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Title Records of the project: Role of the Roman Catholic Church in the Development of the Puerto Rican Community in Hoboken 1945-1975.
Object Name Report
Catalog Number 2010.019.0001
Collection Puerto Ricans & the Catholic Church in Hoboken, NJ 1945-1975
Credit Museum Collections.
Scope & Content Records of the project: Role of the Roman Catholic Church in the Development of the Puerto Rican Community in Hoboken 1945-1975.
Three boxes.

This record includes several documents regarding the project including:
-Letter, project proposal, from Sherrard Bostwick, Education Curator, Hoboken Historical Museum, June 22, 2009, to Dr. Alberto Hernández
Associate Director for Library & Archives, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065; 6 pages.

-Letter of project acceptance to Bostwick from Dr. Alberto Hernández, Centro des Estudios Portorriquennos, Hunter College, July 30, 2009; one page.

-Final report by Christina A. Ziegler-McPherson, Ph.D; Puerto Ricans and the Catholic Church in Hoboken, NJ 1945-1975; Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College (CUNY) and the Hoboken Historical Museum, April 22, 2010; 21 pages. Full text of this report is in notes.

Summary list of the oral history interviews with the Hoboken Historical Museum catalog records where the materials are located. These records will hold the digital text as word documents and PDF as well as the audio files - original cassette tapes and digital dubs in WMA and WAV formats.

1. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.01
Date: November 23, 2009
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewees: Socorro Rivera, 209 7th St., Hoboken, N.J.
Teofilo 'Tom' Olivieri, 1126 Willow Ave., Hoboken, N.J.

2. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.02
Date: December 1, 2009
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewee: Delia Crespo, 1312 Bloomfield St., Hoboken, N.J.

3. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.03
December 11, 2009
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewees: George Guzman, 1202 Hudson St., Hoboken, N.J.
Carmen Guzman

4. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.04
Date: December 14, 2009
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewees:Jerry Forman, 116 Bloomfield St, Hoboken, N.J.
Elizabeth Forman

5. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.05
Date: December 16, 2009
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewee: Ines Garcia-Keim, Hoboken, N.J.

6. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.06
Date: December 28, 2009
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewee: Ivonne Ballester, 252 11th St., Hoboken, N.J.

7. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.07
Date: January 8, 2010
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewee: Raul Morales, 1302 Washington St., Hoboken, N.J.

8. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.08; photographs 2010.020.0001 to .0003
Date: January 26, 2010
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewees: Angel Padilla, 28 Winfield Ave., Jersey City, N.J.
Gloria Padilla, 28 Winfield Ave, Jersey City, N.J.

9. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.09
Date: February 19, 2010
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewee: Father Mike Guglielmolli, St. Francis Church, 298 Jefferson Street, Hoboken, N.J.

10. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.10
Date: February 2, 2010
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewee: Sister Norberta Hunnewinkel, 63 8th Street, Hoboken, N.J.

[end]

Notes Puerto Ricans and the Catholic Church in Hoboken, NJ 1945-1975
Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College (CUNY) and the Hoboken Historical Museum
April 22, 2010

By Christina A. Ziegler-McPherson, Ph.D

Purpose:
In its grant application of June 2009 to the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College (CUNY), the Hoboken Historical Museum proposed to document the role that the Roman Catholic Church played in the development of the Puerto Rican community in Hoboken, New Jersey, between 1945-1975. The purpose of the project was to develop new archival-worthy material by doing oral history interviews with 8-12 individuals in Hoboken. The individuals interviewed were to be parishioners, priests and other religious at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, which has been the main parish for Spanish-speaking residents in Hoboken since the 1950s. The Museum also proposed to collect photos and host a reception for the participants in 2010. In addition, the Museum proposed to publish the results of the project in Centro's Voices web magazine or in another publication or venue of the Center's choosing.
The data generated by the interviews was to be contextualized by documentary evidence from the Archdiocese of Newark and St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Hoboken. This data was also to be compared with existing archival material at the Archdiocese of New York and Centro about the relationship of the Catholic Church with the Puerto Rican community of New York City in order to contrast the experience of being Puerto Rican and Catholic in New Jersey versus New York.
The interviews were to be conducted by Dr. Christina Ziegler-McPherson, a public historian in Hoboken who specializes in the history of immigration, assimilation, national identity, and ethnicity/race in the U.S. She conducted a total of ten interviews with 14 people between November 2009 and February 2010, and did archival research at the Archdiocese of Newark's archive at Seton Hall University, South Orange.
The archival record has been the weak link in the project; the Archdiocese's archives for Hoboken parishes are very sparse, as is the scholarly literature about Puerto Ricans' religious experiences. Neither the Puerto Rican Community Archives at the Newark Public Library's New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center nor Centro have much documentary material about Puerto Ricans' religious experiences in New York or New Jersey. The Archdiocese of New York's archives focus - not surprisingly - on New York's Catholic churches. Therefore, a comparison of the Puerto Rican communities in New York and New Jersey was not possible.
However, the interviews generated much new information about the Puerto Rican community in Hoboken and Northern New Jersey, and so this oral history project helped lay the foundation for future research about the important topic of religion and community development.

