WARWICK – Local Latinos gathered at a bi-lingual Mass to celebrate the Epiphany at the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, in Warwick on Sunday.
The celebrant this year was the Rev. .Reynor Santiago, who explained in his homily that.” she said, “
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.
Father Santiago gave them and all the children a special blessing..
Warwick resident Judy Battista, an advocate for the growing Latino community, provided the costumes and welcomed the community to the service.
Following the Mass, everyone assembled 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”).
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 Candle Mass Day (Día de la Candelaria).
“This feast of the Epiphany, Los Reyes, is always one of my favorites,” she said. “Children love to dress up and learn from the story of the Nativity of Jesus. Love is so pure for them. All girls want to be little angels and boys want to be kings. Mary and Joseph are a little older, but the children understand the significance of carrying the baby King Jesus. It is an experience ever so simple, but one I pray they never forget. May they carry it in their hearts on their own faith journeys.”
The Spanish Bilingual Mass is held every first Sunday of the month at 6 PM..
The next Mass will be February 6, Candalaria.
For additional information contact Judy Battista at SurvivorOutreach@ymail.com