Sunday, October 03, 2004

At home in two worlds.

In the first few weeks of novitiate we've been reminded several times that Jesuits must be men who are at home in diverse situations and can relate to all kinds of different people. A couple of experiences that I had today brought this into perspective.

This morning I went to Mass at St. Leo's Church in Detroit. This was my second visit to this predominantly African American innercity parish; Kevin provides a good account of our trip there a month ago. St. Leo's has a pastor of some notoriety in Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, a founding member of Pax Christi USA and a longtime social advocate. Bishop Gumbleton's homily explored today's Gospel within the context of a recent trip that he made to Haiti as part of a Pax Christi delegation; Haiti is a land of great suffering, and yet amidst this suffering Gumbleton found a kernel of Christian hope.

This evening all the novices attended a reception for the many generous benefactors who support Jesuit formation programs. The event was held in posh Grosse Pointe Shores at the lakefront home of the family that owns Art Van Furniture. We enjoyed gracious hospitality and easy conversation; the benefactors were all very kind and clearly very pleased to meet us. As on Friday, clerics and a black suit were required attire, though unlike the UDM gala most of the people I spoke with today picked up the fact that I am not ordained. The reception offered a chance to meet and thank the people who help make our formation possible. The environment was a world apart from what I found this morning at St. Leo's, but both the innercity parishioners and the affluent benefactors proved highly engaging and welcoming. For my own part, I'm glad I was able to be present to both groups and to begin to learn how to fulfill the Jesuit mandate to make myself equally at home in very different worlds. AMDG.


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