The Annual Fe Y Cultura/ Faith and Culture 2016; 8th Annual Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival;2016 Sisters of Notre Dame BBQ and Boutique
On Friday night we went to a liturgical celebration in the Field House at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickcliffe. It was the annual "Fe Y Cultura 2016" translated as "Faith and Culture 2016" in honor of our cultural diversity.
A person from the Diocese of Cleveland that we talked to estimated that there were probably 500 people there including those from such Hispanic churches as La Sagrada Familia, Sacred Heart Chapel, St. Michael, St. Bernard in Akron, St. Mary in Painesville, Our Lady of Lourdes, and St. Mary in Wooster. We said hello to Rev. Robert Reidy, Pastor from La Sagrada Familia and Rev. Stephen Vellenga, Pastor of St. Mary. We also greeted our good friend Sister Rita Mary Harwood.
Prior to the start of the Mass, Ms. Janet Peyton from Medina welcomed all of the attendees and told us that the purpose of this gathering was to "celebrate the richness of the Hispanic community." Ms. Peyton said that this annual affair began 18 years ago in observation of Hispanic Heritage month and has been conducted in various locations in the Cleveland/Northeast Ohio area. There was then a parade of flags which recognized the various Hispanic countries of the world and the reading of a poem by its author, Mr. Arturo Navarro from Painesville about what it means to a part of the Hispanic community.
The theme of the evening concerned the fact that the Vatican had proclaimed 2016 as the Year of Mercy and it was our role to impart this message to the rest of society. Mother Teresa was upheld as an outstanding example of someone who really lived her faith. Most of all, what we took from our experience at the Field House that evening was the thought that if all of us were united in our compassionate actions, then real greatness could be achieved.
Much of the mass and the other proceedings were conducted in Spanish (as they should have been) largely by Rev. Joseph Callahan from Our Lady of Lourdes with some English translation but the mood was so upbeat that, even thought we do not know much Spanish, we really liked being there.
All told, we could really relate to Bishop Roger Gries when he acknowledged that Spanish was not his native language but he was always glad when he was asked to be a part of this celebration because he found the Hispanic people to be very "energizing" about their faith and it made him feel very good about doing his own work. He went on to say that it was wonderful that the people from the Latino countries (or their descendants) were able to come together this evening and this unification should be an example to all of us as to what America is all about. Bishop Gries concluded by thanking everyone for being there this evening and bringing so much "joy" with them.
On Saturday and Sunday, September 17th and 18th, we tabled for Margaret W. Wong and Associates at the 18th Annual Tremont Arts and Cultural Festival in Lincoln Park. Due to cloudy weather and predicted rain storms (which for the most part didn't happen) Saturday was not as busy as it could have been but there were a lot of people there on Sunday.
This was our third year tabling at this festival and one festival goer said that they had never seen a law office tabling there before. We said that those of us involved with Margaret W. Wong and Associates considered ourselves to be "trendsetters". Besides, most people who attend this festival seemed to want the best for both immigrants and refugees so we felt at home there.
We set up our table next to that of Mr. Michael BeBendictis, a local author and poet who we very much enjoyed visiting with over the two days. In close proximity to us were the tables of two glass artists, Mr. Mike Zelenka and Mr. Lou Goldstein, and the booth of Mr. Alan Jackson who was selling copies of the beautiful posters that his father Mr. "Bear" Jackson designe to promote various singers and bands who performed in Cleveland back in the 1970's and 1980's.
As always, Mr. Scott Rosenstein, the festival manager, did a fine job of organization and the festival staff were very attentive to the needs of the vendors and the festival goers.
Among the people who stopped off at our table were:
****People we knew from the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Interreligious Task Force on Central America, and the Human Rights Campaign. Quite a few of them said that they supposed that due to the current political climate, immigration was a widely discussed topic. We replied that it certainly was.
****A young man named Miguel who makes his living working with/selling vacuum cleaners. He was very interested in immigration so we gave him a copy of Ms. Wong's book, "The Immigrant's Way."
****The daughters of Ms. Mary Fedak who told us that their mother used to work with Ms. Margaret W. Wong in the 1980's-1990's when she did nationality services.
****A man named David who met our George Koussa recently at One World Day and wanted us to say hello.
****A person who worked at EMH, Inc. in Valley City. He told us that years ago Ms. Wong had assisted his company on some immigration matters regarding several employees.
****A man named Jean-Francois from Ottawa who was visiting Cleveland for the very first time. He was having an excellent time here; on Friday he had gone to the Indians game and planned to attend a concert later on Saturday and another sporting event on Sunday. He was at the festival in Tremont because he chose to take a SPARX City Hop tour which stopped at Lincoln Park and he was glad that it did.
****A young man named Pedro who immigrated to the United States from Honduras. He had served in the U.S. Armed Forces and told us that Ms. Margaret W. Wong helped him to obtain his permanent residency and then his citizenship. He would always be grateful to her and remember her for this.
Despite being busy in Tremont for most of the weekend, we still had time to attend two other events:
On Saturday evening, after the Tremont Festival wrapped up for the day we journeyed to Fairport Harbor in Lake County to attend the opening of the Hildegarden, "a center focused on the growing of mind, body, and spirit."
It used to be St. Michael Byzantine Church which had been closed for years. The building and property were purchased by Dr. Shannon Sterringer and her husband, Mr. Rick Sterringer with the goal of creating this center whose goal is "helping women and men grow in wholeness." We had met Dr. Sterringer at an Eastern Lake County Chamber of Commerce meeting and she invited us to this event.
At this time, Father Peter Mihalic, the Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua, which is located just a short distance away, and Mayor Tim Manross of Fairport Harbor each spoke for a moment about how happy they were that this the former St. Michael's is being put to such good use.
Dr. Sterringer, who is also Pastoral Associates as St. Anthony's, spoke of how she was inspired by the teachings of Germany's St. Hildegard of Bingen; so much so that she traveled to Europe to study her more extensively. According to the literature we obtained, St. Hildegard "promoted a concept that she called viriditas which translated from the Latin means 'greening power.' Viriditas encompasses much more than one's relationship with the environment, although that is an important part. To be rich in this life-giving source of greenness requires a healthy relationship with oneself, with others, and with the Sacred. It is a concept based on personal wholeness and wellness."
Accordingly, the Hildegarden will offer day retreats, educational speakers, healthy lifestyle seminars, personal growth workshops, guided meditation and holistic healing. We found the ambiance of the new center to be one of tranquilty and we hope to go back for other programs.
On Sunday morning we drove over to the Chardon Province of the Sisters of Notre Dame to attend their 2016 BBQ and Boutique of which Margaret W. Wong and Associates was one of the sponsors. Upon arrival we said hello to Sister Jacquelyn Gusdane, the President of Notre-Dame Cathedral Latin School, and has known Ms. Margaret W. Wong for years.
This annual event which also takes place next Sunday, September 25th, is expected to host at least 6,000 people in the two weeks combined. Unfortunately, as vegetarians, we could not eat the delicious looking ribs and/or chicken but we enjoyed watching other people eat it while we enjoyed several side dishes.
We chatted with Sister Karen Somerville, who we had met at One World Day about a month ago, who confirmed that this was indeed the 54th year of this occurrence. She also told us how excited everyone is about the planned retirement village and assisted living facility that should be ready to serve people in the Spring of 2018. Sister Karen was a delight and we really enjoyed visiting with her. We wished we could have stayed longer but we had to leave after a short while to get back to our table in Tremont.
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC