NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A longstanding tradition is going on right this minute in Nacogdoches. A non-denominational Thanksgiving sermon is underway at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. It will be followed by a large feast.
The "Community Thanksgiving" is put on each year by the Nacogdoches Ministerial Alliance. It places guests in the right frame of mind for the coming week.
Sharing is the first lesson. About a week ago, just about every church in Nacogdoches asked their best cooks to roast a turkey for tonight's Community Thanksgiving. Local restaurants got involved too.
A rainy morning brought the second lesson of patience.
"They're not bringing in the turkeys," said volunteer Mary Mocniak. "You know, they're kinda waiting until the rain slows down."
During the lulls the carvers had more time for a good joke.
However, there was no rest for the weary in the kitchen.
They prepared dressing, potatoes, gravy and green beans.
It was enough for 300 meals. Plus enough was made for afternoon home deliveries.
"Wow. 250 meals."
"Yes, ma'am. Yes ma'am."
Sarah Carbajal grew up in Nacogdoches, but never attended the Community Thanksgiving. Now she's a key player. In about an hour, the new associate pastor for Austin Heights Baptist Church will deliver the sermon.
"It's an encouragement to practice gratitude," Carbajal said. "To practice praise and thanksgiving."
The fellowship and service make those involved ask, "Why don't we do things like this more often?"
"Get consensus of what can we do, what can we do better, how can we help people," said Deacon Gary Giese, the founder of Community Thanksgiving "That's what we're in the business for, I guess, is helping people."
There are more lessons to learn. More good deeds to perform. The pastor is saying it. The Community Thanksgiving is proving it. There is a transforming power of Thanksgiving.
The Nacogdoches Community Thanksgiving also prepares enough for leftovers. They'll be properly packaged and served to county inmates and staff on Thanksgiving Day.