Latinos moving away from Catholicism

Evangelicals, Pentecostals have increasing numbers
The bongo drums and keyboard at Iglesia El Shaddai, a Pentecostal church in Elizabeth, New Jersey, are being played so briskly that they could support a conga line. The Salvadoran-born pastor shakes a tambourine, some women rock their hips and everyone sings praise to Jesus in Spanish.

Soon the pastor takes the service down a notch. But just a notch. With his eyes shut, Renato Castro shouts, “Gloria, Jesus! Aleluya!” and paces before 300 people. In the first row, Evelyn Yax, 29, sways. Her right arm extends forward, her palm out. Her left arm clutches her two-year-old daughter, Nathalie, to her bosom.

Like most Latinos on a recent Sunday praying in this rented, second-floor church space, Yax was baptized Catholic. And like an increasing number of Latinos, she left the Catholic Church to embrace an exuberant style of worship that she says brings her closer to God.


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