Diocese of Lake Charles
LAKE CHARLES — The grand opening of an elaborate exhibit featuring Our Lady of Guadalupe was the highlight of the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Hispanic Community in the Diocese of Lake Charles on Saturday, Dec. 11.
The festive occasion began with a bilingual Rosary, followed by 11:00 a.m. Mass officiated by Bishop Glen John Provost in St. Henry Catholic Church. The anniversary was also a way to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose Feast Day is celebrated on December 12.
Clergy in attendance was the Very Rev. Matthew Cormier, pastor; and Rev. Joseph Caraway, parochial vicar, both of St. Henry; Monsignor Daniel Torres, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Heaven; Rev. Carlos Garcia, pastor of St. Joseph in Vinton; and Deacons Josue Canelo and Patrick Hebert, both of St. Henry. Father Samuel Bond served as Master of Ceremonies.
Bishop Provost cut the ribbon for the bilingual “Art, History and Science Exhibition of the Virgin of Guadalupe & the Hispanic Community” following a lively procession led by the Guadalupana Dancers after the Mass.
The pilgrim museum will be on display in the Catholic Charismatic Center at 2409 Second Street, through January 9.
The depth of time, talent, and information that was put into the exhibit can only be appreciated by viewing in person. The project, over five months in the making, was directed by Ricardo Ruvalcaba, Spanish Pastoral Assistant for the Diocese. He was inspired by his devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“This is my first experience doing a museum, but when I arrived here to the Diocese of Lake Charles six months ago, I knew I wanted to tell the story about the Virgin of Guadalupe,” said Ricardo. “When I discovered this year was the 25th anniversary of the Hispanic Community at St. Henry, I wanted to do an exhibition to share the history and honor Hispanics of the past.”
Ricardo said his intention in creating the exhibit is to promote the culture, conservation, study, and exhibition of works made by the community of St. Henry Parish.
“If you enjoy learning, this is a good place for you,” he said, noting the museum is a great educational tool for religious education students throughout the Diocese. “I am happy to give tours to explain to guests about the exhibit.”
The majority of the artwork sprinkled throughout the exhibit was done by local talent in the Hispanic Community, many of them parishioners of St. Henry Parish.
“The art that the Hispanic Community did for the exhibit is awesome,” said Ricardo. “I am very impressed.”
One acrylic painting by Patricia Suarez depicts an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe over the Gulf of Mexico.
“Patricia wanted to contribute to the exhibit by asking Our Lady of Guadalupe to protect us from more hurricanes,” said Pilar Suarez, speaking on behalf of her 49-year-old autistic sister. “We moved from Venezuela to Lake Charles two years ago. This is Patricia’s first art exhibit since moving to America. She is an angel for my family.”
Guests are in for a unique experience when viewing neon art in a dark room while wearing 3-D glasses. The images appear to be floating in the air as you move around the room from one drawing to the next. Some of the artwork includes the Resurrection, a Rosary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Juan Diego, the Old and New Basilica, and the Last Emperor of the Aztecs.
A Vocational Rosary features photos of deacons, seminarians, and those living the consecrated life in the Diocese of Lake Charles.
Just in case you were wondering, Bethlehem is 6,784 miles from Lake Charles. The exhibit highlights the distance from St. Henry Catholic Church to the Vatican, Lourdes, Jerusalem, and Nazareth, to name a few.
Other attractions include a display of the Holy Land and Nativity so intricate that it had to be set up in a separate room, videos to view, interactive websites, a room devoted to the history of the Aztecs, a plethora of information on ministries at St. Henry Parish, and favorite memories from clergy who have served the Hispanic Community over the past 25 years.
There is even an opportunity for visitors to write a message for Hispanics of the future. All the messages will be kept in a briefcase to be opened in 2046 on the 50th anniversary of the Hispanic Community.
Ricardo is grateful to the exhibit committee and many parishioners of St. Henry who contributed to the museum.
“Thank you to all the people who helped us to do this. They are very nice people, very talented people. They are amazing,” he said enthusiastically. “Everybody who helped also learned more about the history of the Virgin of Guadalupe and their own community.”
The “Art, History, and Science Exhibition of the Virgin of Guadalupe & the Hispanic Community” will be on display on the following dates:
- Sunday, December 12: 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; and 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Monday, December 13: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, December 15: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and 6:15 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Sunday, December 19: 9:00 a.m. to noon; and 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Monday, December 20: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Sunday, December 26: 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Monday, January 3: 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, January 5: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Sunday, January 9: 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
For more information on the pilgrim museum, contact Ricardo Ruvalcaba at St. Henry Catholic Church at 337-436-7223.