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, 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 (September 4-5) 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.
I encourage you and your family to begin Labor Day by joining us for our special Labor Day Mass, tomorrow, Monday, September 6 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 6. There are no confessions scheduled on Labor Day. Our regular schedule resumes on Tuesday, September 7.
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 and 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.
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 the East and South, heavy rain, tropical storms and hurricanes have brought enormous suffering to many people. In the past few months, the people of Haiti have had to suffer the assassination of their president, a devastating 7.2 earthquake, two tropical storms following the earthquake, and difficulties in obtaining food and water as a result of these disasters.
As I write these words on Sunday, August 29, New Orleans and the Gulf region is being hit by hurricane Ida and there is fear it may bring much suffering and damage. 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 terrorist group ISIS has already inflicted attacks killing a number of US soldiers and civilians near the Kabul airport.
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 18-19 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.
Fr. Derran will introduce the Healing Hearts/Mending Lives lecture series on Tuesday, September 7. His presentation begins at 12:15 pm in the Lower Level, Room "A". For more information consult the church bulletin or church website.
175TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT
The first concert of our 175th anniversary of St. Peter's Church will be held in the St. Clare Auditorium on Wednesday, September 22 at 12:15 pm. Fr. Robert Hutmacher, OFM and Mr. Michael Novak will premiere Fr. Bob's song cycle of eleven poems of Emily Dickinson. They will capture the four seasons through the poems set to music by Fr. Bob. Further details can be found on the church website or on the flyers located at the entrance to church. Join us for this lunch time musical presentation.
7TH ANNUAL GALA
Our most important fund raising event for our ministries here in the Loop..... St. Peter's 7th Annual GALA will soon be here. Due to COVID, it will once again be a virtual event from 6:30-8:00 pm on Saturday, October 2. Please check out the information elsewhere in this bulletin about how to register for the Gala site or go to St. Peter's website for more information at www.stpetersloop.org. Your generosity helps us maintain our ministry to you and all who come to St. Peter's for Masses, confessions and a quiet place to pray in the midst of the noise and busyness of the Loop.