Easter mass in Spanish brings crowds in Iowa City - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Easter mass in Spanish brings crowds in Iowa City

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Sunday, Christians of all different cultural backgrounds attended Easter Sunday services. St. Patrick Catholic Church in Iowa City opened its doors to hundreds of people, many of whom speak Spanish as their native language. Father Rudolph T. Juarez came to St. Patrick Catholic Church in 2004. He says since then, the Spanish-speaking population in the church has boomed.

"We started off with a group of about 40 individuals, and now the congregation has grown to about 200," said Fr. Juarez.

Every Sunday at Noon, Fr. Juarez holds a traditional Spanish mass. Prayers and hymns are all spoken in Spanish. Sisters Monica and Rocio Gonzalez say that makes it easier for them to enjoy their time here.

"We're used to talking Spanish at our home; it's more comforting to hear it in Spanish than English," said Monica Gonzalez.

Monica feels it makes for a stronger connection with their congregation and community.

"There's things that we just didn't learn, like the prayers we know them in Spanish, so I feel like we're closer to our heritage," said Gonzalez.

Father Juarez says the Spanish mass is not only comforting for Hispanics who have lived here for years, but it also makes the transition easier for those new to the area.

"People who have come to us from Spanish-speaking countries who have immigrated into the united states bring with them that long tradition of their faith and how they spoke to God," said Fr. Juarez.

The Gonzalezes feel welcome at the church, and say the Spanish mass is a perfect example of why eastern Iowa is known as a safe place for people of all different ethnicities and faiths.

"This place is very friendly, so I think that has one thing to do with it. People like friendliness, people don't want to live in place where it's violent, mean, where people don't really appreciate you," said Gonzalez.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Iowa's Hispanic population has grown by 84% since 2000.

They make up 5% of Iowa's total population.

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