Thanksgiving Day is typically thought of as a national holiday, however, the idea of giving thanks also is an essential part of daily Catholic life. As a Church family, we celebrate a thanksgiving meal every Sunday within the context of the Mass which is first and foremost a prayer of thanksgiving. In fact, the word Eucharist comes from the Greek for “thanksgiving.”


Several of the reasons we go to Mass may be the same reasons we gather with family and friends on Thanksgiving Day: as a response of gratitude to God’s love and generosity in our lives; to strengthen bonds with our family or community, and to provide a legacy to younger generations.

Here’s a Thanksgiving Prayer (USCCB) you may want to read aloud or say together.

Writing for American Catholic, Jeanne Hunt offers some additional ways to “share the bounty” at Thanksgiving:

  • Provide a complete Thanksgiving meal for a needy family. If you are aware of a family that is unable to prepare the meal, cook and deliver a meal for them before your own feast.
  • Collect canned goods and nonperishable items and take them to a local food pantry or shelter for the homeless (or to your church).
  • Spend Thanksgiving Day working in a soup kitchen but also consider volunteering at an alternate time of year. Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to draw an overabundance of volunteers to soup kitchens in our diocese like God’s Kitchen, so consider giving your time during the summer as well, when volunteers aren’t as plentiful. The experience of giving away your time and energy will provide “food” for your spirit.

We wish you and your loved ones a blessed and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

Please note: The offices of the Diocese of Grand Rapids will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 28-29, 2019 for the Thanksgiving holiday.