Catholic San Francisco


(Photo by Lorena Rojas/Catholic San Francisco)

Sharing faith, learning mercy: attendees in St. Mary’s Cathedral at the sixth Hispanic Day Oct. 29.

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Mercy ‘like a river’: Hispanic Day reflects on Year of Mercy
November 15th, 2016
By Lorena Rojas

Latino Catholics of the Archdiocese of San Francisco celebrated the sixth consecutive Hispanic Day at St. Mary’s Cathedral on Oct. 29, focusing on the Year of Mercy.

The event, which took place three weeks before the end of the jubilee year, included prayers, confessions, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Mass, along with Latin-American food and art.

“This is a day of mercy,” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said before celebrating Mass.

During the homily, the archbishop referred to the Gospel and preached about God’s covenant with his people and the obedience of Jesus who followed God’s plans of creation.

The archbishop invited the faithful to continue praying the rosary, reading and reflecting on the Bible, worshiping the Blessed Sacrament, and studying the Catholic faith.

The archbishop thanked Father Moisés Agudo, vicar for Hispanics in the archdiocese, for founding the “Escuela de Formación y Liderazgo” (School of Faith Formation and Leadership). The school began operations in September, with locations in San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin counties.

Father Agudo said that Pope Francis declared the Year of Mercy because the church was forgetting its mission to announce God’s mercy to all people.

Parishioners of the three counties traveled from their communities to share the day dedicated to the integration of Spanish-speaking people and Latino culture.

Jesuit Father Arturo Araujo, a professor at the University of San Francisco, gave the first speech of the day: “Mercy in the Magisterium of the Church.” Verbum Dei Sister Yolanda Barajas addressed mercy in the tradition of the church. Father Alexander Castillo, secretary to Oakland Bishop Michael Barber, talked about mercy in the Scriptures.

Sister Yolanda said it is difficult to bring 20 centuries of the history of God’s mercy and share it in less than an hour. However, she organized the life of mercy in the Scriptures in stages starting with the first Christians who experienced mercy based on their relationship of “something with a face, the God who saved them.”

The Scriptures teach about the mercy of God not as a concept but rather as a feeling that is born in our womb, explained Father Castillo.

This mercy “is like a river” born from a single source. But at some point the currents divided in two and then came together again to form one stream again. The divided streams represent the mercy of God for us, and the mercy that God asks us to have for each other, Father Castillo said.

Father Araujo placed the mercy of God in the context of the teaching of the faith entrusted to the bishops and priests. From the beginning, mercy has played a leading role in maintaining the unity of the church, he said.

From November 17, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.

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