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Fr. Matt O’Donnell

About the Blogger

Fr. Matthew S. O'Donnell is Pastor at St. Columbanus Catholic Church.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Preparing for a Meal

This week our nation will celebrate Thanksgiving! A day that calls our attention to being thankful for the many blessings we enjoy. For many it is a day that is filled with faith, family, food, and fellowship. It is a day celebrated through the sharing of a meal. Families gather around a table to pause the busyness of life and celebrate the gift of love. As Catholics we gather around a table each week to celebrate, as a family, the gift of God’s love. We gather around a table to be strengthened for our mission. We gather around a table to share a meal with our family of faith.

As Catholics the Eucharist is of greatest importance in our spiritual lives. For it is in receiving the Body of Christ that we are transformed and ultimately become a part of the Body of Christ, in which Christ is our Head. But, it is not enough for the body of Christ to worship together at the Eucharist if we do not act upon the sacrifice that Jesus made. As a Church, as a community of believers, each of us is called to act for justice by bringing Christ into the world. The Eucharist compels all who partake in the meal to perform works of justice and acts of charity, thus bringing Christ from inside the Church walls outside onto the streets where God’s people dwell.

For some, Thanksgiving is a day that reminds them of the difficulty they face to provide for their families. St. Columbanus Church is situated in the Park Manor community. Nearly 28% of residents in 60619 live at or below the poverty line. More strikingly, nearly 41% of children in our community live in homes whose income was below the poverty line in the last year. Each week the St. Columbanus Food Pantry is blessed to serve nearly 500 families. Our clients receive fresh produce, dry bags, and meat. Our partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the generosity of so many allow us to fulfill this ministry.

On Wednesday, Archbishop Cupich will join us at St. Columbanus Church as we feed nearly 600 families at our Food Pantry. We will distribute 600 turkeys to ensure that people in our community will have the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving. The Archbishop’s presence reminds the community that they are not forgotten! St. Columbanus Church wants our friends and neighbors to know that they will have the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving. Our church’s celebration of the Eucharist sends us out into the world to bring the hope, peace, and love offered by Jesus.

It is the mission of all disciples to be a blessing to the people around them. I challenge you this Thanksgiving to give God thanks for all the blessings you and your family enjoy, no matter how  big or small they might be. But, I also encourage you to pray for those who won’t gather with a family; for those who won’t eat a Thanksgiving feast with someone else; for those who won’t eat at all.

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