Festival of Peoples celebrates diversity, oneness with the Lord

By Tim Bullard

CONWAY — The Festival of Peoples at St. James Church on Jan. 30 drew many people who joined hands and enjoyed the cultures of other lands.

“It’s the second time we’ve had it at St. James,” said Father Rick LaBrecque. “I think it’s a wonderful way for us to become more aware of how many paths we follow to end up being a community, the many origins of our people, and to learn a lot about the backgrounds of people who we might not be aware of.

“It just gives a great sense of being one in the Lord, I think,” he said.

Booths and kiosks had ethnic foods, crafts, musical instruments and information from various countries, including Jamaica, the Ukraine, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Lithuania, Italy, Ireland, Guatemala, Venezuela and Colombia.

Deacon Jeff Mevissen was pleased with the turnout.

“The Festival of Peoples is a very special event to celebrate our multicultural heritage,” he said. “And it is to celebrate the special gift God has given to each of the peoples of the world.”

During the homily earlier in the morning he had spoken of the spiritual aspect of the event.

“… The point I tried to make this morning is that grace is universal. All people are welcome to the kingdom of God, and how do we stretch to accommodate people who we don’t usually rub shoulders with?”