On June 4, 2018, the Tigua community of the Mount Carmel Parish in El Paso, Texas, USA, celebrated the beginning of their novena to St. Anthony of Padua.
The Tigua are a Native American tribe dwelling in southern Texas, near the border with Mexico.
They have been associated with this parish since the 17th century. The Conventual Franciscan Friars arrived there in 1990 to begin serving this Native American community.
At dawn, a large group of pilgrims gathered at one of the houses of the organizers to bless a group of four statues of St. Anthony. Members of the community will host the statues throughout the novena.
Friars from the Province of Our Lady of Consolation in the USA, celebrating the second part of their Ordinary Provincial Chapter in Mesilla Park, New Mexico (one hour away), also participated in this ritual. The ritual incorporates traditional Catholic piety with the symbols of the Tigua culture (e.g. the use of corn pollen to bless objects; corn is considered sacred by the Tigua).
The Most Reverend Mark SEITZ, Bishop of El Paso, was the celebrant and homilist at the Mass marking this event.
Friar Jude WINKLER, Assistant General for the Conventual Franciscan Federation (CFF)