Sunday, September 26, 2010

Brick by Brick: The Hispanic Church is growing here

Something like 25 out of the 217 parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have at least one Spanish language Mass on Sundays.

St. Stephen's parish in south Minneapolis near the Institute of Arts, is growing more than others. Under the leadership of its pastor, Fr. Joseph Williams, rather fluent in Spanish himself, has become a Spanish language dominant parish in the past several years to the point where they are having problems being able to seat all the attendees at the 9:00 Sunday morning Mass. There is another one at 6:00 p.m., too. In addition, there is a 4:45 bi-lingual Mass on Wednesdays and another at 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays.

More chairs have been added and it is anticipated that the parish, currently celebrating its 125th year, will survive the announcement of the archdiocesan restructuring plan on the weekend of October 16-17. Then more pews will be added along with improvements including a new sound system to the sanctuary. The Hispanic parishioners have already contributed $3,000 towards the cost of the new system.

Each Sunday morning about 150 of the Hispanic parishioners attend classes to improve their knowledge of the faith. And this coming weekend, 400 of them are expected to attend a retreat in the parish's old school building.

Today, most of the Twin Cities area's Mexican immigrants from a town in Mexico where a fiesta celebrating St. Michael the Archangel (San Miguel Arcangel) is one of the town's most important fiestas came to St. Stephen's for a special 1:00 p.m. Mass, featuring music, dancing and many baptisms. The church was gorgeously decorated with flowers for the event.

Wouldn't it be great if all our parishes had activities like that?

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