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I'm sure a strange topic to post here on CM, but I see more and more the number of parishiners that attend masses weekly dwindle more and more every year. Within the past five years, there has been a total shakeup of the Catholic Churches in my area, as well as others that I read about. Many of the churches have been combined, some because of the lack of priests, others because of the lack of registration for the schools, but mostly I think mostly because of the lack of commitment by those who claim to be of Catholic faith that fail to support their parish. Even at my own parish, I've seen the 9:00 mass, which is usually the most crowded, go from 'packing them in' to now almost 2/3 empty. I can understand the hardships of the economy and not being able to financially contribute as much as we think we should (I for one am one of them as I recently lost my job and my budget has lowered the amount I give), but if this is so, why would this be a reason to abandon your faith? Going to church and expressing your faith have nothing to do with how much money you give.
The recent 'criminal' acts of some of our parish priests and leaders has caused quit a stir. A lot of the parishiners that I talk to are scared that one of the accused may be in their church and they want nothing to do with it. They seek other churches or simply stop going all together. I stop by the grocery store after church to get a few things and people that I know from the church are in there, rather than at the church. I was an avid volunteer of the athletic program and a soccer coach for the parish for almost 8 years and I know quite a few of the parents that bring their children to practice don't go to church, but they send their children to the school.
It is a mystery to me why we claim to be catholics, but fail to practice the only thing that is asked of us, to attend mass. And not just for the holidays. There's not a seat in the house on Easter Sunday or Christmas Day. Has the media and the government done our religion/faith in? My monsignor apologizes every week for the misguidance and criminal acts that his fellow colleagues, classmates, and students have committed and is utterly humbled and embarrassed by the findings. But is this enough reason to abandon our faith? or has life in general become to busy and complicated to give time to worship our Lord?
Just throwing this out there for some discussion.
I posted this in another thread: emergingmodels.org
According to polls, the percentage of self-identified Catholics who attend mass weekly has not changed significantly since 2000. The number of American Catholics has increased since 2000, so the number attending church every week is up (if people are telling the truch to the pollsters.) The number of parishes has declined as big parishes have replaced smaller ones. There was not a drop-off after the abuse scandals of the 2000s.
Depends on the parish I think. I tend to go to very conservative traditional leaning parishes and all the masses are 3/4 full or better. Our Lady of Peace Shrine in Santa Clara is an amazing example of what good priests along with 24 hour adoration can do for a parish as they have masses basically all day on Sunday and every single one is packed, some to the point of many standing outside the church! People are searching for the truth, more and more so as technology continues to speed ahead and leaving us with still no answer to the question "why are we here". The Catholic Church has that answer and the truth, and if we do our jobs of being lights to the truth than a real practicing faithful won't be far off!
I live in an area of the country where there are far fewer Catholics than in some other places. But, even here, I would say that our parish is going strong.
Now, I will say that I rarely go to Sunday mass lately. But, I DO go to daily mass twice a week, a group book study and a group bible study. So, maybe fewer people are going to the mass you attend, but they may be at church at other times of the week. Just a thought.
Wish I could relate to what you describe. But where I live, Catholism is spilling out of its seams. The masses I've attended, and they include 3 churches within a 100 mile radius, are alive and full of faith. Its great to be Catholic and I am proud to feel the faith.
Where I grew up, in some places there were three Catholic churches within a 1-2 mile radius.
Must not have been in Oklahoma?
Wilmington, DE. Boston is (was) also like that, as, I suspect, were many of the cities along the east coast. I suspect there's at least one place in Tulsa where you will fing 3 Catholic churches within a 5 mile radius.