Every November, in the United States (but in other places in the world, too!), millions of people celebrate the holiday Thanksgiving.
For many faiths, the act of giving thanks to God is important. For Catholics, it is the name we give to the most important thing we do: the Eucharist. Let me explain.
Catholics believe that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. At Mass, his once-for-all sacrifice on the cross is re-presented. In doing this, we remember and participate in his sacrifice. But most of all, we are giving God thanks.
And that’s exactly what the word Eucharist means: thanksgiving. Literally: the Greek word for Eucharist, εὐχαριστία, means “thanksgiving.”
It was a common term for communion in the early Church, and is even associated with communion in the Bible. For example, in 1 Corinthians 10.16 it reads: “Is not the cup of thanksgiving [εὐχαριστία] for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?”
So every time Catholics go to Mass, at the center of their worship is the ultimate Thanksgiving.