Pastor’s Pen – May 19, 2023

In our last issue, I made an appeal for you to propose candidates for our young adult leadership program based in Ignatian spirituality.  I repeat that today! – applications are open until May 31. See the details elsewhere in this eNews.

This Sunday we will have a special celebration at the liturgy, something most people never have a chance to witness.  A member of our parish, Audra Turnbull, will make her profession of final vows as an IHM sister during the mass. (Check out her brief video interview here.) We are honored to be able to celebrate with her, and to welcome so many IHM Sisters along with her family and friends who will join us for the liturgy.  Like wedding vows, the ceremony will only take a minute, but it shapes a lifetime.

Audra’s community, the “Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” (abbreviated “IHM”), were founded in Monroe, Michigan, in 1845, just a year after the cornerstone of our church was laid down. As their congregation grew, many served in parish schools throughout southeast Michigan, educating countless Catholics here in the 19th and 20th centuries. They were among the earliest religious women to teach in our Ss. Peter and Paul parish school, staying until 1888 when the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati took over the school.  In the mid-20th century, the IHMs were the leaders in the national movement for U.S. Catholic sisters to become well-educated and gain advanced degrees.

Members of religious congregations like the IHMs or the Jesuits formalize their commitment to their mission and community by taking vows.  Most religious women make an initial commitment with temporary vows, until they complete their formation and the discernment of their vocation and eventually take final perpetual vows.  Audra is now at that point of final profession.  We congratulate her this day, but above all pray with her with gratitude to God for her calling and her generous response, and we pray for her that she may continue to be blessed and bless many others through her life as an IHM sister!

The following Sunday, May 28, brings us to the climax and close of the Easter season with the feast of Pentecost.  As the Readings throughout the season explore different dimensions of the Resurrection of Christ, Pentecost focuses especially on the Risen Jesus giving the Holy Spirit to his followers.  It is through that experience of the Holy Spirit that disciples are called, gifted, empowered and sent. Just as we celebrate Audra’s vocation and commitment this week, Pentecost invites all of us to enter more deeply into our own calling, and into the gifts we have each been given in order to contribute our part to the work of Jesus bringing the love of God into the world.