Ethnic personal parishes are the most common variety of contemporary personal parishes in the United States. They enable Catholics (usually, Catholics of color) to unify along the lines of shared ethnicity and experience, generating a meaningful parish family. This chapter introduces the idea of the territorial parish as a generalist organization, designed to meet the diverse needs of all in its midst, and that of the personal parish as a named, specialist organization. Personal parishes intentionally serve a more narrow purpose. They embed an institutional desire to preserve and retain particular strands of cultural Catholicism. Personal parishes become specialist organizations via decree, not merely via grassroots behavior. Ethnic personal parishes reveal that integrated, multiracial congregations are not the only institutional strategy to accommodate racial diversity. Heterogeneous populations and uneven integration in territorial parishes begs the need for a non-assimilative organizational form that may cater to specific Catholics.
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