Although most U.S. Latinos identify as Catholic, few studies have focused on the influence of this religious tradition on health beliefs among this population. This study explores the role of Catholic religious teachings, practices, and ministry on cancer screening knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors among Latinos. Eight focus groups were conducted with 67 Catholic Latino parishioners in Massachusetts. Qualitative analysis provided evidence of strong reliance on faith, God, and parish leaders for health concerns. Parishes were described as vital sources of health and social support, playing a central role in the community’s health. Participants emphasized that their religious beliefs promote positive health behaviors and health care utilization, including the use of cancer screening services. In addition, they expressed willingness to participate in cancer education programs located at their parishes and provided practical recommendations for implementing health programs in parishes. Implications for culturally appropriate health communication and faith-based interventions are discussed.


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pp. 503-526
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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