ROCHESTER — The image of Our Lady of Providencia, the patroness of Puerto Rico, is beautiful artistically and spiritually, according to Father Carlos Sánchez.
Father Sánchez, who celebrated a Mass in her honor on Nov. 18 at St. Michael Church, said the image of Mary holding Jesus in her lap represents the model for all mothers of caring and concern for their children. In her acceptance of God’s will to be the mother of Jesus, she also provides a model of true faith in God for all Christians to follow, he said during his homily.
Our Lady of Providence’s image "represents Mary feeling secure in the embrace of the Lord," he remarked. "Mary is the model of discipleship. Mary is the model of complete confidence and faith in God."
Her faith was then rewarded with the greatest gift of all — to be the mother of the savior of the world, he said.
"Mary is one true and authentic mother," said Father Sánchez. "A woman with her own fears, doubts and uncertainties, yet she said yes to God, yes to his will."
A native of Colombia, Father Sánchez said he was honored to be celebrating the patroness of Puerto Rico with the Latino faith community in Rochester. In addition to the Mass, which more than 100 people attended, the celebration included a reception in the church hall.
Dagmar Sanchez carries the Puerto Rican flag in the procession into the annual Providencia Mass in honor of the patroness of Puerto Rico Nov. 18.
He ended his homily with the words of the song "Virgen de la Providencia," which include:"We Boricuas, your loving children trust in you to find all that is good. Provide us with the same care as you do for the baby Jesus in your arms."
During the processional, the statue of Our Lady of Providencia was carried by Cecilio and Carmen Barbosa. Dressed in a floor-length folkloric outfit in red, white and blue, Dagmar Sánchez carried the Puerto Rican flag. Following Communion, children from the parish placed vases of red roses in front of the statute.
After the Mass, Sánchez knelt before the Providencia statue in prayer.
"She is my Virgin Mary," said the native of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, who now lives in Greece.
Sánchez added that she had the ruffled skirt and blouse custom made and was first asked to be the flag bearer last year when she arrived to Mass wearing the outfit. She added that she was happy to have been invited back to take part in the celebration.
"I’m very patriotic," she said.