Thursday, December 19, 2013

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 19

1. reports: “Humility is necessary for fruitfulness,” Pope Francis said at Mass this morning in the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father said that the intervention of God overcomes the sterility of our life and makes it fruitful. Then he put us on guard against the attitude of pride that makes us sterile.

2. Anthony Cirelli, USCCB Associate Director for Interreligious affairs Dr. Anthony Cirelli, writes on the blog today on interreligious dialogue being an integral dimension of evangelization.

3. Sister Mary Ann Walsh explores the recent trend of Pope Francis being on the cover of magazines. So, why is it happening?

4. Ever wonder what it takes to clean St. Peter's Basilica for Christmas? Check out this Catholic News Service video from last year.

5. God loves you.

Interreligious dialogue an integral dimension of evangelization

By Anthony Cirelli

In a November address to the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Pope Francis asserted provocatively that “evangelization and interreligious dialogue are not mutually exclusive, but rather they serve to nourish one another.” What does he mean by this? Doesn’t evangelization entail basically “bringing” Christ to, and hence making converts of, all peoples and nations? Well, yes and no.

On the one hand, yes. Christians are mandated to bring Christ to the world, that is to say, we are mandated to spread the Gospel message by teaching and bearing witness to our Christian faith, which is the good and saving news of Jesus Christ. Thus it is a moment of joy when the message, or better, the person of Christ is received and conversion takes place. On the other hand, no, evangelization cannot be reduced to “making converts.” Enter the pope.

By linking evangelization with interreligious dialogue, the pope suggests that we focus our evangelization on being joyful recipients of the Gospel message by the witness of our lives. And, the pope teaches, witnessing in a spirit of joy has a two-fold effect.

On the one hand, we present our faith in an attractive way, so that it invites rather than compels others to see and experience the joy and hope that have always been a central characteristic of authentic Christian discipleship.

On the other hand, part of our joy comes precisely in living a life that is without the fear of encountering others, of going out to meet people of different faiths and traditions, of leaving our comfort to forge ties of friendship with the non-Christians of the world. With this last point, the Pope makes a powerful statement that shows the logic of linking evangelization and interreligious dialogue in terms of fearlessness: we are called to rise above our fear of witnessing with joy to the Gospel by our lives (i.e., evangelization), and we are also called to bring this joy to others, especially to non-Christians, in a spirit of friendship (i.e., interreligious dialogue).

To the pope, this two-fold commitment to evangelization and interreligious dialogue does not entail “compromising one’s deepest convictions,” but rather being, and here’s the point, “clear and joyful in one’s own identity.” This enables one to encounter someone different from ourselves “in a spirit of fraternity, of enrichment, and of witness.” And, above all, we need not be afraid of this commitment, as the pope asserts:

Indeed, situations in the world where coexistence is difficult are not lacking: often political or economic motives overlap with cultural and religious differences, which also play upon misunderstandings and mistakes of the past: this is all likely to generate suspicion and fear. There is only one road for conquering this fear and it is dialogue and encounter marked by friendship and respect. When we take this path it is a human one. Dialogue does not mean renouncing one’s own identity when it goes against another’s, nor does it mean compromising Christian faith and morals. To the contrary, “true openness involves remaining steadfast in one’s deepest convictions, clear and joyful in one’s own identity” the pope said, and therefore open to understanding the religion of another.

Note: The text of Pope Francis’ address can be found at:


Anthony Cirelli is USCCB Associate Director for Interreligious affairs Dr. Anthony Cirelli.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 18

1. Good Morning America anchors Robin Roberts and Josh Elliott were in Vatican City today and met Pope Francis after his general audience. Throughout the broadcast, both anchors talked about how moved they were by the moment.

2. Pope Francis has named Boston Auxiliary Bishop Robert Deeley, 67, as bishop of Portland, Maine. He succeeds Bishop Richard J. Malone, who became bishop of Buffalo, May 29, 2012.

3. Advent update: In case you've missed it, you can use the daily interactive Advent calendar with tips to prepare for Christmas and learn about carols on the USCCB site.

4. We began the blog today with Good Morning America and now we share a Catholic News Service video that says Pope Francis is made for TV.

5. God loves you.

What’s in a cover?

