Let us give thanks for everything!

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”

 

I mostly know Michael Moshe Shein, Esq. from Facebook because we’ve only met in person once outside the Broward County Jail as both of us were waiting to see inmates! Moshe and his family live in Israel but still has an office here in Fort Lauderdale. He keeps me up to date on their family Jewish customs. .  .

“B”H – I’m grateful, thank G-d to be able to connect with my friends and family worldwide through technology, even if I am not with them physically.”

 

Now there are two more.

This one is mine .  . .

“The day my little dog Shoney passed—this past May 23rd .  He shared my home and my life intimately for eleven years. If you’ve never had a furry companion, they have a way of burrowing a way into your heart. I was so thankful for the loving-kindness he gave to me all those years. His last day with us was the day before my 51st ordination anniversary so I’ll never forget him.”

 

And I leave the last word to my bishop, Bishop John Noonan of the Diocese of Orlando .  .  .

“Thanksgiving may be different this year; not having our families around us, but there is something that will never change and that is the meaning of Thanksgiving. Giving thanks is recognizing God’s grace in our lives. So let give thanks to God for the many gifts, family, friends, faith, freedom, forgiveness, peace, hope, love, and more.” 

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.

He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

  And now before you go, here’s a hymn for you, “For the Beauty of the Earth” Click here. 

Advent begins this Sunday. I will publish my blog for the first Sunday of Advent on Friday. Also Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, DC is in Rome to receive his red hat as a cardinal! He will be the first black cardinal in the U. S. Please pray for him.

With love,

Bob Traupman

Contemplative Writer

 

How Good it is to Give Thanks!

thanksgiving_cornucopia20141120When I was in AA many a year ago, we were taught a very simple form of prayer ~ to say “please” in the morning and “thank you” at night.  What could be simpler and more heartfelt? Thanks is on my lips and in my heart whenever I can accomplish something that I need to do ~ usually after I’ve said “Please help me do this, Lord.”  And that little conversation ‘ll take place quite often.

So, for me, every day is a thanksgiving day!  But I share here some of the things I’m grateful for this year; it’s quite a bit different from last year.   This past several months, I’ve been struggling financially.  I didn’t have food in my refrigerator   But I wasn’t thinking of myself. I was thinking of so many others who were so much worse off than I have been.  My faith is strong. And I remembered again and again what Julian of Norwich used to say, “All shall be and all manner of things shall be well.”  So that’s one thing for which I’m thankful.

And I also know what I always sign off on my emails ~ “Wait for the Lord to lead, and then follow his way.”

But I’m also strongly thinking about my friends this year ~ a few of whom I will name here.  Joan has been my friend since I was first ordained in 1969.  She lives in Melbourne, Florida, a great-grandmother and a confidante of mine, always welcome in her home.

Betsy lives in Sebastian, Florida. She’s in her nineties and lost her childhood sweetheart John a year ago. I still talk with her  by phone and enjoy her wicked sense of humor as often as I can and pray to alleviate her loneliness.

Father Jim Fetcher, pastor of St. Sebastian Church here in Ft. Lauderdale has been a wonderful compassionate friend as well with a listening ear.

And closer to home, folks that my dog Shoney and I visit almost every evening is my friend Lore  who welcomes  and treat us as family.  She also lost her beloved husband Gilberto and misses him so much.

There are others, of course.  I’m thinking of them right now: Gene and Marilyn / Betsey and Matthew  / Tom and Nancy / Jim and Jeffrey / John and Sarah / Dan and Lee / Tony and Susan / Chris and Bill, / Chuck and Chris / Ida and Ernie / Adrian and Leanor / Fathers Jim Dallen, Tim Daly and Fred Ruse.

And, of course, all of you, my dear readers.

And next to last item on my gratitude list this year is my priesthood.  I have been a priest for 47 years. I’ve tried to be as faithful as I could.

But the love of my life and the whole meaning of my priesthood is Jesus!  He is my Love! He is my Lord! He is my elder Brother!  He is my best friend!  My Savior and Redeemer!

So, I hope you’ll make your own gratitude list.  And when you sit down for dinner on Thursday, why not take a moment to ask folks to first have a moment of silence to think of something that they’re especially thankful for this year.  And then ask each of them if they’d like to share it.  (The moment to think is important! Don’t skip it or else everybody will repeat what the last one said.)

” Rejoice always,

             Pray without ceasing.

 In all circumstances give thanks,

            for this is God’s will  for you in Christ Jesus.”

  I Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Now, before you go, here’s a beautiful slideshow with great music simply entitled “Thank You, God.” Click here. Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers.   

I will publish the blog for the First Sunday of Advent on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Be sure to look for it!

Thank YOU, my beloved readers.

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer