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Filipino American Faith in Action

Filipino American Faith in Action: Immigration, Religion, and Civic Engagement

Joaquin Jay Gonzalez
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Filipino American Faith in Action
    Book Description:

    Filipinos are now the second largest Asian American immigrant group in the United States, with a population larger than Japanese Americans and Korean Americans combined. Surprisingly, there is little published on Filipino Americans and their religion, or the ways in which their religious traditions may influence the broader culture in which they are becoming established.Filipino American Faith in Action draws on interviews, survey data, and participant observation to shed light on this large immigrant community. It explores Filipino American religious institutions as essential locations for empowerment and civic engagement, illuminating how Filipino spiritual experiences can offer a lens for viewing this migrant community's social, political, economic, and cultural integration into American life. Gonzalez examines Filipino American church involvement and religious practices in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the Phillipines, showing how Filipino Americans maintain community and ethnic and religious networks, contra assimilation theory, and how they go about sharing their traditions with the larger society.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-3325-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. 1 Introduction: Calling in San Francisco
    (pp. 1-32)

    One Sunday more than a century ago, an elegantly dressed Peter Burnett and his wife, Harriet, walked two blocks from their home to the Sunday school where their daughter taught. As they crossed the street, a young gentleman respectfully tipped his black top hat as he recognized Burnett, who was the first governor of California. The Bible study groups at the Sunday school were organized by members of the University Mount Presbyterian Church, who came from the wealthy families of European descent living in nearby Portola Valley. In attendance were affluent first-and second-generation Italian migrants as well as a few...

  5. 2 Resurrecting Christian Faith
    (pp. 33-62)

    The Friday evening in May 2001 was glorious—crystal clear skies with a smooth, gentle breeze. In a small, unassuming neighborhood elementary school just outside of cosmopolitan San Francisco, California, Catholic priests, nuns, and lay workers were gathering for what appeared at first to be a quiet meditation or evening prayers. But as they slowly trickled into the brightly lit cafeteria, the noise sounded more and more like ahandaan(food feast) than a meditative encounter among respected spiritual leaders. Listening to them laugh and banter in a mix of English, Tagalog, Ilocano, Bicolano, Cebuano, Kapampangan, Waray, Boholano, and other...

  6. 3 Praying, Then Delivering Miracles
    (pp. 63-81)

    With her four-year-old son in tow, Rosario C., forty-five, has just come out of the Sunday Tagalog mass at Saint Boniface Catholic Church in downtown San Francisco. She is walking at a fast pace toward Lucky Money, a remittance company on Mission Street. While crossing Market Street, I am trying my best to keep up with her. A chilly wind pushes us to walk the three remaining city blocks at an even faster speed. Catching our breath a block from her destination, Rosario C. looks at me and says, “Pinagdadasal ko sila lagi sa Pilipinas pagkatapos nagpapadala ako ng pera”...

  7. 4 Gathering Souls with Food
    (pp. 82-99)

    In March 1565, or 400 years prior to Dennis’s migrant crossing of the Pacific Ocean, a Spanish expedition under Miguel Lopez de Legazpi landed on the island of Bohol, accompanied by Augustinian friars—the first Catholic order to reach the Philippines. The expedition was under orders from the royal court in Madrid to complete the formal colonization, civilization, and Christianization of the land and people that Ferdinand Magellan had earlier claimed for King Philip of Spain. The fleet reached the archipelago after a long voyage across the treacherous Pacific Ocean, having left Mexico the previous November. After being at sea...

  8. 5 Converting Bowling to Civic Involvement
    (pp. 100-122)

    Memorial Day is a cherished American holiday, made even more significant to many by the tragic events of 9/11 and the War on Terror. It is a special day for remembering war heroes and veterans but is equally popular as a day for travel and recreation with family and friends. On one recent Memorial Day, our research team visited Classic Bowl in Daly City, one of the largest bowling centers in the San Francisco Bay Area. On this day, all sixty lanes were occupied by just one group—the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), one of the largest Filipino independent churches....

  9. 6 Blessing Passion and Revolution
    (pp. 123-148)

    It was already past five o’clock in the evening on Monday, March 14, 2005. Inside city hall hearing room 416 was a sea of black hair and brown faces. The attendees ranged in age from ten to eighty years old. The atmosphere was tense. Number two on the evening’s agenda was a resolution “strongly urging the Mayor and Board of Supervisors to support the current Filipino and Asian American immigrant communities’ initiative naming the former Bessie Carmichael Elementary School site (on Sherman and Folsom) as Victoria Manalo Draves Park.” Chair Diana Lau called the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission (IRC)...

  10. 7 Reconciling Old and Young Spirits
    (pp. 149-177)

    It happened at the height of the holy Lenten season. An emotional encounter with an elderly parishioner of Saint Boniface Catholic Church who had lived through so much: serious injury as a soldier and hard labor at a prisoner-of-war camp in his early twenties, and now, in his seventies, he was coping with cancer alone and in a foreign land. His stories about his life experiences evoked religious anecdotes from the Pasyon (Passion of Christ). And yet, Idelfonso “Tatang Floro” Bagasala seemed undaunted by the many challenges he had been through. Smiling, he began his conversation with the young Filipino...

  11. 8 Conclusion: Embracing New Bonds and Bridges
    (pp. 178-184)

    From the outside, the church—a neoclassical, red brick building with a steep roof—looked no different from the many Lutheran churches that sprouted south of San Francisco during the early decades of the twentieth century. This particular one was an American Lutheran Church that was established in 1925. Inside, a young, second-generation migrant with German and Norwegian roots, the Reverend Henry N. Brodersen, was loudly proclaiming passages from the Bible to an attentive flock, mostly faithful of German, Irish, Italian, and English descent who had moved from the Midwest and the East. Some had resettled in Pacifica as early...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 185-188)
  13. References
    (pp. 189-202)
  14. Index
    (pp. 203-220)
  15. About the Author
    (pp. 221-221)