SALT LAKE CITY — Catholics of different ethnicities from across the Diocese of Salt Lake City will gather Saturday, Oct. 5 for the eighth annual Intercultural Marian Celebration. The celebration is held in October to commemorate the Month of the Rosary; the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is Oct. 7.
“All of us as Catholics have something in common: that is the love we feel for our mother, for Our Lady,” said Maria Cruz Gray, director of the diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry, which is organizing the celebration.
While the theme of the celebration this year is “Our Lady of Guadalupe, Empress of the Americas” and a bier carrying a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe will lead the procession, many other biers from different countries honoring different representations of Our Lady will participate. Last year there were 22.
At the celebration, “people learn that there is only one Mary, our mother, but every country has their own representation of the Lady in their own culture,” Gray said.
The event will kick off at 3 p.m. in the plaza of the Cathedral of the Madeleine when everyone will assemble for a procession that will travel through neighboring streets before returning to the cathedral plaza. During the procession, participants, many of whom will be clad in their native dress, will pray the rosary. The mysteries of the rosary will be recited in English, Tagalog, Spanish, Korean, an African language and Tongan.
When the procession returns to the plaza, the Legion of Mary will lead participants in praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
Prior to the 5 p.m. vigil Mass at the cathedral, which will be celebrated by Bishop Oscar A. Solis, Aztec dancers will perform. Then Native American Church members will perform a Four Direction Ceremony, blessing east, north, west and south directions.
Father Joshua Santos, parochial vicar of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, and Father Javier Virgen, pastor of St. Joseph of the Worker Parish, will concelebrate the Mass with the bishop. The altar will be decorated by members of the Korean community. Deacon of the Mass will be Deacon Guillermo Mendez.
The readings will be in Spanish and English, while the prayers of the faithful will be in English, African, Hindu, Tongan and Vietnamese. Those offering the prayers will be in their native dress. Catholic members of the Philippine community will sing during the offertory and Communion; the offerings will be presented by African Church members. During the offertory, children from throughout the diocese dressed as angels will present the Blessed Virgin with flowers.
Following the Mass, everyone is invited to a reception at the Madeleine Choir School, where they can enjoy food from the Philippines, Tonga, Korea, Africa, Vietnam, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia. Entertainment will be provided by local Church members from Tonga, Venezuela, Peru, Vietnam and Africa, along with children from St. Francis of Assisi Parish.
“We bring a lot of people from different cultures and it’s always kind of noisy and wonderful,” Gray said of the occasion. “We just want people to feel happy to belong to the Church and to feel welcome. … This is a celebration of the children of God. For children of God these times are not easy so it is good for us to feel that God loves all of us, regardless, and loves our culture.”
Last year close to 350 people participated in the Marian celebration.
Those who have a statue representing a different aspect of Mary who wish to join in the procession may do so by contacting the Office of Hispanic Ministry at 801-328-8641 ext. 332.
The organizing committee meets on the last Sunday of each month at the Pastoral Center at 4:45 p.m. Anyone who is interested is invited to participate. For information, contact the Office of Hispanic Ministry.