Generation Gap Among Catholic Hispanics
#1

So much, once again, for the idea that Mexican immigrants will save the Church in the U.S. They come here and become Prot or lose their faith altogether. Yay. From the Wall Street Journal:




Generation Gap Among Catholic Hispanics
Children of immigrants turning away from church, but dioceses are reaching out

By Miriam Jordan
Sept. 20, 2015 3:00 p.m. ET


Jeffrey Nigoche, a 23-year-old born in the U.S. to Mexican immigrants, is typical of many young Hispanic Catholics. His mother took him to Spanish Mass as a child, but during his teen years, he lost interest in religion.

Then, a few years ago, he began attending the Catholic Charismatic Center in Houston, where Mass boasts a festive atmosphere with live music.

He recently switched to Mass in English, his dominant language outside of church, though like many second-generation immigrants, he is in transition: “I still struggle a little with the prayers in English,” he said.

Immigrants who flocked to the U.S. from Latin America in the 1990s and the early 2000s have fortified the Catholic community in areas like Texas’ Harris County, which includes Houston and is home to 4.4 million people.

But experts say the church’s fate now depends on those immigrants’ children, who are overwhelmingly U.S.-born and whose numbers are increasing rapidly, according to census data. And like other young people, their engagement with organized religion is tenuous, posing a challenge to parishes.

Enter Gabriela Karaszewski, director of the Galveston-Houston archdiocese’s young adult and campus ministry, who recently enlightened Roman Catholic lay leaders about the millennial generation that is crucial to their future.

“We see a lot of first-generation Hispanics in the pews,” Mrs. Karaszewski told the gathering in a church classroom in Galena Park, a heavily Hispanic city just east of Houston. “The second generation we don’t see as much in Mass or church activities.”

About 40% of the roughly 80 million Catholics in the U.S. are Hispanic, up from 29% in 2007. That share is likely to grow because Hispanics are younger, on average, than whites. The median age of Latino Catholic adults was 42 in 2014, while the median age of non-Hispanic Catholics was 53, according to the independent Pew Research Center.

Yet the percentage of Latinos who identify as Catholic is slipping. It is a worrisome trend for Catholicism in the U.S., running counter to the perception that the church’s fortunes will rise in tandem with the growth of the nation’s largest minority group.

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A Pew report released earlier this year found that Catholicism in the U.S. has suffered a net loss of adherents, who typically have either switched religions or joined the ballooning ranks of the religiously unaffiliated.

Tracking the national trend, 1 out of 5 Hispanics surveyed identified as unaffiliated compared with 24% of whites and 18% of blacks. Among all U.S. millennials, 35% said they have no religion, up 10 percentage points from 2007. Just slightly fewer Latino millennials, 30%, said they were unaffiliated, up from 17% in 2007.

“The Catholic church as an institution needs to make the case that being Catholic is relevant today and that it adds something to the lives of young Latinos,” said Hosffman Ospino, a professor at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry.

“If the Catholic Church can do this, it will survive,” said Mr. Ospino, who wrote a 2014 study about Hispanic ministry in Catholic parishes. “If it becomes irrelevant to [young Hispanics], it will experience decline.”

To be sure, many young adults cut back on organized religious activities as they begin careers and leave home, only to return when they start families.

But there is another dynamic at play among young American Hispanics, many of whom don’t relate to the Catholic experience of their immigrant parents or grandparents who as newcomers found spirituality and support at church.

As Latin American immigration soared, the Spanish-speaking worshipers reinvigorated parishes in big cities like Los Angeles and small towns like Ottumwa, Iowa, home to aging or shrinking white Catholic populations. The immigrants brought their children to Spanish-speaking churches for Mass, baptism and confirmation.

But as English became their dominant language and they assimilated U.S. culture during adolescence, members of the new generation shed their religious roots and identity, like many other American millennials.

The Galveston-Houston archdiocese, one of the country’s largest, offers a glimpse of the demographic transformation of the U.S. Catholic church and efforts to engage young Americanized Latinos.

About 61% of the 1.4 million Catholics in the Houston metropolitan area are Latino, according to Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research. The archdiocese has been catering to Hispanic immigrants for years.

But with an eye on the future, the Galveston-Houston archdiocese is now offering grants to enable hundreds of Hispanic young adults to attend training to become lay leaders and do outreach to fellow youngsters. Currently, 60 young-adult groups are led by such lay leaders. The groups typically meet on a weekly basis to pray, discuss how to lead a Christian life and exchange personal experiences.

On a recent Friday evening, about 25 members of a group called “Nuevo Imagen” gathered at Assumption Catholic Church in northeast Houston.

Most were immigrants like Edgar Bautista, a car mechanic who left Guatemala alone seven years ago to find work in Texas to support his parents. “I found a second family in this group,” said Mr. Bautista, 27 years old. “I have no one here; it filled a void.”

The gathering also attracted U.S.-born Hispanics such as Jonathan Ramirez, 27, the son of Mexican immigrants. Mr. Ramirez said that he had “come around” and returned to Catholicism six years ago after accepting an invitation from a friend to join the group.

But his 26-year-old brother hasn’t been swayed, he said. “When you are born here, you don’t necessarily feel you need the church anymore.”

