SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – It’s a slice of Latin America in the upper Midwest, and a church in eastern Sioux Falls had a celebration today for a notable anniversary.
Our Lady of Guadalupe parish has been serving the Latino community for a quarter of a century now. But between almost closing their doors due to a lack of members about ten years ago and a fire almost three years ago, the church’s first 25 years weren’t always easy.
“After that fire, it was very much like a phoenix in which the church rose from the ashes,” Father Kristopher Cowles with Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish said. “And if you go inside the church, you’ll notice it’s very distinctly Latino with the colors, with the vibrancy, the images, everything just speaks to the culture. And I think because of that, the people also began to own it that much more.”
The church was established in 1996 as a parish for Hispanic people, offering masses in both Spanish and English.
“We enjoy the last well, 17, 20, almost 25 years,” church member Francisco Cisneros said. “We enjoy the church because we love the people right here. We love the Fathers, we enjoy the Fathers all the time.”
“Having folks that come together from different walks of life and different experiences and just a awesome gift, you know, that we have of being here in this town where we feel welcome and it’s awesome,” church member Roberto Duarte said.
“It allows them to relax,” Cowles said. “To just feel at ease. Which, is so tough for many of them because they work so hard all week long. This is one of the ways that they’re able to celebrate their culture, their life and their faith.”
Cowles wants to see the church continue to expand.
“But what I’d like to see more than anything is that the people here identify so much with this Parish and their faith that they grow in that faith and they want to spread it to others,” Cowles said.
Every Sunday, the chuch holds two masses in Spanish and one in English. They also do services on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays as well as the month’s first Wednesday.