National parishes within ethnic enclaves : the gradual process of Americanizing Catholic immigrants to Baltimore
Greer, Adam C.
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. The purpose of this paper is to explore the role that religion played in the process of Americanizing immigrants to the United States. This topic is significant in regards to the study of immigrants within cities such as New York, Chicago, and Boston, amongst others. However, the city of Baltimore has been vastly underrepresented in immigration research. As the second largest immigrant port in the United States, Baltimore is steeped in Catholic tradition, and is an ideal city for a study on the role of the Catholic Church in Americanizing Catholic immigrants. Through the use of oral histories, archdiocesan and parish histories, and secondary texts, Baltimore can be seen as a haven for Catholic immigrants due to the national parishes within the ethnic enclaves throughout the city. These national parishes fostered numerous Americanizing agencies, including the school system, confraternities, and beneficial societies, all of which were founded by the Catholic clergy and, coupled with their traditional language, celebrations, and culture, allowed for a gradual transition into mainstream society. This gradual process of Americanization, instituted by the Catholic hierarchy, was a well thought out and executed process wherein, through the development of the national parishes, newcomers to America would experience the phases of immigrant, ethnic, and American. The preponderance of the evidence suggests that such a gradual method of Americanization would be equally effective today for Catholic immigrants in the United States.
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