Notes on Catholic Immigrants and Parish Schools in the United States

Paolo Barcella

Abstract


The Catholic Church experienced its first phase of large expansion in the United States only in the second half of the Nineteenth Century. Until that moment, Catholic people had been excluded from the early American history events. At the turn of the twentieth century, migrations toward the United States spurred the expansion of Catholicism in the Country, and the Catholic Church developed in an Protestant environment. The necessity of having an institutional structure convinced its first bishop to choose the Trustees corporation system. As a result, the relationship between lay people and Catholic priests began to resemble those between laymen and priests of the other Christian denominations. Such an Americanised Church became the reference point for millions of Catholic immigrants, toward whom it had a dual role, of inclusion and distinction. It was mostly through parish schools that immigrants started to be instructed on US society, costumes, and language. The present paper shortly reconstructs this story.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13136/2281-4582/2016.i7.507

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