By Darío López Capera
About 1,000 people arrived at St. Leo Church in Corona to attend the Mass in honor of the Divino Niño of Charasol that came from the Diocese of Azogues in Ecuador.
The celebration began on Thursday, Aug. 16 with the Divino Niño Novena that concluded on Friday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. in the parish.
“It is a wonderful thing to know that the people who have traveled, leaving their land and their country, gather around the image of the Divino Niño,” said Father José Jacinto Romero who came from Diocese of Azogues.
“It’s a fact that the faith is rooted in the heart of each of them.”
The parishioners, who are mostly Ecuadoreans, entrusted themselves to the image. And even though the church was full, that was not an impediment to stay and celebrate the feast, although many had to hear the Mass from outside the church.
The Eucharist was celebrated in Spanish by Father Romero, who traveled from Charasol with the Divino Niño image. Concelebrants included Father William Hoppe, pastor of St. Leo, and Fathers José Díaz and Diego Villegas, parochial vicars.
“I am here because on Aug. 29, 2017 we began to make a house for our Divino Niño in Charasol, near the city of Azogues. Many have told me that I am crazy for making such a large structure, but I say that when there are hearts and hands so generous the works of God are made,” said Father Romero during the homily.
“That is why I am here sisters and brothers with the pilgrim [statue]. The image that you see here has traveled in these communities, has been left for months in each community that today is part of the Holy Ecclesiastical Community Marianita de Charasol. He has come and he is going to stay with you for a year,” he said.
Immediately, the applause of the attendees was felt throughout the parish, after learning that the pilgrim image will be with them for a whole year.
A Year of Blessings
“There will be a little place, an altar and He will be with you, and He will be blessing you. My invitation is that we turn our lives to Jesus, to entrust our lives to God and I tell you with all sincerity, that your work, sacrifice, and effort for helping your parents and your children in Ecuador, when they go to the Holy Mass to pray for you, is their way to help us in the construction of our house. So thank you very much, and God bless you.”
This is the first time that the image of Divino Niño of Charasol has come to the United States. “This is the most wonderful experience that I am living,” said Father Romero.
Great Honor and Pride
“It is a great honor and pride for me to have the Divino Niño of Charasol, it is a joy to be here with my Ecuadorian compatriots,” said Julia Guastizaca, an Ecuadorian parishioner living in Queens.
The celebration ended with a small procession where the Divino Niño image was taken from the parish to the parking lot of the church, accompanied by parishioners who enjoyed music and dances typical of Ecuador, and of course, the food of their country.
“We have gathered together on the day of God, and we are here with that great love for God in the image of Divino Niño, for Him we are here, He has brought us today to celebrate this Eucharist as a family. We are the great family of the sons and daughters of God.” Father Romero concluded.