November 19, 2017

A special Thanksgiving Mass will be this Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. The regular 5:30 Wednesday Mass will be at 6:00 p.m. The building and office will be closed both Thursday and Friday of this week as the staff takes time off to give thanks.

We welcome and pray for all 54 Confirmation candidates this weekend. We pray this will be a special year of growth in God’s love and the Holy Spirit.

Pope Francis has declared this Sunday as the first World Day of the Poor. St. John writes, “Let us love, not with words but with deeds.” Pope Francis wants us to focus on how we care for the poor. Here at St. Vincent’s we are highlighting ministries that serve the poor such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society in the parish; Christmas Caring and Sharing here in Andover as well as the Summer Lunch Program; service at The Lord’s Diner and the Lord’s Diner Murder Mystery Fundraiser. We also help support St. Augustine Indian Mission in Winnebago, Nebraska. Finally, we help with Warming Souls that helps the homeless during the winter months in Wichita. In the last few years, we have steadily increased our involvement in programs that help the poor, not only in Wichita, but also right here in Andover. I am constantly amazed at this parish’s generosity to the poor both through direct service and financially.

Gratitude is the foundation of real love and the foundation of stewardship. Too often our service to others comes with expectations. We expect others to return the favor or at least say thank you. We expect to be recognized for our service and receive praise from others as good and generous people. Gratitude is the way for us to break out of our natural human service and reward mentality. Once gratitude takes over our hearts, we love without expecting a future reward. Instead we simply want to share the gifts we have received. Gratitude is the foundation of love.

Make this a week of Thanksgiving. I encourage each person to take time each day this week to recall the blessings of your life. Ask God to help you see these blessings. Consider the blessings of family, of your life growing up. Consider the blessing of friends. Consider the blessings you have received directly from God and faith. Consider the blessing of work and your hobbies, of family and children. Consider the talents you have been given, your good heart and moral compass. Consider even the blessing of some of the hard times of life that helped you mature and grow as a loving person. Reflect each day this week on your blessings and let God fill your heart with gratitude. Make this Thanksgiving week about more than food, football and shopping.