VACATIONS AND VIRUSES
These August weeks will bring some much-needed vacation time to our parish staff. As the pace of parish activities slows for a short while, it seems like a good time to offer a preview of “upcoming attractions” for the fall season. It’s also a good time, with the year-end report from our Finance Council accompanying this newsletter, to say a big THANK YOU to everyone for your generous financial support of the parish during this past pandemic year.
Alas, these August weeks are also bringing another surge in the pandemic, due to the more transmissible Delta variant and the large number of unvaccinated people. See the notice elsewhere in this eNews about its spread in Wayne Co. and the renewed guidance on wearing masks indoors. It is certainly a disappointment to me – as I’m sure it is to you – that we cannot yet get back to “normal” as we would like to. Who knows what restrictions may return in the coming weeks? I find corners of my mind that resist and resent having to go back to precautions that I thought we had left behind; yet I know we must rise above our self-centered concerns and act for the good of the whole community. As our Pope and bishop have urged, please consider getting vaccinated if you have not already done so.
SPIRITUAL EXERCISES AND SMALL GROUPS
The foundation of the dynamic Ignatian character of any Jesuit parish or ministry is the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The first of the Jesuits’ four “Universal Apostolic Preferences” is “To show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment.” I was surprised to learn recently that former pastor Fr. Carl Bonk, SJ, had conducted some groups years ago. We hope to greatly expand this small group opportunity for parishioners this fall. We are currently surveying some of those who were in the Small Community Groups pilot last spring, and already have 25 people expressing a solid interest, with 8 opting for the full 8-month version. (We’ll also offer shorter one-, two-, and three-month versions.) I’ve never met a person who didn’t find the Exercises a very positive, life-affirming and even life-changing experience – so I hope you’ll give it serious consideration when we get the invitation out to the parish at large in the coming month.
For those who don’t opt for the Exercises at this time, we’ll also be offering Small Communities again in the fall. These groups provide opportunities to get know other parishioners and build a deeper bond of connection to the parish, and ways to engage in shared spiritual growth, social enjoyment, or community service. You’ll get an invitation in the coming weeks.
IMPROVISATION AND CREATION
September brings the Jazz Festival to Detroit, and the Jazz Mass to our parish (Sept. 5). I hear we’ll have some new musical instruments on hand for the celebration this year, as we reach out to bring the light and warmth of faith and Spirit to our city and to this civic event.
The Season of Creation also launches September 1 (the annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation), through October 4 (the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi). Our Green Team is at work preparing ways for the parish to celebrate throughout those weeks that will include prayer, education, action and advocacy. The World Day of Prayer was begun in 1989 in the Orthodox Church, and gradually spread to other churches, finally being embraced by Pope Francis for the Catholic Church in 2015 – the year of his ground-breaking encyclical, Laudato Si’, that called “for a new dialogue on how we are shaping the future of our planet,” and stated that “We require a new and universal solidarity” where the most vulnerable are supported and enabled to live in dignity.
See you in September!