By Daniel Conway, Senior Vice President for Mission, Identity, and Planning
On Saturday, October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Marian University community and friends and neighbors from the Latino community in Indianapolis celebrated the first annual El Festival Mariano (The Marian Festival) in observance of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) and the special reverence given by the Church to Mary during the month of October. The weather was brisk and overcast, but much warmth and light were generated by the festival’s participants as they processed from the Bishop Chartrand Memorial Chapel to the Blessed Mother Mary Shrine and Rosary Walk on the southwest side of the Marian University campus.
El Festival Mariano began with an inspiring talk given by Marian University alumnus Father Martin Rodriguez ’09, associate pastor of St. Monica Catholic Church in Indianapolis. Father Martin spoke about Mary’s role uniting diverse cultures, especially in the Americas. “Unlike many rich, famous, and popular people whose notoriety fades
with succeeding generations,” Father Martin said, “Mary remains a beloved figure in every age and culture. Her influence with her son, Jesus Christ, remains constant regardless of changing times and circumstances, and her love for each of us—her
children—can never be diminished no matter who we are or what we do.”
A bilingual and multicultural Mass followed the opening talk. Father Michael O’Mara, pastor of St. Gabriel Catholic Church, and a frequent celebrant for Sunday and weekday Masses at Marian University, gave the homily. He emphasized the hope given to us by Christ and the courage and fidelity shown by Santa Maria (Holy Mary),
our mother. Alternating between Spanish and English in his homily and in the prayers of the Mass, Father Michael urged all present to give faithful witness to the kind of unity that our Lord prayed for when he celebrated the first Eucharist with his disciples the night before he died.
El Festival Mariano was a prayerful event, but it was also lots of fun. Outstanding music provided by Banda Pluma Blanca and great food prepared by local restaurants, including ClassicFare Catering, Restaurant Lauritas Shop Mexican Tacos, Novedades Deisy, Circle City Coffee Truck, and Sassy’s Mexican Taco Fiesta Truck represented diverse cuisines from a variety of cultures.
Booths staffed by Key Bank, Walgreens Pharmacy, State Farm Insurance, and Lam Law offered helpful services to the Marian University community and our neighbors and friends. This event was made possible by the following sponsors: 107.1 FM Radio Latina, EXiTOS 1590 AM, Pescador Radio 810 AM, Indy Eleven, Pepsi, Flat 12, and Key Bank.
In his welcoming remarks, Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener said, “Marian University is committed to providing Hispanic students with an outstanding education that will prepare them to be leaders in business, education, health care, church ministry, and other professions. We are partnering with leaders in the Hispanic community to help us recruit Hispanic students and raise money for our Latino Scholarship Fund.”
El Festival Mariano was a grand celebration of this commitment.