Annual Intercultural Marian Celebration unites diverse cultures in honor of Our Lady
Friday, Sep. 15, 2023
SALT LAKE CITY — When the first Intercultural Marian Celebration was celebrated in the Diocese of Salt Lake City in 2011, Catholics of many cultures and ethnicities gathered to celebrate the Virgin Mary in her various representations.
That celebration has become an annual tradition, with different parishes hosting it each year. This year’s Intercultural Marian Celebration will take place on Oct. 7 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Kearns. Among those who will be participating will be Susana Rausseo and her husband, Enrique.
“Six years ago a friend of ours invited us to a celebration of Our Lady of Coromoto, patroness of Venezuela, and then we learned about the Intercultural Marian Celebration,” said Susana Rausseo, who was born and raised in Ecuador. Her husband is from Venezuela.
Because in Utah almost all of the people from her home country belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she decided to join her husband and began celebrating our Lady of Coromoto as part of the Intercultural Marian Celebration.
“This celebration is a way to show the world who we are as Catholics, how much we love our Mother, and that thanks to her we have the plan of salvation,” Rausseo said, adding that being present and showing all that Catholics are very diverse culturally n Utah is also a learning opportunity.
“We have to be present and show the world who we are; that when we are all together, we can enrich other cultures and learn from them, too,” she said.
Having the opportunity to share the different representations of the Virgin with the community at large has been a blessing for the Rausseos.
“Being a Catholic in Utah is hard, but keeping our faith alive is very important,” she said. “We are here to give back a little of all that [the Virgin Mary] has done and to all the blessings that she has poured in our lives.”
The Intercultural Marian Celebration usually begins with the recitation of the rosary in different languages, followed by a procession of images from various countries depicting how the Virgin Mary is represented in their culture.
Rausseo said that when they started participating in the celebration and witnessing the many cultures that gathered it was a shocking moment.
“I said, ‘Wow!’ I just thought that people from Mexico will show up with Our Lady of Guadalupe and maybe some people from South America like the people from Venezuela. … Never would I have thought that I would encounter people from all over the world – Filipinos, Vietnamese, Congans – it was really shocking to see them all with their Virgins,” she said.
Besides the excitement that she felt, participating in the celebration has also given her a sense of belonging, she said.
“We are not alone in Utah; we are a big and diverse Catholic community. We all have the same mother, with different names and representations, but the same,” she said.
As the years have passed by and the celebration continues gathering Catholics from all over the diocese, Rausseo has never stopped being amazed and surprised by the celebration, she said.
“Two years ago a gentlemen from Poland came with his representation of the Virgin and it gave me chills and I became very emotional. … This all makes you very happy, it makes you realized that our Catholic family is large and alive,” she said.
Everyone can participate in the Intercultural Marian celebration.
“They just need to want to do it,” Rausseo said inviting all to participate in this year’s celebration.
WHAT: Intercultural Marian Celebration
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 7, 3-8 p.m.
WHERE: St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 4501 West 5215 South, Kearns
For information, contact the Diocese of Salt Lake City Office of Hispanic Ministry, 801-328-8641 ext. 332.