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Fire in the CanyonReligion, Migration, and the Mexican Dream$
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Leah M. Sarat

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814759370

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814759370.001.0001

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Living Crosses

Living Crosses

(p.54) 2. Living Crosses
Fire in the Canyon

Leah Sarat

NYU Press

This chapter examines religious and material change in El Alberto from Catholic perspectives. More specifically, it considers the transformation of El Alberto's patron saint festival and the emergence of a collective labor system that exists today. It explores the dilemma faced by Catholics and other non-evangelicals in El Alberto with respect to keeping their patron saint festival afloat in the face of the increasing number of people converting to Pentecostalism or leaving for the United States. It shows that the town's Catholics attribute socioeconomic development to a diverse combination of political and material causes, rather than religion. It explains how Catholics managed to retain the solidarity-building function of the traditional festivals by transferring it to the secular realm, as El Alberto's system of collective labor came to provide an infrastructure for community projects. The chapter concludes by focusing on how an ethic of collective participation made way for cooperation between Catholics and Protestants as they generate alternatives to migration.

Keywords:   religious change, material change, El Alberto, patron saint festival, collective labor system, Catholics, Pentecostalism, socioeconomic development, Protestants, migration

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