The other night at dinner I was talking with a close friend about our shared Catholic faith. We touched on the profound—prayer and Mass; the silly—new cassock rules from the Vatican; and the seemingly lamentable—shuttered parishes and declining attendance among our peers.
The conversation stayed with me the past few days. I realized that, as we approached Thanksgiving, the faith that was introduced to me by my parents, deepened by priests and professors, and is sustained by ritual, reading, and writing, remains one of the great blessings of my life.
Along with family and friends, my faith offers hope, makes sense of a sometimes-confusing existence, and challenges me, disallowing complacence and self-satisfaction. For that I am thankful.
I am mindful of the challenges we face as Catholics, both from within and outside the church. As I connect with old friends over this Thanksgiving break, friends with whom I was confirmed and shared a deeply Catholic upbringing, I struggle as they have distanced themselves from the church for a variety of reasons. Some have simply fallen away, others make it clear that they identify as one of the many “nones” that comprise my generation.
But today, I’m thankful for that I’ve been offered a gift, a constitution that is open to faith, and hope that I use it well. It’s the Year of Faith. I’m thankful.