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Cardinal Mooney Bulletin for November 22, 2020

From The President’s Desk

Thanksgiving looks different but, the “power of gratitude” looks the same

Dear Mooney Family,

Happy Thanksgiving.

For most of us this will be a different Thanksgiving — different in the number sitting around the table, different in terms of fewer traveling, different in that many of our college children won’t make it home, and different in the loss of family members.

I can empathize with college students who cannot make it home. Thanksgiving of 1978 for me was spent in Crane Hall. I blame Amtrack. Nevertheless, those who remained behind collected our care packages, made a feast, and were grateful for our new friendships.

A few years back, the idea of “Friendsgiving” sprung up freeing many to spend time with the people who enrich their lives the most. There are many displaced, lonely, “only” people who now enjoy “Friendsgiving”.

While in Toledo, I met Fr. Leo, The Cooking Priest who “beat Bobby Flay”.  Lately Fr. Leo has been reintroducing mealtime to families and others through his Table Foundation. He’s bringing friendship and the Gospel messages to many who have been lost.

Whether we celebrate Thanksgiving with only our immediate family, or friends who most enrich our lives, or in our dorm room, we can all benefit from the sheer simplicity and beauty of the concept and execution — giving thanks together while breaking bread.

I have been around the country and twice outside the country during Thanksgiving time. I have yet to meet anyone, of any faith, who does not appreciate the power of gratitude. Given our tumultuous time under COVID, political uncertainty, and cultural unrest, it is hard to think of a holiday more suited to our multi-faith, multi-ethnic nation than Thanksgiving.

And while COVID will change who we celebrate with, let us remember the origin of this national day of thanks. It is indeed more rooted in Abraham Lincoln’s Oct. 3, 1863 Proclamation than in the Pilgrim harvest of 400 years ago. By declaring a period of Thanksgiving in a time of national crisis, President Lincoln grounded the day not as a day of celebrating prosperity and joy, but as a time of reflection and connection — even in great adversity.

This Thanksgiving, let us be reminded that we have endured a lot before, now, and for a while longer … and we have come out of it. Whether personally or collectively, we as a people have persevered through harder times … and will continue to do so. For that we should be thankful.

In that afformentioned proclamation, Lincoln said: “….set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

And we’re thankful that you entrust your most prized possession with us.

 

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