Our National Observance of Thanksgiving will be celebrated as a non-work day at Holy Cross Abbey. The community Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 AM as on a Sunday; Abbot Robert Barnes will preside and Fr. James Orthmann will preach. Our liturgical vocabulary is, of course, derived from New Testament Greek, “Eucharist” from the word for “thanksgiving”. We hold the Mass to be a sacrifice and a banquet, like the scarificial celebrations decribed in the Jewish Scriptures. What more fitting way to celebrate the blessings of the year, of the harvest and of our nation than by the community Eucharist?
Observing the Sunday schedule, Vespers (5:30 PM) will be followed by Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
To satisfy the curiosity of our readers, yes, the monks also celebrate with a festive meal at midday; and, yes, there is no turkey. The Cistercian observance of no meat holds through the holidays. However, that is no deprivation; in Twenty-First Century America, it’s a surprise to no one that a vegetarian feast can be quite creative and delectable and reflect the specialties of the season. The wild turkeys populating the Abbey’s woods are very grateful, in their own way, for the persistence of Cistercian customs.