People begin to listen to Christmas music at different times throughout the year, and if you are like me, then you start listening to that music on October 1st. After listening to Christmas music for a little more than two months now, I have heard Josh Groban’s song “Thankful” from his Christmas album, “Noel” a number of times. As we move through this time of the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, this song has really got me thinking about the many things that I am so very thankful for in my life, specifically as a seminarian. I have brought this question to prayer recently, and through that, God has been showing me the many things that I have to be thankful for in my day to day activities of seminary life. Of course, I am thankful for all of the material goods that God has blessed me with, like a place to live, food to eat, and a car to drive, as well as for my loving and supporting family and friends at home. But over the past month God has shown me how truly blessed I am in the particular area of support, and how thankful I need to be for this great blessing of having people behind me on my journey.
One of the greatest blessings that God has shown me recently is the support of all of the faithful people of our diocese. I was able to see this support firsthand during National Vocations Awareness Week in November, when I was visiting the parish community of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Galloway. That weekend in Galloway and the weekend following in my home parish (Holy Trinity Parish in Margate), I was able to see the prayerful support from parishioners that is backing each of our seminarians. I cannot stress enough how thankful my brother seminarians and I are for the prayers of the people of our diocese. The prayers of the faithful of the diocese keep each of us going on our journeys through seminary. Prayerful support is what gets me through the tough times in the seminary and helps me to enjoy the joys of the seminary all the more. The power of prayer cannot be underestimated, and with its great power, support through prayer is something that I am most thankful for during this time of reflection on the many blessings of God in my life.
Along with the support of prayer, seminarians are also supported in many other ways. Organizations like the Knights of Columbus and the Columbiettes generously support me and many of my brother seminarians. Through the generous support of prayer and treasure, these organizations enable seminarians to survive and thrive. I am so thankful for the support of the Knights of Columbus and of the Columbiettes who make so many things possible for me and my brothers through their generosity. One project of the Knights of Columbus that I am also very thankful for is the letters that we receive from the students of our Catholic schools.
I don’t get much mail up here at the seminary besides the occasional package and the weekly edition of the Catholic Star Herald, but every so often, I receive a large envelope in the mail from a Knights of Columbus council or from one of our diocese’s Catholic schools. I have come to get excited when I see these envelopes because I know that inside are personal letters from the young people of our diocese. The letters of our young sisters and brothers are written through the eyes of a child and are hopeful messages filled with positivity. Having the strong faith of children, the future of our Church, backing us with such caring and supporting messages really brightens my day. I am thankful for the support of all of the faithful of the diocese, but am especially thankful for the support of our youth whose faith is so strong by the words of Josh Groban’s song, that “somedays, we forget to look around us. And somedays, we can’t see the joy that surrounds us, because we are so caught up inside ourselves and we take when we should give. So, we pray for what we know can be and hope for what we still can’t see,” realizing that “there’s so much to be thankful for.”