A few years ago the US Census called The Bronx the most diverse county in the United States where if you take two people at random, there’s an over 80% chance they each speak a language other than English.
At St Lucy’s Church in Allerton this certainly seems to be the case as they offer mass in Albanian, English, Spanish, Creole, and Italian.
I remember attending Our Lady of Pity in Melrose in the 80s and we had mass in three languages and I thought that was a lot but St Lucy’s is simply fascinating and a testament to the great diversity of our borough and how people coexist.
St. Lucy’s parish in the Bronx offers Mass in five languages. That’s correct, five: Albanian, Creole, English, Italian and Spanish. Albanian since 2009, Creole since 2015, Spanish since the 1980s, and English and Italian since the parish was established in 1927.
“We serve them in their native language, so that they can worship God in the language they understand best,” Father Nikolin Pergjini, the pastor, said last week about how he reaches parishioners of his multicultural parish.
“This is most important during the homily. Many of them speak limited English.”
Father Pergjini, who was born and raised in Albania, added, “This is about attending Mass in the language that you speak at home. It is important because they listen to the message of God in the mother tongue, and it’s crucial for the homily, so that we can feed their minds and souls.
“And they are grateful, very thankful. They feel blessed, and we are blessed to have them here.”
The pastor said the priests who serve at St. Lucy’s are fluent in the language in which they celebrate Mass.
“We’ve had no complaints,” he noted, adding that parishioners are able to understand the clergymen’s words, even when the priests are speaking in a language that is not their first.
Which languages are spoken in your house of worship?
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