Since 1894, the first Monday in September has been observed as a federal holiday to honor workers in the USA. Our Canadian neighbors also celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday in September. Originally established to honor the nation’s working people, this holiday has come to be seen as the end of the summer season.
The past few years have seen many people struggling to keep or find adequate paying jobs for their families. The devastating effects of the COVID pandemic the past couple of years, political turmoil in many countries, economic struggles of many people throughout the world continues to make life difficult for individuals, families and nations. As Jesus notes in Luke 10:7, as he sends the seventy-two disciples out to prepare the way for him, “… the laborer deserves his payment.”
The Catholic Church has a long history of speaking out for the rights of workers. Papal encyclicals such as Pope Leo XII’s Rerum Novarum helped establish rights and better treatment for workers everywhere. Recent Popes such as John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have continued to call for the dignity of workers throughout the world. You can find various statements from the Popes, Bishops and other Catholic commentators on the Vatican website, www.vatican.va, US Catholic Bishops Conference www.usccb.org and various other Catholic websites.
This weekend, as you enjoy the Labor Day holiday weekend, I encourage you to also take time to seriously study the various ideas and reflections of not only those who are politicians, but also what we as Catholics believe about the dignity of work. Enjoy this holiday but also remember why we celebrate Labor Day! As we celebrate the “end of the summer season”, let also take time to say thanks and pray for all workers who struggle each day to care for their families. And may every student, as they begin a new school year, study hard so that they might be well prepared to be good and faithful citizens and just stewards of the blessings God has given to each of us.
Unfortunately, for far too many people in our city and throughout our great country, this holiday weekend brings the sad reality that in the past year they have lost a relative, friend or neighbor to violence.
I encourage you to write or call your city alderman, mayor or county representative and let them know of your concerns for working toward finding an end to the increasing violence in our city and neighborhoods. I encourage everyone to write or call our state politicians and our national politicians to express our concern that action must be taken to protect the young and everyone else from this senseless violence that has become a plague upon our city, county, state and country. To find the name of your U.S. Representative or Senator go to house.gov. To find who is your Alderman in the City of Chicago go to chicago.gov. To find your state Representative or Senator go to illinoispolicy.gov.
In these difficult times, let us keep one another in prayer, and as we celebrate Labor Day, may we keep our eyes on what must always be our focus... faith and belief in Jesus Christ who is the Savior of the world. Let us resolve to do whatever we can to help end this scourge of violence in our city and nation.
I encourage you and your family to begin Labor Day by joining us for our special Labor Day Mass on Monday, September 4 at 9:00 am in church. Let us gather to give thanks to God for the blessings we have received. The church offices and gift shop will be closed Labor Day, September 4, and there are no confessions scheduled on Labor Day. Our regular schedule resumes on Tuesday, September 5.
PRAYERS & SUPPORT
Please continue to keep the people of Hawaii, especially those on the island of Maui, in your prayers as they recover from the devastation of the recent wildfires. I recently sent a donation from our emergency church funds to the Diocese of Honolulu to help those in need at this time. Please remember all those on the West Coast who are suffering due to storms and those who have been suffering lately due to high temperatures.
ARCHDIOCESE 50th WEDDING CELEBRATION
Couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary from across the Archdiocese of Chicago are invited to gather together for the Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass that will be celebrated by Cardinal Cupich on Sunday, September 17, 2023 at 2:30 pm. The Mass will be held at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. Please email [email protected] with any questions. To register online, please visit pvm.archchicago.org/events/golden-wedding.
SEMINARIAN EDUCATION FUND
Throughout the Archdiocese, a second collection will be taken up the weekend of September 16-17 for the education of future priests for the Archdiocese. These funds provide support for those studying for the priesthood and future service to the Archdiocese.
CELEBRATION OF THE FEAST OF ST. FRANCIS
Our celebration of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi will soon be here. A few preliminary events that you may want to mark on your calendar and plan to attend are Sunday, October 1 we will have our Annual Blessing of Animals at 12:30 pm in the front of the church. All pets and their owners are invited to attend. On Tuesday, October 3, we remember the passing of St. Francis of Assisi to eternal life through the prayer service called, "The Transitus" (passing). The Franciscans here at St. Peter's invite you to join us for this prayer service to commemorate the death of St. Francis. It will be held in the church on October 3 at 4:30 pm. On Wednesday, October 4, we celebrate the feast of St. Francis of Assisi with a special celebration of Mass at 11:40 am. We will also have Masses at 7:30 am and 1:15 pm for those unable to attend the special Mass at 11:40 am.
SCHOOLS ARE IN SESSION DRIVE CAREFULLY
Now that most schools have begun their Fall classes, please drive carefully especially around schools. I am shocked at the careless driving of many people on our expressways and city streets. The extra few seconds you may gain by speeding, driving on the shoulder of the road in the midst of heavy traffic, running red lights and weaving in and out of lanes can all lead to injuries or even death. Please drive carefully!