Spanish Mass at St. Stephen's held to celebrate El Dia De Reyes, the Epiphany
WARWICK — Although it was bitter cold on Saturday evening, Jan. 6, members of the local Latino community came out and joined together at a Mass said in Spanish to celebrate the Epiphany at the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, in Warwick.
The celebrant this year was the Rev.Richard Marrano, the Parochial Vicar at St. Stephen's who also happens to be fluent in Spanish.
The musicians were Rocco Battista and Katherine Petrillo Klein.
El Dia De Reyes, the Epiphany, reminds us of the time when the Three Wise Men, following the star to Bethlehem, arrived bearing their treasured gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the Baby Jesus.
In the Hispanic community the 12 days of Christmas starts in December and continues until the Epiphany when in some Latin American countries the children also receive their gifts.
The Mass began with a procession of children in costumes who were dressed as Mary, carrying the Baby Jesus, Joseph and the Three Wise Men.
Warwick resident Judy Battista, an advocate for the growing Latino community, provided the costumes and welcomed the community to the service.
The meaning of the EpiphanyDuring his homily, Richard explained that the deeper meaning of the Epiphany was the transformation that the kings, the shepherds and Mary and Joseph experienced through their adversities and by not giving up. He likened it to our journey as Christians to allow Christ to continue to transform amidst all the hardships we may endure.
Literally 'King's Day'Following the Mass, everyone assembled in the atrium for refreshments and breaking of the traditional "Rosca," a sweet bread.
Battista explained that the Rosca is traditionally eaten during the celebration of "Día de Reyes" (literally "Kings' Day"), when children traditionally receive presents, which are attributed to the Three Wise Men.
A small figurine of the Christ Child, hidden in the bread, represents the flight of Joseph, Mary and Jesus after learning of King Herod's order to murder all the children under two years old that could be the prophesied Messiah.
Whoever finds the baby Jesus figurine is blessed and must take the figurine to the nearest church on Feb. 2, Candle Mass Day (Día de la Candelaria).
In the Mexican culture, this person also has to throw a party and provide tamales and atoles (hot drinks) for the guests.
Essential informationMasses in Spanish are celebrated at 7 p.m. in St. Stephen's on the first and third Saturdays of each month.
For information, call Judy Battista at 987- 4207.
- Roger Gavan
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