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Knoxville church celebrates unity with bilingual mass

6:39 PM, Aug 28, 2011   |    comments
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Father Michael Wood distributes communion during All Saints Catholic Church's outdoor mass Sunday

Sunday morning mass at Knoxville's All Saints Catholic Church was a little different this week. The several thousand-member congregation participated in both English and Spanish.

All Saint's pastor, Father Michael Wood, led the mass outside on the church lawn. His goal was to unite the members of his church into one large family.

"We have six definite communities here at All Saints because of the number of masses over the weekend, so they don't get to see each other or know each other," he said.

"So I cancelled all the masses on Sunday to just have one outdoor mass so we get to see the size of our community, the joy of our community."

Among those communities, All Saints has a growing Spanish ministry. Within two years, the Hispanic population there has grown from 50 to 60 members, to nearly 200.

Father Miguel Velez came to All Saints earlier this year to help grow the Spanish ministry. On Saturdays, he leads an all-Spanish mass.

"One of the things that makes the community grow is to have praise that speaks the same language. So they feel more comfortable hearing or being in the service with the same language," he said.

Sunday's outdoor mass brought together members of both language ministries. Families from many different backgrounds met and learned more about each other.

Vanessa Del Aguila-Lake are one of the newer families at All Saints.

"When we came here for the first time we loved father Michael's gospel and we really enjoyed the atmosphere and the community and so we decided to stick here," she said.

Del Aguila-Lake is from Peru, while her husband grew up in Ohio. They hope to raise their 3 month old Anderson within the bilingual church.

"I speak Spanish to him, my husband, English, and my parents, Spanish." she said.

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