Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Thanksgiving: Prayer of Petition

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

This morning, the New York Post published my op-ed about my special prayer for Thanksgiving. I would like to share it with you.

Here is an excerpt:

I praise God for the radiant virtue so evident in our community since the wreckage of the hurricane. You will pardon me, I hope, and I trust that you’ll understand, if I say that I am especially proud of our Catholic family’s generous outreach, although I rejoice in the ecumenical extent of the area’s compassion.

While Thursday will find many of our neighbors still without homes and provisions, I trust they can at least whisper a prayer of praise for the essentials of life that no wind or wave can wipe out — love, faith, hope, life itself, family, friends, a future and a community that has let them know they are not alone.

Let me glorify God as well for the gift of our country. No matter if your issues, party or candidates won or lost two weeks ago: How singularly blessed we are as citizens of a country that is governed from, by and for the people. Almost weekly do we read or hear of nations where elections — if they even have them — are occasions of mobs, armies, violence, tear gas and near-anarchy. Not here . . . thank God!

You can read the whole op-ed here.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Living Advent

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Rome . . . the “Eternal City,” the Caput Mundi (the “capital of the world”);

The city of Romulus and Remus, of the Caesars and Nero;

The city that gave its name to one of the most sustained periods of peace the world has ever known, the Pax Romana; the seat of government over the most extensive, unified empire ever;

Rome . . . whose edicts could summon Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem for the nativity of their firstborn, Jesus, and whose appointed governor, Pontius Pilate, would sentence Him to death on a cross thirty-three years later;

Rome . . . the roads, language, and law allowed the apostles to spread the message of Jesus and His Church, bringing Peter and Paul to the Tiber;

Rome . . . whose emperor would crucify Peter upside-down and behead Paul, and unleash three centuries of persecution of the Church founded by Christ;

Rome . . . whose emperor, Constantine, would finally not only tolerate the Church but allow it to become the cohesive influence holding his crumbling empire together;

Rome . . . whose bishop, the successor of its first, Saint Peter, would become the unifying force in the western world upon the collapse of the ancient empire, giving civilization learning, science, art, music, charity, health care, schools and university — a culture drawing people to God.

Rome . . . here I am this Thanksgiving, in company with my brother bishops of the state of New York, on, as required every five years by canon law, our ad limina (“to the threshold”) visit, to the tombs of the two founders of the Church of Rome, Peter and Paul.

Rome . . . a city that always seems to reflect the best and the worst in our human drama.

Even the empire brought, admittedly, law, peace, justice, security, and unity, all the good; but it also gave us violence, oppression, brutality, war, slavery.

So the church in Rome brought Jesus and His message to the world, giving us peace, human dignity, compassion, education, charity, culture, and saints; but it also on occasion showed corruption, vice, immorality and scandal.

Rome . . . it seems, with this Sunday opening the new Church year in view, to be an advent:  God always lurking there, on the doorstep, wanting us to invite Him in.

Rome . . . the city gives us hints of God’s presence: maybe in the medieval images of the Madonna on nearly every corner; or perhaps in the ubiquitous ancient churches built over the places where the first Christians quietly gathered for prayer, Mass, and community; in the catacombs where those martyred were buried; in the shrines of saints who have walked Rome’s alleys; in the candles, incense, art, and family celebrations with abundant food, wine, and song at baptisms, confirmations, first communions, weddings, and feast days.

Rome . . . the city is a living advent, with the Lord usually “just around the corner,” hidden, unexpected, lurking, giving us hints, obscured, at times, by earthiness and mustiness

. . . always waiting for us to discover Him anew.

Rome . . . the Lord is there in the city’s bishop, the successor of Saint Peter, our Holy Father, the Pope.

Benedict XVI is an advent, as we sense in him a hint of the Lord’s “coming” to His Church.

Maybe, on second thought, Rome is not that bad of a place to be for Thanksgiving!

It’s certainly a good place to be as Advent begins this Sunday!


A Blessed Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

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]


  small image of PDF IconClick here to view and print out the PDF copy of this statement.