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 web site, www.vatican.va, US Catholic Bishops Conference www.usccb.org and various other Catholic web sites.
This weekend (September 3-5), as you enjoy the Labor Day holiday, 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 us 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 may be well prepared to be good and faithful citizens and just stewards of the blessings God has given to each of us.
I encourage you and your family to begin Labor Day by joining us for our special Labor Day Mass, tomorrow, Monday, September 5 at 10:00 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 tomorrow, September 5. There are no confessions scheduled on Labor Day. Our regular schedule resumes on Tuesday, September 6. 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. In this Election Year, I encourage everyone to write or call our state politicians and our national politicians who are running for office 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 your Alderman in the City of Chicago is go to chicago.gov. To find your state Representative or Senator go to illinoispolicy.gov. And if you want to know who is running for election this year just watch TV, listen to the radio, or see the many pop-up ads on the internet. You may also find more non-partisan information about this year's elections on the website for the League of Women Voters. Their web site is: lwvil.org.
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.
PRAYERS and RELIEF HELP
The past few months has brought tragedies and suffering to many people throughout our world. Wild fires and drought continues to affect the western states of our country. In various areas of our country and throughout the world, heavy rain, tropical storms, out of control wildfires have brought enormous suffering to many people.
The people of Afghanistan have seen a return of the Taliban and many continue to try and flee their country for fear of death. The rights of many people, especially girls and women, are being denied daily in Afghanistan and in other parts of the world.
I encourage you to keep praying for those throughout our world who are suffering so much at this time. May each of us do all we can to help provide relief and keep those suffering in our prayers.
SEMINARIAN EDUCATION FUND
Throughout the Archdiocese a second collection will be taken up the weekend of September 17-18 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.
ST. PETER'S PROGRAMS DIRECTOR
As we announced a few months ago, Fr. Derran Combs, OFM accepted a new ministry position offered by the Archdiocese on the Southside of Chicago working to help welcome more people to the Catholic faith and overseeing a mission of a couple of parishes on the Southside. Thanks be to God we are able to welcome Fr. Tony Posadas, OFM who has accepted the Position of Director of Programs here at St. Peter's Church. Fr. Tony will also be working part-time as a chaplain at one of the hospitals in the area. He has been living here at St. Peter's Friary the past year and taking a number of units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) to be certified as a chaplain. Fr. Tony will start work as Director of Programs sometime this Fall. We are hoping to offer more on-site programs beginning this fall and winter. We'll share more information in future bulletins and on our church website.
Mr. Greg Ceurvorst who served us here at St. Peter's Church for the past eleven years as Director of Liturgy and Music, recently resigned from ministry here at St. Peter's and has moved on to other areas of ministry. We thank him for all his assistance these past 11 years in providing sacred music for our services and his help in organizing many of our liturgies in the pre-pandemic full schedule here at St. Peter's. We wish him all the best in his new endeavors as he moves from St. Peter's Church. We will have the services of substitute organists for the coming weekends. We also have started the search for obtaining the services of someone to serve as Music Director and organist here at St. Peter's. We will keep you informed about our progress.