Monthly Archives: November 2012


Thanksgiving Mass

Happy Thanksgiving from Nairobi!    The Maryknoll Lay Missioners of Kenya meet each year on Thanksgiving for a day of reflection together and share our traditional meal (sans pumpkin pie this year) with the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers.  Today one of our reflections presented by Fr John Conway really spoke to me & I’d like to share it with you.  Here it is …


We are grateful for eyes that can see and ponder, for taste buds that know the sensuous pleasure of eating and drinking, for hands that hold and touch and feel.  For ears that can delight in music and the voice of a friend, for a nose that can smell the aroma of newly mown grass or food, and can also breathe the air that gives us life.


We are grateful for the treasures of loved ones whose hearts of openness and acceptance have encouraged us to be who we are. We are grateful for their faithfulness, for standing by us when our weaknesses stood out glaringly, for being there when we were most in need and for delighting with us in our good days and joyful seasons.


We are grateful for the eyes of faith, for believing in the presence of God, giving us hope in our darkest days, encouraging us to listen to our spirit’s hunger, and reminding us to trust in the blessings of God’s presence in our most empty days.


We are grateful for the ongoing process of becoming who we are, for the seasons within, for the great adventure of life that challenges and comforts us at one and the same time.


We are grateful for the messengers of God – people, events, written or spoken words – that came to us at just the right time and helped us to grow.


We are grateful for God calling us to mission, to work with our gifts, grateful that we can be of service and use our talents in a responsible and just way.


We are grateful that we have the basic necessities of life, that we have the means and the ability to hear the cries of the poor and to response from our abundance.


We are grateful for the miracle of life, for the green of our earth, for the amazing grace of our history; we are grateful that we still have time fo decide the fate of the world by our choices and actions, grateful that we have it within our power to bring a divided world to peace.


Wishing you ever so much to be grateful for –


Being Thankful

Fr. Dan explains U.S. Thanksgiving traditions.

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving — and Thanksgiving itself is one of them.  Every year Maryknollers in São Paulo — the Lay Missioners, Fathers, and Sisters — gather to celebrate Thanksgiving together.   This year we decided to celebrate on a Brazilian national holiday (the Declaration of the Republic, Nov. 15),  invite Brazilian friends, and spend the afternoon hanging out, talking, and playing games.  Everyone was up for it.  All the Maryknollers cooked and prepped and my sisters, who were visiting, brought the cranberry sauce from the U.S.  Everyone invited a few friends — roommates, co-workers, former Maryknoll missioners.  About 25 of us gathered at Maryknoll Father Dan McLaughlin’s house on the northern periphery of the city.


Everyone digs in!

As we gathered to say grace, Dan had each one introduce themselves.  He then explained what he called a very important Thanksgiving tradition in the U.S. — that the men wash the dishes!  The only exceptions would be the dono de casa (the host, himself) and one guest who, upon arrival, had declared himself the best dishwasher in Brazil and had immediately gotten to work at the kitchen sink.



The men, washing the dishes.



We had quite the spread — a total of three turkeys (in Brazil they’re much smaller than they are in the U.S.), stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, squash, green beans, rice and beans (can’t invite Brazilians and not feed them rice and beans), plus some other dishes which I never discovered the names of.  The desserts were amazing too, including pumpkin pie that Lay Missioner Katie made from fresh pumpkin.

Playing games!

After dinner, the men washed the dishes.  People chatted in small groups, made new friends and new connections, and played games with the kids.  We rested in each others’ company, and were thankful.  One Brazilian friend, Vitória, said, “O evento teve a cara de Maryknoll mesmo — bastante diversidade, sensação de inclusão, e muito amor!” — “The event had the face of Maryknoll itself — plenty of diversity, feeling of inclusion, and much love!”  Just what Thanksgiving is all about.




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