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.

President George Washington originally called for an official “day of public thanksgiving and prayer” in 1789. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared that the 4th Thursday of November would be an official holiday of Thanksgiving.

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, Catholic settlers from Spain celebrated the first Mass of Thanksgiving in the New World and held a feast with Timucua Indians in St. Augustine, Florida.

A secular holiday with religious overtones:

Gratitude is fundamental to Christianity:

Uniquely American and uniquely religious:

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

Cultivating a feeling of gratitude for God’s gifts:

Remembering how God has blessed us:

Give thanks to the LORD, Who is good, Whose love endures forever; And say, “Save us, O God, our savior,gather us and deliver us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in praising You.”

1 Chronicles 16: 34-35

There is always an opportunity for blessing:

It is desirable to have the faithful in large numbers take an active part in the sacrifice of the Mass each and every day and receive the nourishment of Holy Communion with a pure and holy mind and offer fitting thanks to Christ the Lord for such a great gift.

Pope Paul Vi, Mysterium Fidei, September 3, 1965

The first Mass of Thanksgiving in America:

Squanto was native American and Catholic:

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