Spanish and English Mass at St. Stephen's honors Our Lady of Guadalupe


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  • Provided photos by Rocco Battista Liturgical music during the Mass was provided by the Mariachi band "Viva Mexico."




  • Rev. Richard Marrano offered a special blessing for all the children.




  • After the Mass, everyone was invited to the school cafeteria to continue the celebration with more mariachi music, traditional foods and Danzas by the "Comparza de Chinelos" and the "Charros Negros" special dances in honor of Our Lady of Guadeloupe.



WARWICK — Members of the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, in Warwick braved the first snow storm of the season on Saturday evening, Dec. 9, to attend a Mass celebrated in both English and Spanish.

The Mass, concelebrated by Pastor Rev. Jack Arlotta, in English, and Rev. Richard Marrano, in Spanish, was held in anticipation of the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is Dec. 12.

The story behind the famous image of the Virgin of Guadeloupe begins in 1531 when a peasant, Juan Diego, claimed that he had an apparition of a young pregnant girl at the Hill of Tepeyac outside Mexico City.

The girl requested that a church be built on that site in her honor.

Diego then understood she was the Virgin Mary and told the story to the Archbishop of Mexico City, who instructed him to ask her for a miraculous sign.

Diego reported that the young woman told him to gather flowers and although it was December and beyond the growing season, he discovered roses that were not even native to the area.

When he opened his cloak before the bishop, the flowers fell to the floor and inside his garment was the image of the Virgin of Guadeloupe, now displayed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadeloupe in Mexico City.

Before the Mass, Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard addressed the congregation and welcomed everyone to the first bilingual Mass at Saint Stephens.

Judy Battista, an advocate for the growing Latino community, translated his remarks into Spanish.

"Father Richard," she said, "wants to unite the congregations because we are all one body."

Liturgical music during the Mass was provided by the Mariachi band "Viva Mexico.

Marrano also offered a special blessing for all the children.

After the Mass, everyone was invited to the school cafeteria to continue the celebration with more mariachi music, traditional foods and Danzas by the "Comparza de Chinelos" and the "Charros Negros" special dances in honor of Our Lady of Guadeloupe.

"I was filled with emotion," said Battista, "to not only experience the love and devotion for our Lady of Guadeloupe and how she unites all of us, but also to see how much thee Spanish ministry here has evolved. We are so very grateful to all who have worked hard donating food and funds towards this celebration as well as those who opened their homes for the novenas that took place during the weeks of Guadeloupe."

- Roger Gavan


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