St. Gabriel parish, East Elmhurst, celebrated its feast day Feb. 25 with a sharing of joy and passion.
It was standing room only for the Mass of thanksgiving celebrated in Spanish by Auxiliary Bishop Neil Tiedemann, C.P.
He was joined at the altar by Father Gioacchino Basile, pastor, and Father Robert J. Sadlack, parochial vicar.
The children of the religious education program led the procession, and a mariachi band performed at the end of the celebration.
Bishop Tiedemann, a Passionist priest, pointed out that he belonged to the same order as St. Gabriel.
“St. Gabriel started at a very early age. He was a Passionist priest and the patron of youth,” explained Bishop Tiedemann.
“We have a lot of young children here today which is very important. They can learn from the story of St. Gabriel and use him as inspiration in their own lives. So we gather to celebrate him and his dedication.
“Today’s Gospel is all about taking up the cross and following Jesus, which is what St. Gabriel dedicated his own life to. Today is a celebration that is a part of the Passionist feast as well as celebrating St. Gabriel’s own feast day.”
Father Basile was very happy the parish could all come together on such a special day.
“Today is very important for us,” he said. “When I first came here, there was not much of a celebration for St. Gabriel’s feast and many people came together to make today a true celebration,” he said.
“Today you see how many people are here and how much this means to all of us. We are so happy to be celebrating together and to remember to try to live like St. Gabriel did.”
Jenny Checo, an instructor with the religious education program, added, “It is so good to have all the children here and take part in the Mass. They will grow up knowing this is always an important day to them. To have Bishop Tiedemann here means so much to everyone.
“Today truly is a special day and the whole parish has worked to make this day important for us all,” Checo said.