What was once an almost exclusively Mormon town is now humming with so much activity at the local Catholic Church that the members are outgrowing their facilities.

At the turn of the century, Ephraim had three houses of worship - all of them built by and for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.But beginning with two significant events in the 1930s, the religious makeup of the area slowly began to change.

In 1931, the ownership and operation of Snow College - which was founded by the LDS Church - was transferred to the state of Utah. That meant a change from a virtually all-LDS student body to one that was attractive to students from a variety of faiths.

The long-term result was a more diversified student body. For example, now about 50 Catholic students are enrolled at Snow, according to Sue Barnett, herself a Catholic, who is a faculty member at the college.

Barnett says from 15 to 20 Catholic students regularly attend services at St. Jude's Catholic Center in Ephraim.

The other event was the organization of the Moroni Feed Company, a co-operative whose principal business is the production and marketing of turkeys.

From a small beginning, the co-op grew progressively larger as the years passed, with the resulting need for laborers. The result: an influx of predominantly Catholic Mexican families, who want to worship God in their own way.

About 50 years ago, according to Burnett, Catholic priests from Richfield began holding services in a Snow College building for members who lived in Ephraim and the surrounding area. Because of the growing Catholic membership, the decision was made several years ago to obtain larger quarters.

A private home was purchasedand converted into the St. Jude's Catholic Center, which is administered by the Catholic Diocese of Utah.

The Catholic Center now holds two services on Sunday afternoons - one in the Spanish language, which is heavily attended, and the other, in English, which is attended by about 20 members. Other services are held during the week.

Burnett says there are now about 200 Catholic families in the central Sanpete County area. "We are outgrowing St. Jude's," she says, "and our leadership is undoubtedly thinking of ways to meet that need."

How are her fellow Catholics being received by their Mormon neighbors in what is still a predominantly LDS community?

"Just fine," Burnett says, "They often attend our social events. We have much in common, of course, including a mutual fondness for Mexican food."