Dear Parishioners:We know the story of Thanksgiving very well. In fact, we learn it in school at an early age. But sometimes we need to remind ourselves of its importance. This is especially true as its significance is lessened in our culture and the day itself is cheapened with the crass commercialism of holiday sales and Black Friday bargains. Sadly it seems Thanksgiving Day has become merely another day to shop rather than give thanks to God! But we must remember that in the autumn of 1621 after a rich harvest, the men, women and children who had survived that first year in the New World gathered for a feast to offer thanks. One of those pilgrims wrote at the time: "By the goodness of God, we are so far from want."
What was that First Thanksgiving Day like? Well it was not necessarily about turkey and pumpkin pie. Historians think the pilgrims and their guests probably ate fowl and venison not turkey. And the food was probably a lot fattier than we are used to as cholesterol was unheard of. They were more worried about plague and the pox than about heart attacks! They didn't have much sugar, so sweets and deserts were probably not on the menu. So, forget the pumpkin pie!
The First Thanksgiving Meal left us with an enduring and venerable tradition: a gathering around a table with family, friends and guests, giving thanks to God for surviving in an uncertain and difficult new place. Maybe, it has been suggested, the pilgrims weren't thankful because they had survived. But maybe they had survived precisely because they were thankful and grateful to God.
After all the pilgrims were a people who lived their lives in faith and hope. They were grateful for everything: the hard winds and deep snows, the frightening evenings and hopeful mornings, the long journey that had taken them to a new place. They certainly knew how to express their gratitude to God. But we know that gratitude doesn't always come so easily.
We know that generosity - the giving of a gift - means thinking more about others than about ourselves. It represents an act of love. But so does being thankful and grateful. To give thanks is to extend ourselves and to truly remember where the gift came from. This may be what helped the pilgrims to thrive and prosper: a humble appreciation for whatever God gave them and trusting that God would give them what they would need to survive. Theirs was an optimistic spirit with a grateful message. Maybe this kind of spirit can teach us something today as we endure our own hard winds and deep snows and attempt to survive the storms of our own lives. Maybe we can understand that to survive we need to be thankful!
On Thanksgiving Day wherever we find ourselves let us stop to offer Grace and gratitude. The grace of thanking God for whatever gift He gives us. Thanks for what we have, and thanks for what we have been given. On Thanksgiving Day may we show our deep love for the God who so generously gives it. Because like the pilgrims of old, no matter how fierce the winds, or how unforgiving the storm, we need to remember that God is always near.
I invite you to join us at Mass at 9:00AM on Thanksgiving Day as we gather to give thanks and praise to Almighty God. Bishop Evans is to celebrate the Mass and we are to joined by a small delegation of young Pilgrims and Indians. There is no better way to prayerfully offer thanks to God than celebrating Mass together as a Parish Family!
I wish to thank the parishioners who spoke at Masses last weekend. They are taking the lead in our Increased Giving Campaign. As I have said, this is very low-key mail campaign. We are simply asking every parishioner to consider their level of support for the parish. Thank you for your support! I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving . May God Bless and protect you and may your travels be safe. Enjoy the holiday! God Bless. Go Pats, Go Gray!!