Hundreds Attend Hispanic Heritage Month Festival at San Mateo, Houston

San Mateo parishioners sport their El Salvador jerseys at the Hispanic Heritage Month Festival.

A celebration that never fails to impress is San Mateo’s Hispanic Heritage Month Festival. It is an annual festival that is highly anticipated by many residents in the community and the church.

This year, more than 250 parishioners and members of the Southwest Houston community attended the event to honor and to celebrate diversity and culture from over 20 Latin American countries.

According to the Rev. Janssen Gutierrez, rector of San Mateo, Houston, “The festival serves two purposes: first, to pay homage to our patron saint St. Matthew (San Mateo) the Evangelist, which according to our liturgical calendar falls on September 21; and second, to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (which takes place September 15 – October 15)—an excellent occasion to honor our cultural roots and at the same time, share the diversity of our people in one place, the church.”

The outdoor event which followed COVID-19 guidelines, began with a worship service dedicated to immigrants and proceeded with a festival. During the processional entrance and exit, flags of over 20 Latin American countries, along with the United States and Episcopal flags were displayed by children.

The festival included a variety of music, delicious foods that included appetizers and dishes, desserts, drinks, a puppet show, rounds of Lotería (a popular Mexican board game), jumpers, and a table of arts and crafts for kids. Attendees also dressed up in their traditional clothing from their countries.

Gutierrez shares that San Mateo parishioners come from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Argentina; El Salvador being the majority group. 

“The service and festival reminded us that even if we are far away from our towns, we can still find a safe place full of new friends where we can celebrate our heritage and our Hispanic roots,” shared Gutierrez. 

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