“Forming Intentional Disciples” by Sherry Wendell gives some interesting statistics about attendance at Mass. Those considered the builder generation, born in 1943 or before, attendance at Mass was 45%. The boomer generation, those born between 1944 and 1964, attend Mass 20% of the time. The Generation Xers, folks born between 1965 and 1984 have 13% attendance rate. The Millennials are those born since 1985 attend Mass only 10% of the time.
This information is not meant to scare us into a panic, but it’s meant to help the Church, all of us, to consider other avenues for being a thriving church in the future. We have to recognize that the faith will not be handed down as in the past through the Sacramental hooks, (Marriages and Baptisms), cultural or peer pressure (Italian, Irish or friends hanging out), nor by family’s ties.
The Catholicism in the future will have to be one based in a person choosing to be a disciple, an intentional disciple, rather than one who is a Catholic because of the culture. The future of the Catholic Church is for individual members to have personal relationship to Christ. Most people desire a relationship with someone, not with an institution. This personal relationship is what the Apostles shared and Popes and Saints proclaimed throughout the history of the Church. So let’s discover if it is possible to claim it for ourselves and the future of the Catholic Church.
Blessings… Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT: Do the stats above ring true in rural Iowa? What is my percentage of attendance at Mass? Is the culture supportive for me to attend Mass? Do I desire a “personal relationship” with Christ?