Local News

Mexican Americans Remember The Pope As Adoptive Father

Posted April 3, 2005 5:14 a.m. EDT

— Sadness over the death of Pope John Paul II is overwhelming for many Catholics, especially Mexican Americans.

"We are so sad because he died," Jose Mercado said. "We want him to live to stay with us forever and ever but you know time we're gonna die one day so this was his time."

It was standing room only on Sunday morning at St. Eugene Catholic Church in Wendell, where 300 to 400 families attend the Spanish Mass.

"There is this thing in common in the Holy Father's spirituality as well as the spirituality of the Hispanic Catholics," said Father Charles Phukuta Khode of the St. Eugune Catholic Church.

Mexico is a staunchly Catholic country, and many Mexican Americans consider the pope their adoptive father.

"He was very special, you know," Maria Mercado said. "He visited Mexico five times. One of his first visits was in 1979, and during that time he expressed what he had in mind for the whole world to come together."

The pope was also dear to Mexicans because of his sympathy for the poor.

Now, church leaders are helping grieving parishioners deal with the loss.

"The Holy Father's life has not ended, it has changed. It is transformed," Khode said. "He is present in our midst, but in a different way."

St. Eugene will hold a joint mass to bring the English- and Spanish-speaking congregations together Monday evening.