Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention approve the following services from the Proposed Book of Occasional Services 2018 for use by worshipping communities in The Episcopal Church:
Christians in parts of Mexico and those who have migrated to other countries celebrate Las Posadas nightly beginning December 16 and ending December 24. Las Posadas is a liturgy of hospitality and commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, searching for lodging for the birth of the Christ Child.
Las Posadas begins as an outdoor procession. Traditionally, two people dress as los peregrinos (the pilgrims), Mary and Joseph, or images of Mary and Joseph are carried in the procession. Along the procession route, certain houses serve as “lodgings.” At each house, those inside sing to those outside, denying them entry. At the final stop, the los peregrinos are recognized and invited into the home.
Communities who observe Las Posadas should consider the following:
1. Since the tradition of Las Posadas comes from a particular culture and language, those who plan an observance should engage in dialogue with those for whom these devotions are culturally indigenous, and seek to learn from their experience.
2. An Order of Service for the Evening may serve as a liturgy before the procession, with appropriate lessons and prayers for Advent included, either in the church or in a home.
3. Participants may carry lights in procession.
4. The hymn, Canto Para Pedir Posada is traditionally sung in this rite.
5. At the final stop, the procession is welcomed for closing devotions. Such devotions may include personal testimony, the singing of hymns, the Lord’s Prayer, other prayers and collects.
6. Following the closing devotions, refreshments or a meal may be served.
Concerning the Service
The Feast of La Virgen de Guadelupe is celebrated on December 12 throughout Mexico and increasingly in The Episcopal Church.
According to tradition, an indigenous man named Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin saw la Virgen on two separate occasions, on December 9 and December 12, 1531. In his vision, she told Juan Diego to ask the archbishop to build a church on El Tepeyac, located in today’s Mexico City. Unconvinced by an uneducated indigenous person, the bishop asked for proof of La Virgen’s appearance. When Juan Diego returned to El Tepeyac, he found roses growing. He gathered the roses in his tilma (cloak) and took them to show to the bishop. Roses spilled out when he unfolded the tilma, and it revealed an image of La Virgen, a dark-skinned indigenous woman, head bowed in prayer. The bishop, convinced by the miracle, built a church.
The image of La Virgen de Guadelupe permeates Latino cultures. She serves as a rallying point for people’s hopes of liberation and justice revealed in Jesus Christ. The popularity of the feast continues to grow and is attached to many cultural observances. On the day of the feast, people process through towns and cities, offering their songs of love and joy. The procession is followed by a celebration of the Holy Eucharist that may feature dancers, drummers, banners, and mariachis.
Additional materials for use on December 12 are found on page ____.
Celebration of the Feast of La Virgen de Guadalupe
When circumstances permit, the congregation may gather at a place apart from the church, so that all may go into the church in procession. Flowers, preferably roses, to be carried in the procession may be distributed to the people before the service, or after the opening collect.
Presider A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
People With the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
Presider Let us pray.
Be present with us, God our Deliverer, as you were present with La Virgen de Guadelupe (the Virgin of Guadelupe) who called Juan Diego her beloved son. May her example of tender care for the poor and oppressed guide us in the way of justice and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Deacon Let us go forth in peace.
People In the Name of Christ. Amen.
During the procession, the people may carry flowers, and appropriate hymns, psalms, or anthems are sung, such as the hymn “La Guadalupana.”
Upon arrival in the sanctuary, the Eucharist begins with the Collect of the Day.
The people standing, the Presider says The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Presider Let us pray.
O God of love, you blessed your people at El Tepeyac with the presence of La Virgen de Guadelupe: grant that her example of love to the poor and forsaken may stir our faith to recognize all people as members of one family. Teach us to follow in the way you have prepared for us, that we may honor one another in word and action, sharing with her your commonwealth of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
The Eucharist continues in the usual manner, using the following Psalm and Lessons
The First Reading Zechariah 2:10-13
or A Selection from The Nican Mopohua, the reading then concludes,“Here ends the reading.”
Psalm 131 or 116
The Second Reading Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a
Gospel Luke 6:20-23
The Prayers of the People
As we honor La Virgen de Guadelupe, may we strive for unity among all people; we pray to you, God of mercy. Hear our prayer.
May the vision of Juan Diego inspire our community to stand against prejudice, discrimination, hatred and violence; we pray to you, God of mercy. Hear our prayer.
May our care for youth and children, the elderly and sick, the weak, helpless and poor (especially _________), reflect the love of La Virgen, revealed at Tepeyac; we pray to you, God of mercy. Hear our prayer.
May the vision of La Virgen strengthen us to stand with all immigrants and refugees in their struggle in every nation and people, (especially the people of __________); we pray to you, God of mercy. Hear our prayer.
