In 1941, the “Thanksgiving Day” was officially set by the United States government on the fourth Thursday in November. All of the early Thanksgiving celebrations had one thing in common; the celebrations were always directed toward God. It did not matter how good or bad the times were, the people knew God was their creator and provider and that all good things ultimately came from Him. As the United States celebrates Thanksgiving this week, the secular holiday has nothing to do with our Catholic faith, but at the same time it has everything to do with our faith.
Each time we gather around the Eucharistic table we are giving thanks to our God who sent His Son to suffer and die for us, that we might have eternal life.
The Catechism reminds us that “Believing in God, the only One, and loving him with all our being has enormous consequences for our whole life,” and then it adds that this involves, “living in thanksgiving: if God is the only One, everything we are and have comes from Him: “What have you that you did not receive?” “What shall I render to the Lord for all his bounty to me?”
Each family has their own traditions, their own way of celebrating; birthdays, weddings, the different sacraments, the holidays of Fourth of July, Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. I encourage that your family include God in every holiday.
This coming week as we celebrate with family and friends, let us not forget that the whole reason for the day, is to GIVE THANKS TO GOD. If you are here in the Springfield area, come to church Thanksgiving morning at 8:30 for our Thanksgiving Day Mass, and give thanks to God for all that He has given you/us. This year we have a little break between Thanksgiving and the first week of Advent, a little breathing space before the 4 week count down to the birth of Christ. Enjoy and give thanks, first of all to God for all that He has given you/us this year, and then make the time to spiritually as well as physically get ready for the birth of Christ by walking through the Advent Season
The spring of the first year that I was assigned here at St. Agnes, I invited a mixed group of parishioners: school parents, single adults, senior adults, married couples to come together in a series of gatherings and after some meeting present to me the needs of the parish and where they would like to see the parish headed in the next 5 years. The list they presented me with was detailed, but attainable. Over the last two years, guided by the finance council and with the help of the parish council, we are meeting many of those concerns. We have replaced much of the old lighting throughout the school with all LED lights. We have re carpeted and enhanced the Cathedral and Chapel, the front entrance to the Cathedral handicapped accessible and safe, front doors are on order and are to be installed before Christmas, cameras and new doors in the school for safety, clergy involved more in the classrooms, more offerings of adult formation/education, priests involved in sacramental preparation of young people (penance, Eucharist, Confirmation), better communication through a new website and OneParish app., being able to meet our bills on time.
There are more items to come, a youth program, storage needs for parish and school, a parish center for the parish with meeting rooms. Over the years since I have been here the Loretta House has deteriorated due to the roof no longer being able to be repaired without major and costly replacement. To bring it up to code, remove walls and install elevator, center air and heating, handicapped accessible and the removable of asbestos, we would still have an old building which would not meet the needs of our parish. As I have met and discussed with the finance council, parish council, and with the bishop, a decision has been made to build a storage building to meet the needs of the parish and the school at the west side of the parish and to remove the Loretta House. Both of these projects will be paid from our Bingo funds which we have been saving.