In a few days most people in the United States will be celebrating our National Day of Thanksgiving.  No matter what our ethnic background or countries of origin may be, we will all be eating turkey,  mashed potatoes with gravy, a variety of vegetables, cranberry sauces, pies and assorted desserts.  We add some of our favorites like ravioli, pizza and other ethnic delights.  Thanksgiving is one holiday that is celebrated with a similarity in the various parts of our nation.  Growing up in Massachusetts, I can remember my first trip to Plymouth Rock and to view the spot upon which those first Pilgrims set foot upon the shores of this new country. 

As a little boy, I was impressed with The Rock and carved date of 1620 upon it.  Later on I came to learn that they actually landed earlier on Cape Cod, and the rock may not actually be the spot they set foot on.  To further complicate my understanding of history, Jamestown needed to be added as an earlier colony.  No matter, Thanksgiving is a celebration like our Sunday Eucharist to thank Almighty God for the many blessings that have been showered upon us.   The bounty of the earth, the plenitude of resources we have in our nation and a time to reflect upon the multitude of blessings we have inherited from those who have come before us. 

As Catholic Christians we strive to live our lives with a deep sense of gratitude to Almighty God for all the graces we have been blessed with over the years.   Blessings of life, liberties and freedoms in our nation and also the blessings of family, faith and our life in Christ.   We often remember the material blessings and forget the abundant spiritual blessings God has bestowed upon us, too.   Jesus Christ born in Bethlehem and crucified in Jerusalem has promised not only forgiveness, but life eternal, too.  Thanksgiving Day is not only about turkey, eating, family and football.   It is an opportunity to begin Thanksgiving Day with Mass here at St. Mary’s Church at 9:00am.   A very Happy Thanksgiving to all parishioners and friends of St. Mary Parish from the Pastoral Staff also.       

This weekend Fr. Rick is with us to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving after many years of service to this parish.  Most priests, over the course of their active ministerial life, serve in a variety of parishes throughout the archdiocese.  We are ordained to celebrate the Eucharist and other sacramental moments in the lives of God’s people.   We share in the pastoral care of the People of God as co-workers with the archbishop and are assigned by him to ministries as needed.  May the Lord continue to bless Fr. Rick as he continues his priestly service to the people of God and the archdiocese.   We thank Almighty God for his ministry here at Saint Mary Parish these past many years.  May the Lord bless him, let his face shine upon him and fill him with His peace always.   All are most welcome to a reception for Fr. Rick after the 10 a.m. Mass in the Gathering Room this Sunday.