Our Catechism tells us this about Eucharist:
“At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.’”
The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.”
“The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.”
“The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.”
Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all. In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: “Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.”
The inexhaustible richness of this sacrament is expressed in the different names we give it. Each name evokes certain aspects of it. It is called Eucharist, because it is an action of Thanksgiving to God.
~ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1323-1328 So “Thanksgiving” is something the Church has been celebrating since the founding of the Church. As Catholics, when we celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday, it is important that we remind ourselves and others of the true meaning of the feast—the gathering together in thanksgiving to God, to thank him for the good of creation itself, and, especially since it takes place in the month of November, to call to mind those we love who have gone before us. Remember to pause and offer the traditional prayer of Grace [from Gratia, “Thanks”], and don’t forget the traditional prayer which closes a meal as well. Why not combine the two prayers at the beginning? (At my family’s celebration people have wandered off by the end.)
It would be a good thing to pray for the poor souls who have gone before us, and can even act as a reminder to call them to mind, and that we long for the day when we will together share in the Paschal Feast of Heaven. By praying for them at the beginning, we are reminded that we share with the Lord, and those claimed by him, in every meal we consecrate to Him.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Bless us O Lord, and these Thy gifts
which we are about to receive from Thy bounty.
Through Christ Our Lord. Amen
We give You thanks
for all Thy benefits, Almighty God,
Who lives and reigns forever.
And may the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
In the name of the Father…