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by the Rev. Mark Connolly

The season of Thanksgiving singles out one quality that all of us have to reflect upon, the quality of gratitude. Thanksgiving reminds us that as a country we are free to worship, free to assemble, free to vote. Our country opened its arms to millions of immigrants and those same immigrants from different parts of the world, cherishing the freedom they found here, have expressed their gratitude in a hundred and one different ways. The universities, the schools, the churches, the temples, people of all faiths have added to the greatness of America. Thanksgiving was made meaningful to us by what those immigrants handed down to us. We are grateful to these giants of generosity from the past. Our generation will one day have people hundreds of years from now grateful for what we will hand down to them. There is not any one group of immigrants from the past that had an easy time of it. Prejudice, bigotry, a lack of education, lack of money were all considered liabilities and yet think of what we have received from them.

Our generation is still a grateful one. We are grateful for people. We are grateful for a religion that gives us the Eucharist. We are grateful for the vast majority of teenagers who know what the right thing in life is and do it. We are grateful for the vast majority of teachers who open our minds to knowledge. We are grateful for the vast majority of police who uphold the law and guide us and protect us.

It is so easy in life to highlight the negatives that are so common. Bad news seems easier to talk about. The media thrives on news casts to emphasize the negative. But Thanksgiving does remind us of the millions of people who came to our country and gave us the great legacy of their generosity and the great country that they were grateful to live in.

As in the past we were so fortunate to have many wonderful people, in the present we have many dedicated ones. They are God-loving, hard working people who like their forbearers are trying to make their country a better place than they found it. Millions of people celebrate this feast of Thanksgiving. We are and should be grateful to them for what they are doing today in preparation for our happiness and the happiness of those who will come after them. And to those who make our Thanksgiving so happy, we are grateful.

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