Thursday, November 22, 2012

100 Thanks (2012)

As I have done every year since 2004, here are the 100 things that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving Day:

1.     The gift of faith
2.     The gift of my priesthood
3.     The gift of being a pastor
4.     My mother’s love
5.     My father’s health
6.     My sister’s strength
7.     My brother’s heroism
8.     My brother in law’s patience
9.     My nephews’ smiles
10.  My godmother’s unshakeable faith
11.  My best friend’s wisdom that keeps me grounded
12.  My many godchildren
13.  My “nieces”
14.  My family’s functional dysfunctionality
15.  My many, many, many cousins
16.  Those who call me their cousin, nephew, or friend
17.  Los Fenicios
18.  My new parishioners’ love of their Church
19.  Those who were once and will always be my parishioners
20.  The many wonderful students, teachers, and staff I left behind at Mary Help and St. Gregory
21.  The faith and patience of my Hispanic communities in Broward
22.  All “my kids”
23.  Being the team priest for our Miami Dolphins
24.  Chartered Flights (Seriously? How can I possibly fly commercial again?)
25.  The unappreciated blessing of flipping a switch and having lights come on
26.  Drinkable water
27.  Checking a box and casting a vote
28.  The men and women of our military who are far from home so that we can be home safely living in freedom and peace
29.  The families of those men and women who sacrifice so much for love of country
30.  Sunsets in Captiva
31.  Hooking and catching a 40 inch snook
32.  A Texas cattle drive
33.  An Arizona desert sunrise
34.  The invincibility of Manhattan
35.  The power and serenity of Niagara Falls
36.  Any day in the Keys
37.  Any day on Key Biscayne
38.  Chumpe Tours
39.  Hastily and lovingly planned barbeques in backyards on the Key
40.  Rushed dinners in the Village with people from Connecticut
41.  Former students that leave Manhattan and go into Jersey just to visit me
42.  Unexpected phone calls from former students
43.  Saturday night Mass and dinners or lunches at diners with my Parkland gang
44.  The lost sheep that come home
45.  The constant prayers of the people of God
46.  The necessary intercession and protection of our Blessed Mother
47.  My overworked guardian angel
48.  The life, example, and blessed death of my beloved Bishop Roman
49.  The friendship of my brother priests
50.  The example of humility and holiness of religious sisters
51.  The 305
52.  Cars that cut me off
53.  Bad English grammar on signs and billboards
54.  Pastelitos across the street from my church
55.  Neighbors talking to one another (and screaming)
56.  Parish festivals
57.  Cuban food made by Cuban grandmothers
58.  Driving past downtown Miami at night
59.  Spanglish and not realizing that you’ve switched between two languages a dozen times during the course of a conversation
60.  My rosary
61.  My Dolphin rosary
62.  Running out of the tunnel with the Dolphins
63.  Special Teams
64.  Bringing the presence of Christ to the sidelines and hopefully beyond
65.  Being yelled at by Jets and Bills fans
66.  A Heat Championship
67.  Opening Day in a new ballpark with my father
68.  Major League Baseball (not minor league baseball trying to pass off as the real thing)
69.  The perseverance of the coaches and players at the University of Miami
70.  Baptizing children
71.  Absolving sinners
72.  Receiving absolution and forgiveness myself
73.  Witnessing two souls become one in marriage
74.  Commending a dying soul to the Father
75.  Rejoicing in the healing of someone that I anointed
76.  The unexplainable gift of being able to celebrate the Eucharist
77.  That moment of silence after Communion
78.  When your godson tells you definitively that he wants to be a priest
79.  When the godson I baptized stands up and reads at Mass
80.  Lunch with my students
81.  Tater tots and giant chocolate chip cookies
82.  Getting shout outs from my students on Twitter
83.  Little children screaming “Fader Manny, Fader Manny”
84.  LifeNights on Wednesday
85.  YA and Core leaders meetings
86.  Youth Mass on Sundays
87.  The rush of preaching a homily
88.  Bringing the joy of Christ into a room
89.  400 years of La Virgen de la Caridad
90.   The undeserved honor of being called “Father”
91.  Good liturgical music
92.  Angelic voices
93.  Trumpets at Christmas and Easter!
94.  Deep Fried Turkey
95.  Dad’s Mashed Potatoes
96.  Mom’s Tres Leches
97.  Ten years of joyful priesthood
98.  Celebrating Thanksgiving Mass with my parish community
99.  Knowing that I’m only an 8 minute drive away from Thanksgiving dinner
100.        Being home with my family to give thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!