The quinceañera, or 15th birthday celebration, is a Latin American tradition that marks a girl's transition into young womanhood. In many cultures the occasion includes a Mass of thanksgiving where the girl renews her baptismal vows and becomes an adult in the eyes of the church. The Mass is rich with symbolism -- the young woman wears a crown symbolizing her victory in living a Christian life, receives a sacred medal symbolizing her expression of faith and carries a bouquet of flowers symbolizing the new commitment she is making to her community. Natalie Hoppe of Fairport recently celebrated her quinceañera with a Mass at Penfield's St. Joseph Church. (Click here to view more photos from this event and/or buy prints.)

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