Tom’s love of the people of Holy Trinity was reflected in his request
for the Folclórico dancers to dance at his recent Golden Jubilee mass.
Here’s a little history on the dance we experienced:
Coming out of the cultural tradition of the Aztecs
this dance originally paid homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe and signifies
the recognition of her as the mother of the Lord Jesus. It is danced
at many other occasions; in the case of the Jubilee mass the altar was
blessed and homage given to it as the Lord’s sacrificial table.
The dance is announced by the sounding of
the conch shell. The first dancer enters with solemnity carrying a
vessel filled with incense, one of the Aztec’s holiest possessions. The
four cardinal directions, North, South, East and West are blessed and
the space is purified and made holy.
Wearing traditional costumes the remaining
dancers (concheros) are called with the sounding of the drum and enter
joyfully to pay homage to the altar which is the source of the
Eucharist. They carry rattles made from tree pods and wear large leg
bracelets (chalchallotes) made of shells which give sound to the
rhythmic movement of the dance.
This dance demonstrates how the customs of
an earlier culture have been adapted to the Christian tradition and
their use within the mass is called inculturation, another gift from the
Second Vatican Council Fathers who had the wisdom to recognize the
value of a people’s traditions to their beliefs.
When the Pope visited Mexico and as the
dancers approached the altar, he stood and joined them in a few steps of
this very same dance! (June 20, 2004)