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Pat McMahon

Southern surprise

This past weekend I found myself in the company of 17,000 people I never knew existed.

I was on a TV assignment that took me to the Casino Del Sol Resort on the Pascua Yaqui reservation, just south of Tucson. That's how many tribal members there are -- 17,000 -- and I'm embarrassed to say it was the first time I had any contact with their culture, but for me, it's the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Their origins date back to a division of the Aztec people in Mexico. While there, the Jesuit missionaries introduced them to Catholicism, allowing them to incorporate their Yaqui rituals into the celebration of Catholic worship -- the mass.

All of that brings us to a phenomenon in the worlds of business and hospitality.

As do most Christians, the Pascua Yaqui have a special reverence for Easter. That's even what "Pascua" means: "Easter." The tribe has successfully developed a 10-story resort hotel, casino, championship golf course, amphitheater and convention center, and every year, from Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday, they close everything down out of respect for the true meaning of the holiday, at an estimated annual loss of $3 to $5 million dollars.

That's putting your money where your faith is.

So, Pascua Yaqui people, next spring when I say, "Happy Easter," I'll be thinking of you.

I'm Pat McMahon.

About the Author


He's done it all -- and keeps doing it. His career in local Arizona radio and television dates back the late 60s. Pat always stimulates with his thought provoking, opinionated, and entertaining commentaries on the Arizona Morning News while hosting award-winning talk-shows like "The McMahon Group" and "The God Show."

"The Mc Mahon Group" features a very unpredictable all-star panel where 3 people from the community get together and give there thoughts on the news of the week. He also hosts "The God Show" on Sunday's which talks about all aspects of spirituality.

Pat is also well known outside of radio because of his multi-faceted career as an actor, producer, recording artist, writer, broadcaster, and one-third of the legendary comedy team that was on TV for 35 years in Arizona, "The Wallace and Ladmo Show."

Through the many experiences of his professional life, Pat has been richly rewarded with 7 Emmys, major national and international radio awards as well as numerous civic, educational, religious and humanitarian awards. Pat was also a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Ottawa University, the Arizona Broadcasters Lifetime achievement Award, and has his bronze likeness hanging in the rotunda of the Herberger Theater in recognition of his contributions to Communications & The Arts.

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