St. Laurence Hosts First Spanish Mass
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
January 11, 2018
ELGIN—Historic. This is how priests and parishioners at St. Laurence in Elgin consider the very first Mass offered completely in Spanish on Jan. 6, attended by about 100 people.
“It is very nice to see new faces and families and, it is historic. It gives me hope,” said Father Andrew Mulcahey, pastor. 
Elgin is a city with diversity of cultures and “all cultures have something to offer,” he added. “I think we can find Jesus in all individuals and all cultures but that depends if we are open to looking for Him, if we are open to accept Him.”
It was not a coincidence that the Mass in Spanish started on the celebration of the Epiphany. One year ago, St. Laurence started a bilingual Mass at 9 a.m. on Sundays.
The organizers planned it because the celebration of the Three Kings “symbolizes that the Lord is revealed not only to the chosen people of Israel but to the whole world,” said Father  Robert Camacho, priest in residence, during his homily. 
“That’s part of what being Catholic is, is to be universal and accepting and opening oneself to learn”, said Father Mulcahy.
Monsignor Arquímedes Vallejo, Vicar from Bishop for the Hispanic Ministry, said he feels “joy of having a new liturgical service for Hispanics because this brings them closer to God, strengthens their faith, increases their hope and feed the love to God and to the neighbors”. 
The Mass started and closed with a Hispanic Christmas Carols, sang by the choir conducted by Jaime Pantoja, he was in St. Joseph’s choir for 32 years, “and now we have a new home here. I already have a year playing in the bilingual Mass, this is something very nice, with God’s help everything will be fine.”
Looking for volunteers
Father Mulcahy invited new generations to be integrated with the parish community, “we need vigor, youth people, I think some of the (current) volunteers are already tired and I also think they are hoping for your help, with anything you can contribute.”
The parish is looking for servers, sacristans, volunteers for different activities. Xitlali García, is thirteen years old and she is ready to participate in the choir, “I feel good having the honor of singing to God”. Her Mom supports her in this decision, “I believe that it is very good to have the children involved in the faith, especially in this difficult time for young people it is good that we approach them to God.”
St Laurence also is starting Bible studies in Spanish, from January 26 to April 22, “on Fridays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.” said Joe Bermea one of the founders of the Hispanic ministry in the parish. 
About one hundred people participated in this first celebration. People like Cesar Barrios  is very motivated to participate in the Saturday 6:30 p.m. Spanish Mass, “It is a great idea that Father Andres has decided to open a Mass in Spanish because this parish needs Spanish-speaking faithful, because Elgin is full of Spanish-speaking people and many people do not even know that this church is Catholic.”
There is joy in the Hispanic Ministry with this new opportunity to worship God in Spanish, “congratulations to the community of St Laurence! His pastor with love and sacrifice serves Hispanics spiritually in his own language. I am sure that the leadership of the parish, priest, and laity will make of that community a light that shines and vibrates in faith and with faith as the Three Kings did” concluded Monsignor Vallejo.