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A different type of immigrant: Boston parish ministers to Brazilians


Young people from St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Everett, Mass., pose with a Facebook frame promoting their parish's Facebook page. The parish is home to the second-largest community of Brazilian Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston. (CNS photo/courtesy St. Anthony of Padua Parish Facebook page)

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CNS) -- When Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini founded the Missionaries of St. Charles in 1887, he intended his priests to minister to Italians emigrating to America. He would not have imagined more than a century later that his priests would be working in the United States to welcome Hispanic, Brazilian and Caribbean migrants.

Father Carlos Barbosa, a Scalabrinian priest originally from Brazil, was sent to St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Everett, Massachusetts, to help minister to the Brazilian community. He spoke to Catholic News Service while attending a meeting of Scalabrinian priests in Vancouver.

"We are the second-largest Brazilian parish (in the Archdiocese of Boston)," said Father Barbosa.

Nine hundred families called the parish home. Of those, 400 are Brazilian families; the rest are Italian, Hispanic or American.

Father Barbosa said two different waves of Brazilian immigration were reflected in the demographics of the parish.

"There was a long-established Brazilian community in the parish, but in the last two years or so we have noticed a lot of new faces in the congregation."

More recent immigrants tended to be university-educated professionals, many of whom had come to the United States without legal immigration papers. Longer established immigrants tended to be "working class Brazilians who worked hard to make a better life," said Father Barbosa.

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