Language, culture divide brings challenges to Yakima church

A priest prepares the eucharist for Communion. (Photo by Lawrence OP via Flickr.)
A priest prepares the Eucharist for Communion. (Photo by Lawrence OP via Flickr.)

St. Joseph Parish in Yakima is one church, split by two cultures.

As in many other facets of life in Yakima, the Catholic congregation is split between Spanish-speakers and English-speakers — with very little crossover, reports Northwest Public Radio of Spokane, with little crossover between the two groups.

Reporter Rowan Moore Gerety reports, “There are duplicate ministries for the Eucharist and liturgy, and for parishioners who are too sick to leave home. There are even separate Spanish and English ministries at the jail.

Catholic communities have in the past had separate churches for each immigrant population, today churches are holding masses in separate languages, according to the article. In Yakima’s St. Joseph, some Mexican American families are starting to come to English masses, because the children prefer English. But there has not been as much crossover into the Spanish masses from the English-speaking community, according to Northwest Public Radio.

However, the church has recently held fundraisers and bilingual holiday services, which is starting to bridge the two communities.

Read more: For Catholics, One Church, Two Congregations

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