The Catholic faith in El Paso, TX, dates back to 1680, with the arrival of the Pueblo community. Today, in the diocese of El Paso, Texas, the Tigua Native American Ministry, led by director Mike Lara, ministers to the blend of the culture of the Yselta del Sur and their sense of Catholic faith. Serving thousands in the El Paso area, the Tigua Ministry seeks to be truly “present among the people,” fostering continued spiritual growth while respecting the diversity of the Yselta people.
This harmony of Native and Catholic spirituality was seen clearly during the Feast of the Holy Innocents, held on December 28th, 2015. The Yselta community honored their children on this feast day and celebrated the passing down of tradition. Beginning with a procession of the children to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, the Yselta then held a Catholic service, during which the children were blessed by Fr. Miguel Briseños. The children later performed a Yselta dance, which was taught to them by their parents and the rest of the Yselta community. During this feast, the Tigua Native American Ministry was present, and gave the children a gift of a prayer book.
Another exciting event for the Diocese of El Paso was the Feast and Procession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, held on December 12th. In conjunction with the larger Catholic community, many members of the Yselta community joined the Diocese of El Paso in a procession through El Paso in honor of Our Lady. Over 500 people participated in the procession, including the Kateri Circle. Following this procession, the Diocese held a Mass, celebrating this important feast day with the Eucharist. This Mass incorporated elements of the Yselta spirituality, including the preparation and smudging of the altar, as well as the Eagle Dance following the Mass.
The harmony of Native and Catholic spirituality shines through in the Diocese of El Paso’s Tigua Native American Ministry among the Yselta people. By being present among the Yselta people, the Tigua Ministry continues to foster the coming together of two cultures into one celebration.