By SHEILA OJENDYK
TAYLORS — Prince of Peace was a whirlwind of activity, bright colors, and sounds from around the world. The time was Pentecost weekend, and the celebration was Encuentro 2000.
Encuentro 2000 is modeled upon earlier Encuentros, gatherings in which Hispanic Catholics come together to celebrate their faith and culture and to determine their place in the Catholic Church in the United States. This year, the Hispanic Catholic community invited Catholics from all racial, cultural, and ethnic groups to share their gifts and celebrate the “Many Faces in God’s House.” Encuentro 2000 will take place in Los Angeles July 6 to 9 at the national level, and parishes all over the United States, including the Diocese of Charleston, are planning activities to celebrate on the local level.
Prince of Peace joyfully celebrated the cultural and ethnic rainbow that is America. Many people wore red, and others wore clothing from their native land or culture. Parishioners from Mexico, Vietnam, Colombia, China, the Philippines, Scotland, Puerto Rico, Cuba, India, Ireland and the United States worked hard the weeks before Pentecost creating banners to depict what makes their countries special. These colorful banners lined the walkways, and proud representatives of each community carried their banners in the procession at the 11 a.m. Mass on June 4.
Each Mass had a lector reading in another language. Petitions were offered in a host of mother tongues. Choirs from the Vietnamese and Philippine communities sang special hymns, and musicians shared music from instruments almost unheard of in this country.
Father Steven Brovey said in his homily that Pentecost shows how “all things come together all cultures, all people in Christ …. We are one in the Catholic faith, one in Christ. The church embraces all cultures.” Father Brovey, a man too young to recall when Mass was said in Latin, gave the final blessing and dismissal in Latin. The parishioners responded eagerly in words many will never forget.
Prince of Peace plans to celebrate Many Faces in God’s House throughout the year. Most prominent will be a multicultural dinner in the fall.