Text and photos by Gregory A. Shemitz

Hot, steamy weather did not suppress the festive spirit of the some 300 people attending the annual Labor Day Encuentro gathering on Sept. 3 at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington. The event, which is sponsored by the diocese’s Office of Hispanic Ministry, provides an opportunity for Latino youth and young adults from parishes across Long Island to gather and celebrate their faith and heritage.

Bishop John Barres opened the day by concelebrating, with 20 priests, a Spanish-language Mass in the seminary chapel. Deacon Robert Polanco, director of the Hispanic Ministry office, was among the three deacons assisting at the service. Following Mass, participants assembled in the picnic area behind the building, where they dined on barbecued meats and a variety of ethnic foods. Attendees also enjoyed some friendly athletic competition as they played soccer, volleyball, basketball and horseshoes.