Welcomed by hundreds, Bishop Solis celebrates Spanish Mass
Friday, Mar. 17, 2017
SALT LAKE CITY — Faithful Catholics from all over Utah flooded the Cathedral of the Madeleine on March 12 to attend the first Masses at which Bishop Oscar A. Solis officiated as the 10th Bishop of Salt Lake City.
The bishop celebrated the 11 a.m. Mass in English and the 3 p.m. Mass in Spanish.
During the Spanish Mass, the walls of the cathedral seemed to stretch out to be able to welcome the hundreds and hundreds of faithful, from Saint George to Logan, from Price to Wendover, who joyfully attended.
Bishop Solis entered the cathedral to be greeted by people holding colorful banners from the diverse Hispanic ministries, as well as the parishes that give shape to the Diocese of Salt Lake City.
“Welcome all to our celebration in this cathedral, our Mother Church of our Diocese of Salt Lake City,” the bishop said. “I am delighted to be able to share this moment with you as well as celebrate Mass with you.”
The Mass was concelebrated by Fr. Martin Diaz, the cathedral rector; Fr. Javier Virgen, pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Parish; Father Eleazar Silva, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Fr. Gustavo Vidal, pastor of Saint Mary Parish; Fr. Jorge Martinez, parochial vicar of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish; and Fr. Jorge Roldan, the cathedral’s parochial vicar.
What was to have been a regular Sunday Spanish Mass was transformed into a welcoming Hispanic celebration for the bishop. Women, men and children dressed in the traditional costume of their native country presented the Mass offerings. The little ones carried flowers that were handed to Bishop Solis, who couldn’t stop smiling.
“I am a bit nervous here today, since I will give my homily in Spanish. … You have to remember that my first language is Tagalog. … You also need to remember that I am a Filipino, not a jalapeño,” said Bishop Solis, as the congregation burst into laughter.
The bishop then asked if he should give his homily in English or Spanish.
“If I give it in English it would be around 15 minutes, but if I do it in Spanish it would take around 45 minutes,” he said.
The answer came loudly from the congregation: “In Spanish, Bishop.”
As the Mass continued its traditional course, people kept arriving at the cathedral, which was filled to overflowing. Afterward was an informal reception organized by different Hispanic diocesan groups and the Hispanic Ministry. Traditional food from regions of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and other countries was the delight of the children and adults alike, as well as the bishop who, after changing out of his vestments, shared time with the parishioners.
Bishop Solis’ sense of humor came across as he asked the youth, “So, who’s going to be the priest or the nun here?”
“I am in awe. He [Bishop Solis] is a great man, very humble and down to earth,” said Lupita Gonzalez, who came to the cathedral to greet the bishop.
Bishop Solis also sang along to songs played on the guitar by Pablo Casareal, a certified lay ecclesial minister who completed the Spanish-language EMAUS formation class two years ago.