1970s and Beyond
By 1970 Pilsen had emerged as Chicago’s first majority Mexican neighborhood. Most parishes had become Mexican churches with new saints, mariachi Masses, and more processions. Even American priests promoted devotion to Mexican saints, such as Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos and the Santo Niño de Atocha. The reforms occasioned by the Second Vatican Council and the Chicano movement’s revolutionary spirit led to a new expressions of Mexican Catholicism, epitomized by the Via Crucis, the Living Way of the Cross. In a neighborhood recently dominated by Slavic Americans, the Via Crucis proclaimed Pilsen as a Mexican and Catholic space. The Via Crucis exemplified an unprecedented engagement of social justice issues, activism, and religious devotion. A new way of being mexicano and católico had developed in Chicago.
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