Mass appeal: Recession has the Irish heading to church
Mass attendance goes up as economy goes down
In search of spiritual comfort, Catholics from the U.S. to Ireland are flocking to Mass now that the global economic situation is in crisis.
Catholic leaders around Ireland, north and south, are reporting increases in mass-goers, and many parishes in Ireland have reported up to 30 percent increases in mass attendance in the past few months.
Parish priests are attributing the surge in attendance to the economic recession.
“People are experiencing deep crisis for the first time in their lives," Bishop Joseph Duffy of Clogher, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland told the Catholic News Service. “The pace of this economic collapse has been so swift, I think it is causing people to stop and search; this naturally finds a home in coming back to church.”
In Ireland, where about 1,000 workers lose their job every day, people are reeling from the swift fall from Celtic Tiger times, and are turning toward spirituality during their economic hardship.
“People are seeing the need for deeper values, for moral values that lead on to a search for spiritual values,” said Bishop Duffy. “People are certainly searching for something deeper.”
Father William Peoples of County Donegal cited a 30 percent increase in mass attendance on Easter Sunday and a general noticeable rise in numbers over the past few months.
“The recession certainly has something to do with it,” Father Peoples said. “I suppose we have walked down the road of the Celtic Tiger for many years; we get fed up of a materialistic world and desire more.”
Across the pond, American parishes are noting an increase in Sunday worshippers as well.
Jim Cook, manager of St. Stephen’s Catholic Parish in San Francisco, spoke to IrishCentral about the typical pattern in times of economic hardship, noting that immediately following the Great Depression, attendance at Catholic churches was at an all-time high, and somewhat counter-intuitively, people increased their donations to the Church.
“I think there’s a comfort level. It’s a place you can go and feel good about giving at a time when it’s tough, because your money is going to a good cause,” said Cook.
St. Stephen’s, which has a large Irish congregation, has seen both an increase in Mass-goers and donations.
Cook hypothesizes that another motivation for attending Sunday Mass is to expand a job hunt. “It’s a good chance to talk to your neighbors,” he said. “There are also opportunities for different kinds of networking, perhaps with someone who knows someone else who’s hiring.”
Father Robert O’Connor of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Manhattan has also noticed more faces in the pews during Sunday Mass, with numbers ranging from 1,600 to 1,700.
“There’s a funny saying: When times are really good, Protestants go to Church. When times are really bad, Catholics go to church,” he said.
- Gay teacher fired from Catholic school after...
- Nelson Mandela once considered a terrorist...
- Racist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent...
- Nelson Mandela was against IRA decommissioning.
- Irish radio presenter suspended after anti-Isra
- Unionists regret US envoy Haass’ call for...
- Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne brands new Pope...
- Website attracts 80,000 Irish people ready...
- Photo shows Irish revolutionaries three years...
- Top ten negative terms used to describe Irish...
On the topic of foreigners allegedly undercutting native Irish wages, I have the following to say: 1) I don't think it has been proven that this has bBono, Gerry Adams, President Higgins all remember Mandela as hero
Interesting that of all the people mentioned the only one invited to the funeral was Gerry Adams. All the rest are gate crashing it.The top ten pros and cons of marrying an Irish woman
Hello everybody, my names is Cindy Davis Am from Canada i want to give thanks and honor to Dr.ATILA for the great work he did for me, he brought my loSusan Boyle reveals she has Asperger’s syndrome, high functioning autism
Many thanks for sharing your story, handsome68. It's good to be able to hear about others' experience as life isn't long enough to learn everything we