Hispanic Regional Pilgrimage at La Salette Shrine draws hundreds

Bishop Henning presided over Holy Hour, with many faithful participating from the Diocese of Providence


ATTLEBORO, Mass. — A cool and cloudy day was the perfect setting for the Regional Hispanic Pilgrimage on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the La Salette Shrine, where more than 400 pilgrims from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, representing seven New England dioceses, experienced a day full of prayer, teaching, workshops, music and joy in the Lord.
The gathering began with a warm welcome from Deacon Pedro Ribera Morán, of the Diocese of Springfield, followed by the celebration of Holy Mass celebrated by Most Rev. Edgar Da Cunha, Bishop of Fall River, who in his homily said: “We are here because we all need each other, no one  is saved alone, no one is happy alone, we grow up in a family, in a community environment, we need to hear God and walk together.”
Deacon Ramón Andrade, cabinet secretary for Multicultural Ministry for the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, offered the central talk: “Eucharist: Meeting Place of the Hispanic Family.” He emphasized that “there are people who receive Holy Communion and think that the Mass is over; Let us wait for the Mass to finish and continue with our Christ until the end. Let us not be like Judas who was the first to leave when the last supper was held,” he expressed.
Deacon Andrade also spoke of the new member of the modern family, “The cell phone” that disrupts family communications captivating everyone’s attention.
“We use cell phones to communicate with those who are far away, and we stop talking to those who are close and dear to us,” he said.
The deacon ended his talk by making a challenge to spend more time with the family without distractions, and at the end everyone sang the popular song “La Familia.”
Mario Porcayo, coordinator of the Pastoral Familiar Diocesana (Hispanic Family Ministry) of the Diocese of Providence, together with his wife Yasmín, gave an interesting talk about the family where he said, “The Lord invites us to live in community, as baptized we belong to the great family of God.”
He added “Jesus, wants to eat with the family, he is the center, food and strength of the Christian family.”
Silvio Cuellar, volunteer manager of the Hispanic Engagement team of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), which is the agency of the American bishops for international assistance and human development serving in more than 120 countries, gave the presentation “Putting Our Faith into Action.” He urged those present to “get involved in this service to help the poor of the world who need our helping hand.”
Lucy Ramos and her team held a beautiful workshop for the children present, while Father Joseph Brice, assistant pastor at St. Patrick and St. Michael Church in Providence, along with youth leader Shaelin de la Rosa, offered the workshops for young adolescents and young adults.
After lunch, with the image of the Virgin of Our Lady of La Salette, the pilgrims carried out a procession with the prayer of the Meditated Rosary (organized by the Diocese of Manchester), walking, praying and singing around the pond of the shrine concluding at the church.
The Regional Hispanic Pilgrimage culminated with a Holy Hour presided over by Most Rev. Richard G. Henning, Bishop of Providence, accompanied with solemn hymns by the St. Patrick Spanish choir in an inspiring and prayerful atmosphere.
During the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Bishop Henning led a teaching moment with a moving story of a priest who was serving in Africa during the early rise of AIDS and how he had to function as a doctor in that poverty-stricken area.
“He felt very stressed about the possibility of getting sick, but one day at a Mass he thought about the words of Jesus, this is my body… and he understood that he was also giving his life for others,” Bishop Henning said.
The bishop shared a touching message pointing out: “Here we are in the presence of Christ; He is speaking to our hearts, inviting us to offer our fears to him.”
At the end of the gathering, Bishop Henning offered his blessing upon many participants who lined up to greet him.
With reports from Silvio Cuellar.