Scholarship on Puerto Ricans and American Catholicism
The amount of scholarship on Puerto Ricans and the Catholic Church in the United States is very small, a situation that reflects the fact that scholars of the Puerto Rican experience have traditionally not been interested in examining institutions such as the Church, but have preferred instead to focus on community groups or on issues of community development and ethno-racial discrimination. In addition, few scholars of American Catholicism and religion have examined Puerto Ricans' religious and spiritual traditions the way they have studied Irish, Italian, or other immigrant groups from traditionally Catholic countries. The few scholars who have examined Puerto Ricans and religion are academics trained in traditional Catholic scholarship. Jaime R. Vidal, Ana Maria Diaz-Stevens (nee Diaz-Ramirez) and Fr. Joseph P. Fitzpatrick have produced the bulk of the scholarship on the religious experiences of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. (see bibliography).
In Puerto Rican and Cuban Catholics in the U.S., 1900-1965, Vidal argues that the American Catholic Church failed to play the role of community developer it had played with earlier immigrant groups by not recognizing the importance of culture, especially the Spanish language, to Puerto Rican identity. He also argues that the Church ignored Puerto Rico's unique relationship to the United States, and assumed that Puerto Ricans were no different from other Catholic ethnic groups and so would eventually assimilate into the white mainstream of American Catholicism.
A major topic of scholars of religion and religious history is the different forms of "lived" faith, the cultural ethos of a religion as people experience it in their everyday lives. For example, cultural and economic oppression and discrimination in America caused Irish-American Catholics to cling fiercely to their faith but this faith came to be defined by a strong sense of obligation and sacrifice. In Latin America, by contrast, the traditional union of Church and State produced a religious tradition that emphasizes celebration, ritual, and the power of the miraculous. The result of these different forms of "lived Catholicism" was a strong culture clash within the American Church when Irish-American Catholics encountered Puerto Ricans and other Latin Catholic immigrants in the 1940s and 1950s.
Similar conflicts had occurred in the 19th and early 20th centuries among American Catholics and Irish, German, Italian, and Slavic Catholic immigrants. To resolve these cultural conflicts within parishes, and to better serve linguistic minorities, the American Church created national (or ethnic) parishes, parishes based on nationality or language instead of geography. In New York, the small but growing number of Spanish-speakers (Spaniards, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, etc.) who settled in the city before World War II were served by two national parishes in East Harlem, La Milagrosa (Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal), established in 1926, and Santa Agonía (Holy Agony), established in 1930.
But the New York Church began to move away from the national parish model after Francis J. Spellman became Archbishop of New York in 1939. This was due to several factors, including the decline of older national parishes as parishioners died off or moved to new suburban parishes, the severe shortage of Spanish-speaking priests from the Caribbean, and the Church's desire to demonstrate the compatibility of Catholic and American values through its ability to swiftly and effectively integrate new migrants into one American Catholic Church.
With one exception in early 19th century, every head of the Archdiocese of New York has either been Irish or Irish-American since the creation of the diocese in 1808. The Irish domination of the Catholic Church in New York was such that the institutional Church quickly came to reflect many of the cultural values of Irish-American Catholicism. When Puerto Ricans began migrating to the U.S. in large numbers after World War II, they "were considered 'bad Catholics' for lacking a strong sense of authority (institutional loyalty) and of sin ('Catholic guilt')," hallmarks of the (Irish) American Church. These cultural differences within religious practice caused American Catholic leaders in the 1940s and 1950s to perceive Puerto Ricans as a foreign population needing to be "converted" to the "correct" form of Catholic worship, and the Archdiocese of New York saw Puerto Rican neighborhoods in New York City as "missionary territory."
In New York, this "missionary" work was to serve Puerto Ricans through what was called the "integrated parish model." This was a territorial or geographic parish which would include at least one bilingual priest who would provide services (the sermon, hymns, confession, and other sacraments) in the foreign language of the targeted population. The Mass, of course, would be in Latin (until Vatican II in 1965 when Mass in the vernacular language of the parish was to be used).
But "(t)he English language services remained the principal services of the parish, and it was expressly intended that, as the immigrants became comfortable with English, the special second-language services would be dropped, thus producing a unified parish community as soon as possible." The Church's policy of establishing national parishes was dropped in the case of Puerto Ricans, who were the first Catholic ethnic group to experience the integrated parish model. Due to the influence of the New York Archdiocese, many dioceses adopted the integrated parish model to deal with non-English-speaking parishioners.
For Church leaders such as Spellman, the national parish model was an antiquated approach to Catholicism, and both reinforced tribal ethnic identities and retarded integration, creating a more segregated Church. And in the era of the African American Civil Rights movement and the Cold War, segregation and ethno-racial separateness were not desirable characteristics in a church aggressively asserting its "Americaness" and compatibility with democracy.
Although La Milagrosa and Santa Agonía continued to operate as "Spanish" or "Hispanic" parishes, Spellman declined to create new national parishes, and in the early 1940s, the Archdiocese designated the territorial parish of St. Cecilia's Church, at 125 105th Street, to be an integrated parish for Puerto Ricans moving to what was quickly becoming known as "Spanish Harlem."
Vidal argues that one characteristic of Puerto Ricans' relationship with the Catholic Church in the U.S. is their tradition of passive resistance to all forms of Americanization, particularly those that try to undermine the Spanish language. "As a result of this Puerto Ricans who were not satisfied with the integrated parish would naturally tend to 'vote with their feet' rather than to forcefully express their desires to their priests or to the archdiocesan authorities whether individually or in an organized form." The lack of Puerto Rican priests in New York (or elsewhere in the U.S.) meant that Puerto Rican laity had no fellow ethnic advocates. "Puerto Ricans were in no position to let it be known if they would have preferred to have their own parishes rather than integrating into the existing ones, and their silence was taken for consent."
According to Vidal, this emphasis on integration and parish unity (always to the benefit of the English-speaking congregation, not the Puerto Rican one) has been harmful to the Catholic Church in terms of its ability to retain Puerto Rican Catholics because of "the historical factors which lead the Puerto Ricans to identify with their cultural expressions of Catholicism more than with the Church as an institution."
Besides the integrated parish, the Archdiocese of New York instituted several new programs to deal with the "Great Migration" of Puerto Ricans to the New York City area in the 1950s and early 1960s, and several of these programs were adopted by dioceses in New Jersey. In addition to aggressively training priests, nuns and other religious in Spanish, the New York Archdiocese created the Office of Spanish Catholic Action in 1953 to coordinate and integrate the Church's work with newly-arrived Puerto Ricans.
It was on the recommendation of Catholic Action that the Archdiocese decided to celebrate the Feast of St. John the Baptist as a patronal feast, beginning in 1953. But the Archdiocese diluted the power of this important symbolic action by the constant use of the term "Spanish American," instead of "Puerto Rican," despite the fact that St. John the Baptist is the patron saint of Puerto Rico and not of Latin America in general, and so San Juan held no strong appeal for other Spanish-speaking Catholics in the New York City area.
Although the Feast of St. John continues to be observed in New York, it lost its status as the premiere event in the Puerto Rican community to the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in 1965, when the Church began to use the feast as a method of religious instruction versus a community celebration in the style of the fiestas in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican Protestants also objected to the Church's attempt to foster an image of Puerto Rican identity as being Catholic. But when the Feast of St. John was celebrated fiesta-style in New York it did help to bring Puerto Ricans closer to the institutional Church, and it allowed Puerto Ricans to display a positive aspect of their culture to the larger metropolitan community. The Feast of St. John was never observed in New Jersey, but many Puerto Ricans living in the northeastern part of the state participated in the fiestas in New York City.
Another activity that the Office of Spanish Catholic Action instituted that helped foster closer ties between Puerto Rican Catholics and the Church was the Cursillos de Cristiandad, a spiritual retreat that was initially developed for men but which came to include women in 1960. The Cursillo movement was enormously popular and did much to connect practicing Puerto Rican Catholics even closer to the institutional Church.
In her dissertation and in Oxcart Catholicism on Fifth Avenue: the impact of the Puerto Rican migration upon the Archdiocese of New York, Diaz-Stevens discusses many of the same programs - Office of Spanish American Catholic Action, Institute for Intercultural Communications, Fiesta de San Juan, Cursillos - that Vidal does, but she also emphasizes that the changes within the New York Archdiocese after Vatican II occurred almost simultaneously with the Lyndon B. Johnson administration's launch of the War on Poverty in 1965. The combination of new federal anti-poverty money and the competing ideologies of the African American Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the late 1960s created new theoretical and institutional challenges for the New York Archdiocese in its ministry to Puerto Ricans. Despite some priests' efforts to mitigate the effects of the Church's Americanization policy, particularly those of Fathers Joseph F. Fitzpatrick, Ivan Illich, and Robert Fox, ecclesiastical bureaucracy continued to promote integration of Puerto Ricans along non-Latin Catholic lines.
Fitzpatrick, a sociologist and a priest with direct pastoral experience with Puerto Ricans in New York during the "Great Migration," focuses his scholarship more on the question of how the Catholic Church as an institution can accommodate the many different traditions of "lived Catholicism" experienced by practicing Catholics. He emphasizes that the challenges the American Church faces in ministering to Hispanics, and to Puerto Ricans in particular, are rooted in long-standing differences of culture and class. Fitzpatrick argues that the central question for both American society and the Catholic Church as an institution is whether Hispanic Catholics will assimilate (and how) or contribute to the development of new forms of cultural and religious pluralism.

