Skip to comments.Catholic Parishes Flourish in Southern U.S.
Posted on 02/09/2005 3:49:28 PM PST by marshmallow
Charlotte, Feb. 09, 2005 (CNA) - The Catholic Church in the southern U.S. is flourishing and growing at an impressive rate. But its rebirth in the historical Protestant Bible Belt is not only about numbers in the pews, but the creation of a Catholic culture and a strict adherence to Catholic teachings, says a report by journalist Tim Padgett.
Catholics make up about 12 percent of the Souths population. While still quite low, Catholics saw growth of almost 30 percent in the 1990s, compared with less than 10 percent for Baptists, who make up the areas largest denomination. Reported Padgett.
Padgett notes that Catholic Church was present in the south before the Civil War, but it virtually disappeared after the war. It aided the civil rights movement, but its numbers didnt rebound until the 1980s, when northerners moved south chasing jobs in the technological industries and Hispanics immigrated to the area. From 1980 to 2000, the regions Catholic population doubled, to more than 12 million.
Hispanic immigrants are the fastest-growing group in the south. In the Diocese of Charlotte, for example, Hispanics make up half the dioceses 300,000 Catholics. Thousands of Vietnamese and Filipino Catholics are moving in as well.
The Catholic population in Charlotte is growing almost 10 percent a year, and the ratio of newly ordained priests to parishioners there is 1 to 7,000, more than seven times as high as Chicagos.
St. Mark Parish in the Diocese of Charlotte, for example, which began with a handful of Catholic families eight years ago, now has 2,800 families and is awaiting the completion of its new church. Bishop Jugis blessed five new churches in the diocese last year alone.
Southern dioceses like Charlotte boast some of the highest numbers of priestly ordinations in the U.S. and attract clergy from the North.
Fr. Timothy Reid, 34, an Indiana native who serves as vicar at St. Mark Parish in Charlotte told Padgett he was drawn to the South and its orthodox spirit. Here its more vibrant because were creating a Catholic culture almost from scratch, he was quoted as saying.
Padgett reports that these southern Catholics, influenced in no small degree by their morally hard-line Protestant neighbors, as well as the strong piety of Latin America, are practicing a more conservative faith than Catholics in many other parts of the U.S.
Fr. Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Marys Catholic Church in Greenville, South Carolina, told Padgett that the Protestant influence has also led to something he calls evangelical Catholicism, which includes exuberant hymn singing, intense Bible study, spirited preaching and witnessing.
He also says cultural Catholics are not common in the south. Here youre not Catholic because your parents came from Italy or Slovakia. Its because you believe what the church teaches you is absolutely true, he was quoted as saying.
There is also a rising number of native converts. The adult catechumen class at Fr. Newmans parish has more than 60 members compared with only a few less than 10 years ago.
Deacon Carlos Medina, 55, who arrived 10 years ago from Nicaragua told Padgett: In 1983 U.S. bishops prophesied in a pastoral letter that Hispanic people would revive, maybe even save, the church in this country.
I think it came true, he said.
I was born and bred in Jackson, MS. Converted to Catholicism last year, after thinking about it for about five years.
Plus, I've had two people ask me recently, if I could share some literature with them about Catholicism. Both of them are native Mississippians as well.
Btw, mass today at the Cathedral in downtown Jackson was standing room only.
Some of us (like you) converted from Protestantism to Catholicism, and some of us (like me) converted from Northernism to Southernism. ;-)
This is a wonderful church, BTW, if you're ever in Greenville. Masses are reverent and packed, the homilies are good, the music is traditional, etc.
Standing room only.
I think about 100 attended our 7:00AM Mass at St Paul's,
If you ever come to Maine, the pope just named a church in Maine a basillica called St Peter and Paul Basillica. It is the only nice thing about Lewiston Maine and a dream to visit.
Hmmm. Looks very much like the article that Time just wrote up and is being disussed here:
But they left out a few things from the Time article: "Instead, the Liuzzos are attending standing-room-only services like St. Mark's teen Mass, complete with a pop-music ensemble that could be mistaken for one of the area's rollicking Christian rock bands. "This I was not prepared for," says Liuzzo, who flashes a smile at a recent service as an altar girl marches a crucifix past 1,000 parishioners."
Teen "Masses", "Christian" rock, altar girls, etc. Catholic revivalism, anyone?
Catholic Ping - Come home for Easter and experience Gods merciful love. Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list
Maybe this could now add some stability with the high divorce rates in the bible belt.
Awesome to hear we are plentiful in the South! but you know I heard of the news yesterday that the NYC Dioceseis shtting down sweveral school thereby displacing 3000 Catholic school students. This saddens me and I hope in never happens to our school.
The real problem is that these kids will fall between the cracks in the NY Public system.
There was a report by one of the NY papers about how terrible the kids are doing with some schools having 48% droputs. They are complaining now about class size but wait until they get the kids from the Catholic System
1) Offer it regularly, at specified times, more than once or twice a week. Post said times in Parish bulletin.
2) Some of these times should be open ended.
3) Preach on the meaning and necessity of the Sacrament.
The lines will form.
Confession is every Saturday from 3:30 to 4:30 PM before Mass and Sundays 9:30 to 10:30 AM before Mass. Also a telephone call can be made and you can go.
It is in the bulletin but less than 25% of all Catholics read their bulletins.
As of last night, the priest got quite excited in talking about going to confession. Hopefully it will get better.
NYC is effectively a city of the very rich and the very poor, with artsy fartsy types somewhere in between. The lower middle class that supported the parochial schools left a long time ago.
Seriously. Many Parishes in northern Virginia do this, with excellent results.
That's a good thing. Very good.
Well, praise the Lord and pass the grits!
