Ordinary Time: November 25th
Thursday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time; Optional Memorial of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr; Thanksgiving Day (USA)
Previous Calendar: St. Catherine of Alexandria, virgin and martyr ; Other Titles: St. Katherine
From time immemorial St. Catherine had been venerated at the monastery on Mount Sinai when, in the fifteenth century, the monks discovered her body. Legend has made of her a young Christian of Alexandria who rejected the advances of the Emperor Maximinus and routed a meeting of learned men gathered together to induce her to deny Christ. This feast was restored to the current calendar in 2002.
Many people assume that the United States has celebrated Thanksgiving Day since the time of the pilgrims as a sign of thanksgiving for the harvest season. This is not exactly true. President Abraham Lincoln instituted the holiday in 1863 during the Civil War. However, he did not have the harvest in mind. He wanted Americans to celebrate the holiday as a sign of unity and thanksgiving to God.
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” (President Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation, October 3, 1863).
There is no American holiday that so closely resembles the symbolism and meaning of the sacrament of the Eucharist. We celebrate Thanksgiving as a sign of American unity and thanksgiving to God who has given us great gifts.--Excerpted from The Religion TeacherFor more information please see Thanksgiving Day.
St. Catherine of Alexandria
The account of her martyrdom is legendary and defies every attempt to cull out the historical kernel. Old Oriental sources make no mention of her. In the West her cult does not appear before the eleventh century, when the crusaders made it popular. She became the patroness of philosophical faculties; she is one of the "Fourteen Holy Helpers." The breviary offers the following:
- St. Catherine was invoked by young girls seeking husbands. If you have children, you could use this feast to discuss the qualities of a good spouse. You could bake St. Catherine's wigs and have your discussion as part of the fun (a spoon full of sugar).
- Read more about St. Catherine.
- St. Catherine's remains are in St. Katherine's Monastery on Mt. Sinai. The Monastery, a 1,600-year old fortress at the base of Mt. Sinai, is inhabited by Coptic monks (not in union with Rome). Inside the chapel is believed to be the Burning Bush, through which God first appeared to Moses. Read more about the history of the Church of Alexandria and the Council of Chalcedon where the Coptic Church broke from the bark of Peter and pray for the reunion of all Eastern Churches under the Pope.