Religious lay of the land in Hoboken:
Historically, Hoboken has been - and still is - a very Roman Catholic community. In its square mile, there are five Catholic parishes: Our Lady of Grace (400 Willow Avenue), built in 1855; St. Joseph's (61 Monroe Street), established in 1874; Sts. Peter & Paul (404 Hudson Street), established in 1889; St. Francis (308 Jefferson Street), established in 1889, and St. Ann's (704 Jefferson Street), founded in 1903. A city of nearly 40,000 people, Hoboken also has 15 Protestant churches of various denominations (Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventist, etc.), one Jewish synagogue, and one Buddhist meditation center. Hoboken's Catholic churches are part of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ.
Among the Catholic churches, St. Francis and St. Ann's are Italian national parishes, meaning that they were established to promote and preserve Italian customs, traditions, and forms of Catholic worship. Until the turn of the 21st century, both parishes were staffed by Franciscans; St. Ann's by Franciscan Capuchin friars, and St. Francis by Conventual Franciscans. Sts. Peter and Paul was built as a German national parish but is now a geographic parish. Our Lady of Grace is a geographic parish but the congregation was predominantly Irish-Americans, and OLG was seen by Puerto Ricans (and other immigrant groups in town) as the "American" church. St. Joseph's was founded by the Franciscan Conventuals for German Catholics but served many Italian parishioners until St. Francis was built in 1889. After Hoboken's Italian immigrants began attending St. Francis, St. Joseph's became a territorial parish open to all nationalities in the neighborhood.
Since the 1950s, when Puerto Ricans began settling in Hoboken, St. Joseph's has been recognized by Hoboken Catholics as the "Spanish church" because a Franciscan priest, Father Eugene Zwahl, took it upon himself to reach out to Puerto Rican and other Spanish-speaking congregants. Zwahl also served as pastor of St. Joseph's from 1966-1970. Although St. Joseph's is located nowhere near where most Puerto Ricans in Hoboken lived, most Puerto Ricans attended St. Joseph's because of Fr. Eugene's ministry and the availability of Spanish-language services. "The most important achievement of Father Eugene's administration was the first efforts to bring about an amalgamation of the English and Spanish speaking communities within the parish, an awesome task at best, and seemingly insurmountable."
Despite its unofficial designation as the "Spanish church," St. Joseph's was never a national parish, but remained a geographic parish in accordance with the integrated parish model that the Archdiocese of Newark adopted in the early 1950s, following the example of New York.
Fr. Zwahl also opened a "storefront church," the Spanish American Catholic Center ("Centro Católico"), above a hardware store on the 200 block of Washington Street in 1955 that provided a combination of social, religious, and social welfare services to Puerto Ricans and other Spanish-speaking Hobokenites. The Centro remained open until 1973, when it merged with St. Joseph's.
Currently, St. Joseph's and Sts. Peter and Paul have Masses in Spanish, and these are the primary churches that Spanish-speaking Catholics in Hoboken attend, with St. Joseph's being the more popular. St. Joseph's parish was merged into Our Lady of Grace parish in 2008, and is currently under control of the Archdiocese of Newark (the Franciscan Order withdrew from Hoboken in the late 1990s due to staffing shortages). Despite recent discussions of closing St. Joseph's for financial reasons, the church remains open and is well attended on Sundays, mainly due to the devotion of its Spanish-speaking parishioners.

