Dia de los Muertos Altar Placed in the Chapel

Throughout the month of November, an addition was seen in the CJ Chapel. An altar, decorated with flowers, skulls, and pictures was in place in honor of Dia de los Muertos.

“That literally translates into the Day of the Dead,” explained school chaplain Fr. Bob Jones, SM. “On November 1 we celebrated All Saints Day. November 2 is the day in the church calendar where we specifically remember those who have died, especially our loved ones. We usually remember those who died over the last year although it can be anyone.”

Yasmin Espino ‘17 contributed to the altar with remembrances of her great uncle.

“My grandpa wasn't really involved in my father's life, so my great uncle, Tio Pablo, was like his father,” Espino shared. “He was a very special person to me, and we were really close. I wanted to honor him, so I brought in his favorite candy, which are the sweets in the basket.”

Jones added, “Traditionally, altars are placed in a family’s home. Families will decorate the altar with yellow and orange flowers, like marigolds, have pictures of their loved ones and ofrenda - offerings of food that the loved one liked. There are also painted skulls on the altar, which in sense is mocking death. In our Christian faith, we believe that death doesn’t have the answer - there is something else that awaits us.”

With the help of the Spanish classes, Jones said select students gathered materials and created the altar in the school chapel.

“When we talk about inter-departmental, sometimes we think of that as English and Social Studies, Math and Science, maybe English and Language,” Jones said. “One thing I’m trying to do is work inter-departmentally with Ministry & Service and curricular departments.”

Jones continued, “For example, Libby Harbaugh brought her Spanish students down to the altar. Anytime we bring students to the chapel can’t be a bad thing.”

“I hope students reflect on their family and how important of an aspect that family is in our lives,” Espino added. “I also hope that they remember their past loved ones and that they are reminded that their loved ones are in a better place with God.”

The school’s Book of Remembrance, where names of those who have died has been recorded over the years, was also placed next to the altar.

“In the Catholic tradition, we believe that we can help those who have died with our prayers and we also believe that they can intercede for us,” Jones shared. “I think any memory of the dead is a good thing. With the bright colors on the altar, it’s a reminder that we have a hope for eternity. We do have a hope that we will see God face to face whenever He calls us home.”

Posted November 19, 2016