For years the building sat vacant and incomplete; and although there is still much work to be done, San Jose’ now has a dedicated and growing congregation.
The Priests from Our Lady of Guadalupe in Puerto Peñasco have been offering a bi-lingual Mass at the little mission church every week since November of 2014.
“At first, with no doors, we had as many dogs as people,” said parishioner Bob Keller. “I guess the dogs decided they weren’t Catholic after all, because they don’t come religiously anymore.” Pastor Padre David said that the doors and windows are expected to be delivered and installed by the end of the month, thanks to the generosity of the people of La Cholla and the support of the parish.
For nearly a year, the service was BYOC – bring your own chair. Aside from some very old wooden school desk/bench units, seating was on lawn chairs and cinder bricks.
“We have a core of local Catholics who are there every Sunday, and we get visitors and people with vacation homes here,” Keller said. “It’s humble, but it is genuine.”
One visitor who came with family and friends from Prescott, Ariz., asked if he could take a picture during the Mass. He said, “I just want to show people that it doesn’t have to be an elaborate and fancy church. God is here because we are here.”
The Mass is bi-lingual, with the scripture read in both English and Spanish, the homily interpreted by a lay minister or parishioner, and the music alternates in English and Spanish. Chairs are now available and there are garden kneelers until real pews with kneelers are in place.
Pastor David invites all Catholics – residents and visitors – to enjoy Mass at San Jose’ in La Cholla (Cholla Bay). Mass is currently offered on Sunday at noon. The phone number for the office at Our Lady of Guadalupe is (638) 383-2959.
Mass at San Jose: Visitors to Puerto Peñasco and local families attend the bi-lingual Mass at San Jose’ Catholic Church in La Cholla.
Standing for the Gospel: Attendance varies with the visitor traffic but the Parish is committed to having Mass at San Jose every Sunday as the congregation builds.