by Marie Elena Giossi
Parish children led the celebration of El Dia de Tres Reyes at St. Laurence Church, East New York, last Sunday morning.
Traditionally celebrated on Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Three Kings, also known as Wise Men or Magi, to the Christ Child, whom they found by following a bright star to Bethlehem.
Boys and girls from the religious education program reenacted the visit of the Three Wise Men to the Newborn King during the 10:30 a.m. Spanish Mass, celebrated by Father Johannes Siegert, parochial vicar, Visitation B.V.M., Red Hook, who is assisting the parish while Father Frank Black, pastor, is on a mission trip to Jamaica.
As Father Siegert proclaimed the Gospel, children in colorful costumes began processing down the main aisle. One angel led the way carrying a tall gilded star, followed by half a dozen winged angels. Then Mary and Joseph, cradling a baby doll in their arms, took their places on the altar beside the crèche. All watched as three bearded wise men wearing regal robes and crowns approached the Holy Family and placed wrapped gifts representing gold, frankincense and myrrh before the Infant.
Donning the kingly crowns this year were seven-year-old Cameron Grinage; nine-year-old Angel Medina and 11-year-old Joshua Vargas. Medina usually portrays an angel in the annual reenactment of the feast but this year, he volunteered to be a king.
While adult men customarily serve as the Magi, this was the first time the festivities featured child kings, noted German Medina, Angel’s father and parish youth group coordinator. The parish acquired youth costumes and decided it was time to put the celebration in the hands of its younger parishioners.
Medina explained that having youth involved in all of the roles gives them a greater appreciation of the feast, cultivates their interest and hopefully, inspires them to carry on this tradition.
“A lot of parishes don’t do this anymore and we have a tendency to forget,” Medina added. “This is what we need. It brings the spirit back. In the new year we all have an opportunity to seek Him out and get closer to God” as the Magi did.
Judina Wilson, religious education director, was proud to have the youth more involved and carrying on the traditions of their faith.