Pastor’s Pen – December 2, 2022

 Many spiritual opportunities are open to us in this Advent Season; I outline them in this article. I hope this isn’t merely as a list of optional activities to put on your calendar or “to do” list – I see them more as different ways for us to come together as a community, to experience the grace and strength and consolation of being-together, and – whether we are fully aware of it or not – to experience the peace and joy of Jesus Christ present among us in the midst of our often troubled world.  I hope you can come to as many as possible, not just to reap the spiritual benefits for yourself, but because the community experience of others is only made possible by your presence.  Without YOU there, WE are diminished!

Of these many spiritual moments, I would like to highlight two. Our spiritual practice as a parish this Advent is to reflect through personal journalling on the beautiful prophecies of Isaiah set forth in the Sunday liturgies. This will culminate in an in-person gathering on Wednesday, December 14, bringing together our individual and communal reflection on this journey with Isaiah and the virtue of hope we so need.  Please set aside that Wednesday evening on your calendar so that you can join in.  In case you missed it, my explanation from the last eNewsletter is repeated below at the end of this article.

After our liturgy on the Third Sunday of Advent (Dec. 11), we will offer prayers of healing and the Sacrament of Anointing. We are readily aware of the fragility and woundedness of our human condition – and faith recognizes that God, manifest and acting in Jesus, intensely desires our healing, our consolation, our freedom, our peace. Come and meet Him in this way.

All of the following events and their details are noted elsewhere in this eNews. Read it to find the information you need to participate! Note that many other online Jesuit resources for Advent can be found at — from a women’s retreat, to young adult programs, to the “arts and faith” series.

  • Sunday, Dec. 4: Our parish Christmas Party, after the liturgy. Also our first Liturgy of the Word for Children (happens parallel to the usual Liturgy of the Word for adults).
  • Thursday, Dec. 8: 12 Noon liturgy for the Holy Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
  • Saturday, Dec. 10: The premiere at the Fillmore Theater of the PBS Christmas special, “Detroit: City of Churches,” exploring the history and culture of Detroit through the lens of its historic churches, including Ss. Peter and Paul and the Pope Francis Center. Tickets still available.
  • Sunday, Dec. 11: Prayers for Healing and Anointing of the Sick after the liturgy. Also the Special Collection to support retired members of the Religious Orders that have served our church.
  • Monday, Dec. 12: The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. Join the grand celebration with singing and indigenous dancing at the Cathedral.  Friday, Dec. 9 is the related feast of St. Coauhtlatoatzin (aka St. Juan Diego), the indigenous seer of these visions of Mary.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 14: the culmination of our parish Advent program, bringing together our individual and communal reflections on the meaning of the Isaiah Advent readings in our own lives.
  • Sunday, Dec. 18: Join in decorating the church for Christmas after the liturgy. Light lunch provided!


From the previous eNewsletter…

Our Advent Program.  In this year’s Advent liturgies, the First Reading each of the four Sundays is taken from the writings of the prophet Isaiah, a person of stunning vision and poetry that still conveys to us 2,700 years later some of the most powerful images of hope and promise the human family has ever known. Our path this Advent will follow these Readings with a sort of spiritual journaling.

Each week you’ll receive a special email that will invite you to respond in writing to a few simple reflection questions about the upcoming Sunday’s Reading from Isaiah, questions that will help you to see what wisdom and understanding the prophetic passage evokes in you about your own life in the Spirit. (The questions will also be available for pick-up at each Sunday mass.)

On Wednesday evening, December 14, all will be invited to come together in person at the church for discussions to share what we have found in our Advent journaling exercises.

St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, was one of the first saints for whom keeping a spiritual journal was a principal aid in his spiritual development. Writing down our spiritual thoughts and reflections can help us to distill and solidify what is being given to us. Reviewing and pondering our notes in subsequent days can strengthen subtle shifts or movements in our consciousness.  It can help move us forward on our spiritual way.  Even if you aren’t able to come in person on December 14 for our Advent program, you will be able to participate and benefit through the weekly spiritual reflection exercise.

In Advent, the church hears the gospel cry of John the Baptist, “Prepare the way of the Lord!” Our reflective journalling as a parish together can help us to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord Jesus, the Christ of all people and all ages, into our own lives today.