By Father Dennis Martin
This next week we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the temple. Since I ministered as pastor in Washington and West Liberty, this feast has meant more to me.
My experience with young parents in the Hispanic community seeking the blessing of the presentation, or as it is popularly called “Tres Anos,” for their children has resulted in my growing appreciation of this feast. When a child is 3 years old, it is very popular in the Hispanic community for parents to bring that child to the church for a special blessing. This blessing is associated with the presentation of their child to the Lord in the midst of the assembly of the people of God.
It is very nice for the parish as a whole to see the young families and their children who receive the special blessing of the church. At one time we had more baptisms at Sunday Masses. That was also very nice for the parish as a whole to experience. The sacramental blessing of Tres Anon takes only a few minutes and seems to fit in well with a busy Sunday schedule.
I like to do the blessing after Communion, before the announcements — one of which is to congratulate the newly presented child and his/her family. Then it is nice to have the family walk out with the priest and servers at the end as a gesture of honor from the assembly.
The parents of Jesus, Mary and Joseph got the idea that their child was very special at his presentation in the temple with the testimony of Simeon and Anna. Hopefully, parents who bring their children for the Tres Anos blessing will see them as special through the welcome and attention of the eucharistic community. The children are brought to Jesus in a special way. It is to eucharistic assembly worshipping as the body of Christ that the child is brought, not the brick and mortar church.
We read in Matt. 19:14, but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
(Father Dennis Martin is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)