Archdiocese of Newark celebrates Hispanic Heritage Mass, honors Auxiliary Bishop Cruz

Parishioners and clergy gather outside Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart following the Archdiocese of Newark’s Hispanic Heritage Mass on September 8, 2023

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, celebrated the Archdiocese of Newark Hispanic Ministry’s annual Hispanic Heritage Mass on September 8 in Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

The Mass began with a colorful and lively procession of parishioners who wore vibrant cultural attire and marched into the Cathedral Basilica carrying flags of Hispanic nations and banners representing their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is particularly revered among Hispanic Catholics. The cathedral pews were filled with 600 Catholics, including both Spanish-speaking and non-Spanish-speaking attendees. Some waved flags, while others were adorned in traditional attire. 

In his homily, Cardinal Tobin highlighted the significance of the Virgin Mary as a unifying symbol across all Latin American countries. He also underscored the crucial role of preserving the Catholic faith.

“Faith is conserved in the way it is shared — with trust,” Cardinal Tobin said.

The liturgy concluded with special acknowledgement of Auxiliary Bishop Manuel Cruz’s 15th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop. To honor him, the entirety of the Cathedral Basilica sang “Happy Birthday” before bursting into applause. It was noted that the anniversary date is particularly meaningful to Bishop Cruz because it is also the feast day of Our Lady of Charity, the patron saint of Cuba, from where the bishop emigrated in 1966.

The Archdiocese of Newark’s Hispanic Ministry, led by its director, Deacon Asterio Velasco, collaborates with archdiocesan offices and 85 archdiocesan parishes with Hispanic ministries to provide assistance and programming to local Hispanic Catholics, who make up 40% of the Archdiocese’s population. 

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