In a story that spans from the founding of immigrant parishes in
the early twentieth century to the rise of the Chicano civil rights
movement in the early 1970s, Roberto R. Trevino discusses how an
intertwining of ethnic identity and Catholic faith equipped Mexican
Americans in Houston to overcome adversity and find a place for
themselves in the Bayou City.
Houston's native-born and immigrant Mexicans alike found solidarity
and sustenance in their Catholicism, a distinctive style that
evolved from the blending of the religious sensibilities and
practices of Spanish Christians and New World indigenous peoples.
Employing church records, newspapers, family letters, mementos, and
oral histories, Trevino reconstructs the history of several
predominately Mexican American parishes in Houston. He explores
Mexican American Catholic life from the most private and mundane,
such as home altar worship and everyday speech and behavior, to the
most public and dramatic, such as neighborhood processions and
civil rights marches. He demonstrates how Mexican Americans'
religious faith helped to mold and preserve their identity,
structured family and community relationships as well as
institutions, provided both spiritual and material sustenance, and
girded their long quest for social justice.