Recently St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Cache Valley celebrated 75 years. With the first parish in cache valley forming in 1941, over the years the community has changed and grown.
42 years ago Mary Veronica Kolesar began attending the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Cache Valley. The community was more fluid and smaller then, she said. But members formed a strong bond, despite the comings and goings of faculty and students living in a college community where most of the residents belonged to another faith .
“We were a very close community," Kolesar said. "I always say that I’m not sure we would still be Catholic if we hadn’t come to Logan, Utah and gotten involved with St. Thomas Aquinas. Our entire social life for the early years with our kids and everything was involved in church. People were there for one another always.”
Her favorite experiences center around this community and the events they hold. She found Seder Supper, a meal to celebrate deliverance and the overcoming of trials, to be particularly meaningful.
“We used to have," Kolesar said. "For us the Easter week- the week before Easter we call it Holy Week. That is the liturgical center of our church. We used to start the Thursday service with an actual Seder Supper, to re-enact the Seder Supper that Jesus was at. That was really, really wonderful, that was a very moving experience. Just all the things that brought us together as individuals and made us a community.”
During her time worshiping at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, Kolesar has seen the congregation change, similar to the changes she witnessed in her Cache Valley Community throughout the years. With more refugees and people immigrating to Utah from parts of the world where Catholicism is the dominant religion, the environment at the Hyde Park church has changed.
“We’re probably about 70% Hispanic and it’s exciting," Kolesar said. "Great-great deal of cultural richness that they’ve brought to the community.”
The parish's original 1942 chapel was located on Fifth North in Logan, and like the location, the services today have changed and will continue to change to meet the needs of who is attending.
“People are so busy now," Kolesar said. "That’s- that’s the big change. We don’t have the social events. Like many churches we don’t have as many young people attending the church- and that’s true in many organizations. And people are so busy that they don’t have the time to do the volunteer work. But I think what’s going to change is we’re either going to have to make a bigger outreach to young people- and I think it’s true of the entire church not just our parish-or we’re going to see people drifting away.”
Now, there are a five different services at the Northern Utah Catholic Church, two are in Spanish and one caters to University students. And, probably the most recent change that members are celebrating, in addition to the past 75 years, is the naming of Reverend Oscar A. Solis as the tenth Bishop of Salt Lake City who will also oversee the future of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Cache Valley.