Mass will honor Hispanic culture and offer prayer for suffering Latinos
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, will lead a jubilant Hispanic Heritage Mass on Friday, October 1, at 8 p.m. in Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
All are welcome to the Spanish-language Mass, which will be concelebrated by the Archdiocese’s four auxiliary bishops and many priests from throughout Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties. Those gathered will celebrate the Hispanic culture and the integral role the Catholic faith plays in it. Prayers will also be offered, especially for those struggling with poverty, immigration issues, and civil unrest in places like Cuba and Central America.
The Hispanic Heritage Mass will feature songs popular among the Hispanic community to supplement the traditional organ music. The celebration will include additional musicians and a procession of flags representing all 20 Latin American countries.
“Faith is very important to Hispanics — it’s engrained in our way of life,” said Deacon Asterio Velasco, the Archdiocese’s director of Hispanic Ministry. “In some of our archdiocesan parishes, Hispanic Masses are among the most well-attended and also among the first to see parishioners return to church after the pandemic. So I hope people celebrate their faith at this Mass and see that they belong to an archdiocesan Church that is alive and prays together. To know you are part of something bigger than yourself is phenomenal.”
The Hispanic community is a significant part of the Archdiocese of Newark. Hispanics make up nearly 30 percent of all archdiocesan parishioners as of 2017, establishing them as the second-largest demographic in the Archdiocese after Caucasians. The Hispanic population is also growing significantly within the Archdiocese, with its total increasing by 20 percent between 2010 and 2017. That number is expected to grow.
To meet the community’s needs, the archdiocesan Hispanic Ministry hosts events and collaborates with the 82 local Hispanic ministries based in parishes throughout the Archdiocese. Past initiatives include participating in the Fifth National Hispanic Encounter, an historic gathering organized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2019. Most recently, the Archdiocese’s Hispanic Ministry organized a prayer vigil for Cuba led by Auxiliary Bishop Manuel A. Cruz, D.D., which attracted numerous community members to St. Joseph of the Palisades Parish in West New York, NJ, this past July.