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.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.