Religion


Religion

See: CELEBRATIONS, Folk Festival, ART & ARCHITECTURE, CLUBS, ASSOCIATIONS & SOCIETIES

Although the large majority of Italians are Roman Catholics, it is worth remembering that, in reality, not all Italians in Los Angeles are of one religion nor even of one ethnicity (e.g., Italian-Albanians, "Arbresche). Partly due specific faith/ethnic traditions of origin, to assimilation into the mainstream Protestant Christian denominations, or to inter-marriage, the reality is more varied than one might expect. For example, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is Bishop Diocesan, Jon Bruno, ex-policeman, ex-football player, and of Sicilian (and Ethiopian) heritage, and now at Cathedral Center of the Episcopal Church in Echo Park (http://www.ladiocese.org/).

Los Angeles has also had its share of notable Italian Jews: composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968), and˝more recently˝Guido Fink, film critic and former director of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura (http://www.iiclosangeles.esteri.it/) in Westwood from 1999 to 2003 (http://www.dipfilmod.unifi.it/CMpro-v-p-155.html).

But the largest and most visible of Italian religious groups are Italian Roman Catholics. In fact, in an effort to maintain religious traditions more in tune with Italian sensibilities (cf. the Irish stronghold on the Catholic Church in America in the early days of immigration), several efforts have historically been made to support Italian Catholics. The Italian Catholic Federation (IFC), headquartered in Oakland, California, and operating throughout southern California, has represented one such effort to support Italian expressions of Catholicism. St. PeterÝs Church began as a mission church for the community in 1904, instituted by Bishop Conaty "to produce good Catholics according to Italian tradition." It became a dedicated church in 1906, destroyed by fire in 1944, rebuilt and rededicated in 1947. To boost the dwindling Italian community, the Missionaries of St. Charles (the immigrant-oriented Scalabrini order), took over St. PeterÝs Italian Church and inaugurated a period of renewed activity (See: INTRODUCTIONS, An Historical Overview). St. PeterÝs Italian Church is still the only Italian national parish in Southern California, and a place where one can hear mass in Italian and participate in expressions of Italian folk Catholicism (e.g., patron saint feast days). Indeed, many of the early associations formed around St. PeterÝs Church were organized around a patron saint day (See: CLUBS & ASSOCIATIONS, Religious Associations, Patron Saint Societies), and the majority of these societies continue to this day. With Father Giovanni (Bizzotto) in 2003, the Church also evolved beyond its ethnic core, and became a strong proponent of caring for people in need of shelter, food, and clothing in Los AngelesÝ inner cityˇthe majority of whom are Latino. Tody: ýSt. Peter's feeds 150 people daily, provides clothes twice a week to 30 persons, offers medical, moral, spiritual and social services to the most derelict in our societyţ (www.Stpeterschurchla.org ýHistoryţ).