THANKSGIVING BLESSINGS: A LITLE BIT OF THIS AND A LITTLE BIT OF THAT!
Having four days off in a row is such a special time, more so, of course, when it occurs because of an important holiday such as Thanksgiving.
This past Thursday I had so many great joys. The day started with Mass at St. Patrick’s and, at the end of Mass, the chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy to the Holy See, Patrick Connell, read President Biden’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. Seeing so many friends on a Thursday, a work day here, of course, was wonderful!
After Mass I went to Homebaked for brunch and picked up an entire Thanksgiving dinner that I had ordered days earlier from Jesse. Most of this week he spent baking all sorts of pies and blueberry muffins, filling orders for family turkey dinners and planning a lot of single Thanksgiving dinners such as the one I ordered.
If you don’t prepare a turkey dinner at home, you don’t have leftovers and, for me at least, leftovers are implicit in Thanksgiving! So I had my second turkey dinner on Friday (although I always eat fish on Fridays but made an exception). It was pouring rain and turning cold and so staying home with turkey and stuffing was the logical choice.
At 5pm I went to NAC, the North American College, for the first time in almost 21 months!! The seminarians, at the start of the Covid outbreak last year had gone back home to the U.S. or Australia, and then, throughout 2020 and up to this Thanksgiving Day, all events that involved guests – Thanksgiving Day, the December 8 celebration of the Immaculate Conception and the annual springtime Rector’s Dinner – were cancelled. As were the weekly Wednesday lunches to which guests are invited.
Mass in NAC’s beautiful chapel started the Thanksgiving celebrations. The rector, Fr. Peter Harman, in fact, in brief remarks at this turkey dinner, stressed the excitement everyone felt at finally being able to invite guests to the College! And it was indeed a special evening, a superb dinner and the magnificent pumpkin pies, paraded in by the fifth year students. I was seated at the California table. On Thanksgiving Day, tables are arranged by states with seminarians at NAC. Sometimes two states may share a table.
We’ve had rain here every day since Thanksgiving and the greyness is starting to weigh on people. The temps have gone down quite a bit and all of a sudden it is winter coat weather. The positive side of rain and this kind of weather, however, is that it is conducive to taking care of a lot of projects around the house (and a few errands outside) and even to finding some extra time for something like reading! Sitting down for an hour or two and not feeling guilty because of other things on your daily agenda, including work!
Thanksgiving Day, as I was waiting at the bus stop outside our apartment building, I saw something fascinating on what is always advertisement space. Seems there is a campaign to provide people with something to read as they wait for or travel on a bus. I clicked on the QR code and downloaded a short story by one of the Grimm brothers! As you can see, it is supposed to be a 20-minute read. What a great idea! Or should I say, what a novel idea!
As I went out for dinner Saturday night, I read a new sign posted inside our building that said our doorman Carlo had Covid! Our building is being renovated, as you know, and all of the perhaps two dozen workers – with whom Carlo interacts daily – had to have Covid tests as did Vittorio at the nearby tabacchi store where Carlo and Francesco, another doorman, and several others gather daily.
Sunday, of course, was the start of Advent, a season I’ve always loved, a season of anxiety but also joy as we await the birth of our Savior, Jesus. I usually spend Sunday afternoons preparing a brief segment for each Monday’s edition of “At Home with Jim and Joy.” I either focus on their topic of the week or bring them breaking news from the Vatican. Tune in on a Monday and drop me a line!
The big news this week will be Pope Francis’ trip to Cyprus and Greece that starts Thursday, December 2 with his flight to Nicosia. I’d love to be reporting on that as I have terrific memories of my time in June 2010 to cover Pope Benedict’s trip to Cyprus, and in fact, just re-read several of my blogs on that apostolic journey. I also reported several times a day for EWTN’s Open Line radio program and did TV coverage as well.
Just a few post -Thanksgiving thoughts….