The 214th Celebration of Freedom took place Jan. 1 at SS. Joachim and Anne Church in Queens Village, with an afternoon Mass marking Haitian Independence Day.
Celebrated by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and Haitian priests from Brooklyn and Queens, the Mass was said in Creole and followed by a festive luncheon featuring the pumpkin-based soup, Joumou.
After slaves in Haiti overthrew the French Military in 1804, they celebrated by eating the soup, which until then was only served to the wealthy French and plantation owners. The newly freed Haitians ate the soup as a symbol of their independence and the tradition has continued down through the years.
Bishop DiMarzio prayed for the Haitian communities of the diocese, “We continue to fight with the government to see if they would extend the DACA. We see so many people here today that are proud immigrants or children of immigrants with their strong heritage and culture. We must fight for the people of the diocese.
“This year is a year of peace that the Holy Father has called for immigrants who are the purveyors of peace. Where they go, they seek peace and the people of Haiti know that so well and we want to bring that peace back to Haiti.”
Father Saint Charles Borno, coordinator of the Haitian Apostolate, remarked, “We look back and remember our history and our freedom. Our ancestors fought for a better life as we still do today. Our fight for freedom will be remembered and will stay in history forever. We thank so many people and all those here today to celebrate the Haitian people and to show them our community and our faith.”
The homily was preached in Creole by Father Jean Farda Tanisma, parochial vicar at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary-St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr, Ozone Park.
He finished it with a blessing, “May God bless all His children, may God bless Haiti, and may God bless all of you. We see how many people are here today; we see the Haitian pride so strong on display. Remember your people and go with God and have a blessed 2018.”