Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In 1863, President Lincoln designated the last Thursday of November nationally "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." As a nation, we are invited to pause once again on this Thanksgiving Day and take time to pray, reflect on our lives, and give thanks. I hope many of you make an effort to attend our 9:00am Thanksgiving Mass too! Yes, we give thanks to God from Whom all blessings flow. This Thursday, we give thanks for the gifts of family, the Church, the Sacraments. We give thanks for the people who are entrusted to our care and those who care for us. We give thanks for the country that we share, for the people who protect it and the freedoms we sometimes take for granted.
I have many reasons to be thankful to God for the wonderful people of St. Bernadette and the many incredible students from St. John XXIII. In recent months, our parish has made significant strides in our understanding of what it means to be a missionary disciple. Families and individuals continue to register as members of our community. New parishioners are becoming more active in participants in response to their baptism. More and more folks are realizing that we are all stewards of God's many gifts. Many of you have come together to provide the fixings for Thanksgiving dinners to many families through our St. Vincent de Paul Society. We collected records amount of food this year. It is so inspiring to see. Your generosity and thoughtfulness will make a beautiful difference to so many families this Thursday.
Your food contributions are just the tip of the iceberg at St. Bernadette. Almost daily, I hear stories of your service and witness that extends by far beyond our parish boundaries—to our brothers and sisters of St. Matthews Catholic grade school, the youth ministry program, the religious education ministry and our Catholic grade school. I hear of our students bringing the faith into their high schools and colleges. I hear of parishioners bringing the faith into the workplace and to extended family members who are no longer practicing the faith. Then there are those who visit our homebound and our sick brothers and sisters in the hospitals. Intentional disciples bring the love of God perhaps where there was little before. So, yes, we have so many reasons to be grateful to God who provides for all our needs. I offer this prayer as a possibility for you to pray on Thanksgiving Day.
Father, all of Creation rightly owes you thanks and praise.
Your justice, love and mercy abound.
We thank you this day for all that you have given us:
For the Passion and Death of your Divine Son,
we thank you Father, through the Cross, He redeemed the world.
For the Church, we thank you Father, it is our beacon for salvation.
For the martyrs and saints who give testimony to your Son,
we thank you Father, their witness to your Son is our inheritance.
For our loved ones and friends who have died and gone before us,
we thank you Father, their love remains with us forever.
For loving spouses, we thank you Father, together we seek you.
For the gift of children, we thank you Father,
they are your precious gifts to us and to the world.
For the gift of our families, loved ones and good friends,
we thank you Father, through them we see the reflection of your Son.
For jobs, our homes and all that we have,
we thank you Father, give us only that which we need, as we seek Your Kingdom.
For the bounty we are about to eat, we thank you through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
If you are traveling for Thanksgiving, I pray for a safe journey and peaceful time with your loved ones.
Fr. Don Kline, V.F.