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By Armando Machado
The author, who writes for The Catholic Northwest Progress, www.seattlearch.org/progress, is originally from
Unity with other cultures
‘It is the tradition in our country — and here we have unity with other cultures,’ Pilar said Sunday morning shortly before the start of the parish's annual Flores de Mayo celebration, which drew several hundred people.
A longtime Assumption parishioner, Pilar works as a volunteer at the event each year. She said she is thankful for the parish's support, and for the loving leadership of head organizer Filipino-born Cris Finnigan — a fellow longtime parishioner.
Different colors, one faith
Also at the celebration was Jose Cruz, 36, who helped carry a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe during a brief procession that preceded a regularly scheduled Spanish Mass. That statue was part of the event to acknowledge the Hispanic community, with a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes for the Filipino community, and of Our Lady of La Vang for the Vietnamese community.
‘This is a very good thing — that the Filipino community here has invited us all to celebrate their tradition,’ said the Mexican-born Cruz. ‘The Catholic traditions in
He said it was a pleasure for him to volunteer for the event and to learn more about the ways Filipinos celebrate their Catholic faith traditions. And like Pilar Lim, he noted Cris Finnigan's hard work as lead organizer of Flores de Mayo and other annual Filipino faith-based events at Assumption. Cruz's 15-year-old stepdaughter, Brittany Self, was part of the procession, portraying one of the several reynas (queens).
Devotion to Our Lady
Spanish missionaries introduced the Flores de Mayo during their country’s occupation of the
Following tradition, sagalas (young girls dressed in white) bring flowers, pray the rosary and sing hymns to a statue of Mary, usually Our Lady of Lourdes. At month's end, after the sun has set, the statue is mounted on a carosa (carriage) bedecked with flowers and paraded around the city with a band, with procession participants carrying lighted candles and the young girls carrying baskets of flowers.
After Sunday's 12:30pm Mass, the celebration featured a multicultural potluck in the
‘We got such a positive response from everyone — and there was plenty of food,’ Cris Finnigan said. ‘It's beautiful when you're able to draw from other communities and celebrate our diversity, all in the name of Christ and the Virgin Mary.’