The Church of Saint Joseph in Spring Valley, N.Y. has something few other churches have: diversity. Weekly attendance is at nearly 4,000, spread over services in four languages: English, Spanish, Haitian-Creole and Polish.
As the New York Times (registration required) described the scene:
She pointed to a bulletin board where flags from more than a dozen countries surrounded a quotation from the Book of Psalms: “O Lord, let all nations praise you.”
The same phrase is repeated on the church’s bumper sticker, and its meaning was evident in the church pews during the 9 a.m. English Mass. Skin tones and clothing representing many nationalities could be seen in nearly every row, the physical differences only highlighted as people knelt to pray in unison.
The article doesn’t describe how Saint Joseph’s became so diverse (this post links to a few potential resources), but overcoming institutional racism and embracing diversity is something the church must do. The blogosphere has been dealing with this charge lately, when will the church?