Unreported good news?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Jan 09, 2004

This is only my personal observation-- call it anecdotal evidence-- but I'm beginning to think I notice a trend.

At the little chapel where I attend Mass almost every weekday, the attendance at daily Mass has been rising, slowly but steadily, ever since I began going there.

The same thing was true of the parish where I attended weekday Mass regularly before we moved. And the parish before that. And the one before that. In fact, over the past 20 years, and a half-dozen different churches in several different towns, it's always been the same: Mass attendance on Sunday is dropping, but during the week the church is getting more crowded.

Is my experience unusual? If you're at Mass every day, have you noticed the same trend? This isn't just a rhetorical question; I'm going to put a survey on the CWN site this weekend.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - Jan. 15, 2004 9:03 AM ET USA

    Having attended daily Mass for a few years since becoming Catholic, in many different parishes, I too, see many of the same faces each day. What I've hardly ever seen is children either attending or ministering. This to me is the saddest simply because most of these morning chapels and churches are within a few yards of many a parish school and Mass usually is over before the school starts its day. So who's not encouraging these children to attend? And we wonder where the vocations are.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 13, 2004 11:05 PM ET USA

    I realize this may give scandal, but I far prefer the quiet weekday Mass without all of the altar girls/"Communion Ministers"/lectoresses changing Sacred Scripture/etc. There was a time when Sunday Masses in my area were so consistently awful that I skipped them and went on weekdays, taking this to Confession each week. I would willingly exchange a small, quiet, early-morning weekday Mass at a convent for most Sunday Masses.

  • Posted by: visions - Jan. 12, 2004 9:44 AM ET USA

    Having a choice of 6:45AM and a Noontime Mass I very often see the same people at one or the other. There's exposition from 11 to 12 on every Friday, so that Mass is well attended. I also attend a 7AM Mass on Saturday, another parish also see the same people there aswell. Three different Masses at three different parishes. My husband calls me a church gypsy.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 10, 2004 5:06 PM ET USA

    Yes, I agree, daily Mass attendance is up. Our parish with about 10,000 souls currently has aobut 60/70 at the 8, up from about 30/40 5 years ago - as best I can recall. At daughter's parish in Vir Beach, it is SRO in the small side chapel. They have about 15,000 and a monastery for support. Am worrying about a son who is simply disgusted with the Sunday "showtime" I am not sure it all means a whole lot. It may be more desperation at daily Mass than anything else.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 10, 2004 1:58 PM ET USA

    I know one lady who goes to Mass only on weekdays because she can't handle the Sunday circus. Joseph

  • Posted by: Jim E - Jan. 10, 2004 10:32 AM ET USA

    Both Sunday and daily Mass attendace apperd to be staying the same at my parish. Although our pastor is a very spiritual person, little is said to encourage Mass attendance during the week. Our bishop appears to care less about Mass attendance either on Sunday or daily. The point is - There is little or no encouragement by the clergy ( or Catholic schools)to have people attend Mass reguarly. Why?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 09, 2004 11:35 PM ET USA

    I've had the same experience as Psalms. Weekday Masses are we have only the celebrant, the extraordinary ministers and altar servers aren't around. The Mass is reverent and one can pray. Sunday Masses are unfortunately more like penance. I haven't noticed an increase in daily Mass. The problem is that even though we have good, traditional priests our parish is plagued with rad femmes and that includes religious. They sabatoge our priests every change they get.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 09, 2004 11:21 PM ET USA

    I must agree with Psalms. Daily Mass is often the only liturgy where one can *pray* and meditate on Christ's sacrifice. Sunday Mass seems to be more of a show. One big difference: ALL the people at daily Mass WANT to be there, know why they're there. And assisting at daily Mass deepens one's faith, so there is a benign synergy: the more you go, the more you want to go.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 09, 2004 8:45 PM ET USA

    Have you considered that attendance may be increasing because you are going there? Maybe YOU are the attraction! I'll give you my church's address.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 09, 2004 6:25 PM ET USA

    Attending a Sunday Mass and a weekday Mass in the nearby Parish has the difference of day and night. On Sunday anywhere from 5-10 people are are in the santuary doing their thing. During the week that narrows down to 3-4. While music may be a part of the liturgy during the week the full "orchestra" isn't around. You can actually pray on weekdays whereas on the weekend, greeters make sure all are welcome and instruments and bells warming up gives no quiet time for personal prayer.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 09, 2004 6:15 PM ET USA

    I haven't noticed any substantial change in daily Mass attendance, but that may because the Pastor is on the liberal side and gives a homily that is less than inspirational. In the last year they have decreased the number of daily masses by eliminating tuesday and thursday.

  • Posted by: Gil Bailie - Jan. 09, 2004 5:08 PM ET USA

    I have had a very similar experience over the course of the last 25 years. Daily Mass attendance grows, and the faith of those in attendance is more palpable. Sunday Masses, sadly, continue to be rather more perfunctory. Intentionality may be the key. Thanks for noticing this subtle trend. It has promising implications.