Puerto Ricans in Hoboken
Hoboken experienced a large Puerto Rican migration in the 1950s and 1960s, becoming the Puerto Rican town of northern New Jersey. Out of a population of 45,390 in 1970, approximately one quarter of Hoboken's population, 10,047 people, were either born in Puerto Rico or were first generation mainland-born. Virtually all of Hoboken's Puerto Ricans settled in the city after World War II.
Puerto Ricans lived in a variety of neighborhoods in Hoboken in the 1950s and 1960s, but the most well-known Puerto Rican neighborhood was in the middle of town on Willow Avenue, near the Tootsie Roll factory at Willow and 14th Street. (Tootsie Roll was an early recruiter and employer of labor from Puerto Rico.) By the 1960s the entire block of Willow Avenue between 11th and 13th streets consisted of Puerto Rican families, and there were also clusters of Puerto Ricans living on 8th and 9th streets between Park Avenue and Clinton Street, and on Jefferson Street near 5th Street. A few Puerto Ricans lived in the apartment buildings on Hudson Street as well. But by the 1960s, Willow Avenue was recognized by both Puerto Ricans and non-Puerto Ricans in Hoboken to be "Spanish."
Many Puerto Ricans left Hoboken in the 1980s and 1990s when the city began experiencing gentrification. Some returned to Puerto Rico, others moved to other cities in Hudson County, particularly Jersey City and Union City, and of course, some of the first migrants have died. In the Census of 2000, "Hispanics" (including Puerto Ricans) were 20 percent of Hoboken's 38,577 residents, but their total number had dropped to 7,783 people. The Puerto Rican community of Hoboken is increasingly elderly, and many live in subsidized housing throughout the town (Applied Development Co. is a major provider of low-income housing in Hoboken) or in the city's public housing projects in the southwestern part of town, on the 300 block of Jackson Street.

