Saturday, October 18, 2008

La Ofrenda

In the part of the world where I come from (California), there is a wonderful tradition that begins on All Souls Day (Nov. 1) - La Ofrenda - a tradition from El Dia de los Muertos, Mexico's "Day of the Dead."

The ofrenda is a special table set up inside the church where we place items that remind us of people we love who have died - small photographs, or a poem, or a candle, or a paper flower. The ofrenda table remains in the church through the month of November and is dismantled on the First Sunday of Advent (Nov. 30).  On this posting I've included a few photographs of ofrendas I have seen in various churches over the years, including an ofrenda in San Juan Batista dedicated to soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. All of the ofrendas I have seen are quite amazing in their offerings.

I would like to bring this tradition to St. Paul's this year with a simple ofrenda set up in our sanctuary. The church school and the teen youth group are already preparing items for ofrendas (and we will have one just for the children in the church school wing). Please take this as an invitation to bring something for our ofrenda at St. Paul's, and I pray you will find this a moving experience. For more information and resources for ofrendas, click on La Ofrenda.


Leslie Middleton said...


I am thrilled to have a visible and prayer-filled way to honor this holy day. Thanks for bringing the tradition east.


Julianna said...


Thank you for this wonderful idea! When I lived in Mexico I saw many beautiful and touching offerings, which help maintain strong family ties and traditions through the generations by remembering and praying for relatives who have passed away.

On a side note, the Hispanic bakery, PanaderĂ­a Las Palmas(off of Meade Ave. by C-ville Market), that opened last year in Charlottesville sells pan de muertos - you used to have to go to Richmond or D.C. to get it.


Robert Christian said...

What a really great tradition. I'll have to forward to our rector. We are a small parish and had only one funeral but I would think we could include pictures of past members, extended family and friends.

I'll have to look for St. Paul's the next time I'm in the area.

Bob in SwPA

The Rev. James Richardson said...

Thanks, Robert! I am going to post more photos of ofrendas in a few days.

I note you are from Southwest PA? How did you come across my blog? Pleased to meet you and have you here.
-- Jim