Sept. 5, 2019
By Matthew Gambino
You may have noticed the space in church pews widening between you and your fellow Catholics attending Sunday Mass in recent years. It is not your imagination.
Mass attendance in parishes of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been dropping for years, and several factors have steepened the long-term pattern of decline to the point where today, half as many Catholics in the archdiocese attend Mass regularly as did a generation ago.
The findings of the latest October Count, an annual head count of people at all Masses in every parish for four consecutive weeks in October, show just under 200,000 people, precisely 199,101, attended Mass in the 214 parishes in October 2018.
The Mass census was begun in the archdiocese in 1990 and the first showed 416,137 attendees. That is a 52% decline in typical church attendance in 28 years.
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