On Saturday morning, June 3, 9:00-12, Saint Francis Xavier Parish will host a retreat entitled, “Violence in Our City.” All are invited to come and participate. The retreat, which will take place in the church sanctuary at 1001 East 52nd Street, will bring together people of goodwill and great hope who desire a more wholesome Kansas City with less crime, conflict, and its tragic trail of unrest and misery. And, like all retreats, it will be a time to discern what is happening in your life while finding God in life around you.
As you might surmise, the primary purpose of the retreat is to pray. As Gandhi once said, “Prayer that is properly understood and applied is the most potent instrument of action.” The retreat prayer will enlighten participants about statistics and trends among youth and adults, in schools and on streets, about community policing and neighborhood initiatives, as well as about organized groups in our city that help reduce violence. As a result, you may decide to put faith into action by participating in one of the programs, pray differently, or become part of your faith community’s efforts to address issues in your neighborhood.
Perhaps your church would want to join Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Therese Little Flower, and several non-Catholic communities that, each Sunday, read the names of those killed in our city so worshippers can lift victims and their families up in prayerful solidarity. Perhaps your social justice team will want to partner with an organization like KC Common Good, KC Mothers in Charge, KC-360, Youth Ambassadors, High Aspirations, Center for Conflict Resolution, Journey to New Life, Reconciliation Services, Expungement Project, or one of the many other local groups that work to make a safer city and provide greater opportunities for young citizens. Perhaps you may wish to volunteer as a mentor, tutor, advocate for youth, or advocate for peace, because of this retreat encounter. Perhaps you are simply curious to learn more about societal tendencies toward violence or just want to pray in the company of others about this important concern for you and us. Though no preparation is necessary to participate, the hosts would like us to RSVP online through Sign-up Genius. You can register for the June 3 retreat by clicking here.
I’ll conclude with Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach’s famous message to students of Jesuit institutions: “You are called by the Society of Jesus to be men and women who reflect upon the reality of the world around you with all its ambiguities, opportunities, and challenges, to discern what is happening in your life and the lives of others, to find God there and to discover where God is calling you…to reflect godly values, rather than narrow, exclusive self-interests…to make decisions for the greater glory of God and the service of those in need—and then to act accordingly.”
If you are interested in participating in other small group retreats, you can register on my website for an upcoming session on prayer, grief, forgiveness, spiritual beings, godly themes in literature, or other topics of faith or send me an email note at firstname.lastname@example.org.