Italian-American church in Brooklyn’s 'Little Guatemala' gets new lease on life

Apr 13, 2018 231

BY: Katherine Fung

Wearing a colorful huipil, a traditional Guatemalan blouse, the 14-year-old girl stood before the packed church and uttered a few words she had learned for the occasion in the Mayan language K’iche’. “Xok aq’ab’ Nimalajajo,” she said, in a traditional greeting that means “Goodnight, dear God.”

Lesly De Leon, a Guatemalan-American who was born in Brooklyn, had just been crowned queen of the St. Michael the Archangel Society. The pageant at St. Finbar Catholic Church, in the growing “Little Guatemala” section of Brooklyn’s Bensonhurst neighborhood, was part of a celebration for the angel that has several roles in Scripture, including a battle against a satanic dragon in the Book of Revelation.

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