Mexican immigrants find a home at Norristown church

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    The documentary “Adelante” focuses on the distinct cultures, traditions, and personalities of the parishioners who have collaborated to revive this church. Noam Osband, producer, director, and editor of “Adelante” joined NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller to discuss the film and Fr. William Murphy, the priest helping to merge the two cultures.

    Norristown was named the county seat when Montgomery County was formed in 1784. Though initially settled primarily by the English, St. Patrick’s Church was formed in 1835 to serve the then-growing number of Irish immigrants. One hundred and seventy-five years on, the Catholic church is still going strong thanks in large part to the influx of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans who now call Norristown home.

    The documentary “Adelante” focuses on the distinct cultures, traditions, and personalities of the parishioners who have collaborated to revive this church.

    Noam Osband, producer, director, and editor of “Adelante” joined NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller to discuss the film and Fr. William Murphy, the priest helping to merge the two cultures.

    To Osband, the church acts as a unique space for differing cultures, “because even though it’s a place where they’re unified by the same religion, it’s a place where people have the ability to really carry on some traditions that are really important to them.” But the modern day culture blending in “Adelante” was not always the norm. He says when Italian immigrants first came to Norristown, the Catholic church was not welcoming, forcing that group to form an Italian-speaking church.

    An integral figure in accepting Mexican immigrants into the church was Fr. Murphy, a bilingual priest who not only welcomed the newcomers, but convinced wary Irish parishioners to do the same. His reasoning was simple. “Like I tell them, this is just a little bit of a foretaste of what we believe what the Kingdom of God is going to be: everyone together of all different languages and colors and backgrounds.

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