A hot blazing sun shines through the stained windows and over the empty wooden pews of St. Ignatius Parrish in Segundo barrio.
This church, now 111 years old, generates great comfort and admiration from the community.
To this day the Catholic community of St. Ignatius works hard to fulfill the spiritual needs of the people in Segundo barrio.
This church has wide reach, attracting people from all over the city, just like Marta Payares, who travels from the east side to volunteer at this church.
“I saw that this place needed a lot of help so I decided to stay here to service this temple and I fell in love with this parish,” she said. “I come from Chihuahua and I never expected this.”
Payares said that the church reminded her of her native hometown Chihuahua,where the churches are quite similar.
St Ignatius started in 1904 when Father Carlos Pinto bought and raised a two-story building on Park Street and founded this church to provide locals with God’s teachings. Father Pinto and many other priests helped raised money throughout the years to make this a greater and bigger parish since the surrounding community grew every day.
“This is the second parish ever established in El Paso,” Payares said.
According to the El Paso Times, the United States and Mexico once disputed ownership of the Chamizal Tract, where Segundo Barrio now lies. The river would often shift, flooding nearby neighborhoods.
People around the Chamizal area were dramatically devastated by the changes. The displaced families reached out to St. Ignatius for help.
Payares relates to this incredible place because of her strong bond with this community.
Just like Payares, many others also love St. Ignatius because that community helps others in need and because of everything the parish contributes to society.
“I love the wooden pews, I love praying to the saints, but also because they accepted me with a warm welcome,” Payares said.
This church is also home to the Catholic ministry called Servants of Mary or “Servidores de Maria.”
“The servants of Maria have a lot of values, they love to serve the community but as they say, first the Lord, they can be here for two years and then be stationed some where else like Africa or Mexico,” Payares said. “They are very humble. Sometimes you see them painting and doing many other activities.”
St. Ignatius will continue working on its 111-year-old legacy: changing hearts, helping poor and sick people in the Segundo Barrio community, plus teaching God’s words and trying to make a difference.