With characteristic joy, praise and thanks for their faith, Hispanic Catholics from throughout the Diocese of Camden converged on Vineland at Divine Mercy Parish on Oct. 6 for a celebration on “Creando una Cultura de Encuentro” (Creating a Culture of Encounter).
The event, which is the largest annual celebration for Hispanic Catholics in the Diocese of Camden, drew more than 900 people.
They worshipped as one family, although they represented a rich variety of Latino cultures. Participants represented the 23 Hispanic parish ministries and four ecclesial movements (Charismatic Renewal, Camino, Emmaus, John XXIII) in the diocese.
Many participants dressed in native garb representing their 21 Latin-American and Caribbean backgrounds, but their common faith was evident as they processed together at the Lord ’s table during a Eucharistic celebration led by Bishop Dennis Sullivan.
A post-liturgy concert and feast followed in the parish hall.
Lucia and Ricardo Luzondo, the co-hosts of the EWTN program, “Creados Para Amar” (Created for Love), entertained faithful with a dynamic presentation.
“This was a beautiful celebration, showing the unity of the Diocese of Camden’s Hispanic Community,” said Andres Arango, Bishop’s Delegate for Hispanic Ministry.
Providing vibrant voices for the Mass were members of the Hispanic ministry of Camden’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, whose rector, Father John Fisher, called the day a “Spanish Pentecost.”
“We celebrated the gift of the Spirit that is the Latino church,” he said. “All gathered had tremendous pride in their parish, and in their heritage.”
The faithful were comforted, Father Fisher said, by the words of the bishop, who urged them not to lose hope in a time of “darkness” and uncertainty for the Hispanic community.
“God is with us,” Father Fisher stated. “He has not abandoned us, and he never will.”