We invite you to bring the bread and wine you will be serving at your Thanksgiving Dinner for a special blessing.
Thursday, November 22
By Fr. Paul Turner
Thanksgiving Day may be observed with a special Mass at Catholic churches throughout the United States of America. The day is a secular holiday with strong religious roots. This day implies that there is a God, that God is provident, that we recognize what God has done, that we can address God about our blessings, and that the best thing we can say is "Thanks."
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops includes this day on the liturgical calendar for the country as an optional memorial. Parishes are therefore not obliged to observe it. They may celebrate whatever weekday Mass would otherwise fall on that day this year. But most parishes choose to make this a special Mass of thanksgiving. If anyone knows how to give thanks to God, the church should know how to do it best. The very word Eucharist means "thanksgiving." There is no more fitting way to celebrate this feast than to join in prayer at the table of the Lord.
The Roman Missal offers a set of prayers that the priest may use for a Thanksgiving Day Mass, including a special preface to open the Eucharistic prayer. Readings may be taken from the lectionary’s Mass "In Thanksgiving to God." There are several choices here, so the readings you hear may change from year to year.
Some churches observe other customs. There may be a food collection at Mass so that those who have trouble paying for groceries will benefit from the generosity of the faithful. Or parishes might invite you to bring some of the food you will eat at your own table this day. In that case, you may hear the Blessing of Food on Thanksgiving Day from the Book of Blessings.