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Latinos and the New Immigrant Church

, 304 pages

14 halftones

May 2006



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Latinos and the New Immigrant Church

Latin Americans make up the largest new immigrant population in the United States, and Latino Catholics are the fastest-growing sector of the Catholic Church in America. In this book, historian David A. Badillo offers a history of Latino Catholicism in the United States by looking at its growth in San Antonio, Chicago, New York, and Miami.

Focusing on twentieth-century Latino urbanism, Badillo contrasts broad historic commonalities of Catholic religious tradition with variations of Latino ethnicity in various locales. He emphasizes the contours of day-to-day life as well as various aspects of institutional and lived Catholicism. The story of Catholicism goes beyond clergy and laity; it entails the entire urban experience of neighborhoods, downtown power seekers, archdiocesan movers and shakers, and a range of organizations and associations linked to parishes. Although parishes remain the key site for Latino efforts to build individual and cultural identities, Badillo argues that one must consider simultaneously the triad of parish, city, and ethnicity to fully comprehend the influence of various Latino populations on both Catholicism and the urban environment in the United States.

By contrasting the development of three distinctive Latino communities—the Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans—Badillo challenges the popular concept of an overarching "Latino experience" and offers instead an integrative approach to understanding the scope, depth, and complexity of the Latino contribution to the character of America's urban landscapes.

David A. Badillo is an associate professor of Latin American and Puerto Rican studies at Lehman College (City University of New York). He previously taught at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Wayne State University, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Latinos in Michigan.

"I am deeply impressed with David Badillo's accomplishment. I know of no other work that succeeds so well in revealing the scope, complexity and depth of reality of Latino religion in America."

"Provides an excellent introduction to the religious experience of Latinos in the US... Highly recommended."

"This well-written book is woven together from an abundant amount of statistical data, historical resources, government reports, contemporary commentaries, news items, and personal examples."

"Ambitious in its scope. This collection of essays covers a vast amount of historical ground."

"A fresh, new look at the Latino immigrant church in the United States."

"While the author's purview is limited to Catholic Latinos, the historical and geographical sweep of his investigation is nevertheless impressively expansive."

"This book arrives on the academic scene in timely fashion."

"A valuable reference and introductory work."

"Badillo's attention to immigration that places Latino/a experiences within the context of the dynamic interaction between church and metropolis is ripe with possibilities, challenging the cultural amnesia that plagues an immigrant church and nation."

"Will be a classic for a long time."

"An excellent introduction... An important contribution to religious studies, transnational American studies, and comparative ethnic studies."

"This unique and impressive project has an ambitious scope... will benefit scholars of Latino and American religions in the years to come."

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