Outline of study:
Fourteen people were interviewed, beginning in November 2009 and ending in February 2010. Eleven of the 14 respondents were born in Puerto Rico; the non-Puerto Rican interviewees were a priest, a nun, and the husband of a Puerto Rican respondent.
Nearly all of the Puerto Ricans interviewed came from Puerto Rico to the New York City area as either children or teenagers in the 1950s; one came as a young man in 1967, and a woman arrived as a young adult in 1985. Another woman moved to Hoboken to live with an aunt when she was 17; her parents settled in the area later. One couple came as a married couple in their early 20s in 1952. But most of the respondents moved as children with their parents and settled in Hoboken as a family.
All but four of these individuals are members of the Roman Catholic Church. One respondent is Episcopalian and was interviewed because of her political activism; this respondent is also considerably younger than the other Puerto Rican respondents (in her 50s versus 70s) and arrived later (in the mid-1980s). Another non-Catholic was raised Presbyterian but is socially active with the Feast of St. Ann's sponsored by St. Ann's Church. The other two non-Catholics are a Puerto Rican Polish-American Jewish couple who were very active in the Puerto Rican community in the 1950s and 1960s. All but two of the individuals interviewed live in Hoboken; the two respondents who do not are former residents who now live in Jersey City but still attend church in Hoboken. All but four of the Puerto Rican Catholics interviewed are parishioners at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church; one now attends Our Lady of Grace Church and two others are a couple who now attend Sts. Peter and Paul Church. One does not attend church regularly but was raised Catholic. Two religious - a priest and a nun - who both live in Hoboken were also interviewed.

Interviewees:
NameYear of arrivalAge on arrivalReligion
Ivonne Ballester19549Catholic
Delia Crespo195417Catholic
Elizabeth Forman195222Catholic (non-observant)
Jerry Forman195224Jewish
Ines Garcia-Keim198529Episcopalian
Fr. Mike GuglielmolliNot applicableNot applicableCatholic
George Guzman195412Catholic
Carmen Guzman195412Catholic
Sis. Norberta HunnewinkelNot applicableNot applicableCatholic
Raul Morales196718Presbyterian
Tom Olivieri195112Catholic
Angel Padilla195514Catholic
Gloria Padilla195414Catholic
Socorro Rivera19519Catholic

Questions asked:
Everyone was asked - and gave - their consent to be interviewed.

Biographical questions:
Where we you born? When?

How old were you when your family moved to Hoboken?

Where did your family live in Hoboken? (street, was this a Puerto Rican, Italian, Irish, etc. neighborhood?)

What kind of work did your parents do?

What schools did you go to- public or Catholic school? Had you attended public or parochial school in Puerto Rico?

When you think of the Puerto Rican community in Hoboken in the 1950s and 1960s, what do you think of: (e.g., Tootsie Roll, St. Joseph's, jobs, housing services, community events, etc.)

Church/religion-related questions:
What church did your family attend?
How often did you attend?
Would you call your family religious? In what ways? (e.g., attending Mass, saying rosaries at home, going to confession, participating in festivals, church organizations)

After 1965 (Vatican II), was Mass said in Spanish, English, or some other language at your church?

In what ways was attending church in Hoboken different from attending church in Puerto Rico?

Do you recall any tensions between Puerto Ricans and other ethnic groups in the churches? (e.g., one group not wanting a Spanish Mass or not wanting Puerto Ricans to use the main building for services, insisting on a basement or other facility?)

Did you ever attend the Fiesta of St. John the Baptist in New York in the 1950s and 1960s?

There are three Italian festivals in Hoboken, both tied to religious festivals, the Feast of St. Ann, the Madonna dei Martiri, and St. Joseph's fest; why do you think there is not a Puerto Rican religious festival observed in Hoboken, e.g., a Feast of St. John?

Were there any Puerto Rican festivals or community-wide (or even neighborhood) events to celebrate saints days or observe any other Puerto Rican holidays in the 1950s and 1960s that you remember?

Was anyone in your family active in Cursillos de Cristiandad? Do you know of anyone who was?

St. Joseph's church apparently set up a community center on Washington St. above a hardware store- are you familiar with that program? Did anyone in your family or anyone you know use that social service?

Did you know any non-Catholic (i.e., Protestant) Puerto Ricans?

Hoboken has several Spanish-language Protestant churches; were any of these primarily Puerto Rican congregations?

Can you think of any Puerto Rican social or cultural organizations, clubs active in the 1950s and 1960s?

Were Puerto Ricans members of the local labor unions? Active in the local Democratic Party? Were Puerto Ricans associated with any particular political faction in Hoboken in the 1950s and 1960s? Did many Puerto Ricans vote in local elections then?

Problem questions:
A common practice in social science research is to pilot test questions to understand how the respondents interpreted the questions (people do not always understand the meaning of the question or a question can be unintentionally leading). Because of the small size of the grant and the small sample size, the questions for this oral history project were not pilot-tested beforehand. This resulted in a few "problem questions," as well as others that were not regularly asked because they did not seem appropriate during the course of the interview. In addition follow-up questions that varied from interview to interview were regularly asked. The following are those deemed "problem questions":

When you think of the Puerto Rican community in Hoboken in the 1950s and 1960s, what do you think of: (e.g., Tootsie Roll, St. Joseph's, job, housing services, community events, etc)
This question was not always asked.

