Mar 30 2012

Celebrating Mass: Sponsored friends in Guatemala

Church Mass in Nahuala, Guatemala

People in Nahuala, Guatemala, enter a church for Mass celebrations.

What are Mass customs and traditions around the world? In this blog post, CFCA explores how sponsored children, youth and aging friends who practice the Catholic faith in Guatemala celebrate Mass. Thanks to Luis Cocon, our communications liaison in Guatemala, for contributing to this article.

The official religion in Guatemala is Catholicism. We also have Protestants and those with indigenous Mayan beliefs. Freedom of religion is practiced in Guatemala.

“Mass celebration is to remember the sacrifice of Jesus for each one of us on the cross,” said Yesica, 9, a child sponsored through CFCA. “Mass is our bread for the road to eternal life. I enjoy every moment of Mass, but especially the celebration of the Word of God and the Holy Rosary.”

Musical instruments during Mass vary depending on the church. Sometimes youth groups will lead the worship.

Yesica’s church has a choir of six, and they play instruments such as the kena (wooden flute), guitars and drums.

Masses usually last for one hour, although it may last longer on weekends. Jose Manuel, 13, another child sponsored through CFCA, said the longer time is due to greater attendance and bilingual translations.

Yesica, child sponsored through CFCA, attending Mass in Guatemala

Yesica, a child sponsored through CFCA, attends Mass with her family in Guatemala.

“There are more people to receive the Holy Communion, and the word of God is read in our native Tzutujil language,” he said.

Jose Manuel sees most children staying with their parents during the Mass liturgy, but he estimates about 10 percent of the children, usually those under 4 years of age, are free to run around the church.

“Some of the more popular songs with the youth are ‘Alrededor de tu mesa’ (Around your table) and ‘Alegre la maÒana’ (Happy morning),” he said.

Other favorite songs from sponsored children and youth were:

  • Gloria, Gloria, Aleluya
  • Ten piedad” (Have mercy)
  • Santo, santo” (Holy, holy)
  • Santa Maria” (Saint Mary)
  • Vienen con alegria” (Come with gladness)
  • Juntos como hermanos” (Together as brothers)
  • Si yo no tengo amor” (If I do not have love)

During the sign of peace, people will shake hands with their neighbors. Some of them will hug one another if they have a close friendship.

Related links:

Celebrating Mass in the Philippines

If you celebrate Mass, in what ways does this sound familiar or different? Feel free to let us know in the comments!

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0 thoughts on “Celebrating Mass: Sponsored friends in Guatemala”

  1. I love this post, and hearing things from Luis’s (and the sponsored children’s) perspective. One thing that struck me in Guatemala that differs from our worship here in Florida is that most of the churches I saw were, to some degree (with the exception of the National Cathedral in Antigua) “open air.” The doors and general building were not hermetically sealed – people were coming and going (respectfully). It made me think of what I have read of medieval days, when churches were the center of the community. I think the indigenous instruments must be really neat as well. Thank you for sharing this. It took me right back there. :-)

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