Hispanic Heritage Activities Abounded in Archdiocese and Parishes 


Krismely Garcia was among many lay persons who recently engaged in activities related to National Hispanic Heritage Month. She is a youth program coordinator at St. Elizabeth parish in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. 

“During Hispanic Heritage Month, I provided the St. Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio prayer to our youth, and I helped them learn more about all Hispanic saints,” Ms. Garcia said.

She added that she’s glad for the opportunity to give those lessons, because she too learned more “about our Hispanic saints.” (St. José Luis Sánchez del Río was a Mexican Cristero—Catholic rebel—who was martyred by government officials after he refused to renounce his Catholic faith. He was 14 when he died in 1928; he was canonized in 2016).

Hispanc Heritage Month annually runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

At the archdiocesan level, the annual Hispanic Heritage Month Mass, called Misa de la Hispanidad, was celebrated Oct. 2 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. And New York celebrated on Oct. 9 with the annual Hispanic Day Parade NYC (Desfile de la Hispanidad) on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

Hispanic Heritage Month started as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. President Lyndon Johnson signed the law making the week of Sept. 15 a time to honor the contributions and influence of the Hispanic and Latin American communities. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed into law a bill proclaiming an entire month to celebrate Hispanic heritage.

The reason Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is that Sept. 15 is significant to several Latin American countries. It is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Additionally, Sept. 16 is Mexico’s Independence Day. It marks the day in 1810 when a Catholic priest, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in Mexico, made the first cry for independence. His moving speech lit a spark and inspired a movement.

Wanda Vasquez, director of archdiocesan Hispanic Ministry, said, “Mary, our Blessed Mother, is embedded in the Hispanic expression of the Catholic faith. This methodology is rooted in their cultural upbringing and revitalizes their faith to know that our Mother is always with us.”


Hispanics express their spirituality “through their food, dance, dress, and reliving their celebrations of faith that have too often been left behind in their home countries,” Ms. Vasquez said. “We (the archdiocese, parishes) nurture their cultural spiritual expressions of their Catholic beliefs.”

She noted that we are all brothers and sisters of Christ, with one Mother in heaven, but it is essential Hispanic Catholics feel like they belong, whether at a local parish, an institution, or at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, they and their family customs are welcomed.


“The beauty and diversity of the Hispanics serving in the Archdiocese of New York are cherished for their great love and devotion to Mary and her son Jesus Christ,” Ms. Vasquez said. “Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the contributions of all Hispanic cultures, and we honor all Hispanics to the life of the Catholic Church.”