Bilingual Mass to be celebrated Jan. 29

Primary language will be Spanish, with English translations


Cathedran file photo

The Welch Activity Center will be the site of the Irish 500 on May 20.

Whitley Walton, Reporter

For the first time in the school’s history, a bilingual Mass in English and Spanish will take place. Put together by the Latino Student Union and Mrs. Charlene Witka, director of campus ministry, the all-school celebration is on Jan. 29. 

English teacher Mr. Matt Panzer serves as the Latino Student Union moderator. When it came to presenting a Spanish Mass, the LSU discussed plans for it since the formation of the student organization. Panzer said, “We talked about it last year, but we kept on it and Mrs. Witka was great about making it happen.”

Due to the growth of leadership, Panzer noted how students have taken charge of this event. 

Juniors AnaCristina Arce Ramírez and Miriam Santos have both taken the initiative in making the Spanish Mass a success. “It’s a wee bit stressful since this semester is busy for every single person,” said Arce Ramírez, who, along with Santos, have been apart of the LSU since their freshman year and are excited to make their dreams a reality.

While the Mass will be spoken in Spanish, an English translation will be projected on the front screen for everyone to see. 

“The first part is to explain the Mass and what it’s for, and the second part is to explain that this is the first bilingual Mass in Cathedral history and that it’s hosted by Latino Student Union,” Arce Ramírez said. “This is something we want to do so that the school can acknowledge us and get to know that, ‘Hey, we have a union for a specific set of students.’”

While many people think that the Holy Cross Council will lead the Mass, Santos made it clear that the LSU is in charge.

“It’s just based upon the Latino Student Union, so (the Holy Cross Council) are just helping for the Eucharist,” Santos said. Regarding the music, a guitarist will perform. Arce Ramírez said, “Our idea is that some of the LSU members will be singing the song ‘Lord, You Have Come,’ which in Spanish translates to ‘Pescador de Hombres,” which will be a bilingual song.”

Witka reached out to Fr. Dennis Strach, a priest from Notre Dame. Witka said, “He’s done bilingual Spanish Masses a lot, so he’s very comfortable. That’s a blessing.”

While the LSU and Witka look forward to hosting the first Spanish Mass, they both hope that the celebration is well received by students and staff. 

“Mass is necessary; it doesn’t matter the language you speak it in. It’s all the word of God,” Panzer said. “It’s a great step for Cathedral.” Diversity and inclusion are two of the nine Holy Cross values, and Panzer notes that a bilingual Mass is the best way to recognize and honor the ever-changing demographics in the school.

Santos speaks fondly of how the Cathedral family is growing in diversity. “We have a lot of new incoming freshmen, and a big part of our LSU are freshmen. It’s getting a lot bigger and the Hispanics are getting more involved in Cathedral,” Santos said.  She emphasized how integral it is to address all members of Cathedral. “As we continue to grow, I think it’s important that we also are able to share who we are and what we do.”

Arce Ramírez added, “It helps Cathedral combine its diversity with its faith.”

Personally, Witka said she is very excited. “It’s important for us to be able to understand the importance of all different languages,” Witka said. The Mass will celebrate the feast day of Blessed Fr. Basil Moreau. Witka explained, “Fr. Basil Moreau was dedicated to diversity, and this is a perfect way of living out the desire to have Mass that’s diverse.”

Arce Ramírez hopes for bilingual Masses to become more frequent. “My dream would be that it happens every year and happens at least once. Preferably, it would be nicer if it were in September because that is Hispanic Heritage Month.” Santos would also hope to expand the choirs and create a Spanish choir to sing at Spanish Mass.

As the Latino Student Union creates history by hosting the first bilingual Spanish Mass, Panzer said he hopes this will be a unique experience that the students and staff can partake in authentically.