Father Caesar Rubiano, pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton, left, and the three parishioners who portrayed kings – Jose Martinez, Ronaldo Contreras and Eduard Castillo – pose for a photo with young children of the parish during the distribution of gifts on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Mike Ehrmann photos
Father Caesar Rubiano, pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton, left, and the three parishioners who portrayed kings – Jose Martinez, Ronaldo Contreras and Eduard Castillo – pose for a photo with young children of the parish during the distribution of gifts on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Mike Ehrmann photos

By Rose O'Connor | Correspondent

The word “epiphany” is a big word that means revelation.

“But [it’s] not any revelation,” Father Caesar Rubiano, pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton, said Jan. 5 during the Mass he celebrated in St. Joachim Church. Epiphany, he said, is the revelation of God who comes to this world through the Incarnation and in human form. God was born of the flesh, he said, and “this revelation gave us the new beginning, the new life, the new joy.”

Photo Gallery: Epiphany celebration in Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton

The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, which the universal Church observes Jan. 6, commemorates the manifestation of God to all nations and the journey of the Magi to pay homage to the Infant Jesus.

It was observed in Our Lady of the Angels Parish with treasured traditions – like the Magi who presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ Child, three parishioners were dressed as kings and presented gifts to young children in attendance.

“We have some guests with us tonight,” Father Rubiano said with a smile as he gestured to the kings who later distributed games and toys that were donated by parishioner Cathy DiCostanzo and coats that were donated by members of the Trenton Council, Knights of Columbus.

Addressing the young people of the parish, Father Rubiano spoke of how they are epiphanies to their families and their faith community.

“You are an epiphany to each other,” he said, then reminded the congregation that like the “bright star that was guiding the people who were coming from far away and leading them to the newborn epiphany in Bethlehem, God comes to us in human flesh and invites us to be more like him.”

While the children were thrilled to receive gifts, the men who portrayed Melchior, Balthazar and Caspar said the opportunity to depict the magi and continue the tradition of delivering presents to children was a privilege.

“It is a joyful experience to share this tradition with our community and our church and to show that the prophesy of Isaiah came true,” said Jose Martinez, who was one of the kings along with Ronaldo Contreras and Eduard Castillo. “We are happy to follow the tradition and to show our love for our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Contreras said serving as a king was humbling and his way of “bringing my gift to the Lord.”

Young people, too, expressed their joy.

“Three Kings Day is a wonderful tradition,” said eighth-grade student and altar server Hecybel Morales, sharing how pleased she was that the parish chose to celebrate the youth who serve their faith community as altar servers and choir members on the feast day.

“I am proud that Father Caesar sees how we serve the Church, and I hope kids see what I do and serve the Church, too,” Morales said. “I hope they always continue the tradition.”

Reflecting on the traditions that are upheld on the Epiphany, Father Rubiano noted that in addition to the gift-giving, the feast day is also when the Italian “Bacio del Bambino” is held to mark the nearing of the end of the Christmas season. At the end of the Mass, parishioners are invited to kiss the image of the baby Jesus goodbye until next Christmas.

“We have many beautiful traditions and customs given to us by our parents and grandparents,” Father Rubiano shared.