Catholicism in Utah and Community Outreach
Ten years after the arrival of Mormon pioneers in 1863, Catholicism became the second established religion in Utah. Priest Lawrence Scanlan was entrusted with the 800 Catholics of Utah upon his arrival. Since then, the Catholic Church has grown to become the third largest Christian religion in the state after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Protestantism. In the town of Logan, the Catholic Church of St. Thomas Aquinas welcomes up to 600 parishioners at each mass – the majority of whom are Hispanic.
The pews of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church are filled every weekend with Hispanic parishioners who have practiced the Catholic faith generation after generation. The number of Catholics in Logan has remained the same in recent years, according to Father Rogelio Félix. He told us about the drop in attendance during the pandemic and the motivation of parishioners to attend Mass again:
“We have had an increase in the number of parishioners. I believe that speaking of having new parishioners, I believe that it has not increased, it has remained the same, and we have lost parishioners because some were not motivated by the question of pandemic. Now, there’s no more justification, no more restrictions, so it’s not so much on the church side.
Father Felix explained how the seat of the church in Rome helps parishes around the world, but St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church is economically supported by its parishioners.
“The Holy See, as far as I know, helps churches that are really in poverty; cases of churches in Mexico, Central America, South America, India, Asia, which are going through difficult times, but for us directly, the parishioners support us one hundred percent ”, specified Father Félix.
With a staff of six and two priests, Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church caters to those recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:
“An example was last year with the pandemic: giving food to people who worked for a company. We have a good group of people, a pastoral society, helping us in these areas. We also have help for the sick: a good group of people who help us with the people who are in the retirement homes, and in particular the retirement homes. And, on the issue of immigrants, we also have financial aid from the church for people who need to pay for electricity, water, and who need food, ”explained Father Félix.
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and St. Jerome Newman Center, located on the Utah State University campus, serve as faith refuges for Catholic parishioners in Cache County.
For more information visit www.stthomaslogan.org