Since the AP first reported the story of a group of Catholics “plotting” to fill the pews of a sparsely attended church in Buffalo, New York, Mass mobs have spread across the northern U.S. The phenomenon has been reported in Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Philly, and elsewhere, particularly in churches with declining numbers of parishioners and a surfeit of neo-gothic bells and whistles (or smells, if you prefer).
Not only is the show of solidarity a boon to the regular Mass attendees, but the visitors have been dropping a few coppers in the collection basket as well, helping to maintain these largely older structures. An organizer of Detroit Mass Mob, Thom Mann, said participants had given nearly $100,000 to the six churches visited thus far. The inspiration works both ways: The newcomers get to experience some of the best American Catholic architecture and liturgy and those witnessing the packed-to-the-rafters churches are inspired to inject a little more life into their own home parishes.
“There’s a generational disconnect between when these cities emptied out and got blighted, and the young people who want to rediscover these roots,” according to Christopher Byrd, who started the movement.
The hope is that some of younger disconnected Catholics may find some faith amid the fenestration and some older disconnected Catholics might remember the good old days with more than mere nostalgia.
If you miss being forced to sit in the front because of overcrowding, look for events near you at Meetup.org and Facebook (search on “Mass mob”).
Photo courtesy of digidreamgrafix, freedigitalphotos.net.