October 22, 2017



I’m not sure congratulations are in order but I do want to recognize all of our brothers and sisters in the separated Christian churches who are indeed celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. October 31st is the actual date of the first round fired by (Fr.) Martin Luther, a Catholic Augustinian monk, in 1517. There has been a lot of “bad blood” over the years, some of which has actually been shed in anger in both directions. For the most part, those days are over, but there is still a lot of animosity that remains, not so much among the many denominations, but between them and us Catholics. On the positive side there is indeed dialogue going on as efforts are being made to reconcile, looking instead for those things that we share in common rather than focusing on those things that separate us (to learn more about this dialogue please see the FAITH Special Report on our Diocesan website at https://goo.gl/JJNHEi).

One of the fascinating things that I think is happening is that re-unification is coming about in an unusual way; I would say under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. You have heard me mention many times how converts and reverts to the Catholic faith often become the greatest teachers of the Catholic faith to cradle Catholics, and are sometimes even the greater practitioners of the faith as well. We have seen this through the conversion stories of many well-known individuals who have become part of the EWTN team. Mother Angelica hired many converts to host her TV shows. One of the more fascinating shows has been something called The Journey Home, hosted by convert and former Protestant minister, Marcus Grodi. He founded an organization called The Coming Home Network which facilitates the return of Christians to the only Church founded by Jesus. This is no small matter. Those individuals are frequently ostracized and shunned by friends and family. And if they are employed as pastors in their church, they also have to worry about how to make a living. Your previous pastor here, Fr. Bill Thomas, was a convert from Lutheranism and was a guest on that show. And there were many other locals as well, including Kurt Hoover, our former Faith Formation director.

Several generations back on my father’s side we were Lutherans. I don’t know anything about the circumstances of our becoming Catholic, but maybe somehow it’s in my genes and because of that I’ve had kind of an ecumenical spirit. Many of you know that I worked for the Salvation Army for a time in the 80’s at an emergency shelter in Ann Arbor. I was always attracted to “the army” because I think on some level I appreciated their public demonstration of their faith as with wearing (army) uniforms, playing in Salvation Army bands, and performing many different types of good works. I began with them by doing something that was challenging for me, and that was simply to ring a bell in front of Kroger‘s at Christmastime. That eventually led to some volunteer work cooking meals at the shelter and then finally to come on staff. During that eight year stint, needless to say, I rubbed shoulders with a lot of “the separated brethren” and eventually came to the conclusion that some of them may actually get into heaven. And furthermore, they may even get there before me.



Just to repeat my comment last week, if you are planning to attend the Advent by Candlelight coming up on December 2nd, please remember to invite those considered “the lost sheep”

and those in “The Court of the Gentiles”. We would call this gentle evangelization. Our guest that night will be Jewish convert Debbie Herbeck from Ann Arbor.

We finally got a new commercial refrigerator for our kitchen and plans are now underway for remodeling our bathrooms. Both projects have come through the generosity of two parish benefactors.

During Advent we will be displaying our new violet sanctuary tapestries and my priestly vestments. The major portion of this purchase has been donated by the Women’s Guild but we have a significant balance due. If any of you would like to contribute, it would be greatly appreciated.

Also, a man of our parish who is an architect has proposed some designs for our west entrance to the sanctuary. We have been trying to encourage people to use that door for entrance and egress to cut down on the traffic jams in our narrow main hallway. There are some very neat possibilities for that area just outside the door, like a covered courtyard. This would be in addition to the canopy over the main entrance that we planned to finance through the Witness to Hope Campaign.

The Wine Tasting Event was a whopping success. We made $11,000 for the school. Thanks to all of you who helped to organize and execute, donated auction items, and helped drink all that wine.

Thanks again to all of you who congratulated me in any way on my 10th anniversary here at the parish. And special thanks for the lovely gifts of 2 new albs and one that I will be able to share with a friend, probably Fr. Lobert, and that is 2 tickets to the Andrea Bocelli concert in December.

Fr. J


%d bloggers like this: