Many individuals have the preconcieved idea that all Latinas/os are of Catholic faith. Regardless of these studies, more and more Latinas are saying religion is for followers. However, that is not to say that God is not near.
In fact, Maria Torres, 16, a devout Pentecostal, and her sisters Melinda, 13, and Jennifer, 9, are as committed as ever to their religion. She says, “I have full faith that God is real. When I was about five, I could remember my mom taking us to a Catholic church. We gave money whenever possible, but that church made us feel that all they cared about was money. I spoke to my mom about this and together we prayed over this.”
“One day a Pentecostal sister came to our house and it was great. She was a great speaker and I was hooked. I love my faith, my god, and all good things that have come to pass because of him,” Torres says.
Not all Latinas have their soul stapled to religion, meaning that believing in Dios is as good as anything. According to the Pew Hispanic Research Center, about 68% of Hispanics trust that the bible is from God, yet, through further investigation, over 69% put more faith into praying as a means of guidance in a relationship with God. This is to say that nine out of ten identify with a religion, but studies show that Hispanic Catholics are more adament o attending weekly services as opposed to Hispanics in other religions.
Anna Vasquezz, 15, says, “I believe in [God], but I haven’t been [to church] in the longest!”
She says, “Since I was a baby, my mother told me about [God]. To be honest, I didn’t believe it until my mom got cancer and the year my dad almost got deported. Believing in God, has helped me have more faith.”
Vasquez adds, “It’s been a blessing to me to know him.”
Like Torres, Vasquez’ method of keeping a strong relationship with her God is with prayer. She says, “I pray night and day.”
“Without others to guide you along the way, like other church members, how are you to draw close to God? You can go seeking, but finding him will be tougher,” she adds.
Amy Ann Davila, 23, a Mission Coordinator (La Divinia Providencia) at Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, says, “I see so much religion and politics getting intermingled, but I know that with my faith, I can say that the most powerful weapon known to mankind is God.”
Davila says her faith is built on life lessons. Her father died in 2010, but she is not in a hurry to blame God. Instead she says, “As I got older, being Catholic has helped me in everything. When I was younger my family was in all sorts of religions. I always felt lost. About three years before my dada died, I started praying to God. Not religion, but prayer saved me. I got involved with my Catholic church at college. Since then, the Catholic church and God have become a part of my life.”
Vasquez is adamant when she says, “Having faith and believing in God plays a bigger role than religion ever did. It describes you as a person.”
Adding still, “My belief in God is bigger because miracles happened to me. I kept my mom and my dad was not reported.I have a better life now than I did then.”
Whether you believe in God, the church, or religion, let your choices reflect what is best for you. Though religion can get a little rough to speak about, you should always feel confident about your spirituality.