Epiphany celebration set

Posted On January 6, 2007

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Many area parishes will celebrate the Epiphany this weekend, also known as Three Kings Day, with prayer, social events and gift-giving.

January 6, traditionally known as the last day of Christmas, is both a religious and a cultural occasion, particularly for the Latino community. Some organizations, such as the Holyoke Health Center, also have events today to celebrate Three Kings, typically in communities with large Latino populations.

Monsignor Juan F. Garcia, pastor of the All Souls and Blessed Sacrament parishes in the North End of Springfield, said there are events today and tomorrow at Blessed Sacrament to mark the celebration of the Three Kings and the Nativity.

“The Epiphany is the Greek word for manifestation or revelation of Jesus Christ, who is the word of God,” Garcia said. “Christ is the wisdom of God and peace is the wisdom of God for us. That is what baby Jesus is bringing to us, peace.”

Today, from 9 a.m. to noon, there is a dramatization of the Three Kings by the Blessed Sacrament catechism program at the parish hall on Waverly Street and a distribution of gifts.

On Sunday, there are masses in English and Spanish at Blessed Sacrament. Beginning at 2 p.m., children will again participate in a dramatization of the Three Kings at the parish hall, which will be followed by gifts at 3 p.m., and refreshments.

The Holyoke Health Center is conducting its first Three Kings Day celebration today at 230 Maple St., for its pediatric patients, which will include distribution of donated gifts to the children. About 500 children are expected to attend.

For the Latino culture, it is more traditional for gifts to be given on Three Kings Day than on Christmas, said Laura Failla Manship, director of behavorial health services at the health center.

According to a Bible story, three kings, also known as wise men, saw a bright star on the night Jesus was born, followed it to Bethlehem and presented Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

St. Mary’s Church in Westfield is also celebrating Three Kings Day, with a bilingual Three Kings prayer and social scheduled today at 5 p.m. at the high school gymnasium, 25 Bartlett St. The event will include refreshments and candy distributed to the children.

In Longmeadow, St. Mary’s Church will host an “Evening of Royal Proportions” today, marking the feast of the Epiphany. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a Mass of thanksgiving in the church, with a processional and recessional. A festive dinner catered by the Munich House of Chicopee will follow in the St. Mary School auditorium.