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Exploring your Quinceanera Part 2: A Chance to Change your World

In Exploring your Quinceanera Part 1, we took a look at the spiritual benefit your Quince has for you and your family, and what your Church might require of you before bestowing such an important blessing. But a Quinceanera can be much more than a glorious day of blessing and celebration. There’s great significance to a Quince when it comes to leadership. So once more, take just a moment from your hectic planning and think about how important your Quinceanera really is when it comes to truly changing your world.

Why the Bendición de la Quinceañera is in English and Spanish

In some parishes, the young woman asking for a Quinceanera blessing may speak only Spanish. Others are bilingual, and some who were born in the U.S. speak only English. The family and friends who come to celebrate with the Quinceanera may also have this diversity.

It’s an old tradition to do the Quinceanera blessing just in Spanish, but most of the time, so that everyone in attendance can really understand what’s being said, the blessing, as well as much of the Mass, is done in both Spanish and English.

How a Quinceanera Differs from Confirmation

The primary difference between Confirmation and a Quinceanera blessing or Quinceanera Mass is that Confirmation is considered a sacrament. The Church defines the sacrament of Confirmation as something that “binds” a person “more perfectly” to the Church. It also gives them an obligation to spread the faith and be witnesses by word and by deed. Additionally, most Quinceaneras have already received the sacrament of Confirmation before their 15th birthday.

The celebration of a Quince complements the sacrament of Confirmation because the special blessing strengthens the young Catholic woman to carry out her new duties and responsibilities both to the Church and to her family.

Your Quinceanera has a Positive Impact on Your Parish

Our culture still promotes machismo, which is not necessarily a bad thing if it means that men display appropriate attributes of leadership and strength. But the Church views the humbleness of the Virgin Mary as a model for women of any age. If you choose to celebrate your 15th birthday in the Church, your Quinceanera can set a positive example for the entire parish because you have shown your willingness to bow to the example of the Virgin when it comes to submission and reverence.

Why the Quinceanera is Culturally Valuable

Today’s culture encourages pretty much anything and everything except reverent faith and service to church and family. But by standing in front of the altar surrounded by family and friends, you as a Quinceanera are making a public statement. You’re confirming your commitment when it comes to adopting your parents’ values.

You’re also making a public declaration that you’ll use the Church’s blessing to help you take a stand against negative peer pressure.

It’s tough to hold to stronger values when others are doing as they please, so be very proud of yourself for taking seriously the commitment to higher values that comes with your beautiful Quinceanera celebration!

The Spirit of the Quinceanera vs. the Extravagance of the Celebration

Just as families across many cultures save up for years to pay for a beautiful wedding for their daughter, many Hispanic families do all they can to provide the most lavish Quinceanera possible for their daughter, granddaughter, goddaughter or niece. And of course, it’s easy to “go overboard” with expensive details.

Outsiders often perceive an elaborate Quinceanera to be far beyond the means of the immediate family, but there is an important advantage:

The Quinceanera includes the custom of padrinos, madrinos and esponsores—family, friends and others who willingly donate money and/or gifts and services. It’s not unusual to have family members who are seamstresses and bakers, limousine drivers and musicians, even family who work for a florist or photographer and can get an excellent discount on decorations and services. This way even a Quinceanera who comes from a family with only a modest income may have a celebration that really is over the top.

Even so, many of the people who donate to a Quince still want to see the religious aspect of the ritual upheld, which is why it’s not unusual that, the more extravagant the reception, the more emphasis is put on the Quinceanera Mass and blessing.

A Chance for Personal Guidance in a Group

Some parishes prefer to have two or more girls celebrate their Quinceanera at the same Mass. They consider this to be “pastoral guidance” because it puts more emphasis on the liturgy rather than focusing on any one individual. Other parishes or parish organizations may sponsor a monthly celebration for all the Quinceaneras to be celebrated during that month.

The parish might also strongly encourage families to hold their parties in the church hall so that the parish can maintain some control over what takes place. Again, this gives the Church an opportunity to make sure the entire celebration is reverential and not overly secular.

Quinceanera as a Call to Leadership

A few years ago, the U.S. Bishops issued a pastoral letter calling for the entire Church to make personal discipleship, evangelization, the leadership of youth, and ministry to adolescents a serious concern. The letter focused on three goals, and each of those goals is represented in the Quinceanera Mass and blessing:

  1. Empowering young people to live in today’s world as disciples of Christ.
  2. Encouraging responsibility when it comes to the life, mission, and faith of the community.
  3. Fostering each young person’s spiritual and personal growth.

Just as the goal of the marriage ceremony is to strengthen the bond between individuals and families and thus make the newly married couple spiritual leaders in the community, the purpose of the Quinceanera is the same. The only difference is that the leader is a dedicated young woman striving to stand on her own in society while upholding the traditional values of her Church and family.

Your Quince is a Family Blessing, Too

Your Quinceañera is valuable for its religious message. It sets you apart and makes you an example, not just to your family and extended family, but also to other young people your age. A Quince sets a standard for commitment and is a call to others of your parish and in your world to join prayerfully with you in making a stronger commitment to God as well as making your world a more faith-focused place.

To learn more about how your Quinceanera is an important spiritual blessing, click here:Exploring your Quinceanera Part 1: A Sacred Blessing