People from around the diocese were asked to share a brief reflection on what they are thankful for:
“I am thankful for my relationship with God, who is the center of my life, giving my daily gifts. He is ever present in my family, my job, my volunteer activities.
“I am thankful for my husband and the relationship that God blessed years ago. I am thankful for my wonderfully talented, absolutely beautiful children. Some have grown into upstanding adults, others are still being nurtured.
“I am thankful for my very ticklish granddaughter who is an extension of my life. She is a joy.
“I am thankful for prayer that at the end of a busy day brings all into perspective.”
— Susan Vandervoort, pastoral business manager, St. Pius Tenth Parish, Chili
“I am thankful that I am a teacher and administrator in a Catholic school. Though a principal, I am also blessed to teach children science in our sixth grade. Working in a Catholic school means working with the very best. We have very dedicated teachers and the most supportive parents. The children are a real gift entrusted to our care. Their enthusiasm and wonder, their humor and questions, their spirit and respect for each other reveal to me the face of Christ each day. Who would want to do anything else?”
— Joseph P. Holleran, principal, St. Lawrence School, Greece
“I am thankful for a loving husband and four healthy sons. My husband has taught our grown sons many valuable life lessons. Through his example as a dedicated family physician, he has taught them about hard work, dedication, caring and compassion. They have seen him going to the office in the middle of the night to see a sick child, so the parents don’t have to go to the emergency room, and making home visits to terminally ill patients in their last hours. We are truly blessed to have him in our lives.”
— Cindy Chamberlain, secretary, St. Charles Borremeo Church, Greece
“I am thankful for my family. … I am also most grateful for our pastor, Father Joseph Catanise, who has reawakened and renewed the spirituality of our parish. It is gratifying to feel the love flowing through our congregation at our parish events.”
— Sharon Prince, bulletin editor, St. Leo Parish, Hilton
“I thank God for thousands of JustFaith participants immersed in Catholic social-justice teachings. I thank God for volunteers at shelters for battered people. I thank God for Poor People United who instead of growing bitter turn their experience of homelessness into education and support. I thank God for Rochester Area Interfaith Hospitality Network, St. Joseph Neighborhood Health Center, Step by Step, House of Mercy, Bethany House, St Joseph’s House of Hospitality, Sojourner House, teachers, and mental-health and social workers who go the extra mile. I thank God for all who listen with compassion and make a difference. I thank God for Ignatian Spiritual Exercise retreatants. I thank God for music that makes spirits soar and for artists who articulate beauty and goodness, i.e. Geva Theater’s ‘Tuesdays With Morrie.’ I thank God for children whose energy feeds our hope.”
— Denise W. Mack, pastoral associate, Church of the Assumption, Fairport
“I am thankful for my parents because without them I would not be alive. They feed me and buy me all my toys. I love my parents and am glad they are alive. I’m thankful for my sister because she is always happy and cheers me up when I am down. My aunts and uncles love me. They support me too. They always are nice and take me places I love to go to. I love my grandpa even though he is dead. I still love him and I and pray that I will see him in heaven. My grandma I love also.”
— Ryan Miller, Grade 6, St. Lawrence School, Greece
“I am very thankful for my loving and providing family. My grandmother, father and mother have always been there for me in times of need and throughout my life. Along with the rest of my family on both sides, I am also thankful that they can provide me with a good education, nice home, good clothes and a good family. This is what I am thankful for every day of my life.”
— Sarah Hauber, Grade 8, Holy Family Junior High, Elmira
“I am thankful for the gifts and talents God has given me. He gave me my athletic ability, singing ability and my knowledge. He also gave me conscience and free will. I am also thankful for my family, friends and teachers. They help me to learn, keep track of myself and give me fun in my life. God also gave me himself and his Son, Jesus, who was sent to save me from sin. I love him so much. Everything I am thankful for was given to me by the one God.”
— Ann Milliken, Grade 8, Holy Family Junior High, Elmira
“I’m thankful for the clothes on my back, the choices I have and the love that my family shares together. … I’m fortunate to have the things that I do, and a family that loves me and prays for those who don’t. I’m thankful for the food I have, the friends that care about me, the people that I go to school with and the health that I have.”
