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Father Muench Says...

Thoughts of gratitude for Thanksgiving

November 24, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I have decided to make this column my Thanksgiving greeting to each of you. Let me begin by offering my gratitude to you all, especially for taking the time to read my column each week. You pay me a unique honor. I am so grateful. I want you to know that I think about you each week as I prepare to write my words. I do want to show my gratitude to you by remembering you and your families in my Masses and prayers.

I begin my gratitude today on this Thanksgiving by thanking God for allowing me to be a priest of the Catholic Church. In faith, I know that my life was transformed by my God when God chose me to be ordained as a Catholic priest. I know that this call is a vocation – God decided to choose me as one of his priests. My life became blessed with meaning and happiness as I became prepared to respond to God’s call to become a priest. Someone recently wrote me a note, “Thank you for making an eternal difference in the lives of others.” For this I am eternally grateful.

I believe that God carefully and gratefully helped me to recognize that the perfect place for me to live my life was as a Catholic priest. Over the years God has guided me and has continued to guide me to follow Jesus to be a minister to bring the message of Jesus and the teachings of the Catholic Church to others. For this I thank the Lord. I constantly thank God for the innumerable times I have been allowed to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Now I would like to continue my Thanksgiving prayer by remembering the many people for whom I am grateful and who have filled my life bringing me to happiness in my vocation. I think today of my parents. I am so grateful for their love and care for me. I am grateful for my whole family. They taught me to recognize the joy of the wonderful relationship of a family. I am truly grateful for each experience that I shared with them. I know that I became the person that God wanted me to be, the person I should be. Someone wrote this to me, “You’re an inspiration, because your life is a reflection of the one you serve.” For this, I am deeply grateful.

As a priest, I have found peace and happiness in my diocese, the Diocese of Ogdensburg. This is my family. United with various bishops and with many priests, it’s a true brotherhood for me. This family of my diocese has made my life a pathway to peace, hope, happiness. I am so grateful for the gift of my diocese throughout the years of my priesthood. My diocese had changed and continues to change over the years as priests come and go, as new priests are ordained, as great priest friends go off to meet the Lord. My diocese has changed as a new bishop comes. I am so grateful for each new bishop I have served. Each has brought a new experience for me,new opportunities into my life.

As a priest and a pastor, my life has been blessed by the many families who became part of my parish life, wonderful families, active families in parish life, even those who were not so active. I continue to be grateful for them all. These families have transformed me, as their pastor. They have demonstrated for me what it means to find happiness with the Lord. My life has been filled with happiness. For this I am grateful.

Finally, I am so grateful for the many individuals who have been a part of the parishes where I have been assigned. They have each in their own way brought a unique peace and happiness to all – all of these people have developed a unique unity with me and with the whole parish. So, I truly thank God this day for showing me the way to develop my parish and for being a part of my diocese. For this I am grateful.

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