We have a hard time going home after mass. Its so wonderful to be in the Real Presence and with our parish family. Many often linger to socialize well into the next mass.
You get for what you vote for, you vote democrat then you get politicians who worship the Teachers' unions and public education. You get politicians who raise taxes on the working class who then can't afford to pay tuition. You get politicians who reduce the standard deductions on Income tax returns and so on.
I think a few points need to be made here which may breathe a little optimism:
1. 57% of all Catholics (real and nominal combined) voted for Bush in 2004 in the state of NJ.
2. 2 New Bishops (Myers in Newark & Galante in Camden) were installed since the 2001 Gubernatorial. These guys both put pressure on McGreevy and have staunchly defended the faith.
3. The TLM is flourishing in NJ. Mater Ecclesize in the South boasts of a 400 family enrollment. The FSSP has a large parish in Patterson. Newark now has 2 diocesan TLMs. Add to that independent chapels. I really believe NJ is going to achieve a TLM critical mass (no pun intended) on people and the state will be reversing course in due time.
4. Bush came within 7 percentage points of winning. That's up from a 16 point loss the first time. And in 2001, 51% of Catholics voted for him.
So, I think Schundler or someone of his stature will stand a better chance and receive more Catholic votes for all of the reasons listed above.
I'm moving to NJ next year to join the growing TLM movement. Unfortutely, I won't be there in time to cast my vote for governor.
The bishops are reticent on the stem cell and abortion issues in regard to "repudiating" the politicians. And the bishops refuse to name names one reason why the same pro-abortion Catholic Politicians keep on being reelected.
The FSSP has a large parish in Patterson.>>>
Do you mean Our Lady of Fatima in Pequannock?
"His theology was CONSERVATIVE, his presentation was dynamic."
I should pray it was. Hopefully he will one day pray the Mass of all time exclusively.
Corpus - ROMAN Catholic and proud of it!
Yes, Fr. Newman is an excellent homilist, perhaps the best I have ever heard aside from Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. This is no exaggeration.
There is also a twice-per-month Traditional Latin Mass in Taylors (Greenville) at 5:30 p.m. offered by Father Steven Brovey (like Fr. Newman, in his early 40s), who is the director of prayer and worship for the diocese.
The TLM has an attendance of 120-140 consistently, many young Catholics with MANY young families. Potluck dinner after every Mass usually has 60-90 attendees. LOTS of homeschoolers as well.
TLM in Columbia now monthly with the FSSP and weekly in Sullivan's Island outside of Charleston.
"If you build it, they will come!"
Get folks to go to confession?
There's been times when I've enjoyed confessing...
like my hatred for democrats.
Your parish sounds wonderful.
You give an accurate description of the present. I was speaking of a trend which will manifest itself more clearly in the future. Perhaps, even this year's gubernatorial will carry some surprises.
Liberals may still have the majority, but think of the average family size of TLM people vs. the population in general.
Forgive me, please, my brain is foggy from cold medicine. What is TLM? My church and school are from the Newark Diocese. What part of NJ do you plan on moving to?
I hope you bring about 500,000 people with you when you move to Jersey.
Why the move?
St. Mary's seems like a very nice parish. Perhaps I will get down there one day to attend Mass.
So we can be raise our children with the riches of the TLM at Mater Ecclesiae in Berlin (Camden Diocese). No minimalist, Low Mass mentality parish will suffice.They celebrate the traditional liturgy in its fullest splendor possible and the people sing and respond at all Masses in Latin just as many popes and even V2 called for.
We live in MD right now...a total cesspool of corruption. At least NJ still has a rich, ethnic Italian & Catholic flavor in some parts.
I'll work on giving you 3 and perhaps more votes toward that 500,000.
TLM = Traditional Latin Mass
Connecticut Catholic born and bred here. Did my second (and last) enlistment in Vriginia. Stayed here when I got out. Can't imagine going back up north for anything more than a visit. My only real gripes now? Virginia simply isn't far enough south for me. :) That, and my local parishes are way too modernist for my likings. Tabernacle kept in a tiny side alcove, no crucifix. Sad really. I did find a chapel that does the TLM and will hopefully get to attend soon.
I converted to Catholicism in 2005. Before that I was Southern Baptist. I grew up in a home that was in church every Sunday morning. I converted because I came to the conclusion that the Catholic church was THE Church founded by Christ. I also discovered that most Catholics in the Diocese of Charlotte, NC are really protestants and don’t realize it. I was very disappointed when I went into the church my grandfather grew up in and it was stripped of the high altar, replaced by a table. The tabernacle relegated to the sacristy to be locked away never to be seen. Have Catholics today become so infected with the disease of modernism and socialism that they don’t realize it’s taking them straight to hell. I hope that isn’t the case, but it appears so. Our Bishop so far refuses the TLM, the socialist pastoral counsel has him wrapped around their finger. Or do they? I know of a few individuals who would love to see the TLM restored to the diocese, but with the protestant churches we are building today, where would the hold it. I’m sure the situation will right itself in due time, considering the obvious failure of the reform. I just hope for our children’s sake it isn’t much longer. I attribute the massacre at Virginia Tech last week to the very modernism the has crept it’s way in to every aspect of our culture today. It is time to renounce as Pope St. Pius X did and every Pope until H.E. Pope John XXIII, the scourge of modernism. I do not call into question the second Vatican council, only the interpretation of it. I do not question the Heirarchy of the Church, only the way they dismissed all of the traditions for a totally new theology. I hope H.E. Pope Benedict XVI is successful in begining the reform of the reform. We have a long way to go to fix the errors of our day, but with the help of Almighty God, and His Church, we will, or I should say, He will prevail.
Good news bump.