The Catholic Messenger invited students in elementary school through college to share what they have been thankful for during the past year. Here are some reflections:
Madison Zahn, a senior at Notre Dame High School in Burlington and a member of Ss. John & Paul Parish in Burlington: “The first thing I am thankful for is my faith. Going to a Catholic school and learning about my religion means so much to me. I have studied the Bible, learned morality and ethics, and even traveled to Italy with my school choir to learn about the roots of my religion. Throughout high school, I have learned that my faith in God is one thing that will always be with me no matter what. Despite the busy days I have every week, I know when I go to Mass on Sunday I can relax and reflect on the past week and my life altogether.
“The next thing I am thankful for is my family. I don’t know where I would be today if my family wasn’t there to support me in everything I do. I truly enjoy the moments I spend with them, realizing how lucky I am to have great people in my life. I can’t thank my parents enough for choosing Notre Dame as my second home, giving me advice, and loving me every step of the way.”
Andrew Friederich, a junior chemistry major at St. Ambrose University in Davenport and member of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport: In a year filled with so many blessings it “can be difficult to recount everything that I’m thankful for. A conference championship with the St. Ambrose football team immediately comes to mind, as do another two successful semesters of school culminating with selection to the academic all-district team.
“I am also grateful to have the love of my beautiful, intelligent and amazing girlfriend. And with constant reminders of the poor state of the economy, I can’t help but feel grateful to have a job and a car to get there with. But above all, I am grateful for two wonderful people without whom none of those things would be in my life. This Thanksgiving I am truly thankful to have the love, support, and enduring patience of my parents, John and Susan Friederich. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants, none more than myself, and this is just a small microcosm of the gratitude they deserve.”
Sixth-grade religious education students from St. Mary Parish in Grinnell give thanks for:
Maria Rasmusson: “I am thankful for God. He has kept me safe and helped me through this past year. All the difficult, sad or happy times he has been there with me. I am also thankful for my family, shelter and friends. This year has been fun and I am happy just the way I am. Thanks be to God!”
Ava Deitrich: “I am thankful for my family, a good life, a loving pet, books to read, a roof over my head, food on the table, good education, amazing and thoughtful friends, a good job for my parents and the amazing teachers in my life. Thank you so much!”
Matthew Cunningham: Family, friends, God, prayer, Church, sports, music, water, food, house, insurance.
Katie Schneider: God, waking up the next day, the Bible, my family, shelter, food, Jesus Christ, belonging to a Church.
Adam Cheney: “Food, family, friends, shelter, holidays and safety.”
Daniel Rebelsky: “Family, friends, God, prayer, music, Church, life, essential resources.”
Riley Osborne: “God/Jesus/Mary, my family/pets, my friends, everything that I don’t really need but God has allowed me to have anyway, school, sports, food, being able to go to Church every Sunday.”
Ashlyn Stallman: “Having a good education; having friends and family that treat me like a ‘person’ and let me be me; having food, water, a home to live in; I’m thankful for clothes! I’m thankful for having millions of electronics; it’s an awesome life I have, also going to church! I’m thankful I get to participate in activities and other sports; what a life!
First-graders from the religious education program at St. Mary’s in Grinnell had this to say:
Kuennen: “I am thankful we got to move into a house.”
Carson: “I have a new baby cousin, Gram.”
Brendan: “I’m thankful my mom’s birthday is today.”
Jeffrey: “I’m thankful for the planet.”