Giving Thanks for an Amazing Year

It’s crazy to think that we are now well into June, and it’s hard to believe that this will be my final blog post of the year. As Mary described in her last post, we are now trying to cherish every moment we have with friends and members of the parish community. We’ve shifted into a slower work pace, but we are still keeping fairly busy with taking advantage of every opportunity we have to share time with friends and explore different parts of Wexford and Ireland.

I have to admit that I’ve been a bit nervous about writing this post, because I have not been sure how to best convey the emotions that I am feeling as our time here draws to a close. I also haven’t been sure how to adequately thank the countless friends, families, and groups that have been so gracious, kind, welcoming, and supportive to all of us throughout the year. In thinking about what I wanted to write, I developed curiosity at what past Teach Bhríders were thinking during their last few weeks in Wexford. In reading some of the last few blog posts from past years, I found that their emotions and thoughts were quite similar to mine in many ways: some excitement at looking forward to reconnecting with friends and families, sadness and nostalgia for preparing to leave behind many great friends and an amazing community, and giving thanks for such a wonderful year filled with great joy and spiritual growth.

In reading these past year-end thoughts and farewells, I came to realize the incredible grace and blessings that the Teach Bhríde program offers to so many individuals, and how blessed I feel to have been able to take part in this exchange. For countless people, both American and Irish, who have been a part of, helped shape, or touched the lives of the Teach Bhríde community, there has been such a wonderful flourishing of friendships, faith, and community over the past five years, and with joy and excitement we look forward to these gifts continuing to flourish in and around future Teach Bhríde communities. Clonard is such an amazing parish and community that has given so many gifts and incredible experiences to all of us Americans who have been a part of the Teach Bhríde program, and we hope that we have been able to positively touch others’ lives in some way as so many parishioners have touched ours. We are so grateful for the love, friendship, and support that so many in and around Clonard have graciously given us during our time in Wexford, and we thank God for the blessings we have been able to share together and that will continue to be shared in future years and communities.

Throughout this year, I have been blessed to form so many fantastic friendships, enjoy many wonderful times with those friends, and experience tremendous growth both personally and spiritually. I want to thank everyone in Wexford who has touched our lives in so many beautiful ways this year, as well as all of our friends and supporters in the U.S. who help to make the Teach Bhríde experience possible. I’m going to miss everyone here in Wexford greatly, but I look forward to visiting again in the hopefully not-too-distant future and reuniting with the wonderful community here. May God’s peace and blessings be with you all, and thank you again to everyone for an incredible year!

Slán,
Ben