Photos by Debbie Soos
Szt. László, who reigned from 1077 to 1095, was a strict but beloved ruler depicted in many churches in the old country, and especially in Transylvania. Numerous stories and legends are told about him. One of them, illustrated in a stained glass window to the left of the altar, shows him having struck a rock with his ax, providing water for his thirsty soldiers.
Since the demographics have greatly changed in the century plus since the church was built, the feast day Mass was said by the Colombian Pastor, Fr. Juan Gabriel Acosta, in English and in Spanish. Paul Soos, whose family have been parishioners since the church’s founding and who is an MNO Editorial Board member, did the readings in Hungarian.
A number of Hungarian parishioners wore embroidered vests or blouses for the occasion.
At the end of Mass, Fr. Acosta blessed the mézeskalács (honey cake) heart baked by Peggy Gerenda Chetuti, who continues the long-standing tradition according to her mother’s recipe. It was included in the church’s cookbook published in 1991 and may be seen elsewhere in this issue
No búcsú was ever complete without honey cake hearts (mézeskalács szívek). A young man would present one of these, preferably with a small mirror baked into it, and decorated with some amorous saying, to his sweetheart as a token of his affection. If he presented her with it in front of church, it was meant to be a proposal.
Peggy regretted that she did not have a mirror to use in baking this year’s offering. But that did not deter people at the picnic tables outside who enjoyed the cookie-sized pieces after it was cut up and passed around.
People lined up at the tables for the buffet-style luncheon prepared by the Hispanic community. There was face-painting and a water-ballon fight for the children. A number of prizes was raffled off, in time for those who wished to watch the World Soccer Cup match not to miss their program.
The lovely weather made the occasion a truly enjoyable one.
Thank you, Fr. Acosta, for carrying on the Hungarian tradition so dear to the church’s founding community!
viola vonfi is our correspondent from Stamford, CT. She finds it amusing that one of her ancestors was knighted by Wallenstein during the Thirty Years’ War.