This is one of my favorite holidays. For me, it has always been a time to gather with family, maybe do a little hunting and enjoy a wonderful meal with loved ones. Over the years, the meal has been cooked by others, but I now find myself tending a turkey on a large charcoal grill for several hours on Thanksgiving Day. A job I assumed when my father entered eternal life.

Before our meal, we take time to pray and often go around the table with each person having an opportunity to express thankfulness. As we express thankfulness, we often talk about family and friends, blessings of shelter and nutrition, gifts of stable income and good schools. At Catholic Charities, we are given the gift of opportunity; the opportunity to help and serve others.

Last weekend, the Gospel reading at Mass was from Matthew 25:31-46. This passage is sometimes referred to as the judgment of nations. The passage describes that at the end of time we will be separated like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Those who will be rewarded are those who provided for the needs of Jesus. “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me.” Those being rewarded will ask Jesus when did they do these things for Him. He will reply, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

I am thankful for our donors and volunteers. I am thankful for all the members of the Catholic Charities team who work hard together to provide for the needs of those who come through our doors. We do our best to use our resources wisely, to help as many people in meaningful ways as we can. What I am most thankful for are those who come to us, those who, in humility, ask for help. These are fellow members of the Body of Christ. These are our brothers and sisters. These opportunities to help others are the true blessings for which I am thankful.

May the grace of God be present in your heart. May He protect you and comfort you with His peace. God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Deacon Bryan Hilts
Development Associate & Immigration Case Manager