On Sept. 21, God gifted her with the opportunity to be a reader for St. Frances Xavier Cabrini’s first Spanish Mass.
“This was marvelous. I am so happy to have been able to read at Mass,” Calderon said after the Mass with tears in her eyes. “I’m emotional right now, but these are tears of happiness. I know that the Lord gave me this gift to show me that he is with me.”
About 80 people from the parish and surrounding communities came to worship in their native language. With borrowed liturgical books and a guest choir, the parish opened a new chapter in its liturgical life. Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio del Riego was the principal celebrant the Mass, welcoming those gathered and encouraging them to build awareness and liturgical ministries for the parish.
“We are one community. Even though we may speak different languages, we are still one family,” Bishop del Riego said. “Let us place this in God’s hands, but know that you are now messengers of this good news.”
In his homily, Bishop del Riego shared the benefits of having a Mass celebrated in the community’s native language. The community is better able to understand the readings and prayers, and the faithful are more comfortable and willing to fully participate in the Mass.
“Jesus is the savior of all, people of all languages and cultures. He wants to be worshipped in all languages,” Bishop del Riego said. “That is why we should celebrate the Mass in Spanish or English or French, whichever is the language of the community.”
The parish has been studying the possibility of offering a Mass in Spanish for months. In their research, they found Spanish speaking Catholics have been moving to churches of other denominations because they offer services in Spanish. Others do not have reliable transportation to travel to the other Catholic churches in the mountains that have a Mass in Spanish.
While Spanish Masses are common in parishes throughout the diocese, there are still four parishes that do not offer Mass in Spanish.
“We are trying to find out who is here in Crestline and who would like to have their own Mass on Sunday,” said Father Tom Burns, MSC, Pastor at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. “We will hopefully build towards that. It’s up to you now to spread the word.”
For now, Mass in Spanish will be available the third Sunday of the Month at 12:30 p.m. Depending on the level of attendance, it could be expanded to all Sundays in the future.