MANUALITO DE PARROCOS
Spanish-Latin Ritual/Handbook Used by Priests For Administering Sacraments
Book Printed in New Mexico
1839 on the Press of
José Martínez, Cura de Taos
A Presentation for Recovering the Hispanic Literary
Rev. Juan Romero
University of Texas, Houston
de Párrocos, [Handbook for Pastors], a bilingual (Latin-Spanish ritual), is
a small yet precious jewel that is little known or appreciated. Published on the printing press of Padre
Antonio José Martínez, Cura de Taos, in 1839, is the first book published in
New Mexico, and a pioneer multi-lingual liturgical text of the Roman Catholic
Church available in what is now the Unted States.
the early 1830s, New Mexico was long overdue for the services of a printing
press, and Padre Martinez, with his interest in education and in political
involvement, was a prime candidate for
ownership. The press came in July of
1834, brought to Josiah Gregg, author of Commerce
of the Prairies, and his partner Jesse Sutton on a wagon train from
Ramon Abreu bought the press from
Gregg-Sutton, put it under the charge of Jesus María Baca for the printing a
Santa Fe of a speller in 1834. Padre Martinez arrived in Taos as the
priest-in-charge by mid 1826. He showed
his interest in primary education, and began an elementary school for boys and
girls. He prepared in 1834 the speller of twenty-two pages, Cuaderno de Ortografía, for publication
on the Abreu press, and dedicated to “Los
Niños de los Señores Martines de Taos.” The first booklet published in New Mexico, the
Cauderno, half the size of the Manualito, might not qualify as a book.
However, with its heft of fifty-five pages, the Manual de Párrocos definitely qualifies as a book. The office of the
Archhives of the state of New Mexico considers, the bilingual ritual pepared by
Padre Martínez, even though printed five years after the speller, as the first book published in New Mexico.
Padre Martínez purchased the printing press,
and took it to Taos by November 2, 1835.
He hired as printer José Maria Baca, a native New Mexican, whom he had
met in Durango—perhaps a fellow seminarian not ordained to the priesthood. The
Padre used it for religious tracts, political broadsides, and a short-lived
newspaper, El Crepúsculo de Libertad.
After the Chimayó uprising of 1837, Padre Martinez in 1838 published his
autobiography, Relación de Los Méritos
del Presbítero Antonio José Martínez, Cura de Taos.
The followng year in
1839, Padre Martínez published the Manualito de Párrocos for use in “Nuevo Mexico” by priests serving in
various parts of La (Custodia de) Nuevo
Mexico that was at least three times larger than its present day
configuration. The cover of the book stated, “Imprenta del Presbítero Antonio Jose Martinez a cargo de J. M. Baca,”
under the charge of Jesús María Baca.
Bishop Zubiría of Durango during his first
visit to Taos in 1833 gave Padre Martínez to prepare from his residence in Taos
young men in their earliest stages of formation for the priesthood. They would then go to Durango for their
theological formation where Padre Marteinez had done his studies, and
afterwards return as priests to serve the people of northern New Mexico.
was a practical handbook or “manual” for the young men trained at his
seminary in Taos to use in their spiritual ministrations. More seasoned priests also used the ritual
for administering the most common sacraments to the Catholic people in the
priest-starved regions of the northern
frontier of the Mexican diocese of Durango while the territory was part of the
Republic of Mexico. The Manualito de
Párrocos was a “handbook for pastors” to be used in the
celebration of the sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony as well as the sacrament
of the Anointing of the Sick.
The Handbook also contained the rite for funerals and some common blessings.
As a young boy, I recall the multilingual twentieth-century
ritual for the sacraments of baptism and marriage, as well as funeral rite,
that was in the sacristy of my parish about five miles northeast of central
city Los Angeles. The Irish already
spoke and understood English, but other diverse languages in the ritual—Polish,
Italian, and German—reflected and enshrined the cultures of various waves of
immigrants that flooded the shores of this large country during the nineteenth
century. In the same way as in the Manualito,
rubrics (directions and instructions for the priest) were in English, but the
words of the sacrament to be administered or the blessing given remained in
It was not until the mid 20th
century that liturgical reform admitted vernacular in the liturgy—slowly at
first with the renewed Easter Vigil in the mid 1950s. The Second Vatican
Council of the mid 1960s permitted and encouraged use of the vernacular, although
Latin remained the official language of the universal Church.
While only the rubrics
were in Spanish, the actual words of the celebration of a sacrament remained in
Latin, the official language of the church.
Nevertheless, this was a practical help for clergy perhaps not that
conversant with Latin. The publication
of this bilingual Latin-Spanish ritual was ahead of its time by over a century. Only since the early 1970s have pastoral
centers such as the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonion, now
called the Mexican American Catholic College, begun preparing and publishing
blingual texts for use in liturgy and Catholic ceremonies.
