Donald Kerwin directs the Center for Migration
Studies of New York (CMS).
Mary Gautier is Senior Research Associate at
the Center for Applied Research in the
Apostolate (CARA).
 Introduction to Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative
 The importance of immigrants to the Catholic Church; trends in
migration; and opportunities/challenges for Catholic institutions
 Lessons from Catholic Church’s historical and current work with
 Working towards a Catholic vision of integration
 Questions and Answers
The Challenge for Catholic Institutions
“Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, ‘In truth, I see that
God shows no partiality.” Acts 10:34.
If it’s true and we’re all children of God with equal dignity,
the challenge for Catholic institutions is:
 How to promote the full participation of immigrants and
their progeny in Catholic institutions and the larger
 How to respond to the gifts, contributions, leadership and
needs of immigrants as the Catholic Church once did?
Catholic Institutions: Honoring their
History and Mission
“A century ago, the Church responded generously to the needs of
immigrants: building parishes and schools, establishing a vast array
of charitable institutions, evangelizing newcomers, and being
evangelized in turn …” (USCCB 2000)
“I dream of a missionary option … capable of transforming
everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things,
times and schedules, languages and structures can be suitably
channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than her
self preservation.” Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium.
Catholic Immigrant Integration
This multi-year initiative asks:
 Have Catholic institutions lost their “special connection” to
immigrant communities?
 Can Catholic institutions respond to the gifts, contributions,
leadership, and needs of immigrants as they once did?
 How can Catholic institutions expand and strengthen their work
in serving, empowering and contributing to immigrant
Goals of the Catholic Immigrant
Integration Initiative
Study and assess the work of Catholic and other faithbased institutions with immigrants
Develop a vision of integration grounded in the Catholic
experience and teaching
Document, disseminate and expand successful programs,
ministries and practices
Make immigrant integration a unifying, collective priority of
Catholic and other faith traditions
Structure of Catholic Immigrant Integration
Coordinated by CMS, with working groups devoted
to research, parish-based organizing and
integration metrics.
Guided by advisory council of leaders of diverse
institutions, programs and ministries.
For more information, visit:
US Immigrants by the Numbers
 Foreign-born (41 million) and their minor children at
home (17 million) represent 18 percent of the US
 650,000 admitted in 2013 on family-based visas
 160,000 admitted via employment-based visas, but
only 5,000 visa reserved for “unskilled”
 120,000: refugees/asylees “adjustment” to LPR status
 45,000: diversity visas
 14,000: others
Unauthorized Immigrants
The 11 million unauthorized population includes:
 Most of the 4.4 million persons found to qualify for a family-based visa, but
waiting in the queue to receive it (Bergeron 2013).
Fourteen percent who are potentially eligible for permanent status but do
not know it or otherwise have not pursued it (Wong et al. 2014).
 1.9 million persons with 20 years or more of US residency, 1.6 million with
15 to 19 years, and 3.1 million with 10 to 14 years (Warren 2014).
 3.9 million parents of US citizens or LPRs, and 1.5 million persons brought
to the United States as children (Warren 2014).
5.2 percent of the US workforce, 28 percent below the poverty line.
Immigrants and the Catholic Church:
Past and Present
 In 1920, 75 percent of US Catholics came from six
immigrant groups (Dolan 1992).
 Since 1960, Hispanics alone have accounted for 71 percent
of the growth in US Catholics (Ospino 2014).
 Between 2005 and 2010, Hispanics comprised 40 percent of
the growth of registered parishioners (Gray, Gautier and
Cidade 2011).
Source: U.S. Census, 2010
Migration – Rust Belt to Sun Belt
Source: The Official Catholic Directory, respective years
Migration – Urban Core to Suburbs
Source: The Changing Face of U.S. Catholic Parishes, 2011
The Challenge of Language for Ministry
Source: The Changing Face of U.S. Catholic Parishes, 2011
Source: The Changing Face of U.S. Catholic Parishes, 2011
Hispanics and the Catholic Church
Hispanics and Hispanic Catholics in the U.S. Population, 2010
Hispanic, Latino
Affiliation %
Source: Cultural Diversity in the Catholic Church in the United States, 2014
More Baptisms than Funerals
Indicate Growth
Source: The Changing Face of U.S. Catholic Parishes, 2011
Immigrants, their Progeny, and the Church
in the United States
Less Access to Catholic schools
Did you ever attend a Catholic school or college
for any of your education? (Percentage “Yes”)
Did you ever attend a Catholic school or college
for any of your education? (Percentage “Yes”)
PreVatican II
(b. <1943)
Vatican II
middle, or
junior high
High school
College or
Source: American Catholics in Transition, 2013
middle, or
junior high
High school
College or
A Convergence of Needs and Gifts
Catholic institutions substantially serve immigrants, although far more
can be done.
Catholic institutions can be renewed and revitalized by the gifts and
contributions of immigrants, including youth.
Catholic institutions need to open themselves more fully to immigrants
and, in particular, the second and third generations.
Despite the “advantage” of Catholic schools, only three percent of
Latino children attended them in 2009 (Notre Dame Task Force 2009).
Do Catholic Institutions Still Matter?