Note: “First published by Religion News Service.”
By Sister Mary Ann Walsh
To paraphrase Shakespeare’s musing on a name, “What’s in a cover?”

In the past week we’ve seen Pope Francis win the cover of Time as the magazine’s “2013 Person of the Year.” Shortly followed upon by The New Yorker’s whimsical cover of the pope as a snow angel. Now, most improbably, on the cover of The Advocate, the magazine for gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals and transsexuals, that put the message NO H8 (No hate) on his cheek. What’s next? Sports illustrated? Jack and Jill?

If you ever wanted to show that someone reaches across all segments of society, this may be it.

Each magazine hailed the pope for elevating conversation from rancor, from the polarization where people view one another as adversary rather than sibling. The pope’s recent World Day of Peace message notes that war began when Cain saw Abel as competitor rather than brother.

Time included an essay that was occasionally poetic as it described the man from Argentina who visited slums regularly and is comfortable rubbing elbows with the poor and uncomfortable with the income inequality which blots our world. Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs explained Time’s choice of Pope Francis this way:

“The heart is a strong muscle; he’s proposing a rigorous exercise plan. And in a very short time, a vast, global, ecumenical audience has shown a hunger to follow him. For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world’s largest church to confronting its deepest needs and for balancing judgment with mercy ….”

The New Yorker included a lengthy essay by former priest James Carroll, a regular nipper at the heels of church leaders. Impressed by the pope who reminds him of Pope John XXIII, he recalled seeing Pope Francis caress and bless a man with brain tumors.

“I realized, as the pope pressed his hands on the bowed head of the stricken man, that curing and healing are not the same thing. To cure is to remove disease. To heal is to make whole, and wholeness can belong as much to the infirm as the healthy. ‘The first reform,’ Pope Francis said, ‘must be the attitude.’”

The Advocate, which drew virulent response online from its readers for the editors’ choice, acknowledged there’s no change in church teaching on acceptance of the gay lifestyle or civil unions, but responded to the papal tone of welcome. The magazine quoted from an interview that appeared in America magazine where the pope said, “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: When God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject or condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”

Across the board, people like Pope Francis. He challenges each of us, but he does it so lovingly, that the only fair response is to at least stop and ponder this call to love one another. Who would have thought there could be that much religion on a newsstand?


Pope Francis, Time, New Yorker, The Advocate, Nancy Gibbs, James Carroll, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, Pope John XXIII, America

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 17

1. Today is Pope Francis' 77th birthday. The Vatican Internet office created this special photo album.

2. Pope Francis has named Father John Doerfler, 49, a priest of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and vicar general of the diocese, as bishop of Marquette, Michigan. He succeeds Archbishop Alexander Sample, who became archbishop of Portland in Oregon, January 29, 2013.

3. The Pope celebrated his birthday and Mass today with four homeless men. He also had breakfast with the men.

4. Listen to the Second Lesson in our Festival of Lessons & Carols.

5. God loves you.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 16

1. Pope Francis, or at least an artist depiction of him doing a snow angel, is on the cover of the New Yorker. It also features several pieces on the pontiff, who was named "Person of the Year" last week by Time Magazine.

2. So many people are singing Christmas Carols this time of the year. One of the neatest, additions to the U.S. bishops' Website site is the Festival of Lessons and Carols. It's is a service of Scripture and song that dates to the late 19th century. In this service, we listen to nine Scripture lessons which recount the Fall, the promise of a Messiah, the Incarnation, and the Great Commission to preach the Good News. Each lesson is followed by a carol or other song that reflects on the lesson's message and a brief prayer.

3. Did you see the Vatican Christmas Tree lighting?

4. The associate general secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Monsignor J. Brian Bransfield, has authored a book, “Meeting Jesus Christ: Meditations on the Word,” a book on prayer and a series of meditations on the Gospels.

5. God loves you.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 13

1. Father Michael J. Flynn, 57, a priest of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida, and associate professor of theology at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, has been named executive director of the Secretariat for Divine Worship of the USCCB.

2. The chairman of USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development commends Congressman Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray for embracing civil dialogue and setting aside partisanship in crafting a modest replacement to sequestration. The House of Representatives recently approved the measure, and the Senate is expected to take up the measure next week.

3. Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania, has been appointed episcopal liaison to the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States. He succeeds Cardinal Francis E. George, OMI, of Chicago, who has served as liaison between the U.S. bishops and the Pontifical Mission Societies since 2011.

4. Sunday is the third Sunday of Advent. Listen to an audio retreat for the day in English with Bishop David J. Walkowiak of Grand Rapids or in Spanish with Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services. The retreats, made possible by donations to the Catholic Communication Campaign, are produced by Franciscan Media

5. God loves you.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 12

1. Pope Francis issued his first message for the World Day of Peace, which is Jan. 1. He says, " In the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full life, including that irrepressible longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced." Bishops Richard Pates welcomed the message today.

2. Pope Francis has named Father Joseph R. Kopacz, 63, a priest of the Diocese of Scranton and pastor of Holy Trinity Parish, Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania, as bishop of Jackson, Mississippi, and accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph Latino,76, from the pastoral governance of the Jackson diocese. The pope also named Msgr. Michael J. Sis, 53, vicar general of the Diocese of Austin, Texas, as bishop of San Angelo, Texas, and accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Pfeifer, 76, from the pastoral governance of the San Angelo diocese. Read more about the new bishops.

3. Today is the first anniversary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI sending out the first tweet from the @Pontifex account.

4. The USCCB's Committee on Migration designated February 8 as an annual day of prayer for survivors and victims of human trafficking.

5. God loves you.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 11

1. The news broke this morning that Time Magazine has named Pope Francis its "Person of the Year" for 2013.

2. The Vatican's response to the honor reflected the Pope's humility. "As for the Pope himself, he’s not someone who seeks fame and success, because he has put his life at the service of announcing the Gospel of the love of God for mankind. It is pleasing to the Pope that this service should appeal and give hope to women and men. And if this choice of ‘Person of the Year’ should mean that many people have understood this message - at least implicitly - the Pope is really happy about this."

3. Pope Francis has put the focus on the poor during his pontificate and the hungry. He called hunger a scandal today after starting a wave of prayer to bring awareness to the issue.

4. Tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Pope Francis has a message for the Americas. He said: "Mary’s embrace of all the peoples of the vast expanses of America – the peoples who already lived there, and those who were yet to come. Mary’s embrace showed what America – North and South – is called to be: a land where different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age; a land which welcomes immigrants, and the poor and the marginalized, in every age. A land of generosity. That is the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and it is also my message, the message of the Church. I ask all the people of the Americas to open wide their arms, like the Virgin, with love and tenderness."

5. God loves you.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 9

1. Pope Francis was the most discussed topic around the world on Facebook in 2013.

2. Today is the celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, officially marked December 8. The Immaculate Conception is among the most misunderstood doctrines of the Catholic Church. Here's a breakdown of what it means.

3. This month Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago celebrates 50 years as a priest. As he prepares for this milestone, our blog draws comparisons between him and another Francis, the pope.

4. Catholic Relief Services and the USCCB will have an online Catholics Confront Global Poverty discussion Wednesday on What You Did to Confront Global Poverty in 2013: Celebrating Your Advocacy Successes.

5. God loves you.

From One Francis to Another

Cardinal Francis George, OMI, had a vivid reaction when he heard Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, take the name Francis: "That's my name!" he later told the media, with a laugh.

The cardinal archbishop of Chicago is a Francis who is also a George. The pope is a George [Jorge] who became a Francis. And more than a couple people briefly thought the new pope was from Chicago when they heard the names "Georgium" and "Franciscum" announced from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.

Cardinal George celebrates his 50th anniversary as a priest this month. Reflecting on this in the context of this year's election of Pope Francis, it's clear the two men share more than intertwined names. Born within a month of each other, both carry scars of illness from early in life, and both joined religious orders. Each was appointed archbishop of his hometown in the late 1990s and made a cardinal by John Paul II shortly thereafter. Each went on to serve as president of his national episcopal conference (Bergoglio from 2005-2011, George from 2007-2010). Perhaps not surprisingly then, their ideas also overlap. A few themes rise to the top:

1. God makes a difference in our encounter of other people.

Since his election, Pope Francis has made repeated references to a need for a "culture of encounter," in which Christians go beyond the boundaries of their lives and encounter people on the margins of society. Pope Francis attests from his own experience that people encounter Jesus in the poor and marginalized. It is also necessary for the healthy functioning of society (from war to financial practices to our political discourse) that all people recognize each other as human beings with a dignity that comes from God.

