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A Project of the Center for Faith & Public Life funded by the Hagedorn Foundation and the Jesuit Conference. Our research team held two focus groups at two different Catholic parishes on Long Island, New York (NY) and used a cluster analysis and term frequency index to analyze the outcomes of these discussions. Specifically, we examined common frames, or ways that we see the world, surrounding the topic of immigration. Our findings indicate that, when framed in terms of religion and local experience, a more positive and empathetic discussion of immigration emerges. Alternatively, when participants discussed immigration in terms of government or institutional frame, a qualitatively more negative dialogue develops. Further, our research identifies tensions that arise for parishioners when priests introduce political issues directly into religious services. These findings indicate broader concerns among congregants related to the separation of Church and state that has implications for how Catholic Church organizes for immigration reform in the United States (U.S.) and invites parishioners into dialogue around hotly contested social and political political issues. This toolkit, responding to this project's findings provides a means for Catholic congregations to engage in faith-based discussions about the issue of immigration outside of formal religious services.


Copyright 2016 Center for Faith & Public Life, Fairfield University

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Jocelyn Boryczka and David Gudelunas (2016). Strangers as Neighbors Toolkit: One Parish One Community - A guide for Engaging United States Catholic Congregations in Difficult Dialogues. Center for Faith and Public Life, Fairfield University.