Pastor’s Perspective – September 12, 2021

*Ministry Sign-Up Sunday Next Weekend

Included in this bulletin, as well as on our stregis.org website, is this year’s “Ministry Sign Up” Form. The sheet allows you to express an interest in a new and/or additional ministry. As in years past, we have listed a variety of ministry/volunteer opportunities in each area of parish life in which we find the greatest need for additional help. In many cases this has been made even more urgent because of the COVID-fueled changes in the parish’s life. Please look over the sheet and pray about where your time and energy might be focused. Please do not see this as something “for others”. At the very least you will note the ministry of “Pray-ers”, which theoretically could be done by every one of us in the parish. But in each area of parish life, there is a way to get involved. If you do not see it on the sheet, then let us know which area you would like to be involved with, and we will contact you.

*Ministry of Hospitality

I want to especially note the name of a “new” ministry that really is a transformation of two long-time ministries, greeters and ushers. Even before the pandemic, we were finding that these ministries needed to help each other and come together more closely. At times we have needed ushers to assume the responsibilities of greeters and greeters to help with ushering. The pandemic has now made that a priority. We would like to find a way to bring these ministries of usher and greeter together into one, without losing the support of those who feel more comfortable doing one or other of them. We would like to call this new ministry the “ministry of hospitality”. Mary Von Koss and Scott Anastasia will be responsible for finding ways to shape this combined liturgical ministry.

*Professor Patricia Cooney-Hathaway Talk “A God for Our Aches and Pains” Next Sunday

If there is any chance for you to be there or to attend via Zoom (both options are available), do yourself a favor and register for this talk, sponsored by our grief support group (New Dawn) and our seniors group (Young at Heart Seniors). The link for registration is on our stregis.org website, or call to the office. It will be held in the Fr. Shields Hall on Sunday, September 19 at 1:30 p.m. Professor Cooney-Hathaway teaches spiritual direction and the history of spirituality at Sacred Heart Seminary and is one of the most insightful theologians we have in the diocese. The topic is very appropriate for our current challenges and is aimed not just at those who are grieving or elderly. All would benefit from it.

*World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Pope Francis established the last Sunday of September as “The World Day of Migrants and Refugees.” He did so because of the immense number of people every year—due to climate change, violence, natural disasters, persecution of minorities, and pursuit of better living conditions—who seek new homes as migrants and refugees. What immediately struck me about this designation is the language of the title. It is not a “World Day of Prayer”, though prayer is certainly central to this day, nor is it titled as a “World Day for.” It is titled as a “World Day of Migrants and Refugees.” In other words, to really embrace the vision Pope Francis sets before us, it is not enough to have charitable hearts toward migrants and refugees, nor is it enough just to pray for them, but we must become involved in each other’s lives. In other words, we need to get to know people as concrete persons, rubbing elbows, sharing ideas, mutually learning and supporting one another, and see such relationships as necessary for the true flourishing of the Church in the next generation.

To emphasize that reality, Pope Francis’ address this year focuses on the theme “Toward an Ever Wider We.” He notes that both a radical individualism and an aggressive form of nationalism, often use the challenges migrants and refugees pose to scapegoat them or to exclude responsibility toward them. As a Church “catholic”—universal—which is core to our identity and affirmed every Sunday in the Creed, the Church needs to see that shared bond with migrants and refugees as part of its identity and mission.

*Mass at Holy Trinity on September 22nd Celebrating the World Day of Migrants and Refugees

A Mass will be celebrated at Holy Trinity Parish in Corktown on Wednesday, September 22 at 6 p.m. promoting this vision of the Pope. Migrants and refugees who live in southeastern Michigan will be present and all of us are invited to be there as well. The evening is sponsored by Strangers No Longer, a non-for-profit organization which encourages parishes to establish “Circles of Support” focused on Immigrants and refugees, and a collection will be taken at the Mass to support their mission. I happen to be on the Board of Directors of this group, for full disclosure, and believe we are filling in a much-needed gap in the Church’s life and ministry. As an institutional Church on an Archdiocesan level, we are pretty good at charitable outreach via Catholic Charities of Southeastern Michigan, but we are pretty weak at issues of social justice and structural change. The mission of Strangers No Longer is not to become another charity focused on providing goods and services to immigrants and refugees (though much of that does take place as a matter of course), but also to be an advocacy group working for changes in law and institutional practice and an educational group sharing opportunities for all Catholics to learn more about the lived reality of immigrants.  If you are able, I think you will find the Mass and evening a joyful, upbeat experience.

Fr. Buersmeyer

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