November 23, 2012


Giving thanks in the Year of Faith

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, but giving thanks is a virtue that all Christians the world over are called to practice—in their celebration of the holy Eucharist, their prayer, and their relationships with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

This year, as we celebrate the Year of Faith, the practice of giving thanks takes on a richer meaning. Why?

Because our belief in Jesus Christ and his Church gives us so much to be thankful for. And because sharing our faith with others—the new evangelization—is itself a way of giving thanks for the great gift of faith which we received at the time of our baptism, and which we nourish by our active participation in the Catholic way of life.

This Thanksgiving, we should pray for the grace to be grateful—even in life’s most challenging situations.

We should ask our heavenly Father to bless us with a sense of profound and heartfelt gratitude for the gifts of life, love and liberty that are uniquely ours as Americans, and as Christians who believe in the saving power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This Thanksgiving, let us pray:

Eternal Father, for more than 2,000 years the Church has proclaimed the Gospel of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to people of diverse languages, races, cultures and nationalities. Teach us to be grateful for the evangelizing zeal of those who have gone before us.

Enlivened by the gift of your Holy Spirit, our ancestors in the faith worshiped you in word and sacrament. Teach us to be grateful for their fidelity to you and for the example they have given us.

In the spirit of the Apostles, our spiritual mothers and fathers handed on the faith to us, their children and grandchildren in faith. Teach us to be grateful, and to be like them—catechists who share the mysteries of faith with others in word and deed.

Gracious Lord, how many generations of faithful Catholics have dedicated themselves to serving the poor and vulnerable members of our community in your name! Teach us to be grateful for all our brothers and sisters who are poor, suffering or in any kind of danger so that we may see Christ in them, and let them teach us to be meek and humble as you are.

Teach us to be grateful, loving Father, as we celebrate the Year of Faith. Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and last month’s Synod of Bishops, help us to better understand what the new evangelization means—and what it demands of us.

Calm our fear and anxiety about “evangelizing”—sharing our faith with others—and encourage us to follow the example of so many saints and martyrs who overcame their reluctance in order to give witness to you.

Help us, Lord, to be truly thankful for the gift of our new shepherd, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin. Show us how we can help him be a good pastor to all the people who live in our archdiocese, the Church in central and southern Indiana.

Teach us to be grateful for all the priests, deacons, religious and lay leaders who serve our parishes, schools and archdiocesan agencies with such generous and loving hearts. Teach us to be good stewards of our time, talent and treasure so that together we can serve those who are most in need, and build up your kingdom here and now.

Renew us in spirit this Thanksgiving, eternal Father, by the power of your love, and make us faithful to the call to holiness and discipleship that each one of us has received from your Son. Send us your Holy Spirit so that, this Thanksgiving, we may be especially faith-filled and willing to share what we believe with others.

Help us, Most Holy Trinity, to seek and find your truth—and to live it in our daily lives—so that we may always be people of faith who are grateful for all your gifts, and who share them generously with others in joy and in hope.

Happy Thanksgiving!

—Daniel Conway

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