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Catholic Churches of Connellsville hosts first Feast of All Nations

| Monday, May 20, 2013, 8:03 a.m.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
The Rev. Jerry Juarez holds up a yoke as he speaks to the crowd during the Sermon of the Mass.

Walking through the cafeteria area of Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School on Sunday, one could hear snippets of languages intermingled in a gathering of culture as members of varying ethnic backgrounds gathered for a day of celebration.

They were celebrating an amalgamation of color and culture, the first Feast of All Nations, held to celebrate Pentecost Sunday, a new event that may become a tradition.

“This has been a wonderful day, a glorious day,” the Rev. Gerry Juarez said. “This is the bringing together of all of our heritages.”

The event, initiated by Juarez, parochial vicar of the Roman Catholic Partner Parishes of Connellsville, was his way of blending all of the cultures of the area together, mixed in with others that may not normally be found in Connellsville.

“It was so wonderful to see all the spirit and hear all the prayer and the songs in different languages,” Ed Myers of Uniontown said. “It's a wonderful way for us to all remember where and who we came from.”

The day began in the Geibel gymnasium with a Mass that featured prayers, readings, songs and refrains in several languages, including Spanish, Slavic, Italian, Polish, Latin and Hungarian. The Mass also included a sprinkling of tradition from many cultures as various gifts were presented at the offertory.

“I was very impressed with the Mass,” choir director Henry Molinaro said. “I knew the music, but I was also very impressed with the rest. It was so interesting to see the different offerings from the different ethnic backgrounds.”

After the Mass, several ethic groups set up food booths in the school cafeteria, offering the large crowd an opportunity to sample many foods from the many cultures represented — Irish, Filipino, Mexican, Italian, Slovenian and others.

“I think that this is a wonderful way to bring everyone together,” Rita Pratt of Connellsville said. “This is a wonderful experience of food and fellowship and a great way to bring the community together to share their backgrounds.”

Following the lunch, music and dance filled the air as color, culture and Christianity blended to form an atmosphere of one.

“This is a great celebration of ethnicity,” Jack Purcell of Farmington said. “We can't forget where we came from, and we can't let our traditions fade away.”

Juarez said he was elated with the turnout and hopes to make the Pentecost Feast of All Nations an annual event to be enjoyed by all.

“This was the perfect size today,” Juarez said. “I think it was excellent, and everyone has said how wonderful it was.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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