There are few extant copies of the New
Mexican bilingual riual published by Padre Martínez. The Archives of the State of New Mexico has
one found in its collection of the Benjamin M. Read papers. The Huntington
Library in San Marino (near Los Angeles) has a quite brittle and delicate copy
of the Manualito within the William
Ritch Papers and Manuscripts of its Rare Book and Manuscript Collection. Yale University, a treasure trove of works
written or published by Padre Martínez, has a copy of the Manualito de Párrocos. The heirs
of Pascual Martínez, youngest brother of the Padre, owned a copy of the Manualito in excellent condition, but
now sold to a private party.
Secretary of the legislature Ramón Abreu at
Santa Fe by August 1834 obtained the press from Gregg, and soon announced the
opening of the press as well as the newspaper El Crepúsculo de la Libertad.
Mexican lawyer Antonio Barreiero edited the publication that was “a
campaign device to facilitate his election to the Mexican Congress. Padre
Martinez soon became associated with the publishing effort.” The Padre’s newspaper El Crepúsculo de La Libertad was short-lived—only six issues were
published, and none are extant.
One of the more prominent uses of the Padre
Martinez printing press was for the publication of the Kearny Code after Gen.
Stephen Watts Kearny occupied Santa Fe in August 1846. “According to Lucian J. Eastin, a soldier
under who later used the press in Sana Fe to print the laws of a newly
established American government, the wood and iron hand press was less than
impressive. He identified the machine as
a Ramage press and dismissed it as ‘a very small affair.’”
Padre Martinez published works for his
parishioners, the educational institutions he founded. His elementary school founded in 1826 did not
benefit from the printing press. The
students used as writing tablets and blackboards slates transported from St.
Louis on the Santa Fe/ Durango Trail.
However, the other two seminal institutions that he founded—seminary and
law school– benefited very much from the printing press, as eventually did all
the people of New Mexico through his students in their maturity. Padre Martinez established his pre-theology
seminary at his home in 1833, and it was succeeded by his law school in the
early fall after late summer’s American occupation of 1846.
Although Padre Martínez did not yet own the
printing press at the time the speller was published, Cuaderno de Ortografía de la
Lengua Castelllana, he can rightly be credited as author. Publications of
Padre Martinez catalogued in the NM State Archives include the following:
• In 1837, he
wrote his autobiography shortly after the Chimayó Uprising of the same year,
but did not publish it (on his own press) until the following year of 1838: Relación de Méritos del Presbítero Antonio
José Martinez, Cura de Taos.
• In 1839, Padre Martinez published two more
books on his press: one was a tract on Political
Discourses On the Important and Necessary.
• The other was
the Manualito de Parrocos (1839) that
is the focus of this presentation.
• Within half a
dozen years after Santa Ana’s battles with Texans at the Alamo and San Jacinto,
Padre Martinez reacted against the thrust of Manifest Destiny. Since 1842, he had written letters to his
president Santa Ana and Bishop Laureano Zubiría of Durango warning his
President (Santa Ana) and his Bishop (Zubiria) that the Americans were coming,
and would bring their Protestant influence.
The following year in 1843, Padre Martinez sent them a copy of a tract he published
as Exponsicion Que…[sic].
• At the request
of the General Stephen Watts Kearny who occupied Santa Fe in the name of the
United States on August 18, 1846, Padre Martinez lent his press for the
publication of the Kearny Code, one
of the most important works published on the Padre Martinez Press.
University, a treasure trove of works written or published by Padre Martinez, has
a copy of the Padre’s published Spanish translation of Leyes de Las Indias that he used for both his seminarians and then
his law students.
The copy of the text I am using for this
presentation was made was made available to me through the kindness of the
offices of the State Archives of New Mexico. The text consists of 55 pages. The first three are not indicated pages, but
the subsequent ones are paginated from 1 to 52.
The first two un-paginated pages are mostly in Spanish. The first is the cover page, and the second
consists of a printed preliminary note by the publisher and a handwritten note
by the donor to the NM Historical Society.
The highlight of the second page is the Index of the work, and the
beginning of a blessing in Latin for St. Ignatius Water.
Publisher Padre Martinez begins with a
preliminary printed “Nota” in Spanish
that speaks of publication without copyright.
My translation follows:
permission for printing this handbook could not be obtained from diocesan
authority, since copyright laws were in force, there was not any change in the
method [of publication]. On the
contrary, it was faithfully copied in accord with what was put down in the
Handbook of [Padre Juan Francisco] Lopez from which this was taken. The only exception is in the rubrics [that
are in Spanish instead of Latin], and in the administration of Holy Viaticum
that was taken from the Manual at the Taos Rectory by Rev. Father Diego
This printed note is followed by another
short handwritten note in Spanish from Benjamin M. Read
that he or someone like his younger brother Larkin, who had excellent
penmanship, inscribed forty-one years after General S.W. Kearny occupied Santa
Fe, claiming New Mexico as a territory of the United States. My translation reads as follows: “Presented
by Benjamin M. Read- Santa Fe, NM to the Historical Society of NM. Sept. 6 – 1887.”
