SAN ANTONIO - Tuesday afternoon, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller challenged the public to have a grateful heart for a special group of people who help make Fiesta unforgettable.
A "Blessing of the hands" mass honored the city's hospitality workers.
Carriage drivers, cab drivers, waiters, waitresses and tourism workers all play an important part in the 11-day celebration.
"Without their service, no matter how much effort we put in Fiesta San Antonio, it will not be the same," Garcia-Siller said.
The mass was held at St. Mary's Catholic Church in downtown San Antonio.
"To have [archbishop] come to us, there are no words to describe it," said Benito Espinoza, a Manager at La Margarita restaurant.
Ed Hauf, a priest at the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate who holds services at St. Mary's, says many hospitality workers might not feel appreciated for what they do.
"These are people who work in your hotels, restaurants," Hauf said. "We understand that serving other people is a great gift. It's what Jesus himself did."
1 out of every 8 workers in the Alamo City is employed by the hospitality industry.
They play a bigger role than you'd think in Fiesta and our local economy.
"Fiesta is when San Antonio is happy. It's when San Antonio celebrates, and it's something I think everyone enjoys," Carlos Martinez Campo of La Familia Restaurantes Cortez said.
According to the San Antonio Tourism Council, Visit San Antonio and the San Antonio Hotel & Lodging Association, there is a $13.6 billion economic impact of the hospitality industry on the city.
This was the 4th year for the Blessing of the Hands.
It was a 1-hour celebration recognizing those who serve you, in hopes that their work never is overlooked and their dedication is never forgotten.
"When we see the people in public services cleaning the streets, taking care of the trash, be grateful," Garcia-Siller said. "Be kind to them."
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