Thanksgiving Day is a great family day in the USA. It's a day when Americans, second to none in hospitality in my experience, welcome strangers to their home. Americans joined the Columbans almost as soon as we were formally established in 1918. We were invited to set up our American headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, by Archbishop Jeremiah Harty, who had served as the first non-Spanish Archbishop of Manila, from 1903 to 1916, when he was transferrred to Omaha. An Irish-American, Archbishop Harty was succeeded in Manila by Irishman Archbishop Michael O'Doherty, who invited the Columbans to Manila in 1929. It's an interesting fact that the first two post-Spanish archbishops of Manila played such a vital role in the early days of the Missionary Society of St Columban.
As we try to come to terms with the awful massacre in Maguindanao last Monday and other ongoing violence perhaps we can learn from the great American president. Abraham Lincoln was inspired to make his proclamation in the middle of the civil war, or War Between the States, as it is often called, that engulfed the USA from 1861 to 1863. Perhaps we too need to turn to God in thanksgiving for what God has given the Philippines and honor his bounty.
To all our readers in the USA or with American connections:
Happy Thanksgiving Day!
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America