BRANSON, Mo. — Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church holds mass in Spanish every Saturday night, something they’ve been doing for almost 18 years.

“We obviously have a large Hispanic population here naturally because they live here in Branson,” Father J. Friedel said. “In terms of the number of registered families, 150 of the 600 or so are Hispanic. But we’ve actually got a lot more than that who actually come to church but have never actually registered.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 12.9 percent of families living in Branson are Hispanic.

“Most of our people, Hispanics, they work in the in the hotel and motel industry or restaurants,” Samantha Barron said.

Barron moved from Mexico City to Branson in 2005 with her husband and daughter. She works as a secretary for Our Lady of the Lake and is also a member of their congregation.

“We can come to the English mass and we understand the mass, but in our language it’s just our language,” Barron said. “It’s just something that we really appreciate because not all the churches do.”

Friedel said the church sees around 130 families for Spanish mass on Saturdays. But, many go to English mass too.

“We’ve probably got about another 150 that come in those other three masses that just come to the English mass, but they’re actually Hispanic,” Friedel said. “I know one family, he comes to our Spanish mass but he brings his daughters to the 10:30 a.m. mass because that’s where they’re most comfortable. So here’s a dad doing double duty singing in Spanish masses, but bringing his kids to the English masses because that’s where the daughters feel a little bit more comfortable.”

For Barron, she switches between English and Spanish mass. Both give her a different sense of fulfillment.

“Most of the time I go to English because I like to improve my English,” Barron said. “It’s always good to pray in your language because like Father was saying the homey. Our prayers are in Spanish. So that’s why it feels better in Spanish.”

Our Lady of the Lake also takes part in celebrations in the Catholic Hispanic church.

“We do several bilingual celebrations throughout the year because we like to also bring both all the parts of our of our parish family together,” Friedel said. “On the feast of Our Lady Guadalupe, which is in December, a huge festival that we have, we make sure that we’re doing a week long worth of activities for the parish and all those people who are Mexican descent and many of our other Hispanic speakers join in.”

The church is hoping to grow its Hispanic parishioners and continue making them feel at home.