by Parish Staff
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May the Peace of the Risen Christ be with you!
Every year the people of the United States
take time out on Thanksgiving Day to remember those brave pilgrims who left the land of their birth and settled in North America. Even though they struggled as they learned to live with the Native Americans, they did learn from each other as they shared their lives. A picture that comes to mind is the one of pilgrims and Native Americans sitting at the same table sharing a meal together. That tradition continues to this day with our families and friends. That is what we did last Friday when the parish family of Ss. Cyril and Methodius gathered around a very long table in Msgr. Kasper Youth Center. Hopefully we, as a nation, will once again begin to live in harmony with each other regardless of our country of origin or what language we speak or what is the color of our skin. We are one people living in one nation under God!
Thanksgiving Day is a time for us to pause and give thanks to God for the many gifts and blessings that He has given us, especially for the freedom that we enjoy. Before we gather around our particular dining room tables, let us come together around the Eucharistic Table of the Lord. There is no better way to express our thanks than to participate in our Eucharistic celebration, Mass, on Thanksgiving morning. After all, the Mass is the greatest prayer of thanksgiving that we Catholics can pray. The word Eucharist means giving thanks.
As we look at world events during these past few years, we have come to know that freedom is very precious and that we may have to fight off those who want to take it away. This Thanksgiving Day let us remember all those men and women who are serving in our armed forces to fight for and defend our way of life. Hopefully, we also have learned that many of our prejudices are just that, prejudices, and that these prejudices have the power to divide us and can even cause grave harm to those against whom our prejudices are addressed. On this Thanksgiving Day let us remember that which unites us and put behind us that which divides us. We need to recognize and give thanks for the blessings that we as individuals and as a nation have received from our God.
This Thanksgiving Day let us also remind ourselves that with blessings come responsibilities. Since what God has given us is meant to be used to build up His kingdom here on earth, the government and the people of this great nation of ours need to reach out and share our blessings with others, whether they are the poor and homeless living within our borders or living in foreign countries. Let us not play politics with the lives of people who find themselves searching for the basic necessities of life – food, water and shelter. We are the Body of Christ!
Each year since becoming your pastor, I have asked that you make every effort to come together as the Ss. Cyril and Methodius parish family to give thanks for our blessings, both individually and as a parish, by offering to the Lord the greatest prayer of thanksgiving that we have as Catholics – the Mass. I have also asked every year that you make a monetary offering in the collection at this Mass to be given to the Works of Mercy to help care for those in need help during this time of the year. We can also bring to the Works of Mercy food items that can be given to give to those people who find themselves in need. This is only a small way for us to give thanks and to share with those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Please be generous!
Yes, the Lord Jesus has indeed blessed us! Let us give thanks and praise to Him for all that he does for us. May we never forget that what we have received is meant to be used to build up the kingdom of God on this earth.
It is my prayer that this Thanksgiving Day will truly be a day in which all of us will give thanks for all the blessings that God has given to us, as well as a day in which we can enjoy being surrounded by those who love us. This Thanksgiving will be my 28th and last Thanksgiving with you as your pastor. It is my fervent hope that as many as you as possible will come together around the table of the Lord, His Eucharistic table, and join me in offering this great prayer of thanksgiving with and for the people of our Ss. Cyril and Methodius family.
Please pray for me and my brother priests and seminarians of our diocese.
I love you,