Do you recall any tensions between Puerto Ricans and other ethnic groups in the churches? (e.g., one group not wanting a Spanish mass or not wanting Puerto Ricans to use the main building for services, insisting on a basement or other facility?)
This question about tensions among ethnic groups within the Church community always required additional explanation and probing. The reason this question was asked is that religious conflicts between various immigrant groups, especially between Irish and Italians in New York, have been well documented - e.g., instances of one group being required to use basement facilities, being relegated to an earlier or later Mass, feeling like second class citizens within the Church community, etc. The purpose of this question was to determine if Puerto Ricans had experienced similar things or feelings in Hoboken. Although Puerto Rican respondents frequently mentioned problems of discrimination, particularly in the area of housing, few spoke of conflicts with other ethnic groups within the Church, although some interviewees suggested that tensions might have existed after being given examples of problems with other groups in other cities.

Were there any Puerto Rican festivals or community-wide (or even neighborhood) events to celebrate saints days or observe any other Puerto Rican holidays in the 1950s and 1960s that you remember?
This question was not always asked.

St. Joseph's church apparently set up a community center on Washington St. above a hardware store- are you familiar with that program? Did anyone in your family or anyone you know use that social service?
This question was often not asked because nearly everyone interviewed volunteered information about the Spanish American Catholic Center and Father Eugene's work there and at St. Joseph's.

Were Puerto Ricans members of the local labor unions? Active in the local Democratic Party? Were Puerto Ricans associated with any particular political faction in Hoboken in the 1950s and 1960s? Did many Puerto Ricans vote in local elections then?
This question was rarely asked unless the respondent was known to be active in politics. Also, since many respondents came to Hoboken as children and spoke of their religious experiences as young people, the question was often not appropriate.

Did you know any non-Catholic (i.e., Protestant) Puerto Ricans?
Hoboken has several Spanish-language Protestant churches; were any of these primarily Puerto Rican congregations?
Although respondents were usually asked about non-Catholic Puerto Ricans, they were rarely asked about the other Spanish-language churches in Hoboken.

