St. Bernard holds Thanksgiving service

Standing, front, from left, are Fr. Joel Martin, OSB, Br. Thomas Jones, OSB; Sr. Elizabeth Meadows, OSB, Sacred Heart Monastery; Sr. Mary Therese Lopez, LIHM, and Fr. Patrick Cullen, Nazareth House, Birmingham. Back row, from left, are Rev. Charles Merrill, Annunciation of the Lord Church – Decatur; Rev. John Richter, St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church – Cullman; Rev. Jay Gardner, Grace Episcopal Church – Cullman; Rev. Raul Posada Valencia, Sacred Heart Church – Cullman; and Rev. Jose B. Chacko, St. James Church – Gadsden.

St. Bernard students were honored to host ministers from their home churches to take part in the school’s annual Thanksgiving Service at St. Bernard Prep. Since the group was unable to gather last year, it was especially nice to see old – and some new – faces joined for the traditional service of Thanksgiving.

Clergy took part in the service composed of prayers, psalms, Scripture readings and hymns. Students offered thanks and petitions to God as they lay symbols of the various aspects of their lives before the altar of the monks’ abbey church.

After several Scripture readings were heard in four different languages representing some of the various cultures of the students, Fr. Patrick Cullen of Nazareth House in Birmingham offered a reflection on the gospel passage about the ten lepers whom Jesus cured, and of which only one returned to say thank you. After reflecting on the other nine and their reasons for acting the way they did, he asked – Which one are you? By words or actions, do you say thank you, or not – that choice is yours, Cullen said.

Instrumental music was provided by St. Bernard Prep School’s band, headed by Jonathon Farley, and choral music was provided under the direction of Mrs. Ashleigh Russell, who also served as organist for the service.

St. Bernard Prep School President, Fr. Joel Martin, O.S.B., said, “This is an opportunity for all of us in the school community to give thanks to God for the many gifts we have received, and to do so along with those pastors, ministers, and priests who are so important in the lives of our students. These men and women are very busy, so we are all impressed with and grateful for their taking time to join us in going to God with thankful hearts and minds.”

The service was followed by a dinner for all guests, students, faculty, and staff. The guest clergy were served by the students.

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