In his 2009 book, "The Difference God Makes," Cardinal George also addresses the connections between people. He says relationships are fundamental to a person's identity (father, mother, daughter, brother, etc.) and says God extends such relationship to include the whole world. "You can't possibly be Catholic if you're not open to the world God loves," Cardinal George said. And to be part of a universal Church is to care for the whole world. This has ramifications for how we relate to the poor, the unborn, the elderly, the sick, and victims of violence and natural disasters, whether in our back yards, or half a world away.

(Update: December 12) Pope Francis took these themes a step further in his first message for World Day of Peace, "Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace." The pope wrote, "A conversion of hearts is needed which would permit everyone to recognize in the other a brother or sister to care for, and to work together with, in building a fulfilling life for all. This is the spirit which inspires many initiatives of civil society, including religious organizations, to promote peace."

2. God never tires of forgiving everything.

"The Lord never tires of forgiving," Pope Francis said in his first Angelus message. "It is we who grow tired of asking for forgiveness." As it turned out, this was the opening line of one of the major, oft-repeated themes of Francis' pontificate: God's mercy.

Cardinal George contrasts the Church's mission of mercy with the prevailing culture. (Again from his 2009 book) "Everything is possible, but nothing can be forgiven," in society, but in the Church, "There is much activity that is forbidden. But in the end, everything can be forgiven." Cardinal George later elaborated to John Allen that, in a legalistic culture, "Punishment has to be legal, and it has to be permanent." In other words, the response is not to forgive, but to discard.

Pope Francis' condemns a "throwaway culture" that treats people as disposable commodities. The Church envisions a society in which every person is included and has what is needed to flourish. This principle underpins the U.S. bishops calls to reform the immigration and criminal justice systems, as well as Pope Francis' powerful pastoral visits to Lampedusa island and Rome's youth penitentiary.

3. Freedom and Surprises.

As the College of Cardinals deliberated over the qualifications and identity of the next pope, they frequently invoked words like discernment and governance. Cardinal George, however, used a word that might have seemed unusual: freedom. The cardinals must be free to share their thoughts on the needs of the Church in total confidence, he insisted. The cardinals must be free from all outside influence to choose the man they believe to be best suited. And the new pope must be free of any baggage that interferes with his ability to govern the Church.

The words have proved prophetic. In the months since his election, Pope Francis has shown the world what the freedom of God looks like, imbuing usually scripted moments with spontaneity and his informal style. Even the people who knew him in Argentina, including his sister, have observed that this isn't the same man. John Allen reported in October that Pope Francis has explained privately that a deep sense of peace and freedom came over the pope following his election and has remained with him.

"God's word is unpredictable in its power," Pope Francis writes in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. A surprising, unpredictable God is how Cardinal George describes the experience of the Holy Spirit and Pope Francis' election. Surprise over the choice of pope. Surprise over the pope choosing the name Francis. It's been a year of surprises. And as Pope Francis celebrates his first Advent as pope and Cardinal George celebrates 50 years as a priest, Catholics can thank God for both men and for his gift of surprises.

(Top photo: CNS Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, other photos: CNS Photos/Paul Haring)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 5

1. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the USCCB, welcomed the decision of Pope Francis to establish a commission on the protection of minors. The move was urged by the Council of Cardinals, an advisory group to the pope that met at the Vatican, December 3-5. Archbishop Kurtz praised the effort in a December 5 statement.

2. Read more about the pope's commission on the protection of minors.

3. The USCCB's Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions awarded nearly $3.4 million in grants to six dioceses and two archdioceses that have been severely impacted by naturaldisasters in the U.S. The grants were awarded at the Subcommittee's meeting in Baltimore on November 12.

4. Archbishop Gerald Kicanas, who served as chairman of Catholic Relief Services for the last three years, says what it takes to be a Catholic organization in this Catholic News Service.

