Friday, December 12, 2008

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Left: Dad and son arrive at this evening's Mass commemorating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.


After all of the media foofaraw over my priest, I figured it would be relatively safe to go today's Mass. The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Latino holiday, and the Spanish-speaking priest was presiding. And I was right! I was one of extremely few gringos in attendance.

It was educational to sit through a Mass that I didn't understand. This is how many immigrants feel, living in the USA: Huh? What?

I didn't know any of the songs, not even the basic melodies. It is almost as if there is more than one Catholic church.

And then again, of course there is not: I could follow the Order of Mass fine. I knew everything that was going on; the bell rings for the consecration and the host is held aloft. I followed along okay, as Latinos follow along okay for the English Masses. It's all one church, and A follows B, predictably, comfortingly. The ritual washes over one's soul, richly reassuring and reminding.

One of the hymns seemed ineffably sorrowful, and the woman next to me wept silently. Since I didn't know the Spanish lyrics, I wondered if the sadness was in the hymn itself, or some memory called up by it. I thought the woman could be missing her homeland. I wondered if the Blessed Mother made her think of her own mother, who is probably very far away. The concept of the Communion of Saints means that we are all together; the entire Church partaking of communion together, throughout time and space, living and dead. It is an idea that has always comforted me, and whenever I seriously meditate on it, my fear of death dissolves. I felt this especially strongly as I realized so many of the immigrants at this Mass were actively praying for their kinfolk at home-- missing them so much, I could feel their intense longing through their wistful singing.

Left: Adorable little pumpkin in traditional Mexican dress, inspects the articles that have been brought for a Feast Day blessing.

Children came with baskets of flowers and vigil candles as offerings for the Blessed Mother. Some were dressed traditionally, and were just SO PRECIOUS! (I am missing my grandchild mightily, and again, I realized so many people present were also missing children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, brothers, sisters....) Babies were brought forward for blessings. We were all ceremoniously doused with holy water.

I recognize the story of Guadalupe, even delivered in Spanish, through the use of certain words: Juan Diego, Maria, Sacramento. I love the Blessed Mother very much, and when I have asked her for comfort, she has never failed me, as she did not fail St Juan Diego.

It was a wonderful evening, and I felt greatly restored.


John Powers said...

It makes me happy you are feeling much restored.

Ilyka said...

Jealous. Between work and being badly overdue to go to confession, I did not go. Yours sounds like it was a wonderful Mass.

I have . . . a smattering of Spanish. In a Spanish-language mass here, however, it's spoken so rapidly that even if I know the meanings of the words, I can't recognize them quickly enough to put it all together!

sheila said...

What a beautiful post! Loved the pics and the description of what sounds like a beautifully wonderful holiday! (I LOVE reading about other cultures, for some reason it fascinates me).

Your little girl looks stunning in her dress!

Daisy said...

Sheila, I dunno whose little girl she is...and since I don't know Spanish, didn't even know how to ask. :(

Lots of people were taking her photo, and she was giggling and delighted by it.

mikeb302000 said...

Daisy, Thanks for a wonderful post. I decided to raise my kids Catholic. Partly it was because we live in Italy and almost all they're little friends are Catholic even if most of the dads don't go to Mass. The other reason was because I've come to remember my own Catholic upbringing fondly. I've often felt that friends of mine who were raised with no religion were missing something important. In my adult life, I've been a lapsed Catholic more than I've been a practicing one, so I'm trying to give my kids a slightly milder version of what I got in the 50s and 60s.

I enjoy your "Catholic" posts almost as much as I enjoy your "hippie" posts.

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