Living Devotions explores how a particular community has creatively negotiated its religious bonds of connection in the context of immigration. These matters cannot be studied in the abstract. Religious practice is not something separate from the economic, cultural, and psychological dimensions of life, but rather something integral, which shapes and is being shaped by all of these other realities. The author examines these dynamics through an ethnographic case study of the living devotions of a group of Italian Catholic immigrants to San Pedro, California. The narrative describes how the group's historical experiences of immigration and fishing find expression in their particular forms of prayer, art, artifacts, and food. The healing and transformative power of these shared religious practices is explored.
As contemporary theologians, pastors, and congregations seek to welcome and care for immigrants and other strangers in a shifting social landscape, we need ways to engage in care-full and attentive relationships. The ethnographic method employed here suggests a way to lift up the voices of ordinary people, allowing them to tell their own stories, while piecing together emerging bits of theological wisdom and compelling care practices. While the particular insights of any community are situated and specific, theological reflection in one context can animate a broader discussion of transformative pastoral theology and practice.