5. God loves you.

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 6

1. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called a suit by the American Civil Liberties Union against the U.S. bishops for their “Ethical and Religious Directives” (ERDs) “misguided” and promised to defend Catholic teachings “in season and out.”

2. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, said the death of Nelson Mandela marked the passing of an era and an icon, Dec. 6, the day after the South African and world leader died in his homeland.

3. We wrap up our series of retired religious today with a story from a 94-year-old nun who serves as the chaplain for Loyola Chicago's men's basketball team.

4. Jesuit Father Michael Paul Gallagher discusses the historic Christian meaning of the Christmas tree.

5. God loves you.

Chaplain of Loyola Basketball Team, Latest Work for 94-year-old nun

By Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, BVM

It is both easy and complicated to reflect on one’s life when you reach 94. Easy because there are so many dear memories that flood my brain and touch my heart, and complicated because it is difficult to place so many thoughts, joys, lessons and experiences. “There by the grace of God I go” is a line full of meaning for me as I reflect on my 76 years in religious life.

My roots are deep and strong in the Catholic faith. I come from a faith-filled family and realized in third grade – yes, I know how young that was – that I wanted to be a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM). Once I knew what I wanted, I prayed that God wanted that for me as well.

In elementary and secondary school in San Francisco, I was taught by the BVMs, whose primary mission is education. They encouraged a way of life that included prayer, respect and care for others. They shared with us the lives of Mary Frances Clarke, our foundress, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis of Assisi, and countless other holy persons

I have shared my love with many people in the places I have taught and served: Los Angeles, North Hollywood, and Chicago. In my travels, my world has expanded and I have related more closely to God through prayer, study, community living, and sharing my life with others.

Reflection and discernment have always been a priority for me. Daily reflection refreshes me, keeps me current and connected in my life of service.

Often I reflect on the many gifts with which God has blessed me: good health, good friends, people who remember and support my community. I am also blessed by the students who have touched my life. I have had the privilege to pray, work, and enjoy these special individuals. They keep me young at heart. I currently serve at Loyola University Chicago in Campus Ministry as a chaplain. The work is a privilege, and I am thankful for the people who flow through my life: family, friends, students, alums, and often, unexpectedly, strangers who need to tell their stories and discuss their search for God to an unhurried ear. I am also chaplain to the men’s basketball team as well as in a campus residence hall where I live and interact with 400 freshmen and other students who enrich me and give me a sense of hope as we prepare them to lead extraordinary lives.

Serving as chaplain to the basketball team is a special gift. I never miss a game. I pray and reflect with the team and am always happy to discuss game strategy, scouting, our strengths and our weaknesses. As a team, we keep in mind Ignatius Loyola’s message to do all “for the greater glory of God,” but we also have our own mantra: the 3 W’s: Worship, Work, and Win!

These years of my religious life continue to go by quickly. I feel a sense of freedom that lets me praise, reverence and serve God as He continues to show me the way. The love from our BVM community and so many others enriches me.


Sr. Jean Dolores Schmidt is a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and chaplain at Loyola University, Chicago.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Life as a Religious

By Brother Michael O’Neill McGrath, OSFS

There is a saying in our community, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, that it takes forty years to make a good Oblate. It didn’t mean anything to me in my youth, when projecting forty years into the future seemed inconsequential, but it has taken on meaning now that those forty years represent my past. I have come a long way: I have done interesting things and have always loved what I do. I have been blessed to travel the country and a good bit of the world and have made many friends. I suppose I have evolved into a passably good Oblate, but as an eternal novice, I admit that I see room for improvement.

Why I entered religious life is not anywhere near as important as why I have stayed. I am not that same young man with the same dreams and motivations. When I entered, I thought I wanted to be a priest, but changed my mind during the novitiate when I realized that priesthood could totally interfere with my vocation as an artist, shifting it to secondary importance, or worse. I cherish my role as a brother and the freedom it affords me to soar and explore.

Next year, 2014, will mark the fortieth anniversary of my entrance into the community right out of high school from a family of seven in Philadelphia. If I hadn’t chosen the Oblates, I would likely have gone to art school. From the start, the Oblates have helped me find ways to nurture the gift of art and express it. After I received my Master of Fine Arts degree in painting, I taught studio art and art history for 11 years at De Sales University, but left that world twenty years ago to pursue full time the ministry of art.

