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October 4, 2005


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, through its office for Hispanic Catholics, has scheduled its first Hispanic Heritage Mass to take place at 2:30 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul on 18th Street in Philadelphia, Sunday, October 9, 2005, to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month. The procession will begin at 2:00 p.m.

Though the Cathedral has hosted a number of Masses of individual Hispanic cultural groups, this is the first time a Mass celebrating equally all the Hispanic nations of the Americas will take place under the auspices of the Archdiocese's Office of Hispanic Catholics (OHC). The Mass acknowledges not only a rapidly-growing Hispanic presence in Philadelphia and its suburbs, but also the increasing diversity within that Hispanic community.

Organized by OHC and a committee of community people representing nearly every Latin American nation, the Mass will be celebrated, in Spanish, by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Cistone. The homilist will be Msgr. Hugh J. Shields, the Vicar for Hispanic Catholics of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The Mass will be followed by a reception with Hispanic food, music and dance.

"We want to celebrate the pride we feel in being Hispanic," said Anna C. Vega, director of the Office of Hispanic Catholics. "We have very rich cultures and traditions that enable us to celebrate our faith together - many nations, one faith."

Committee members from each of the five counties in the Archdiocese (Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Bucks and Montgomery counties) are available for interviews regarding local parish involvement in this first-time event; they will also be able to provide insight the event's significance to the distinct Hispanic Catholic communities.

For regional contact information, or for photos of Hispanic events sponsored previously by the OHC, please call the Office of Hispanic Catholics at 215-587-3591, or e-mail at

Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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