The spiritual life of Catholics is closely
related to the sacraments. These are the
visible signs through which—Catholics believe–Jesus Christ powerfully acts for
the salvation of believers. The
principal sacraments are Baptism and Holy Eucharist, and others are Penance,
Marriage and Anointing of the Sick. The
sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders are restricted in their
administration to the bishop, unless a priest is given a special delegation to
confirm. These later two sacraments are
normally administered by a bishop, and so are not included in the handbook for
parish priests published by Padre Martinez.
Also not included in the Manualito
are Eucharist as Sacrifice (the Mass) and Peance, although Holy Communion for
the sick and a penitential blessing for the sick are included. This ritual contains the official rites and
prayers in Latin for the sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, and Anointing of the
Sick, as well as funeral and burial rites.
In 1993, I was doing research on Padre
Martinez at the New Mexico State Archives in Santa Fe, and was handed the Manualito de Parrocos to peruse. At the time, I was residing at the
Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert in Abiquiu, the birthplace of
Padre Martinez. One of my great
interests and passions both as a seminarian and as a parish priest has been the
study of and proper celebration of the “sacred mysteries,” the sacred liturgy,
and ministering the sacraments of Christ to God’s people. Perusing the Manualito of Padre Martinez became a holy experience for me–
touching and reading the Latin-Spanish text of this bilingual ritual put
together by the priest of Taos. He had
lived a short stone’s throw from the house on Ledoux Street in the center of Taos
that my grandfather and father had built of adobe. My experience paralleled that of Michael
Olivas—a former seminarian and lawyer from Santa Fe, and professor at the
University of Houston—as he encountered at the Library of Yale University two
books published by Padre Martinez on his press.
really moved me to tears was holding copies of two books
printed by the Martinez press… The first
was…a book on Logic … The second
work [on Law, published in 1842] was even more evocative to me… These glorious documents produced so many
emotions in me that I sat for some time simply trying to process all the
complex and unexpected feelings welling up inside me: having familiarized
myself with the works enough that I could recognize the typesetters reminded me
of my early graduate work… I felt a
distinct pride in being able to translate Latin and Spanish documents…being a
native of New Mexico even allowed me to recognize…[certain details that would
otherwise be lost to others]… I recalled
my…years of seminary training…completing a century-and-a-half long arc from Padre Martinez’s discipulos to me.
I requested from St. John’s University in
Collegeville, Minnesota–one of the
premier institutions of liturgical studies in the United States–a list of
bilingual-multilingual rituals ever used for Catholic worship in the this
country. To my great surprise, I learned
there was no such list available, even after consulting the “largest data base
in the world” regarding
liturgical studies. Padre Martinez in
his Manualito de Parrocos of 1839
made significant strides in producing a bilingual ritual almost a century and a
half before this became pastoral practice in the United States, a
multilingual-multicultural country. This
ratifies what Rev. Msgr. Jerome Martinez, rector of the Cathedral-Basilica of
Santa Fe said about Padre Martinez: “He
was way ahead of his time!”
Instituto de Liturgia Hispana together
with the Mexican American Cultural Center based in San Antonio deserve credit
for picking up the ball and running with it..
There are several pioneers of pastoral-liturgical bilingual ministry since the
1970s to the beginning of the third Christian millennium who—without even being
aware of it– are following in the footsteps of Padre Martinez relative to the
promotion of pastoral-liturgical service to the Spanish-speaking People of
official and quasi-official publications are, in this regard, especially worthy
Care of the Sick + Cuidado Pastoral de Los Enfermos – Abridged Bilingual
Edition. It was “canonically approved by
the National Conference of Catholic bishops in plenary assembly on 18 November
1982, and was subsequently confirmed by the Apostolic See by decree of the
Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship on 11 December
1982. On 1 September, 1982, the work was
given permission to be published and used in celebrations for the sick and
dying.” The mandatory effective date set by the Conference of Bishops was the
first Sunday of Advent, November 27, 1983.
[From a Decree of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the
united States of America, jointly signed
by Archbishop John Roach, President of NCCB and Rev. Daniel F. Hoye its General
Secretary] Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, CSB
of Las Cruces navigated the bilingual ritual through the labyrinth of the
Episcopal Conference, and provided its Foreword. The text was made available, i.e. published
jointly by the Mexican American Cultural Center of San Antonio and Liturgy
Training Publications of Chicago. Rev.
John Gurrierei, Executive Director of the Bishops’ Committe on the Liturgy,
provided the acknowledgements and assured users that proper permissions from
various sources were properly obtained.
