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Hispanic Marian celebration also prays for world peace

Posted By September 12, 2013 | 12:58 pm | Local

By Tanya Connor

The annual Marian celebration for Spanish-speaking Catholics throughout the diocese became an occasion this year to also join the pope in praying for peace.
Pope Francis proclaimed Sept. 7, the vigil of the traditional celebration of the Blessed Mother’s birthday, as a day of “day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East and throughout the world.”
Mary’s birthday is used in many places to celebrate devotion to her under different titles, according to Father Miguel A. Pagán, director of the diocesan Hispanic Apostolate and pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Worcester.
More than 200 people, some carrying banners, joined Bishop McManus and several priests in a prayer-filled procession from St. Peter Central Catholic Elementary School to St. Paul Cathedral for Mass.
During Mass the names of Spanish-speaking countries – and the United States, and Brazil, a South American country where Portuguese is the official language – were called one by one, and adults and children came forward with the country’s flag and a picture of the Blessed Mother as she is depicted as their patroness.
Bishop McManus said that, at the start of the procession, he told participants they were uniting their prayers, procession and Mass with the pope, invoking the Blessed Mother’s prayers for peace.
In his homily Father Nelson J. Rivera, associate pastor of Blessed John Paul II Parish in Southbridge, talked about the Blessed Mother and listening to God’s word.
At the end of Mass Father Pagán had members of the congregation stand by their parish/town, then by groups they belong to, and they were applauded.
A reception after included a spiritual dance by Maria Molina, Nitza Rivera and Isaura Marquez of Blessed John Paul II Parish in Southbridge.
“I enjoyed the celebration,” said 9-year-old Jaqueline Orellana, of St. Peter Parish in Worcester, who held the flag of Peru at Mass. “I enjoyed lots of people coming to church to listen to stuff about God.”