Aug 22 – learning to be welcomed

Wednesday, August 22  “strangers no longer”

The large bulletin board on our second floor, next to the copier, the fax, our snail-mail boxes, the car keys,  creates a public space for us 22 Jesuits to stop and see what one or another of us has pinned as a new message wanting our attention.   Yesterday, Fr. Tom Florek, sj posted an update about events which we host for “our immigrant brothers/sisters among us.”

The national conversation about immigrants in the U.S.  is fraught with competing languages — “immigrants,” “refugees,” “criminals.”  Pope Francis has used the public voice that follows him wherever he goes to call attention to the dangers for women and men who have had to leave their home places, where they learned to create a home for raising their children, a place to cook for one another, a place to sleep safely.  Francis repeatedly calls attention to the appalling numbers of people who have been forced to wander the roads of the world without the securities of what is called “home,” a common estimate runs to 60,000,000; Francis compares them to Joseph, Mary, and their child when they fled soldiers seeking to kill them.  His more disturbing challenge, perhaps, is the call to pay attention, to risk the knowledge of these people seeking a home.  Yesterday, Tom let us know of a gathering in our Fitness Center, a next step in “Strangers No Longer,”  (gatherings  of immigrants with native-born citizens to who try to get better at being welcomed by people other than oneself).  The Pope does not ignore the dangers that immigrant travelers risk when they have lost their place of cooking, welcoming, sleeping and playing safely.

The notice on our b-board reminds us Jesuits that “welcome” must flow from between those who are called “strangers” and “locals” all of whom risk the call to kinship in dangerous times.  It was a large gathering yesterday, another small step in the face of this massive challenge.

b-board notice from yesterday

“Tuesday, August 21 from 4:00 to 9:00 pm in the Detroit Mercy Fitness Center, the ad hoc Strangers no Longer (SnL), will gather 150+ ‘concerned Southeast Michigan Catholics’ from 20 parishes and organizations to help build a Archdiocesan network of parishes, Hispanic and non-Hispanic, to collaborate in the accompaniment, advocacy and education concerning immigrant families’ critical needs to maintain their family unity.

The numerous meetings held in our large Lansing Reilly parlor with your support has played a significant role in moving forward our collaborative response to this sign-of-our-times, our immigrant brothers/sisters among us.”


Today’s Post  “Love bade me welcome”  George Herbert

Herbert poses a question that lives at the heart of immigration debates century after century. “Who welcomes and who needs to learn to be welcomed?”  That we try to provide hospitality on our campus comforts me in hard times.

Have a blest mid-week,


john st sj


Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked anything.
‘A guest,’ I answer’d,’ worthy to be here’:
Love said, ‘You shall be he.’
‘I, the unkind, ungrateful?  Ah, my dear
I cannot look on Thee.’
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
‘Who made the eyes but I?’
“Truth, Lord, but I have marr’d them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.’
‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘who bore the blame?’
‘My dear, then I will serve.’
‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste My meat.’
So I did sit and eat.

George Herbert  1633

This entry was posted in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.