Celebration of Life/ Celebración de la
Vida – Guidebook for the Presider of the Religious Rite – was publisted by
MACC in 1999. The Quinceaños is a rite of passage for a girl of 15 to young
womanhood. Although it is not a
sacrament as such, it is a holy time of transition for which Mexican and Latin
American tradition accompany special blessings for the liminal time of new
challenges/dangers as well as new opportunities. There are also prayers invoking Mary as model
and guide. There is no official rite for
the occacion, but MACC—under the leadership of Sister Rosa María Icaza,
C.C.V.I. and Sister Angela Erevia, M.C.D.P. led a working group to produce this
perfectly bilingual Spanish-English ritual on 73 parallel pages
as a gift to the Church in the United states.
• The Order of Christian Funerals is a
much more formal and sophisticated liturgical bilingual text officially
published by THE LITURGICAL PRESS of Collegeville, Minnesota in 2002: ORDER OF
CHRISTIAN FUNERALS – Vigil, Funeral Liturgy, and Rite of Committal: APPROVED FOR SE IN THE
DIOCESES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY THE UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF
CATHOLIC BISHOPS AND CONFIRMED BY THE APOSTOLIC SEE
short course in Catholic sacramental theology will help the reader of this presentation
to appreciate the richness and significance of Padre Martinez’ bilingual ritual
published in 1839 within what is now the United States.
are visible signs that are efficacious of God’s saving grace. Jesus, according to some mid- twentieth
century theologians is the fundamental, basic and primary sign of God’s saving
love. Through His becoming man, He made
the eternal love of the Father accessible, visible and tangible. The community of faith, called the church, is
also a sign of God’s saving presence in a world wherein faithful men and women
strive to respond to God’s call to holiness and fidelity to His covenant. The Council of Trent, however, in the mid-sixteenth century–in reaction to
the Protestant Reformation that wanted to restrict the sacraments to Baptism
and Eucharist–defined that there are seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation
Holy Eucharist, Penance, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick.
Actions (Gestures), and Words
Material (earthly) things (“matter”), e.g. water, oil, bread, wine,
etc. are very important aspects of a sacramental sign. Symbolic gestures
(actions) enhance the sign value in the celebration (administration of) a
sacrament. These gestures are also an
important part of the sacramental sign, e.g. the IMMERSION into or POURING of
water in the sacrament of Baptism, the bishop’s LAYING OF HANDS upon the head
of a priest being ordained, the ANOINTING of the body of a sick person for
spiritual health—and also for physical health, if that be God’s will. However, that which specifies the meaning of
the sacramental gestures and actions are the words used (“form” or formula) in their celebration/administration. For instance, in the sacrament of Baptism,
the priest immerses into water or pours water over the person being baptized
while using the Trinitarian formula, “I baptize you in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
This sacrament, as all of them, uses words, gestures (action), and material
elements. There are many other signs
and symbols (anointing with chrism, clothing with white garment, handing over
of candle lit from the paschal candle) that enhance the rite of Baptism, but
the prescribed matter (water) and form (words and gesture) are considered
essential. Each of the sacraments have
their essential matter and form that make up the rite.
The sacraments are effective signs because
they are the words, gestures and actions of Jesus who powerfully brings about
what the deeper meaning of the sacrament actually signifies. For instance, when an infant, child or adult
is baptized, that person intimately and truly shares in Jesus’ paschal dying
and rising. What makes the sacraments
truly efficacious is the fact—in Catholic belief—that these special signs are
actually vehicles through which Jesus Christ powerfully acts for our
salvation. These are His words, and His
gestures, and that is why they bring about what they signify or symbolize. That is to say that when Father Juan,
Cardinal Roger or Pope Benedict baptizes Joe or Jane Blow, it is really Jesus
Christ who acts in and through those sacramental signs that brings to life and
makes happen the deeper meaning of what is signified. In Baptism, the significance of the rite is a
participation in Christ’s Passover from death to life. In Eucharist, this is sharing in and being
nourished by Jesus’ own body and blood.
In Penance, when the priest in the name of the Blessed Trinity says “I
absolve you,” Catholics believe that it really Jesus Christ who forgives the
sins of a penitent who is truly sorry for sins, confesses them, and
resolves—with God’s help—to sin no more.
When the priest at Mass says over the elements of bread and wine the
words of blessing that Jesus used at the Last Supper, “This is my body… this is
my blood. Do this in memory of me,”
Catholics believe that the elements are changed into the body and blood of
Jesus. This is not magic—hocus pocus, a corruption of the words
of Consecration, “Hoc est enim corpus
meum…”—but the effective action of Jesus through the sacraments.
of the Sacrament
In God’s loving kindness, the efficacy of the
sacrament does not depend on the holiness of the minister. This is because the sacraments are saving
actions of Jesus made present and available today in and through His
Church. The ordinary minister of a
sacrament is the ordained priest.
