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Father Muench Says...

‘Tis the season to show gratitude'

Nov. 21, 2018

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

‘Tis the season of gratitude. I like to describe this time of the year as a time to be grateful, a time to be thankful. First of all, I think of Thanksgiving Day. This is a special day, as families gathering in gratitude. We, Catholics, love to celebrate Thanksgiving with Mass and prayer as well as the traditional meal.

Then we will get into the Christmas season, another time for gratitude.

This year some may hesitate; they may say there is not much to be grateful for. Our Catholic church and our country are facing many difficulties and challenges these days. In fact, we could say the whole world faces problems that need solving. However, I believe that we have many reasons to be a people of gratitude. I like to follow the lead of Brother David Steindl-Rast. Brother David challenges us to make gratitude the important value in life. He writes if you want to find happiness, be grateful.

I am well aware with great sadness of the many who have suffered because of the recent revelations in our Catholic Church. Yet, I still would encourage you to remember the many dedicated bishops and priests who continue to lead our Catholic Church and your parishes with faith, with trust and with love. I have been supported and guided in my life by many wonderful bishops and priests. I continue to trust in them to bring all of us closer to Our Lord, Jesus. I have complete confidence that they will unite and strengthen our Church.

For us, Catholics, our gratitude begins as we gather at the altar of the Lord for Eucharist. The very word Eucharist means thank you. Every Mass is a celebration of our gratitude to Our Lord for his life among us, his death on the cross and his resurrection. We bring our loved ones, our cares and concerns, and our hopes and dreams to the altar in gratitude for all that has been done for by so many and seeking the Lord’s love and guidance for all every day.

‘Tis the season! This is the time of year when we have multiple opportunities for expressing our gratitude for our families, for all who have made a difference in our lives. There is Thanksgiving dinner. As you pray Grace before the meal, be certain to fill your prayer with lots of gratitude. Thank God for the many gifts that have been given you by the Lord and for all the wonderful people around the table with you – there are so many reasons to be thankful.

I am certain that I can say the same things about the Christmas season. It is certainly a season of gratitude. At Mass, we celebrate our gratitude for the birth of Jesus, the coming of Our Savior among us. Christmas Masses are very special in all parishes and should inspire us all to be grateful Catholics. And, of course, this spirit of gratitude will carry over to all families as they exchange gifts, no matter how simple. The gratitude draws all families closer and more alive in gratitude.

I want to end with my own gratitude to the Bishops of this country and for the efforts in their meeting in Baltimore this month to confidently meet the challenges that face our Church in these days. They demonstrated a real dedication to working together in their efforts to make our Church in this country united in its effort to solve our recent problems and to support Catholics.

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