By Deborah Carl
Spanish-speaking Congregations in Utah Growing
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Local clergy are not surprised by the recent
census data that shows an increase in Utah's Latino population. And
the growth in LDS Spanish-speaking congregations in Utah shows that
Mormons are not an exception.
Hernando Diaz, a priest at Salt Lake City's Sacred Heart Catholic
Church, has noticed an increase in the past four years. While
Catholic churches across the country are closing their doors, Diaz is
adding more Spanish services to accommodate his growing congregation.
"We get 600 or 700 people for each Mass, and the church is only
supposed to hold 500," he said. "I'm going to have to add a third
Mass to solve the problem."
There are now 35.3 million residents of the United States of Latino
origin, 12.8 million were foreign born and almost half of those came
to the United States in the 1990s. Utah has seen the Latino
population increase 138 percent in the past 10 years. The number of
Latino residents increased from 84,597 in 1990 to 201,559 in 2000.
Even though many Latinos come from Catholic countries, other
religions are seeing an increase in their Spanish-speaking
congregations. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now
has 34 wards and branches across the state where Spanish is the
primary language. The Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal reports 35
Spanish-speaking evangelical congregations.
"We've got a mixture, people from [El] Salvador, Honduras, Puerto
Rico and other countries," Lisa Martinez, a member of the Iglesia de
Dios Pentecostal in Kearns said. "We've got more ethnic groups and
people of different races. It's not just from Mexico anymore. It's
VIEW FROM THE PEWS: Latino Surge No Surprise To Churches
Salt Lake Tribune 24Mar01 D1
By Joe Baird: Salt Lake Tribune