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Living Our Faith: Increasing Mass attendance

People pray during a Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in the Queens borough of New York City. We don't always know why people do or do not come to Mass. Nonetheless, parishes can take special steps to improve attendance. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

How do we, as Catholics, make our parishes, liturgies, programs and processes more appealing to Catholics and non-Catholics alike?
The answer is relatively simple: Welcome. Invite. Include. Empower. Appreciate. Celebrate.
For a parish to be truly vibrant, it must accompany as well as challenge its members.
Sunday liturgies become more inviting if basic needs are met, children are welcomed and weekly preparation for Sunday Mass is done by all parishioners.



Is it the Our Father or the offertory hymn? The sign of peace or the petitions? Which part of the Mass are Catholics most engaged with, and which parts lack participation?
In January 2018, Dan Meloy of The Michigan Catholic reported the findings of a study conducted by two Detroit-based researchers, John Ligas and Sacred Heart Major Seminary professor Michael McCallion.
Ligas and McCallion observed 35 liturgies across 10 parishes, three in the Archdiocese of Chicago and the others in the Detroit’s northern suburbs.
“The pair discreetly took notes on who at Mass was actively participating in the Our Father, the opening, closing and communal hymns, the Gloria and the responsorial psalm along with other parts of the liturgy,” Meloy wrote.
A summary of the research “boils down to the idea that Catholics are more apt to verbally participate in parts of the Mass that are more ritualized, such as the Our Father,” Meloy noted.
“The response to the general intercession had the highest rate of response and participation, while more ‘changeable’ parts of the Mass, such as the hymns, psalms or the pastor asking the congregation to greet one another, tended to have low rates of participation.”
Ligas and McCallion plan to expand their research to further assist pastors and music ministers and also look at Hispanic and Tridentine Masses.
Read the fully story at www.themichigancatholic.org/2018/01/ritual-consistency-lead-singing-mass-study-suggests.