Friday, January 2, 2015

Charlotteans worship God in these languages, too

In how many languages do people in Charlotte worship God these days?

I listed 20 that I knew of in a column last month. I should have said 21 because – as some of you pointed out – I failed to include what’s still the most prevalent worship language in town: English.

Oops! (Since the 1930s, that’s been an English word for acknowledging a blunder.)

My other mistake: I should have said that Haitian congregations here have services in Creole, not French.

I also invited you to alert me about other worship languages here that I was not aware of. Thanks to those who told me about:

22. Burmese. And 23. Hakha Chin.

Refugee congregations from war-torn Myanmar have been worshiping at Park Road Baptist Church and at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church.

24. Portuguese.

Brazilian members have services at Cokesbury United Methodist Church.

25. American Sign Language (ASL).

At Chapel for the Deaf, housed at Ascension Lutheran Church, worshipers pray and sing with their hands.

26. French. 27. Nepali (from Nepal). And 28. Tamil (from Sri Lanka and India).

Jehovah’s Witnesses have meetings available in many languages, including these.

Mass en EspaƱol

Speaking of language, I also ran across this fascinating factoid in my reporting:

Nearly 30 percent of Catholic parishes now celebrate Mass in a language other than English – a 7 percent increase since 2000, according to “The Changing Face of U.S. Catholic Parishes” study from the Center for Applied Research at Georgetown University.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, waves of Irish, Italian, Polish and other immigrant groups found refuge in a Catholic Church. The descendants of that first generation of immigrants have long since become part of the broad American mainstream.

But today, new waves of immigrants, particularly from Latin America, are again enriching the Catholic Church in the U.S.

To be sure, many immigrants from traditionally Catholic countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are finding spiritual homes in non-Catholic churches – Pentecostal, evangelical, mainline Protestant and Mormon.

By 2050, Hispanics are expected to account for 60 percent of Catholics in the U.S. They already make up about half of the more than 340,000 Catholics in the 46-county Diocese of Charlotte.

-- Tim Funk