— Amanda Fleming, Grade 7, Holy Family Junior High, Elmira
“I, personally, am thankful for life, but hey, who isn’t? For example, I love four-wheeling, baseball and video games. If life didn’t exist, nobody could do any of these things (or anything at all). We are lucky that God made life on Earth, and I appreciate that. Everyone should be thankful for life and I’m on a mission to make sure that everyone is.”
— Matthew Frank, Grade 7, Holy Family Junior High, Elmira
“In the world, there are many people less fortunate than I am. That is why I am thankful for all the things God has given to me. One thing I’m thankful for is having a house to live in. My house provides shelter and warmth for me whenever I need it, unlike many people who do not have a home or shelter. I am also thankful that I can go to school to get an education. Many people throughout the world go through live without a good education. Finally, I have a loving family who supports me.”
— Matteo Scaptura, Grade 8, Holy Family Junior High, Elmira
“In my life, I have millions of things to be thankful for. I thank God every day for my house, family, friends and health. I thank God for my freedom to pray anywhere and anytime that I want. It is special to have this right when many in the world cannot pray without persecution for their beliefs. God gave me gifts to help others. I have the power and integrity to make a difference in others’ lives. I thank God for all that I am able to be every day.”
— Emily Tifft, Grade 8, Holy Family Junior High, Elmira
“How could I not be thankful for all God has given me?
“I have been blessed with three beautiful grandchildren, Jane, Ethan and Allison. Being in their presence fills my heart with joy and gratitude. Their laughter is music to my soul.
“I have a loving husband, three children and wonderful friends who enrich my life spiritually and emotionally. God has surrounded me with people who have supported and encouraged me on my life’s journey. My mother is an inspiration to me with her gifts of gentleness, unconditional love and kindheartedness.
“I have lost two friends recently, one who died of cancer and the other died in a tragic car accident. I am thankful for having known them and having been part of their life. I learned that life is shorter than we think and to make the most of every day. Celebrate the lives of our family and friends with phone calls, cards, visits. You never know if you’ll have the chance to be with them again.
“I am grateful to all who have touched my life.”
— Gina Downer, secretary, St. Catherine of Seina Parish, Mendon
“I would like to thank God for our families and friends. For nature and clothing, food and shelter. I would like to pray for the people who died in 9/11 and the person who died in 10/11.
“And I would like to thank God for health and for the holidays so our families can get together and enjoy ourselves.
And for our wonderful neighborhood and for the whole entire world and to give people ideas of making new and wonderful contraptions that help with our lives. And for Halloween when little children can enjoy wearing their costumes and getting candy.”
— David Bain Jr., 8, Ss. Peter and Paul School, Auburn
“Thank you for life, family, friends, homes, food, people and animals. Thank you for holidays, holy days and the Earth. If we didn’t have food we all will starve. If we didn’t have life we wouldn’t be alive this day to read this article. So thank God (for) what your parents bought for you because God gave you your parents and remember that God gave you whatever you have. So thank God every day.”
— Iryna Hrynyk, Grade 3, Ss. Peter and Paul School, Auburn
“I like the things God gave me. They are wonderful. I thank him for my mom and dad. My pets. My brothers and my sisters. I thank him for angels to protect me. I thank him for the church and the people so I won’t be lonely. Also my friends and plants, animals, air and a home. Water to drink. Things to eat. I love when he came into me at baptism. He gave me a conscience, heart to love, a brain to think and a mouth to pray. I thank him for making me healthy. To help me be active and outgoing. So you should thank him too.”
— Brendan Gill, Grade 4, Ss. Peter and Paul School, Auburn
“God … I can’t thank you enough. … You gave us life. Thank you for my family, my mom and dad and my grandparents. Also my school and my house and the money my parents have to do it.
“You are great to my family. I love the way how my school is Catholic so we can learn more about you!”
— Abbie Connors, Grade 4, Ss. Peter and Paul School, Auburn
“Thank you God for everything. … Thank you for my family and friends. I pray all the time to you. Thank you that I don’t have a disease of anything. Thank you for the earth and the world. Thank you for dying on the cross for me.”
