Multicultural Marysville

  • Written by John Wolcott
  • Published in Local
Enjoying the Aug. 16 fiesta at St. Mary Parish were Father Dwight Lewis, right, priest administrator of the Marysville parish, and Father Emmanuel Iweh, parochial vicar at St. Anne Mission on the Tulalip reservation. Photo: John Wolcott Enjoying the Aug. 16 fiesta at St. Mary Parish were Father Dwight Lewis, right, priest administrator of the Marysville parish, and Father Emmanuel Iweh, parochial vicar at St. Anne Mission on the Tulalip reservation. Photo: John Wolcott

MARYSVILLE - It didn’t take long for St. Mary’s new priest administrator to begin unifying the diverse cultures in the Marysville parish. Six weeks after Father Dwight Lewis’ arrival, the 1,800-household parish put on a multicultural festival celebrating its parishioners’ varied backgrounds.

“In a parish such as ours, we need opportunities to experience one another more, so the fiesta was one of my ideas for socializing in a fun, easy-going way, so that the entire community could share their cultures with food, music and talents,” Father Lewis said.

The Aug. 16 event, led by the efforts of the Knights of Columbus and dozens of parish volunteers, featured parish groups representing Filipino, Hispanic, Vietnamese, Hawaiian and American cultures. It drew people from Marysville as well as the parish’s 60-household mission, St. Anne on the Tulalip Indian Reservation.

fiesta bandA group plays upbeat Mexican music during the Aug. 16 fiesta at St. Mary Parish in Marysville. Photo: John Wolcott

St. Mary’s has three large Masses on Sunday, so the fiesta brought many parishioners together for the first time, “getting to know one another and beginning to understand each other as a parish community,” Father Lewis said. “Languages and cultures can divide people, but when parishioners come together, those differences fall away and they become more aware of being a community of God.”

The day before the fiesta, on the feast of the Assumption, Father Lewis blessed the parish’s memorial to the unborn, in its new, more visible location on the parish campus. He also commissioned dozens of sacristans, lectors and extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, and unveiled a tabernacle built by Luis Robles, a member of the Knights of Columbus.

More parish-wide events are planned, building on the fiesta’s success. “The participation of so many people who shared their time and talents at the fiesta really showed willingness to not only share, but also to accept each other’s culture,” Father Lewis said.