However, a layperson may serve as extraordinary minister of the
sacrament in case of an “emergency” such as danger of death for an infant. In
the sacrament of matrimony, the ministers of the sacrament to each other are
the bride and groom; the priest—together with best man and maid of honor—are
witnesses for the church in this covenant relationship that echoes the unity of
love between Christ and His church. A
couple of the sacraments, such as Confirmation and Holy Orders (ordination to
diaconate, priesthood and episcopacy) are reserved to the administration of a
bishop. However, faculties to confirm may sometimes be
delegated to a priest. Bishop Zubiría
delegated this episcopal faculty to Padre Martinez.
Missing from this Manualito de Parrocos are the sacraments reserved to a bishop,
i.e., Confirmation and Holy Orders. The
formula for the sacrament of Penance is brief, and easily committed to memory
by a father confessor. The rite of
celebration of the action of the Mass is traditionally contained in other
books—a Lectionary containing the scripture readings, and the Sacramentary
containing various Eucharistic Prayers.
During the time of Padre Martinez—in fact, since the Council of Trent
until the Second Vatican Council, these books were combined into the Roman
Missal, but they are once again separate volumes.
addition to the sacraments as such, there are some “sacramentals” useful in
fostering the devotion of the people, but are not part of the sacred liturgy,
the official prayer of the church. Included in this handbook, making it also a
“book of blessings,” are other prayers for certain occasion or of particular
objects used in (Hispanic) Catholic devotion.
The various blessings included are the blessing of Holy Water for
sprinkling, and blessing of the Baptismal Font, and the blessings of crucifixes,
images of saints, a habit or scapular. A
“habit” or “scapular” is a particular uniform or style of dress particular to a
religious order, but may also be worn by a lay associate of that order, such as
Franciscan or Carmelite “tertiary.” When
he or she promises to live his/her state of life as closely as possible in
conformity with the ideals of the chosen religious order, a layperson may
become a member of their Third Order. It
is called such because it follows the pattern of consecration after clergy and
religiously professed man or woman who solemnly take the three evangelical vows
of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Blessings serve as a kind of bookends for the
Manualito, they form a parenthesis
embracing the ritual-book of blessings and binding it with the literary device
known as inclusio, the beginning
announcing the ending that reflects it in paralel construction. The blessing of St. Ignatius Water begins the
Book of Blessings/Ritual even before the pages begin to count, and the Blessing
of the Franciscan Cord end the book of 52 pages.
“Bendición de Mortajas” is the final item
listed in the index is also the most unfamiliar item mentioned in the index of
the handbook/book of blessings. The
blessing is for the “cords of St. Francis” that a lay person may wear, and in
the prayer the priest asks for the grace of a happy death of the persons
clothed with that cord that has three overhand knots tied closely together
toward the end of the religious rope.
They are symbols of the evangelical virtues of Poverty, Chastity, and
What is contained in the Manualito is outlined in its index, and my translation from the
the Moment of Dying 7
Viaticum for the Sick 8
of the Sick] 13
Burial of Adults 18
The Sacrament of
The second Banns 33
The Blessing of
Water for Sprinkling 34
for Proclaiming to the Sick 38
Blessing of the
Baptismal Font 45
Blessing of a
Habit or Scapular 51
[Franciscan] Cords (Mortajas) 52
The rite of Blessing of the Water of St. Ignatius serves as
an introduction to the ritual/book of blessings. It reflects Jesuit influence that, although
it did not predominate, was still important in the missionary territories of
America. Padre Martinez was taught by
Jesuits in his Durango seminary. This is
not a sacrament, but is associated to the Handbook as a Blessing. [My translation from the Spanish]
Here is placed the blessing of the Water
of St. Ignatius. A medal of the same
saint is to be immersed [in the water] from the beginning until the end of the
blessing. It is used as a potion for the
sick, and to assuage storms.
from the Latin]
V[erse]. Our help, etc. [is in the name of the Lord].
[Response. Who made heaven and earth.]
be the name of the Lord.
Lord, hear, etc. [my prayer
let my cry come unto you.]
Lord be with you.
R. And also with
LET US PRAY
Holy Lord, almighty and eternal Father…
The actual text of the celebration of the
sacrament of Baptism (pp. 1-8) does not differ from the official Latin text of
the Roman Rite in usage during the time of Padre Martinez. There have been minor modifications and
adaptations of the rites since the Second Vatican Council, but exploring those
are out of the purview of this essay.
FOR THE DYING
The Final Blessing in Latin (pp. 7-8) is to be given only “in articulo mortis,” i.e., when on is at
the point of death’s last stages. It is
distinct from the less grave situation of “in
periculo moris,” that translates to “in danger of death.”