Conclusions:
Secondary research into the religious experiences of Puerto Ricans in the New York City area and the primary source data provided through the oral histories reveal several key points about the relationship between Puerto Ricans in Hoboken, NJ, and the Roman Catholic Church, as well as about the role that the Church played in the development of the Puerto Rican community in Hoboken. The major points are:
"The Puerto Rican migration of the post-World War II period caught the Catholic Church by surprise.
"Despite past institutional experience in dealing with large migrations of non-English speaking Catholics - Italians, Poles, other Slavs, etc. - the American Church did not apply that experience to meeting the pastoral needs of Puerto Ricans in the 1950s and 1960s, either in New York or in New Jersey.
"The Church did not provide the same national parish option to Puerto Ricans that it had to other non-English-speaking Catholics earlier in the 20th century, instead opting for a new model, the integrated parish, that promoted assimilation into American-style Catholicism.
"This policy reflected both the Church's and the larger society's belief in the value of assimilation and integration, especially during the Cold War and the African-American Civil Rights movement.
"The integrated parish model was used in the archdioceses of both New York and Newark, of which Hoboken is a part.
"The Catholic Church also failed to learn from its past experiences with non-English-speaking Catholics that Caribbean/Spanish Catholicism is different than Hiberian-American Catholicism, nor did it institutionally seek to better understand the uniqueness of Caribbean or Puerto Rican forms of Catholicism. There were a few exceptions: the activities of Fr. Ivan Illich in New York and the scholarship of Fr. Joseph F. Fitzpatrick in the 1950s and 1960s, being most notable. But the work of these individuals did not change the bureaucratic direction of the institutional Church in either New York or New Jersey.
"The Church chose to spend resources to train American priests to learn Spanish rather than recruiting priests from Puerto Rico and other Spanish-speaking parts of the Caribbean, both because of a shortage of Puerto Rican priests and the belief that Puerto Ricans needed to be "converted" to American-style Catholicism. In Hoboken, this has resulted in many American priests being trained to speak Spanish, as well as the recruitment of priests from such countries as the Philippines and South America.
"The Church tended to lump Puerto Ricans with other Spanish-speakers, particularly Cubans, defining them as "Spanish" or "Hispanic" (versus Puerto Rican), thus making the cultural uniqueness of Puerto Rico less visible. Puerto Ricans tended to do the same, and also referred to themselves as Spanish or Hispanic as well as Puerto Rican (Puerto Rican and "Spanish" were, and still are, used interchangeably).
"In particular, the Catholic Church in Hoboken never created a Feast of St. John's, nor did Puerto Rican Catholics seek to develop such a festival in town. Instead, Hoboken has had a Puerto Rican Day parade, which is a secular festival and a celebration of Puerto Rican national identity vs. religious or Catholic identity. This parade was held in June, beginning in 1993, but has not been held in recent years due to the organizational challenges of putting on such a large public event. Hoboken and other Hudson County Puerto Ricans who wish to celebrate their ethnic heritage in this form presumably attend the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City (which will be June 13 in 2010).
"Although it has been suggested that Hoboken did not develop a Feast of St. John's due to the lack of access to the waterfront as in Puerto Rico, such a problem did not prevent the Archdiocese of New York from holding huge fiestas in New York City that attracted up to 50,000 in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
"Since Hoboken is so close to New York City, there is a tendency on the part of the Church to view Hoboken and Hudson County as satellites of the New York Archdiocese (although the city is within the Archdiocese of Newark). Hoboken Puerto Ricans could easily travel (and were bused) into Manhattan to participate in and celebrate the San Juan Fiesta in New York the 1950s and 1960s.
"The smallness of Hoboken also meant that neither the local parishes nor the Archdiocese of Newark attempted to replicate anything like the New York Office of Catholic Action "Summer in the City" program of community development, initiated in 1964.
"Like any other major institution that employs hundreds of thousands of individuals and serves millions more, the Catholic Church has a tendency toward lethargy and reaction, primarily because it is so large and bureaucratic. That being said, the Church in the New York City area, including Northern New Jersey, did adapt relatively quickly to the sudden change in congregant population as a result of the Puerto Rican "Great Migration," training thousands of priests, nuns, teachers and other religious in Spanish and Caribbean and Puerto Rican culture.
"The Catholic Church did succeed in ministering to Puerto Ricans in Hoboken, largely due to the efforts of individual priests, specifically Father Eugene Zwahl, pastor at St. Joseph's Church.
"It was due to Fr. Zwahl's work that most Puerto Ricans who settled in Hoboken in the 1950s attended Catholic services versus leaving the Church or joining Hispanic Protestant churches. Puerto Ricans' appreciation of Father Eugene's ministry can be seen in the fact that families were willing to travel several blocks outside of their neighborhood to attend Spanish-language services at St. Joseph's. It was not until the late 1960s that Our Lady of Grace, the parish in which most Puerto Ricans lived, began to offer Spanish-language services through the work of Fr. Eid. And even though Our Lady of Grace did minister to Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics, Puerto Ricans continued to patronize St. Joseph's and viewed it as their parish.
"The Cursillo movement was very successful in bringing practicing Puerto Rican Catholics even closer to the Catholic faith and the institutional Church. Other traditionally Hispanic Catholic traditions, such as Hijas de Maria (Daughters of Mary) and Madre Christiana (Christian Mothers) also helped bind Puerto Ricans closer to the Church, but these groups only reached those individuals who were already practicing Catholics, not those who were distant from the Church. Among the respondents in this study, women were more likely than men to have participated in Catholic youth groups such as Hijas de Maria, but nearly all of the Puerto Rican Catholic respondents participated in the Cursillo movement and found it a deeply spiritual experience.
"The project that was most successful in bringing Puerto Ricans to the Catholic Church was the Spanish American Catholic Center on Washington Street run by Fr. Zwahl. Centro Católico was a critical institution in the lives of thousands of Hoboken Puerto Ricans in the 1950s and 1960s. Its closure (and incorporation into St. Joseph's) in 1973 was a loss to the Puerto Rican community of Hoboken, especially as first the recession of the 1970s and then gentrification in the 1980s and 1990s negatively impacted Puerto Ricans. After the closure of the Spanish American Catholic Center, other institutions and organizations outside of the Church came to meet the needs of Puerto Ricans and other poor people threatened by Hoboken's housing crisis of the 1980s.

As in New York, the Catholic Church in New Jersey was never able to become the primary institution that shaped the development of the Puerto Rican community in Hoboken because not all Puerto Ricans are Catholic, and of the many Puerto Ricans who are Catholic, their affinity to Catholicism is cultural and spiritual, not institutional. Instead, community development was the product of social and cultural organizations, with civic and political groups also contributing, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s.
Today in 2010, the Archdiocese of Newark has a Hispanic Apostolate, as well as an apostolate for African Americans, Africans, and people from the Caribbean. Through these offices the Church seeks to minister to people of different (i.e., non-American) Catholic traditions. These apostolates are the product of changing attitudes both within the Church and the larger society as ethno-religious diversity and multiculturalism have become more appreciated and valued.

Bibliography

Encarnacion Padilla de Armas. "Report on the Religious Conditions of Puerto Ricans in New York City, 1951," document #22, pp. 68-71, American Catholic History, a documentary reader. Mark Massa, S.J., and Catherine Osborne, eds. (New York: New York University Press, 2008).

Diaz-Stevens, Ana Maria. Oxcart Catholicism on Fifth Avenue: the impact of the Puerto Rican migration upon the Archdiocese of New York (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1993).

Diaz Ramirez, Ana Maria. "The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and the Puerto Rican migration, 1950-1973: a sociological and historical analysis" (Ph.D. dissertation, Fordham University, 1983).

Duany, Jorge. The Puerto Rican Nation on the Move: Identities on the Island & in the United States (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2002).

Fitzpatrick, Joseph P. Puerto Rican Americans: the meaning of migration to the mainland (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1987 ed.).

