Thanksgiving Prayer Breakfast

Nov 22, 2011

This wonderful event is one that I eagerly anticipate each year. It is a time for us to pause, with gracious hearts, and acknowledge the blessings we share. It is a time to celebrate, to laugh with friends and colleagues, and welcome this season of harvest by sharing our gifts of plenty with others.

That desire to serve others seems to come naturally to our community. Each year, we come together to donate Thanksgiving baskets to the poor of this region, to give special presents to young people in need at Christmastime,  to offer our time and energy to worthy causes. What I love is that we are actively thankful, and we show that gratitude throughout the year by the level of service we give to others.

Most recently, we responded to the needs of area flood victims. Let me take this opportunity to thank all of you who stepped forward and made a difference in the lives of those—some from our own Marywood community—whose homes were devastated by this disaster. Even as the months have passed, you have not forgotten those who still need our assistance. When the news cameras found other stories to cover, you stayed and helped. This is who we are; this is who we have always been.

I know you hear me speak a great deal about our core values, and I’m going to keep speaking about them, because living these values distinguishes Marywood from all others. As we journey towards our Centennial Celebration, I want us to be even more aware of our commitment to Catholic Identity, Respect, Empowerment, Service, and Excellence. This commitment is an active one. Values mean nothing unless they are vibrantly lived.

The Thanksgiving Prayer Breakfast is a perfect venue to celebrate our Catholic Identity. I emphasize the word catholic, spelled with a small c—which means universal—as much as I do Catholic, spelled with a big C. In essence, our Catholic Identity is a universal call to holiness. We are all welcome at God’s table, so we demonstrate that today by sharing places at the tables throughout this room.

How blessed we are! Our diverse faith traditions do not deter us from sharing that universal call to holiness. Instead, we respond with positive actions for the life of the world. It is this willingness to collaborate, serve, empower, and show respect for each other that makes Marywood, as The Chronicle noted again this year, a great place to work. Our most precious asset is you—the people of our remarkable Marywood community. Together, we move the mission and core values of this University forward on a daily basis.

So, today, let us pray and celebrate with joy—focusing on how we can continue to lead lives of active thanksgiving—just as God designed and desires for each of us, celebrating the unique gifts of all those we encounter along the way. I hope that each of you will celebrate a meaningful and Happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends, and I pray that our generous and gracious God will continue to bless all of us and those we love with grateful hearts.