(pp. 8-13) is another name for the Holy Eucharist given to someone
who is quite ill—“in danger of death,”
but without necessarily being at death’s door. The word Viaticum is a
combination of the Latin words “via tecum”
which means “On the way with you.” We
are a “pilgrim people” on the way to the heavenly Jerusalem, led by our elder
brother Jesus Christ whose mission is to guide and help us enter the loving
arms of Our Heavenly Father. The Holy
Eucharist nourishes and strengthens our baptismal life, and as Holy Viaticum,
it is the final accompaniment of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ into our
Before the Second Vatican Council in the
mid-twentieth century, this sacrament used to be called called Extreme Unction.
Its administration for a person quite
sick, in conjunction with the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist, was referred to as “Last Rites”.
The time of crossing over from this world to
the next is a most important passage. It
is an especially poignant and pastorally sensitive moment for the person dying,
as well as for family members and friends who accompany the person to death’s
door to usher him through the passage to glory.
As if to respect that passage to heavenly glory, part of the rite of Holy Viaticum for the sick is given
partially in Spanish. None of the rite
is repeated nor paraphrased; different parts are selected to remain in Latin
while other parts are put only into Spanish.
This includes the affirmation “Sí
creo” in answer to twelve questions that the infirm person is invited to
affirm in the rite of renewal of the
creed, together with renewal of baptism
commitments to reject sin and Satan. The
sick person is then invited to reconcile himself to anyone he may have injured
by pardoning and asking for pardon.
The traditional formula before Holy Communion
follows. It is said in Latin three
times, “Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. Say but the word, and I will be healed.”
The priest gives Viaticum (Holy Communion) to the gravely ill person while
using the Latin formula that I translate:
“Receive, brother [or sister], Viaticum of the body [and blood] of Our
Lord Jesus Christ who guards you from the malignant enemy and leads you to
eternal life.” The response is
“Amen.” (p. 12)
The Way of Administering Extreme Unction (pp. 13-18)
This sacrament is celebrated all in
Latin. It is now called Anointing of the
Sick, no longer the “last anointing.”
Because it was too closely associated with death and dying, family
members were often reluctant to call the priest in spite of the exhortation in
James 5:14: “Are there any among you who are sick? Let them call the priests of the church to
anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
And if he be in sin, they will be forgiven him…” Post Vatican II, the
sacrament is celebrated much more liberally, no longer restricted to persons
seriously ill. In fact, elderly persons
who are in good enough health are encouraged to celebrate the sacrament on a
timely basis, maybe yearly. It principal
effect—Jesus acting through this sacrament as he does through all of them—is
SPIRITUAL healing, and if it be God’s will—then physical healing as well. The anointing of the five senses is
preserved, whereas in the revised rite of Vatican II, only the forehead and palms
of the hands are anointed.
The Form of Burying Adults (pp. 18-23)
This rite is all in Latin, and begins at the
home of the deceased with the priest’s sprinkling three times the body of the
deceased with Holy Water, while reciting Psalm 129 
in Latin—De Profundis: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord….”
The psalm is ultimately one of hope.
“…My spirit has hoped in the Lord…let Israel hope in the Lord…and He
will redeem Israel from all its iniquities…”
The Burial of Children (pp. 23-28)
The language of this rite is Latin except for
the Greek litany Kyrie, Criste, Kyrie
eleison…Lord/Christ have mercy! The
mood of this rite is not somber, but upbeat and even light. The procession from home to church includes
the Our Father and the Psalm 148: “Young people, and virgins, and old men with
younger, praise the Lord from the heavens.”
The beautiful song of the Three Young men in the fiery furnace is the
key scripture of this service. This
prayer gives voice to all of creation to praise the Lord: Benidicite! Praise the Lord!
THE SACRAMENT OF
MATRIMONY (pp. 28-33)
As a canon lawyer, Padre Martinez was quite
meticulous pertaining to what constituted a valid marriage. In the introductory exhortation to the
contracting spouses, the rite outlines in Spanish impediments to
contracting marriage: “consanguinity, affinity or spiritual bond or public
bonds (of matrimony) or religious vows.
By the free response to the key question
proposed first to the bride and then the groom, they become spouses, mutually
expressing their free consent in Spanish before the witnesses—priest and padrinos.
Sac(erdote): Señora/Señor N., ¿quiere al
Señor N. por su legitimo esposo, y marido, por palabras de presente, como lo
manda la Santa, Catolica y apostolica Iglesia Romana?…
R. Si quiero.
¿Se otorga por su esposa y muger [sic]?
R. Sí otorgo.
Sac. ¿Recibelo [sic] por su esposo y marido?
