Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cristo Mesoamericano

One of the things I like best about my new parish is that you will hear songs in that Hispanic community that you won't hear in any other parish in the diocese because they would be considered "too radical". So we get variety, and not just what OCP has vetted and is pushing to the U.S. Hispanic Catholic Church.

Last Sunday we were treated to distinctly Central American Christology: "Cristo Mesoamericano" or, more formally, the "Canto de Comunión" from the "Misa Mesoamericana", a Mass of a slightly later vintage but with the same roots as the better-known "Misa Popular Salvadoreña" -- both composed by Guillermo Cuéllar. The "Misa Mesoamericana" was recorded in 2000, on the 20th anniversary of the 1980 Misa Popular, by Cuéllar and his fellow musicians in the Salvadoran music group Exceso de Equipaje (Web site - Blog). The lyrics of "Cristo Mesoamericano" are by Miguel Cavada Diez. The Mass was inspired by, and is a tribute to, the late Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero. According to fellow band member Paulino Espinoza, Cuéllar, who collaborated with Msgr. Romero in youth ministry, drew on different themes from Romero's homilies to produce the Mass. "The entrance hymn deals with the subject of emigrants, 'Cristo Mesoamericano' deals with the young and excluded, the 'Lamb of God' is about the crucified people, the 'Magnificat' about women, etc..."

Cristo Mesoamericano

Texto: Miguel Cavada / Música: Guillermo Cuellar

Cristo mesoamericano toma su cuerpo en tus manos
para ser un pueblo nuevo con vida y dignidad.
Cristo mesoamericano bebe su sangre en tus labios
para ser un pueblo nuevo con vidad y dignidad.
Cristo negro, Cristo Maya, Cristo mískito y chorti;
Cristo lenca, Cristo Nahua, galileo y quiché
Cristo río y montaña, Cristo árbol, Cristo mar,
Cristo puma y quetzal, Cristo selva por talar.
Cristo obrera, costurera; la maquila y el hogar,
Cristo madre y compañera, fortaleza para amar.
Cristo niña de la calle vende goma de mascar;
Cristo niño huelepega arrumbado en un portal
Cristo joven y rebelde con la gorra de rapear;
estudiante y carpintero; Cristo inquieto y soñador.
Cristo abuela, Cristo abuelo desechado en un asilo,
apartado en el olvido; Cristo enfermo en soledad.
Cristo suda en la zafra y en las cortas de café,
Cristo pobre jornalero; Cristo milpa y maíz.
Cristo cruza la frontera para poder trabajar,
ilegal y marginado, añorando retornar.
Cristo Pueblo maltratado.
Cristo Pascua y Libertad.
Cristo mucha muchedumbre que anhela resucitar.
Cristo vida y esperanza;
Cristo verbo, buena nueva;
Cristo voz de los profetas;
Romero de la verdad.

(English translation by Rebel Girl)

Mesoamerican Christ - Take His body in your hands
to be a new people, alive with dignity.
Mesoamerican Christ - Taste His blood on your lips
to be a new people, alive with dignity.
Black Christ, Mayan Christ, Miskito and Chorti Christ;
Lenca Christ, Nahua Christ, Galilean and Quiche
Christ river and mountain, Christ tree, Christ sea,
Christ puma and quetzal, Christ jungle to cut down.
Christ worker, seamstress; factory and home,
Christ mother and companion, strength to love.
Christ street girl selling chewing gum;
Christ glue-sniffing boy stacked in a doorway
Christ young and rebellious in a rapper's cap;
student and carpenter; Christ anxious and dreaming.
Christ grandmother, Christ grandfather tossed away in a home,
separated and forgotten; Christ alone and ill.
Christ sweating in the harvest of sugar cane and coffee,
Christ the poor day laborer; Christ maize and corn.
Christ crossing the border to work,
illegal, marginal and longing to go home.
Christ ill-treated people.
Christ Easter and Freedom.
Christ the vast crowds longing for resurrection.
Christ life and hope;
Christ word, good news,
Christ voice of the prophets;
Pilgrim of truth.

Photo: Exceso de Equipaje


  1. The Mass is really beautiful especially the Gospel acclamation (Interleccional) "The bible is like a cuma (machete)which we use to chop away all the bitternesses in our reality....The biblia is like the tortillas we make on our comales (clay griddles) because it for sharing so that we can build brother/sisterhood" I especially love the Magnificat,the canto de meditación.

  2. I would love to be able to get a copy of the full CD of the Misa Mesoamericana but it doesn't seem to be available anywhere in the US or online that I've been able to determine.