Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Spanish Mass in La Crosse!

Check out this article by Joe Orso of the La Crosse Tribune -- Padre Jose Hirsch will begin offering Spanish Mass at Mary, Mother of the Church Parish here in the city. As Joe states, the Mass is part of the La Crosse diocese's new Hispanic Ministries initiatives. Visit and click on archives to find a Connecting with the Bishop segment, where Bishop Jerome Listecki speaks with Father Klos from Arcadia and Deacon Sage from Catholic Charities about these initiatives. And watch out for my series of articles on Hispanics in the diocese later this summer!

La Crosse church to begin offering Sunday Mass in Spanish
By JOE ORSO La Crosse Tribune

A Catholic church in La Crosse plans to offer a Mass in Spanish on the first Sunday of every month, starting this Sunday.

“It’s way overdue,” said the Rev. Joseph Hirsch, who will conduct the 12:30 p.m. Mass at Mary, Mother of the Church, 2006 Weston St. “There’s a large Spanish presence in the diocese, and here we are in La Crosse and we have no Spanish Mass.”

Hirsch and Deacon Richard Sage, who will assist at the Mass, said they think it will be the first regularly scheduled Spanish Mass in La Crosse County.

The Mass is among the La Crosse Diocese’s efforts to reach out to the area’s Hispanic population, which, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, numbered 1,007 in La Crosse County in 2005.

“If they are truly going to be integrated into American society, they should not only be integrated politically and economically, but they need to be integrated spiritually, and that is the role of the church,” Hirsch said.

The diocese now has a native Spanish speaker from Peru, the Rev. Enrique Castro, who is creating a Web site in Spanish for the diocese.

A second Peruvian priest could arrive by the end of summer, and the Rev. Hector Moreno, associate pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Holmen, Wis., is of Puerto Rican ancestry and speaks Spanish.

A major reason Spanish Masses were not done in the county until now is a shortage of Spanish-speaking priests, Hirsch explained.

Hirsch, director of vocations for the diocese, will take one priest and three seminarians to study Spanish and work in an orphanage in Peru this summer, and has been sending seminarians to Peru and Bolivia for the past three summers.

He hopes the seminarians one day will be able to minister to the Hispanic population here.

Weekly Masses already are said in Spanish at diocese churches in Wausau, Norwalk, Arcadia, Altoona and Abbotsford in Wisconsin.Hirsch did Mass in Spanish weekly from 1998 to 2002 in Norwalk, which has offered Spanish Masses since about 1990.

Sage, executive director of Catholic Charities, and Christopher Ruff, director of ministries and social concerns, have met with those in Spanish ministries since April and with Hirsch for about a month to develop a Spanish Mass.Sage said the diocese eventually hopes to have a Hispanic ministry director.

The diocese has done Mass in German, French, Polish, Hmong and other languages in the past to accommodate immigrants, Sage said, so “this isn’t wildly innovative. This is primarily, first and foremost, a spiritual outreach.”

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