Longtime Latino wedding traditions formally being adopted by Catholic Church in English

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Sat­urday, Septem­ber 24, 2016 as of 10:06 AM EDT
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Long­time Lat­ino wed­ding tra­di­tions form­ally being adop­ted by Cath­olic Church in Eng­lish
By Soni SanghaPub­lished Septem­ber 22, 2016­Fox News Lat­ino
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Bat­tling can­cer, Susie Valla’s grand­father, along with her grand­mother, very slowly walked down the flower-lined church aisle in Chi­hua­hua, Mex­ico.

They linked their grand­daugh­ter to her hus­band with an etern­ity-shaped ros­ary as part of a tra­di­tion called lazo (rope).

I’m here for you,” her grand­father said in Span­ish. And I’m so glad you are mar­ry­ing him.” Once her priest announced that the couple was united, her grand­father let the ros­ary slip from his hands.

Val­las, whose husband’s fam­ily doesn’t speak Span­ish, was happy to learn that the Vat­ic­an has approved for churches in the U.S. an Eng­lish trans­la­tion of the lazo cere­mony and another cere­mony called the arras (coins). Words to accom­pany the option­al wed­ding tra­di­tions had been approved by the U.S. Con­fer­ence of Cath­olic Bish­ops in 2010 but had only been avail­able in Span­ish. This month, they were added to a prin­ted edi­tion of the Eng­lish Order of Cel­eb­rat­ing Mat­ri­mony, which should be in place in all Cath­olic churches by the end of the year.

I think it’s very import­ant because it’s a very rich and beau­ti­ful cere­mony,” said Val­las. For it to make an impact, it has to be under­stood for both nation­al­it­ies and lan­guages.”

Clergy applaud the move as a way of recog­niz­ing more recent immig­rant groups and the needs of second- or third-gen­er­a­tion His­pan­ic fam­il­ies that don’t neces­sar­ily speak Span­ish but want to cel­eb­rate their cul­ture.

I am so happy with the Vat­ic­an that they integ­rate the rich tra­di­tions [con­greg­ants] have been hold­ing for cen­tur­ies,” said Father Loren­zo Ato, pas­tor of New York City’s Lower East Side Church of Saint Bri­gid-Saint Emer­ic, adding that oth­er con­fer­ences had adop­ted these tra­di­tions pre­vi­ously.

Both cere­mon­ies have Span­ish roots, Father Ato said. In the arras cere­mony, the groom hands the bride 13 coins, one for each month of the year and one more for the poor. Tra­di­tion­ally, the coins sym­bol­ized the groom’s com­mit­ment to provide for the fam­ily and the bride’s com­mit­ment to tend to fam­ily, all under the aus­pices of the church.

Esme Krahn, a wed­ding plan­ner from Vir­ginia who spe­cial­izes in Lat­ino tra­di­tions, used both cere­mon­ies in her first wed­ding. Many of her cli­ents use arras and lazos that had been handed down in their fam­il­ies for gen­er­a­tions, she said. Though the tra­di­tion has only been form­al­ized in the U.S. recently, it’s evolved over time.

It used to be the groom would say this is my wealth that I am shar­ing with you’ and the bride would say I will take care of the goods you give me and it will be all of ours,’” explained Krahn. But now the sen­ti­ment is we will take care of each oth­er.’”

New York City-based wed­ding and event plan­ner Xochitl Gonza­lez said that she has seen these tra­di­tions embraced by all types of Latinos and also Filipinos, but mostly those who are prac­ti­cing Cath­ol­ics. But, she sus­pects, that could change now that there is a trans­la­tion avail­able.

I think it will become even more pop­ular and I think even pop­ular bey­ond eth­nic groups. [We’ll] prob­ably see what was con­sidered a Lat­ino tra­di­tion become main­stream Cath­olic tra­di­tion,” Gonza­lez said. I think that will be inter­est­ing.”

For Val­la, the most import­ant part of the lazo ritu­al was select­ing her grand­par­ents to per­form the rite.

You choose very spe­cial people for the lazo cere­mony,” Val­la said. They have a very old mar­riage and I was very happy they could make it for us.”
Soni Sangha is a freel­ance writer based in New York City.

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