I arrived in 2013, I have heard St. Basil’s described as a “modern traditional parish”, which I appreciate. We work hard to meet the needs of each person, while connecting the individual the traditions and community that defines us as Catholic.
In case you are interested, I am happy to share with you my own background. Originally, I am from Houston, Texas where I met the Basilian Fathers. I have been blessed to travel and live in many parts of the world. Most recently, I served as the Chaplain and Campus Minister at the University of Windsor through Assumption University. Prior to that assignment, I was teaching high school in Detroit. Those are just the two most recent assignments, but they speak to most of my ministry experience as either a secondary classroom teacher or university campus minister. Not until I was ordained did I really understand the richness of the parish community, especially one like St. Basil’s which serves a university as well as an urban community.
As Pastor, I want you to know that everyone is welcome here. Come as you are, and my prayer is that in time you will change who you will become. We are all blessed with a dedicated parish staff and fantastic team of volunteers who hope that St. Basil’s will not only be “your church”, but your community as well.
Lastly, I have always believed that Christians are, in large-part, meant to tell stories. When we listen to the stories of others, we discover the indwelling of God; and when we tell our own stories, we allow them to see God in us. So let me say, “welcome.” I am thrilled that you are here. (In fact, we are better off because you are here!) I look forward to hearing your story when you have the time to share it. May God bless you, and may you pray for me, just as I do for you.
Rev. Chris Valka, CSB