Eugene Michael at Rochester Catholic is reporting on declining Mass attendance in the area immediately east of the Genesee River and the effect it is having on individual parishes.
The Irondequoit Pastoral Planning Group (IPPG) has just released its latest report on the clustering process in that town. The report states that in Irondequoit, “Mass attendance has decreased 38%” since October, 2000.
The report goes on to say that buildings are underutilized, income is declining, and the availability of priests is limited. The report strongly intimates that the closing of churches will be next.
Things are not much better on this side of the river. The 6 parishes of the Eastern Greece/Charlotte Planning Group have experienced a combined 32% decline in Mass attendance over the same 8 year period.
Last year Bishop Clark tossed out the existing EG/C Pastoral Plan and told the group to come up with a new one. According to the bishop,
changing circumstances have led me to ask you to develop a new plan addressing emerging needs and issues. While the most visible concern is the financial situation at some of the Eastern Greece/Charlotte parishes amidst the challenging local economic climate, the current landscape in the Eastern Greece and Charlotte areas includes changing demographics (both of the parishes and of the surrounding neighborhoods) and a significant drop in Mass attendance over the past seven years.
The Irondequoit Planning Group consists of Christ the King, St. Cecilia, St. Margaret Mary, St. Salome and St. Thomas the Apostle parishes.
The Eastern Greece/Charlotte Planning Group consists of Holy Cross, Holy Name of Jesus, Our Lady of Mercy, Our Mother of Sorrows, St. Charles Borromeo and St. John the Evangelist parishes.