Every year on the fourth Thursday in November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. The holiday commemorates when Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians thanked God for the harvest by celebrating a 3-day feast in 1621. 

In the Catholic Church, thanksgiving is celebrated at Mass every day in the Eucharistic Liturgy.

The Greek word “eucharisto” means “to give thanks”. 

56 years before the celebration at Plymouth, Spanish settlers celebrated the first Mass of Thanksgiving in the New World and a feast with Timucua Indians in St. Augustine, Florida.

A secular holiday with religious overtones:

The first Mass of Thanksgiving in America:

Squanto was native American and Catholic:

For us Christians, the Eucharist is the fullest expression of thanksgiving. At every holy Mass, we bless the Lord, God of the universe, and present to Him the bread and the wine, fruits “which earth has given and human hands have made”. Christ bound to these simple foods the sacrificial offering of Himself. United with Him, believers too are called to offer to God their lives and their daily work. May Mary, Mother of God, teach us to be grateful to the Lord for all that nature and human labor produce for our sustenance, and may she make us willing to share our resources with those in need.

Pope John Paul II, Angelus Address, November 14, 2004

Recognizing our blessings:

Cultivating a feeling of gratitude for God’s gifts:

There is always an opportunity for blessing:

And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3: 15

Gratitude is fundamental to Christianity:

Gratitude gives life meaning:

As in the prayer of petition, every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving. The letters of St. Paul often begin and end with thanksgiving, and the Lord Jesus is always present in it: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”; “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2638

Uniquely American and uniquely religious:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Lord, we thank You:

Share this page with friends and family to start a conversation about your faith.

Don’t miss a post. Learn more about the Catholic Church and strengthen your Catholic faith.

Find more Fiercely Catholic video issues here.

Subscribe here.

Book a Fiercely Catholic program at your next conference, retreat, or other Catholic event.