Complete your Thanksgiving Day by watching football, enjoying a meal and going to Mass.
Thanksgiving Day in the United States is often summarized by these two words: food and football. Families across the nation will come together to share a meal and enjoy watching the annual football games that are televised throughout the day.
One tradition that many Catholics have incorporated into their day is the celebration of Mass. Parishes often have a special Thanksgiving Mass that is scheduled later in the morning and is sometimes connected to an act of service, such as a meal for the poor or elderly.
A reason why the Mass is an appropriate way to celebrate Thanksgiving Day is because the Greek word Eucharist means “thanksgiving.” The Mass has always been associated with a desire to give thanks to God for the many blessings that we have received.
For this reason the first Catholics who came to the United States offered a Mass of thanksgiving, thanking God for preserving their life after a long voyage over the Atlantic Ocean.
The first Thanksgiving in America was a Catholic Mass
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reinforces this connection of the Mass to a spirit of thanksgiving.
The Eucharist, the sacrament of our salvation accomplished by Christ on the cross, is also a sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for the work of creation. In the Eucharistic sacrifice the whole of creation loved by God is presented to the Father through the death and the Resurrection of Christ. Through Christ the Church can offer the sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for all that God has made good, beautiful, and just in creation and in humanity.The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a blessing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all his benefits, for all that he has accomplished through creation, redemption, and sanctification. Eucharist means first of all “thanksgiving.” (CCC 1359-1360)
If you are looking for a new Thanksgiving tradition, look up your local parish and try attending their Thanksgiving Mass, expressing your gratitude to God for all the many blessings you have received before diving into the food and football.
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