By DANIELA MORENO, Special to the Bulletin | Published November 4, 2016
SMYRNA—Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and all over the country events are held to honor the legacy and history of Hispanic cultures.
This year, on Oct. 11, a group of Hispanic employees at the Chancery of the archdiocese decided to celebrate by cooking special meals from their home countries and sharing their culture through pictures, posters, dresses, music and recipes.
Pilar Castañeda from the Vocations Office, Veronica Reyes from Finance and Liliana Emura from Human Resources organized this wonderful feast, and representatives from every department contributed to make it happen. About 150 Chancery employees attended, tasting arepas, pupusas, arroz con gandules, frijoles, tostadas, mangú, causa limeña, tortilla española, papas chorreadas, empanadas, alfajores, and many other delicious dishes.
After this first-time event at the Chancery, many said they would like it to become an annual celebration.
“It was great. We really enjoyed it, let’s have it every year!” said Fay Duhe and Erin Hawthorne from Human Resources.
Imelda Richárd from the Office of Life, Dignity and Justice said, “We have to do it again next year, but let’s make sure next time we all dance as Latinos do in real parties!”
Bishop Luis R. Zarama, a native of Colombia, led the opening prayer and said, “Since we gathered to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, I am going to bless this food in Spanish.” When he started to pray, music played in the background, which gave the moment a little bit of Latin flavor. Bishop Zarama also prepared a dish of lentils, which many said were delicious.
Some of the staff were surprised by the variety of dishes. “I never thought Latin American cuisine could be so diverse,” said one of the attendees. It is this cultural awareness that is promoted by the Office of Intercultural and Ethnic Diversity, a supporter of this event, to help develop a better understand of the varied Hispanic communities. In fact, many cultures are celebrated throughout the year in parishes that host food-tasting events to help parishioners embrace multicultural diversity.
Patrick Metts from the Office of Formation and Discipleship, who made a dish from Spain, proudly said: “I’m not Hispanic, but I spent 10 months in Madrid and learned how to make ‘tortilla española.’ I cooked these two tortillas by myself with no help!”
To learn how to make arepas stuffed with reina pepiada, a dish from my home country, Venezuela, please try this recipe.
Buen provecho! (Bon appetit!)
Daniela Moreno, a native of Venezuela, works as a translator in the Communications Office of the archdiocese.