— Kent Wrobel, 8, Ss. Peter and Paul School, Auburn
“What I am thankful for is my family, friends, house, clothes and food. I am also thankful for my car, education and my school. Most importantly, I am thankful for that I am still alive and that I have somewhere to come home to. I am thankful for all of the things because without love, care and happiness I would be a mess.”
— Alexandra Dubovici, Grade 6, Ss. Peter and Paul School, Auburn
“What I am thankful for this Thanksgiving is the moon, stars, light, earth, sky, sun, food pantries and anything else you can think of. The reason why I am thankful for all of those things because they each help and amaze all of us, and even feed us. Example: The sun brings light and helps plants grow. At night when it’s dark outside and when the stars come out, you can see the Big Dipper. Sometimes you can see a shooting star. Earth makes trees which give off carbon dioxide for them to take it in.”
— Veronica Baim, Grade 6, Ss. Peter and Paul School, Auburn
“I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for the love for and from my family. My mom, stepdad, dad and stepmom keep a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in my stomach. I am thankful for my friends when they forgive me. I am thankful for God’s love and everything he gives me. I am thankful for my talents that I have and will find.
“I am thankful for all those things because is came from either my family for God. I love my family, friends, Jesus Christ and God more than I love all my fancy clothes.”
— Zoey Pierce, Grade 6, Ss. Peter and Paul School, Auburn
“I am thankful (to) my mom and dad for taking care of me and my family, and for educating me in school. I am also thankful for the food my parents provide for me. Mostly I am thankful for the prayers, when we wake up, before we eat and before we go to bed. Another thing we all should be thankful for is that Jesus died on the cross. … The (thing) l I am (most) thankful for is that God made me and that he is my God.”
— Bob Netti, Ss. Peter and Paul School, Auburn
“I am thankful for God giving life to family, friends and animals. I’m thankful for the food, shelter and love my parents provide for me. God is helping to keep the devil away, which many people are happy for and thankful. Thank you for gifts of freedom, and the gifts and talents God gives us at birth.
“I am thankful for these gifts because they help me live my life, and without them I would be lost. These talents help me through hard times, difficult decisions and hard situations. I’m thankful for my parents because they give me love. I’m thankful for my friends because they stick by my side. But most of all I’m thankful for God made the world, and he also made me.”
— Katie Baumes, Grade 6, Ss. Peter and Paul School, Auburn
“Thank you God for the many friends you gave me. They have helped me through times of confusion and dislike. … They helped me with work that I didn’t know how to do. I have also helped my friends with work.
“I always thought of friends as a way to get closer to God. I always said that you can never have too many friends. Friends to me are people that understand things you like about your life, for that I thank God because without God none of us would be on this world.”
— Anthony Brown, Grade 6, Ss. Peter and Paul School, Auburn
“I’m thankful for my mom, my sister, my grandma and my pets. My mom helps me with my work when I need her, she makes my food, cleans my clothes and is a great mother. My sister is fun to play with, and helps me out. My grandma takes care of me, makes dinner and brings me around in her car. My pets to love and play with, especially when there’s nothing to do. My aunt and uncle for bringing me, my mom and my sister around the world. My friends for playing with, talking and laughing at and with.”
— Christian Bozek, Ss. Peter and Paul School, Auburn
“This year what I am thankful for is having a new family member in my life who gets to have her first Halloween and her first Thanksgiving, and soon her first Christmas. My family is very important to me and first holidays are always special. My little cousin Alyssa Faith is a miracle baby, and I believe that having her in the world and in my life is a miracle alone. I think having a newborn in the family is amazing and being able to be thankful for having them in my life to love.”
— Nicole Appel-Roe, Grade 8, St. John the Evangelist Church, Greece
“I am thankful for my life and for those around me. I am thankful that I can see the light every morning when I wake up. I am also thankful for the life of my family. I don’t know what I would do without them even if they can be annoying (brother). I still care. I am also thankful that God has not taken the life of a close friend or family member from me.”
