Archdiocese of Milwaukee 15 Year Average Mass Count December 2015 [Should Hit Zero by 2040!]
[A microcosm of the AmChurch macrocosm?]
Posted by Terrence Berres on 3/6/16 at BadgerCatholic.blogspot.com/2016/03/archdiocese-of-milwaukee-15-year.html
This report is posted at our Archdiocese’s website.
Counted Sunday Mass attendance declined from 224,953 in 2001 to 139,626 in 2015 [out of about 625,293 Catholics in the Archdiocese, or about 22% attendance]. The total decrease was 85,327, or 30%.
The average attendance decrease was about 5,688 per year. If that numerical average rate of decline continues, I calculate attendance will be zero in 2040. The report does not include any demographic breakdown. My subjective impression is Mass attendees are aging along with me, and we’ll all be dead or otherwise unable to attend by 2040.
The report shows a 1,326 increase from 2014 to 2015. While that might be that start of a trend, there was a larger increase of 2,146 between 2009 and 2010 which was not. These are the only year-to-year increases since 2001.
Overall membership numbers vary. The hard number is 2014 Status Animarum Membership of 462,503. Kennedy Report 2015 Membership refers, I assume, to The Official Catholic Directory published by P.J. Kenedy & Sons, and shows membership of 568,448. The Archdiocese’s report there says “(CARA = 10% Higher)” which I interpret to mean The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate estimates actual membership at 10% higher than the “Kennedy” figure, or about 625,293.
Mass attendance percentage varies depending on the membership number used. The higher the membership, the lower the attendance percentage.
The CARA estimate is probably the basis for membership numbers currently used publicly by our Archdiocese, such as “over 600,000 Catholics” in the blurb for the 2016 Catholic Stewardship Appeal at the foot of the Bishops page at its website. It wasn’t so long ago that the soft number used was 700,000. That’s the number that still appears at the Faith In Our Future page at its website.
This May it will be 20 years since I went through “discernment” for Parish Council. The only issue I raised, or “surfaced”, was increasing Mass attendance. Our then-pastor was adamantly opposed. If not eye-opening, that was eye-focusing.
(via our current pastor’s column in today’s bulletin)
P.S. After posting the above, I recalled this 2006 post at my blog about a conference on evangelization at our Archdiocesan headquarters, and on an article on it by Sam “stoic expressions” Lucero. In the post I noted the rate total Church membership in our Archdiocese was then reported to be declining and extrapolated from that rate to zero membership by … 2040.