Tag: Aita Antton

Reno Zazpiak Bat 50th Annual Basque Festival

This past weekend was the Reno Zazpiak Bat’s 50th Annual Basque Festival and it was packed with activities and Basque spirit. My weekend actually kicked off in Sparks, at the Thursday Night Marketplace event, which collaborated with Zazpiak Bat to have a Basque theme. Besides the farmer’s market, there was dancing by the Zazpiak Bat Basque Dancers and the public. Later in the evening, Errebal, a music group from the Basque Country, had their first performance. It was a great way to start the weekend!

Dancing in Sparks

Errebal

The official schedule of events began on Friday at the Santa Fe, with the President’s Dinner and subsequent performance by Errebal. After plentiful dining alongside merry Basques, Julen from Errebal helped us learn the different steps to euskal dantza. You could tell who had experience and who didn’t, although we all had fun! To end the night, Mercedes Mendive played the accordion accompanied by much dancing.

Aita Antton

Basque Mass

Winnemucca Dancers

Saturday’s events were held at Wingfield Park, by the Truckee river in Downtown Reno. Bright and early, Apaiza Aita Antton gave the mass. After a welcoming from the President of Zazpiak Bat, Joe Leonis, the Winnemucca Dancers performed, and it’s always a pleasure watching them. Throughout the day, there were different herri kirolak demonstrations, including harrijasotzaileak (weight lifters), aizkolariak (woodchoppers), and Txingas, a competition that was open to the public. There was dancing at all times, and of course, I can’t forget the food and drink. Accompanied by the warm weather, the festivities in the park made the day fly by.

 

But that wasn’t all. Saturday evening, Errebal had their final performance at Louis’ Basque Corner. It was packed! People danced, drank, and were merry! Overall, it was a great weekend and I can’t wait till next year!

Aita Antton’s visit to the CBS

Last Wednesday morning, the CBS had a surprise visit from Aita Antton, the Basque chaplain in the Diocese of Boise. He came to Reno in order meet the wider Basque-American society here in Nevada, providing pastoral and sacramental attention to many of the elderly in our community. He also held a meet and greet at Louis’ Basque Corner on the very same day. He received a warm welcome from everyone who were very pleased to make his acquaintance.

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Aita Antton has filled this position after a five-year vacancy, and he plans to carry on the tradition, encouraging and aiding in the spiritual life of Basques across the United States. From 1911-2009, the Diocese of Bayonne sent a priest to fulfill this symbolic position for the Basque-American community. After Fr. Martxel Tillous’ death in 2009, the diocese was no longer able to spare any priests. It’s only by chance that Aita Antton learned of the position. One day, as he was listening to the radio on a drive through Iparralde to his hometown of Bidegoian/Bidania-Goiatz (Gipuzkoa), he came across a program about the history of Basque chaplains in the United States, which commented on the end of the tradition. This sparked his interest in the position. “This started me thinking and I said to myself ‘why not me?’ I only had a few years left before retiring and I always wanted, not to go back to the Basque Country, but to serve Basques somewhere else.” This revelation led him to get in contact with NABO and the Bishop of Idaho, and the rest is history.

 

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Fr. Antton has quite the impressive C.V. Born in 1953, he took his vows as a Franciscan monk in 1979 and was ordained the following year. His missionary work has taken him around the world, especially in Asia, working and teaching in Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and China. Before coming to the United States, he was teaching in Belgium. He has a PhD in Theology, and has worked as an anthropologist, specializing in comparative religion. He speaks 10 languages: Basque, Spanish, French, and English as well as Chinese, Korean, Thai, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch. He has written on his experience in his book True Confucians, Bold Christians: Korean Missionary Experience, a Model for the Third Millennium, published by Rodopi Press. He is sure to be an asset to the Basque community, both spiritually and intellectually.

Visit Aita Antton’s website at: http://basquecatholic.org/

For more information about the history of Basque chaplains in the United States, visit:  http://www.nabasque.org/chaplains.html

(Quote from an interview with Joseba Etxarri for www.euskalkultura.com