An Invitation to Give Thanks!Posted: November 19, 2015 | Author: Fr. Leo
First, I'd like to express my excitement (afte a great fundraiser dinner to help raise money for scholarships to the NCYC by the Archdiocese) for the NCYC, which can be livestreamed by visiting the website www.ncyc.info. I am giving a keynote presentation at tonight, called "Here I am, Ready or Not." Over 25,000 people attend, including 21,000 youth, from all over the nation, to celebrate God through the Catholic faith, and the excitement is contagious. I pray that all of them will be spiritually nourished and enthralled by my presentation, and the many other presentations and workshops being offered, including another keynote being provided by Chris Padgett on Friday. Watch the awesome trailer to get a glimpse, and notice it opens with how young people are hungry and it is our job to feed them. Check it out and if you can't be there, then live stream it tonight (11/19/15) at 8pm EDT:
Speaking of invitations, I have a special one in time for Advent. Don't worry, I'm not "rushing" into the Holidays (aka Holy Days) like some stores did by advertising Christmas gifts before Halloween. I just want to give a heads up to anyone close to the Baltimore area. I'd like to invite you to a special Advent Dinner beginning with Mass at St. Paul's Church in Ellicott City at 5:30pm with dinner at 6:30pm at Portalli's of Ellicott City. This is sponsored by The Table Foundation as a way to share the blessings of food and to share the message of the foundation's good work to "elevate culture and family life one meal at a time." We want our food and faith movement to give thanks and we need your help and your hungry hearts for a fantastic dinner. Click the link below for details and contact firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in attending.
And now, a few thoughts to help those who celebrate Thanksgiving with a few helpful reminders.
Let's admit. People get a little frantic...OK, fanatical... this time of the year. The one Holiday that makes us grateful is also one holiday that causes such culinary consternation! While it's not a "religious holiday" in a strict sense, it is in a practical sense. People act a little more religious in this season. People collect more food for the poor. We begin to focus on the family. And, of course it's the one day of the year that Grace Before Meals is 100% fully realized and celebrated! In a way, Thanksgiving is the Grace Before Meals Feast Day!
Event with the "Holy & Hungry" crew for Cooking Channel.
To help you relax a little more, here's my version of the K.I.S.S. principle: Keep It SIMPLE & SACRED!
Here's my take on simple: Forget the oversized turkey! If you have one, start thawing it NOW! But if you're willing to be creative with this turkey tradition, I recommend getting a smaller turkey. It's easier to thaw, manage, and cook. You could even get away with a large roasted chicken, and some people may not even know the difference. But don't worry, there will be plenty of turkey if you feed the gang with turkey breasts wrapped in bacon. With this idea, you can still showcase the turkey, but have an easier time with it by cooking turkey breasts as well. In my opinion, the turkey breasts are way more delicious. It remains juicy, flavored with smokey bacon. It's also a hassle free service because all of the carving is done before hand. Give this simple tip a try and experience a less stressful, equally delicious, and "true-enough-to-tradition" cooking process.
Here's my take on keeping it sacred: Go to Church and give "thanks" (i.e., Eucharist). You may already be familiar with the idea that the Greek word "Eucharist" simply means "Thanksgiving." So, go ahead and receive the Eucharist on Thanksgiving Day. While you're at it, take time and consider your blessings. Write these down and look it over before or after your Mass or religious service. You may even want to spiritually "place" these intentions in the collection basket knowing that gratitude to God is often multiplied in the blessings he gives to us. In other words, for example, as you are grateful to God for your children, God opens your heart for even more love (and patience) for your children. That's how God responds: with tremendous generosity! Finally, to show you are grateful to God, consider making a donation to a charitable organization, such as The Table Foundation, which has the mission to elevate culture and family life one meal at a time. And remember, if you're in the Baltimore area, come to our super "fancy-schmancy" delicious Advent Dinner!
Let us pray:
Lord, we pray to have grateful hearts, thankful thoughts, and a peaceful preparation for the holidays. When life gets complicated, help us to remember to Keep It Simple and Sacred, knowing that you bless our lives with so many good gifts. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Food for Thought
How do you keep Thanksgiving Simple?
How do you keep Thanksgiving Sacred?
What's your favorite go-to Thanksgiving recipe? Please share your ideas for our Grace Before Meals community.