November 20, 2020

Pastor's Pen

The End of Ordinary Time(s)
I would like to reflect on several important milestones in our church life that are coming up, but I find my mind keeps turning instead to the rapid escalation of the coronavirus epidemic and the political instability facing us.  Maybe I can help us address the latter problems through the spiritual reflections.

This Sunday is the feast of Christ the King, the final Sunday in the church’s annual liturgical cycle.  Of course the Christ was anything but a “king” – he was a humble peasant who was the tortured victim of the Roman Empire’s lethal tactics of repression and control.  To call him King or Lord is an audacious faith-statement about the nature of our spiritual relationship to the Risen One, and his true place in the sweep of human history. This year, this feast might remind us that as His followers we place our ultimate allegiance, faith and trust in Him, not any human leader or political party. Yet we also engage in civic life and pray ardently so that our human leaders and governments may enact the values and vision of the Kingdom of God.  We pray that our present electoral crisis is resolved with justice and peace.

Thanksgiving follows. I’ll post a brief video message this week on giving thanks even in the midst of difficulties like the sorrows and anxieties of the pandemic. Let’s take time to count the many blessings we enjoy.  I myself am so grateful for the way so many of you continue to support our parish community and stay engaged even through this pandemic.  We had an incredible 96% positive response from those who completed the survey about forming small community groups.  (Click the survey link HERE if you have not yet taken it.)

Next week brings us to the end of “Ordinary Time” and then to the season of Advent and a new church year. Advent and long winter nights provide us with a time for deeper prayer and reflection, leading to the birth of new hope, and eyes to see the Light in the midst of darkness. Our parish Advent opportunities (see below) will be presented in a special email at the end of next week.  Watch for it!  This year I encourage each household to have an Advent Wreath to enhance your participation in livestream Sunday mass and evening prayer.  (See how to get one, below.)  Come, O Emmanuel, God-With-Us!

Liturgical Notes
Julie Ford

Virtual St. Cecilia Day Festival THIS WEEKEND!

The Detroit Chapter of NPM (National Association of Pastoral Musicians) is hosting a virtual St. Cecilia Day festival over zoom this Sunday at 3:00 pm. Join board members of NPM Detroit (including SSPP's own Music Director, Julie Ford!) for a celebration of St. Cecilia's Feast Day. The afternoon includes a virtual hymn sing from four different churches, a remembrance of the dead, and a short organ recital celebrating the 95th birthday of the historic Casavant organ in Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. Donations given during the event will benefit our own beloved Pope Francis Center! Click this link to join the event on zoom at 3:00 pm this Sunday, November 22.

Join us for a virtual Advent Midweek Evening Prayer service!

As the days grow shorter and the chill of winter sets in the air, we are all beginning to feel more deeply the particular challenge this year has brought to us. This Advent we invite you to take a break each Wednesday evening to join us in a service of light and prayer.

What: A virtual service of Evening Prayer.
When: 7:30 pm on the Wednesdays during Advent - Dec. 2, 9, 16, and 23.
Where: on Zoom! click here to join the meeting. 

Details: Make sure you have an Advent candle set (or even just a single candle) and something to light it with. We will light our candles together at the start of each liturgy. (See below for a link to resources for ordering your own Advent candle set.)

More for Advent coming soon...
Stay tuned for a special edition of the E-News next week.  We will feature all of the upcoming events including an interactive Advent Calendar from our Social Justice Committee.  Save the date for Anointing of the Sick on Sunday, December 13 in conjunction with drive-thru (walk-up) communion.  Plus we'll tell you how to register for Christmas Eve Mass.  Don't miss it!!

Advent Wreaths
If you don’t have an Advent Wreath, there’s a good collection online at, ranging from $15 to $50.  Or just search for “Advent Wreaths” on  Or do-it-yourself: just get 4 candles, or even small vigil lights, and surround them with an evergreen wreath!
Registering for Mass is more Important than Ever!
Please be mindful of the additional question added to the registration form about your health and how to protect others around you.  We will take every precaution and provide a safe environment for Mass.  But of you are sick or have been exposed to someone who is, please join us on the Livestream.

Retired Religious Fund:
Say thank you to the senior sisters, brothers, and religious order priests who devoted their lives to serving others. Please give to next week’s Retirement Fund for Religious collection. Learn more at

A Message from the Green Team

The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, but this year will be different because of the coronavirus and efforts to keep all of us safe. Still, we have much to be thankful for! God has created for us a world full of beauty, and asks us to be responsible in how we live and care for it. He invites us to reach out to those who may not have enough food, who are living with the after effects of hurricanes, and who may be alone in this world affected by the pandemic.
We may not celebrate in big groups, so it may be necessary to scale down our food purchases. A surprising amount of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions – as much as 13%* - are caused by the production and transportation of food. This is because transportation and fertilizers often rely on fossil fuels. A good way to reduce carbon emissions, then, would be to buy locally grown organic foods.
Cleanup is one of the big projects after a nice Thanksgiving dinner, so try to be mindful of how much water you are using when you wash up the dishes. Whisper a prayer for those who do not have enough water to drink and keep clean.
November introduces the frantic period when we try to prepare for Christmas. Common activities include shopping, decorating, and accumulating. This year, perhaps you could consider making some of your Christmas gifts from materials you have at home. Plug into the goal of reusing and repurposing what we already have rather than acquiring more. Consider the needs of the poor, and make a charitable gift to support their basic needs.
Sometimes during the gray-skied days of November and December, we can feel gloomy. We might be tempted to turn on more lights in the house which may increase energy consumption. If you haven’t already done it, you could install lighting that uses less energy, and to practice the habit of turning off lights when no one is in the room.
Back in October, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee presented a retreat called “Gift, Gratitude and Joy” focused on the Season of Creation. One presentation was led by a young man named Joe Meyer who is a high school science teacher. His 40-minute session was called, “Creation: Simplicity and Joy.” Click on the link and spend a little time in a simple and thoughtful meditation.

Finally, in this time of seasonal and global anxiety, think about this prayer of thanksgiving from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!
The Green Team

The entire parish is very grateful to those who have contributed generously.  Our parish continues its mission and our staff continues to work. This requires your ongoing support!  You can Contribute online, or with the Givelify App, or by sending a check to the parish office (438 St. Antoine, Detroit MI 48226).

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Ss. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church
438 St. Antoine
Detroit, MI 48226