National Mayan conference to take place at St. Ambrose

St. Ambrose Catholic Church will be the site of a national faith and cultural conference this weekend.

The Mayan Catholic Conference, an event overseen by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is scheduled at the church, 325 S. Chestnut St., Seymour, on Friday and Saturday.

The conference is held each year across the country where there are large Mayan Guatemala populations established.

It is expected to draw between 200 and 250 Guatemalans and officials.

Father Dan Staublin said his parish already has about 200 members who are natives to Guatemala, which made them a good site for the conference.

“It’s a nice honor for the Guatemalan and Mayan community who is here, but even for St. Ambrose as a whole to be able to host something like this,” he said, adding people from across the country will attend. “I know there are people from Arizona, California and a lot from the Midwest. It’s pretty neat, and we’re glad to be ministers of hospitality.”

Bishop Álvaro Ramazzini of Guatemala will attend the conference as well as priests from Guatemala, Rome and the United States.

Staublin said the conference will include discussion, prayer, Mass, youth activities, cultural events and more. The weekend will end with a church service and celebration.

“The goal is to bring them together, talk about their culture, work with their culture and stay in touch with their faith,” he said.

Some of those who attend will wear traditional clothing.

“Part of it is to celebrate their culture, and dress is so much a part of that,” Staublin said. “I’ve been told and am anticipating that many will wear traditional clothing.”

The public is invited, but programs and services will be spoken in Spanish or Chuj, a language spoken in Guatemala. Staublin said he wanted to make sure the community at large knew about the event in case they had an interest if they were to see some of the activity at the church throughout the weekend.

“We just want everyone to know that this is an official thing and is sponsored by a national Catholic organization,” he said.