It's not something for which most ministers or priests hope. A church full of babies. That's what the cry room or children's room is for in most places of worship. But this Sunday Fr. David Garcia is inviting all of his parishioners at St. Agnes to bring their babies, grand babies or the babies of relatives to his West Side church. He is even extending the invitation to anyone in the city who wants their child under the age of one to be blessed. You are welcome at St. Agnes Catholic Church during services this Sunday, January 30th..
This Sunday is the Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus, often called Candlemas, in the Catholic Church. It commemorates the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the presentation of Christ in the temple, which took place 40 days after his birth on Christmas.
"The Dia de la Candelaria, or Candlemas, is celebrated throughout Mexico. It is a Hispanic tradition not only to bless those born in the past year, but families also bring in an image of the Christ child from their nativity set to be blessed. Often this figure is dressed in fine clothes. People can invite someone to be the padrina (godfather) or madrina (godmother) for the infant Jesus," said Garcia.
Fr. David just took over as pastor of St. Agnes Catholic Church this month. He's is adding that duty on top of his responsibilities as senior advisor at Catholic Relief Services, the main international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community. That positions takes him to impoverished communities around the world. Garcia is also director of Las MIsiones Capital campaign, the recently completed, $15.5 million fund drive to maintain and repair four colonial-era missions in San Antonio. Raising money for the missions took about two years. Today, Garcia is coordinating projects at each site and he envisions incorporating the Missions into the city's cultural life.
And now Garcia is focusing attention on his West side parish which is comprised of about 300 families.
"I want to grow this parish by means of helping people feel a sense of family. I am encouraging everyone to bring their babies to church this Sunday. I want them to have a sense of specialness. Everyone is special in the eyes of God." said Garcia.
Services this Sunday will be held at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and noon at St. Agnes Catholic Church at 804 Ruiz Street.