Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Legacy of Love: Los Amiguitos Daycare Celebrates 25 Years of Compassion and Friendship

Lucero, left, stands with Fr. Peter
following the 25th anniversary
“Oh Daycare, how can I forget you since you form a part of the pillar of my life. It would be impossible to erase your memory because beyond being in my mind, you are in my heart.” 
With those words, Lucero Aki Dzib, concluded the letter of gratitude she wrote to Fr. Peter Sticco, SAC on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of “Los Amiguitos,” the Daycare Center that has been operated by the Mission of Friendship through funds provided by the Pallottine Community of the Immaculate Conception Province of New Jersey. 

Lucero spent her first five years there from 1993 through1998.  She met Fr. Peter for the first time when he came to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Daycare in 1997.  In her letter, she recalled the many wonderful memories of her time there and was grateful for its instrumental nature in forming her as the person she is today.

A special thanksgiving mass marks the anniversary event. 
Pictured are Fr. Alfredo Cirerol Ojeda (left), and Fr. Peter Sticco .
Although the inaugural date of Los Amiguitos is February 23rd, the anniversary celebration took place in Mérida, Yucatán, on February 18th at the Day-care Center.   A Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated by Rev. Alfredo Cirerol Ojeda, Diocesan Advisor and long-time friend of the Misión de Amistad. Rev. Peter Sticco, Provincial of the Pallottines, was present for the memorable event, as well as Pat Marshall, Director of the Office of International Missions (Erie, Pennsylvania).  Representing the Diocese of Erie by their presence at the celebration was Pam Mead, sponsor in the Amigos Program, and Myrrah Pardini, sponsor and recurring volunteer for the last four years.   With so many present, the Eucharist was truly a reflection of the joy, happy memories, and gratitude of such a blessed day.

After the celebration of the Mass, some of the young Day-care Center graduates presented a play commemorating the life of St. Vincent Pallotti, the founder of the Pallotine Order.  Silvia Gonzalez Garcia, administrator of the Daycare for the entire 25 years of its existence, directed and produced a fine performance with the young actors.  In the lead role as St. Vincent Pallotti was Josue Mauricio Cen Alcocer, son of one of the very first three children who attended the Day-care Center on the first day it opened.

Director Pat Marshall director and Fr. Peter perform a
special crowning of the anniversary king and queen. 

As the celebration fell in the middle of the famous Merida carnival season, there was the traditional crowning of the king and queen followed by various lively dances.  In order to highlight the importance of this occasion, further royalty was included by a special anniversary crowning, officiated by Fr. Peter and Pat Marshall.
Local mariachis added an air of celebration and charm
to the special anniversary festivities.

It was truly an honor and a joy to be able to recognize the faithful generosity of the Pallotines as well as the dedication and the commitment of Silvia and the staff, both educators and caretakers of the Day-care Center for all these years.  As a token of our appreciation, Father Peter and Silvia both received plaques that thanked each of them for embodying the Pallotine motto of “the love of Christ urges us on.”  

The festivities would not have been complete without the traditional birthday cake.  All of the children of the Daycare and their teachers - along with Father Peter- gathered up on the stage to sing the birthday song and pose for photos.   The entrance of the mariachis perfectly commemorated the moment, with their well-known and much-loved songs an ideal ending to a wonderful celebration. 

Fr. Peter and the cast of the play of "St. Vincent Pallotti."

Congratulations and thank you to Father Peter Sticco and the Pallotines of Immaculate Conception Province (New Jersey), as well as to all of the staff of the Mission of Friendship. Here is to the next 25 years of love and friendship! 

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad that the anniversary celebration was such a joyous event! Congratulations to all who have worked so hard over the years to serve the "amiguitos". Their lives have been changed for the better because of your generosity.