Spanish-speaking members of the Rusk County Catholic Community came together in January for a traditional Three Kings Day celebration. (Submitted photo)

The new calendar year began with the Rusk County Catholic Community’s Hispanic celebration of Epiphany at St. Mary’s Church in Bruce.

In Mexico, Three Kings Day is when children receive presents. They do not have a Santa Claus. Many families do not have a tree. The gifts are put in the children’s room during the night, unwrapped, so that is the first thing they see in the morning.
The small Spanish-speaking community in Rusk County gathered for an Epiphany service that began with the assembly processing to the crib in Bethlehem. As they sang “Noche de Paz” (“Silent Night”), the infant Jesus was presented to each one to reverence. This was followed by the Three Kings procession, as all sang “Del Orientes Somos” (“We Three Kings”). Dcn. Thomas Fuhrman blessed and incensed the crib.

Scripture service opened with Spanish-speaking lectors. Dcn. Fuhrman read the Gospel in English, while the congregation read it in Spanish. His reflection was given in Spanish by Ana Cristina Marquez.

Dcn. Fuhrman conducted the exposition and benediction of the Eucharist, while all the hymns and the divine praises were shared in Spanish.

Following the church service, families proceeded downstairs to discover bags of fruit, candy and nuts under a tree and a potluck dinner awaiting them. Everyone received a slice of the Three Kings Cake, in which tiny replicas of an infant were hidden. Those who discovered one in their piece were designated tamale-makers for the next celebration. When Sr. Cecilia Fandel found an infant in her piece, she said she would host a tamale-cooking lesson at her house.