Hispanic community celebrates Three Kings Day in Burr Ridge
Father Luis Ernesto reads a passage from the Bible. St. Helena's Episcopal Church held its first Three Kings celebration Sunday evening. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 11, 2013 2:21AM
BURR RIDGE — At St. Helena’s Episcopal Church in Burr Ridge, the first celebration of Three Kings is just the beginning, said the Rev. Luis Andrade, leader of the relatively new Hispanic ministry at the Burr Ridge church.
“We’re babies,” Andrade said. “It’s the first time we will have a celebration in Spanish.”
Weekly Spanish services, which are held at 5 p.m. Sunday, began in September typically attract between 40 and 50 people from many area suburbs. And while it’s expected to be bigger in future years, the first Three Kings Day observance, held Jan. 6 at St. Helena’s, is the start of a new celebration of old traditions.
In the Hispanic community, Three Kings Day, or Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos, is a time of gift-giving. As the three wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus, children are given gifts.
“It’s similar to Christmas,” said Andrade, formerly of Equador. He was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest before becoming an Episcopal priest in January 2012.
“It’s a special moment for the Hispanic community,” Andrade said of the Jan. 6 celebration.
Worshippers celebrated with Rosca de Reyes, a traditional doughnut-shaped bread that symbolizes the eternal God, who has no beginning nor end. It is decorated with sweet fruit, symbolic of Christ’s grace. Tiny dolls are hidden inside the bread, symbolizing Christians’ search for Jesus.
It is customary for the person who finds the doll to throw a party on Feb. 2, when the community celebrates Candelaria Day.
That’s one more ethnic tradition that Andrade hopes to incorporate into the St. Helena’s community.
Pastor Robert Wyatt said he is pleased with the addition of Spanish services to his church’s weekly schedule.
“It’s really quite a wonderful service,” he said.