ADD ON - Should have also posted this below - the Indian Squanto (helped the Pilgrims, remember?) was a Catholic. Here's an article referenced in the piece below: Squanto, the Catholic Hero of the Thanksgiving
Our friend Laurie sent me this today. Some interesting stuff off a website bleonging to some Catholic scholar who I never heard of. I have excerpted the first two.
The history books will tell you that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Protestant pilgrims of Massachusetts in 1621. Not so. There was the Catholic Thanksgiving of 1565 in Florida and another Catholic Thanksgiving of 1589 in Texas.
- The first American Thanksgiving was actually celebrated on September 8 (feast of the birth of the Blessed Virgin) in 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida. The Native Americans and Spanish settlers held a feast and the Holy Mass was offered. This was 56 years before the Puritan pilgrims of Massachusetts.Don Pedro Menendez came ashore amid the sounding of trumpets, artillery salutes and the firing of cannons to claim the land for King Philip II and Spain. The ship chaplain Fr. Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales chanted the Te Deum and presented a crucifix that Menendez ceremoniously kissed. Then the 500 soldiers, 200 sailors and 100 families and artisans, along with the Timucuan Indians celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in gratitude to God.
- The second American Thanksgiving happened on April 30, 1598, when Spanish explorer Don Juan de Oñate requested the friars to say a Mass of Thanksgiving, after which he formally proclaimed “La Toma”, claiming the land north of the Rio Grande for the King of Spain. The men feasted on duck, goose, and fish from the river. The actors among them dressed and presented a play. All this took place twenty-three years before the Pilgrims set sail from England on the Mayflower.