Pope: The Church is “a mystery of love at the service of humanity, with a view to its sanctification.”

“The Church is not a social or philanthropic organization,” Pope Benedict XVI reminded a group of pilgrims from southern Italy who visited the Vatican on July 2. “She is the community of God.


First Thanksgiving Was Actually Catholic

It Was a Traditional Latin Mass of Thanksgiving in St. Augustine, in 1565. Fifty five years before the Pilgrims Landed at Plymouth Rock.

History books have long portrayed images of the US’s first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, with Pilgrims, dressed in black and white, sharing turkey with American Indians. (It should be noted that the Pilgrims, who came to America to escape religious persecution from the Anglicans, were themselves the perpetrators of religious persecution. When they had been in power, they had gone around the English countryside destroying Anglican altars and liturgical accoutrements because the Anglican Church was too “papish” for them. No wonder they were “persecuted.”)

To the contrary, the research of Michael Gannon, an expert on Florida colonial history and professor of history at the University of Florida, over twenty years ago revealed that St. Augustine, the US’s oldest city, was the site of the first Thanksgiving. This first Thanksgiving took place in 1565, 55 years before the Pilgrims landed, when the Spanish founder of St. Augustine, Pedro Menindez de Avilis, and 800 Spanish settlers shared in a Mass of Thanksgiving. Get that? A Mass. A Traditional Latin Mass.

Following the Mass, Menindez ordered a communal meal to be shared by the Spaniards and the Seloy Indians who occupied the landing site. Prof. Gannon, in his book, The Cross in the Sand, states that the nation’s first Thanksgiving menu would most likely have consisted of what the Spanish settlers had with them during their voyage: cocido, a stew made from salted pork and garbanzo beans laced with garlic seasoning, hard sea biscuits, and red wine. If the Seloy natives contributed to the meal, the table would have seen wild turkey, venison, gopher-tortoise, mullet, corn, beans, and squash. [PRNewswire]

So, you traditional Catholic families, when you gather around your Thanksgiving table this year, tell your children the real story of the first Thanksgiving: that it was hosted not by the Pilgrims, but by traditional Roman Catholics, and that its centerpiece was not a turkey, but the Traditional Latin Mass.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Submitted By Doria2

A baptized Catholic Native American orchestrated what became known as Thanksgiving

Squanto, the beloved hero of Thanksgiving, was the Native American man who mediated between the Puritan Pilgrims and the Native Americans.

Squanto had been enslaved by the English but he was freed by Spanish Franciscans. Squanto thus received baptism and became a Catholic.

So it was a baptized Catholic Native American who orchestrated what became known as Thanksgiving.

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A summary of various opinions on what may or may not be going on there, along with a number of good links.

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Catholic and cool in Sydney

Reuter’s photo

Catholic and cool in Sydney

World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney was a triumph for the Catholic Church and its 81-year-old head, Pope Benedict XVI. About 400,000 people attended a final Mass on Sunday (July 20), briefly making the pilgrims’ destination bigger than the nation’s capital, Canberra. Some baffled journalists described it as a Catholic Woodstock – the 1969 orgy of, drugs and sex and rock ‘n roll which became an iconic moment for baby-boomers. But 40 years later, the world has moved in an unexpected direction. WYD, the biggest youth event in history, is an anti-Woodstock, a repudiation of the materialism and secularism of the baby-boomers.

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Submitted by Doria2

150 from the Diocese of Joliet arrive in Sydney, Australia


A message from the Holy Trinity, Westmont Youth Group Pilgrims:

It is a glorious day in Sydney!

We are waiting for the Pope’s official arrival ceremony in Sydney … but we actually were fortunate to have his motorcade pass by on the street RIGHT OUTSIDE our catechesis location this morning.

I got a photo of him in his car!

The kids were awesome ~ lined both sides of the narrow street and cheered a greeting as he passed.

We have had 2 days of awesome catechesis from a Bishop from India yesterday, and today, from the Bishop of Ottawa.

Also, Steve Angrisano and Tony Melendez are the musicians at our site all week!

We were also able to take in a conference from Jason and Christalina Evert yesterday, and a Franciscan music festival at the beach.

Hard to describe in a few words how blessed this time is for all of us.

Hope to check in again in a couple of days.

Peace to all,


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Latest WYD News From Sydney

A Report from a Mom:

Hi All –
I had a long chat with David from Australia this afternoon.  Things continue to go well there.  Of course there have been those pilgrim moments be overall he sounded quite elated.
Even though it is winter there they have been blessed with warmer than normal temperatures.  The overnight outside in his words was “just fine” and he was able to sleep some.  Of course I received reports of his leading a Conga line around the race course at 11:30pm and having a great time during the concert but as he said – why sleep when there is so much else to do!  Oh Youth….
They needed to rely on the projection screen to watch the Mass with Pope Benedict but he said is was awesome none the less.  One of the things that he was particularly impressed with was the Monstrance that could be seen from the way back.  He said it was 6 feet in diameter and amazingly beautiful.  They have enjoyed meeting people from all over the world.  He said he has really enjoyed visiting with the youth from Australia and they have been very friendly and welcoming.  He enjoyed a particular visit with some blokes from England and a group from Kenya among others.
The Catechesis has been wonderful and very motivating.  The WYD events are officially over and when I spoke with him they had a free day.  The ladies all headed off the see the Opera House and do some shopping.  David, Luke and Charles opted to find the local Games Workshop and do a few other guy things instead.
Then they have two days of organized tours, first to an Aboriginal Village and the the mountains before heading home.
We closed our conversation with him telling me in no uncertain terms that I have three  years to get in shape because he wants me to chaperon the next WYD in 2011 with him.  The Holy Father announced that it was going to be held in Madrid, Spain!  I guess that means that he is again having a wonderful experience since he is already planning the next trip.
I will pick them up at 1am this Friday and I’m sure we will hear many more stories!  Thanks for your prayers thus far – keep them coming!