A Blessed Thanksgiving

Today I visited the Joseph P. Kennedy Center in Harlem to participate in the annual Catholic Charities Thanksgiving Food Distribution. We were able to provide food to hundreds of individuals.

Here is the statement that I released to the press today:

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
Thanksgiving Statement
Kennedy Memorial Center
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving is a most wonderful time. We praise God for His many blessings, as we gather with family and friends. Thanksgiving is also wonderful because this season inspires a generosity that brings out the best in people. Our presence here today exemplifies this spirit of generosity. I, along with so many others, are here to help Catholic Charities provide more than 400 of our New York neighbors a healthy and hearty Thanksgiving meal as our own families will be doing.

However, Thanksgiving is bittersweet—especially this year. The need for an annual distribution of meals at Thanksgiving reminds us that all is not right with our nation—and world. In 2011, our economy does not provide sufficient opportunities for all to support themselves and their families. Far too many across the economic spectrum are struggling, anxious about their next meal or keeping a roof over their heads. Our Catholic faith always turns first and foremost to the poor and most vulnerable. It is often the babies, the oldest and the newcomer who are most threatened. But at the same time, we recognize that too many are now “nearly and newly poor” and that anxiety and fear will sadly be a part of their Thanksgiving in 2011. The dignity of each person as made in the image and likeness of God calls us to do better.

Let me focus on three basic human needs and rights that our Catholic tradition—along with many others—affirm: food, housing and work. This Thanksgiving, our nation faces a crisis in all three of these basic needs. Too many of our neighbors are without homes or are at the brink of losing them. And too many of our neighbors lack decent jobs.

Work is a basic human right. We need an economy in which everyone seeking work is able to find a decent job that enables them to support themselves and their families with the basics of food and shelter. Without sufficient, decent jobs, individuals and families are threatened and human dignity is compromised.

Two weeks ago, right here in this Catholic Charities Center, we had to ask 25 people waiting for food to come back on another day simply because we did not have enough food. That story is not unique to this center, this neighborhood, to Catholic Charities. It is repeated at programs run by our partners and colleagues throughout the New York metropolitan area and across the nation. New Yorkers are hungry. Americans are hungry—and our emergency food programs do not have enough food to meet this need.

Much has been done. I am amazed at the generosity of so many sectors of New York. This is a great blessing for which I praise God this Thanksgiving. I have seen the generosity of the business community in these difficult times. Even as tax revenues have decreased and cut-backs have been made—a number of which I have objected to—I still see an incredible amount of help being given to those in need in New York and throughout the nation by federal, state and local governments. Their continued support is essential. I see our Churches and Schools stretching further to meet needs. Our charitable, nonprofit organizations— Catholic Charities and other religious and non-sectarian organizations are extraordinarily effective in providing help and creating hope with limited resources. And yet more needs to be done so that all may secure the basic human rights to food, shelter and work.

I am proposing one specific initiative for our Catholic community that I hope might inspire others to do likewise. I am calling on every Catholic institution in the Archdiocese of New York—our parishes, schools, charitable institutions and other organizations— to join the FEED-OUR-NEIGHBORS Campaign and dedicate the last week of January, from January 22 to January 29, 2012- Sunday-Sunday, to increasing the supply of food available to feed hungry New Yorkers. Through a collection of either money or food goods, I am asking that we increase our efforts to ensure that New Yorkers who are hungry have enough to get by. As I do this, I want to recognize and praise the generous and dedicated work that our Catholic parishes and organizations—along with many others—are already doing. Without these efforts our current crisis would be much worse. This initiative cannot resolve the problem for it is impossible to make up all the reductions in resources. However, the fact that we cannot do everything is not an excuse to do nothing.

In addition, I am asking Monsignor Sullivan to work together with his colleagues, other food providers and government officials to see if there are ways we can develop together to better provide food to our hungry neighbors.

I end by borrowing from the Prophet Isaiah:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen;
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
And to provide the poor wanderer with shelter;
When you see the naked, to clothe them,
And not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
And your healing will quickly appear;
Then your righteousness will go before you,
And the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
[Isaiah 58]


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3 Responses to “A Blessed Thanksgiving”

  1. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    I must say that most Catholics do just what the Archbishop is saying above. Can we do more? Yes.

    If only the unvarnished AB-solute truths of the Church were proclamed so vehemently, with the same gusto, from the pulpits across this land.

