Some wore native Mexican costumes embroidered with flowers and other decorations, while others came in workclothes or in the native attire of their adopted home — Steelers jerseys.
Several hundred people packed St. Paul Cathedral Thursday evening for a Spanish-language Roman Catholic Mass in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. They paid tribute to their belief in an appearance of the Virgin Mary in Mexico in 1531 to an indigenous peasant, St. Juan Diego.
The day is a central holiday for Mexicans and many other Latin Americans.
The festive Mass came complete with mariachi musicians and a procession of the statue of the Virgin. Afterward, many worshippers brought flowers and other offerings to place by the statue, which was adorned with roses and surrounded with decorative electric lights and the flags of Latin American nations. Many immigrants from throughout Latin America came to the Mass, as well as many American-born Catholics.
“We come all together,” said Ruben Ruiz of Pittsburgh after the Mass, as he helped serve Mexican-style food at a reception in the cathedral’s social hall. “This feast is for everybody.”
Bishop David Zubik presided at the Mass, preaching first in Spanish, reading deliberately from a text, and then in English. Mr. Ruiz said such efforts, part of the diocese’s larger outreach to its Spanish constituency, were encouraging. “We feel more at home,” said Mr. Ruiz, a native of Mexico.
The service was coordinated by parishes in the diocese that offer Spanish-language Masses, including nearby St. Regis.
The echoes of chattering and cooing of children mingled with that of the musicians and readers — and were also an echo of the infusion of youth that the immigrant families are bringing.
“They are going to be the future” of the church, said Jackie Martinez of the North Hills, who is originally from El Salvador.
Peter Smith: 412-263-1416, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @PG_PeterSmith.