Sunday, October 02, 2005

UDM Founders' Gala and Detroit Area Day.

A couple Jesuit-themed events that took place in Detroit this weekend are worth remarking upon. On Friday night, my classmates Mike Singhurse, Tony Stephens, Eric Styles and I attended the UDM Founders' Gala at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. The Founders' Gala is an annual fundraising event for the university, and since they like having Jesuits there an open invitation was extended to the novices. The Gala was held in the RenCen Wintergarden, a glass-roofed atrium that affords great views of the RenCen's multiple towers and the Windsor skyline across the Detroit River. As some readers will know, the RenCen is the home of GM corporate headquarters. Accordingly, when we found the need to stretch our legs during the speakers' program Mike and I were able to take a look at the new Chevrolets, Pontiacs and GMC trucks displayed showroom-style in the building's lower-level concourse. As in any good showroom, you can sit in any one of the vehicles, look under the hood, and scrutinize the pricing data. Mike and I saw a few models that would look good in the Jesuit motor fleet, but since we aren't likely to be put in charge of purchasing any time soon I don't think you're likely to see a new Corvette or a GMC Canyon in the Loyola House driveway in the foreseeable future. To sum up the Founders' Gala, it was a great opportunity to see Jesuit friends from around the city, to chat with UDM alumni, students and benefactors, and to celebrate a school that is making a critical difference in Detroit.

Saturday afternoon the Loyola House community attended the Detroit Province Area Day at U of D Jesuit High School. Area Days are typically held twice a year in each of the province's population centers (in this province, Detroit and Cleveland; in my province, Chicago and Cincinnati) and provide local Jesuits a chance to get together both to socialize and to take part in a structured discussion on an important and timely issue - some examples from recent years include collaboration with laypeople in our apostolates, interreligious dialogue and Jesuit involvement in province development efforts. The focus of this Area Day was a workshop on racism led by Father Clarence Williams, C.PP.S., who serves as the Archdiocese of Detroit's Director of Black Catholic Ministry. After Father Williams' presentation, we had liturgy and dinner together. Like the Founders' Gala the night before, the Area Day offered another chance to catch up with area Jesuits. However, the afternoon also provided a venue for frank discussion of our experiences of and efforts to combat racism. On multiple levels, this Area Day was a success. I don't know where or when the next one will be and what will be discussed, but I'm looking forward. AMDG.


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