As an announcer named the Latin American countries one by one, cheers erupted from the crowd at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in Raleigh.
Over 1400 faithful from parishes throughout the diocese gathered for the Hispanic Heritage Celebration carried out on Oct. 12 by the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Discipleship.
As in years past Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama celebrated Mass in Spanish at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral to begin the festivities.
“This is a great opportunity for us to come together as a family, regardless of what country we came from,” he said. “We need to live our heritage and rejoice in the gifts we each have.”
During the liturgy, the bishop invited the Hispanic community to feel proud of their culture and their roots and asked all the participants to bring at least one guest next year.
Julieta Serna, from St. Patrick Parish in Fayetteville, was one of the many attendees who wore a traditional dress. She carried the flag of El Salvador as part of the procession.
“From our early years, we learned our faith, and when we became parents was when we began to share our faith and be certain that Jesus will be with us,” Serna said.
After holy Mass, the faithful stayed in their seats and listened to a reflection from Hermana Martha Alvarado on the necessity of serving in Hispanic ministry to bring souls to Christ.
Following the reflection all were invited to continue the celebration outside with an afternoon full of cultural presentations, including dance, music and displays of Latin American countries. The participants also enjoyed Latin American cuisine from local food trucks and Hispanic beverages provided by local parish Hispanic ministries.
During the celebration, representatives from different parishes had the opportunity to record messages for the Spanish Radio Station WSHP 103.3 LP-FM in Cary, which currently transmits the programs of EWTN in Spanish, as well some local information.
The annual event brings together the diocese’s Hispanic Catholics during Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated Sept. 15 - Oct. 15.
The beginning of Hispanic Heritage month, observed in the United States, coincides with the celebrations of the Independence Day of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.