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Sociologist addresses challenges of multicultural parishes

A leading Jesuit sociologist in the United States has said that the ideal parish situation for new migrants is not a multicultural parish, but their own ethnic parish.

Fr John A. Coleman SJ told an audience at the Archdiocesan seminary in Chicago that becoming a truly multicultural church requires "much effort and ingenuity".

He said that where necessity dictates multicultural parishes, the values achieved in an ethnic parish should be regarded as a model for each cultural subunit in the parish. He added that multiethnic parishes "work best if there are only two or at most three ethnic groups involved."

Fr Coleman is a professor of social values at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.