Garifuna Priest, Father LAWRENCE NICASIO To Commemorate 25 Years of Religious Service at Belize Garifuna Settlement Day Mass in Brooklyn on SUNDAY November 9th 2014

 

 

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Brownsville, Brooklyn — The Garifuna Settlement Day Cultural Mass Association of New York has announced that their Annual Belize Garifuna Settlement Day (Garifuna Thanksgiving) Mass will be taking place on SUNDAY, November 9th 2014 at Our Lady Of Mercy Church in Brooklyn in the afternoon. A specific time wasn’t announced, but the mass has typically taken place at three in the afternoon in the past.  All Garinagu and Non-Garinagu are invited to take part in this very special Garifuna Mass.

Garinagu at a past Belize Garifuna Settlement Day Mass in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garinagu at a past Belize Garifuna Settlement Day Mass in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Our Lady of Mercy Church is located at 680 Mother Gaston Blvd in Brooklyn, New York.  You can take the 3 train to the Junius Street stop or the B14 bus to the Stone Avenue Library stop, get off and walk two blocks south on Mother Gaston Blvd to the church.

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.


This Garifuna Mass will be presided over by Father Lawrence Nicasio from Belize.  He is commemorating 25 years of Religious Service.   Typically, a reception with food and music follows this Garifuna Mass.  The reception takes place in the basement of Our Lady Of Mercy Catholic Church.

Father Lawrence Nicasio being given a Certificate of Appreciation by The Garifuna Settlement Day Cultural Mass Association of New York.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Father Lawrence Nicasio being given a Certificate of Appreciation by The Garifuna Settlement Day Cultural Mass Association of New York. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Settlement Day (November 19th for Belize and Nicaragua. November 26th for Guatemala) is a day that commemorates the arrival of Garinagu to the Central American countries of Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.  April 12th is the day that commemorates the arrival of Garinagu to Honduras/Central America.   Garinagu landed on the island of Roatan, (which is off the shore of Honduras) after their exile from St. Vincent on April 12th, 1797.

Garifuna Settlement Day

While Garifuna Settlement Day is celebrated in Honduras (April 12th), Guatemala (November 26th) and Nicaragua (November 19th) the only place in the WORLD where it is officially recognized as a public and bank holiday is in Belize.  The heart of the celebration is held in the southern part of Belize.

Father Lawrence Nicasio.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Father Lawrence Nicasio. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.


Annual commemorations of this historic achievement are held in American cities with sizable Belizean Garifuna populations, in particular Chicago and Los Angeles.  In New York City, there was a memorial service for Thomas Vincent Ramos on SUNDAY November 2nd 2014 and a Belize Garifuna Settlement Day Mass on SUNDAY, November 9th 2014 in Brooklyn.

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.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE. Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted through the PAYPAL website, so potential donations are SAFE and SECURE. 


Father Lawrence Nicasio.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Father Lawrence Nicasio. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Notes:

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

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