Yes, the Catholic institutional infrastructure remains
robust. Among other institutions:
 Catholic hospitals and health care centers served 93
million person in 2012 (P.J. Kennedy & Sons 2012).
 Catholic legal immigration programs represent
250,000 persons per year, and resettlement programs
resettle 16,000 refugees per year.
Do Catholic Institutions Still Matter?
 18,000 Catholic parishes provide a wide range of pastoral
and social services (Gray, Gautier and Cidade 2011).
 Catholic Charities serve one in ten persons in poverty each
year (Gautier and O’Hara 2012)
 More than 1.4 million attend Catholic elementary school,
600,000 attend Catholic high schools, and 940,000 attend
Catholic colleges and universities (McDonald and Schultz
2012, ACCU 2014)
Lessons from Past and Present Ministries
Ecclesial integration is vital to the Catholic Church’s success at integrating
immigrants into the broader society.
Proportional Hispanic leadership leads to increased parish registration, more
parental involvement in faith formation, greater parish stability (Ospino 2014).
Inter-relationship between culture (including language), immigrant religious
practices and faith.
The Catholic Church needs to reach the workplace, where immigrants spend
vast amounts of their time.
The Catholic Church’s ability to promote integration depends on its success in
integrating its diverse ministries.
The Role of Women
Vowed religious women established and staffed the
schools, hospitals, orphanages, charities and other
institutions “required by a separatist Catholic state.”
(Morris 1997).
“Women are inveterate builders.” (Sr. Patricia Ebegbulem
“Women are purveyors of values.” (Sr. Rosita Mileisi
Is Catholic Teaching Still Relevant?
Bishops’ Program of Social Reconstruction 1919:
 Equal pay for women
 Family living wage
 Right to organize
 Health, unemployment and old age insurance
 Municipal health clinics for the poor
Underlying Values: Hospitality and
“How can the baptized claim to welcome Christ if they close the
door to the foreigner who comes knocking?” John Paul II, 1999.
“No country is a host. God is the host. Everybody else is a
traveler, steward or guest.” (Cardinal Tagle 2014).
Hospitality is not a matter of one group welcoming another, it is
about building a home for all.
Requires full participation in and ownership of Catholic
Call to Communion
The Catholic Church’s mission is to gather together God’s
scattered children. (Jn. 11:52).
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free
man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in
Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
“He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace
to those who were near, for through him we both have access in
one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and
sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and
members of the household of God.” (Eph. 2: 17-19).
Working Toward a Catholic Vision
of Integration
It seeks unity modeled on Trinitarian communion and based on lifegiving beliefs and values found imperfectly in all cultures.
The Catholic Church seeks to promote a “culture open to universal
solidarity and life.” (Bishop Muandula 2014).
It seeks to humanize and evangelizes both native and immigrant cultures.
It seeks unity, not uniformity or assimilation into a dominant culture.
Integral development – allowing each person and the whole (social and
spiritual) person to flourish.
Immigrants integrate, not institutions: “migrants and refugees are not
pawns on the chessboard of humanity (Francis 2014).
Working Toward a Catholic Vision of
Integration (Continued)
Communion doesn’t turn on immigration status: “It is against the
common good and unacceptable to have a double society, one visible with
rights and one invisible without rights – a voiceless underground of
undocumented persons.” (NCCB 1986).
Integration must address sense of displacement and marginalization of
newcomers and natives.
Service, work for social justice, and leadership development are forms of
But even if justice fully realized, we still need to “bring about union of
minds and hearts.” (Rerum Novarum 137).
Migration as Opportunity
for Communion
Are immigrants a problem?
“[M]igrants and refugees … are an occasion that Providence
gives us to help build a more just society, a more perfect
democracy, a more united country, a more fraternal world and a
more open and evangelical Christian community. Migration can
offer possibilities for a new evangelization, open vistas for the
growth of a new humanity foreshadowed in the paschal mystery:
a humanity for which every foreign country is a homeland and
every homeland is a foreign country.” Pope Francis 2013.
US Catholic Institutions and Immigrant Integration: Will
the Church Rise to the Challenge?
By Donald Kerwin, with Breana George
To order book, please go to:
To learn more about the Catholic Immigrant Integration
Initiative, please see:
Donald Kerwin directs the Center for Migration Studies of New
York (CMS).
CMS is an educational institute/think tank devoted to the study of
international migration, to the promotion of understanding
between immigrants and receiving communities, and to public
policies that safeguard the dignity and rights of migrants, refugees
and newcomers. CMS is a member of the Scalabrini International
Migration Network (SIMN), a global network of more than 270
entities that provide services to migrants, including shelters along
migrant corridors and welcoming (integration) centers in transit
and receiving communities.
Learn more about the Center for Migration Studies at
Mary Gautier is Senior Research Associate at the Center for Applied
Research in the Apostolate (CARA).
CARA is a national, non-profit, Georgetown University affiliated research
center that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church.
Founded in 1964, CARA has three major dimensions to its mission:
 to increase the Church's self-understanding
 to serve the applied research needs of Church decision-makers
 to advance scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism
CARA’s longstanding policy is to let research findings stand on their own
and never take an advocacy position or go into areas outside its social
science competence.
Learn more about CARA at

Tepeyac Institute Presentation, June 14, 2008: Catholic