In the run-up to "U of D Jesuit Pledge Detroit!" I have been completely mired in organizational details. It's quite an undertaking to organize and find meaningful work for 2.5 hours for 850+ students, plus faculty, plus parent volunteers. Working with sites, assigning buses, procuring tools, praying for good weather, trying to get the kids excited: all of this makes for long, exhausting days. Parent phone-calls and emails, faculty concerns, kids failing to turn in permission slips: these exacerbate the headaches.
In the midst of this, I did turn 31 on Tuesday, the Feast of the North American Martyrs. I remember being somewhat jealous of other kids who had cool saints like St. John of the Cross or St. Patrick or St. Thomas Aquinas who celebrated feast days on their birthdays. My youthful Catholic imagination saw some special relationship between the saint after whom you were named as well as the saint on whose feast day you were born. Much to my dismay was it, then, that I had a nondescript group of saints! Over the years, though, I have come to value the contribution of these men and I'm proud to share my birthday with them.
Over the next few days, please keep me and the students in your prayers. I'm very excited, but also very nervous, about executing this event. I want it to go well because I want the students to have a positive experience of their home town. Detroit gets pilloried in the papers - I think I get bonus points in conversation when I mention that I live in Detroit, as though I were living in a war zone - and it's about time we show our students, and the rest of the world, that we will not cave to broad generalizations. Our kids are going to leave a lasting mark on their city, a corporate fingerprint, that will attest to their willingness to put their hands on and heart into the city we have called home for 133 years. Pray for them that they be moved by generosity and a spirit of charity as we labor together to Pledge Detroit!