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In Chiapas, Mayans get Mass, sacraments in two of their languages

09 Oct. 2013: Mexico’s Mayans, who speak Tzotzil and Tzeltal will now be able to attend Mass in their language and even be married in a Catholic ceremony that follows their native tongue. Pope Francis has approved the translations of the prayers for Mass and the celebration of sacraments into the two indigenous languages used in Chiapas state, said Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristobal de Las Casas.
The translations into the two Mayan tongues, spoken by an estimated 650,000 people, include the prayers used for Mass and the other sacraments.
Bishop Arizmendi said Oct. 6 that the texts, which took approximately eight years to translate, would be used in his diocese and the neighbouring Archdiocese of Tuxtla Gutierrez. Mass has been celebrated in the diocese in recent years with the assistance of translators -- except during homilies -- Bishop Arizmendi said in an article in the newspaper La Jornada. Bishop Arizmendi called the approval of the translations "a signal that the pope wants us to be closer to our communities," reported La Jornada. "It's a source of great joy for our community, because it gives them the confidence that their language is recognized by the church and that it can be used in celebrations with complete security ... doctrinally as well as culturally," he said. Chiapas ranks as Mexico's poorest state with impoverished indigenous populations . La Jornada reported nearly 63 percent of the people in the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas, spread over 1,500 settlements, are indigenous


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