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October 2, 2012 > Our Lady of the Rosary Festival

Our Lady of the Rosary Festival

By Jessica Noel Flohr

Catholic spirituality has a unique community aspect. The word "catholic" itself means universal. It is a spiritual home with room for all: the poor and the wealthy, the faithful and the rebellious, and people from every continent of the world. Building community is a fundamental role of the local Catholic parish.

Tucked away in Union City is a lovely, diverse, community-building parish. Located on the corner of C Street and Sixth Street, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish had its beginning in 1907. The current parish hall was constructed in 1952 on land bought from a local farmer; a dedication ceremony was held on October 7, 1952, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The parish celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2007. Father Jose Leon joined the staff in 1985 and has served as the parish priest ever since.

The significance of the name of the parish, and the feast day on which it was dedicated, comes from one of the titles of the Virgin Mary, who plays a prominent role in the Catholic faith. It is believed that Mary led Christians to a crucial victory in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Believers throughout Europe were called upon to pray the rosary, which is a particular set of prayers and meditations upon the lives of Jesus and Mary, accompanied by the physical reminder of the prayers in the form of a succession of strung beads.

For over thirty years, the parish has held an annual fall festival on the weekend of the feast day of the Virgin Mary under her title, Our Lady of the Rosary. The festival is the parish's only fundraising event. Proceeds from the festival go toward operating costs and the many ministries the church offers its parishioners and the surrounding community.

Parishioners come from all walks of life, and are represented in different offerings of the annual festival. The Hawaiian themed event will be host to every imaginable food choice: pancake/menudo breakfast, beer and wine, traditional American carnival food, Filipino barbeque, traditional Hawaiian luau dishes-there's a little something for everyone!

In addition to ample and delectable morsels, an abundance of entertainment will be held on stage throughout the day. A DJ from the Knights of Columbus, "Knight Sounds," will provide soulful music in between dance performances, musical groups, and soloists. A baile folklorica performance, traditional folkloric dance, will be held, as well as country-western and hula dancing. Also, Patron, a local classic car group, will be hosting a classic car show on Sunday. The classic car show has been a favorite since it was introduced to the festival about five years ago.

Father Jose believes that the festival is vital to the community. "It brings the community together. I always tell people to leave their cars at home and walk over." Festival attendees can meet Father Jose while he serves Mexican food and grog at his booth. He frequently finds himself babysitting goldfish that the children have won in the fish bowl toss. "Don't forget to come back for them!" he reminds the kids.

Numerous games will be spread throughout the festival grounds. Other treasures to be found at the festival are a bookstore, flea market, and raffle. Raffle prizes include cash, a laptop, and a trip for two to Maui. For the spiritually minded, Mass will be held from 6:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. A shrine to Our Lady of the Rosary will be located on the festival grounds.

The annual festival at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish is one of the largest church festivals in the East Bay. There are many fun activities, community organizations, and great food to be found at this yearly event. Bring the kids and maybe you'll go home with a new pet goldfish!

Our Lady of the Rosary Festival
Saturday and Sunday, Oct 6 and 7
11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Our Lady of the Rosary Parish
703 C Street, Union City
(510) 471-2609
Free admission

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