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'This what universality can do for a community:' Manchester's East Side unites through diversity and faith at St. Joseph’s Parish.

Around 60 people from different parts of the world gathered this Sunday at St. Joseph’s Cathedral on the east side of Manchester, a neighborhood well-known for being home to Latino, Asian and African communities in the Queen City.

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Kids and adults heard the liturgy in six different languages and sang along to choruses in different languages.

At the Mass, Katia Decareau gave thanks for her family’s health. She came from Nashua to Brazil 24 years ago and expressed gratitude that no one at home had gotten COVID-19 so far.

She also acknowledged the afternoon’s multicultural presence. Decareau said a Mass like this one close to Thanksgiving made her feel she was part of the community; she felt welcome in a country where she is not alone.

Deacon Ramon Andrade, the church’s secretary for multicultural ministry, said the neighborhood has an immigrant heritage that should be preserved and revered. He said the church understands the need to do this event to make their religion feel more welcoming.

Sabah Kody, from South Sudan, said the refugee community is growing in the neighborhood, and he was happily surprised to see the church full of people. “We are representing all nations, the whole world,” he said.

One of the organizers of the Mass, Wendy Guerrero from the Dominican Republic, said that she could see the true meaning of being a Catholic and hoped for more opportunities like this one.

“We can see what universality can do for a community. This is very emotive; my friends from another country are like my brothers,” she said.

People used masks through the Mass, and when saying goodbye, they wished each other good health while COVID-19 is still active.

Gabriela Lozada is a Report for America corps member. Her focus is on Latinx community with original reporting done in Spanish for ¿Qué hay de Nuevo NH?.
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