The tradition of the Quinceañera, the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday, goes back a long way in Latin American culture; it’s a big celebration, with a lot of food, music, dancing and fancy dresses, where a girl’s family and friends gather to welcome her to the next stage of her life.
The Quinceañera held last week in Chaparral, NM, may have broken new ground; instead of one teenaged girl in a long party dress and new high heels celebrating her coming of age, four Assumption Sisters in their familiar purple and white (and sensible shoes) joined with the larger community of St. Thomas More church to rejoice over the fifteen years of Assumption presence – and action – in this little colonia near the U.S.-Mexico border. It was a time to remember, to be grateful, and to celebrate – not just the fact that the Sisters have been there for those years, but even more important, that they live in and work among a community of people as generous and as welcoming as the people of Chapa.
After a Mass celebrated by Bishop Emeritus Ricardo Ramirez (complete with music by the youth choir, 12 different offerings representing the 12 ministries that Sisters and parishioners participate in together, and a beautiful bouquet of red roses offered to Our Lady of Guadalupe after the Mass, everyone went over to the parish hall. The hall had been set up and decorated by the Youth Group of the parish, who also served the food – all prepared and given by the members of the parish. Speeches, toasts, music, dancing and a great video montage filmed and edited by Maria Palacios, our AMA, left the Sisters of Chaparral -- Chabela, Diana, Evelyn and Maria Teresa – all very happy and grateful. Here’s to the next 15 years of Assumption life on the Border!