By Sharmin Shanur ’16 and Katrina Webb ’16
On the first sun-filled Friday of May, Immaculate Heart celebrated the cultural diversity of Los Angeles by honoring the city’s “Queen of the Angels” – Mary, the mother of Jesus and Immaculate Heart’s patroness – for Mary’s Day, the school’s most cherished tradition.
Students ushered in the day’s events by dressing in their finest attire and then donning colorful, Latin American-inspired floral wreaths, each reminiscent of a Snowdrop Anemone that blooms with just a touch of sunlight. Setting the theme for the day’s proceedings, a group of students opened Mary’s Day by dancing in the auditorium in front of photographs, projected onto a large screen onstage, to showcase the many Los Angeles neighborhoods where students live. During the Mass that followed, Father Francis Mendoza, the presiding priest, praised the “powerful” day’s theme, as well as the “presence of joy and light” among the audience.
“Thank you for the joy and spirit you are building at Immaculate Heart,” he said. “Led by Mary, we can recognize the differences in cultures that make up this City of Angels. This city is desperate for light and peace and light and joy,” he noted, adding, “Mary is the Queen of the Angels, and you are sent out as the angels to the people who have no peace or light.”
Soon, following an opening liturgy filled with joyful music, dance and scripture, it was Mary’s turn to be crowned as the school community formed a festive procession to the quad, where ASB officers topped a statue of Mary with her own colorful wreath as students sang “Immaculate Mary.”
The crowning, floral garlands and the auditorium’s decorative banners featuring notable Los Angeles sites reflected this year’s theme – Mary, La Reina de los Angeles – which brought students, faculty, staff and administrators together to highlight the cultural richness of both Immaculate Heart and its city. Los Angeles was officially founded in 1781 with the name El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles del Rio de Porciuncula – which means, The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the River Porciuncula.
Among other highlights of Mary’s Day, students swayed and stepped for the annual lawn dance, which was choreographed to the popular World Cup anthem “The World is Ours.” Students in the Honors English I classes addressed the day’s theme by offering a verbal collage, and the Genesians celebrated the history of Los Angeles through cultural dance performances and readings. Notably, junior Claire Danna described the city’s imagery in a memorable recitation of her original poem, “Mother L.A.” Before all sang the Alma Mater together, several students fluent in different languages ended the performances by saying the Hail Mary in their native tongues, a fitting way to showcase the diversity of Los Angeles – and Immaculate Heart.