Dwindling congregations?
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,063
    We also need to move away from the mindset that merely having butts in pews (financially contributing or not) is sufficient. The Church rested on that assumption for at least the last sixty years and it's resulted in a generation that sees zero point in liturgy or, indeed, Catholicism.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,411
    observed that not attending Mass has had no negative effect on their lives
    Most people, unfortunately, are very unobservant. They may well have failed to observe the deleterious effects, which are likely to emerge only slowly.
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen Elmar tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,956
    . For them, the realization is one of, "Huh... church doesn't seem that important because I've gone a year without it and I'm not any worse off."


    Could our leaders come to the realization they screwed up and have been doing the wrong things? Nah! It will never happen. Our bishops and priests will continue rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as the church in the U.S. slowly sinks.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen tomjaw
  • Elmar
    Posts: 503
    quality worship and catechesis and social activities
    Define, please.
    Quality worship:
    which makes you feel and understand that it is good (i.e. essential) for man to worship God
    Quality catechesis:
    which leads to understanding the teaching of the Church, and why that is good for man
    Quality social activities:
    which are charitable rather than orbiting around 'us nice and interesting people'
    (everyone is welcome, unless you criticise the pastor or the parish council)
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,041
    Don't underestimate the need for social activities for the sake of socializing, which serves the good of friendship. Young single Catholics have difficulty finding suitable places to meet potential spouses and make Catholic friends of like mind. Catholic families need to be with other Catholic families so their kids can socialize with adults and other kids who have similar worldviews. Catholic parishes need to think about forming intentional communities of support for each other to weather the hostile changes in society. If Catholics feel that they are on their own, they are at risk of losing faith.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,781
    Don't underestimate the need for social activities for the sake of socializing, which serves the good of friendship.


    Amen. I played for a parish that was an hour away from my home for about a year or so and didn't really know anyone. I was happy there, and the people were generically nice to me at donut hour after mass, but I didn't have any friends. One day we had a KoC brunch after the 11am mass and a parishioner whom I didn't know grabbed me by the arm and said, "c'mon. You're sitting over here with us!" God bless this holy woman! She just took it upon herself to bring me into her rather large social circle and introduced me to a bunch of parishioners I had never gotten to know. They all became great friends and I became so emotionally invested in the people at that parish that I still grieve moving away from that area more than three years later because I miss them all and love them all so much. I still keep in contact with them.

    That one kind act—of a parishioner seeking me out and inviting me into her social circle and introducing me to other people at the parish—made all the difference in the world for me. Overnight it changed from being the churched where I worked to my true parish home. I'll never forget the lesson.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 503
    Catholic parishes need to think about forming intentional communities of support for each other to weather the hostile changes in society. If Catholics feel that they are on their own, they are at risk of losing faith.

    Maybe the US is different, but over here society is uninterested rather than hostile - in spite of our pastor (and diocesan youth catechists etc.) saying so all the way but that's not my experience because I've not been living in this country between 1568 and 1853.
    Sometimes it's even harder to keep your faith when you are surrounded by crowds of nice people who are not religious, without apparently missing anything...
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Serviam,

    Did you encounter your wife there?
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,781
    No, I was already married. This woman was a mother of 11 and connected to the entire parish. Her children ranged from 17 to newborn and her eldest sons were altar servers and eldest daughters eventually joined the schola. She is a very dynamic and faith-filled woman and knew everyone at the parish because it had been their home for years and their kids knew all the other kids. She veiled and sat in the front row. I jokingly teased her with the advent of child #10 that she was about to break the pew barrier.

    I had had polite chitchat with umpteen parishioners my first year but always just enjoyed a donut and then slipped out (or perhaps sat with the parish secretary whom I got to know well). I just cannot understate how much of a difference it made to me when she just took me under her wing like the big-hearted mama she is. It changed everything overnight. I now keep my eyes peeled for new faces I can introduce myself too. Unfortunately, with church clearing out immediately due to covid it's been very difficult to return that favor this year.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 690
    For much as I love good liturgy I love to go to a church where i have friends who care about me. Especially to have Christian friendships, where we help each other keep pointing in the right direction!
  • Catherine,

    Those two objectives do not need to be sought in isolation, for they are part and parcel of the same objective: Love God and Love Neighbor.
    Thanked by 2Carol CatherineS
  • Elmar
    Posts: 503
    But they sometimes (in my own experience: too often) come about separately.
    Just two examples, one parish welcoming but 95% 'horizontal' liturgy, vs. our local TLM group that drove me away with their 'catechizing' during what was meant as socializing...
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 690
    My experience is pretty similar to Elmar. I happen to have made my dearest friends at non-TLM parishes, despite strongly preferring the old liturgy. I haven't met anyone doing tedious "catechizing" but for the love of God I need Catholic friends who don't just talk about politics and the Pope. Hobbies? Family? Travel? What you made for dinner? Pray a rosary together? Go for a hike? A great book you've been reading (that isn't about politics or the Pope!!)? I've met great, friendly TLM communities in other cities (where on my first visit I was cheerfully sought out and welcomed!) but the one here is dreadfully "dry".
    Thanked by 2Elmar CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,956
    There are some good people at the TLM mass here. But for reasons I don't quite fathom, that mass has some kind of attraction to some genuine fruits, nuts and flakes. They are paranoid, think the government and Vatican are out to get them, and that they represent some kind of remnant church that will burst forth and save Christianity. Crazy!
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 690
    Breakfast cereal Christianity?
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 275
    So, as of Palm Sunday weekend, the parishes in our diocese can open to 75% capacity. Any ministers during the Mass (priests, deacons, servers, cantors, etc.) can also perform their roles without the wearing of masks if safely distanced from one another.

