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Throwback Thursday: Thanksgiving Day Mass approved

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Throwback Thursday's Thanksgiving edition takes a look at the establishing of a Thanksgiving Day Mass and a one-time movement to see the day become a holy day of obligation. (CT File)

Staff Report

Thanksgiving Day was instituted by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 to praise God for the blessings he has granted to our nation. While the holiday’s origins aren’t Catholic, the very act of the Mass itself is in part an offering of thanksgiving to God. In 1968 the U.S. Bishops approved an official “Mass for Thanksgiving Day” that had not previously been part of the liturgical calendar.

Today’s Thanksgiving edition of Throwback Thursday takes a look at some other articles from around the same time that show the growing place of Thanksgiving, a secular holiday, in the hearts of Catholics.

The main image is from the Aug. 21, 1970 edition of The Catholic Telegraph and announces the 1970 liturgical calendar and publication of the Thanksgiving Day Mass. One feature of the Thanksgiving Mass published at that time was that it permitted “people to carry gifts of clothes and food for the poor to the altar in the offertory procession ‘as a reminder to the faithful of our obligation to share the good of our stewardship.'”

An article reports that a priest proposed a special Mass for Thanksgiving Day a few years before the move was approved. (CT File)

In the present edition of the Roman Missal for Thanksgiving Day, the opening prayer is as follows: “Father all powerful, your gifts of love are countless and your goodness infinite. As we come before you on Thanksgiving Day, with gratitude for your kindness, open our hearts to have concern for every man woman and child so that we may share your gifts in loving service.”

A pair of related articles came up as the Throwback Thursday team researched this holiday.

In the Jun. 12, 1964 edition Franciscan Father Neil J. O’Connell proposed a text for a Thanksgiving Day Mass. The article notes that “quasi liturgical services relating to Thanksgiving Day were already taking place around the country, but adds there had been no official approval to that point.

The previous year, in the Dec. 6, 1963 edition of The Catholic Telegraph, an article reported former Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn, New York Charles R. Mulrooney proposed that Thanksgiving Day become a Holy Day of Obligation, replacing either New Year’s Day or Ascension Thursday. His proposal was not accepted, but most Catholic parishes do offer Mass on Thanksgiving Day for those wishing to attend.

“For too long a time and by too many of our fellow citizens we have been regarded as a separated and at times hyphenated group, bred in a difference culture, thinking and living apart from our fellows, except perhaps in times of emergency,” Bishop Mulrooney said. “I am confident that if we Catholics of the United States embody the National Day of Thanksgiving into our small group of holy days of obligation, our fair-minded and religious-minded brethren of other faiths will be bound to acknowledge that we are indeed with them in sympathy and ideals.”

A New York Bishop proposed that Thanksgiving Day become a holy day of obligation in 1963. His suggestion did not catch on. (CT File)

Welcome to The Catholic Telegraph’s edition of Throwback Thursday. Throwback Thursday is a weekly online activity wherein users of social media share an old photo or anecdote about times gone by. We use Throwback Thursday to highlight the history of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and our publication.

Previous Throwback Thursdays
CCHD launched under different name
Trains before planes; How archbishops arrived
Carroll HS founded, honoring first American bishop

Halloween a mixture of different traditions

Four area bishops installed in 1945

Habemus John Paul II

The death of a Pope
Guardian Angels artist was spot on
Catholic prep football in the CT
Archbishop Bernadin makes the Tribune
Sept. 11, 2001
Computers all the rage in 1983
English permitted in some rituals

Posted Nov. 27, 2014
Happy Thanksgiving 

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