1. That I am still alive to celebrate Thanksgiving 2009 with both my brothers still alive, my niece and nephew and their spouses all who were at my side even though I was unaware of it, my friends from everywhere I have lived and worked. Special thanks to Drs. Reilly, Williams, Boulay, Abel and Rizzo, CPICU staff and especially JD and Jim, Therapy persons like Kathy, Jed, my special PT person at St. Anthony whose first name I am unable to remember due to a senior moment Marcelo, Jennifer, Hermine, Anne Marie, Adela, Kathy B., Ann, Debbie, Beverly, Walter, Lori, Jeri and to Father John Tapp and Father Bob Morris who stood vigil through what had to be one of the longest days and nights of their life. All of you made this Thanksgiving possible and may God bless you all.
2. That thousands of people, most of whom I do not know, have been praying for me since July 27th raising my spirits and helping my recovery.
3. That I have been attended to by the finest surgeon, doctors and nurses and nurses-aids since becoming so sick.
4. That I have a group of priests who have been patient with me, supportive of my enduring the challenges of serious illness and whom I love and think the world of. Now I just need to be more patient with them and perhaps even more supportive in return.
5. That I live in the United States and enjoy so many of the blessings God has bestowed on this nation.
6. That late in life I have been “gifted” with an experience of suffering and uncertainty which I hope as I get stronger I can share with many who also carry the same burdens. Our Gospel is a message of hope.
7. During this time of my long road to recovery that our local Church has been led by Father Bob Morris, our Vicar General, and Elizabeth Deptula, Joan Morgan, Frank Murphy and the wonderful, committed people of our diocesan staff in seeing that the work of the Church continues successfully.
8. Apropos of number 7 above, that I have finally learned that it is not all about me, and that none of us are irreplaceable. It is one of the Lord’s gifts to His Church.
9. That I was baptized into the Catholic faith and am taking more seriously than ever before what it means to be “gathered, nourished and sent”, looking forward to our final convocation in May 2010 and more convinced than ever that the Lord has left me here to proclaim His presence in the sacraments of the Church.
10. This list of things to be thankful for could go on and on but I finish with the thought that I am so gifted to have been planted in this Church of St. Petersburg with its priests, deacons, religious women and men, and active, committed laity for whom faith is more than an obligation but rather a gift. Happy Thanksgiving to all.