Multi-Faith Thanksgiving Celebrates Diversity
Published: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
The annual Multi-Faith Thanksgiving Celebration held this past Thursday opened with the words, “When we come together to share our stories of gratitude, we stop time.” In the Heights Room, students and adults of all faiths gathered to “stop time” by giving praise, expressing gratitude through personal stories, praying, and enjoying good food together.
The celebration depicted the great cultural and religious diversity at Boston College, as the program presented a hodgepodge of prayers, readings, and songs from the Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions. Those gathered sang Catholic and other Christian songs such as “Table of Plenty” and “Your Grace is Enough,” listened to Muslim prayers and Catholic readings in Spanish, engaged in a Buddhist Meditation led by Jonathan Makransky, A&S ’14, heard a special performance by Shaan and listened to expressions of gratitude from people of all faiths.
The stories of gratitude held center stage, as each story compelled the audience to stop and reconsider their lives in a grander context and give thanks for the good and bad things in life. Pooja Shah, a Hindu and A&S ’14, spoke first. “God is omnipresent,” she said. “His presence exists in my parents’ love, in my brother’s jokes, in the smiling faces of the kids I served in Jamaica, in the sorrows of death, and in the warmth and depth of friendship.”
Afterward, Linda Reams, an American Muslim who works as a senior receptionist in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, spoke about her life struggles and how she found reason to be thankful. Despite losing her father to cancer and experiencing all of the anxieties of sending one’s child off to war in the Middle East, Reams still gives thanks at the end of each day because thankfulness is “a feeling that fills you up inside, that makes your heart glow, that makes your mind know that all is right with the world,” she said.
Vincent Rougeau, dean of BC Law, was the last to speak, and he gave thanks for his healthy family, the intergenerational knowledge he receives from his still living great-grandparents, the Jesuit tradition at BC, and his residence in a dynamic city like Boston. All of the speakers ended their stories of gratitude with the words: “For all of these things, I am grateful.”The celebration concluded with the people’s gifts of bread and funds to the Spread the Bread initiative, an initiative that partnered up with BC for this celebration to give breads “wrapped with love” to the hungry. The celebration left many in awe and deep reflection.