Garifuna Mass In Honor of Patroness Saint of Honduras, Virgin of Suyapa To Take Place on SUNDAY, February 8th 2015 in the Bronx

 

 

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Bronx, New York — The Prometra Garifuna Society Inc will be hosting the Garifuna Mass in Honor of the Patroness of Honduras, The Virgin of Suyapa at The St. Martin of Tours Church in the Bronx on Sunday, February 8th 2015 at 2pm.

St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in the Bronx.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in the Bronx. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

According to Wikipedia, The Virgin of Suyapa is a statue of the Virgin Mary miraculously found in Honduras in the 1700s.   The Statue, also known as Our Lady of Suyapa is the most popular religious image in Honduras.   1

Inside St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in the Bronx.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Inside St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in the Bronx. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

The Statue is guarded carefully in Suyapa, which is a suburb of the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa.  February 3rd is the commemoration of the day the statue was found.  Thousands of Central Americans make a pilgrimage to visit the statue on February 3rd.

Prometra Garifuna Society Choir in 2012.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights  Reserved.

Prometra Garifuna Society Choir in 2012. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

This Mass in Honor of The Virgin of Suyapa will be held in Garifuna, Spanish and English.   The Mass is scheduled to begin at Two in the afternoon.

St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church

664 Grote Street (at E. 182nd Street)

Bronx, New York 10457

Subway: D Train to 182-183 Street Subway Stop

Bus: BX 17 to  Crotona Ave E. 182nd Street

BX 12/BX 36 to Grote Street/Belmont Avenue

Garifuna Mass In Honor of Patroness of Honduras, The Virgin of Suyapa, will take place on SUNDAY, February 8th 2015 in the Bronx.

Garifuna Mass In Honor of Patroness of Honduras, The Virgin of Suyapa, will take place on SUNDAY, February 8th 2015 in the Bronx.

Virgin of Suyapa Mass in the Bronx.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Virgin of Suyapa Mass in the Bronx. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

 

Members of The Prometra Garifuna Society Choir in 2012.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Members of The Prometra Garifuna Society Choir in 2012. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

According to wikipedia, patron saints are, “saints regarded in some Christian denominations  as a deity or spirit that acts as a protector and as a heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person. Patron saints, having already transcended to the metaphysical, are believed to be able to intercede effectively for the needs of their special charges. ”   2

Virgin of Suyapa Mass in the Bronx.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Virgin of Suyapa Mass in the Bronx. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

At the Virgin of Suyapa Mass in the Bronx.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

At the Virgin of Suyapa Mass in the Bronx. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

The Prometra Garifuna Society Inc is an organization which originated in Travesia, Honduras but was brought to the New York City and officially established in the Bronx by Leslie Avila Reyes in 1986.  This organization has worked tirelessly to involve Garifuna youth and Garinagu in general with church activities.

Exiting St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in the Bronx at the conclusion of the Virgin of Suyapa Mass in the Bronx.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Exiting St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in the Bronx at the conclusion of the Virgin of Suyapa Mass in the Bronx. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Traditionally, there is a cultural affair that takes place immediately after the Virgin of Suyapa Garifuna Mass.  This Virgin of Suyapa Festival will take place at the gymnasium (a.k.a. Gymnasium of P.S. 051, Bronx New School) around the corner (on Crotona Avenue) from the St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church.

Gymnasium (a.k.a. Gymnasium of P.S. 51  Bronx New School) of The St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in the Bronx.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Gymnasium (a.k.a. Gymnasium of P.S. 51 Bronx New School) of The St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in the Bronx. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Gymnasium (a.k.a. Gymnasium of P.S. 51  Bronx New School) of The St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in the Bronx.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Gymnasium (a.k.a. Gymnasium of P.S. 51 Bronx New School) of The St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in the Bronx. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Food and Drinks are served at this event and it usually features cultural presentations by local Garifuna talent.   This year will feature performances/cultural presentations by:

Don Cuellar

Rigo Lambert

Marcony Star

Xcstasy Band

Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York

Garifuna Singer, Dancer Felix Gamboa of the Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York (as well as the International Garifuna Band) performing at the Virgin of Suyapa Festival in 2012.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna Singer, Dancer Felix Gamboa of the Chief Joseph Chatoyer Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York (as well as the International Garifuna Band) performing at the Virgin of Suyapa Festival in 2012. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna American Girls at the Virgin of Suyapa Festival in 2012.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.

Garifuna American Girls at the Virgin of Suyapa Festival in 2012. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Admission to the Virgin of Suyapa Festival is a suggested donation of $5.   All Christians are invited to this unique Mass and Post-Mass Festival.

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, namely the port town of Trujillo, Honduras in May 1797; the Garifunas settled many towns and villages along the Caribbean coast of Honduras.  They also migrated to the neighboring countries of Guatemala, Belize (then known as British Honduras) and Nicaragua over the years.  Finally, Garifuna People have also migrated to the United States of America where generations have settled in cities like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.

Garifuna Mass and Garifuna Cultural Presentation in Honor of Patroness Saint of Honduras, The Virgin of Suyapa will take place on SUNDAY, February 8th 2015 in the Bronx.

Garifuna Mass and Garifuna Cultural Presentation in Honor of Patroness Saint of Honduras, The Virgin of Suyapa will take place on SUNDAY, February 8th 2015 in the Bronx.

Notes:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_of_Suyapa
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patron_saint

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