2013 Thanksgiving Eve Sermon by Father Manny
Thanksgiving…a time, “an event,” and anniversary for we Americans that provides us the opportunity to slow down, just enough, and give our
rightful and due thanks to the Lord for His bounteous and generous blessings.
Thanksgiving…my favorite holiday, by far and wide.
Thanksgiving…to my beloved Community of St. Nicholas, my family near and far and all those who have blessed and gifted my life with their friendship and love, may I extend to each and all my warmest and most heart-felt blessings and well wishes.
Be assured my prayers are with you and in your name and honor.
Whatever your plans and with whom you are to spend this special day, make it a joyful and glad day. Be mindful of those who go without and ask God to sustain and give guidance and blessings. May we all be truly grateful and thankful for all we have and know, deep in our hearts and minds, that God truly loves us; for we are His children and He never waivers in His merciful care for us.
The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago is currently engaged in a rather lofty 4 million dollar Capital Campaign that will benefit communities of faith that need additional financial assistance. At St. Nicholas, we decided for the past two years not to seek Diocesan assistance and stay “in house” in our efforts at ministry and taking care of business on a day-to day basis. Blessedly, we’ve held our own, though certainly we are not out of the woods by any means. Again, we are making it, like the little engine that could…slowly, yet surely, little by little.
However, there are parishes and mission churches that do need assistance. How blessed it is that we at St. Nicholas can help make a difference; and that is what we did. We responded to the Diocese’s request for financial assistance and forwarded a letter and our contribution.
The following is the letter I sent to Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows who is the front person for this major Diocesan campaign. Please enjoy:
A single flake of snow leads to the fiercest of blizzards. A single drop of rain is the foretaste of a torrential downpour. And so it is with any campaign: each donation, however large or not so large all leads toward the ultimate goal desired.
On behalf of the entire Community of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church of Elk Grove Village, it is our pleasure and honor to be part of this capital campaign and share with you this check. Certainly, our desire would be to provide an even greater gift. However, what we lack in financial depth we more than make up for in our prayers and support of all things good, right and joyful that is our Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.
Please accept our humble contribution and know that the good, caring and generous people of St. Nicholas support and care deeply what the greater Church desires to accomplish. Our prayers and well wishes are with you and all who labor and minister to bring the Good News of Jesus our Redeemer to the world.
God bless you and all our sisters and brothers at St. James Place and throughout our diocese. May all our efforts bear much fruit that will sustain and nourish for many, many more years to come.
Peace and all good.
Fr. Manuel (Manny) Borg
Vicar: St. Nicholas Episcopal Church
The other day I received a phone call from Jennifer…let me tell you, she could not have been any more charming and grateful. She wishes me to thank the entire worship community of St. Nicholas for the generosity and kindness shown the Greater Church and this, the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. Our $500.00 contribution may be a mere “drop in the bucket.” However, each drop leads to a full pail that will quench the thirst of a community of faith in need.
Thank you, my St. Nicholas family…you are one amazing and loving group of people. I am never at a loss of just how much I care for all of you.
All Saints’ Day. There is a wonder, a mystery to this “church holiday,” this ecclesiastical feast day. A recollection of my younger years, a memory which still provides me a degree of happiness and blessings is the Litany of the Saints. This ancient chant is still part of the Churches’ Liturgy and rightly so. There is a grace to be received I believe, when we celebrate these holy men and women of God, provided we willingly open ourselves and embrace the grace that is made available. The celebration of this ancient hymn very much is alive and that, my good friends, in a good thing.
All of us, through our baptism and in our efforts to serve God and one another are called to be “saintly” in our spiritual and ministerial endeavors.
Growing up across the street from my home parish in Detroit, I am filled beyond capacity with the memories of many, many church stories. I was the proverbial “church mouse,” thank you very much. I can still hear the church organist and choir director, Mrs. Lillian Mulroy, who also lived across the street from the church, (though many of us who were choir boys believed she actually lived in the choir loft as most of her “personal belongings” were strewn all about the upper quarters of the church!) Nonetheless, Mrs. Mulroy would open up that huge pipe organ and literally and figuratively, the church would vibrate, move and shake!
Saint Agatha…Pray for us.
Saints Perpetua and Felicity…Pray for us.
Saint Lucy…Pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel…Pray for us.
Saint Joseph…Pray for us.
St. Rita…Pray for us.
St. Nicholas…Pray for us.
All you saints and angels…Pray for us.
(here’s an example of how it might be done in an Episcopal church – wish St Nick’s had handbells! – webmistress)
The Litany went on and on…it was endless, or at best it felt to be endless. Personally, I didn’t mind it at all. I sort of felt I was in the very company of these heavenly beings while their saintly names were chanted one after another.
Today, I am surrounded by another collection of “earth bound heavenly beings.” Blessedly, I am fortunate enough to share my faith and my energy with my sisters and brothers who make up the community of St. Nicholas. All of us, through our baptism and in our efforts to serve God and one another are called to be “saintly” in our spiritual and ministerial endeavors. Remember: the saints were ordinary human beings, just like us, who did some extraordinary things. Their lives were dedicated to serving Jesus, the Redeemer. And us; we too are ordinary human beings, just like the saints, and we too do some extraordinary things and we do so all for the greater glory of God.
Yes I do thank the Good Lord for the many blessings that have found their way to me and have filled my heart. Likewise, I thank the holy men and women who still bring me an oh so delightful degree of happiness and peace. Certainly, I need not bother with being diverted in my prayers to “speak” with Jesus via any requested intercessions through anyone else – saint or otherwise. Then again, why not enjoy the company of some saintly friends who make my daily journey just that much more joyful, blessed and sacred. I enjoy their company and quite frankly, why refuse any divine intervention when it is so readily available.