From September 15th through October 15th, Seminary of the Southwest participates in celebrating our Latinx siblings by putting on several exciting cultural events for Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month. The Rev. Nancy Frausto, Director of Latinx Studies, organizes the events along with her students in the Latinx Concentration.
Celebrations began with a themed Community Hour serving up an elote bar and bachata dance class taught by Diana Ventura, a Latinx Concentration Counseling student at Southwest. Faculty, staff and students showed off their bachata skills in the dining hall while surrounded by homemade papel picado with the seminary’s new logo. The Rev. Luz Montes joined us for the Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month Eucharist to preach and preside. Luz is a 2020 Southwest graduate and currently serves as the Associate Rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas. Afterward, the Southwest community was honored to host Ballet Folklórico de Austin who performed several traditional dances from different regions of Mexico.
The Rev. Nancy Frausto shared, “I cannot be more proud of the work that the concentration students did to create a wonderful month filled with celebrating the beautiful diversity of the Latinx/Latine community. Our guest preachers and speakers helped shape the dreams, hopes, and challenges of Latinx Ministry in the Episcopal Church and reflected the importance of this type of program and formation in theological education.”
President of the Episcopal Church House of Deputies, Julia Ayala Harris, visited Southwest in late September and delivered the homily at the Evensong service at Christ Chapel. She spent a few days on campus meeting with students, exploring Austin, and filmed a short video for the House of Deputies with Southwest students. You can read more about her visit here.
Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month events ended with a powerful and moving Migrant Mass chapel service to honor asylum seekers and refugees. The Latinx Concentration students organized the service and invited asylum seekers from Casa Marianella, a local shelter that provides support services to immigrants, to share their stories. A prayer wall was constructed and placed in front of the altar to honor all immigrants on their journeys and the congregation was asked to write down their prayers and hopes on sticky notes to place on the wall. Francisco Chávez Silva, a prominent local musician and regular performer at Spanish services at Southwest, wrote and performed an original piece called Siempre Migrante (Always a Migrant).