by Maureen McKew

Some years ago at a family Thanksgiving gathering, a relative of mine decided he would demonstrate his eloquence by offering grace.  Apparently no one had ever told him that sometimes less is more for he went on and on and on, oblivious to the dirty looks his mother-in-law, the hostess, was giving him. Finally, he paused for dramatic effect…or maybe he was out of breath. His six-year-old daughter Nan seized the moment. “Eat!” she hollered at the top of her lungs. And that was the end of his grace. Of course, it has become a family tradition that if this now grown-up and married woman is present, she still issues her cry.

My family story may seem a bit irreverent and, admittedly,  Nan does sometimes startle uninitiated guests, but it is a reminder that Thanksgiving is a day to do just that – to thank God for the bounty we have received, to enjoy our bounty, and to remember those who are less fortunate than we.

There are so many people around the world who are suffering and in need.  The Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral help, reaches out the people in the biblical lands. This Thanksgiving, you might want to look at the work that CNEWA does, not just for the minority Christians, but for all those in this part of the world. We can give prayerful thanks for CNEWA as we feast, and we can support this agency, too.  Catholic Relief Services could also use our help.

Now, just in case you need some inspiration for your Thanksgiving prayer, I invite you to take a look at those available from Franciscan Media and the Jesuits of the Northeast US Province. These prayers are so lovely that no one will try to stop you.

Happy Thanksgiving.