Recommendations for Quinceañeras
Background, Preparation and Liturgical Celebration
Among several Spanish-speaking countries and many Hispanics in the United States there is the custom of celebrating a young woman’s passage from childhood to adolescence with a ritual that expresses thanksgiving to God for the gift of life and that asks for a blessing from God for the years ahead. It is an opportunity for the parish to accompany the young woman and her family at an important celebration of their religious and cultural heritage. It is an opportune occasion for our pastoral vision to be realized: Encountering Christ, United as Church, Sent by the Spirit.
The Recommendations are intended to provide parishes within the Archdiocese of San Antonio with pastoral and liturgical assistance for formation and preparation of the Quinceañera celebration. Download the full recommendations here or see a few highlighted points of information below.
The quinceañera is a traditional celebration of life and gratitude to God on the occasion of the fifteenth birthday of a young Hispanic woman. The ritual emphasizes her passage from childhood to adulthood. The family usually requests a Mass and/or a blessing to be held in the Church. The rite is frequently celebrated in several countries in Latin America, including Mexico, and a number of countries in Central, South America and the Caribbean. It is frequently requested by Hispanic Catholics in the dioceses of the United States.
While quinceañeras and their families may be active parishioners wishing to celebrate this milestone in the Church, this event may be a moment of evangelization with current or new parishioners and for this the Church should rejoice. If the quinceañera has yet to receive the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and First Eucharist, the preparation for this ritual may provide the opportunity for the young woman and her family to encounter Christ like never before. We cannot rush the process of conversion, but can delight in the moment a family asks the Church for a blessing. Through a model of accompaniment, the young person and the family should be invited to explore the Catholic faith more deeply with an intentional invitation for sacramental preparation and/or to be able to enroll in an RCIA process appropriate for them.
Since only approved and confirmed rites may be used in the Liturgy (see Part I. Background, Point #7 for details), an Order for the Blessing on the Fifteenth Birthday has been approved for use in the dioceses of the United States since 2007 for liturgical celebrations of the quinceañera.
The readings and prayers used during the liturgy must be taken from the approved liturgical texts. The priest or deacon will always read the Gospel passage. Additional scripture readings can be assigned to other participants. A quinceañera blessing may be included during a Sunday liturgy when appropriate. Only if the liturgy is celebrated after 4 PM on Saturday afternoon and the readings for the following day (Sunday) are used, can dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass be granted for attendees.