Last month I shared some reflections on pilgrimage as part of a book launch. Today, I’m doing something similar—and one of my homilies is in today’s book, which I also copyedited! A Stranger and You Welcomed Me is the newest edition in a series entitled Homilists for the Homeless, and you can purchase the book here.
As the series title implies, every edition includes homilies (aka sermons) for each Sunday and major holy day for a given year in the three-year liturgical cycle. Today’s book begins the second three-year cycle, and also includes a set of homilies for funerals (so very appropriate for a COVID-laden year, although none touch on that theme specifically).
To my mind, there are (at least!) two great things about this series. The first is that these sermons are all “donated” to the cause, which is to support the homeless. Book proceeds for this edition will “go toward charities that welcome the stranger in our lives.” This year’s four charities include immigration initiatives, which are naturally close to my heart since I’ve lived so close to the US-Mexico border for much of my life.
Another reason this book is great is that it gives anyone the chance to read some great sermons from a variety of famous and not-so-famous, but still quite skilled, preachers. Highlights for me in editing this volume included the humor of Jesuit Rick Malloy, the gorgeous prayerful poetry of Jan Richardson, and the pithy wisdom of Richard Rohr, whose homilies I used to hear in person when we lived in Albuquerque and I would take Henry’s Aunt Ada to church at Holy Family Parish.
One of the joys of editing this edition was the chance to delve deeply into such a variety of sermons, homilies, and reflections. Most of us belong to and attend one church at a time, which means we hear a limited number of preachers and perspectives over the course of a year. One of the gifts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the move to online worship and the opportunity to listen to others’ homilies, and even multiple homilies a week. This book provides us with similar possibilities.
This book also provides us with an opportunity to support people we don’t know, but who are struggling as strangers in a strange land. I spent two years teaching English as a Second Language in Seoul, South Korea, and one of the organizations supported through this book teaches English to newly arrived immigrants and refugees. I live 90 minutes from the Kino Border Initiative, another ministry supported by proceeds from this book.
So, if it’s within your means, I invite to consider purchasing this new book—and purchasing copies for friends and family (and yes, it should arrive in time for Christmas)!
Whether or not it’s within your means to purchase the book, I invite you to pray for all the strangers among us.