Book ReviewsMexican-American Catholics

The Catholic Church in the United States has been growing partly due to Hispanics or Latinos immigrating from Latin America - with the largest portion from Mexico.


Fr. Eduardo C. Fernandez, S.J. wrote this book to help clergy, religious and lay ministers to better minister to the Mexican and Mexican-American Catholics in their parishes.  This is the third volume in the Paulist Press’ pastoral spirituality series.  Fernandez, being of Mexican-American heritage has spent time researching Mexican spirituality and culture and has been involved in the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS).  He also teaches pastoral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley and at the Graduate Theological Union.  He earned his doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1995.


Fernandez begins his book by summarizing the 30-century history of Mexico.  The Indian cultures of the Mayas, Aztecs, and others have influenced Mexican spirituality; as has the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 


Fernandez continues by discussing Mexican-American religious and secular history in the United States.  Mexican-Americans often mistreated by American Catholics and other Americans.  American bishops did not understand the Mexican culture and some did not try to learn about their spirituality.


Mexican spirituality is on the emotional level.  Mexicans like ritual, processions, devotions, music and color.  They want to have an emotional experience when they go to church.  Many feasts involve food and great celebrations involving the family and community.  Mexicans like to celebrate Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations and other sacraments on a grand scale


The book concludes with sources to assist in Hispanic ministry.  Fernandez lists books, Internet sites, and such.  He ends the book with endnotes and a glossary.


Fr. Fernandez is a co-author of United States Hispanic Catholics:  Trends and Works, 1990-2000 (2005).  This book, Mexican-American Catholics, is highly recommended to those needing information for Hispanic ministry and those wanting information on Mexican culture and spirituality.


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