Santa Muerte in The United States
As of 2009, devotion to Santa Muerte has been on the rise in the United States for the past ten years or so, mostly following the millions of Mexicans who have immigrated to the country. Evidence of devotion to her can be seen anywhere there is a large Mexican community, such as New York City, Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Tucson and Los Angeles. There are fifteen officially registered religious groups dedicated to her in Los Angeles alone, which includes the Temple of Santa Muerte.
Many are true believers, but a number identify with the image for cultural heritage reasons. For this reason, young people, housewives and grandmothers now purchase the icon and speak publicly about their faith.
In Northern California, her popularity has spread well beyond the Latino community: The Santisima Muerte Chapel of Perpetual Pilgrimage is maintained by a woman of Danish-American descent.
As in Mexico, some elements of the Catholic Church in the United States are trying to combat Santa Muerte worship, especially in Chicago. But compared to the Catholic Church in Mexico, the reaction in the U.S. is mostly either non-existent or muted. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has not issued an official position on this relatively new phenomenon in the country.
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