Josefina Rosado, a cradle Catholic from Puerto Rico, sat eagerly in a pew inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, awaiting the start of the Puerto Rican Parade Mass.
“This Mass helps us to be more united, to support one another,” she said before the 4 p.m. Spanish language liturgy on June 4, Pentecost Sunday.
“When I was a small child in Puerto Rico,” continued Ms. Rosado, who is 60, “my grandparents always took me to church—they helped me to know the Lord.”
The mother of four is a retired federal courts employee, and a member of Holy Cross and St. John the Baptist parish in Manhattan. She was among the approximately 1,200 who attended the Mass, offered each year the week before the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan. The liturgy is sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry.
Father Eric Cruz, pastor of St. John Chrysostom parish, the Bronx, was the principal celebrant and homilist. “Lord, bless this fiesta that we celebrate today,” he prayed.
In his homily, Father Cruz encouraged the congregation to use the same God-given gifts with which they help others to improve the social and economic ills plaguing Puerto Rico. He said they should look to the teachings of Jesus and can always count on the power of the Holy Spirit. He noted that when truly receiving the Holy Spirit, one begins to “speak the language of mercy and love (misericordia y amor).”
Father Cruz, who also serves as Bronx regional coordinator of archdiocesan Catholic Charities, underscored the fact that Pentecost Sunday is a special occasion for spiritual renewal.
During the Prayer of the Faithful, one of the intentions was for Puerto Rico’s overall well being.
Puerto Ricans proudly and affectionately refer to Puerto Rico as “Isla del Encanto (Island of Charm).” Father Cruz, who’s of Puerto Rican descent, also did.
Concelebrants of the Mass were Msgr. Robert Ritchie, rector of the cathedral; Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities; and Father Brian McWeeney, archdiocesan director of the Ethnic Apostolates.
Louis and Ada Torres, parents of three and grandparents of eight, were also at the Mass; retirees, both are Puerto Rican born and parishioners of St. Anselm and St. Roch, the Bronx.
“This is a very special Mass; we all have faith in God, ” said Mrs. Torres, 67.
“It was very important for us to be here—this is a pleasure,” added Torres, 71. “We’ll be here for the parade next Sunday.”
Oscar López Rivera, the controversial Puerto Rican nationalist, stepped aside last week as honoree of this year’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade following widespread criticism, but has said he plans to participate in the event.
The 60th annual parade, which carries the theme “Un Pueblo, Muchas Voces” (One Nation, Many Voices) is set for Sunday, June 11, beginning at 11 a.m. along Fifth Avenue. It will start at 44th street and end at 79th street.