Michael J Sheehan Archbishop of Santa Fe
Through the Eyes of a Young Latino
Hugo A. Quintanilla, a senior at the University of Maryland, who will be the first in his Salvadorian family to have a college degree.
In religion, culture does matter because it affects how one views the Mass, ideology and religious tradition. With my family’s Salvadorian background, growing up in the United States was a unique experience. Each day was a compromise between two cultures as my parents instilled in me the traditions, language and knowledge of our heritage, while we all were being indoctrinated into American society.
At an early age, I realized it was my responsibility to preserve, learn and appreciate my inherited culture and, one day, pass these values on to the next generation. It is interesting to review the role my religion has had in my blending of these two different ways of life.
For example, come with me to a Spanish Mass and you will see families with little children running around and playing with each other. Most of the youngsters speak Spanglish, an English-Spanish hybrid language, typical of first generation Hispanics in America.
The priest will give a homily confirming that ‘the family’ is the most important aspect of new parents today. This often leads into an ever important Catholic hot button — abortion, aimed at the age 12-21 Hispanic females whom studies show are the most likely to have an abortion. But even beyond the statistics or the propaganda, a Hispanic Mass is uniquely self-contained, meaning everything from music to diction is specifically catered to our cultural references. The priest demands that we protect our heritage, the value of hard work, honesty, perseverance and spiritual dedication. Themes from biblical passages are extrapolated and made relevant to our problems of assimilation in a distant land.
In contrast, the English Masses I attend are all about globalization of mind and action. There is no personalization, no distinct music and no personal emotion of fervor or feeling of urgency. The congregation is of men and women, mostly with small families who have good jobs, fair working hours and worthy benefits. They go to Mass to learn to be better, and we Latinos go to Mass to try and find solutions for our problems. The English Mass is about self-improvement; the one for Hispanics is about self-enlightenment.
In a Spanish Mass there is a sense of urgency, of import and that the scripture we read was written to help us make it through another week. It is a message that relates to our problems and to our worries. The English Masses I attended had the message, but it was standardized, tame and expected. The Hispanic Mass is passionate, alive and real.
Culture only tints religion slightly, not taking away the beauty and purpose of its inherent message. The only thing that isn’t different about going from one Mass to the other is that hope, faith and the text in the Bible itself is still the same, regardless of what culture you pertain to.
(What is your story you would like to share?)
Happy those who observe God’s degrees, who seek the Lord with all their heart.
Jesus of Nazareth, you took nothing for granted. Help me to see the people, places and things of my world today through your eyes.
Sr. Melannie Svoboda, S.N.D.
Truly blessed poverty of spirit is to be found more in humility of heart than in a mere privation of every day possessions, and it consists more in the renunciation of pride than in a mere contempt for property.
Blessed Guerric of Igny (1157)
(And what are a few of your favorite sayings?)
My new blog friend
Meet the delightful Patricia McKeever, editor of the Catholic Truth blog in Scotland. This is a splendid site you will thoroughly enjoy. I appreciate her writings because I sense we are on the same wave length. In the USA there is not a Catholic blog that can surpass Catholic Truth.
Canon Stuart Wilson, my favorite London priest who has renewed and revitalized St. Mary’s Cadogan Street Church, a few blocks from Sloane Square, is getting a lot of flack because he has put out a gift list of things needed for the rectory. And I ask, “Why not?” As he told me on my last visit — “Parishioners should consider the rectory as their home.” So, why shouldn’t they be invited to buy practical items that are needed? Canon Wilson, I compliment you on what you did!
In the January issue of America, Msgr. David Rubino in Erie, PA, gave these six suggestions to young clergy: (1) Be yourself. (2) Practice sacrificing self.
(3) Be easy on the folks. (4) Speak with many tongues. (5) Laugh with your elders, not at them. (6) Stop judging, that you may not be judged – good intentions, bad impact.
The Catholic World Report in January published an interesting interview with author Dinesh D’Souza on “The Rational Evidence for Immortality.”
(It is so convincing that it encourages us today to lead a better life to get ready for the next role!)
This week I sent a donation to:
(And let me and others know about a special non-profit organization you support)
Other recommended Catholic Blogs
Being Frank (a delightful New Zealand site)
Quit blasting the singing during Communion. I think it adds a folksy touch to the Mass.
Oscar Overton, Lake Worth, FL
Thanks you for reminding me of the Holy Name Societies. What ever happened to them?
Richard Edwards, Scranton, PA
If you could have baby-sat the Pope, you must be old as Methuselah. If you can stay young, so can I — so I’ll start tomorrow getting back into exercising.
Mabel Thompson, Phoenix, AZ
My favorite religious priest, layperson or organization
There are no recommendations this week. – SHAME ON YOU!
If you can’t think of a splendid person or organization to recommend, you’re sleeping at the switch.
(Now, tell me about your favorite Catholic priest, layperson or organization that is making a difference
The winner of a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics, who clocked in at 3:31PM on March 12 is Roger Davenport in Omaha.
1. In 1517, Martin Luther tacked his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg.
2. Andrew was the disciples who had been a follower of John the Baptist?
3. The first America to participate in a papal election was Cardinal James Gibbons in the election of Pope Pius X
When Dublin Paddy arrived in New York, he stood for twenty minutes on the curb, listening to the cop directing traffic shout out, “Okay, pedestrians!”
Finally Paddy shouted to the cop, “Is not it yet about time ye let us Catholics cross?”
Special Intentions List
As you pray with a broad brush, please include these loved ones, who have been submitted by our readers. You, too, are invited to send me names of your special persons who are in need of prayer. My address is email@example.com. They will be on the list for 60 days. At the end of that time, if prayers are still needed, you merely have to renew the name.
Juanita Caldwell, Isola Todd, David Abbey, Amie Ellis, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Gerry Paradiso, Nick DeCarlo, Tom Medved, Eileen Grotsky, Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis, Donald Whitcomb, Violeta Zepeda, Rev. Joseph Healy, John Aylor, Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo, Sharon McPike, Tom Ryan, Joseph Normile, Jim Quimby, Russell Edwards, Msg. Louis Quinn, Rev. Lawrence Boedt, Gertrude Goldstein, Rev. Stephen Huffstetter, Hugh Cannon, Eric Moore. Joanne Palmer
As you note, because of miraculous healings, several names have been deleted and added to our Deo Gratias list.