The Shared Parish

Latinos, Anglos, and the Future of U.S. Catholicism

Brett C. Hoover

NYU Press (publisher)

As
faith communities in the United States grow increasingly more diverse, many
churches are turning to the shared parish, a single church facility
shared by distinct cultural groups who retain their own worship and ministries.
The fastest growing and most common of these are Catholic parishes shared by
Latinos and white Catholics. Shared parishes remain one of the few institutions
in American society that allows cultural groups to maintain their own language
and customs while still engaging in regular intercultural negotiations
over the shared
space.

This
book explores the shared parish through an in-depth ethnographic study of a
Roman Catholic parish in a small Midwestern city demographically transformed by
Mexican immigration in recent decades. Through its depiction of shared parish
life, the book argues for new ways of imagining the U.S. Catholic parish as an
organization. The parish, argues Brett C. Hoover, must be conceived as both
a congregation and part of a centralized system, and as one
piece in a complex social ecology. The Shared Parish also
posits that the search for identity and adequate intercultural practice in such
parishes might call for
new approaches to cultural diversity in U.S. society, beyond assimilation or
multiculturalism. We must imagine a religious organization that accommodates
both the need for safe space within distinct groups and for social networks
that connect these groups as they struggle to respectfully co-exist.

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