Summer Festival begins with bilingual Mass Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Jane Lepeska Grinde, Catholic Herald Correspondent   
Thursday, Aug. 08, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

MADISON -- Beginning with a bilingual Mass at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at St. Joseph Church, 1905 W. Beltline Hwy., the annual Good Shepherd Summer Festival will continue until 9 p.m. with a variety of food, entertainment, music, and fun for the whole family.

Offering a mix of American and Latino food, food sales start at 12 noon with beans and rice, hamburgers and hot dogs, steak and pork tacos, and more. Music throughout the day will feature Jessie Walker, Ricky Vasquez, DJs, live music, and traditional dancers.

Wayne the Wizard will entertain in the afternoon. For the family, there will be games, bouncy houses, dunk tank, face painting, and Disney characters. Professionals will be on hand to cut and style hair. A silent auction will offer unique and practical items to bid on.

Denice Jimenez, Latino ministry associate, said the day also gets "parishioners engaged in their parish community."

Experiencing cultures

Festival Chair Manuel Flores invites people from throughout the diocese to join the fun and experience the Latino-American culture. Since the merger of St. Joseph with St. James six years ago, the Latino community assumed leadership for the summer festival with volunteers from the whole parish.

Reflecting its early German and Italian heritages, 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 at St. James Church, featuring pfeffernuesse cookies hand-rolled by parishioners and many friends.

Working 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."

Father Mendez, who just celebrated 25 years as priest, will concelebrate the bilingual Mass with Msgr. Tom Baxter, pastor, to open the festival. Music will be provided by the Latino choir.

Good Shepherd Parish has two church sites and a school. St. Joseph Parish began in 1916 on Park St. near Regent in the old Greenbush neighborhood, which had a strong Italian Catholic heritage. St. James began in 1904 to serve a growing German Catholic population at its current site on St. James Ct.

With urban development, St. Joseph was forced to move and built its church on the Beltline. St. James School was established in 1905 and is the oldest private school in Madison.