Mass Counts Indicate St. John the Baptist is Growing
We have just finished the annual October Mass count. Overall, there was a 31% increase since last year. In 2022, the average Mass attendance was 722. This year the average attendance was 945, an increase of 223 people! Each of our four Masses saw an increase, with our Sunday evening Mass seeing the largest increase of an average of 63 people. The 9:00 AM Sunday Mass continues to be the highest attended with an average of 306. The count is very encouraging.
There is a sizable swing in attendance. The lowest weekend was October 22 with only 880 people at Mass. The highest weekend was October 29 with 1,003 at Mass. Prior to COVID, attendance was around 1,166.
First, I would like to welcome those who have returned to in-person participation at Mass or who have joined our community. Second, a word of thanks to all our regulars who provide the backbone of our worshiping community. Finally, a word of encouragement to those who attend sometimes but not every Sunday. Research indicates that 39% of Catholics attend Mass every week, while 40% attend once or twice a month or less. Sometimes we do not have the choice when we or a family member gets sick or when one has to work on the weekends. Sometimes one is traveling or even attending another parish with family or friends. However, sometimes it is easy to let a bit of laziness or other priorities take precedence over Sunday worship. Going to the gym could be a good analogy. I may not feel like going, but once I am there, I am glad I went and know that I am taking care of my health. The sacraments maintain our spiritual health. Studies show that those who regularly participate at Mass tend to be happier and have a better week. Your presence also improves the quality of our praying together.
When we become a Family of Parishes next July, we will have to examine how many Masses each site will need. The number of priests assigned to our family may limit the number of Masses being offered. With a seating capacity of 450, we certainly do not need four Masses (capacity of 1800 for an average of 945). Three would be nice; two would be a tight fit. I would not envision any immediate change.
In addition to seating capacity, we need an adequate number of liturgical ministers. Currently, we do not have enough to staff four Masses. Some ministers are being asked to serve every weekend. Here is what you can do to help maintain our Masses at St. John the Baptist. First, help us continue the upward trend of attendance. Invite friends and family to attend Mass with you. See if a new neighbor is Catholic and tell them about the parish. Secondly, volunteer for a liturgical ministry. Contact Laurie or myself for more information.