Church Attendanceat March 21, 2016 10:18 am
The Catholic Church has experienced waning attendance at Sunday Mass for decades. The current average attendance lies somewhere between 20% and 25% of those who call themselves Catholic. This issue, in part, is concurrent with getting Catholics to bury in a Catholic cemetery. When we advertise in church bulletins, diocesan newspapers and the like, there remains a good chance we’re only reaching that same 20% to 25%. We need to reach those not coming to church on a regular basis.
Given the above, are there any cemeterians who have a success story, even one, relating to the 75% to 80% of families who are not regular church-goers but were convinced of the value of being buried in a Catholic cemetery? In my own example, a family called on a Saturday afternoon inquiring the “rules” allowing for burial in a Catholic cemetery. My response was simple; Baptism is indelible and in our diocesan cemeteries there is no specific need for parish affiliation. It was clear to me the caller had not seen the inside of a church in a very long time, had no parochial affiliation, though still had a desire to be buried in a Catholic cemetery. One hour later I got a call from a funeral director telling me the family would be coming to see me tomorrow and that they wanted to use our cemetery. Great story? Yes, but I also got lucky. They called me. So my reactive response achieved my goal, but we all need help in a proactive stance to drive people to our Catholic cemeteries. We’re all in this together.