Why must parishes change? A Q&A with a national expert on Families of Parishes – Detroit Catholic: Read Catholic News & Stories

In July, Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit will get their first look at Families of Parishes, which are intended to help parishes remain focused on their missionary identity amid changing demographics. Detroit isn’t the only diocese undergoing changes like this. What have you noticed from a national perspective?  You are absolutely right. Detroit is not unlike Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or any diocese in the Northeast or Midwest. As we saw in the initial findings of the 2020 Census, the population in the United States is changing, and particularly in our part of the country. The European (and largely Catholic) immigration that spurred the founding of so many parishes in the Northeast and Midwest has not been replaced by positive birthrates nor other migration. Migration to places like North Carolina, Texas, and Florida has also contributed to these shifts.  I think it’s important to note that every other part of the country, while not experiencing an overall population decline, is facing some challenges like Detroit, most especially an aging presbyterate, diaconate, and pool of lay professional staff. So while the overall Catholic population is growing in these areas, we are not engaging nearly all the people we could be. For example, in one southern diocese, the population grew 20% over five years, but the Mass attendance has been steadily declining 2% each year.

Why must parishes change? A Q&A with a national expert on Families of Parishes – Detroit Catholic: Read Catholic News & Stories

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