Holy Week culminates with Easter Sunday celebrations in recognition of Christ’s resurrection and our redemption. This year, Ysleta Lutheran Mission’s Mariachi San Pablo performed on Holy Saturday for the first ever New Life Festival at Ascension Lutheran Church on El Paso’s (TX) westside.
According to Ascension’s pastor Brian Bestian, a fun and informative Holy Saturday celebration centered on teaching kids about Easter shall be a new tradition at the church. “People seem to like to do things prior to Easter and on Saturday Jesus went into hell to declare his victory as is stated in 1 Peter chapter three. Jesus said, Satan you thought you had me but guess what.”
Though altars remain shrouded in black on Holy Saturday, Mariachi San Pablo was at Ascension to hark Christ’s victory over death and sin, as were hundreds of community members. “There were many families here that we’ve never seen before,” said Bestian.
Bestian added, “My wife and I have seen the Mariachi San Pablo before and we absolutely love them. They do such a wonderful job and they are a great witness. My wife thought it would be great to have the mariachis here. It was a late idea but they said ‘We’d love to do it. It’s not too late.’ They were such good sports and we were absolutely delighted to have them because it’s not about me. It’s not about my wife. It’s not about this church. It’s about Christ! It’s about sharing Jesus with these kids and that wonderful Easter message that he is alive and with us.”
Ascension elder and YLM board member Tim Weyer attended and said, “The community came together in a multicultural musical expression of praise.”
Pastor Howard Patten of Zion Lutheran Church was supportively on hand at Ascension, the church where he met his wife 49 years ago while it was located on Mesa St. “I am thrilled from the way Ascension’s outreach was organized. They’ve done a beautiful job. They visualized new ways to reach and touch the surrounding culture where we are, with Mariachi San Pablo. The fact is: outreach is very broad and incorporates all parts of El Paso. After Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, Saturday is a bridge and something that’s helping the kids experientially.”
New Life Festival goers were able to pet live lambs, calves and bunny rabbits in a manger re-creation. Kids also decorated cupcakes, learned how to plant various crops and of course, participated in a colorful egg hunt.
Not only for kids, the New Life Festival featured adult classes, which included a showing of Louie Giglio’s ‘Indescribable’ and a slide show presentation dictated by Dr. Ben Marxhausen, which progressively illustrated our metamorphosis in Christ via His resurrection.
The festival culminated in a music and balloon sendoff by none other than Mariachi San Pablo (MSP); the only Lutheran Mariachi group in the world (so far). MSP director Miguel Munoz afterward said, “It was nice to see a lot of congregational members together. The (performance) went great because our goal is to impact people’s lives.”
MSP member Ann Hernandez added, “It’s really important for us to be able to connect with other churches and provide community togetherness. We are here for them and they are here for us.”
Overall, said Pastor Bestian, “I thought it went really well for the first time; I really do. We’re going to do it each year now. The kids had a great time and they learned a lot about Easter and all the traditions that we have around Jesus.”
On Holy Saturday, at Ascension Lutheran, the body of Christ and Ysleta Lutheran Mission’s Mariachi San Pablo did what they are intended to do: Glorify Christ!