Oregon may be home to both English- and Spanish-speakers, but now it’s time for everyone to speak a common language of selfless love and service.
That was the message May 7 as Archbishop John Vlazny presided at the annual Mariachi Mass on Portland’s waterfront during the Cinco de Mayo festival. The retired leader of the Archdiocese of Portland is a fluent Spanish speaker and a well-known face at Portland’s Cinco de Mayo, which for 33 years has celebrated Mexican culture and Latino life — including the Catholic faith.
The Portland Guadalajara Sister City Association sponsors the event. At the Mass, held in a tent, faith is expressed via mariachi music and folk dancing brought by travelers from Guadalajara, a city of more than 4 million in western Mexico.
Speaking in Spanish, Archbishop Vlazny called the lively liturgy a reminder of the unity God desires.
“There is much hope in our hearts when a celebration of our culture joins our faith,” he said, expressing hope for more friendship between Mexico and the United States.
Archbishop Vlazny mentioned the many first Communion celebrations and confirmations taking place at western Oregon parishes. He called worshippers to a childlike faith in Jesus the Good Shepherd. He also urged listeners to serve in the community unselfishly.