THE MIRACULOUS STORY OF THE FORGOTTEN CATHOLIC HERO OF THE FIRST THANKSGIVING

THE MIRACULOUS STORY OF THE FORGOTTEN CATHOLIC HERO OF THE FIRST THANKSGIVING

(FROM Church POP editors)

Most people know the basic story of the first Thanksgiving: the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth rock, the Native Americans helped them grow food, and they all gathered together in a feast of thanksgiving.

But what most tellings of the story leave out is the crucial role played by Squanto, the English-speaking Catholic Native American hero.

Wait, what? Why was there an English-speaking Catholic Native American near Plymouth when the Pilgrims landed? Here’s the amazing story.

In the early 17th century, Squanto’s tribe came in contact with some of the earliest English colonist in the Americas. He was captured and taught English so he could serve as an interpreter. But in 1614, as he was being transported by John Smith (of Pocahontas fame), one of Smith’s lieutenants, Thomas Hunt, kidnapped him.

Hunt took Squanto to Spain to sell him as a slave. But some Franciscan friars saw what was happening and saved Squanto. The Franciscans taught Squanto the Catholic faith and he was apparently baptized.

A free man, Squanto wanted to return home, so he went to London to try to get a place aboard a ship going back to the Massachusetts colony. In the meantime, he worked as a shipbuilder and greatly improved his English.

In 1619, Squanto was finally able to return home on a ship led by John Smith. Tragically, upon arrival he discovered that most of his tribe had died of a plague the year before.

It was almost as though God had prepared him perfectly for what happened next: just a year later in 1620, the Pilgrims arrived. They were English Calvinists who were seeking to build a new religious community apart from the Church of England. Little did they know that they would end up being saved by a Catholic!

The Pilgrims had little food and were unprepared for survival in the Americas. Squanto, who spoke great English and had a lot of experience with English culture, reached out to help, teaching them how to grow food in the new landscape. It must have seemed like a miracle to the Pilgrims!

He befriended the Pilgrims and became an important part of their community. At one point, Squanto was kidnapped by another tribe and a team of Pilgrims saved him.

Unfortunately, less than two years after the landing of the Pilgrims, Squanto became sick and died suddenly. Governor William Bradford, one of the pilgrims’ leaders, wrote this about him:

“Here [Monomoyick Bay] Squanto fell ill of Indian fever, bleeding much at the nose, which the Indians take as a symptom of death, and within a few days he died. He begged the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishman’s God in heaven, and bequeathed several of his things to his English friends, as remembrances. His death was a great loss.”

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DEAR LORD, HOW HAVE YOU BLESSED ME? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS….. – THE NORTH AMERICAN COLLEGE CELEBRATES THANKSGIVING

DEAR LORD, HOW HAVE YOU BLESSED ME? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS…..

Dear Lord, how have you blessed me? Let me count the ways…..

My wonderful family, my beautiful faith, my ocean of friends, the friends throughout your great universe whom you have brought into my life.

Does a day pass that you do not bring some unique, new person into my life?

Does a day pass that I am not enriched ad blessed by some amazing event which you placed in my path as a learning moment, a time of prayer, a period of silent Thanksgiving?

You blessed me at my baptism when you brought me into your beautiful Catholic Church and a faith to which I have always tried to be faithful.

You have blessed me by enriching that faith over the years, allowing me to work for you every day, to bring your Word and your teachings and your Truth to so many.

My words, by comparison, are very insignificant but truly heartfelt. I am filled with both thanksgiving and joy as I write these words, as my mind’s eye overflows with images of each family member, of friends here in Rome and around the globe, of the magnificent events that daily fill my life.

I sign most emails and letters with “God bless,” and then on another line “Joan” – but I read it silently as “God bless Joan.”

And You HAVE blessed me! Heartfelt THANKS!

….. And Thank You FOR THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH
For the beauty of the earth,

For the beauty of the skies,

For the love which from our birth

Over and around us lies,

Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the beauty of each hour

Of the day and of the night,

Hill and vale, and tree and flower,

Sun and moon and stars of light,

Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the joy of human love,

Brother, sister, parent, child,

Friends on earth, and friends above,

Pleasures pure and undefiled,

Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

THE NORTH AMERICAN COLLEGE CELEBRATES THANKSGIVING

My friendship with the priests, seminarians, faculty and staff of the Pontifical North American College is another of my great blessings. Thanksgiving is one of the more special days at the College and it always begins, as Thanksgiving should, with Mass. The guest celebrant and homilist today was Bishop Jorge Carlos Patron Wong, secretary for seminaries of the Congregation for Clergy.

A full turkey lunch with Italian additions of antipasto and divine ravioli was on the menu, as you will see. Seminarians, priests and their guests gather at state tables, as you will also see in the following photos. I was at the Illinois table this morning, which was also the head table as NAC’s rector, Rev. Peter Harman is from Illinois. I sat next to and across from two priests and two seminarians from the diocese of Rockford.

Fifth year students (ordained priests who have returned to Rome for a fifth year of studies) served the meal. Before we ate, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Ken Hackett read the U.S. Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Without further ado, here are some of the tables:

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You see the Australia table – there are seminarians from both Canada and Australia at NAC.

The Illinois table featured both the Sears Tower and the John Hancock building – and Abe Lincoln, of course!

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Ambassador Hackett –

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Our table

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