Celebrating Incarnate Word Day

By Gayle Bustamante
Incarnate Word Day, an annual celebration of the conception of Christ, will be observed over three days in March.
Similar to previous years at the University of the Incarnate Word, different organizations have been planning different activities for the annual event throughout the school year. Students may remember last year’s Incarnate Word Day festivities and how it was linked to Earth Month. As students encouraged others then to conserve water and appreciate easy access to pure water, this year the Pharmacy Club is targeting heart awareness.
“It is very important for all of us to know how to take care of our bodies because that is another part of Creation,” said Sister Walter Maher, vice president of University Mission and Ministry.
“God made us in God’s image and likeness and so we need to take care of our physical well-being as well as all of Creation.”
Another tradition that will take place is the Parade of Values, sponsored by the Student Government Association, where different UIW organizations choose a core value and decorate a golf cart, expressing their faith, and competing for prizes. The parade will be Wednesday, March 23, with a lunch on the lawn following.
In contrast to previous years, the university is recognizing Dr. Lou J.Agnese Jr.’s 25 years as president this year. On Thursday, March 24, an evening prayer will be celebrated at 5:30 in Our Lady’s Chapel, where a speaker will talk about the Incarnation and its importance to UIW.
A brief morning prayer also will be at 8 Friday, March 25, in Our Lady’s Chapel. At 2:30 p.m., the CCVI Awards will be presented in the Chapel of the Incarnate Word.
The CCVI Award acknowledges any member of the university who represents the spirit of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. Nominees will be reviewed and recognized for their honorable service at the ceremony. In addition, a student will be awarded.
Following the awards will be a Mass, presided over by Bishop Oscar Cantú and Father Tom Dymowski, the campus chaplain. Agnese will deliver a re-inaugural speech for the university. reception will follow at 4 p.m. in Brackenridge Villa. Later that evening at 7, a gala in Agnese’s honor will be held in McCombs Center Rosenberg Sky Room.
The Rev. Dr. Trevor Alexander, director of ecumenical initiative for Mission and Ministry, said he sees Incarnate Word Day as two-dimensional.
“It helps us to understand what this university stands for spiritually as well as a social realm,” Alexander said. “We should look at the implication of who we are as a university. Once we gain that understanding, ask ourselves, ‘Are we truly living out that understanding?’”
March 25 is celebrated throughout the Congregation, Maher said. It’s a reminder to recognize God is with us and present for us, she said. “This is a big celebration to call our attention.”
Maher expressed the importance of Incarnate Word Day for UIW because it goes back to the relationship between the founding Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and the university. She said this is a day where the Congregation fully gives attention to God through these events and celebrates Him.
“If you think about it, to know Jesus is really to meet God,” Maher said. “That’s why we’re celebrating Incarnate Word Day because we’re really celebrating Jesus. We can meet God in joyful things, in prayer. We can meet God anywhere.”
Maher also compared Incarnate Word Day as a reminder to recognize God is with us and present for us. She said March 25 is celebrated throughout the Congregation. “This is a big celebration to call our attention,” Maher said.
Director of Ministry Beth Villarreal said the event has grown each year since she has been at UIW. She mentioned how the Parade of Values has developed into a big hit since its debut four years ago.
“I hope for more awareness of everyone’s role in continuing the mission and driving the mission forward. Everyone is a vital component,” Villarreal said.
Maher said how she wanted to see people become involved and for others to share in this day. She said this day is a chance for people to come together in the presence of God. “For us sisters, March 25 is a very special feast day and the university mirrors that…and so for us our essential mystery is the Incarnation, when God becomes human,” Maher said. “It builds a sense of community and celebration.” Maher said.

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