DÍA ALEGRE FESTIVAL:
Monday August 3rd, BC Day, 11:00am-6:00pm.
Don’t miss it. Come with your family and friends. Admission is Free. You can taste a variety of Ethnic Food from 16 countries which will be served all day long (Full lunch plate for $6.00 or less). You will enjoy also relaxing entertainment with singing, dancing, acting, and other cultural performances. It’s an opportunity to make new friends. Your children will have fun all day long with the Children’s games. This Día Alegre Festival is also a Parish Fundraiser for the church.
To get an idea more or less chronological history of “EL DIA ALEGRE | FESTIVAL OF NATIONS” is necessary to recall personal memories, moments and events that were determining to do a community that in its need to maintain their roots and maintain their Hispanic identity, was finding ways and means to publicize his story and share with the new reality in which it was immersed and although it is true that all this work began in the home with the family present keeping alive the memories of home and family away, with its values ??and its struggles with its historical events and their dreams of justice and peace.
We do not know when or where the first families arrived in the early 80s. But if we were in Central America and some South American countries, given the conflict situation that so painfully lived in our countries. Therefore, how we came to fear in the face, so we with faith as a foundation of strength before the new lease of life that gave us this reality and to churches of different denominations opened their doors and solidarity with the Latin American community that came to share their diversity in this new reality.
It is in the early months of 1986, when it comes to the parish priest of San Jose from Colombia, Eduardo Diaz, to take over this community every day became more evident and numerous. This does not mean there was no prior pastoral care for the Spanish speakers, if any, and there are testimonials from Hispanics who experienced more than ten years before us who benefited from that parish pastoral care. In fact we as a family we attended the Mass celebrated by a Canadian priest, the father-who Larquin all its best intentions of its limited Castilian faith attending our needs. Larquin was the father whom his father came to replace Eduardo Diaz.
In this parish we were a little over a year and with the enthusiasm and organizational capacity of Father Diaz, soon arrived to form a cluster of community that is identified as Hispanic Catholic Mission. Some time later gave us a space shared with the parish of San Antonio in the south-west of Vancouver on the street with 73 Montcalm Ave. It was a very nice, where we learn together to walk alongside the pastor and as the days passed, came up new ideas, new contributions. So one day, I do not remember the year, gives us the news that our pastor had authorized the Bishop to accompany us a religious community Teresian Carmelite Missionaries, who came from Chile, with the aim to strengthen and develop the work of this community migrant news that filled us with joy but also strengthened our commitment to the new brothers who came every day with the same look of uncertainty with which we arrived a day. Father Diaz was multiplied to be present with various apostolic groups that arose as La Renovación Carismática, El Encuentro Matrimonial, A.C.L.A. social organization to address other community needs. She also attended meetings with migration often to meet some special cases of refugees. Once received government recognition for their work in solidarity with refugees.
Each day the community grew more and to this reality is to be a recreation project that would unite the faithful around and planning a kind of little show, where each product had its country of origin, including astronomical plates, and emerged in 1988 and the first “Latin American Fair,” which had its parochial history of three or four years. The summer season is used for a Sunday celebration outdoors and then share food as a community.
So passed the community life of the Hispanic Catholic Mission. One day talking to Father Diaz, tells me: Hey sir, (that was his style when he wanted to suggest some idea), it seems if we do an activity all day, like the Latin American fair, but with the difference that would cultural events and the sale of food and drink would be to cover the cost of the mission and would have a happy day pass. To which I replied: I like the idea and of course we support and then ask, and what name we put on the activity? and he replied with a smile and shrugging his shoulders with indifference, as if to say … that we seek, “Cheerful Day” and planned to do the first day of September 1989. And they do this simply, with cultural events, raffles for children, mostly Central American meals. Since his popularity had pupusas, meanwhile choripanes of South American origin, made its debut in those first happy day’s celebrations.
If memory serves me correctly I would say that in the parish of San Antonio celebrate five memorable events called “EL DIA ALEGRE | FESTIVAL OF NATIONS” apart from other activities that were born there, as holding an exclusive event for children called “The Day of the Child | El Día del Niño”which was performed on the first day of July. Or, “The Family Party New Year’s Eve. | La Fiesta Familiar de Fin de Año” By this time Father Diaz already had the support of grateful memory of another priest, Father Salvador Ahumada, Mexican and very popular among young people, with whom he shared spiritual experiences that strengthened the journey of each one of them.
At the end of 1993 we moved to another parish, this time was a “Holy Family” at 33 Avenue and Commercial, there we had physical space for offices and meeting own apostolic groups, a ample parking and a chapel gave shelter to our community in the Sunday Masses and some other celebrations of popular devotions. While working in the rectory 12 Avenue and Main Street, where there was also a chapel for Eucharistic celebrations during the week.
In “Holy Family” continue to celebrate each time with more joy and renewed strength our beloved “happy day” and always rejoicing at the end of each event to see, so the community responds generously to this event was born small but simple faith size of a mustard seed.
In the parish of Holy Family, Father Edward Day, after nine years, is retiring from his Hispanic Catholic Mission, with a farewell party apotheosis that offers a grateful community, while the returns with his sandals worn his beloved Colombia .
Since the end of 95 with the departure of father and father Díaz Ahumada, Hispanic Catholic Mission, was in charge of a community of priests of “The Holy Spirit” and subsequently after two years and months before the departure of community of the Holy Spirit, we begin to be addressed by the community of priests Scalabrini, and for discernment of the Lord Bishop, were integrated in September from the month of the year 2,001th the territorial parish of “Our Lady Of Sorrows”. Unfortunately, the misinformation they received some of our brothers, with whom he had walked so many years together, raised some differences, causing a painful tear in the Hispanic community.
I’m going to stop a moment here to show what our little mission was able to Catholic Hispanic, whose contribution to the goals of the “project advance” of those years, managed to raise capital, now under the management of parents The Holy Spirit and with the contribution of community labor also built the house where they live our Teresian Carmelite Missionary Sisters.
It’s been eleven years since we became part of the territorial parish of Our Lady Of Sorrows, with the aim of further strengthening our spirituality and we can say that the love of God is manifest in our lives because we have found here a multicultural family that continues to share with us your faith and holding hands we managed to make that little dream of Father Díaz a great festival and still inspired by the principle of being a source of community meeting and that the funds generated by the solidarity of all serve to relieve the weariness of the way, the brothers one day as we toured with faith and hope.
Finally, I would knock on the door of their hearts in the name of our countries we are generous with our contribution to the brothers who bravely took charge of the table in his country, because your contribution will buy everything that will be sold on behalf of your country to get a result that is worthy of the edition, number twenty-three of you …
“FESTIVAL OF EL DIA ALEGRE | FESTIVAL OF NATIONS”
Javier Martinez Gil