We are excited to celebrate the Hispanic Heritage during our 5 pm Mass this weekend, on Saturday the 18th. I’m very happy to welcome Rev. Ron Machado, Pastor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Perth Amboy, as our presider for this outdoor Mass. We are arranging for a traditional Mariachi band to augment the celebratory mood. This Mass is part of the National Hispanic Heritage Month observed from September 15 to October 15, celebrating the contributions and importance of Hispanics and Latinos to the United States and those American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.
The theme for this year is “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope.” According to the National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers (NCHEPM), this year’s theme “invites us to celebrate Hispanic Heritage and to reflect on how great our tomorrow can be if we hold onto our resilience and hope. It encourages us to reflect on all of the contributions Hispanics have made in the past, and will continue to make in the future. It is also a reminder that we are stronger together.”
Hispanic Americans have been integral to the prosperity of the U.S. Their contributions to the nation’s economy and culture are praiseworthy. But the most important gift that our Hispanic/Latino Catholics bring to the Church in the U.S. is the faith and popular piety. Bishop Arturo Cepeda, chairman of the US Bishops Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, says: “We celebrate our faith within our Church, in our communities. We celebrate our faith with our families, and we want to continue to celebrate our faith in the larger context of our society.” Bishop Cepeda elaborated further in these words:
“One of the greatest gifts is the sense of community…that sense of being together, of solidarity, of being united with our own planet, celebrating and respecting life, our own Catholic traditions, our great love for Our Lady and the celebration of our faith through the sacraments. This is a sign of hope in a society divided by racism that is also grappling with Covid. We find strength within our families and I think that’s one of the greatest gifts – and that openness to talk to one another, to listen to one another and to be able to encounter one another.”
Such values are extremely important for us all. We join our Hispanic/Latino parishioners to welcome everyone for this Mass and celebrate our diversity. We are happy and proud that our tradition of welcoming and celebrating cultural diversity is one of the significant and meaningful ways to bring about the Kingdom of God more fully here at St. Matthias.
Sr. Marie Therese is the coordinator of our St. Matthias Cultural Diversity Council that has been organizing diversity events, especially during the feast of the Epiphany. She feels that this important Council can be strengthened further by having new members. If any of you feel called to this colorful ministry, kindly contact Sr. Marie Therese at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal