Holy Spirit Catholic Church is working to support many families struggling with coronavirus-related challenges.
María José Bonilla, Director of Hispanic Ministry, says the church is very diverse, with masses in English, Korean and Spanish, with Spanish being the only mass given in this language in Madison County.
Bonilla says the church serves around 2,000 Hispanic families, which makes up half of their overall parishioners. The Hispanic population has been especially vulnerable during the pandemic, Bonilla says.
"It's a sense that maybe at first it wasn't a priority because a lot of our parish members here, their focus is on work and putting food on the table for their families and their health is not a priority," Bonilla said.
Fr. Jonathan Howell, Associate Pastor and Director of Hispanic Ministry, says that many families are currently dealing with the deaths of loved ones who died from coronavirus in their home countries.
"Almost every day, I have a call from a parishioner that his mother, his dad, a relative has died, unfortunately. So, we have to be with these people here because many can't travel to Mexico, they can't be with their parents, with their relatives at the funeral," Howell said.
Howell says that the church plans to have a special mass in the coming month to remember the loved ones that parishioners have lost.
Bonilla says focusing on the mental and emotional health of the young people in these families during this time is also a top priority.
“I believe that it is isolating to be at home. Many of our families live in trailers, where there are sometimes up to five, six, eight people living in the same place and this creates a kind of anxiety as the young person wants to go out, they want to have their freedom," Bonilla said.
Every Thursday, the church is offering a bilingual youth group for high school students to provide a healthy, safe outlet for them.
Holy Spirit Catholic Church also provides support with food, bills, clothing and more assistance. To find out more information, visit their Facebook page.