Wisconsin parish plays vital role for new immigrants

.- The Catholic community of Wautoma in central Wisconsin, is further evidence that dioceses across the country, including rural areas, are increasingly multicultural and playing important roles in assisting new migrants. At St. Joseph Parish in Wautoma, Sr. Pat Flanigan assists the pastor, Fr. Philip Dinh-Van-Thiep, and coordinates Hispanic ministries for the Diocese of Green Bay, reported The Monitor.

The parish gathers Anglos, Hispanics and Hmong refugees from Laos to form community and for prayer and worship. It also plays a major role in Wautoma's growing Hispanic population. The pastor is Vietnamese and speaks Spanish.

Both he and Sr. Flanigan provide faith education for the new immigrants, act as translators, offer clothing and food, help new immigrants learn about and integrate into the host community, and serve as links between the Hispanic and Anglo communities, reported the newspaper.

The parish also offers a Spanish-language Sunday mass, one of few Spanish masses offered in central Wisconsin. People drive as far as 50 miles to attend this mass.

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