Members of the local Latino community joined together on Sunday evening, Feb. 2, at a Mass said in Spanish to celebrate Candle Mass Day at the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, in Warwick.
The celebrant was Parochial Vicar Rev. Reynor Santiago.
The Candle Mass (Dia de la Candelaria) is celebrated throughout Latin America on Feb. 2. It is also known as the Feast of the Presentation, commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple 40 days after Christmas.
On Jan. 6, the Latino Community had also celebrated El Dia De Reyes, the Epiphany or visit to Bethlehem by the Three Wise Men.
Following that Mass, everyone had assembled in the atrium for refreshments and breaking of the traditional “Rosca,” a sweet bread.
A small figurine of the Christ Child was hidden in the bread and by tradition, whoever found the baby Jesus figurine must take the figurine to the church on Candle Mass Day.
In keeping with that tradition, families brought their own "Nino Dios " (an image of the Christ child in the form of a doll) to be placed on the altar and blessed by Santiago.
Warwick resident Judy Battista, an advocate for the growing Latino community, explained that each Nino Dios was dressed differently, according to its special significance for the family.
“It was beautiful service,” said Battista. “Father Reynor had a great homily, a blessing of the throat and of the Nino Dios. Then we gathered in the atrium as whoever found the baby Jesus in the Rosca brought some traditional dishes like tamales and empanadas to share. It’s such a beautiful culture, faith, family and tradition we share.”
- Roger Gavan