Catholic school children often participate in the Mass at the annual Mexican Fiesta, which will be held this year on Sunday, Aug. 28. (File photo)
Here in the city of festivals, there is always something to celebrate. Honoring the various cultures whose children settled in the area is no exception.
For many, the expression of their cultural heritage cannot exist separate from their faith. As Pope Francis reminds us in Fratelli tutti, “A living culture, enriched by elements from other places, does not import a mere carbon copy of those new elements, but integrates them in its own unique way. The result is a new synthesis that is ultimately beneficial to all, since the original culture itself ends up being nourished.”
Pope Paul VI, in Gaudium et Spes notes, “The Church, sent to all peoples of every time and place, is not bound exclusively and indissolubly to any race or nation, any particular way of life or any customary way of life recent or ancient. Faithful to her own tradition and at the same time conscious of her universal mission, she can enter into communion with the various civilizations, to their enrichment and the enrichment of the Church herself.”
Celebrations of the Catholic faith are woven throughout many cultural festivals this year. The festivals listed below take place at the Henry Meier Summerfest Grounds — except for Bastille Days, which will be celebrated in Cathedral Square.
Polish Fest: June 10-12, www.polishfest.org
Jeffrey E. Kuderski, Polish Fest’s executive director, notes that it is “not just a festival but a living educational showcase of the arts, culture and tradition that is uniquely Polish. Passing the knowledge of the culture of Poland on to our children and the generations to follow is one of the greatest gifts we can share. Without this historical awareness, Polish-Americans and those from other ethnic origins cannot develop a full appreciation for the richness and diversity that is Poland’s cultural legacy.”
Polish fest attendees are invited to celebrate the Eucharist with music and readings in both Polish and English. Experience a Mass that combines Polish traditions with classic Catholic liturgy. Very Rev. James Lobacz will celebrate the Mass. A collection will be taken up to help the refugees of Ukraine. Mass begins at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, June 12, with the prelude beginning at 10 a.m. Free admission through the main gate will be available for Mass attendees and begins at 9:30 a.m.
Bastille Days: July 14-17, www.bastilledaysmke.com
Bastille days will have a smaller footprint in 2022 than in years past and will not have a specific Catholic presence at the festival. However, its location in Cathedral Square allows visitors to spend time at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, “the seat of the archdiocese.” Masses are available at 5:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (in Spanish).
German Fest: July 29-31, www.germanfest.com
This year’s theme of the Culture Area is “German Composers, Churches and Cathedrals.”
German Fest attendees will be able to learn about Catholic cathedrals in Cologne and Aachen, among others. A handmade replica of the gothic church in Nuremberg created by Ludwig Schroepel, a foreman at a German toy company, will be on display. This church consists of 25,000 parts and is adorned with 200 figures of angels, saints and German historical personages.
The German Fest Gottesdienst Mass will be presided over by Bishop James T. Schuerman on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The Freistadt Alte Kameraden Band will accompany the Mass, featuring a chorus of more than 120 voices, including members of Milwaukee area church choirs and the Wisconsin Sängerbezirk. The gate will open at 9:30 a.m., and free admission to the
festival will be available after Mass.
Irish Fest: Aug. 18-21, www.irishfest.com
The world’s largest Irish music festival also offers a seminar on the life of Ireland’s female patron saint, St. Brigid, presented by Niamh Hamill on Aug. 19. Registration is available on the Irish Fest website.
The Liturgy for Peace and Justice takes place on Sunday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Attendees should plan to arrive early. Prelude music will begin at 9 a.m.
Mass attendees are asked to bring nonperishable food donations for the Hunger Task Force. Free admission to the festival through the south gate will be available to those who do. The Hunger Task Force asks for donations of peanut butter.
Mexican Fiesta: Aug. 26-28, www.mexicanfiesta.org
The sanctuary honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe will be open for all three days of the festival, from noon until 10 p.m. At 12:30 p.m. Sunday, a Lakefront Procession with Our Lady will begin at the lakefront side of the Water Street Brewery building on the south side of the Summerfest grounds.
Sunday Mass will be celebrated by Very Rev. Esequiel Sanchez, rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Illinois, with liturgical music provided by Mariachi México Vive, Natalia Ramos (soprano), Cesar Delgado (tenor) and Carlos López (baritono). The south gate will be open for Mass from 9 to 10:30 a.m.