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Closing mercy doors opens opportunity to share God’s mercy

Perhaps it’s a perfect storm of sorts – the end of the Jubilee of Mercy, Thanksgiving and the needs of food pantries across the archdiocese – all combining to deliver a special message.

Closing doors mark the end of the Year of Mercy, with ceremonies Nov. 13 at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha and in dioceses around the world, and the official closing Mass Nov. 20 at St. Peter Basilica in Rome.

But those ceremonies don’t necessarily mark a closing and an end. Instead, they emphasize an opening and a beginning.

While the Year of Mercy – as the name implies – was a defined time on the calendar, the effort to bring an increased focus on receiving and sharing mercy wasn’t limited by the calendar. Rather, it was about growing in mercy … and continuing that growth well beyond the Year of Mercy.

And that’s where Thanksgiving comes in. The timing of Thanksgiving, just four days after the closing of the Year of Mercy, gives us a dedicated time to offer thanks for God’s mercy – for his love, for his son, Jesus, and for his presence in our lives.

But even more, Thanksgiving season on through Advent offers many opportunities to share God’s love, God’s mercy. That brings us to the food pantries.

A story on Page 11 highlights the needs of five pantries in the archdiocese heading into Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas – needs shared by other pantries, which in a way represent the needs of most human service agencies at this time of year.

Meeting those needs is rooted in mercy. Through time, talent and treasure, we can be a part of meeting those needs and sharing God’s mercy.

For some, it will be a matter of writing a check or completing an online donation form. For some it might be material donations – clothes, food and appliances.

Others might find a way for direct involvement – volunteering in a shelter, helping with a neighborhood program, mentoring a teen, giving blood, providing transportation. Sometimes sharing mercy might be as simple as offering a listening ear or a warm hug.

There’s no limit to the opportunities, and God is waiting for our help. We are his hands, his feet, his face … his mercy. He even provides a guide – the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

So, as we give thanks, let’s also just give.

 

AN EXAMPLE OF GIVING

There were plenty of "remember when’s" earlier this month when friends and family gathered for the funeral of Omahan William "Bill" Ramsey.

Bill, a long-time friend and supporter of the Catholic Voice, had a range of life experiences that produced many friendships.

Many among the friends were "media types" – from television, radio, newspapers, magazines, public relations and advertising, and academia. That was Bill’s professional world, and he excelled in many ways, starting in broadcasting, moving to various public relations positions and on to his own agency and – in his "retirement" – authoring several books.

Some were friends gained through organizations – veterans’ groups, Serra International, the Institute for Priestly Formation and others.

And, of course, there were Bill’s friends made through his parish, St. Margaret Mary in Omaha.

Most of those conversations probably included something about Bill’s giving because, well, it seemed he always was giving – to his family, his friends, his profession, his community, his church and more.

He was many things to many people over his 86 years, but one quality provided a foundation, purpose and direction for his life … a life of giving.

He was a good, Christian man.

 

Deacon Randy Grosse is editor and general manager of the Catholic Voice. Contact him at ragrosse@archomaha.org.

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