The American Thanksgiving holiday is not about the Eucharist but it is the secular holiday that most resembles a Catholic holy day because it is a day dedicated to giving thanks for blessings received.

In the Catholic Church, thanksgiving is celebrated at Mass every day in the Eucharistic Liturgy when Christ is profoundly present to Catholics in a sacramental way. The Greek word “eucharisto” means “to give thanks”.

In 1565, 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.

56 years later, 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.

A secular holiday with religious overtones:

Gratitude is fundamental to Christianity:

Uniquely American and uniquely religious:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 4-7

Cultivating a feeling of gratitude for God’s gifts:

Remembering how God has blessed us:

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

There is always an opportunity for blessing:

For us Christians, thanksgiving was the name given to the most essential Sacrament there is: the Eucharist. In fact, the Greek word means precisely this: thanksgiving . Eucharist: thanksgiving. Christians, as all believers, bless God for the gift of life. To live is above all to have received life. All of us are born because someone wanted us to have life. And this is only the first of a long series of debts that we incur by living. Debts of gratitude.

Pope Francis, General Audience, 30 December 2020

The first Mass of Thanksgiving in America:

Squanto was native American and Catholic:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

A day in the life of a monk:

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