— Alisha Aquino, Grade 8, St. John the Evangelist Church, Greece
“I am thankful for my parents and my cousins and my church and my family.”
— Bryanna Gatto, Grade 5, St. John the Evangelist Church, Greece
“I am thankful for my family because they help me lead a Christian life and help me make right choices and tell me what is right or wrong.”
— Kaitlyn Roach, Grade 5, St. John the Evangelist Church, Greece
“I am thankful for my family because they are very important to me.”
— Allison Pantaleo, Grade 5, St. John the Evangelist Church, Greece
“I’m thankful for my family and I have a roof over my head. Also for my two cats, Major and Sparkey.”
— Kelly Jones, St. John the Evangelist Church, Greece
“I am very thankful for my family.”
— Brigette Meskell, Grade 5, St. John the Evangelist Church, Greece
“I’m thankful for all the friends I have made over these past few years. Without them I wouldn’t have as much fun as I do at things like my birthday or holidays.”
— Dakota Bartz, Grade 5, St. John the Evangelist Church, Greece
“I am thankful to have a family to keep me company and to always be there for me.”
— Danielle Smith, Grade 5, St. John the Evangelist Church, Greece
“Principals, Jesus, God, loving hearts and the world.” Ali Garwood
“My heart, my friends, nature, my mind and my home.” John Peter Chinelly
“My friends, our freedom and for my home.” Nathan Sarro
“Pets, my sisters, my blessings, my new dog and our freedom.” Sophie Aureli
“My brother and sister, my mom and dad, my home, my grandma and my life.” Samuel Mateer
“My friends, my freedom, my brother, my home and my mind.” Kaycee Viator
“My teacher, my principal, my family and my sister.” Cody Flanagan
“My mind, my life, my blessings, the world and my brother.” Christos Gogos
“My brothers, my family, the world, dogs and pets.” Joey Marang
“My home and my world. I am most thankful for my brother and for God.” Sean O’Connor
“My family, God, Jesus, and I am proud that I live in the U.S.A.” Maddison Albert
“My family, my blessings, my loving heart, nature and God.” Benjamin Kennard
“My life, my heart, God, my family and my blessings.” Katherine Flanigen
“My teacher, my family, the world, our minds and my brother.” Nahom Yonas
“My family, my dog, my sister and my cat.” Madeline Fasano
“My home, my friends, my dog, my freedom and my heart.” Katie Ammon
“My loving heart, my family, my life, Jesus and God.” Michael Kiefer
“My life, God, the world and for the house.” Laura Seeger
— First-graders, Christ the King School, Irondequoit
“I’m thankful for my mom because every time I need help she helps me. When I’m sad she makes me feel better. Since my dad lives in Boston it’s kind of hard for her to take care of me, but she manages to pull it off. She is really fun because she plays baseball with me. She tried on my birthday to give me a lot of presents. I say you don’t have to give me a lot, all I want is you. I’m also thankful for my dog because she makes me laugh when I’m down.”
— Shane Englehart, Christ the King School, Irondequoit
“I am most thankful for my family. My family is always there for me. My dad helps me with sports so I can be a better player. My dad works hard to send me to a Catholic school so I can be smart and be a good Christian. I am thankful for my mom because she comes to all my school events and it makes me happy that she is there. My mom always helps me with my homework and we like to read together. Sometimes my brother gets into my things, but I am thankful to have him. I love being a big brother and teaching him sports.
“I am also thankful to have a nice home. There are people who do not have a home or somewhere to sleep. I have a warm house and a place to eat and sleep.”
— Tyler Freedman, Grade 4, Christ the King School, Irondequoit
“I’m thankful for many things but what I’m most thankful for is my family because they are always there for me. They are also really, really nice. … I am also thankful for school because of learning and meeting new teachers and having more friends and I love the teachers and the teachers are really nice and I can understand them really well each day.”
— Lauryl Sandman, Grade 4, Christ the King School, Irondequoit
” I am thankful for my family and my friends. My family takes good care of me especially when I am sick. My mom and dad give me medicine that helps me to get better. My brother helps me to feel better by doing funny things. My great-grandmother makes me hot chicken soup and rubs my stomach.
