By Sisters Asdruanny García and Rosa Sofía Toledo, MHSH
Last Saturday, July 16, was the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Nowhere is the day celebrated with more fervor than in rural Manzanita in the state of Lara, in Venezuela, where the Mission Helpers have had a mission since 1990. We have been in Venezuela since 1963.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the patron saint of the village and the name of the church that the Mission Helpers established there. Her feast day is always an extremely meaningful and joyous occasion for the people in the region. Last Saturday was no exception.
On the morning of July 16, a priest from Barquisimeto (the large city 50 miles to the north of Manzanita) celebrated Mass and the sacrament of Confirmation for 49 young people. During the Mass, individuals expressed their deep gratitude to Our Lady of Mount Carmel for her intercessory power in the community. They showed their appreciation through song, dance, poetry, gifts and applause.
The procession began at 3 p.m. with the recitation of the Rosary; the statue of Our Lady was placed in a niche, which was donated by the local government, and hoisted to the shoulders of the men and women of the village.
From the church, we processed through the three main sectors of Manzanita, making stops at villages along the way. At one stop, a family gifted Our Lady with a group of Mariachis who sang as we walked. At each stop we led the people in reflections and prayers for families, businesses, police, health and agricultural institutions and government agencies. And, all along the way, there was music and song.
Have you felt the presence of Mary through the human and spiritual warmth of other people?
Have you ever experienced the intercessory power of Mary in your life?
Note: All of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel events are coordinated by Mission Helper Sisters Rosa Sofía Toledo, Marita Rodríguez Segarra and Asdruanny García.