The archdiocese is making a concerted effort to engage Hispanics born and raised in the U.S. with relevant programming, its leaders said. On a recent Saturday it hosted a free Christian-themed pop concert that drew about 3,200 Latinos to the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Latin American artists sang to Jesus Christ in Spanish at the event, Cielo Abierto (Open Skies), backed by special effects, dramatic lighting and mega screens. Animated characters evocative of Disney’s Pocahontas, conveyed biblical messages of mercy and salvation.

But at a Tex-Mex restaurant near the convention center, one of the waiters, 22-year-old Frank Rodriguez, told a story of disengagement with religion that was more typical of young Americans. He devotes his Sundays to a baseball league, which attracts many Latinos, instead of church, he said.

“I got my sacraments and all that,” said the Mexican-American. “After, I stopped going to church.”



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#2
I literally just got back from Houston and Galveston. Both areas seem to have lots and lots of options for Mass and some gorgeous church's. I went to some old church in Galveston to pray ninth hour and Typica with my lady and it was filled with beautiful stains glass and plenty of younger folks. Seems like there are plenty of young Hispanic Catholics in those areas, and compared to some of the more secular parts of this country it seemed positively religious.
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#3
I do wonder how much more the Latin Mass would connect with Hispanics. There would be a much smaller language barrier between Spanish and Latin than it is for us English speakers.
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#4
(09-21-2015, 10:29 AM)GangGreen Wrote: I do wonder how much more the Latin Mass would connect with Hispanics. There would be a much smaller language barrier between Spanish and Latin than it is for us English speakers.

My Spiritual Director Fr. Claud WIlliams O.Praem is in charge of the Spanish ministry and he has been offering a monthly Latin Mass every first Thursday of the month as a devotion to Blessed Imelda Lambertini and all of the Spanish youth as well as their parents attend the Mass. Although many of them are still learning the Mass themselves there has been nothing but support and joy coming from them in regards to the Mass.
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#5
Immorality runs rampant in the younger generation , the only difference among the races is that the Whites are sneakier they contracept and then abort, Hispanics contracept less and abort less than whites but still have a feel for the Catholic faith. God sees all this and will judge them unles they repent one day we pray
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#6
23 year old  2nd generation Hispanic Catholic here. I'm incredibly thankful God called me to his church because secular values were draining my life.  I agree, many of my peers are devoid of religiosity. I shamefully feel embarrassed at times when I bring up my faith because you can tell they immediately judge you as the culture has no place for religion.  I think for the most part the young adult generation has nothing to say about religion and is a bit of a conversation killer.  It may be that they stay quiet because they don't have nice things to say about religion. 

I have no clue what is going to happen with regard to my generation in the future but with God's grace hopefully I can be a beacon for Christ. 

I like the Latin Mass the most and I agree, Hispanics have a better handle of Latin, when it comes to reading, but as for myself I can't understand anything they say at all.  I do see a decent amount of young Hispanics at church where I go but for the most part it's older people and their young kids, and old people in general.

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#7

(09-21-2015, 06:56 PM)Inri Wrote: 23 year old  2nd generation Hispanic Catholic here. I'm incredibly thankful God called me to his church because secular values were draining my life.  I agree, many of my peers are devoid of religiosity. I shamefully feel embarrassed at times when I bring up my faith because you can tell they immediately judge you as the culture has no place for religion.  I think for the most part the young adult generation has nothing to say about religion and is a bit of a conversation killer.  It may be that they stay quiet because they don't have nice things to say about religion. 

I have no clue what is going to happen with regard to my generation in the future but with God's grace hopefully I can be a beacon for Christ. 

I like the Latin Mass the most and I agree, Hispanics have a better handle of Latin, when it comes to reading, but as for myself I can't understand anything they say at all.  I do see a decent amount of young Hispanics at church where I go but for the most part it's older people and their young kids, and old people in general.

I'm also 23. I'm quite concerned for our generation as well. But I'm happy to see another young person on this forum. Smile


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#8
Well that makes 3 of us then I guess. I am 21.

I guess our generation still has a chance Smile


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#9
I'm 29! (Almost 30  Crazy!)
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#10
I am actually very grateful for this thread. Even though I haven't lived in America for 30 years and hardly knew any Hispanics when I did.

I have long wondered - perhaps naively given the stats Vox posted - whether Hispanic immigration could help save America from growing de-Christianisation/rampant secularism.

Despite those depressing stats, I still take hope in what you wrote formerbuddhist:
(09-21-2015, 10:00 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote: Seems like there are plenty of young Hispanic Catholics in those areas, and compared to some of the more secular parts of this country it seemed positively religious.

I would really love to hear more from any of you Hispanics and/or others who have observations here. I have some questions too.

1) I am curious how much of a "Francis effect" exists  in the Latino community. More specifically, most Hispanics in America I know have Mexican or Cuban origins. I am curious, then, whether an Argentinian has the same attraction as say a Cuban or Mexican pope would. Or does Argentina seem too far away from Mexico/Cuba to seem very relevant here.

2) How much do Hispanics participate in TLM? I gather that charismatic Catholicism would be the main thing for many. But is there hope here.

3) What do others think of the growing Hispanic sector in terms of preserving Catholicism, indeed Christianity itself, in America?

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