Jan. 1 wasn’t just the start to 2021 – it’s also Haitian Independence Day, and Brooklyn residents gathered for a celebratory Mass.
The annual Feast Day celebration traditionally means a packed church, as each parish in the Brooklyn Diocese joins together to reflect. But this year, in-person attendance was limited.
Father Hilaire Belizaire says each parish ended up sending to representatives to the Mass.
And while the celebration couldn’t bring everyone together physically, they still felt connected.
“It is not only our Independence Day, it is our Thanksgiving Day, we remember the past, we remember our ancestors, we remember the history, we remember our roots, where we come from,” says Monsieur Pierre-André Pierre.
The Mass is usually followed by a cultural celebration, which they couldn’t have this year. But they did say they wanted to make sure the day was still honored, especially with the Haitian community hit so hard by the pandemic.
“This kind of celebration gives us hope, you know it gives us a sense of joy, it gives us a sense of pride,” says Belizaire.