Early in the book Evangelina’s sister has her Quinceañera (which I’ve mentioned in prior posts). This post shares the Misa de Acción, the mass of thanksgiving which takes place during the special church ceremony. Something significant happens afterward that results in major, life-changing events for Evangelina and her family, but I won’t give that part away here, at least not yet!
On a side note, you will recall from prior posts that I grew up with both American and Mexican cultural influences. I myself did not have a true Quiniceañera. By that point my family was living in Washington State and I had a regular American birthday party like everyone else, although it’s quite possible my mother served tacos, rice and beans for dinner!
From Evangelina’s Journey:
Father Roberto walks in from a side door and greets Elsa with a vast smile that stretches across his wide, doughy face. He turns to us, Holy Bible in hand.
“Welcome all!” he begins in Latin. “Today we have gathered together to celebrate one of the most beautiful events of the Mexican culture – La Misa de Acción de Gracias Quinceañera. Alejandro and Carolina DeLeón welcome you to this joyous occasion. True to the promises they made when they baptized her, they have been Elsa’s first teachers in the Christian faith and way of life. They have seen her develop her faith and now they bring her here to give witness to their own faith in God. They pray to the Most High so that, through the wish of the Most Holy Virgin, Elsa will continue to follow the Lord’s call with deep devotion.
Elsa, in the name of this Catholic community, I congratulate you on this important occasion. Will you honor God with the strength of conviction you inherited from your parents, your grandparents and all of your ancestors and will you keep these promises to your family, friends, the Holy Virgin and the Lord our Savior?”
Elsa nods. “I will”.
Father Roberto lifts his palms upward as a signal for the people to rise from their seats and join together in the Lord’s Prayer. The voices of our family and friends fills the room.
Father Roberto delivers the Catholic Mass and the ceremony is over. Elsa stands just beyond the church steps and people surround her to offer congratulations, give her hugs, pinch her cheeks and tell her how beautiful she is. My parents stand close by and beam with pride.