    Moving in the right direction, I guess.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    Our attendance last night (Anticipated Palm Sunday Saturday) was lower than previous weeks (NB: I'm comparing POST-Lockdown apples with POST-Lockdown apples; the pre-Lockdown numbers aren't my point of comparison) : My guess is that many who normally attend the Saturday Mass were concerned that there would be "too many people" or that it would be "too long", and so stayed home.
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,005
    Salieri: it's likely a combination of both - the combination of duration of time in enclosed space (esp in older buildings without good ventilation activated, a situation common in Catholic churches) with maximum density of people permitted. That's a regular consideration over the last year in discussions among members of my peer cohorts (back side of middle age to onset of early retirement age) in their evaluation of risks. People who are 14 days past their final vaccination are starting to reduce their risk assessments, but most of those people who are not essential are still over 65.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,735
    Our over 65s are in two camps, those that have ignored the lockdown and carried on, they now are refusing offers of the vaccine. The other camp have had their two shots and think that they are invincible. I suspect we have a third camp that we have not seen and they are still terrified into going out.
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,411
    tomjaw - I would hope your congregants contemplated the Four Last Things, at least occasionally, and did not think they were invincible. OTOH a year ago when I responded to queries that at 82 I had a 10% chance of dying in the next twelve months anyway so I ought to be ready, everybody I said this to was discomfited.
    Thanked by 3tomjaw bhcordova CCooze
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,306
    We had our first Sunday over 100 in attendance since COVID today. Moving in the right direction in our neck of the woods
    Thanked by 2Liam CHGiffen
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 275
    The Saturday anticipated and Sunday morning 10:00 a.m. Mass were live-streamed. Last night's Mass had about 40 people in attendance. I didn't get a count of today's congregants, but there were probably as many people as there have been coming to the 10:00 a.m. Mass in the last month or so. I don't go to the Saturday anticipated, so I can't speak if the numbers last night are reflective of an increase, decrease, or no change in numbers.

    I think the increased capacity has some folks scared. An announcement was made on the diocesan Facebook page, and many people commented how it's "too soon" to be opening the churches to more people.

    I'm just happy I was able to attend Palm Sunday Mass in-person this year. I almost cried when singing "All Glory, Laud, and Honor" with the roaring organ. It truly felt like the start of Holy Week to me.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,088
    Young single Catholics have difficulty finding suitable places to meet potential spouses and make Catholic friends of like mind.


    Yes, but while I want good community, the first tends to be prioritized over the second. It's very annoying to realize that most of the single women slowly stop coming to young adult activities on anything resembling a regular basis because they're tired of getting hit on.

    I'd also say that there are all sorts of bad politics which spill in, as most people are unsatisfied with bogstandard Republican politics as well as Rand Paul-style libertarianism. However, a leftist economics that is socially conservative (but not in any way a law-and-order regime) is the popular alternative set against either integralism or at least some sort of more right-wing perspective for those who aren't willing to shed their liberalism, and these groups are not really on the same page.

    Which is related to my next point: we're already there with most of the hostile changes. It's just increasingly obvious that the old order has collapsed.

    The tl;dr is that this sounds good on paper, but there are a lot of real challenges, and I only think that it's going to get worse, because the risk of caving on one or more teachings is very, very real.
  • >> I'm just happy I was able to attend Palm Sunday Mass in-person this year. I almost cried when singing "All Glory, Laud, and Honor"
    It truly felt like the start of Holy Week to me.

    This!!
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,156
    I'm just happy I was able to attend Palm Sunday Mass in-person this year.


    Same here! I got my second COVID shot 2 weeks before Lent started and have been at Mass every Saturday since! It feels so good to be at Mass!
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,041
    This article is relevant to the discussion. The survey it reports on has been in the news for the past two days, so there are lots of articles about the numbers and the trend in America towards religious affiliation and church membership, never mind active participation in a faith community, becoming a small minority in the country.

    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2021/03/29/report-church-membership-among-catholics-declined-nearly-20-since-2000/
  • Catherine,

    My dad (who grew up in England) used to tell us of a special "prayer" which he found mildly amusing and offputting at the same time:

    Lord, make me not like porridge, stodgy and hard to stir.
    Make me rather like cornflakes: crispy and ready to serve.