During Lent and Holy Week, we counted the number of people who attend Mass each weekend. The numbers below reflect the demographics of our two parishes. They are the averages for the five Sundays of Lent, plus Palm Sunday.
St. Joseph Parish Average
8:00 AM – 60
11:00 AM – 196
Average attendance: 256
Immaculate Conception Parish Average
5:00 PM – 127
9:30 AM – 118
12:30 PM – 72
Average attendance: 317
Holy Week Attendance
Holy Thursday – 105
Good Friday 12:00 noon (IC) – 87
Good Friday 7:00 PM (SJ) – 116
Easter Vigil – 137
Easter Sunday Attendance
8:00 AM (SJ) – 108
9:30 AM (IC) – 242
11:00 AM (SJ) – 278
12:30 PM (IC) – 98
Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Total Attendance: 863
There is an old saying among the clergy that describes the three given times when people most seek the services from a Church. The simple phase is: “Folks look for a Church when they are hatched, matched, and dispatched.”
The meaning behind the three words are: when parents desire to have their baby baptized; when an engaged couple wants to get married; and when a grieving family wishes to respectfully bury their love one.
In the bulletin we regularly present the families that celebrated the sacrament of Baptism at our parishes. We congratulate these young parents that have blessed us with the gift of life, and their willingness to pass their faith onto their children. During our Easter season several children will be welcomed into the Catholic Church.
The number of weddings celebrated in our parish is on the rise as well, especially at St. Joseph church. Our parish staff goes out of their way to make it a pleasant and spiritual experience for the bride and groom. I make a special effort to invite the couple to develop a relationship with the parish during their engagement. I encourage them not to just “rent out our church” for one day, but to have a long-term spiritual relationship with our faith community. I look forward to getting to know them.
The good news is that the bride and groom often respond to the invitation to be actively engaged with our community.
They are often present for our Sunday worship, before and after their wedding. Several couples have graciously offered to help in specific ministries within our parishes.
Studies show that a person will regularly attend a place of worship if they feel that the community has a sense welcome and hospitality. A person often comes through the doors of a church looking for a sense of belonging and acceptance.
This is why before our liturgies begin on Sunday, we take a few seconds to greet and welcome one another to church. It's a simple gesture to foster a sense of community.
We are called to gather as the Body of Christ when we gather for our Sunday worship. Our prayer is not private but one that is shared with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I remember a story a young adult woman told me when I was first ordained as a priest. She was looking for church to call her spiritual home. She tried several parishes,hoping to find the one that would be the right fit. She mentioned to me that she went to a few places where she was stunned that no one even said hello to her. She wondered if it even mattered that she was there? Did anyone notice? Did anyone care? Did her presence make a difference?
Let us be mindful of those who are with us in prayer today. May we take notice of those who are next to us in the pew. Let us pray for those who are with us in spirit, those
visiting us, and new to our parish.
For now, this is the family of faith that God has blessed us with. May the Holy Spirit help us to grow not just in numbers, but in the faith and love we have for one another and our Risen Lord.