generation MIX.The Catholic Church will be more richly diverse and inclusive if these GenX Latino, African, Asian, and Native American Catholics have anything to say about it.
Jeremy S Jeremy (jĕr`ĭmē), English form of Jeremiah. The
Epistle of Jeremy is a title given to the sixth chapter of Baruch. . Alexander is a 28-year-old African American African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. Catholic with fierce devotion to the church. So much, in fact, that this U.S. Department of Energy employee regularly attends two parishes--the politically connected Holy Trinity in Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown district and the soulful soul·ful
Full of or expressing deep feeling; profoundly emotional.
soulful·ly adv. St. Augustine, the district's oldest black Catholic church. Longing for spiritual authenticity, he delicately balances his wish for integrated worship with a desire to take in the highly experiential faith of black America.
Jose Maria Matty-Cervantes is a 29-year-old Mexican American Mexican American
A U.S. citizen or resident of Mexican descent.
Mexi·can-A·mer whose day job and free time are spent developing lay leaders in Hispanic youth and young adult ministry. Many of those he ministers to--unlike the Generation X "slacker" typed by the media--don't have the luxury of lingering in college and gradually figuring out what they want to be once they decide to grow up. These folks, he says, deal with more pressing issues of daily survival.
Susan Ho, 29, is a first-generation Chinese American Chinese Americans (Chinese language: 美籍華人 or 華裔美國人) are Americans of Chinese descent. Chinese Americans constitute one group of Overseas Chinese and are a subgroup of Asian Americans. living in Boston. She and her husband, Thomas, started an English-speaking young adult fellowship for the few GenXers attending their Chinatown parish, but Ho fears that the kids attending today may eventually leave the traditional St. James the Greater Parish in search of a more expressive worship style. The nondenominational non·de·nom·i·na·tion·al
Not restricted to or associated with a religious denomination.
Adj. 1. nondenominational - not restricted to a particular religious denomination; "a nondenominational church" Christian church just down the street seems to be packed with Chinese GenXers, excited about whatever's going on inside.
Joanne Couch, 30, is an adult convert to the Catholic faith. She's a member of St. Alphonsus Rock Church, a predominantly black parish in the heart of the St. Louis 'hood. Raised Baptist, Couch has developed a vibrant faith life thanks to the church's thriving young adult ministry and the biblically focused style of her pastor, Father Maurice J. Nutt, C.Ss.R. It's no surprise that "The Rock," as the 3,000-member parish is widely known, includes GenXers in all phases of church ministry. Nutt himself is under 40.
Without a doubt, Generation Xers of color not of the white race; - commonly meaning, esp. in the United States, of negro blood, pure or mixed.
See also: Color within the Catholic Church deal with many of the same issues that concern their white peers. They're eagerly seeking a spiritual path; they long for true community. They're concerned about inequities in society and are often suspicious of those institutions that wield power but aren't willing to concede any.
But throw race, class, economic status, and a shared history of discrimination into the mix, and you wind up with a whole different set of challenges.
Today's GenXers are injecting their unique cultures and outlooks into a church that's becoming more diverse than ever before. Bringing their own brand of spirituality to Catholicism, these young folks are shaking things up, leaving a church that's richer, more colorful, and more reflective of young people's gifts.
Simple demographics are changing the church's complexion. U.S. Census Bureau Noun 1. Census Bureau - the bureau of the Commerce Department responsible for taking the census; provides demographic information and analyses about the population of the United States
Bureau of the Census figures show that America is becoming less white, with the Hispanic population alone growing at five times the pace of other ethnic groups. An overwhelmingly young community, about half of American Latinos are under 26.
African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans This page is a list of Asian Americans. Politics
What has the church done for them lately?
In many churches, pews are filled with the elderly and kids, with young adults often missing from the scene. Three decades ago, says Father John Cusick, director of the Young Adult Ministry Office of the Archdiocese arch·di·o·cese
The district under an archbishop's jurisdiction.
archdi·oc of Chicago, the backbone of Catholic parish life were those 25 to 40 years old--the age group he currently serves. But now, says Cusick, many young folks are "questioning the whole value of it all."
And when it comes to young Catholics of color, many say the larger church hasn't done nearly enough to make them feel welcome at the table.
