Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Bishop Senior Celebrates Mass on Feast of Our Lady of Altagracia in York

In the Dominican Republic, January 21 is a holiday for the country as it is the patronal feast of Our Lady of Altagracia, which dates back to 1692 when it was established by the local archbishop for the Blessed Mother’s intercession in a Spanish-Dominican victory over an invading French force.

Saint John Paul II visited the Dominican Republic twice in his pontificate, blessing the Basilica Cathedral – Sanctuary of Altagracia in his first in 1979; in his second, he did a ceremonial crowing of Our Lady of Altagracia.

Yet, legend has it that the origin of the feast dates back to around 1500, when a father’s daughter requested an image of the Virgin de la Altagracia. Not able to find any such art on his visit to the town of Los Dos Rios, the father was greeted by an old man who was carrying an image of the Blessed Mother with the baby Jesus painted on a cloth. The old man gave the image to the awed father and, in the morning when the father went looking for the man, he could not be found. When the father returned home, his daughter was waiting at the foot of an orange tree. When the young girl died, she was buried under the orange tree and that tree is still preserved today.

Bishop Senior celebrated Holy Mass in honor of the feast day at Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgina Mary Church, York, where the church was filled to capacity on the frigid morning of January 21. “This church is filled with the love of our Blessed Mother and our Lord Jesus Christ,” Bishop Senior said. “I am most grateful for your wonderful presence here today; your love and witness to our Blessed Mother and love for Christ is a great source of inspiration. Mary, full of grace, smiles down on us today. We bring her our anxieties, worries and, as protector we trust her…. She is the model disciple, and she invites us to trust in God’s will for our lives.”

After Mass, there was a reception at St. Mary’s with many cultural food choices made by the Dominican community. Father John Kuchinski, pastor, was a concelebrant of Holy Mass and translated Bishop Senior’s homily in Spanish for the faithful. St. Mary’s was founded in 1852 by St. John Neumann – then Bishop of Philadelphia.

(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)

By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness

- Advertisement -spot_img

Submission Deadline

The deadline for submissions to the biweekly Notebook/Parish Obituaries listing is every other Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Please refer to the Publication Schedule for edition dates and deadlines.

Other News