Church Scrapbook

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Title

Church Scrapbook

Subject

Catholic Church—Influences
Puerto Rican Catholics
Puerto Rican youth
Church work with youth

Description

This collection contains reproduced photographs and pamphlets pertaining to the Latino immigrant community in New Britain.  Collected by Nancy Figueroa-Rodriguez, who was involved in the community for many years, items include a newspaper clipping, 18 photographs and two double sided fliers.  The photographs date from 1981 through 1985.  There is a hand-written note stating the name “Padre Corrada Del Rio Mayaguez”.  This note was written at the time of the History Harvest denoting the man in Nancy 11.12.

Nancy noted that she immigrated to the mainland in 1981.

Nancy 11.1 and 11.3 – Newspaper clipping.  From the New Britain Herald, 1982.  Image shows the committee in charge of the 20th anniversary of Spanish Mass at St. Mary’s, New Britain:  Nancy Figueroa, Luis Lamour, Ester Correa, Martin Martinez and Patria Cruz.  The text of the article explains that the Bishop was to perform the Mass, and which Spanish speaking priests have served the community.  It goes on to mention the Puerto Rican nuns and deacon who were placed at St. Mary’s.  The article then goes to mention that several groups were functioning in the Spanish community for religious as well as secular needs of the people.  The Church is a hub of activity for immigrants.  Giving the people a place where they feel welcome, it helps to build a sense of community and belonging.  It gives them a place where they can make connections to their past life in their home countries.  The Catholic Church, being prevalent in most of Latin America, is in a unique position to serve this need.  The article goes to state that the first Spanish Mass in New Britain had 12 Congregants.  In 20 years it blossomed to almost 500 persons.  Masses are still said in Spanish 36 years later.

Nancy was involved in Youth Groups that had activities all throughout the New England area.  Many of the photographs are examples of these activities, such as Payada (possibly misspelled on said sheet as “Paiada”) in Nancy 11.5 entitled “Parrandad de los Jovenes 1982” translated as “Youth Party 1982”.  Payada is a musical tradition of unique spontaneous compositions of two singers in competition in search of the best 10-line songs.  It originated in the cone of Southern America (Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Southern Brazil) but has become popular throughout all Latin America.  Common times for this type of music is around the Christian holidays from Advent to Three Kings Day – roughly a month and a half before New Years to January 6.  See Nancy 11.7.

Youth groups such as the one portrayed here were very active.  They travelled all around the region, often interacting with other similarly minded groups.  Nancy made a special effort to make note of a Priest who came from Puerto Rico.  Padre Alvaro Corrada De Rio.  Padre Corrada, as he was known, was sent to New York City and became the pastoral coordinator of the Northeast Catholic Hispanic Center.  The NCHC promoted inclusiveness in the Catholic family and stressed community.  A picture of him is on Nancy 11.12 which also contains the note with his name.  The word “Mayaguez” denotes a municipality of Western Puerto Rico where Nancy believed he came from.  In a search for Padre Corrada today, it is revealed that he was elevated to Bishop of Puerto Rico in 2011. 

As the generations aged, the role of the church did begin to wane, as the assimilation process appeared to be complete. Young people began to move away from their old spheres, either through educational opportunities or in the case of the church, intermarriage. Indeed, more and more Puerto Ricans married non-Puerto Ricans and the number of interfaith marriages also increased throughout the decades. Despite these shifts, Puerto Rican communities managed to preserve their sense of cultural identity and even organize around this shared sense of identity.

The discussions about Puerto Rican youth that these photos engender applies to future discussions about youth activism and Puerto Rican identity in the most recent decades as well. As a new generation of Puerto Rican youth came of age, the identity of Puerto Ricans as American citizens and the cultural identity of Puerto Ricans became conflated. The youth of today still face similar discrimination as their parents and they are also now beginning to confront the colonial legacy that intertwines the histories of the United States and Puerto Rico. In communities such as New Britain, Hartford, and others, the youth of today still face the similar problems caused by poverty, discrimination, and the like. This collection of youth photographs hopefully will bridge an understanding between generations and establish the continued presence of the Catholic Church in the lives and movements of Puerto Ricans in New Britain today.

Citations for Supplementary Sources and Context:

Fitzpatrick, Joseph P. "Intermarriage of Puerto Ricans in New York City." American Journal of Sociology 71, no. 4 (1966): 395-406.

Fitzpatrick, Joseph P. “Puerto Ricans in Perspective: The Meaning of Migration to theMainland.” The International Migration Review 2, no. 2. (1968): 7-20.

Gilbert, Marzan. “Still Looking for that Elsewhere: Puerto Rican Poverty and Migration in the Northeast.” Centro Journal 21 (2009): 100 – 117.

Guerra, Lillian. Popular Expression and National Identity in Puerto Rico: The Struggle for Self,

Community, and Nation. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998. 

Hancock, Ralph. Puerto Rico A Success Story. Princeton, New Jersey: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1960.

Isern, A. Fernos. “The Role of Puerto Rico and its People in the Americas.” The Journal of Educational Sociology 35, no. 9 (1962): 397-401.

Macisco, John J, Jr. Assimilation of the Puerto Ricans on the Mainland: A Socio-Demographic Approach. New York: Center for Migration Studies of New York, 1968.

Rodriguez, Clara E. Puerto Ricans Born in the USA. Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989.

 
Entry Author: Jared Leitzel
Entry Author: Chelsea Echevarria

Creator

Nancy Figueroa-Rodriguez

Source

Personal Collection of Nancy Figueroa-Rodriguez

Publisher

Nancy Figueroa-Rodriguez

Date

Creation Date: 1981-1985
Accession Date: April 29, 2018

Contributor

Nancy Figueroa-Rodriguez

Rights

Copyright is held by Nancy Figueroa-Rodriguez and is made available here by CCSU for educational purposes only.

Format

.JPG Image Files

Language

English/Spanish

Type

Still Images

Identifier

History Harvest, 2018 Items 11a, 11b, 11c, 11d, 11e, 11f, 11g, 11gh, 11i and 11j.

Coverage

New Britain, CT; Connecticut; Puerto Rico; United States; 1981; 1980s; 2018; 2010s; 20th century; 21st century.

Citation

Nancy Figueroa-Rodriguez, “Church Scrapbook,” Latino History Harvest, accessed April 20, 2024, https://library.ccsu.edu/latinohistoryharvest/items/show/57.

Output Formats