Invitations and Boundaries: Patterns of Religious Participation

in Staying Italian

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780226770741
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226770765 | DOI:
Invitations and Boundaries: Patterns of Religious Participation

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In the decades after World War II, thousands of Italians in Toronto's Little Italy and South Philadelphia trooped to churches every Sunday, with hundreds more coming throughout the week to attend various activities. The Catholic Church stood at the center of postwar social life in both neighborhoods, yet Italian religious practices differed. In South Philadelphia's Annunciation and St. Thomas, parish boundaries were reinforced by religious life. By contrast, a geographically elastic Italian ethnicity characterized the associational meetings, hockey league matches, and street processions of St. Agnes/St. Francis in Little Italy. This chapter examines the role of the church as a site of social connection in both Toronto's Little Italy and Italian South Philadelphia, along with the geographic reach of these connections.

Keywords: Toronto; Little Italy; South Philadelphia; Catholic Church; ethnicity; social life; religious life

Chapter.  9969 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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