Immigrants And Refugees

Shining Hope in Shadows: Celebrating Acts of Kindness this Thanksgiving.

Kennedy Center Thanksgiving Catholic Charities New York 2023
November 2023 Thanksgiving Food Distribution at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Center in Harlem. Photo: Catholic Charities NY

A Thanksgiving Message from Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities New York.

Almost three millennia ago, while Israel was in exile, the Psalmist lamented “How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” This Thanksgiving, allow me to adapt: “How can we give thanks to the Lord amid the darkness and suffering experienced by so many of God’s children?  Can we give thanks for the massacre of Israeli children and the deaths of Palestinian children?  Should we praise God for the kidnapping of Nigerian children and the trafficking of Myanmar children?”  Let me stop here.  The list of our worlds evil and darkness seems to be without limits.

Do we live in our own cocoon with rose-colored glasses and ignore what does not impact us directly and immediately?

So, what do we do as Thanksgiving approaches this year?  Do we live in our own cocoon with rose-colored glasses and ignore what does not impact us directly and immediately? Tempting, but not the right approach.

With eyes wide open to the problems of our world, I suggest we focus on the tremendous good being done by so many – especially Catholic Charities – to relieve at least some of the suffering of many in our world.  This suffering-alleviating, dignity-enhancing, and lifesaving work of Catholic Charities is a result of the generosity of our donors, our partnership with the government, the commitment of our Boards, and, especially, the dedication of our staff.  

On Sunday, Cardinal Dolan blessed the food that Catholic Charities is distributing to New Yorkers who would have otherwise gone without a meal this Thanksgiving.

Because of your dedication, generosity, and sacrifice children are being nutritiously fed, families are able to remain in their apartments, youth are succeeding in schools, those with disabilities are being safely housed, and much more. For this I rightfully give thanks. This is light in the midst of darkness. 

The need for help remains as acute as ever. The need for hope is even greater than ever.   

I will be fortunate to gather on Thanksgiving, nourished by plentiful food and supported by loving family and friends – as will many of you.  Let us remember to give God thanks for these blessings, but also add a prayer for those who will not.

Please have a very happy Thanksgiving.  I will also be giving thanks for you.