4/17/2012 10:41:00 AM City turns to parish for cultural help
Catholic Sentinel photo by Gerry Lewin
Sara Perez prays during Sunday morning Mass at St. Matthew Parish, Hillsboro.
Clarice Keating Of the Catholic Sentinel
After a 2003 survey in Hillsboro uncovered the uncomfortable statistic that five percent of those polled listed the Hispanic community and illegal immigration as the No. 1 problem in the area, city leaders turned to St. Matthew Church.
The Catholic parish has long been known for its leaders’ great intuition in creating one unified parish, embracing differing languages and cultures rather than working around those differences.
“I don’t know of any institution in town yet that does a better job of sorting through potential differences between the Anglo and Hispanic community than St. Matthew’s does,” said Tom Hughes, then-mayor, to the Catholic Sentinel in 2010. What city leaders discovered was, in part, a connectedness inspired by the bilingual leadership of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, but another contributing factor was organizational.
At St. Matthew, there is one bulletin, translated in English and Spanish, and the parish’s central business office is organized so parish, school and all ministries share resources.
Liaisons go between the pastoral and administrative councils and the school advisory council, so each group knows what the others are working on, and all parish fundraising is portioned out evenly, to allay tension created by competition for resources.