Why you want to know Jose Perez: Jose is a key to the smooth functioning of the Hispanic choir. The choir sings each Sunday at the Spanish Mass. He also contributes to Hispanic fundraising efforts to benefit St. Edward.
Parish: St. Edward Church
Family: Parents, Jose and Maria Perez; three younger brothers and one younger sister
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Arkansas Catholic’s theme this year is “Grow in your Family of Faith.” What are some ways you learn about Jesus and Church teachings?
I learn by listening to the priest’s homilies and through Bible readings, prayers and worship songs.
How long have you been a member of St. Edward?
All my life. My family has lived in Fouke all my life, and we have always attended church at St. Edward. We still live in Fouke.
Are there other Hispanic families in Fouke?
No. We are the only family. When I started the first grade I did not know English.
When did you join the Hispanic choir?
I joined the choir about four years ago.
Has your participation in the choir changed you?
It has increased my love for God. It is a beautiful feeling to worship God with the choir. The choir is my new family.
What are your duties in the choir?
I get to church about an hour early and get everything ready for the choir ahead of time. I choose the songs that go along with the Scripture readings. I write the names of the songs on a board for the choir: the entrance song, two offertory songs, two Communion songs and the salida (exit) song. I set up the microphones and everything else the choir needs. And I place bottles of water out in different locations for choir members. When Mass begins, I sing with the choir and also keep the beat with two thick sticks called claves.
Tell about your duties regarding the responsorial psalm.
I rotate Sundays with Bulmaro “Buma” Olvera in leading the psalm. I leave the choir, which is in the balcony, and go to the front of the church when it is time for the responsorial psalm and lead the congregation in singing it. To prepare for that, before I come to church I work out the words to the psalm so the words will fit the melody. On the Sundays that I don’t lead the psalm, I still fit the words to the music, record it and send it to Bulmaro, the alternate singer.
How does the choir prepare for the Sunday Mass?
I drive to Texarkana once a week to practice with the choir. And for special occasions sometimes, we also practice with the English-speaking choir.
What is your occupation?
Ever since high school, I have worked with my dad in the logging and landscaping business, Perez Logging.
What does that work entail?
My dad cuts the trees with a sawhead. We trim the trees and get all the limbs off. We load the trunks and sell them. We also landscape yards. We are available for work six days a week, but not on Sundays. I come to the Lord’s house on Sundays. No one should work on Sundays.
What is your favorite Scripture?
My favorite Scripture is the 23rd Psalm.
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