If you’re a Catholic in greater Philadelphia, a great way to cap-off Thanksgiving and kick-off Advent is with Archbishop Chaput this coming Sunday, November 30 at a special 6:30PM Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. In addition, to help celebrate next September’s World Meeting ofFamilies - which Pope Francis has so graciously agreed to attend - replicas of the Holy Family iconic painting will be offered to every household present at the Archbishop’s evening service. And remember, the Basilica’s parking lot is open and free on Sunday, so don’t let the idea of parkingticket discourage your joyful participation.
On Thanksgiving Day, as many of us are stuffing our faces and feasting on football, a common question you’ll hear from another room is, “Who’s winning the game?” But understand that the only score that really counts is on the jumbo-tron in Heaven. That’s right. God is playing close attention to every one of us with a pair of divinely-powered binoculars and keeping an accurate tally of allthat he sees play out in our hearts, minds and actions. So, before it’s too late, get back in the game by remembering that Thanksgiving is a time for offering praise and gratitude to the Lord above.
Next year, Pope Francis’s trip to Philadelphia for the 2015 World Meeting of Families will mark the first Papal visit to the United States in over seven years. And, sadly, for many Catholics, it’s been just as long, or longer, since they’ve attended a Church service that wasn’t held on Christmas or Easter. So, in the spirit of the Holy Father’s return to America in September of 2015, Philadelphia-area ‘Holiday Catholics’ are invited to return to the pew on Sunday, November 30th to celebrate the First Sunday of Advent in a special 6:30PM Mass with Archbishop Charles Chaput at the Cathedral Basilica.And remember, regardless of your time away, you’ll never be turned away.
The Vatican’s recent announcement confirming Pope Francis’ attendance at the World Meeting of Families next September in Philadelphia is certainly an early Christmas gift - not just for devoted Roman Catholics, but the entire Christian community. Of course, it’s often said, and rightfully so, that it’sbetter to give than receive. But receiving the Pope with open arms and open hearts when he visits the City of Brotherly Love in 2015 will indeed be a gift in itself – not just for the Holy Father, but his legions of faithful followers scattered all across God’s green Earth.
Over the years, too many of us have sat by idly and watched Thanksgiving transform from a sacred holiday of gratitude, grace and worship to a secular smorgasbord of football, gluttony and shopping. As a result, the fourth Thursday of November is now often seen as little more than a day off from work…the start of a long weekend...or the prelude to Black Friday. However, much like Christmas, Thanksgiving is a God-centered celebration deeply rooted in the time-honored traditions of faith and family. So, please help restore the true meaning of Thanksgiving this season by offering a heartfelt and solemn thank you to our Creator.