All are welcome.
Chautauqua was born in response to the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in America, offering the opportunity to show the diversity of people in the diocese. "We need to celebrate whoever's here," Sister Felicia Sarati, CSJ, director of ethnic ministries recalled. The celebration has been held in more than a dozen parishes over the years; this will be its first celebration including Mass at the Oakland cathedral.
It is more than an ethnic festival, organizers say.
"This festival is in honor of Our Lady," said Bella Comelo, a representative of the Asian Indian Catholic community. "All of us bring a statue of Our Lady."
The Polish community, for example, will bring a statue of the Black Madonna to the procession.
It is also an opportunity to be introduced and spiritually enriched by the faith practices of Catholics from around the globe.
Among the people involved in the planning are representatives of the African American, Asian Indian, Brazilian, Chinese, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Fijian, Filipino, Indonesian, Kenyan, Kmhmú, Korean, Latino, Nigerian, Polish, Portuguese, Tongan and Vietnamese communities.
Over the years, the communities have learned a lot from each other, representatives said, and they look forward to sharing the experience of the Chautauqua with all people of the diocese.
"We share our values. We bring our national treasures. For us, The Black Madonna," said Deacon Witold Cichon, who represents the Polish community. "Wherever we come from, we are here as one people."
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