"You'd be hard-pressed to find a less visible group on the radar screen of the church than young minority Catholics," agrees Tom Beaudoin, Catholic theologian and author of Virtual Faith: The Irreverent ir·rev·er·ent
1. Lacking or exhibiting a lack of reverence; disrespectful.
2. Critical of what is generally accepted or respected; satirical: irreverent humor. Spiritual Quest of Generation X (Jossey-Bass, 1998). His groundbreaking book examined how American popular culture is the glue that binds this diverse group, but he says he didn't specifically study the nuances found within minority cultures.
Vincent Guider, director of youth ministries at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Marrero, Louisiana For the U.S. federal judge, see Victor Marrero
Marrero is a census-designated place and unincorporated community in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States. Marrero is on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, within the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan area. outside New Orleans New Orleans (ôr`lēənz –lənz, ôrlēnz`), city (2006 pop. 187,525), coextensive with Orleans parish, SE La., between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, 107 mi (172 km) by water from the river mouth; founded , is more direct.
"I don't think the Catholic Church genuinely loves African American young adults," says Guider. A 1,200-member, largely black parish, St. Joseph is home to about 200 mostly single young adults. "The church is really afraid of losing the identity it has become comfortable with. It's a white identity, by and large, and it's also a throwback throwback
see atavism. to another generation.
"I think the church underestimates what African American young adults can do.... I think the church is in denial in denial Psychiatry To be in a state of denying the existence or effects of an ego defense mechanism. See Denial. that young adults will be the core of leadership within the church shortly. The church really wants the young adults there--they just don't want them to touch anything or say anything."
Guider likens the Catholic Church to a person standing on one side of a bridge. Rather than beckoning to GenXers on the other side, he says church leaders need to take a proactive role, crossing over to reach young adults, then leading them back.
"These young adults are hungry and looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. something," he says. "A lot of them are finding it in the nightclubs, in the Pentecostal and charismatic churches. I just don't think the young adults are being fed and challenged spiritually and intellectually."
Rather than wait for the church to get a clue, thousands of GenXers nationwide have formed ministries like Generation Joshua--a thriving group of 18- to 37-year-olds at the predominantly black St. Sabina Parish on Chicago's South Side--to meet their spiritual and social needs. From a spring masquerade ball and Christian jazz socials to Bible study Bible study may refer to:
"One focus," says team leader Sam Williams Sam Williams is the name of:
Race generally isn't the dominant discussion at Generation Joshua Generation Joshua (Often called "GenJ" by its members) is an American Christian right youth organization founded in 2003 that aims to encourage the involvement of 11-19 year-olds in civics and politics. gatherings, perhaps because St. Sabina is a parish filled with upwardly mobile, middle-class professionals. Yet, their African American culture African American culture or Black culture, in the United States, includes the various cultural traditions of African American communities. It is both part of, and distinct from American culture. The U.S. infuses every aspect of their lives. St. Sabina's GenXers, says Williams, are concerned about economic empowerment within the community, career choices, and their God-directed purposes in life. And through it all, the church--with its dynamic gospel choir, its participatory worship, and the charismatic preaching style of its social-activist pastor, Father Michael Pfleger--is helping redefine the modern image of black Catholicism and of what GenXers add to the mix.
Whereas mainstream Anglos tend to place more emphasis on age breakdowns, in Latino cultures ministry to young adults deals more with marital status marital status,
n the legal standing of a person in regard to his or her marriage state. . Matty-Cervantes works for the California-based Instituto Fey Vida (Institute for Faith and Life), which teams up with U.S. dioceses to develop small faith communities and spiritual formation leaders among jovenes--the Spanish term for ministry to single young people from 16 to 28-plus. Doing ministry that's true to the communal aspect of Hispanic Catholic faith and its youth culture--which includes people from various countries and backgrounds--is imperative.
A typical young adult Hispanic Catholic would say, I'm not just going into the youth group because I need to build a relationship with God, but because I need to help others find themselves, says Matty-Cervantes. "It's a lot of activity that's other-focused."
