Celebrating Christ ‘in all his cultures and his colors’

A procession of flags from 33 nations carried by parishioners wearing costumes from their country of origin provided a colorful introduction to the multicultural Mass at St. John Eudes in Chatsworth May 26.

Auxiliary Bishop Alexander Salazar, presider, greeted the congregation perfumed with incense that had been brought in by Mayan dancers who swirled around the altar in an opening dance of praise.

“We gather today to show that we are a variety of people from all different parts of the world, and yet we gather together around this one altar of the Lord,” said Bishop Salazar, director of the archdiocesan Office of Ethnic Ministry.

Noting in his Trinity Sunday homily that the Holy Spirit “found delight” in humanity, the bishop, alternating between English and Spanish, commented:

“God created [the human race] in its diversity that we are, the many cultures that we come from. God didn’t make us all the same; he made us all different. There’s only one of us. We’re all unique, and we love each one of us because his Son died for each of us. When we come before the Lord, He nourishes us at the table that makes all of us one in Christ Jesus.”

“I think the multicultural Mass delivers the message very liturgically and graphically that we are one Body of Christ,” said Father William McLean, associate pastor and co-organizer of the event. “The message is enfleshed in the variety of costumes and languages spoken during the liturgy. People tell me they see it right in front of them, dramatized.”

For Eudist Father Gérard Lecomte, pastor and a native of France, the multicultural Mass highlighted parish unity among the diversity of its parishioners. “We are united in Christ, and we are celebrating cultures as being evangelized, as being united around the Eucharist,” said Father Lecomte, wearing a green Vietnamese costume borrowed from Deacon Son Hoang, a native of Vietnam.

“Secondly,” he added, “it’s important to me to see how the Gospel has gone through all these countries and all these people are gathered here in this country, probably the most multicultural nation in the world. Today we celebrate Christ in his body — in all his cultures and his colors.”

Native Cuban Teresita Marquina, whose six-year-old daughter held the “Cuba” sign next to the Cuban flag bearer during the parade of flags, said the multicultural event focuses on the many cultures represented in the parish that may not be obvious to Mass-goers.

“You don’t really know how many different cultures are part of your parish,” said Marquina. “This is a nice way to show the parish community all the different people and the variety of cultures — the richness of the parish itself.”

Lori Haggard, whose ten-month-old twins wore costumes representing their maternal grandparents’ countries of origin (Ireland and Guatemala), said the event shows that people come from everywhere.

“It doesn’t matter what country they’re from, we still believe in the same thing. We all believe in God, and we all love God,” said Haggard.

“This event has really brought all the nations that are represented here together in this parish as a community,” said Italian native Peter Guerriero, wearing a red “Italia” shirt. “We’re all united as one; no matter where you come from, we’re all one congregation.”

“I think it’s really brought a sense of community,” said Virginia Tanawong, who helped coordinate the procession of flags. “People recognize that there are parishioners from so many different cultures around the world, that there are new immigrants and immigrants who have been here for generations. It really brings a sense of community and I think a sense of celebration.”

“The multicultural Mass is really inspiring when you see all the different countries coming together,” said parish finance council chairman Ernie Star, whose wife, Eva, emigrated from Austria. “The unity in Christ and in the faith really impresses me. It brings me to tears every year to see it.”



Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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