Bi-lingual Mass at St. Stephen's honors Our lady of Guadalupe

13 Dec 2018 | 05:33

— On Sunday evening, Dec. 9, members of Warwick's Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, attended a mass said in both English and Spanish.
The well-attended mass, celebrated by St. Stephen's Parochial Vicar Rev. Reynor Santiago, 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 Guadalupe 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.
Flowers fell from his coatThe 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 Guadalupe, now displayed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
Before the Mass, Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard addressed the congregation and welcomed everyone to this second bilingual Mass at Saint Stephen's.
Judy Battista, a member of the Spanish Ministry Committee, translated his remarks into Spanish.
A Mariachi band, "Viva Mexico," provided liturgical music during the service.
'Mama Mary'Santiago, offering the prayers and saying his homily in both English and Spanish,mentioned that in his native Philippines, the Virgin Mary is referred with deep affection as "Mama" Mary.
"On this day," he said, "O beloved Mother, Mama Mary, just as you have brought so many conversion of hearts, we pray that you show your motherly embrace of protection through our compassion towards each other; your motherly embrace of sympathy and care through our concern about each other; and your motherly embrace of love by looking at each other through the eyes of a mother who looks at her new born child."
A team effortAfter the Mass, everyone was invited to the school gym to continue the celebration with more mariachi music, traditional foods and Danzas by the "Comparza de Chinelos" and the "Charros Negros," who performed special dances in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The event was organized by the Committee of the Spanish Ministry at St. Stephen's.
"This was a team effort," said Battista, "and it started with the novena of weekly rosary prayers in honor of Guadalupe, carried out in different homes and ending in the church on Sunday. I want to thank the committee, volunteers, area businesses, individual donors, and the parish community for coming together in making this a wonderful event and celebration."
- Roger Gavan