Tough times lead to strong faith
Such community-oriented vision is the norm for historically disadvantaged ethnic groups in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . That's because minorities have depended upon their own to help them make it in America, where it's often impossible to separate class and economic status from race and ethnicity. That's a challenge GenXers of color within the Catholic Church still face.
"The population I deal with is totally opposite from [the TV show] Friends," says Matty-Cervantes. "Even if their financial situation is better ... they still have to carry the weight of their families that are here or in Mexico that are not doing well. It's extremely normal and expected. We move less as individuals and more in relation to family and friends. I have responsibility to those around me."
Beaudoin believes that "racial differences within the church are trumped by class differences." His Virtual Faith looks at the common issues shared by GenXers--including delayed adulthood, importance of personal experience, and ambiguous notions of "family"--but it assumes at least a lower-middle class existence.
Beaudoin points out, for example, that "suspicion of institutions is supported by people who have the leisure time to really consider and have some autonomy over their own lives. Leisure, which is a class prerogative, frees you to be more suspicious and gives you the resources to investigate those suspicions. Those who have to work 18 hours a day and are single parents have much less time and energy to deal with such issues," he says.
Not surprisingly, these rough times greatly influence the faith lives of young Catholics of color--whether they're recent immigrants, or descendants DESCENDANTS. Those who have issued from an individual, and include his children, grandchildren, and their children to the remotest degree. Ambl. 327 2 Bro. C. C. 30; Id. 230 3 Bro. C. C. 367; 1 Rop. Leg. 115; 2 Bouv. n. 1956.
2. of the same.
One study found that the "Catholic glue" that binds young adults is especially strong among young Hispanics. "In general, [Latinos] have a little different emphasis in their Catholicism. They have higher personal devotions and personal expressions of faith," says Dean Hoge, professor of sociology at the Catholic University of America Catholic University of America, at Washington, D.C.; the national university of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States; coeducational; founded 1887 and opened 1889. . Hoge and three other academics studied the religious identity, beliefs, and parish involvement of confirmed young adult Catholics between the ages of 20 and 39.
Young adult Hispanics, for example, were 23 percent more likely to have had a house or car blessed than Anglos. More than 80 percent had an image of a saint in their homes, compared with 61 percent of Anglos. And 24 percent of Latinos made a promesa (promise to God) that they would do something extraordinary--such as make a pilgrimage to a holy site--in exchange for a favor, compared with just 10 percent of Anglos.
This "popular religiosity re·li·gi·os·i·ty
1. The quality of being religious.
2. Excessive or affected piety.
Noun 1. religiosity - exaggerated or affected piety and religious zeal
religiousism, pietism, religionism "--which Latino jovenes share with their older generations--continues to permeate permeate /per·me·ate/ (-at?)
1. to penetrate or pass through, as through a filter.
2. the constituents of a solution or suspension that pass through a filter.
v. their daily lives.
"In spite of some very harsh living conditions living conditions npl → condiciones fpl de vida
living conditions npl → conditions fpl de vie
living conditions living ," says Matty-Cervantes, "there's real happiness within our community, and you feel it in our [worship] services. The music component is huge. I believe music is very integral. That passion thing is one thing that really affects our hearts."
The African American GenX experience is quite similar.
"Our music ministry is an extremely important part of our service," says Couch of St. Louis, "because we're tied to the old [Negro] spirituals, which got us through when nothing else did. There's nothing like a song to really touch your heart. You can definitely see the youth impact there.
"Blacks have never been known for being quiet."
Faith of our families
It's that sense of solidarity, of being understood by folks who share the same ethnic culture and experience, that generates a real sense of community for these Catholics.
For young Hispanic immigrants, as well as for more Americanized jovenes, parish ministries can provide a cultural anchor in an often unfriendly world.
"The church is a community, a family to them because [often] their families are back home," says Matty-Cervantes. "The first thing they do when they get to a new place is look to the church as a support group."
Matty-Cervantes says some 20 to 25 percent of young people marry someone they met through the parish youth group. "In that sense, the ministry turns into a place where you meet people who have similar values. This is much more than something they do Sunday, once a week, for an hour," he says. And this value is a carryover from earlier generations of Hispanics, who found the town parish served the same purpose in their native lands.
