Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa had, as usual, an outstanding Mass in this last week of January. And as usual our Slovaks were right up there at the top of the 55 ethnic groups from all countries of the world which attend the Homelands Mass. The Slovak delegation was secondranked. Its members in their costumes filled three rows in the front of the Cathedral.
Only the First Nations delegation was seated ahead of them and that is as usual, since the aboriginals of Canada are always first-ranked every year. First and Second readings were by Brasil and Congo members, and short universal prayers were from Argentina, Korea, Poland, and Ukraine, in their own languages. A Filipino Litergical song introduced the Presentation of the Gifts to the altar.
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast welcomed the attendees from 55 ethnic communities, and made it a point in his sermon that all of us, although of one religion, must work to make all the world's many problems solvable. He noted the grievous issues within Asia and the Middle East, such as in Syria.
The Archbishop was immensely cooperative about getting his picture taken with any of the group's delegations at the post-Mass luncheon and informal meeting in the parish hall. Hyacintha (Jacka) Belloni, Terezia and Laco Ozorak, and Sona Dej were the chief organizers of the Slovak group, which included three generations in ages. And they also helped find costumes for those who needed them. Jacka has been one of the chiefs ever since the annual Mass was conceived and no doubt the Slovak group is looking forward to her work next years.
Text: Jan George Frajkor, Photos: Tibor Dej