Ukraine, Jesuit Aid, and You

“No more war, war never again.” That was the plea of Pope Paul VI in 1965 when he addressed the United Nations, the first pope ever to do so. Sadly, many wars have occurred since then, and now once again we find ourselves lamenting a tragic war. Let us join with Pope Francis who has invited the entire church to pray and fast for the people of Ukraine at the beginning of this Lenten season.

The three pillars of the Church’s Lenten practice are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. In addition to prayer and fasting for Ukraine, we also have an opportunity to “give alms,” to give financial and material support to those suffering from the conflict.  The U.N. estimates that one million people have now left Ukraine as refugees; Poland has received far more than any other country, more than half the total. There are many Jesuits in Poland (more than in our US Midwest region), and they have gone into action to care for the refugees and place them in homes. Our Midwest Jesuits have just donated $20,000 to the Polish Jesuits, who requested support for the relief work.  More may be given to the Jesuit Refugee Service as it responds to the crisis. We have added a donation portal to our parish website where you can donate to these Jesuit relief efforts throughout the weeks of Lent.


Lent Begins

This Church season calls us to spiritual growth, a deepening of our relationship with God in Christ. The many Lenten programs offered here in our parish will be communicated by email each Tuesday for the six weeks of Lent. In its ancient origins, Lent was a time for those preparing to join the church at Easter to seek deeper conversion to the ways of God and to strengthen their following of Jesus. The whole Church joins in that spiritual journey with them.  And so we also pray at this time for our three candidates for Confirmation who will be formally called by the Bishop at a rite at the Cathedral this Saturday. You can pick up a card in church on Sunday that will remind you to pray throughout Lent for our candidates: Abbey Colville, Staci Kulhanek, and Jacob Schroeder.


Our Family of Parishes

I think most of you are aware by now of the plan of the Archdiocese of Detroit – called “Families of Parishes” – for dealing with the priest shortage, and for making parishes more mission-focused. A “Family” is a grouping of several parishes that will retain their separate identities but be served by a single team of priests.  Our parish will form a Family with the other Jesuit parish, Gesu in northwest Detroit, beginning next July 1, 2022. I attended a 2-day workshop this past week for the priests who will be coordinators of their team of priests. There is no specific news from the workshop, but it was good to hear about the experiences of other priests who have already begun the process. The next step will be another workshop for the teams of priests in May. More information will be communicated in the months after Easter.

In the meantime, we have much to pray about! – for ourselves and our own spiritual growth, for our Confirmation candidates, for the Covid pandemic, for the crisis in Ukraine, for peace in our world.