Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
The community of Sagrado Corazón de Jesús began here in Minneapolis in 1990 with an influx of Latinos into the Twin Cities area. At this beginning there were Spanish masses held in four churches each taking a mass once a month. In 1991 the community of St.
Stephen’s Catholic Church, one of the four, offered to host the Spanish mass at 1:00 pm on Sundays. Since there were only about 50 parishioners in the masses a 500-seat church seemed more than enough.
For the next four years we would invite Spanish speaking priests to celebrate our Masses at St. Stephen’s. Carl Valdez, the Deacon assigned to our community and a founding member, worked tirelessly in making this new effort succeed. In 1995 Father Larry Hubbard was assigned by the Archdiocese to the Spanish speaking community at St.
Stephen’s Church. Having a priest dedicated to this community added a stability that the church had needed, and it began to flourish.
As the numbers of parishioners increased the needs of the church increased as well. In 1995 – 1996 we held a series of community meetings to understand what those needs were. The three areas that were most important to the community were: Sacraments (Baptisms, First Communion, and Weddings. etc.), Learning English and Economic Opportunities (How to begin a business). We expanded our Religious Education to prepare for Sacraments, we began classes in English, and we researched the availability of Small Business classes in Spanish. In 1996, with the help of Juan Linares, we organized and initiated the Small Business classes in Spanish through the Neighborhood Development Corporation of St. Paul.
From these classes a Board of Directors was established to launch the Mercado Central on Bloomington Avenue and Lake Street in South Minneapolis. In 1999 the Mercado Central opened with 50 shops and a new level of economic opportunity for Latinos in Minneapolis. In addition to the Mercado Central these classes have trained many more people who have gone on to open business in the Twin Cities area.
By the year 2000 the numbers of parishioners in attendance at our Sunday services had increased to beyond capacity for St. Stephen’s Church. We estimated the number to be between 2,000 and 3,000 parishioners. We had already added a Mass on Sundays at 6:00 pm, but the numbers increased to the point where we needed to look for a new home for Sagrado Corazón de Jesús. Over the following two years we searched for possibilities for relocation. In the spring of 2002 Archbishop Harry Flynn made the decision that Incarnation Church would be our new home. In the summer of 2002 that we were invited to meet with representatives of Incarnation Church on 38th Street and Pleasant Avenue South in Minneapolis that begin a new journey for us.
This elegant and inspiring church that seats nearly 1000 people seemed to be a good fit for the traditional Latin American community of Sagrado Corazón de Jesús. With Incarnation Church’s invitation we began a Sunday Mass on November 11th, 2002. We have since added Masses on Thursday 6:00 pm, Saturday 6:30 pm and Sunday 1:00 pm in addition to the Sunday 11:15 am Mass. We still have a Sunday 6:00 pm Mass at St.
Stephen’s Church. Our number of regular churchgoers today is estimated to be between 4,000 and 5,000 people.
We know that the area has limited parking and that has been an issue for many years. We don’t intend to ignore it, rather we hope that by working with the Kingfield Neighborhood Association, the Minneapolis Department of Public Works and the Minneapolis Police Department we can look at what may be some of the alternatives available both on a short-term and long-term basis...
Our community is made up of parishioners that include nearly every country of Latin America. The largest numbers are from Mexico and Ecuador. The traditions of these countries are represented in the celebrations that we observe. We recently had a mass for the Lord of the Miracles, a Peruvian celebration. We will be celebrating the feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe in December, the Ecuadorian feast of the Virgin of the Clouds on January 1st and the feast of St. Paul the Apostle which comes from the state of Morelos, Mexico. Along with these celebrations comes the culture and traditions of the region.
These cultures are expressed through dance, music and specific observation that make these events very special.
We have several dance groups in our parish that have begun through these traditions... Two of these groups are Aztlan, a traditional Aztec dance group and Mexico Lindo, well known throughout the region for their Mexican Folkloric dancing...
This move to a new worship home at Incarnation includes a new community home with the former Incarnation School, now Centro Latino Sagrado Corazón de Jesús. With this building we can continue to develop programs that respond to the needs of our worship community, as well as be a resource that promotes the understanding and development of the Latino community in south Minneapolis. We can do this through cultural, social and educational programs that reflect the Latino community’s needs and aspirations. We will continue with the cultural programs like the dance groups, but we are also involved with immigrant issues, social justice and human rights. We are going to be doing income tax preparation workshops in Spanish for low-income people. We are looking at expanding classes in English and starting classes in Spanish for our community and others who may be interested.
We would like that this facility become a resource for our community to express, with pride, the culture that helps define our best qualities and open those events to the neighborhood. We want to make the area a safer place because we are raising our families here. We are proud and excited to make Incarnation and El Centro Sagrado Corazón de Jesús on 38th and Pleasant Avenue our new home.
It is a home that we share with San Miguel Middle School. With that I will turn it over to Brother Larry of San Miguel Middle School.