November 19, 2018

St. Mary Catholic Church — A diverse, small-town parish working toward unity

St. Mary Catholic Church — A diverse, small-town parish working toward unity


"Music has been a crucial stepping stone toward creating multilingual liturgies and fostering unity."
–Father Jim, Pastor, St. Mary

Meet Father Jim and Peggy.

One a pastor, the other a music director, both serve a rural community in Worthington, Minnesota. People come to work in the area's farming and meat packing industries, and music plays an important role in the cultures of immigrant communities. And served as a crucial stepping stone toward creating multilingual liturgies at the church. But when an immigration raid separated families within the town, the parish was overwhelmed. Unprepared, they searched for ways to keep their community united during a time of crisis.

But the parish was fractured — Hispanics and Anglos worshiping separately. Peggy worked tirelessly to incorporate music that would appeal to both cultures, focusing on the unification of two seemingly different groups. Now a decade later, through pastoral leadership, charitable service and carefully selected liturgical music from Breaking Bread, Spirit & Song and Flor y Canto. Father Jim and Peggy have brought the community together.

A united assembly was vital to the success of the parish, and by using multilingual resources, the community was able to expand together. Everyone needed to feel welcome. Both Father Jim and Peggy understood that a church should be a home to all who enter — a place of acceptance and compassion.

With diversity of language, age, culture and socioeconomic background, the Body of Christ consists of many unique pieces. As St. Paul writes, "...there are many parts, yet one body....If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy." (1 Cor 12:20, 26) Our differences should make us stronger, build us up and bring us together. Father Jim and Peggy envision a day when the parish no longer celebrates separate Masses, but one Mass for everyone.

Discover how St. Mary's community has found unity through the music in OCP missals.


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