    Social justice has become our gospel and the priority it has taken is apparent even though our Lord Himself gave His priority of thought 3 times in Holy Scripture:

    Mark 14: [5] For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
    [1] Azymes: That is, the feast of the unleavened bread.
    [6] But Jesus said: Let her alone, why do you molest her? She hath wrought a good work upon me. [7] For the poor you have always with you: and whensoever you will, you may do them good: but me you have not always. [Mark 14:7] [Latin] [8] She hath done what she could: she is come beforehand to anoint my body for burial. [

    Matt 26: [6] And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, [7] There came to him a woman having an alabaster box of precious ointment, and poured it on his head as he was at table. [8] And the disciples seeing it, had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste? [9] For this might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. [10] And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
    [11] For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always. [Matthew 26:11] [Latin] [12] For she in pouring this ointment upon my body, hath done it for my burial

    John 12: [5] Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
    [6] Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and having the purse, carried the things that were put therein. [7] Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial. [8] For the poor you have always with you; but me you have not always. [John 12:8] [Latin] [9]

    If truth were proclaimed as loudly as the social justice doctrine one wouldn’t find the need to ask for more. It would be forth coming naturally.

    Lead us Your Eminence. Unify us.


    Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, made some remarks to reporters during the recent meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, MD on the sexual abuse scandals at both Penn State University and the Roman Catholic Church.

    Archbishop Dolan is quite wrong when he says that the present Penn State scandal “over a former football coach accused of sexually abusing young boys ‘reopens a wound’ for the U.S. Roman Catholic Church.”

    The “wound” Dolan refers to has never closed. It is a “wound” that has continued to fester since the Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts imploded in 2002.


    Well for one thing the bishops of the United States have never really admitted, individually or collectively, to their part in covering up for clergymen known to be sexual predators of children and young people.

    Yes, the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church has “a long way to go,” in making up for the egregious crimes that have been committed against children.

    “Failures” and “mistakes” though, are words that hardly begin to describe the agony thousands of children were left to go through while the few adults who dared to confront pastors or bishops over the behavior of rogue priests were bullied, harassed and intimidated into silence, often with threats of eternal damnation.

    They were crimes and they were crimes against the very humanity of these innocent children.

    Archbishop Dolan, you offered to work with “Penn State administrators on a national education campaign to stop abuse.”

    Does your offer extend to working with advocacy groups in Pennsylvania whose goal is legislative reform? If it does there are several groups that were formed in response to the 2011 grand jury investigation on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who are now working for reform in Pennsylvania.

    Sadly though, at this very moment, Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput has united with the bishops of Pennsylvania and the PA Catholic Conference in opposing any legislation that would enable victim/survivors of childhood sexual abuse to access justice, no matter when they were sexually exploited or by whom.

    How do you explain that?

    No, Archbishop Dolan, I’m afraid that neither you nor most of your fellow bishops has a clue as to the suffering that the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church’s has caused and continues to inflict on sexual abuse victims because it has never been truly accountable or transparent.

    No one in the Catholic community has suffered more than the innocent children whose minds, hearts and souls were torn asunder by those who stood in the place of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Baltimore’s former archbishop, Cardinal William Keeler correctly described such horrific sexual abuse by a trusted minister of God when he used the term “soul murder” for it truly is that.

    Archbishop Timothy Dolan should be at the head of the parade in supporting the removal of all criminal and civil statutes of limitation in regard to the sexual abuse of children.

    Anything less should be morally repugnant to all.

    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
    Advocate for Victims & Legislative Reform

    Sister Turlish is an advocate for legislative reform in Pennsylvania who spoke to House Bills 832 & 878 when they were introduce

  3. Dear Fellow Catholics,

    Animals are God’s creatures and we will be held accountable someday for every one of them. We shouldn’t support factory farms (or any farm that disrespects God’s laws concerning His creatures).
    We can return to the original diet God created us to have, a plant-based diet, to be healthier, — spiritually and physically and God’s creatures won’t live horrible lives and die horrible deaths for our appetites and man-made traditions.

    The Israelites in Numbers 11:31-35 wanted meat and they died while the quail was still in their teeth. They were buried in the graves of greed.

    This Advent Season, please remember that we are celebrating Jesus, the Prince of Peace’s Birthday, who lives within us. Let’s grow closer to Him and be merciful as He was merciful. “Blessed are the merciful for they will obtain mercy.” Jesus