Fitzpatrick, Joseph P. One Church, Many Cultures, Challenges of Diversity (Steed and Ward, 1987), especially chapter 5, "Hispanics in the United States."

Lapp, Michael. "The Migration Division of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in New York City, 1948-1969," chapter 9, Immigration to New York. William Pencak, Selma Berrol and Randall M. Miller, eds. (Philadelphia: The Balch Institute Press, 1991).

Puerto Rican and Cuban Catholics in the U.S., 1900-1965. Jay Dolan and Jaime R. Vidal, eds. (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994).

Sánchez Korrol, Virginia E. From Colonia to Community: The History of Puerto Ricans in New York City, 1917-1948 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1983).

Sexton, Patricia Cayo. Spanish Harlem, An Anatomy of Poverty (New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1965).

Thomas, Lorrin. "'How They Ignore our Rights as American Citizens': Puerto Rican Migrants and the Politics of Citizenship in the New Deal Era," Latinos and Citizenship: The Dilemma of Belonging, Suzanne Oboler, ed. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).

Wakefield, Dan. Island in the City: Puerto Ricans in New York (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1959).

[end Ziegler paper]

____________________________
Project: Role of the Roman Catholic Church in the Development of the Puerto Rican Community in Hoboken 1945-1975.

Detailed list of interviews. March 2010, and the Hoboken Historical Museum catalog records where the audio materials, transcripts and any collateral material are located. These records will hold the digital text as word documents and PDF as well as audio files.

1. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.01
Date: November 23, 2009
Single cassette tape; dubbed to digital file.
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewees: Socorro Rivera, 209 7th St., Hoboken, N.J.
Teofilo 'Tom' Olivieri, 1126 Willow Ave., Hoboken, N.J.
Place: 209 Seventh St., Hoboken, N.J.
Transcription made by Christina Ziegler-McPherson, 2009.

2. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.02
Date: December 1, 2009
Single cassette tape; dubbed to digital file.
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewee: Delia Crespo, 1312 Bloomfield St., Hoboken, N.J.
Place: 1312 Bloomfield St., Hoboken, N.J.
Transcription made by Christina Ziegler-McPherson, 2009.
Translation by Ines Garcia-Keim

3. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.03
December 11, 2009
Single cassette tape; dubbed to digital file.
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewees: George Guzman, 1202 Hudson St., Hoboken, N.J.
Carmen Guzman
Place: 1202 Hudson St., Hoboken, N.J
Transcription made by Christina Ziegler-McPherson, 2009.

4. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.04
Date: December 14, 2009
Single cassette tape; dubbed to digital file.
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewees:Jerry Forman, 116 Bloomfield St, Hoboken, N.J.
Elizabeth Forman
Place: 116 Bloomfield St, Hoboken, N.J.
Transcription made by Christina Ziegler-McPherson, 2009.

5. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.05
Date: December 16, 2009
Single cassette tape; dubbed to digital file.
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewee: Ines Garcia-Keim, Hoboken, N.J.
Place: 921 Garden Street, Hoboken, N.J.
Transcription made by Christina Ziegler-McPherson, 2009.

6. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.06
Date: December 28, 2009
Single cassette tape; dubbed to digital file.
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewee: Ivonne Ballester, 252 11th St., Hoboken, N.J.
Place: 252 11th St., Hoboken, N.J.
Transcription made by Chris Ziegler-McPherson, 2010.

7. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.07
Date: January 8, 2010
Single cassette tape; dubbed to digital file.
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewee: Raul Morales, 1302 Washington St., Hoboken, N.J.
Place: 1302 Washington St., Hoboken, N.J.
Transcription made by Christina Ziegler-McPherson, 2010

8. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.08; photographs 2010.020.0001 to .0003
Date: January 26, 2010
Single cassette tape; dubbed to digital file.
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewees: Angel Padilla, 28 Winfield Avenue, Jersey City, N.J.
Gloria Padilla, 28 Winfield Avenue, Jersey City, N.J.
Place: 28 Winfield Avenue, Jersey City, N.J.
Transcription made by Christina Ziegler-McPherson, 2010.

9. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.09
Date: February 19, 2010
Single cassette tape; dubbed to digital file.
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewee: Father Mike Guglielmolli, St. Francis Church, 298 Jefferson Street, Hoboken, N.J.
Place: St. Francis Church, 3rd and Jefferson Streets, Hoboken, N.J.
Transcription made by Christina Ziegler-McPherson, 2010.

10. archives catalog 2010.019.0001.10
Date: February 2, 2010
Single cassette tape; dubbed to digital file.
Interviewer: Christina Ziegler-McPherson
Interviewee: Sister Norberta Hunnewinkel, 63 8th Street, Hoboken, N.J.
Place: Hoboken Shelter, 300 Bloomfield Street, Hoboken, N.J.
Transcription made by Christina Ziegler-McPherson, 2010.

[end]
People Ziegler-McPherson, Christina A.
Date 2009-2010
Year Range from 2009.0
Year Range to 2010.0
Search Terms Spanish American Catholic Center
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