Here is how it works for me: first and foremost, I paint. I paint holy pictures of Jesus, Mary, and whatever saint grabs my attention. Then, I share those paintings and the stories behind them in retreat talks and presentations. Next, often, I publish them as books or prints. Whatever the format or medium, my message is the same: that beauty heals us and helps us find God in our hearts. It is a form of prayer without words and brings us inner peace. Who could ask for more than that?

Forty years ago, when I entered the Oblates, I just wanted to learn how to paint and pray, in that order. I never dreamed that one day I would find myself living and working in Camden, New Jersey, doing what I love more than anything else, surrounded by dear and encouraging confreres. When you open your heart and soul to the workings of the Spirit, when you discover the spirituality that works for you and helps you define your life and set your limits, then it doesn’t get any better than that.

As St. Francis De Sales used to say, “Be who you are and be that perfectly well.” And that, my friends, is why after forty years I am still, happily, a religious brother.


Brother Mickey McGrath, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, is an award-winning artist, author and speaker whose work explores the connections between art and religious faith. His eleventh book, SAVED BY BEAUTY: A Spiritual Journey with Dorothy Day, (World Library Publications) was honored in 2013 with two first place awards: one from the Catholic Press Association and one from the Association of Catholic Publishers.

Las Costumbres Hispanas Del Lazo, Velo y Arras Ahora Serán Bilingües

Por Norma Montenegro Flynn

Los obispos de los Estados Unidos recientemente aprobaron la traducción al inglés de textos litúrgicos utilizados para la bendición del Lazo y Velo, y la entrega de las monedas o “arras,” tradiciones que son populares en bodas en América Latina y entre hispanos en los Estados Unidos. Esto significa que esas adaptaciones que ahora son realizadas en español a petición, también podrán realizarse en ingles si la pareja lo solicita.

Esas costumbres que se practican principalmente en México, Centroamérica y algunos países suramericanos, son parte de nuestra identificación cultural hispana y otra manera de expresar nuestra fe católica.

Si usted va a una boda entre hispanos, frecuentemente vera algunas o todas estas adaptaciones. La pareja comparte la entrega de las monedas o “arras” mientras expresan verbalmente su promesa de cuidar del hogar y proveer para la familia.

El Lazo simboliza la nueva unión a través del Sacramento del Santo Matrimonio. Este es frecuentemente incorporado después del rito del matrimonio. Los padrinos o el Best Man y Maid of Honor colocan un rosario de doble vuelta sobre los hombros de la pareja, luego el sacerdote dice una oración invitándoles a seguir y reflexionar sobre el ejemplo de la Sagrada Familia. Si la adaptación del Velo también se incluye, entonces se coloca una parte del velo que cae sobre los hombros del esposo y este es sostenido con el Lazo. El Velo que lleva puesto la novia representa la castidad y extender el velo para cubrir los hombros del novio representa el llamado en común a tener un matrimonio casto y puro.

Para mi boda, yo deseaba incluir la tradición del Lazo, y le expliqué al sacerdote y a mi entonces futuro esposo, que practicar esta tradición era una forma de expresar mi herencia hispana, mi devoción por la Virgen Maria, y lo consideraba una linda forma de visualizar el lazo que se comenzaba a formar entre nosotros como pareja. Esa tradición también tenía un significado especial para mi madre y mi tía que también crecieron apreciando esas tradiciones.

Varios de nuestros invitados que no eran hispanos, además de mi esposo y sus familiares, desconocían esas tradiciones, sin embargo expresaron admiración y preguntaban más al respecto. Ellos también hubiesen querido haber entendido mejor las oraciones, pues la bendición fue hecha en español.

Las traducciones de estas tradiciones culturales serán de gran ayuda para parejas en las que uno de los integrantes no es de origen hispano. También beneficiará a personas de origen hispano que no hablan español y quieren incluirlos en la ceremonia de la boda.

Estas nuevas traducciones también demuestran que los obispos están poniendo atención a nuestras necesidades y aprecian nuestras contribuciones culturales a la sociedad.