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Mass attendance down 10% in Philadelphia area

April 11, 2011

Sunday Mass attendance has declined 8% in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since 2007 and 12% in the adjacent Diocese of Camden since 2006.

“The diminution in Mass attendance didn’t happen overnight, and I don’t expect that overnight it will suddenly recover,” said Bishop Joseph Galante of Camden. “We haven’t done a good job giving people a grounding in the faith.”

The clerical abuse scandal, he added, “provided a justification [not to attend Mass] for people who were already shaky in their faith.”

Bishop Galante’s desire to create more vibrant parishes through mergers has provoked opposition among some parishioners.

“I disagree with the idea you can convert churches into cash to pay people to make the Church more vibrant,” said Leah Vassallo, an attorney who opposes the closing of her parish church. “You take away everything people consider sacred and say [the church is] just a building. A church is God’s home. A church is consecrated.”


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  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Apr. 12, 2011 2:59 AM ET USA

    Taking a person's beloved and consecrated church away will do little to increase his or her attendance at Mass. If the leadership would stop trying to secularize our church and our faith and instead educate Catholics on knowing and living their faith, I suspect Mass attendance wouldn't be an issue. Regular Catholic Bible study, frequent,tangible works of mercy by the parish, caring for the poor and the sick and Eucharistic Adoration make for a pretty 'vibrant' parish.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Apr. 11, 2011 7:56 PM ET USA

    I asked for stats from our parish and discovered that in the past five years our baptisms have declined by 42%. That is incredible. Is that a trend all over--fewer marriages, fewer kids, fewer baptisms? If so, we are in trouble.