Ho, who converted to Catholicism two years ago and attends Mass with her cradle Catholic husband and his parents, says involvement in St. James the Greater Parish in Boston's Chinatown connects her to her Chinese culture.
"Where I grew up in Virginia, there weren't many Chinese around. I felt I was going to lose that identity if I didn't find a way to know more about my culture, my ancestry," she says. "As part of this congregation, I get that [closeness] once a week every Sunday; the rest of the time I mingle a lot with other [non-Chinese] people."
When Jeremy Alexander, a special assistant to the U.S. secretary of energy, attends the 12:30 gospel Mass at St. Augustine in Washington, he experiences a Mass that's just as traditionally African American as it is Catholic.
"I need to get my dose of blackness every now and then, I kid you not," says Alexander. "Most of my life, I've been the only one [African American]. It's mostly a comfort zone."
At St. Augustine, "there's a lot more singing, a lot more clapping. The congregation participates more. The sign of peace is more or less a huge intermission."
Cusick, who's known nationally for the successful young adult ministry he and his staff operate in Chicago, admits it's tough to attract GenXers of color to their programs. In fact, before moving to Washington, D.C., Chicago native Alexander did minority outreach for the archdiocese, visiting black Catholic churches and spreading the word about GenX spiritual formation events like "Theology on Tap Theology on Tap is the name given to lectures sponsored by a number of local Roman Catholic dioceses. The lectures, which are often given by noted spiritual leaders and religious academics, address current topics in religion and theology, and are notable and sometimes ."
Despite his efforts--and the placing of black priests on the program, along with the inclusion of programs aimed at African Americans--black turnout was always low.
"Maybe," says Alexander, "they felt they couldn't find anything that would touch them."
In cities like Chicago, New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , and Washington, D.C., thriving African American and Hispanic parishes are the norm--and Catholic GenXers often feel no real need to move beyond their comfort zones and engage in cross-cultural, age-specific ministry programs. That's always the challenge--how to specifically reach young adults of color, but also bring them in contact with those of different cultures and backgrounds.
Alexander, who as a child attended the multiracial mul·ti·ra·cial
1. Made up of, involving, or acting on behalf of various races: a multiracial society.
2. Having ancestors of several or various races. St. Thomas the Apostle St Thomas the Apostle, Judas Thomas or Didymus, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels and Acts list this "twin" (Toma means twin in Aramaic, as does Didymus Parish in Hyde Park Hyde Park, park, London, England
Hyde Park, 615 acres (249 hectares) in Westminster borough, London, England. Once the manor of Hyde, a part of the old Westminster Abbey property, it became a deer park under Henry VIII. , a cosmopolitan Chicago enclave, doesn't look at faith "in terms of race or class. I look at church as being a place where people who come have similar values as Catholics." When he tells folks about his growing-up days in one of the Windy City's few integrated communities, they tell him he lived in a "make-believe world." Still, he says, "It's a world everyone needs to work toward."
Mixing it up
Although the issue of ethnic identity is important to minority GenXers' faith, it's also important to "constantly be mixing it up with those who are different," advises Beaudoin. "We often defer the very hard work of Christian unity because it's easier to support people being with others like them," he says.
Beaudoin suggests a "both-and" approach. "It's important to support ministries that plug people in to those who are like them, because that is where a first experience of community is likely to happen. There are certain questions that only get asked when you're with your ethnic and generational peers.
"But there are certain answers that only come up when you are within a diverse Body of Christ
The Body of Christ is a term used by Christians to describe believers in Christ. Jesus Christ is seen as the "head" of the body, which is the church. ," he adds. That's why Beaudoin believes "those [ethnic] ministries need to be constantly mixing it up with those who are different."
In the past 30 or 40 years, he says, the American Catholic Church American Catholic Church may refer to:
It's a freedom that black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American Catholics have either not yet won--or are uninterested in fighting for. Beaudoin says that now-assimilated Irish, Italian, Polish, and German Catholics need to recall their own ancestors' dual ties to ethnicity and faith to sympathize with Verb 1. sympathize with - share the suffering of
compassionate, condole with, feel for, pity
grieve, sorrow - feel grief
commiserate, sympathise, sympathize - to feel or express sympathy or compassion today's minorities and their wish to maintain those bonds.
