As we celebrate with Detroit its International Jazz Festival this Labor Day weekend and transition into the Fall season, many difficult tragedies are unfolding in our world. At the same time, many opportunities are being given to us to grow spiritually, and to respond with faith, hope and charity to all that is happening.  I set them out briefly here and encourage you to click on the links to read and learn more.

In my last message, I explained that the parish will be offering this Fall several ways of experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, the foundation of the Ignatian character of every Jesuit parish. We’ll also be offering Small Communities again.  Your invitation, with a request to respond and indicate your interest, will arrive in your email later in this coming week.  Please watch for it and reply!

In the shadow of the dire recent UN Report on climate change, Pope Francis has encouraged our participation in the “Season of Creation,” which began with the Word Day of Prayer for Creation on Sept. 1, and will close with the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4. The Pope’s full statement will come out in a few days; the U.S. Bishops have already issued theirs (HERE). I’m looking forward to the novel ways our parish Green Team has planned for us to participate – see their notes elsewhere in this newsletter.

Labor Day reminds us that there are both encouraging signs of economic recovery and ongoing hardships for working people related to COVID-19. In their Labor Day Statement, the US Bishops echo Pope Francis’ call to build a more just and equitable economy without exclusion.  The 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack reminds us of the heart-wrenching needs for reconciliation, justice and peace among the peoples of our world.

Here are some practical ways to respond with charity to the sad hardships around us afflicting so many of our distressed brothers and sisters. Catholic Charities USA provides reliable ways to contribute aid for each of these three disasters.

  • The earthquake in Haiti: this link shows how you can also support the Jesuit relief efforts
  • On the 16th anniversary of Katrina, Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana with so much devastation and human suffering. The Catholic Charities link tells you how to help.
  • Here is helpful information on how to support local Detroit-area efforts to resettle refugees from the tragedy in Afghanistan. And looking ahead, near the end of the month the Church will call us to prayer for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

Yes, these dramatic events can overwhelm us with feelings of grief and even horror for those who suffer so much from them directly.  But we grow in faith and hope when we take time to see them in prayer through the lens of Jesus’ own sufferings and death, and especially His resurrection.  In that Risen Life he has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us and empower us to respond with growing love and charity in practical ways as we are so moved.