One of the most significant and glaring problems in our Diocese is the sharp decline in church attendance. In many parishes, the unfortunate reality is that churches are less and less full. In 2018, Bishop Raica noted a 20% decrease in Catholics compared to 10 years prior. Deaths outweigh baptisms by a huge factor; marriages are almost never celebrated. The average age of the mass attendee is well over 50. Many factors account for this: an overall cultural rot, lack of children, movement of Catholics out of the Diocese, lack of priest formation, and a disillusioned population of former Catholics whose lack of faith formation caused them to become embittered or selfish, thereby making them disappear from parish life. Sadly, this is rarely discussed from the pulpit or in other venues of a parish. All too often, the pastor of the parish seems like he doesn’t care, is oblivious, or has simply given up on the notion of evangelization.
There is an exception, however, in our Diocese. Last year, we reported on Holy Rosary Church in Cedar (http://gaylordfaithfulnews.org/2019/11/03/a-gaylord-diocese-bright-spot/). This vibrant rural parish is bucking the trend in an astonishing set of statistics. This was noted in the January 19, 2020 bulletin. The bulletin listed information that offers a vital glimpse into the health of the parish family. The following represent 2019 statistics:
- Number of baptisms: 8
- Number of funerals: 5
- Number of marriages: 7
- Number of new individual members: 7
- Number of new families: 10
How does your parish compare? If you have an active and growing parish, please let us know. We would be happy to share it!