Has any American leader more boldly expressed the religious underpinnings of Thanksgiving Day than Abraham Lincoln did upon establishing the November holiday in 1863?

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things” that our prosperous nation now enjoys, he said. “They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.” (He let his Calvinist formation show in the inclusion of “in anger.”)

While there’s no specifically Catholic corollary to this beloved day set aside for family, food and gratitude, there are many ways to Catholicize it. And doing so is only natural. The very word Thanksgiving is nearly synonymous with Eucharist. Many parishes offer a special Thanksgiving Day Mass — a great way to start the day — and lots of Catholic families have come up with their own customs. (See page B1.)

Happy -— and Blessed — Thanksgiving, America.