Faith is at the center of our lives; the community of St. Monica Catholic Church is an integral part of that faith. Every year parishioners look forward to our St. Monica Feast Day Festival, which in recent years has been an opportunity to share the many cultures found among our parishioners with the greater local community.
The festival is primarily about celebrating our patron, St. Monica, and it usually takes place on the last Saturday in August, which is close to St. Monica’s feast day on Aug. 27. According to Ana Gomez, festival committee member, over the years it’s been a way for the parish to gather and celebrate the multicultural community we have at St. Monica. After COVID, it was decided to open the festival to everyone in our entire local community who wishes to attend and not only to our parish community.
In addition, the festival serves as a fundraiser to support the activities of our 93 parish ministries. Since it is a fundraiser, the success of the festival is due in large part to the generosity of parish volunteers.
Our parish community is multicultural and diverse, among parishioners 18 different languages are spoken. By making this event an international festival, parishioners are able to celebrate their cultures, their faith and share them with the wider community.
Last year, we shared food from around the world that was prepared and donated by parishioners from Mexico, Venezuela, several African countries, France, and India. This year, along with great food, we will have Mexican folkloric dancers perform, as well as, face painting, bounce houses, and lots of games, including a dunk tank where the kids will be dunking Mr. Eric Schommer, the principal and maybe a priest, the kids love it! Also, this year, we will have Latin and English bands play as well as a DJ.
Each year we keep growing bigger, last year around 2,000 people attended the festival. Ultimately, we hope to become a mini “Indiana State Fair”.
Our parish community donates the food to be sold at the festival and participates in every aspect of planning and putting on the event. There are different shifts for various jobs, such as setup, cleanup, selling raffle tickets, and working stations at the festival.
Ana Gomez, who serves both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking ministries especially enjoys the fellowship happening throughout the festival, with the parish community, the school community, and the local community. She says that throughout the year there aren’t many opportunities for the ministries to come together and adds: “It’s really good to see everyone you have worked with and encountered in the same place, together enjoying themselves. The festival is a great time to gather, enjoy time together, and appreciate the uniqueness of our community.”
For more information about this year’s festival, or to get involved, contact Michael Rodriguez at 317-376-0439, or check out the festival’s page on Facebook — www.facebook.com/stmonicaInternationalfestival.