R. Si recibo.
Nuptial Blessing – (De Las Segundas
The rubric in Spanish indicates that the
priest imparts this blessing after Mass while the spouses are kneeling before
the altar. The brief prayer recalls the
nuptial blessing that Yahweh conferred upon Sarah and Tobias to whom the Angel Raphael was sent to help find a
THE BLESSING OF
HOLY WATER (pp. 34-37)
This sacramental is a reminder of the sacred
waters of baptism through which we first pass over with Jesus from death to
life. It is used for sprinkling and
purifications as well as for blessings of oneself or others. Part of the rite includes an exorcism using
salt as an instrument of purification.
Salt is also considered a symbol of welcome, as when a traveler arriving
into a home was offered salt to replenish the salt in the body lost through
perspiration. It is also considered as
an agent of preservation before refrigeration.
Salt, however, in modern times is no longer used in the blessing of holy
Water nor in the rite of Baptism.
GOSPELS TO BE
PROCLAIMED TO THE SICK
This compendium of scripture readings is used
to spiritually comfort the sick. The
texts are in Latin, but it is supposed that the priest would pastorally comment
upon the selection for the benefit of the infirm person as well as the family
gathered. The scriptures include
selections from the following Gospels: Matthew 8, Mark 16, Luke 4, John 5.
the reading is proclaimed and commented upon, the priest is directed to impose
hands—a liturgical gesture utilized in the celebration of every sacrament.
[Rubric in Spanish] Acabada la ultima Oración, ponga el Sacerdote
la diestra sobre la cabeza del enfermo, y diga,
[My translation from
the Latin] They imposed their hands upon
the sick, and the got well. Jesus son of
Mary, may the Lord and health of the world be with you through the merits and
intercession of His Apostles Peter and Paul and all the saints. [The prologue of St. John’s Gospel follows.]
Blessing of a Baptismal
Font and Exorcism of the Water (pp. 45-49)
The prayers are in Latin. The Holy Oil of Chrism and the Holy Oil of
Catecumens –both used in the celebration of the sacrament of Baptism– are
used in this blessing of water. These
holy oils were customarily used for the solemn blessing of baptismal water at the Easter Vigil Service, but are no
• Blessing of a New Cross (Crucifix) (p. 49)
• Blessing of Images (pp. 50, 51)
• Blessing of Anything (p. 51)
• Blessing of the Franciscan Cord (pl 52)
[End of selections from Ritual]
* * * * *
The publication of the Manualito corresponded to an obvious
spiritual need of a deeply religous people living in northern New Mexico that
was the northern extremity of the Kingdom of Spain from 1598 until 1821. It included Arizona and Colorado as well as
parts of Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Under
the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the immense land mass, wrested from the
northern Republic of Mexico, became territories of the United States now
collectively know as the “Southwest.” Priests working in these far-flug outposts
broung spiritual comfort and blessings through the sacraments to Spanish-speaking
people throughout New Mexico and beyond.
The Handbook for Pastors that
Padre Martínez of Taos prepared and published on his press had a great
spiritual impact of the people for many years, and its impact has continued
within the religious faith of the people until today.
Pamela S. Smith, Pam Smith with Richard Polese, “The Church and the Press:
Nineteenth-Century Beginnings,” in Passion
in Print: Private Press Artistry in New Mexico – 1834 to Present, Museum of
New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, 2005, pp. 223, p. 19.
treatment on the Manualito de Párrocos
that I wrote is available on website http://dev.newmexicohistory.org/filedetails.php?fileID=23181
of the New Mexico Office of the State Historian. The fuller development of the
topic and virtual-book that used to be on-line, however, are no longer
accessible on the site.
Cf. Henry R. Wagner, New Mexico
Historical Review, Vol. XII, No. 1. This
resource was graciously brought to my attention by Pam Smith of Abiquiu. She is author of Passion in Print (above), and former
director of the Press of the Palace of the Governors, Museum of New
Mexico. She serves as an adjunct professor
and faculty member of the College of Santa Fe where she teaches classes in the
 In an official liturgical book of the
Catholic Church, directions for the priest are printed in RED. The Latin word for the color is ruber from which we get the word
“rubrics” giving directions for the gestures or actions the priest is to use
while saying the appropriate words and using the apt materials for the
administration of a particular sacrament or in an other liturgical clebartion.
Smith, op. cit., p. 19.
Valdez, op. cit., p. __.
In this work, Padre Martinez gave his assessment of the political and religious
situation of New Mexico and its inhabitants—both the Native Americans and
Spanish settlers before the arrival of the Anglo Americans.
I have seriously tried to obtain a copy of Manualito
since July of this year, but it found it very difficult. I finally obtained a copy at the place where
I began the search last July. I am
sincerely grateful to NM Historian Estevan Rael-Galvez, his associate Dennis Trujillo, and archivist
Melissa Sanchez as well as senior archivist and Sandra Jaramillo for having
staff people take another look and finally unearthing the document in the
Benjamin Read Collection.
