St. Ann seating accommodates 100 congregants; others tune in from parking lot
by Melanie Jongsma and Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (December 13, 2020) – Adaptations included limited seating, social spacing, required facial coverings, a single guitarist rather than a full mariachi band, and a children’s procession consisting of five children rather than dozens. Those restrictions dampened the feeling of celebration that normally characterizes the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass at St. Ann Catholic Church, but participants chose to feel grateful rather than discouraged. “At least we were able to have it,” was the feeling expressed by congregants as well as committee members.
December 12 is a Liturgical Holy Day, as declared by the Pope, and it is observed as a national holiday in Mexico. The holiday and the special Mass commemorate the 1531 appearance of a “Lady from Heaven” on a hill northwest of Mexico City. In a typical year, Lansing’s Alberto’s Beauty Salon hosts a 10:00am mass on December 12, and St. Ann holds a weekend service. Both Lansing observances are usually followed by food and fellowship—but not this year. Unable to provide adequate spacing, Alberto’s cancelled the event altogether, leaving St. Ann as the only local option for the faithful.
Though many of the Scripture readings and instructions were offered in English as well as Spanish, the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass is entirely in Spanish, led by a guest priest. For many Lansing Latinos, the service is especially meaningful because it is in the language of their hearts.
Following the homily and a responsive reading, parishioners were invited to “pass the peace,” and this tradition too has been changed by COVID. Parishioners looked around the sanctuary and waved in greeting, rather than shaking hands or hugging.
At the close of the service, parishioners were reminded of the newly published bilingual prayer book, available in side-by-side Spanish and English. Though St. Ann does not offer regular masses in Spanish, the book is an attempt to recognize and accommodate the significant membership for whom Spanish is a first language. Prayer cards and roses were also given to parishioners as they departed.
St. Ann Catholic Parish is located at 3010 Ridge Road in Lansing, Illinois.