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Feast of Thanks View Comments
By Kathy Coffey

OFTEN WHEN ASKED to name a special family time, people’s responses cluster around meals: Christmas dinner, birthday parties, a vacation cookout by the shore, a wedding banquet. Their intuition is sound: these special times are also sacred times. What better day to celebrate that connection than Thanksgiving?

It’s a holiday designed for thanks and feasting (though turkey and football have become a cultural accretion). The first pilgrims who celebrated it were simply glad they had survived a precarious ocean crossing in 1620 and had harvested enough corn to carry them through winter. They were grateful—not for a blissful, pain-free experience—but for the presence of God in whatever circumstance they met.  


Kathy Coffey, the author of many books including Women of Mercy (Orbis), gives workshops and retreats nationally. She may be reached at

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Our Lady of the Rosary: St. Pius V established this feast in 1573. The purpose was to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Turks at Lepanto—a victory attributed to the praying of the rosary. Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716. 
<p>The development of the rosary has a long history. First, a practice developed of praying 150 Our Fathers in imitation of the 150 Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying 150 Hail Marys. Soon a mystery of Jesus' life was attached to each Hail Mary. Though Mary's giving the rosary to St. Dominic is recognized as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic. One of them, Alan de la Roche, was known as "the apostle of the rosary." He founded the first Confraternity of the Rosary in the 15th century. In the 16th century the rosary was developed to its present form—with the 15 mysteries (joyful, sorrowful and glorious). In 2002, Pope John Paul II added five Mysteries of Light to this devotion.</p> American Catholic Blog Just as God, in his loving providence, nourishes and sustains our bodies with food, so does he nourish and sustain our souls in the sacraments, the spiritual nutrition that animates, heals, and strengthens us during our sojourn in this earthly life. Receiving the sacraments often will help you live out the faith and keep you on the road to heaven.

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