Annual BROOKLYN Garifuna Mass With Garifuna Priest FATHER TOMAS CACHO To Take Place at OUR LADY OF MERCY Catholic Church in Brownsville, Brooklyn on SATURDAY June 14th 2014

 

Garifuna Priest Father Tomas Cacho at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Brownsville, Brooklyn in 2012.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Priest Father Tomas Cacho at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Brownsville, Brooklyn in 2012. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

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Brownsville, Brooklyn — The Annual Garifuna Mass in Brooklyn will be taking place at OUR LADY OF MERCY Church in Brownsville, Brooklyn on Saturday, June 14th 2013.

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

As presented by the Garifuna Society of The Our Lady of Mercy Church, This Garifuna Mass (held every year on the second weekend of June) is one of the few Catholic Garifuna Masses presided over by a Garifuna Priest.  This Garifuna Mass will be presided over by Father Tomas Cacho (from Honduras) and Deacon Victor Elijio.

Garifuna Priest Father Tomas Cacho at The Annual Garifuna Mass at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church Brownsville, Brooklyn in 2012.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Priest Father Tomas Cacho at The Annual Garifuna Mass at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church Brownsville, Brooklyn in 2012. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

This Garifuna Mass in the United States is something of a rarity, at least a Garifuna Mass presided over by a Priest of Garifuna Descent in the United States of America.  The only other one in New York City presided over by a Garifuna Priest is the Annual Garifuna Mass in commemoration of Belize Settlement Day held in Brooklyn at Our Lady Of Mercy Church every November, which is presided over by Father Larry Nicasio from Belize.  Both Father Tomas Cacho and Father Larry Nicasio are two of the few Ordained Priests of Garifuna descent at this time.

Garifuna Woman from the Garifuna Society of Our Lady of Mercy Church in Brooklyn at the Annual Garifuna Mass in 2012.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Woman from the Garifuna Society of Our Lady of Mercy Church in Brooklyn at the Annual Garifuna Mass in 2012. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

This Garifuna Mass is scheduled to take place from approximately 4:30pm in the afternoon to Seven in the afternoon, followed by a reception with food and drink.  Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church is also celebrating it’s anniversary and has a host of celebratory activities taking place.  That’s why this mass was bumped from its typical 3pm starting time.

Our Lady of Mercy Church
680 Mother Gaston Blvd. (between Riverdale and Livonia Avenue)
Brooklyn, NY 11212
#3 Subway train to Junius Ave or Rockaway Ave Stop

For more information, call (718) 346-3166 or (347) 944-0384.

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Garifuna Children from the Garifuna Society of  Our Lady of Mercy Church in Brownsville, Brooklyn at the Annual Garifuna Mass in 2012.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Children from the Garifuna Society of Our Lady of Mercy Church in Brownsville, Brooklyn at the Annual Garifuna Mass in 2012. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Below is video of the 2009 Garifuna Mass at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Garifuna Priest Father Tomas Cacho in 2012.

Garifuna Priest Father Tomas Cacho in 2012.

 

 

ABOUT The Garifuna People

The Garifuna people are people of African descent (in other words, Black people) whose ancestry can be traced to Africans mixing with Carib Indians and Arawak Indians on the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent.  From this fusion of race and ethnicities in St. Vincent Island, a distinct culture and language arose.  They are noted for being one of the few (only?) peoples of African descent (again, in other words, Black people) in the Americas to have maintained aspects of their ancestral culture and full use of their ancestral language for everyday use over the course of hundreds of years.

After being defeated in war with the British on St. Vincent in 1796; 1004 men,  1779 women and 1,555 children for a total of 4,338 people (mostly Black Caribs, as the Garifuna people were then known) were captured and taken to Baliceaux, a small island, a rock, basically, off the coast of St. Vincent.  This took place from July 1796 through February/March 1797.  About 2,000 Garifunas died of a mysterious and very infectious fever while living on Baliceaux awaiting their fate.   1

In early March 1797, the remaining Garifunas were loaded onto the HMS Experiment and other ships.  Once they were rounded up, the convoy were taken to a Bequia, which is another island off the coast of St. Vincent. They proceeded to go to Grenada to get water, then Jamaica for refueling, then finally Roatan, Honduras, arriving on April 12th 1797.

Finding much of Roatan unliveable, the Garifuna people petitioned officials representing Spain and it’s government (which controlled much of Central America at the time) to be allowed to move to the Honduran mainland.  Upon being allowed to move to the Honduran mainland, the Garifunas settled many towns and villages along the Caribean coast of Honduras.  They also migrated to the neighboring countries of Guatemala, Belize (then known as British Honduras) and Nicaragua over the years.

 

Notes:

  1. Nancie L. Gonzalez, “Sojourners of the Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of the Garifuna” pg. 21

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