Madison parish celebrates Latino culture Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Jane Lepeska, Catholic Herald Corresponden   
Thursday, Aug. 09, 2018 -- 12:00 AM
good shepherd festival
There will be many kinds of food available at the Good Shepherd Parish Summer Latino Festival in Madison on Sunday, Aug. 12, some of it prepared by Latino members of the parish. (Contributed photo)

MADISON -- Using a quote from St. Teresa of Calcutta, Mitzi Liu posted a notice in the Good Shepherd Parish bulletin this spring seeking volunteers for the annual summer festival scheduled for this Sunday, Aug. 12, from 12 noon to 9 p.m. at its St. Joseph Church located at 1905 W. Beltline Hwy.

The quote, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot, together we can do great things,” fits the can-do attitude of Liu, who enthusiastically volunteers for the parish, which includes a large Spanish-speaking population.

Since the merger of St. Joseph with St. James six years ago, the Latino community assumes leadership for the summer festival, which begins with a bilingual Mass at 10:45 a.m., followed by food, kids’ games, petting zoo, furniture and large toy sale, and lots of musical entertainment until 9 p.m.

Reflecting its German and Italian heritages as well, the parish also sponsors a pork hock and sauerkraut dinner in February and an Italian dinner in January. Another parish festival is held the second Sunday of November, featuring the famous pfeffernuesse cookies hand-rolled by parishioners and many friends.

Work together to strengthen faith

Noting that the parish includes members from at least 19 different countries, Fr. Manuel Mendez, parochial vicar, said the festival is important “because we work together to enrich and strengthen our parish and the faith of our members.”

Father Mendez advises the festival committee and said, “Many members work so hard, sharing their time, talent, and treasures. The festival gives them a chance to relax and enjoy the day.”

Bilingual Mass

Father Mendez will concelebrate the bilingual Mass at 10:45 a.m. on Sunday with Msgr. Tom Baxter, pastor, to officially open the festival. Music will be provided by the Latino choir.

Monsignor Baxter said the summer festival “shows the rich mix of people who are part of our parish and makes us more aware of who we are and where we come from, as we seek to become one parish community.”

Working with the Latino Ministry, Denice Jimenez said celebrating the cultural diversity of the parish is important “because as Catholics we must welcome, value, and respect this wonderful diversity as our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us.”

The parish fundraiser offers a day of fun, music, and entertainment in a family environment, said Jimenez, as well as getting parishioners engaged in their parish community, which, she said, “begins with helping them feel a part of it by showing them that their culture and traditions are valued.”

Lots of music and food

Festival Chair Liu said, “We will have a lot of musical bands, a petting zoo, face painting, games, jumping houses, food carts, some Disney characters, a clown, karaoke, and much more.”

Some of the food will be prepared by Latino members of the parish; other food will be available from food carts, including two for Chinese food, two for Mexican food, one for Puerto Rican, one for snacks, and ice cream from La Michoacana.

Large item sale

The sale for furniture and other large items including bikes, larger pictures, and toys will be held on Saturday after the 5:15 p.m. Mass until 8 that evening and again on Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m., with a half-price sale at 3.

Two church sites

Good Shepherd Parish has two church sites and a school.

St. Joseph Parish began in 1916 on Park St. near Regent St. in the old Greenbush neighborhood, which had a strong Italian Catholic heritage.

St. James Parish began in 1905 to serve a growing German Catholic population at its current site on St. James Ct., off of Mills and Regent Sts. near what is now Meriter Hospital.

With urban development, St. Joseph was forced to move and built its church on the south Beltline Hwy.

St. James School was established in 1905 and is the oldest private school in Madison, serving children from preschool to eighth grade.

The two parishes merged into Good Shepherd Parish in January of 2012.

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