Dear Parishioners:This week we look forward to the national celebration of Thanksgiving Day. A day of family gatherings and good food but most importantly a day to stop and give thanks to Almighty God for the many blessings in our lives and in our nation. I invite you to start your day this coming Thursday with the best possible way to give thanks to God, praying at Mass. Bishop Evans is our celebrant and Father Connors and I join him for the Thanksgiving Day Mass at 9:00AM on Thursday. Our Choir is singing and we are to be joined by some little Pilgrims and Indians from our Parish School and RE Program. What a great way to celebrate the day of thanks! President George Washington in his first Thanksgiving Day proclamation stated: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”
Giving thanks to God is the purpose of Thanksgiving Day. In a world in which many live in poverty and want, we give thanks for abundance. In a world where many live in fear and terror, we give thanks for security and safety. In a world where people still live on the edge of starvation, we give thanks that we will not only have enough to eat but most likely overindulge. Recall the words of a pilgrim writing in his journal about the First Thanksgiving: "By the goodness of God, we are so far from want." Yes, Thanksgiving Day truly calls us to be thankful and grateful for all we have and calls us to be humble before the richness of God’s love manifested in the bounty of our lives and for the gift of our nation. God is good and we give thanks for His goodness!
As we give thanks for the abundant blessings in our lives, we continue to remember those in need. I am happy to report that Bishop Tobin has initiated a special second collection to assist in the relief and rebuilding efforts in the Philippines. Millions continue to suffer due to the devastation and destruction of the typhoon. Bishop Tobin stated: “that he is aware of the many requests that are directed at our generous parishioners over the next six to seven weeks for both local and national causes. However, those affected by the typhoon in the Philippines are also our sisters and brothers who no longer have the basic necessities. I ask all to be as generous as their circumstances allow.”
We will take up this special second collection on the weekend of December 7/8 at all Masses. If you wish to donate in advance of the collection, please write a check payable to OLM and write Typhoon Relief on the memo line. All proceeds from this collection are to be sent to the Diocesan Fiscal Office and then sent directly to the relief agencies. Any support you can give to these relief efforts is greatly appreciated. The effects of the typhoon are staggering and the relief efforts will undoubtedly continue for many years to come. If you are unable to contribute financially, please pray for our brothers and sisters in the Philippines.
As we celebrate the great solemnity of Christ the King this weekend, we mark the end of the Church’s liturgical year. The green vestments of Ordinary Time are to be put away as we soon don the solemn purple of Advent. It’s hard to believe but next week we begin the holy season of Advent as we joyfully prepare the way for Christ’s coming. In the bulletin this week there is a complete schedule of Advent Activities. These include an educational series on the Gospels of the season, Eucharistic Adoration and opportunities for Confession with guest priests. It is a great way for us to truly prepare a place for Christ in our own lives during Advent. If you are traveling for the holiday, we offer you our prayers for safe travel and arrival. I too hit the trail after Thanksgiving Day Mass to make the annual trek to my sister’s home in Saratoga, New York for Thanksgiving Dinner. Father Connors and I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving Day, may God continue to bless our parish and your families.