“I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Saint Paul begins many of his letters with a preamble of thanks to God. His letter to the Philippians is a good example. In this letter, Paul makes it known to his readers—the Christian community in Philippi—that he is grateful to God for them. They have been his loyal supporters in his missionary efforts and fellow workers in transmitting the Gospel and in propagating the faith. Later, when Paul was asked by the Philippian magistrates to leave the city, his loyal followers—his sisters and brothers in the faith—continued to support him. It is not unusual for letters in those days to begin that way—with thanks. However, for Paul, it was essential and it forms a central part in his understanding and practice of the faith.
On October 22, we hosted our annual Benefactor Open House. Many of our benefactors came and joined us at a special celebration of the Mass. Our development staff, who work closely with our benefactors, were also present to welcome them. Our benefactors received a boutonnière as they were being ushered into the chapel to identify them in the assembly. At the end of the Mass, all of the students bestowed a special blessing on our benefactors. A luncheon followed in the student refectory. Our senior students served our guests and entertained them at the table. Afterwards, they led our guests on a special tour of the campus. Our benefactors were most pleased with their experience that day. It was our way of giving thanks for their continued support of our school.
November is a month of remembrance. In the Catholic Church, the beginning of this month is marked by two major celebrations: the Feast of All Saints (November 1) and the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (November 2). On the latter, Catholics the world over remember and pray for those who have died—family, loved ones, and friends who passed from this life. November is also the month of gratitude. In North America, there is the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving. Here in the United States, it is celebrated on the penultimate Thursday of November. Thanksgiving is a major national holiday that stems from the feast held by the early Pilgrims to celebrate their first successful harvest. It is a time-honored tradition that is rich in Christian values.
As we mark the days and months during this academic year with feast days and celebrations, I invite you to give thanks to God for our benefactors. They are our loyal supporters. They are our partners in furthering the mission of our school. They are our fellow workers in transmitting the Gospel and in nurturing the seeds of faith in you—our students. Through our benefactors, God continues to do His good works, in us. Let us, therefore, remember them. Let us give thanks to God for them. Let us pray for them.