Thanksgiving Celebrations Provide Opportunity to Be Grateful for Second Chances

Thanksgiving Celebrations Provide Opportunity to Be Grateful for Second Chances

We are incredibly grateful for any opportunity to gather with our Mercy Home family. And as gratitude lies at the heart of Mercy Homes’ core values, Thanksgiving is among our favorite times to get together. 

Our young people and coworkers celebrated the holiday with a spiritual celebration and delicious meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, and cranberry sauce, prepared by our talented kitchen staff, along with pie for dessert. At our girls home, our young women started their celebration in the chapel, where they were welcomed by Marc Velasquez, Mercy Home’s director of spiritual/cultural development. Velasquez shared a video in which two of our kids, Albaro and Alexa, reflected on Thanksgiving memories, how Mercy Home has helped them, and what they are thankful for.

“I’m thankful for being at Mercy,” Albaro said in the video. “I’m thankful for Mercy giving me a second chance … I’m thankful for everything.”

“I’ve been living here since I was 13 and now I’m 17 and they’ve helped me a lot with school, having opportunities,” Alexa said in the video.

I’m thankful for Mercy giving me a second chance … I’m thankful for everything.

Velasquez then asked our people to write one thing that they were most grateful for on a paper leaf. Seizing on the symbolism of fall leaves, we explained how leaves change color because of chlorophyll, the chemical that makes them green in the spring, go to sleep in the cold, and allow other colors to shine in the fall.

“So when I think of autumn leaves, I think of the leaf getting a second chance to be brilliant,” he said. “That’s what these leaves represent for me. I want you all to think about a second chance that you’ve had to be grateful for and write that on the leaf.”

Fr. Scott Donahue then read a passage from St. Luke’s gospel about Jesus meeting 10 lepers on his journey to Jerusalem. Jesus healed all 10, but only one returned to give thanks. Jesus told the man that his faith had saved him.

Fr. Scott explained that this passage is often shared at Mass on Thanksgiving.“I think it’s all about second chances,” he said. “It’s also about how much God loves all of us here.”

He also noted that the leper who returned to thank Jesus did so because he believed he could experience a new beginning and Jesus responded with compassion.

The girls then moved to the dining room to enjoy their Thanksgiving feast together.

Thanksgiving is a time to be compassionate to others.

At our boys home, our young men gathered in the cafeteria for their own spiritual celebration and also reflected on compassion and second chances. They watched the same video of Albaro and Alexa and wrote a second chance they were grateful for on the leaves that Velasquez handed to each of them.

Fr. Scott then gave his reflection to our young people and coworkers, again sharing the story of the leper who thanked Jesus for his healing and the second chance he received.

“Think about the implications of that,” he said. “Here is someone who had to leave everything and now they’re made clean. … They were healed and made clean and they were given a second chance, a new life as it were.”

Fr. Scott emphasized that this story showed the importance of gratitude, especially at Thanksgiving.

“Thanksgiving is a time of being grateful, of recognizing truly how fortunate we are,” he said. “Thanksgiving is a time to be compassionate to others.”

Our young people enjoyed their special celebrations and the opportunity to spend the holiday together. At each celebration, our kids presented our coworkers in the kitchen with cards and tokens of gratitude for all their hard work feeding them year-round. 

We are grateful to you, our generous friends, who make these second chances possible with your support throughout the year.

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