By Berta Mexidor
CARTHAGE – The feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim, grandparents of Jesus, takes on a different grandeur in Carthage, where Catholics there lovingly refer to their patroness, St. Anne, as abuela or grandmother, looking up to her as their own grandma.
The Feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim is officially July 26 on the Church calendar, but many parishes select a day close to the actual feast day to bring families together in celebration. St. Anne Parish began their weekend celebration July 28 with a bilingual Mass and procession to honor the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
St. Anne Church was beautifully decorated with dozens of roses and the parish’s Sacred Heart of Jesus group under the direction of Marco Antonio Vázquez provided the music and the songs adding to the joyful celebration.
Bishop Joseph Kopacz was main celebrant for the Mass. Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity Father Odel Medina, St. Anne pastor, was on hand and concelebrated the Mass.
Filling the church were the diverse families of the parish many from the local African American, Hispanic and Vietnamese communities. Among the families were many grandmothers and grandfathers and their grandchildren.
In his homily, Bishop Kopacz continued to reflect on a solid theme: Grandparents and their important role as the backbone of family and the hope of the Church. He explained that many times it is the grandparents who witness faith and pass on religious traditions and good morals and values to their children and grandchildren.
Bishop Kopacz also talked about the vocation of parenting emphasizing the important job of parents and how they can play a significant role in the spiritual lives of their children today. He shared stories of his own role model parents and talked about his father’s great faith. He fondly recalled his father kneeling near the bed at night in prayer. His mother sat in an armchair in the living room praying the rosary.
“We learn to pray in the house. Children listen to elders and adults. (They) see them make the sign of the cross or pray the rosary,” he said. “I urge everyone to be like children in their relationship with the heavenly Father. Ask, strive and seek always for your relationship with God.”
Mass was a great parish celebration bringing members of the diverse parish family together to reflect on the grandest of all grandparents, St. Anne and St. Joachim, recognized as the patrons of grandparents.
Lynett, a young lady was the bilingual community leader and Sonia Cardona and Richard Polk Gospel assisted with the Mass by reading the Gospel and presenting the gifts. At the end of Mass, Emy Lee, Theresa Wen and Sam Lee of the Vietnamese community and active parishioners at both St. Anne and St. Michael in Forest, presented Bishop Kopacz with a small gift of appreciation, a nice ending to the celebration of praise and thanksgiving.