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Chicago CatólicoMaking Catholic Parishes Mexican$
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Deborah E. Kanter

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042973

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042973.001.0001

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Making Parishes Mexican

Making Parishes Mexican

Pilsen, 1947–1970

(p.89) 4. Making Parishes Mexican
Chicago Católico

Deborah E. Kanter

University of Illinois Press

In the 1950s Mexicans moved into Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, which had thirteen mostly Slavic parishes. The ensuing ethnic succession challenges the expected narrative of “white flight.” Catholicism offered common ground: the desire to maintain parish structures explains European Americans’ willingness to live and worship with Mexican newcomers. Mexican Americans and immigrants faced slights in the pews and at parochial schools, but parishes transitioned from exclusively European American ethnic enclaves to shared congregations. After 1960 some priests added Spanish Masses and celebrated the Virgin of Guadalupe’s feast day, opening the way to Mexican religious devotion. Mexican laypeople, bolstered by Cursillo training, worked with those clergy who acknowledged their distinct needs and strengths. Together they made the parishes Mexican.

Keywords:   Chicago, Pilsen, Catholicism, parishes, clergy, Mexicans, ethnic succession, white flight, parochial schools, Spanish, Virgin of Guadalupe, religious devotion, Cursillo

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