Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Standing Together: From Poland, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Africa, and More

These holidays hold out hope. They do. For all of us. After all, we all have roots to other nations. My own Polish great grandparents came to these United States centuries ago from Poland, for example. We're full of immigrants. This town is saturated with roots and relationships from numerous countries. And, America's Muslim community is here to stay in southeast Michigan. Routinely, I can walk into Imam Husham Al-Husainy's Karbalaa Islamic Education Center on Warren Avenue near Greenfield in Dearborn, Michigan. The same Imam who fled Iraq's terror has been to my home in Harrison Township. We're that kind of people here in the Detroit area. The interfaith community has tight bonds that have blossomed over years and decades of dialogue. From the many diverse roots we are one, and, better in our fabric of differences. From the many, we are one, indeed, in fact, one nation under God. Citizens who take time to get to know the varieties of immigrants know well. Employment opportunities attracted our Muslim acquaintances, friends and neighbors. As a Catholic pastor who strives for unity, I have discovered true friends in the Muslim community. Like bonds that build and grow over time, much talk and conversation has brought the Detroit area, Hamtramck and Dearborn to the place of harmony it is today. Whether it is Al-Husainy, Iranian Imam Ali Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights, or Bosnian Arif Huskic who steers the Common Word Alliance in Hamtramck, MI., common ground issues have been faced together for the betterment of this town. Anything other than standing together with Muslims, and any other immigrant is an assault on our God-given freedom. At this time when we celebrate the birthday of Jesus the Christ, I am mindful of Imam Al-Husainy, his University of Michigan son, and many others from his Karbalaa who replied affirmatively to my invitation for them to join me last Christmas Eve for midnight Mass at the historic Saint Aluburtus Catholic Church with Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, presiding in that revered, iconic and ancient edifice that welcomes all God's people near downtown Detroit. Even though it is now shuttered,it is allowed by archdiocesan officials to open up for significant seasonal holy days like Christmas and Easter. We all will be better for taking time to talk with those residents who are different from any one of us. We will. God blesses such generous and abundant love.

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