Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Services

Getting ready to give thanks
Last week there were many reasons to give thanks and many services to provide the opportunity.  Both our small churches, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Blessed John Paul II held Thanksgiving Day Masses.  The attendance was wonderful. 

Pastors Ken and Frank in conversation
On Tuesday in Maynardville we helped sponsor the first ever Community Thanksgiving Services.  Every other placed I served had a long history for an ecumenical Community Thanksgiving Services.  Often the primary purpose behind these services is to raise money for a community fund to help transients and the local poor.  This was the case for the service in Grainger County.  In Union County, however,  I discovered they did not have a Community Thanksgiving Service. Therefore, I approached the two churches that have shown so much welcome to me personally and the newly forming Catholic Community. They both agreed. So Miller's Chapel United Methodist Church offered their worship space.  Pastor Ken welcomed us and lead us in the opening prayer.  Pastor Jim from the Revival Vision Church of God and his choir provided the music.  I provided the message.

Pastor Jim practicing before the service
 It was a very rainy evening and I thought we would have a small turn out, but I was wrong.  Members from each of the three churches arrived as well as one minister from another church.  The Spirit from the praying and singing was very upbeat and a true sense of unity developed.  The fellowship afterwards was terrific.  People spent time talking to each other and mingling.  One idea that emerged was the idea of starting a quilting club among the three churches.  I hope it happens.  I truly am grateful to these two ministers and their congregations.  I certainly hope we will find more ways to work and pray together.

Three folks visiting each from a different church
On Wednesday night we gathered in Rutledge.  We had a 5:30 Mass and drove together, English speakers and Spanish speakers, to Southside Baptist Church to pray with two other Baptist Churches and one Methodist Church.  Again, we felt connected and welcomed. 

Then on Thanksgiving Day after the 9 a.m. Mass in Maynardville, Br. Joe, Br. Craig and I went to enjoy turkey and all the fixing with two different families.  At one place they had over six pies, including pumpkin.  When we arrived home the three of us were more stuffed than the turkeys.  It was a very festive day.

Personally, I am so grateful and had so many things to give thanks for this year.  I am grateful for my priesthood and for the community of Glenmary.  I am grateful to my family and friends for all their support.  I am deeply thankful to the members of these two Catholic communities and humbled by their participation.  Life is good and God is even Better. 

Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you, thank you.  Thank you, too, my faithful readers.  May you be blessed as we begin this Advent season.  May every day be thanksgiving for you!!

Thank you Jesus!

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