Festival recalls Italian heritage

DAYTONA BEACH | As Our Lady of Lourdes Academy classmates, staff and clergy processed to the beach Feb. 6, marking the opening of their annual Italian Festival, the visible sign was a public reminder of the Christian call to community. Principal Stephen Dole noted, “We are reminded of the way in which Italians celebrated their heritage upon coming to the United States by taking to the community and celebrating with festivals, despite not being welcomed by their neighbors.” He added, “We are called to love our neighbors as Jesus has declared. And this is what we do as we begin our Italian festival and welcome the community throughout the long weekend.”

The festival is the school’s largest fundraiser, helping meet the financial needs of every student. The procession followed the celebration of morning Mass. Once at the beach, pastor Father Philip Egitto led the group in a special prayer for the Our Lady of Lourdes community. He asked, that “we act with justice and serve all God’s children as we open our hearts and welcome both family and stranger throughout the entire festival.”

“At Lourdes, we have this procession to ask Mary’s intercession for a successful and safe event and one in which our community will know that they have a home in our parish,” said Principal Dole. “Additionally, as we teach our students about the Catholic social teachings and works of mercy, we are mindful of our specific call to provide opportunities for families, parishioners and the greater community to get involved in a social event that strengthens our school and by extension, the students we serve.”

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic February 21, 2020