Diocesan News

A Multilingual Mass in Honor of a Spanish Mystic

Children dressed as saints celebrate their parish feast day at St. Teresa of Avila Church, Crown Heights. (Photo Matthew O’Connor)

St. Teresa of Avila parish, in Crown Heights hosted a trilingual Mass in English, Spanish and French Creole in honor of the parish patroness. The Mass was celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros. Children dressed up as St. Teresa of Avila and other saints.

St. Teresa was a Spanish mystic and writer who reformed the Carmelite Order. She is one of the four female doctors of the Church.

Bishop Cisneros was thrilled to celebrate Mass in so many languages.

“When I first arrived,” the bishop said, “I greeted one of the altar servers by saying ‘How are you?’ in Creole, but that is the only phrase I know so I could not continue. Times like this I wish I could speak in all languages. But the liturgy speaks for itself and Jesus speaks to us all.”

“Seeing the children dressed as St. Teresa of Avila and other saints is so wonderful,” he said. “Being able to see young people involved in the Church is so important but it also gives them the chance to see themselves in their future roles in Church. I pray for all of them.”

Gloria Cruz, a young parishioner, enjoyed all the music and was thrilled to take part of the multilingual celebration.

“Everyone always loves to hear the word of God in their own language. Being able to celebrate in so many languages helps bring so many people together,” she said.

Together As One

“In a time when there are so many divisions between people this is a beautiful time to be able to be one people in the eyes of God. Celebrating with so many people who speaks so many languages and to be able to pray and listen to the music is so beautiful.”

During her life, the patroness of the parish spoke of a love that transcends the need for words in any language.

“Prayer is an act of love; words are not needed,” the saint’s words were read during the celebration. “Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love.”