32 Countries Represented In International Festival

GULFPORT (WLOX) --  From the Philipines, festival goers enjoyed a little fancy footwork in a traditional number called the Bamboo dance.

From Latin America, people moved to the rhythmic harmony of a singing quartet.

Besides live entertainment, there was also plenty to eat, as food from Vietnam to Cajun country took festival goers on an international taste test.

"We come from different places with different people from different cultures, but yet we are one family.  We belong to the family of God," says Pastor Joseph Uko.

Uko represented his homeland of Nigeria in traditional attire.  He says the event reflects the rich diversity of culture in the parish and the city.  One of those parishioners is Buddy Cospelich; his family line goes back to Croatia.

"My family first came over here in the 1800's and were boat builders," says Cospelich.

Closer to home, there were a few French Acadians sharing their cultural roots.  Henrietta Caranna's family was kicked out of France for their religious beliefs and settled in Nova Scotia.

Cecile Arleth's family, however, took a different route before finding a place to call home.

"My people came over in 1726 and went to New Orleans first, but it was too big.  They moved Avoyelles parrish," says Arleth.

Now, Arleth's family calls Mississippi home.

With all the festival had to offer, those who came out say they walked away with a lesson in culture while having fun on an international scale.

Sunday morning, the church held mass with prayers spoken in 7 different languages and sang songs in five languages. This is the second year for the event.