Thanksgiving is a time of the year when we gather with family and friends in sincere gratitude for God’s abundant blessings in our lives. As I reflect on this year, I remain deeply grateful to see God blessing our Diocese through each of you, our faithful laity, clergy, religious, and seminarians.
St. Ambrose said, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks,” and so I thank you for your steadfast devotion to our Church and its mission.
We are fortunate that our country is among the few nations of the world that sets aside a national day of thanksgiving every year. It is rooted in the belief that it is right to give thanks to God from whom all blessings and graces flow.
My prayer and my wish for all of us this Thanksgiving is that we keep our gratitude to God and to each other at the heart of our celebration. Let us be thankful for the progress that has been made in stemming the pandemic that last year kept many loved ones apart at Thanksgiving. Let us be thankful for our faith and our health; our food and shelter; the love we have for one another, and our family and friends. And let us keep in mind those who are without these blessings and do whatever we are able to share what we have been given with those who are in need.
As We Enter Advent
Sunday, November 28, marks the beginning of Advent. This year, praise God, many families and parishes will be able to return to many favorite Advent traditions. As we enjoy these blessings, let us not forget that, liturgically, this is still a time of waiting, preparing, and hoping. One of the ways I keep my focus on Christ during this busy season is to spend time with the Scriptures. Here are four of my favorite verses from the Book of Isaiah —contemplate one throughout each week of Advent to enrich your personal prayer and reflection.
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.” (Isaiah 2:4)
“A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him” (Isaiah 11: 10)
“In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
The rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.” (Isaiah 40:3-4)
“Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
Carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.” (Isaiah 40:11)
ADVENTure 2021 Calendar & Activities
The Diocese of Fall River Secretariat for the New Evangelization has created an excellent website for helping individuals, families, and parishes celebrate Advent. A copy of the PDF resource (below) which also includes weekly activities and missions for each week of Advent is available HERE.
I wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving holiday. May you be filled with grace, joy, and gratitude! And may God Bless you today and always.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha