Father Larry Gosselin delivers message of love and humor during La Misa Presidente Mass of Thanksgiving
Father Larry Gosselin felt moved by the spirit.
The Fiesta spirit.
That’s why he was walking down State Street the other day and told everyone he saw, “Viva la Fiesta! Viva la Fiesta!”
“I said this to tourists,” Father Gosselin told the large audience Thursday morning during his sermon at La Misa del Presidente Mass of Thanksgiving at the Santa Barbara Mission.
“They looked at me, like, ‘Who is this guy?’ What is he talking about?’ ” Father Gosselin said.
The mission audience laughed, and the priest smiled.
“Viva la Fiesta!” Father Gosselin said.
“Viva la Fiesta!” the audience responded.
And that was the spirit at Thursday’s Mass, a Fiesta tradition that brought an audience that featured, in the front pews and wearing traditional costumes, La Presidente Maria Cabrera and her husband, Francisco Cabrera, the honorary presidente; Spirit of Fiesta Tara Mata; Junior Spirit Layla Gocong: and Saint Barbara Lynn Kirst.
Up in the loft above the historic sanctuary were singers and string and wind musicians, adding a distinctive Latino flavor as the first full-fledged Fiesta since 2019 continued.
The service, which ended with communion, featured solemn moments of prayer and heartfelt music, but as pointed out in newspaper style books, Masses are celebrated. That’s the correct term. And this one certainly was celebrated, with Old Spanish Days and audience members alike wearing Fiesta costumes and, regardless of what clothes they had on, wearing smiles.
Certainly Father Gosselin was wearing his smile, and he addressed the importance of family, community and love.
“Jesus said we are equal,” Father Gosselin said.
Later the priest told about shopping he did during a recent trip to Rochester, Minn.
He held a little handmade broom he bought and told the audience about what he had learned: “Be good to your broom. It will sweep for you for years. You should never use this broom for flight or fight.”
The audience laughed.
“Halloween, you know?” Father Gosselin said, referring to witches and their brooms.
But the priest said a new broom can bring good luck in a new house. In that spirit, he walked down from his pulpit and came up to La Presidente Cabrera and Mr. Cabrera in the front pew, explaining this year’s Fiesta was essentially their new home.
“Maria and Francisco, I want you to have this broom!” Father Gosselin said, handing La Presidente Cabrera the broom.
The couple smiled. The audience laughed during the upbeat Mass.
Father Gosselin started to head back to the pulpit, but paused, turned around and looked at the audience long enough to say — what else? — “Viva la Fiesta!”