Our Lady of Sorrows holds annual Jamaica (video)
Aug. 4, 2013 at 3:04 a.m.
Updated Aug. 5, 2013 at 3:05 a.m.
Between the sound of children laughing and winners cheering, the Victoria Community Center buzzed with energy Sunday.
The aroma of roasted corn and beef barbecue wafted through air among thousands of visitors supporting Our Lady of Sorrows' annual Jamaica, pronounced "huh-MY-kah."
The annual block parties are commonplace among Catholic churches, which host them for fundraisers.
As bidders' hands flew into the air vying for autographed sports memorabilia, barbecue grills and outdoor furniture, Roland Rodriguez joined the action.
"Going once, going twice, sold!" the auctioneer, Tali Villafranca, declared.
Rodriguez, 35, grew up at Holy Trinity, a mission church of Our Lady of Sorrows, and has attended the annual event since he was a child.
"We always make sure to come to the Jamaica," he said. "It was such a big part of what the church planned for the year. Everybody was excited."
Moments after placing the winning bid on a terra-cotta chiminea, Rodriguez reflected on his history with the church and his experience now as a parishioner at Our Lady of Victory Cathedral.
"I feel God has blessed me," he said. "This is a good deal when you see the community come together to give back to the church."
Cindy Compean, 58, has been a member of Our Lady of Sorrows the past 14 years. This was her third year to volunteer with the Jamaica.
"It's a tradition," she said. "The fruit cups and gorditas, as much as seeing everyone. It's what you keep coming back for."
The Rev. Daniel Houde, who was recently reassigned to Our Lady of Sorrows from Maryland, called it a day of fun.
"It builds faith and community, and that's what the church is about," he said.
The daylong event started with a morning Mass and ended at 9 p.m. with a concert by The Krystals - a funk, blues and Tejano band based in Victoria.
With the church celebrating its 100th anniversary, the annual Jamaica brought on a special meaning.
"For 100 years, the church has been trying to bring the community together," Houde said. "This celebration does that in a very concrete way."
Lisa Cortinas, who volunteered as chairwoman of the event, said she expected attendance to peak at 5,000.
The money raised supports the church's general operations.
This year, the goal is to raise $150,000.
"We're doing all to spread the word," Cortinas said. "It's not just for Our Lady of Sorrows - it's for Victoria."