1. Religion & Spirituality
Scott P. Richert

Preparing for Thanksgiving

By November 20, 2013

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When we talk about "preparing for Thanksgiving," we usually mean buying the turkey, cutting up the bread for stuffing, and baking a pecan pie or a pumpkin pie (or both).A wooden cutout of a turkey for children to pose for photos at Edwards Apple Orchard in Poplar Grove, Illinois. (Photo © Amy J. Richert) Even though Thanksgiving is an American national holiday that doesn't exist in the Catholic calendar (though the Church does provide a special Mass to be celebrated on Thanksgiving Day in the United States), we should still take this opportunity to express our thanks to God for all of the blessings He has bestowed on us. And proper thanksgiving, just like a proper Thanksgiving, requires some preparation.

First, we should know what it means to offer thanks. Prayer of thanksgiving is one of the five major types of prayer, but it is perhaps the one most neglected. When things are going badly, we usually remember to ask God to make things better, but when things are going well, we tend to forget that God is the Source of all of our blessings.

Second, we should plan on making Thanksgiving the start of an attitude of thanksgiving that will last all year long. Pausing always--even when we're out in public, or just grabbing a Big Mac--to pray the Grace Before Meals is a very good start. Finishing with the Grace After Meals is even better, because it is written specifically as a prayer of thanksgiving.

If your family isn't in the habit of saying Grace After Meals, there's no better time to start than at Thanksgiving. (And, with its remembrance of the faithful departed, Grace After Meals is particularly appropriate during the Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.) Simply print this page to make a copy of Grace After Meals that you can distribute at Thanksgiving dinner. And be sure to make extra copies for your guests to take home with them!

More on Thanksgiving:

When Is Thanksgiving Day? (Various Years):

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November 15, 2012 at 11:26 pm
(1) George Richter says:

Leave Catholism out of Thanksgiving. It was about Puritans not Catholics. The Vatican had no idea where Plymouth Rock was and was irrelevant to the celebration

November 16, 2012 at 7:43 am
(2) Scott P. Richert says:

So, Mr. Richter, are you saying that Catholics in America shouldn’t celebrate a national holiday? That we’re not really Americans?

November 18, 2012 at 8:41 am
(3) Beth says:

As a Catholic I have gone to Mass every Thanksgiving day. I was stunned when I met my husband & he had grown up Catholic but has never attended Mass on Thanksgiving. We have been attending Mass on Thanksgiving day with our family during our 14 years of marriage.

November 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm
(4) Caterine says:

Saying grace and thanking God has always been a Catholic tradition. Where did u think the Pilgrims, puritans, and other protestants who came to this country derived the idea from? ?
Thanks be to God!

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