By Fr. Ron Gonzales, S.J. Pastor, Sacred Heart
It is amazing how many Catholics here in the city have no clue about the vast Jesuit history which makes up a good part of the origins of the Diocese of El Paso. Even more, are the many Catholics who have no clue about what a Jesuit is when I reveal that I am a Jesuit, asking me, “are they considered Catholic?” Well, hopefully the celebrations of the Centennial of the EI Paso Diocese and Janine Young’s illuminating weekly columns have helped in this regard. Not to mention the fact that we now have a rather popular Jesuit Pope who in the last several months has done wonders just by being himself. In any case, Sacred Heart Church here in the Segundo Barrio, is considered the “Mother Church” of the EI Paso Diocese. It has been active since 1893 when it was completed along with Immaculate Conception downtown. From its origins Sacred Heart was exclusively for the Spanish speaking community while Immaculate Conception was for the English speaking community. Over the last several years, however, there has been a greater and greater need to have at least one Sunday Mass in English. Many who move to EI Paso and have either been educated or been exposed in some way to Jesuit (Ignatian) Spirituality through our retreats find a need to remain connected in some way. However, they are often disappointed when they discover that there are only ALL Spanish masses celebrated at Sacred Heart. Secondly, although our children who attend Mass with their parents often feel more at ease in Spanish, they nonetheless need to learn English in order to improve their educational and job opportunities. Fortunately for our older parishioners who ONLY speak Spanish, they will be assured that all the other daily Masses and most of Sunday Masses remain in Spanish. Therefore, with the support of the Jesuit community, the staff and a good number of parishioners, Sacred Heart now offers the 10:00 AM Sunday Mass in English. We hope that this will bring even more people to celebrate with us here in the Segundo Barrio in this very historic downtown Jesuit Church. Bring your family and friends to celebrate a different experience. And while you’re at it, after mass come on over to our restaurant and enjoy a nice breakfast before heading home. All are welcome! AMDG (Ad Majorem Dei” Gloriam/For the Greater Glory of God).