A Mass mob at Saint Florian's in Hamtramck Detroit Mass Mob Facebook page
Detroit is a city of beautiful churches, particularly the ornate Catholic parishes dating back to the late 19th and early 20th century. Yet as the city has lost hundreds of thousands of residents over the last half century (a result of suburbanization and the stagnation of regional population growth), many of the city's Catholic congregations have dwindled, forcing the consolidation
of many parishes and the closure of others.
But, according to The New York Times, a new trend, the "Mass mob," is breathing life -- and money -- into under-attended churches in cities throughout the Rust Belt.
The Times describes a Mass mob as "part heritage tour and part mixer" that brings "thousands of suburban Catholics to visit the struggling, in some cases closed, urban churches of their parents and grandparents." Social media is used to organize groups that will join together to attend Mass at a given parish.
The Mass mob movement began in Buffalo, NY in November 2013 and has quickly spread around the Rust Belt to cities like Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago.
In addition to filling pews, Mass mobs are also boosting the coffers of these financially struggling churches, notes The Times:
"Several dioceses are now helping to promote Mass mobs through their newspapers and social media, and some bishops are openly welcoming the effort, particularly in Detroit, the metropolitan area that has lost the most Catholics since 1950. A side effect of the Mass mob phenomenon is that people often donate during their visit: An organizer of Detroit Mass Mob, Thom Mann, said participants had given nearly $100,000 to the six churches visited thus far."
At the time of this writing, Detroit Mass mob participants are celebrating Mass at St. Francis D'Assisi Catholic Church in honor of that parish's 125th anniversary.
To learn about future Mass mob events in the city, visit the Detroit Mass mob Facebook page.
Source: The New York Times
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