University of Nevada Press


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ISBN: 978-0-87417-760-2
Binding: [Hardcover]
Pages: 384
Publication date: 9/2008
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Sacramento and the Catholic Church
Shaping a Capital City
This work examines the interplay between the city of Sacramento and the Catholic Church since the 1850s. Avella uses Sacramento as a case study of the role of religious denominations in the development of the American West. In Sacramento, as in other western urban areas, churches brought civility and various cultural amenities, and they helped to create an atmosphere of stability so important to creating a viable urban community. At the same time, churches often had to shape themselves to the secularizing tendencies of western cities while trying to remain faithful to their core values and practices.

Besides the numerous institutions that the Church sponsored, it brought together a wide spectrum of the city’s diverse ethnic populations and offered them several routes to assimilation. Catholic Sacramentans have always played an active role in government and in the city’s economy, and Catholic institutions provided a matrix for the creation of new communities as the city spread into neighboring suburbs. At the same time, the Church was forced to adapt itself to the needs and demands of its various ethnic constituents, particularly the flood of Spanish-speaking newcomers in the late twentieth century.

"...this is a substantive and valuable contribution to Catholic studies, urban history, and the historiography of the American West." —American Catholic Studies

"This crisply written, engaging book shows how Sacramento and the Catholic Church shaped each other and offers a model for writing about religion's influence in western cities." —American Historical Review

"This book is very readable and accessible to laypeople and scholars alike, and is highly recommended for academic libraries, as well as urban parish libraries, especially in the Western United States."
Catholic Library World

"Sacramento and the Catholic Church is a pleasure to look at and to read. . . . Scholars of Sacramento, California, the west and the American Catholic history will want this book." —Catholic Southwest