Ministers and Priests of St. Bernard Prep School students and staff members were recently invited to participate in the school’s annual Thanksgiving Service. Over forty people who minister to churches in various parts of the country were sent an invitation.
Leading the opening prayer was Rev. Patrick Cullen, pastor of St. Aloysius Church in Bessemer. Scripture readings were given by Rev. Matt Carmichael of Daystar Church in Hanceville, Rev. Etsel Riddle of Oak Level Baptist Church in Cullman, Very Rev. Kevin Bazzel of St. Paul Cathedral in Birmingham, and Deacon Dennis Kobs of Annunciation Church in Decatur. The final prayer was offered by Sr. Teresa Walsh of Annunciation Church in Decatur. Also leading prayers were Rev. Robert Blackwell of Grace Episcopal Church, Cullman, and Rev. Michael Deering of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Gardendale.
Rev. Mitchell Williams of First United Methodist Church delivered a “mouthwatering” homily with a reminder of gifts for which we “oughta” be thankful. Referring to the tornado that hit Cullman on April 27, 2011, Rev. Williams reminded the congregation of how bad things can happen in a community. The Cullman area witnessed heavy damage to homes, churches, and businesses. Power was restored within a week, water was still available, and neighbors from other counties assisted in the clean-up. However, Hurricane Sandy is much worse. People are still without power, and the water is becoming less and less, and there are no neighbors who are spared the disaster.
“If we knew today that something of this nature was about to happen, what would be the first thing you would rescue?” Williams asked. “What would become precious to you?”
Williams encouraged all to appreciate the little things in life. “Be thankful for the chance to be happy and to be connected with a God who has blessed you, and loves you.”
After the sermon, students offered prayers of thanksgiving/petition, during which gifts representing the prayers were offered at the altar of the Abbey Church. Thanks was expressed for the harvest that makes our lives possible, and all creation; the freedom of our Country, our armed forces, and elected officials; parents, teachers, and friends; education and wisdom; athletic abilities, people of all faiths, and loved ones who have died.
Music was provided by vocalist Caitlin Varquez who was accompanied by Alex Ginas playing the guitar. Dr. Rebecca Whited was the organist and was assisted by trumpeter Alex Ginas.
After the service, Thanksgiving Dinner was enjoyed by all in the Dining Hall.