“I am thankful for my friends because they are fun to play with. My friends are very trustworthy. We tell each other many things. I enjoy playing with my friends because it gives me a break from doing homework. I love my family and friends so much.”
— Mickey Marang, Grade 4, Christ the King School, Irondequoit
“I am thankful for life, God gave me life. I enjoy life because I live in a safe place and have a nice family and friends that love me. I think I have one of the best lives in the world. I am surrounded with people that care about me. I am very thankful for my family. My family loves me so much I can’t tell you just how much. I think they love me so much they would do anything for me. … My family is always there for me. They help me when I’m sad and when I’m hurt. They also share fun times with me. My family inspired me to write this paragraph.”
— Florence Cardella, Christ the King School, Irondequoit
“What I am thankful for are my family because they care for me. My friend Niko that lives across the street so we play every day. When I play in the day I am thankful for the sun to keep me warm and for light. When we play at night the moon helps us see at playing Ghost in the Graveyard.
“When we go camping I am thankful for the stars because my dad and me look at the constellations. I am thankful for my dog Lucy because I know she loves me. I am thankful for the water we drink and I can swim. I am thankful for everything I have and to live in peace.”
— Michael Jessup, Grade 5, Cathedral School at Holy Rosary
“I thank you for everything that I have in my life. Friends, family, good education, a nice home and a loving family, especially my brother Victor. He was special to me ever since he was born. I play games, watch TV and talk to him all the time. Another thing I’m thankful for is food and water for us. I thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for our sins. That was a hard sacrifice that you had to make. I will pray to you every day to show my gratitude to you.”
— Jeanette Brown, Grade 6, Cathedral School at Holy Rosary
“I am thankful for my family. I am also thankful for my new house and all my new friends I’m going to make, and all the old friends I’ll keep golden in my heart.
“I am thankful for my mom letting me get a full education to be as smart as I am. All of my talents are gifts I’m very thankful for. I treasure my kitten cause she filled an emptiness that I had in my heart.
“My b-day is another thing I’m very thankful for because it shows my age and where I was born (hospital). I’m thankful for the Thanksgiving feast I have every Thanksgiving.”
— Morgan Williams, Grade 5, Cathedral School at Holy Rosary
“I am thankful for the fact that I got a great family that cares and has a huge amount of love for me. The feeling you have (for) one another is like the world has been lifted off your shoulders, and that is a really good feeling. It is a nice time when you are around the people you love and care for. It’s a normal and common thing for people.
“Life can never be better. I’m so thankful for the things to live for like having fun and a good time with your brothers. It’s worth more than anything else to be offered to you. Life is an extreme thing: People go through rough times and good times. It’s a glorious thing that Jesus our savior gave his life to open the gates of heaven, and let us be in heaven when it is our time to go.
“Education is important to have. I’m thankful to be in the good school I’m in now. We get to learn many new things every day that we attend. We’re lucky to have such a great education and one day we’re going to have a great life.”
— Victor Vulaj, Grade 6, Cathedral School at Holy Rosary
“I am thankful for my teachers because if we did not have teachers we would not have education. I am thankful for my family, friends and especially God. I thank my family for being there (and) friends too. I have a lot of friends. I really love God so much. He is a loving, caring and happy person. I thank God for pets because if he did not make pets a lot of people would be lonely right now. I also thank God for plants … because if we did not have plants most people would die because we need oxygen and they breathe it out. I love God and all my family members … aunts and uncles … plus my friends and sister and brother.”
— Ge’Andra Heard, Grade 6, Cathedral School at Holy Rosary
“I am thankful for God. He gave me life that is my gift from him. I would not be here if he did not give me life. God comes first in my life. If God were here me and him would be best friends. God will help me when I need the help.
“Then comes family. Family is always there for me. They will help me. When I feel sad I will go to my mom and talk with her. My family makes me comfortable. My family will always be on my side. My family will always take care of me. I will take care of them too.”
— Jovanni Flores, Grade 5, Cathedral School at Holy Rosary