We wanted to share a bit about “Our Lady of Mt. Carmel” festival that was held a few weekends ago in Gainesville, GA.
It was originally scheduled for the weekend after her feast day but was postponed due to heavy rain.
Over the last few years the festival was coordinated by local missionaries but as we are shorthanded this time around, the leaders of the Hispanic community were summoned for more help than usual. While Felicia helped with getting food donations and printing, and Pablo and I helped supply tables and chairs, the Hispanic group managed to get everything coordinated including a huge dinner, tent and inviting quite a few people.
There was a procession that went down the road and circled through one of the trailer parks and then back to the old John Paul II Center. The procession was led by a pickup truck that had a couple of men drumming on homemade drums. This was followed by four other men carrying a large image of “Our Lady of Mt. Carmel” There were also twenty or so dancers in homemade costumes shaking homemade soup can maracas. All in all the procession totaled about 80 people in all. As we went through the trailer park we invited everyone that came out to see us to join us for dinner and prayer.
Once we returned the drummers and dancers performed for Our Lady and everyone else processed through the line of dancers to pay respect to Our Lady.
Later, Pablo led everyone in a rosary along with the Hispanic women of the Rosary group. Afterwards we said a blessing and then feasted.
The whole evening was so raw and beautiful it is hard to describe. What also struck me was the wisdom and beauty of our Catholic leaders though out history that allowed local methods of expression to survive while being re-centered on Christ and Mary.
Here is a brief look at the dancers and music:
Written by Don (GA)