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Churches and Charity in the Immigrant City

Religion, Immigration, and Civic Engagement in Miami

Edited by Alex Stepick, Terry Rey, and Sarah J. Mahler

Publication Year: 2009

Churches and Charity in the Immigrant City focuses on the intersection of religion and civic engagement among Miami's immigrant and minority groups. The contributors examine the role of religious organizations in developing social relationships and how these relationships affect the broader civic world.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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p. i


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

This research was part of the Pew Charitable Trusts and its Gateway Cities Initiative. We gratefully acknowledge the Trusts’ support and particularly that of Kimon Sargeant, our program officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts. The Sponsored Research office at Florida International University, then directed by Tom Breslin, provided critical financial support in the form...

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1. Religion, Immigration, and Civic Engagement

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pp. 1-38

On a typical Sunday in Miami, a Haitian pastor from Port-au-Prince lays hands on the afflicted in a storefront Pentecostal church in Little Haiti, while a few miles west a Catholic priest from Nicaragua says Mass in Spanish to his diverse Latino flock. A few blocks further west, a group of elderly Cuban Catholics plans a fund-raising event for the Diocese of Guantánamo-Baracoa in eastern Cuba. Meanwhile, in Miami’s southern suburbs...

PART ONE. Charismatic Leaders and Linking Civic Social Capital

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2. So Close and Yet So Far Away: Comparing Civic Social Capital in Two Cuban Congregations

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pp. 41-71

In Jesus’ time, he recognized that people were suffering and that their necessities and ailments had to be addressed before they were going to have the ability to attend fully to their beliefs. As eloquently communicated in Bible verses from the book of Matthew, he knew that meeting people’s material and spiritual needs was an enormous task and that he could not accomplish it alone....

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3. Refugee Catholicism in Little Haiti: Miami’s Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church

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pp. 72-91

On October , , a Polish American Catholic priest named Thomas Wenski led  Haitian immigrants in somber procession beneath the majestic oaks that grace the churchyard of Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church in Little Haiti, one of Miami’s most depressed inner-city neighborhoods. There they joined hands in a circle and prayerfully erected a large wooden cross...

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4. Politics and Prayer in West Perrine: Civic Engagement in the Black Church

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pp. 92-115

One day in November 2001, some sixty people packed the small satellite police station in the Black neighborhood of West Perrine, Florida, where a community meeting sponsored by the Neighborhood Resource Team (NRT) was about to begin.1 Police officers, social workers, representatives from government agencies such as the Florida Department of Children and Families, pastors, businessmen, landlords of low-income housing projects, and other citizens talked together in the meeting...

PART TWO. Service and Volunteerism and Bridging Civic Social Capital

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5. Unidos en la Fe: Transnational Civic Social Engagement between Two Cuban Catholic Parishes

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pp. 119-131

Since1959 over a million Cubans have migrated to the United States; the majority today live in the greater Miami area, also known as the capital of the Cuban exile. Unlike many other immigrant groups in the United States who have and continue to maintain ongoing transnational ties to their countries of origin, the dominant image of the relationship...

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6. La Catedral del Exilio: A Nicaraguan Congregation in a Cuban Church

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pp. 132-150

Suyapa Velazquez remembers the day she re-joined Ms. Adela Jaramillo’s afterschool class at San Juan Bosco’s Catholic Church’s Religious-Civic-Patriotic School.1 With a hint of embarrassment and a bit of bewilderment, the Central American teen recalled, during her interview held at recess time in the afternoon, “I was out for a few months...

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7. Black Churches and the Environment in Miami

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pp. 151-168

In the beginning of the summer of 2001, my summer job was mapping churches with the Religion and Civic Life in Miami Project at Florida International University. It seemed I was biding my time until I began my “real” academic research on my chosen research subject, the interplay between people and the natural environment. The mapping project...

PART THREE. Religious and Spiritual Activities and Bonding Social Capital

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8. Youth and Charity in a Sweetwater Parish: Our Lady of Divine Providence Church

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pp. 171-189

On a typically hot and humid Miami day in 2003, bulldozers, forklifts, and construction workers moved busily about the Our Lady of Divine Providence churchyard, erecting a twenty-thousand-square-foot church. The new edifice, completed late the next year, replaced a squat red brick structure less than half its size that was built there a quarter-century prior, just...

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9. Faith in the Fields: Mexican Marianism in Miami-Dade County

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pp. 190-207

Upon a stage in the yard of St. Ann Mission Catholic Church in rural southern Miami-Dade County stand six Mexican American youths costumed as Aztec warriors, performing act I of the play El M

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10. The Struggle for Civic Social Capital in West Indian Churches

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pp. 208-230

The West Indian1 churches in this study typically have not been sites for the development of civic social capital (CSC). Similar to Sandy, quoted above, West Indian congregants commonly speak of the need to reach out, but the perceived need is usually not matched by deeds. While welcoming...

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11. Religious Practice and Civic Social Capital among Miami Youth

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pp. 231-249

The previous chapters in this book focus on particular immigrant and native minority congregations. This chapter assumes a complementary perspective through the examination of a large cross-section of Miami youth to assess the relationship between their religious practice and civic social capital (CSC). We focus on youth, and particularly immigrant youth...

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12. Conclusions: Religious Leadership and Civic Social Capital

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pp. 250-272

Through case studies of Christian congregations and a survey of college freshmen, this volume has examined the relationships between civic engagement and religion for immigrants and African Americans. Through the concept of civic social capital (CSC), it most fundamentally addresses these relationships within the context of the social and cultural transformation of U.S. society in the wake of the largest influx of immigrants in its history.....


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pp. 273-275


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pp. 277-285


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pp. 287-294

E-ISBN-13: 9780813547145
E-ISBN-10: 0813547148
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813544595
Print-ISBN-10: 0813544599

Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 13 illustrations
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 707034929
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Churches and Charity in the Immigrant City

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Subject Headings

  • Immigrants -- Services for -- Florida -- Miami.
  • Immigrants -- Political activity -- Florida -- Miami.
  • African American churches -- Florida -- Miami.
  • Church work with African Americans -- Florida -- Miami.
  • African Americans -- Florida -- Miami Politics and government.
  • African Americans -- Services for -- Florida -- Miami.
  • Political participation -- Florida -- Miami.
  • Church work with immigrants -- Florida -- Miami.
  • Church work with immigrants -- Catholic Church.
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