The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“It’s the browning of the Catholic Church in the U.S.”

If you want to know where the Catholic Church in the United States is headed, you might want to look south. The Latino presence is strong, and growing. And as part of its series on Latino America, CNN takes a look at the Hispanic influence on the American Church:

“I’ll take two chili, uh…” a hungry customer stammers at the front of a two-hour-long line. “Chile rellenos,” the money-handler trills back in perfect Spanish. 


This is not a trendy Tex-Mex restaurant; and it’s more than 1,000 miles from the Mexican border.
St. Cecilia’s nearly closed. After it was designated the parish home for Latinos, the congregation quadrupled. 

The stuffed pepper causing the stutter is the hottest menu item at St. Cecilia’s Lenten fish fry in St. Louis, Missouri. Chile rellenos, a traditional Mexican dish, have replaced fish as the main draw for Catholics giving up meat on Fridays. This century-old parish founded by German immigrants has turned 85 percent Hispanic. 

“It’s the browning of the Catholic Church in the United States,” says Pedro Moreno Garcia, who until last month led the Hispanic ministry for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Moreno Garcia points to St. Cecilia’s Spanish-dominant Mass schedule as a sign of the times.
“Hispanics are the present and Hispanics are the future of the Catholic Church in the United States,” says Moreno Garcia. 


One-third of all Catholics in the United States are now Latinos thanks to immigration and higher fertility rates, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. While St. Cecilia’s parish has relished the growth, elsewhere, the Latino population boom has rocked the pews.
“Instead of screaming out, ‘The British are coming!’ ” Moreno Garcia says some people are screaming, ” ‘The Hispanics are coming! The Hispanics are coming! Run, run.'” 

Check out the link for more.

Comments read comments(8)
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posted October 21, 2009 at 5:13 pm

The Hispanic presence is revitalizing much of the Church in the US. This is good news. It will be great news if the various cultural and ethnic groups can live up to our Catholic identity and welcome each other with open arms. Let’s pray so. Viva Cristo Rey!

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posted October 21, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Well, it’s a good thing I’m learning spanish… Our Lady of Guadalupe pray for us!!!

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Fr. Ian

posted October 22, 2009 at 9:23 am

Praise God for our faithful Latino brethren!

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posted October 22, 2009 at 1:08 pm

We have a large hispanic population at my parish. They keept to themselves and the Americans ignore them. It’s like two parishes in one building.

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Lolita P

posted October 22, 2009 at 1:28 pm

I think we should use browsers, Google, Bing or whatever and get informed and find out how little we know. It’s a little faster and closer than going to the library. Then we’ll see where Catholicism ranks in the rest of the world. The “browning” of the Catholic church is another one of those typical journalistic American approaches to an issue. What’s next?

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 22, 2009 at 1:34 pm

The phrase “browning of the Catholic Church” was coined by a Latino who heads Hispanic ministry in one diocese. I suspect he knows what he is talking about.
Dcn. G.

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posted October 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Browning is a bit silly. Are the rest of us going supposed to die off suddenly or quit going to church?

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posted October 22, 2009 at 4:43 pm

My experience with Latino’s in late 1960’s in Nebraska was not only a refreshing change but an enriching one. I frequently went to the homes of Latino parishioners with our parish priest for “home masses”.
Now over thirty years later I am seeing an increase of Latino’s in Indiana. However, there is one difference, I am not seeing an increase of Latino’s in my home parish. Perhaps because a nearby parish offers
a Spanish Mass every Sunday.
Enjoyed Latino in America! Keep up the good work. I watch CNN daily because I can trust the reporters to provide both sides of a story and they do not impose or expose their personal opinions. Good journalists provide facts, ‘good and bad facts’ and trust their viewers to listen, process and make their own decisions.

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