"Valuing where they come from is important," Matty-Cervantes says of young Latinos. "Another key issue is not to reject the country they're [now] living in."
It's all about finding those elements of your culture that are to be valued, analyzing those positive aspects of the new culture, and integrating both into your person. "It's tough, but if you're able to do it, you end up being a more complete human being," he says.
Ironically, jovenes ministries find it especially hard to reach upwardly mobile young adults. "One reason this population is ignored is because the church is focused on primary care" for disadvantaged Latinos, Matty-Cervantes says. "What happens is [the church] lost track and didn't adjust for those that were moving up, as well as helping those that were still in need."
More privileged Hispanics like Lisa Armijo of Phoenix may not be reached by traditional jovenes groups but often remain faithful members of the church. While completing a doctorate in communications at Arizona State University Arizona State University, at Tempe; coeducational; opened 1886 as a normal school, became 1925 Tempe State Teachers College, renamed 1945 Arizona State College at Tempe. Its present name was adopted in 1958. , 25-year-old Armijo, with four other GenXers, operates Maggie's Place, a nonprofit center in Phoenix that assists homeless pregnant women. She also is a lector and eucharistic minister The title Eucharistic Minister is a term that is given to the laity who have been authorized by Church Clergy to administer and distribute the 'True Presence of Jesus Christ', i.e. at Arizona State's All Saints All´ Saints`
1. The first day of November, called, also, Allhallows or Hallowmas; a feast day kept in honor of all the saints; also, the season of this festival. Catholic Newman Center.
"I've never felt like my culture was squelched squelch
v. squelched, squelch·ing, squelch·es
1. To crush by or as if by trampling; squash.
2. ," she says of her largely white faith community, "or that I wasn't able to fulfill my cultural traditions. There have always been avenues of leadership for anyone who wants it." Yet, she says, "I do think extra things can be done to add in diversity and culture.... It can never hurt. It's sad. When I see our parish, I don't see a lot of African American people or a lot of people of color Noun 1. people of color - a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)
people of colour, colour, color
race - people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock; "some biologists doubt that there are important ."
Ethnic minorities may sometimes seem invisible to Anglo Catholics, but the unique cultural gifts they possess have the potential of enriching the larger church.
African Americans, says youth minister Guider, can share their emphasis on Bible literacy with a Catholic Church that hasn't always made it a priority, as well as "our storytelling Storytelling
semi-legendary fabulist of ancient Greece. [Gk. Lit.: Harvey, 10]
Baron traveler grossly embellishes his experiences. [Ger. Lit. style, our musical traditions, our use of art and imagery and color, our affection, our emotionalism. Our moaning moan
a. A low, sustained, mournful cry, usually indicative of sorrow or pain.
b. A similar sound: the eerie moan of the night wind.
v. and our wailing and our rocking and our shouting."
Young Latinos offer a culture built on tenacious te·na·cious
1. Clinging to another object or surface; adhesive.
2. Holding together firmly; cohesive.
viscid; adhesive. familial ties, a strong work ethic work ethic
A set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence.
a belief in the moral value of work , and a balanced view of individual versus communal needs.
Asian Americans, believes Ho, "spread peace." In his experience, Beaudoin also finds many Asian GenXers have a healthy respect for Eastern religions and other faith traditions. "There's a sensitivity to a rich universe of religious traditions that is often much richer than folks from other ethnic backgrounds have access to," he says.
And Native Americans, drawing upon their traditional faith traditions as well as Catholic teaching, tend to possess a more holistic outlook, one that sees little conflict between the sacred and secular aspects of daily life.
If cultural differences are spotlighted and affirmed, they can not only help build diversity, but also create community through that diversity, says Armijo.
"We are a catholic community, and in a sense, we are all one people."
MAUREEN JENKINS, 31, writes about religion for the Arizona Republic in Phoenix. She holds a master's degree master's degree
An academic degree conferred by a college or university upon those who complete at least one year of prescribed study beyond the bachelor's degree.
Noun 1. in theological studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary G-ETS was formed in 1974 when the Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston merged with the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Naperville, Illinois (both U. M. schools). The merged school occupied the Garrett campus. in Evanston, Ill.