By Berta Mexidor
JACKSON – A Mexican altar at the entrance of the church, a family’s “kermes,” rosaries and a Mass, reflect how parishioners of St Therese celebrated the All Souls’ Day (El Día de Los Muertos), during the first weekend of November.
At St. Therese, this is the third year that Latin American parishioners have staged a traditional Mexican altar in memory of the family members that passed. During the event, the altar received pictures of the dead, food and drinks that the dead enjoyed in life, as well as, plenty of paper crafts and sugar figurines. In the days before the parish festivities, the parish’s youth group built the altar, carrying on the tradition of their parents.
It is a Mexican tradition to gather around the altar and celebrate as a family, the memories of those who are waiting for the resurrection in another place.
Coincidentally, the large family of the Latino community of St. Therese had a fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 2 where parishioners enjoyed a family gathering on St. Therese’s fields for hours, even under the inclement weather of a cold morning, to enjoy soccer and other games, food and Christian brotherhood. The weather improved during the day and the celebration ended up being a huge success, raising more than $7,000.
On Sunday, Nov. 3, parishioners concluded all of the celebrations with a Mass in Spanish for Father Juan, priest of Santa Teresa.
From the Gospel, Father Juan illustrated the example of Zacchaeus. Like Zacchaeus, every Christian should have an open heart that wants to see Jesus, welcoming him for only one day, today.
“Today, that is the most important day for all of us,” said Father Juan. “Today, we may be looking for the Lord, as Zacchaeus did and, in the end, due to conversion, to feel the true happiness, the happiness that only Jesus provides,” he concluded.
At the close of Mass, Father Juan blessed the Jorge and Rosita Valderas’ family celebrating 42 years of marriage, and the family with the responsibility to pray for vocations, during the week. The congregation also congratulated Joel and Rosalinda Montoya, who received a Family of the Month certificate from Ben Mokry, Treasurer of Council 8285 of the Knights of Columbus. Father Juan thanked all parishioners for their support and with a prayer to St. Michael, he dismissed all to return to the routine of today’s life.