The Count of Catholic October

hand_counterCount every head,
the memo said.

We’ve been fortunate (I think) at my parish because Parents’ Weekend always and Homecoming usually falls in the month we’re directed to count the people who come to weekend Masses.

My wife said the student sacristan conducting the tally made her nervous.

I got that complaint in my last parish too. The choir (which I didn’t direct or accompany) complained that I came up into the loft during the homily. Not only did I count the people below, I counted them too.

The numbers are difficult to parse. We’re certainly up from last year, but that’s probably more due to the return from the fire than Pope Francis. Our top weekends are, in order, Parents, Homecoming, the first weekend of the Fall semester, followed closely by the second weekend of the Fall semester. Easter, not so much.

The numbers are a bit lower than I thought they might be.

Curious that I see a definite bias to the East side of church–where the entrances are. At 10:30 Mass yesterday, West pews averages 6 people per row, and East was close to 7.

Anybody else in for the count?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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4 Responses to The Count of Catholic October

  1. Liam says:

    October has been the customary census month in the Boston area. At my old parish, one could see the sacristan taking the headcount during the homily. In my current parish, I’ve not noticed any one doing this in such a fashion. Then again, this current parish is one where people don’t treat the front rows as penalty boxes the way American Catholics traditionally do (it’s always interesting to explain to my Protestant-forme friends that the prized seating in most American Catholic churches are the rearmost rows, except in very large churches/cathedrals.).

  2. Katherine Christensen says:

    In our diocese, we count for three consecutive weeks in September.

  3. Ray MacDonald says:

    I have never been in a parish where they count anything except the collection. In my current small town parish the collection is off by about 8% so far this year. What that means (if anything at all) is anybody’s guess.
    The back seats are as popular as they were back in 1962, and for what it’s worth the right side of the church is better at parroting the responses off the pew cards than the left side is. Go figure.

  4. We are in the midst of our counts as well. The whole thing makes me a little insane. We have people at each door counting people entering. I do like the idea of walking around, although I could see how it could be disconcerting.

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