Saturday, November 29, 2014

Some thoughts on gratitude: Parish Bulletin--11-30-14

            In light of our recent celebration of Thanksgiving, I would like to share two different facets of gratitude.
            First, intentional acts of gratitude to God and neighbor are one of the most edifying sources of prayer and fellowship.  Modern psychology affirms how important it is to utter two of the most important words in our language: “Thank you.” 
            Not only does this phrase build up our friends, family and Church, it is one of the staples of a mature prayer life.  As St. Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians: “What have you that you did not receive?”  Everything we have comes from God—our life, breath, heartbeat, career, home, family and talents.  Most of what we have comes from others—our grandparents, parents, friends, heroes and others.  Be sure to say “Thank you!” to God and your loved ones during this Thanksgiving season!
            Second, I would like to note the ways I am grateful to you in my first four months at St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Columban.  I will begin by expressing my gratitude for your warm welcome to a young and inexperienced pastor—thank you!
            Thank you to you for inspiring me to be a better man, priest and pastor.
            Thank you to our staff and faculty.  Our mission would be impossible without the inspiring and practical work you do.
            Thank you to everyone who serves our parish and Church with your time and talents, both officially in organizations and unofficially in other endeavors.  I continue to be impressed by the ownership you take of your parish—such involvement is what the Church envisioned in the Second Vatican Council.
Thank you for the ways you reach out to the sick, elderly, homebound and forsaken (by the world’s standards).  I have said it before and I will say it again—such outreach is the best I have seen in our diocese.
            Thank you for your generosity.  Your spiritual and financial contributions help allow God to do his work.  I am especially grateful for your weekly, monthly and one-time contributions to our parish and school.  Nothing would be possible without such support!
            Thank you to all who serve in behind the scenes work—sacristans, caretakers, cleaners, cooks, fixers, organizers and leaders.
            Thank you to our young people—both our students at school and young people involved in the various faith formation programs we offer.  St. John Paul II once said, “It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives.”  Your energy, zeal and youthfulness give us all life.
            In summation, I think St. Paul said it best: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers…”
            God bless!

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