Saturday, November 2, 2013


If you do not live in a community with a lot of Mexican immigrants, you may be unfamiliar with the word "ofrenda" which means "offering" in Spanish.  In New Mexico, we have a large population of Hispanic people, some of whom came recently from Mexico, but most of whom are descended from the Spanish explorers who came to New Mexico in 1540 and only briefly stopped over in Mexico.  So it is not surprising that even with living in New Mexico since I was a teenager, I was ignorant of this Mexican custom of creating altars or "ofrendas" for Dia De Los Muertos. That is until two years ago when Fr. Christopher brought this custom to St. Mark's.  What a fascinating blend of cultural and spiritual traditions and how fun to search the internet for information about these traditions.

Here are some images of ofrendas from the internet...
Image Via
Image Via
And a link to my post about last year's ofrenda at St. Mark's here

This is my second year to help with the design of the ofrenda at St. Mark's for All Saint's Day.  Some lessons learned....

1.  Don't haul all your candlesticks to the church.  The air conditioning means wax all over the tablecloths!  Use candles enclosed in glass.

2.  Encourage folks to bring in mementos as well as photos for a more interesting altar.

3. Choose a color scheme so that there is not so much going on visually that it detracts from the important photos of loved ones.

4.  Realize that your carefully composed vignettes may be disturbed as more mementos arrive.  Take a deep breath and give thanks that this altar has deep meaning to folks who may have just begun their grieving process.

To help decorate this year, I had our Sunday school classes make various items for the ofrenda.  The ever popular sugar skulls were made by the Rite-13 class and the Seasons class.  

Kids in Joy Jungle drew skull designs.  The Seasons class made skull prints, and the Journey to Adulthood class made paper flowers.  And just for fun I made a little vignette of a miniature mariachi band 

which I blogged about here

These all came together to create...
Some of the many photos brought in by parishioners.
My parents Russell O. Womack and Rose Lee Stewart shortly before they met.
My mother, Rose Lee Stewart Womack to the left  and my sister, Rosalind Womack-Cotter (wedding photo) to the right.  The small statue is one Rosalind and I bought for our mother several years before her death, because of her incredible sense of humor.  Not visible in the photo is a brochure from Williamsburg Foundation which Rosalind and her husband supported.
Norm's family.  The dolls are from his sister Linda Gaume Jaramillo's extensive collection.  Linda is in the turquoise dress in the small photo to the left  Her parents, Dorothy and the Rev. Amos Gaume photos are at the rear.  The photo is the doll's lap shows Linda with her godfather, the Reverend Paul Saunders who was a priest in our Diocese for many years and helped start the prestigious Academy in Albuquerque.  Fr. Paul served as the Academy's second headmaster from 1960 to 1964.  The glass heart symbolizes the position that Linda held as the heart of our family and was used at her memorial service.
Even the sunsets here in October are getting into the colorful flamboyant mode...
Typical scene in New Mexico...sun and rain together!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed seeing your offrenda. I like this tradition but it must have been bittersweet to assemble.


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