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Audio Features Ministry

Weather, enthusiasm grace Hispanic/Latino Family Day at Fatima Shrine


Sunny skies and warm but not excessively hot temperatures created the ideal day for Catholic faithful to visit Our Lady of Fatima Shrine Aug. 26. An estimated 100 worshippers spent the day participating in Hispanic/Latino Family Day celebrations sponsored by the Diocese of Buffalo.

Deacon Alejandro Manunta (left) assists Father William Weiksnar, OFM, as he celebrates the annual Hispanic/Latino Family Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine. (Photo by Michael Mroziak)

“It was a very good turnout,” said Sister Roberta Fulton, SSMN, who directs the Office of Cultural Diversity for the Diocese of Buffalo. “And the weather, we can’t believe the weather. We thought it was going to be cloudy, but the Lord has brought sunshine to this Family Day.”

Highlighting the day was Mass held inside the basilica, celebrated by Father William “ Jud” Weiksnar, OFM, of Parish Family 21 in Buffalo, assisted by Deacon Alejandro Manunta of Holy Cross Parish, also in Buffalo. Father Weiksnar served in place of Bishop Michael W. Fisher, who was originally scheduled to celebrate this Mass, but needed to change plans to preside over the funeral of Father Thomas Wopperer, who passed away earlier in the week.

With the exceptions of a brief introduction at the start of Mass and announcements toward its conclusion, the celebration was presented in Spanish.

“For me it’s very important because it’s my first language,” said Hilda Orellana, who was among the musicians and vocalists providing the hymns. “Sometimes I don’t understand what they say in another church. It’s great to have a father who speaks Spanish. We better understand our language. That’s the best for me.”

Family Day continued with lunch at the Fatima Shrine cafeteria, special presentations, and praying of the rosary.

While Hispanic and Latino populations remain in the minority within the Diocese of Buffalo, their communities are very vibrant and passionate.

Deacon Alejandro Manunta reads from the Gospel at the annual Hispanic/Latino Family Mass on Aug. 26. (Photo by Michael Mroziak)

“We aren’t (too many) people, so we have to be together to enjoy these moments,” Orellana said. “For me, it’s the best thing we can do. We have to love each other. We have to be together and enjoy this moment. This is blessed for me.”

Sister Roberta shared Orellana’s sentiment, telling WNY Catholic that there’s a diversity but “oneness in faith” among Catholics in Western New York.“

And it fits the theme of our Cultural Diversity Dinner, ‘One Faith, Many Cultures.’ You could see that here today. They were so alive and brought that energy to the celebration,” Sister Roberta said.

The Cultural Diversity Dinner is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 13. Further information is set to be released at a later date.

Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Lewiston welcomed an estimated 100 worshippers for the Hispanic/Latino Family Mass on Aug. 26. (Photo by Michael Mroziak)

The Cultural Diversity Office also scheduled an African American Family Day celebration earlier in the month, but it was unfortunately rained out. However, another celebration will take place in October. The diocesan African American Commission’s annual Revival weekend is scheduled for Oct. 21-22 at St. Martin de Porres Church in Buffalo. Among the activities planned for this year’s Revival is a report on National Black Catholic Congress XIII, held in July in Washington, D.C. An estimated 3,000 attended the conference, including a delegation of 25 people from the Diocese of Buffalo.

Listen to Michael Mroziak’s report.


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