May those who have died (especially _________) rest in your peace, and those who mourn (especially _________) find comfort in fellowship with La Virgen de Guadelupe and all the saints; we pray to you, God of mercy. Hear our prayer.
Intercessions may be offered by the people.
The Presider adds this concluding Collect.
O God of power and mercy, who gives us roses in a season of darkness; fill us with your unexpected truth and vision of peace among all people. By the example of La Virgen de Guadelupe may we seek the justice which unites all people everywhere; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
At the Eucharist the liturgy continues with the Peace and the Offertory.
Because in revealing the La Virgen de Guadelupe at El Tepeyac, you have shown us your way of justice and peace, lifted up the small and lowly, and assured us of your great love for the poor and weak.
In place of the usual postcommunion prayer, the following is said
Presider and People
We give you thanks, O God, for gathering your children together in the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood. We rejoice that you have remembered us; for we were scattered and have now been drawn together from the four corners of the earth. May we who celebrate La Virgen de Guadelupe ever strive for peace, and serve you as witnesses of Jesus Christ, until the Lord dawns in glory. Amen.
Following the postcommunion prayer, the People may place flowers at the image of La Virgen de Guadelupe. Appropriate hymns, anthems, instrumental music, or songs, such as “Buenos Días Paloma Blanca” may accompany this action.
The Bishop, when present, or the Priest, may bless the people.
The Deacon, or the Presider, dismisses the people.
Songs, hymns, and readings traditionally used on the Feast of La Virgen de Guadelupe include the following.
Songs and Hymns:
Buenos Días Paloma Blanca
Mi Virgen Ranchera
Oh Virgen la más Hermosa
From Hymnal 1982
277 Sing of Mary, Pure and Lowly (Raquel)
78 Sing We of the Blessed Mother (Rustington)
From El Himnario
483 Mi Alma Glorifica al Señor mi Dios (Cántico de María)
62 Como Estrella en Claro Cielo (Raquel)
A Reading from The Nican Mopohua:
Juan Diego returned and right to the top of the mountain he saw the Lady from heaven, at the spot where he saw her the first time. Seeing her, he fell down before her and said, "Lady, the smallest of my daughters, my Child, I went where you sent me to fulfill your mandate; though with difficulty, from where is the seat of the bishop, I saw him and exposed your message; he received me graciously and I listened attentively; but I understood by his response that he believes that it is I who makes the request of building your temple, and that perhaps is not your command. I strongly beg, Lady, my Child that you send instead of me someone who is known, respected and esteemed. If we entrust your message to someone like that he is sure to be believed. The Bishop does not believe me because I am a lesser man, I'm small, I'm a no one, and you, my Child, the least of my daughters, Lady, you send me to a place where I do not belong. Forgive me if I cause you great sorrow.” Our Lady replied: “Listen, my son, I understand but need you to know that that I have many servants and messengers whom I can send to do my bidding yet I choose you. You are the one that I strictly command, to go again tomorrow to see the Bishop. Tell him once more who sends you and that it is my will for a temple to be built in my honor. Tell him, that the ever-Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God, is the one that sends you" Juan Diego replied: "My Lady, my Child, I will do what you ask. I’ll do your will; but perhaps I will not be heard with pleasure. I know that it will be difficult for them to believe me.
El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
Christians in parts of Mexico and Central America keep All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) with special devotions to honor the dead and pray for them. These devotions have spread beyond their geographical origins in Mexico into other languages and cultures. For those who are observing this tradition for the first time, adapt it to your own needs and consider engaging in conversation with communities or individuals that have experience with this tradition.
Communities who observe El Día de los Muertos should consider the following principles:
1. Practices for keeping the Day include adornment of an altar or a sacred space to offer reverence for the dead, which may be placed in a home, church, or cemetery. Photographs of those being remembered are traditionally displayed. A place for prayer may be provided nearby.
2. Devotions may include prayers and thanksgivings for the dead. Resources for prayers may be found in the burial rites or the propers for All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
And be it further
Resolved, That the 79th General Convention direct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to work in collaboration with the Department of Ethnic Ministries at the beginning of the process to provide liturgies for additional pastoral rites authorized for use in The Episcopal Church; and be it further
Resolved, That the SCLM consider the resource, “Changes: Prayers and Services Honoring Rites of Passage” as it begins its work.
We celebrate the diversity and true abundance in The Episcopal Church that are not yet reflected in the pastoral rites and occasional services of worship. This resolution makes available three rites that are customary in Latino culture, developed for The Book of Occasional Services 2018. In addition, we seek for all worshipping communities, rites and services that enrich our worship which have not yet been fully included.
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