According to Father Timothy Backous, “The Basilica is simply one of the best parishes in the United States,” he says. “I cannot tell you how privileged I am to be able to preside and preach in this community. I think if every parish aspired to be like The Basilica, the church wouldn’t have enough parishes to hold all the people. It is welcoming, generous, hard working, caring and liturgically superior to anything else in the American church.”
One day after he had celebrated Mass at The Basilica, Father Backous sat talking to a tall Native American man. Suddenly, the man stopped and urgently grabbed his hand, as if he were about to speak very important words. Father Backous asked him if he was okay, to which the man said, “Shh, I’m giving you power.” Father Backous asked him power for what, and the man pulled out a drum. One side was painted with a turtle and the other with a staff. The man explained that the turtle is for wisdom and the staff is for leadership. It was this experience, Father Backous says, that first made him fall in love with the diversity and unexpectedness of The Basilica. Father Backous is part Blackfoot Indian.
Born and raised in South Dakota, he joined St. John’s Abbey in 1979, where he has been a monk ever since. Father Backous is currently the Headmaster at Saint John’s Preparatory School in Collegeville.
View Basilica Magazine (Fall, 2011)… Here