BEAVER – Our Lady of the Light Mission in Beaver celebrated its third anniversary on May 17.
Parishioners gathered for this special celebration that started with the dance of the Matachines, a special group of dancers that dances for deeper religious purposes, such as to venerate Mother Mary in any of her titles like Our Lady of Guadalupe or Our Lady of Lourdes; a saint (the group usually chooses the saint who pertains to the church they belong to); or simply to worship Christ or the Holy Trinity.
For the anniversary event, they celebrated Our Lady of the Light (Nuestra Señora de la Luz, named after an image of Our Lady from Guanajuato, Mexico). Dozens of parishioners gathered in front of the Virgin’s image, which was placed outside the mission. They watched the dances and the procession that followed.
"We are here: adults, children together to celebrate, and we are going to sing our Lady the ‘Mañanitas," a traditional Mexican birthday song, said Father Fidel Barrera, parochial vicar of Christ the King Parish in Cedar City, which oversees the mission.
Among the participants of the celebration was the choir from Saint Bridget Parish in Milford.
"To come to this celebration is important because as Hispanics we need to teach our kids our culture," said Brenda and Adrián Moreno, St. Bridget parishioners.
"So they know our traditions, so they don’t lose our culture," added Gladys López, who is also a parishioner at St. Bridget.
"When I got here 22 years ago there was nothing," remembered Susana Scheuer, one of the founders of the Our Lady of the Light Mission. "I even started going to the LDS Church to see what that was…. I heard then about having Catholic gatherings in Milford, so I started going there. We used to hold our Masses in the garages."
As Catholics started gathering more often in Beaver, they finally got a small house in which they started to have Mass every Saturday. The Catholic Extension Society provided financial support to help establish the mission and assists with the ongoing needs, said Monsignor J. Terrence Fitzgerald, Diocese of Salt Lake vicar general emeritus.
"We started thinking about having our own place so people started coming and coming," remembered Scheuer. "This is a very special occasion… Three years of this mission. We have progressed a lot."
After the dancing, the celebration continued with a procession in which the image of Our Lady of the Light was carried by the Matachines inside the building while people prayed.
Inside, Father Barrera presided during the Mass, which was followed by a dinner.
"I am very thankful to God for everything he has given us," said Scheuer. "This is a dream come true with all the work of all the parishioners… Our dream now is to have a church."