Thursday, November 26, 2015

100 Thanks (2015)

As has been my tradition since I had to pinch hit at a Thanksgiving Mass at St. Agnes in 2004, here is my annual list of the 100 things I am thankful for.  God bless you all and Happy Thanksgiving!  --Father Manny
1.     My priesthood
2.     My mother
3.     My father
4.     My sister
5.     My brother
6.     My nephews
7.     My brother in law
8.     My godchildren
9.     My parish
10. My school
11. Being a pastor
12. My Immaculate Family
13. My parishioners 
14. My former parishioners
15. My students
16. My former students
17. Signing and handing out diplomas for the first time
18. My best friend
19. All my friends
20. All my cousins (even the crazy ones)
21. Preschoolers and 1st graders dressed up as pilgrims and Native Americans (and a turkey!)
22. Teachers
23. My staff
24. Balanced budgets 
25. Not losing sleep over things I can’t control
26. Hialeah
27. Carnival (even rainy ones)
28. Beignets and Fried Oreos
29. Late night post carnival meetings
30. Friday night card games
31. Piano Man (“Now John at the bar is a friend of mine…”
32. Captiva Sunsets
33. That elusive redfish
34. My new fishing rod
35. The people who love me who gave it to me (Chumpes!!!!!)
36. Their video tributes
37. Video tributes from Astoria
38. Turning 40 (I surrender)
39. The party that I will eventually have
40. Birthday surprises from my students and their parents (TD!)
41. Reading my 8th graders’ Thanksgiving lists
42. Not getting half of the things that they’re thankful for
43. The insights I get into who they are from reading their lists
44. Compiling all their lists into one and reading that list to the entire school
45. Truckloads of donated Thanksgiving food
46. Flag football games and primary baseball games
47. Alumni who come to visit
48. Not fully understanding the point of Snapchat
49. Netflix (just Netflix, nothing else)
50. My nightly episode of Seinfeld
51. The Parks and Recreation Finale
52. Ron Swanson (“Give me all the bacon and eggs you have”)
53. The West Wing (Pilgrim detectives!)
54. Don Draper finally at peace (I think)
55. The new Star Wars movie 
56. The new James Bond movie (yes, I thought it was good)
57. Having visited three of the five locations where it was filmed (that’s pretty good)
58. The Dolphins (I’m not paid to say that)
59. Coach Philbin
60. Road Trips
61. London
62. Walks along the Thames
63. New York City
64. My annual view of Manhattan from my Jersey City hotel room
65. Washington, D.C.
66. The view from the Speaker’s Balcony
67. Marching for Life
68. Walking the entire length of the National Mall
69. Former students who greet you in every city
70. Sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
71. The Korean War Memorial covered in snow
72. The men and women who protect our freedoms and who aren’t home for Thanksgiving
73. The families who miss them
74. Pope Francis
75. His visit to Cuba and the United States
76. His homily at Madison Square Garden
77. His current visit to Africa
78. The Year of Mercy
79. Upcoming Pilgrimages (July 25-August 5 from Barcelona to Lourdes to Nice to Assisi and finally to Rome to walk through the Holy Doors…paid political announcement: contact me for more information)
80. Random texts from former students
81. Random pictures of engagement rings
82. Joyous phone calls when I’m asked to witness a marriage or baptize a child
83. Phone calls asking for confession
84. Other people’s dogs (except the Rottweiler next door who always barks at me) 
85. Young couples who truly understand the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony
86. The faithful who treasure the gift that is Sunday Mass…every Sunday
87. The faithful who are starting to get it
88. The Gloria at the Easter Vigil
89. Rhapsody in Blue 
90. The Florida Keys
91. Fishing with my dad
92. Long talks with my mom
93. The theater with my sister
94. Memories of my brother
95. Quiet time with the Lord
96. Celebrating Mass in so many beautiful cathedrals, basilicas and churches around the world, yet feeling at home only behind the altar at Immaculate
97. Nighttime walks staring up at our bell tower
98. The breezes during those walks that remind me of the presence of the Holy Spirit
99. The maternal protection of the Virgin Mary
100.       Celebrating Thanksgiving with my parishioners in the morning and with my family in the evening and feeling God’s love throughout this blessed day