By RUTH E. DÁVILA, Special To The Bulletin | Published June 6, 2013
COLLEGE PARK—Msgr. Daniel Stack endeared the crowd in the Spanish track, interspersing his casual talk with music. He sang traditional Spanish hymns to the tune of trumpets played by a handful of boys from his parish, St. Francis of Assisi in Cartersville. Msgr. Stack purchased the trumpets on eBay for around $30 each, he said.
Addressing the power of self-talk, he shared the small victory of one of the trumpet players and the boy’s father. They both apparently struggled with the idea of “No puedo” (“I can’t”), when faced with learning the perfect pitch. Msgr. Stack animated the story with his own demonstration of a “flopped” performance versus a beautiful, solid note. He relayed that it is vital to push past the attitude of “I can’t,” since with God all things are possible.
Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, the first Hispanic bishop there, playfully listed his summation of the “defects” of God: First, he is as stubborn as a mule. “He never gives up. How many times do we run from Him, and He receives us with open arms?” asked Bishop Elizondo. Second, he has a terrible memory. “He has a very selective memory. He only remembers my good works, not my sins.” Third, he has awful taste. “He likes sinners … the despised, the nobodies, the humble, the slaves.”
Sharing his personal testimony as an advisor for Catholic Relief Services, Father David Garcia of San Antonio, Texas, inspired the audience with images of international poverty and mission work, noting that it is close at hand. “To live in solidarity, you don’t have to go to Africa to give a donation to someone. An essential part of being Catholic is being concerned about other people and, above all, about the poor.” He said that starts at home.
Bishop Luis Zarama’s addresses to the Spanish track are always heartfelt, brief and direct—and they always receive a standing ovation. His primary message this year was to spread love. He asked the audience to ask themselves what their primary obstacle was to love. He also asked them to hug the attendee beside them and say “Te amo” (“I love you”).
The passion and unique flavor of Latin heritage can have a profound effect on the Church, he said.
“That our culture may enrich the Church,” he proclaimed. “Our faith, our traditions are the salt that the Church needs to keep growing.”
Jairo Martinez, director of the Hispanic Ministry for the archdiocese, said that the Spanish track was a “very moving celebration … we reflected about the Eucharist, we wept, we were moved, we laughed and even we danced.”
He said, “During the visits of our bishops, we could experience the great love that our community feels for them, by clapping, standing and thanking them for their example. The crowd was moved by the music; … they clapped, danced and did not want to stop singing.”
He added, “I thank God for the great blessing of having in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, once in the year, the opportunity to climb the mountain to share and live with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, as one Catholic community. Our pastors go with their sheep; we go together as a single body: bishops, priests, religious, deacons, and the community of different cultures, different languages, different customs, and we gather all—children, young people and adults—around our Lord.”