As this is Thanksgiving please indulge me in my litany of thanks. 

I am grateful for my parents.  They gave my brothers and I so much and sacrificed for us in ways that we will never know.  I pray that my father rest in the peace of Christ.  I am grateful for the time I have with my mother – she continues to teach and inspire me. 

I am grateful for my brothers and all my family, even though I don’t see them much I know that they are there and that there is much that we share. 

I am grateful for my family that is the Church.  The beauty of this human, blessed, sometimes convoluted and confusing reality that is the Church continues to awe me.  The communion of the Church (pilgrim and triumphant) is indeed a holy mystery. 

I am grateful for the Catholic Center community – at which I now serve.  Yes, they continue to turn my hair gray(er) but there is much love.  I am very proud of our little community and the witness we give.

I am grateful for our seminarians and the men in our diocese who are discerning with whom I am privileged to work as vocation director.  It continually inspires me to see a fine group of men honestly discerning God’s call in their lives.

I am grateful for all the assignments I have been privileged to serve at as a priest – All Saints Church, Knoxville Catholic High School, Diocesan Youth Ministry, the Deaf community, St. Mary Church in Athens, St. Mary Church in Johnson City.  These communities have helped to form me in my priesthood and my discipleship.

I am grateful for the three bishops I have been privileged to serve with: O’Connell, Kurtz and Stika.  Each man is different in his skills and abilities and each one truly loves the Lord.

I am grateful for my priest friends in and outside the diocese – we are a mixed lot, but so were the original twelve! 

I am grateful for the Community of Sant’Egidio and all my friends in the community.  The community continues to introduce me to metro and transportation systems around the world – lol!  Most importantly they have helped to further introduce me to Christ and the basic truths of discipleship.  To quote a friend – the community helps me to live the resurrection.

I am grateful for my education and the gift of having great teachers all throughout my life.

I am grateful for my two pups – Bailey and Maxine – they remind me to be human.

I am grateful for all the good people I continue to meet in my life (christians, non-christians, believers, non-believers).  It is a reminder of the mystery of it all and the basic humanity we all share.

I am grateful for the beauty of East Tennessee and the beauty of our world – with all its peoples and cultures.

I am grateful for this country in which I was born – all the good it has achieved and all of its possibility.

I am grateful for all my friends (the youngest to the oldest, the nearest to the farthest).

I am grateful for my lord and master Jesus Christ, whom I have met and continue to meet.  I am grateful for how he will not let me go (sometimes even despite my hard-headedness).  I am grateful for the truth of the Catholic faith that continually leads me to a deeper encounter with Christ.  I am grateful for the truth of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit and who, in infinite mercy, invites us into communion.  “All creation is charged with the grandeur of God!”

I am grateful for the beauty of it all. 

I am grateful…