I started this article intending to comment on the 15 delegates representing the Jesuits at COP26, the UN Conference on Climate Change currently under way, addressing the most critical challenge facing humankind today and expressing our Jesuit commitment to Pope Francis’s call to “Care for our Common Home.” But then another Jesuit story line unfolded in my mind. I hope you enjoy following the thread of its chapters! – and enjoy some of the fine offerings available over the next two weeks.

Chapter 1. Today, November 5, is the feast of All Saints of the Society of Jesus (brief video).  Just as the universal church celebrates All Saints Day on November 1 (now overshadowed in popular cultural by its vigil, All Hallows Eve (=Hallowe’en)), the Jesuits celebrate all their unsung, unofficial saints on Nov. 5. I made my Final Vows as a Jesuit on this date in 1989, just 11 days before the horrific events described below.

Chapter 2. Speaking of Jesuit saints… we just received news of a new one: in a January 22 ceremony, Jesuit Fr. Rutilio Grande will be named a “Blessed” (last step on the road to full sainthood). We will plan some celebration of this event here in our parish. He is a saint for our times: Fr. Rutilio was assassinated in 1977, one of the early martyrs in the El Salvador civil war, along with numerous other Catholics killed over the subsequent years – including even the Archbishop of San Salvador – who died for their faith and their outspoken defense of the poor and powerless in the face of oppressive social injustice.

Chapter 3. The killings culminated on November 16, 1989, with the brutal assassination of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter, at the University of Central America in San Salvador. Sadly the US government was supportive of the military and paramilitaries who conducted these assassinations.  But the deaths of these UCA Martyrs that we’ll remember on Nov. 16 shocked the world and turned the tide of global opinion, accelerating the peace talks that helped end the civil war.

Chapter 4. The campaign to bring out the truth of the US involvement in the assassinations led to the origins of the Ignatian Solidarity Network and its annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in the late 1990s – which has morphed over the years to now engage all types of Jesuit schools and parishes in the full range of contemporary social justice issues.  The 2021 Teach-In is this weekend, Nov. 6-8, in Washington, DC – and is now available free on livestream.  It will include presentations by such notables as Fr. Bryan Massingale, Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, Keya Chaterjee, and our own Fr. Tim Kesicki, SJ. (See below for all the links and the schedule.)

Chapter 5. The IFTJ weekend starts with a pre-session featuring Olga Segura, a rising voice in the Jesuit world, recent author of Birth of a Movement: Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church. Saturday, November 6 at 4:30PM; watch HERE.

Chapter 6. Which brings me to the final piece in this story-line: November is Black Catholic History Month, and we’re invited to join (virtually) a University of Detroit Mercy free presentation: “Detroit’s Special Place in Black Catholic History,” featuring President Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D., on November 16 at 5:00PM. Dr. Garibaldi will highlight African-American Catholics’ rich contributions to the Church in America, with special emphasis on Detroit’s role and influence in the 1960s and 1970s. Notable members of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s African American Catholic community will offer their reflections after his remarks.  Register HERE.

The advertised direct link for all the livestreams is HERE (but what you see there is the schedule from the 2019 event two years ago). I don’t know if this link is erroneous, or if it will work this weekend.
Fortunately, a current 2021 page has a schedule and links for the main keynote speakers HERE.
The full schedule listing all the many break-out sessions is HERE. I don’t know if these will be available for the free livestream at the first link above or not.
Finally, the pre-session with Olga Segura about Black Lives Matter is on another related site HERE.