Religious Studies Fall2010

During fall 2010, students in the class Latino/Latina Religions are documenting the history of St. Mary’s College for Women and Pre-GED school at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, the Episcopal Cathedral in Dallas, which is experiencing a surge in Latino parishioners. Through work in the archives, interviews with Pre-GED School students and volunteers, and ethnographic work with the parish, the class will produce a history of the church and its programs that will enable the congregation to better understand its multicultural make-up, the historic trends that led to this make-up, and the relationship between the church, its programs and the surrounding community.

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History in the making

SADIE.jpg An update from Sadie, a senior majoring in advertising and foreign languages and literatures:

I was prepared to learn the history of religion; I was not prepared to write the history myself; however, that is what my class is doing. We are becoming historians and taking an active role in our class rather than just reading about it.

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church is full of history, life, and compassion, and that is why we are honored to take on this task. Through my observation of the present congregation, I have learned a lot about how this church is giving back to the community and neighborhood. The church officials are always willing to listen to their parishioners, help parents with their children during Mass, and help immigrants pass their GED test.

Pre-GED school has really made me think about how we can help improve the lives of others. The organization that is run by volunteers is helping immigrants, mostly Hispanic women, get fluent enough in English to pass their GED test. With the help of this organization, these students can go on to college, help their children with their homework, and find better jobs. This is not ESL school; this goes further, just like people should go. The school needs more volunteers, more funding, and a better way to reach the people who require their help.

Our goal is to help with that and turn people’s attention to a better Pre-GED School. In return, we have the gratification of knowing we, too, are helping the Dallas community and making the city a better place.

I’m thrilled to see how this organization will spread and how this all plays into the history of St. Matthew’s.

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