THANKSGIVING DAY 2020
In years past for my Thanksgiving blog, I made a list of some of the things for which I was thankful over the past year and have probably bored you by now with a list that hasn’t changed much at all. (I don’t tool around Ft. Lauderdale any more in my red Mitsubishi eclipse spyder convertible.) I have a red 2011 mustang hard top instead, which I am very grateful to own along with the finance company.
So I’ve reached out to some old friends and asked them to share their thoughts with me and I’ll tell you how I know them.
Monsignor Jim Fetcher is the pastor of St. Sebastian’s beachside parish here in Ft. Lauderdale and has been a friend and mentor of mine for a number of years . . .
I’m grateful that COVID-19 has given me an appreciation of people, even my “thorns,” because we’re all in this together, like it or not.”
I’ve known Mrs. Chris DiComo (and her husband Chuck) for about thirty years when I was stationed in St. Bartholomew’s parish they live in about thirty miles south of here in Miramar. We’ve kept a close personal friendship all these years . . .
“I am grateful that the Lord has seen fit to give me the strength to care for a loved one, while dealing with my own difficulties. In addition I am grateful for two wonderful sons and their wives, who are always there for me when I encounter a problem.”
I’ve known Mrs. Chris Lafser for about fifty years since my seminary years at Theological College in DC and then all the way through at different points and visiting at her home and watching her three children grow up. She and her husband Bill live in Richmond, Virginia. . . . .
“I am grateful for my family – For my loving husband, and my dear children, and now precious grandchildren. But for the last several years, I have been more and more aware of what a special gift my parents were. They showed me that they loved me, shared their faith with actions, not just words, provided structure, safety and love. They gave me confidence, encouragement, and discipline. They were humble and kind, and exemplified hospitality and charity to all. They were brave, and funny, fun-loving, and creative, hard working and generous. It is because of their love that I can believe in the loving God.”
I’ve known George Ducharme for sixty years now and he is one of my closest friends. We met at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut and he invited me to his home for thanksgiving because I was a Floridian and, though distance is an issue, we are as close as ever. He and his partner at Communitas, Pat Beeman, work with people with disabilities all over the state of Connecticut. . . .
“Thank you for asking me to share a moment of Profound Gratitude!
For me Friday, August 21 is a special day for us! This day we (Pat Beeman and our Communitas Family) celebrated the stolen life of Richard LaPointe (age 74). I was his conservator till his death on 8/4/2020! Richard was imprisoned for 26 years for a crime he did not commit! With the remarkable pro bono work of Centurion Ministries he was exonerated and freed in 2015! He always had a smile and positive attitude for his 5 years of freedom! I am profoundly grateful to have had him in my life for 31 years! Peace and Blessings.”
I’ve known Msgr. Ray East since I was in Washington, DC in the early 1980’s. He was a young priest at the time; I was 40. I’ve always loved living in Washington. Ray and I became fast friends during that time and have been ever since. Today, he is the pastor of St. Teresa of Avila Parish in southeast Washington across the river. Ray is black and the parish is largely a poor black parish. And he wrote this magnificent piece for us . . .
“Today, as I prepare for another funeral on Saturday, I am grateful for the MINISTRY OF BEREAVEMENT in this time of COVID19. I am grateful for God’s grace poured out on those front-line hospital personnel who hold the hands of the dying and close their eyes after their last agonizing breath. I am grateful for hospice nurses who come to my neighborhood late at night. I’m thankful for police officers and medical examiners, and for funeral home personnel who come to pick up the body of a loved one who has died at home. I’m thankful for funeral directors who go the extra mile to make services affordable and dignified.
I am grateful for parishioners whose ministry involves sitting with families and patiently planning funeral liturgies. I could not pastor without those members who are always ready to usher and read and cantor and play instruments and who clean up afterwards and get ready for the next funeral. I am grateful for our deacon who always serves at the altar, accompanies me to the cemetery, and locks up the church after every funeral. I thank God for our Catholic Cemeteries personnel who help me find resources to bury the poor. I’m grateful for the un-thanked caretakers who dig the graves, cover them with earth and who keep the cemeteries beautiful. And finally I thank Our Creator for the bereavement ministry member, the hospice staff volunteer and the friend who calls the family a year later and asks: “How are YOU doing?”
I also asked two friends outside the United States to contribute as well.
I’ve known Marie Denis for the past twelve years or so since I’ve been living in this Condo Association. She’s a Canadian, living in Ottawa, and one of our “snowbirds”and a nearby neighbor of mine on the first floor when she comes south. My dog Shoney liked to go to her door to see what’s up.
‘’It is a pleasure to tell you how grateful I am to see two of my grand daughters with their little ones regularly. The four babies are 3 yrs to 8 weeks old. It’s a blessing for me and I thank God every day”