A Shepherd Guarding his Flock

From Tampa Bay Online:

“Hispanic immigrants need to know someone is there caring for them,” said Lorden, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe church. “But one of the things that pushed me to do that fervently and constantly was because … other churches and denominations are visiting them and proselytizing them.”

Sometimes Lorden’s home-based Masses are the only contact workers have with the Catholic church, said Alejandro Lopez, 34, a construction worker who attended Lorden’s service on a recent Monday night.

For those who can’t make Sunday Mass because of work, Lorden’s service helps sustain their faith, especially during hard times, Lopez said.

“It makes you feel better,” he said.

The majority of Hispanics in the United States, or 68 percent, still call themselves Catholics. Of those who leave the Catholic church, most become Pentecostal or evangelical Christians or they leave religion all together, according to a national study released this year by the Pew Hispanic Center.

Some Catholic priests acknowledge that Protestant sects like the Pentecostals have responded faster and more aggressively to immigrants with aid and tight-knit worship circles in Spanish.

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