On the evening of December 6th, 2014, some of the Mobile seminarians who currently study at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, IN, attended the traditional Nicaraguan celebration of “La Purísima” held at the seminary. This event was organized by a fellow seminarian Ramses Mendieta who is studying for the Diocese of Little Rock, AR and is originally from Nicaragua.
La Purísima is a traditional Nicaraguan title for Mary meaning “The Most Pure,” or as we more commonly call her in English, The Immaculate Conception. There is a traditional celebration in Nicaragua which takes place in December to celebrate and rejoice in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, and takes place either in a church or in the home. Important to the celebration is the original statue of La Purísima, which was sent to Nicaragua by St. Teresa of Ávila herself in the 1500s. The celebration begins with a great acclamation, a loud and joyful call and response by the leader and the assembly:
“¿Quién causa tanta alegrÍa?” “¡La Concepción de María!”
“Who is the cause of such joy?” “The Conception of Mary!”
The celebration held at St. Meinrad was optional for the wider community, but even so, many seminarians, staff, faculty, and even people from the surrounding community came to pray, sing, eat, and celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Mary in this traditional Nicaraguan fashion. Mobile Seminarian Andrew Jones offered his talents in the orchestra for the event, playing the Double Bass, while Mobile Seminarians Jeremy Winter and Joe O’Gorman each led a decade of the bilingual rosary. It was a great opportunity to celebrate the Immaculate Conception in a new way, and to do learn from and share in the Catholic culture of Nicaragua!