SAN ANTONIO – Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) honors the memory of students, alumni faculty, staff and family members who have passed away due to the COVID-19 pandemic at a citywide celebration of Dia de Los Muertos in downtown San Antonio.

Also known as “the Day of the Dead,” Día de Muertos is the tradition of celebrating and sharing memories of loved ones who have passed.

OLLU’s Worden Social Work Organization and Women in Church and Society altar in the Dia de Los Muertos Celebration.

OLLU’s Worden School of Social Service and the Center for Women in Church and Society have partnered in this collaboration to set up an altar at Hemisfair Park on Oct. 23 and 24.

Director of the Worden School of Social Service and Associate Professor Dr. Karina Gil said the President of National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Paula de Gortari and the Cultural Coordinator Alfredo Avalos reached out and invited OLLU to set up an altar in the celebration.

OLLU’s Worden Social Work Organization and the Women in Church and Society altar in the Dia de Los Muertos Celebration.

Dr. Gil then reached out to the president of the Worden Social Work Organization Sr. RoseAnn Castilleja, who immediately agreed to lead the project.

“It’s very important for students to always support this type of initiative for the community, especially this one that is really going to honor the memory of our own community members we have lost,” Gil said.

Worden Social Work Organization, the Center for Women in Church and Society and OLLU students then collaborated to build the altar.

Sr. Castilleja and Dr. Gil at the Dia de Los Muertos celebration.

Director of the Center for Women in Church and Society Jackie Walter said they have received many prayer requests during the pandemic and thought this was a special way to honor those lost and a great way for OLLU to have community involvement.

“This was a wonderful way to celebrate the lives of those we have lost due to covid,” Walter said.

Sr. Castilleja spent her Saturday showcasing the altar and said everyone affected by Covid is in her thoughts and prayers.

“We continue to pray for our students and family members at OLLU and hope everyone stays safe,” Castellja said.

Sr. Castilleja at the altar.

Día de los Muertos, or Muertos Fest, starts this Saturday and Sunday at Hemisfair. The free festival merges tradition with live bands, dance and poetry performances.

Day of the Dead San Antonio on Friday, Oct. 29, will feature a river parade with more than 20 decorated floats and entertainment barges. The parade will start by the Westin Centre at 7:30 p.m. and travel through the River Walk, except for the stretch south of Villita St. It will also be broadcast by KSAT-TV beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $17 and can be found at thesanantonioriverwalk.com


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