My dear family in Christ:

When I was growing up, it was always a tradition in my family to attend Mass on Thanksgiving Day. While not specifically a religious holiday, I was raised to remember to count my blessings and remember to thank the source of all those blessings. It would not have been Thanksgiving without giving thanks to God in the Eucharist.

My favorite Gospel passage for the Mass offered on Thanksgiving Day comes from the Gospel of Mark. In Chapter 5, Jesus heals a man who had been possessed by a legion of demons. Following this healing the man tries to join Jesus in his boat. However, the Lord does not allow him to join the company of apostles; instead he tells him this: “Go home to your family and announce to them all that God in his pity has done for you. Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis, what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed” (Mk 5:19-20).

As we gather to celebrate Thanksgiving; as we join with family and friends; as we count our blessings around our hearths and tables; as we seek continued blessings for all those we love, those with us and those who are separated due to distance or other factors, let us remember the lesson taught to us by the demoniac in the Gospel. May we never forget to tell our family, friends and others what God in his goodness has done for us. May this Thanksgiving be a time for us to speak loudly to others of what God has done, is doing and will do for us, so that by our witness others might be amazed and come to faith. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to witness to Jesus Christ, his Gospel and his Church by our words and actions.

In closing, I want to take this opportunity to offer my prayer that this holiday will be a time of peace and justice for all those in the world, especially those living under the burdens and horrors of war, and that all people will have reasons to give thanks. May the peace we experience around our Thanksgiving tables radiate to all nations, and may we remember to thank the source of all our blessings.

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us and the whole world.

In Christ the Prince of Peace,

Msgr. John J. McDermott

Diocesan Administrator

—Originally published in the Nov. 18-24, 2023, edition of The Inland See