WILMINGTON — A group of Wilmington Catholics are hoping an idea hatched in Buffalo will bring attention to the faith and the historic churches in the Diocese of Wilmington.
They are organizing a “Mass mob,” a gathering of Catholics at one of the churches in the diocese. The church will be announced ahead of time, and the pastor will be notified so there are sufficient number of hosts for Communion. Rich Sisca, a Wilmington resident, is one of the organizers in the diocese. The idea began in Buffalo and has spread to Detroit, Cleveland and other cities.
“What these people have done is basically spread the word. It’s grown to hundreds of people picking the church and going to Mass,” he said.
Sisca said he saw an article in the Wall Street Journal about the movement, which got him thinking. Events in Detroit had drawn hundreds to churches where the average Sunday Mass attracted 50 or fewer parishioners. Many of the churches boomed at one time, but their numbers have dwindled.
“I said, ‘Geez, this is exactly what we have here in Wilmington. Let’s try to get people into these old churches and maybe stimulate interest in our faith,’” he said.
The group wanted to start with one of the older churches, and they selected St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception at Sixth and Pine streets in Wilmington. The pastor, Father Leonard Klein, and his associate, Father John McVoy, are on board, and announcements have run in parish bulletins. The Knights of Columbus have helped spread the word. The first Mass mob will be on Nov. 24 at 10:15 a.m. at St. Mary’s.
St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception was consecrated by St. John Neumann in 1858, when Wilmington was part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Father McVoy will give a short talk about the church following the Mass.
Sisca requests that people contact him if they plan on attending. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (302) 509-9930.