Newman Catholic Center holds mass in Spanish

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Staff Reporter

On Saturday, the Newman Catholic Center held mass in Spanish, one of the events the Eastern community had to celebrate Latino Heritage Month.

Mass had an excellent turnout, with dozens of community members coming together.

The congregation said prayers, sang hymns, and had communion.

Once mass ended, many members of the congregation stayed to enjoy refreshments and one other’s company.

Many attendees have been part of the community for a long time, attending mass regularly.

This particular mass being given in Spanish provided Latinx community members the opportunity to hear mass in a way that brings them closer to God as well as their heritage.

Kenia Gonzalez, a Charleston resident and Eastern’s admissions counselor and Latinx coordinator, has been coming to mass ever since she moved here but really enjoyed hearing mass in Spanish.

Gonzalez is also part of the Latino Heritage Month committee so having events like this one mattered to her.

“I think it’s a special time to get together with the community and listen to mass in Spanish as it’s part of my heritage,” Gonzalez said. “I liked the focus on Latino heritage month and that we brought that into the petitions at the end by praying for all of the Latin American countries. That was really nice.”

Yita Fuentes, a Charleston resident, attended mass in Spanish because it brings the Latino community in Charleston together to listen to mass in their language.

“I love being here with my Latino friends and enjoying conversations with everybody,” Fuentes said.

Antonino Alva, a Charleston resident, has been living in Charleston for 19 years and coming to the monthly mass in Spanish.

As a Catholic himself, he said he thinks that mass is an important responsibility for all Catholics.

He likes that the Newman Catholic Center provides him the opportunity to continue attending mass.

“Right now with this pandemic, we can’t come to mass every Sunday. There’s other people that want to go to mass on Sundays so we want to give that space to those people. Because we can listen to mass in Spanish, and there’s fewer people, it’s a good opportunity for us,” Alva said.

Doris Nordin, a Charleston resident and campus minister, helped organize mass in Spanish as both part of the church and the committee for Latino Heritage Month.

Nordin loved seeing people from different communities coming together.

“I loved seeing people from different parts of Latin America, students, and permanent community members sharing our language. It’s a little space where we come together and speak in Spanish. We are who we are,” Nordin said.

Nordin does not just love the cultural aspect of mass in Spanish, but also the religious.

She said that mass in Spanish allows everyone in the Latinx community to come together and recognize the many values different cultures share, including religious values.

“Our religion has a lot of impact in our history and development as countries so we have been very religious people since the very beginning,” Nordin said. “We are very spiritual people and that’s why we have to recognize that.”

Dr. Carlos Amaya, a professor of world languages here in Charleston, is also part of the Latino Heritage Month committee.

Amaya likes how events like mass can bring people closer together.

He has been happy with how the events for Latino Heritage Month are turning out and hopes that they continue being well attended.

“We plan activities for the community, especially for the students, so that they can learn about our culture and share that with other people. The main objective is for people to understand what the Latino identity is. We do things that will attract their attention like this mass. We also have activities like ‘Charlando con los Profesores’ so that they meet professors who come from Latin America or with Latino background. They can see people like themselves that are successful in this country and they can aspire to be successful also,” Amaya said.


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]