Benjamin Maurice Read is the author of Illustrated
History of New Mexico published in 1912, the year of New Mexican
statehood. He is, in New Mexican
parlance a “coyote,” i.e. the child
of one parent who is Hispanic and the other Anglo. His mother Ignacia Cano from Spain, and her
family migrated to NM. His father,
Benjamin Franklin Read, was US-Mexican War soldier, and is purported related to
THE Benjamin Franklin through one on his wives whose last name was Read. Larkin
was the younger brother of Benjamin Maurice, and he married a niece of Padre
Martinez. Through her, Larkin and his
older brother Benjamin had easy access
to many of the Padre Martinez papers.
Santiago Valdez, a putative son
of Padre Martinez, solicited the help of the Read brothers to finalize his
biography of Padre Martinez completed in 1877, a decade after the death of the
Padre. Benjamin M. is a bilingual-bicultural pioneer historian of NM and
contemporary of fellow historian Twitchell.
Because of B.M. Read’s cultural heritage, he was able to write with a
distinct perspective inaccessible to non-native Spanish speakers. Read was an early member and benefactor of
the NM Historical society. NM Secretary
of State William Ritch was president of the group, and became a benefactor of
the Huntington Library’s Ritch Collection that houses the Valdez Biography of
Padre Martinez in San Marino, California.
Algunos Puntos de Logica (1841) for
beginning the study of philosophy, and Institucionesde
Derechdo real de Castilla y de Indias (1842) for use in the study of canon
Michael A. Olivas, “Reflections Upon Old Books, Reading Rooms, and Making
History,” University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law – LAW REVIEW, Vol.
76, Sring 2008, No. 3, pp. 817-18.
Telephone conversation on September __, 2008 with Sister ______, in charge of
library research at the Universty of St. John’s, Collegeville.
Interview with Father Jerome Martinez for the film documentary The Dawning of Liberty by Paul Espinosa
of Espinosa Productions. Filmed c. 2004,
not yet fully produced or released.
Particular people who deserve credit are retired Archbishop Patricio Flores of
San Antonio for his wonderful support of MACC and its efforts of
pastoral-liturgical contributions for the Spanish-speaking of this
country. Also deserving special credit
are Rev. Virgil Elizondo, founding President of MACC, and Bishop Ricardo
Ramriez who succeed him in that post, and now serves as the Bishop of Las
Cruces New Mexico. Sister Rosa María
Icasa, also of MACC, did much work in preparing and directing the preparation
of liturgical texts. Sister Angel
Erevia did much early work for MACC in
developing the ritual for the Qunice Años
Sosa of the Archdiocese of Miami is the founding President of the Instituto de
Liturgia Hispana that served as an engine to get some of the liturgical texts
approved and accepted for publication.
Although the document/ritual for Quinceaños
has 73, pages, there are footnot references to pages74-80. It’s a puzzlement! On p. xv (Romal numeral of the introduction),
there is footnote 21 that says “See Romero, 74-80.” Footnote #22 indicaes “Romero, 75.” The puzzlement is that my brother wrote a
book on Hispanic Devotional Piety, published by Orbis Press in which he treated
from a biblical perspective Quinceaños
and other forms of popular piety. I
authored a monograph on Faith Expressions of Hispanics in the Southwest that
somewhat treats the Quinceaños along with several other “faith expressions.” I also wrote a fifteen-page essay on
Quinceaños on the topic of Quinceaños from anthropological, sociological,
catechetical and liturgical
perspectives. To which Romero does the
footnote refer? Stay tuned!
In periculo mortis means in danger of
death, and is to be distinguished from in
articulo mortis and refers to the fact that one clearly seems to be very
near death, or in the act of/at the moment of dying.
The official English translation in the United States for the phrase “…et sanabitur anima mea…” over the past forty plus years has been
“…and I will be healed.” Its
biblical-liturgical language reflects the inseparability of personhood. It is in contrast to Greek philosophical
categories of “body/soul” that in concept and language seems to
compartmentalize and dichotomize the integrity of the human person. The word
“soul” could be legitimately understood as “whole person,” as when we
say that Joe Blow is a “good soul.”
However, in normal speech, it is usually used in contrast to body,
although to complement and inform it.
The better translation of the Latin sanibitur
is, I think, “…and I shall be healed.”
Nevertheless, in this country and other English-speaking countries, we
will soon be going “back to the future,” reprising the hylomorphic category of
body/soul compartmental-ization instead
of emphasizing the integrity of personhood.
The enumeration of the Book of Psalms is off by one after one of the early
psalms (9?). St. Jerome in translating
the scriptures from Hebrew to Latin combined one of the psalms, but scholars
translating into modern languages from the original do not go through the
Latin, and thus keep the older enumeration.
This discrepancy is to be carried over into all references to Psalms in