Archbishop Nelson J. Perez posted the following message on November 22 for Thanksgiving Day, celebrated Thursday, November 24 in the United States.
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
In my name and that of the auxiliary bishops, I wish you and your families a joyful thanksgiving. Each year, this uniquely American holiday provides an opportunity to reflect on our lives and to thank God for His many wonderful blessings in our lives.
I count each of you as a gift to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I am deeply grateful for your commitment to the people of our local Church. We are able to meet the spiritual and temporal needs of those who rely on us every day because your faith inspires you to put the love of God into action. I am sincerely grateful for all of you, priests, deacons, consecrated religious and lay people. Your unwavering service in our parishes, schools, social service ministries and administrative offices is building the Kingdom of God here on earth.
I know your job has been harder than ever over the past few years due to the ongoing pandemic. As there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel and we move closer to normalcy, the virus is still with us and we must remain vigilant for the sake of everyone around us.
Across the Archdiocese, we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our employees, volunteers and everyone we serve. If you have not yet been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, I strongly encourage you to do so as soon as possible unless a valid medical reason prevents you from receiving it.
If you have been vaccinated, please continue to follow COVID-19 safety protocols and receive a reminder when you are eligible. There have been cases of the virus among those vaccinated and maintaining immunity levels is important.
Pope Francis told us that vaccination is an act of charity for our neighbors. It is also particularly important for those whose work or ministry will take them to places that may require all visitors to be vaccinated. We are all partners in public health and we will continue to work together for the common good.
As we gather around the table with our family and friends on Thanksgiving Day, we need to remember that the love of Christ is everyone’s greatest gift. We can absorb it, reflect it, and give it to others. Know that you and your families are in our thoughts and prayers. May God bless you abundantly with peace and joy.
Sincerely in Christ,
Monsignor Nelson. J. Pérez, DD
Archbishop of Philadelphia