Thank you, God, for . . .

In his Harvest Mass homily in rural Odell (see story), Father David Sabel referenced the book “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. Writing in the November issue of Magnificat, Voskamp said the best-selling book came about after a friend challenged her to start counting 1,000 things she loved — “one thousands gifts, a thousand graces.”

Voskamp took the dare. “Before I knew it, thankfulness to God began fully to change me,” she writes, noting her daily hunt for God’s grace continues and has brought about a fuller, more joyful life.

We don’t have space here to list 1,000 things for which Catholics of the Diocese of Peoria might be grateful, but we’re confident the number can be reached. As Thanksgiving Day approaches this Thursday, we happily offer a stream-of-consciousness start to a list. In no particular order, thank you so much, God, for:

— Our parishes, where you feed us in word and sacrament
— Our priests, who offer their lives in your service
— Our consecrated men and women, especially in this special year for them
— Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and our local shepherd, Bishop Jenky
— Our Catholic schools, and those who guide and support them
— Our permanent deacons and their wives and families
— The faithfulness of our old, the spirit of our young
— Your unfathomable mercy, which we will strive to embrace and emulate in the coming year
— Music and the musicians who help us praise you in song
— Our church buildings, and those who designed, built and care for them
— The beauty of art, and the skills of artists, especially those creating sacred art
— The examples of the saints who have gone before us
— Those you inspire to witness to the dignity of human life in all its stages
— Those you inspire to serve the poor and needy among us
— Those who care for the sick in our hospitals and nursing homes, and for the many advances in medicine
— The richness of our soil in central Illinois, and the good stewardship of our farmers
— The seasons of nature and, as Advent approaches next Sunday, the liturgical seasons of the church
— Mary, our loving Mother
— The missionaries and pioneer Catholics whose sacrifices planted the seeds of faith here
— Advances in technology that bring us together and not divide us
— The example of our long married couples
— The countless volunteers who respond to the needs in our parishes and institutions

Again, this is just a start. In this season of gratitude, we extend a special thanks to our readers and all who support this diocesan newspaper, forgive us when we err, and continue to place their trust and confidence in our work.

How about your list? Begin one this Thanksgiving and discover that, like Voskamp, “the more you count, the more gifts you will see.” Can you reach 1,000? — Thomas J. Dermody

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