Shrinking and Growing at the Same Time

An article from a local Bishop designate Christopher Coyne...

Catholic Identity and the New Evangelization

Last year Trinity College in Hartford, CT released a study of a nationwide survey, based on 54,000 telephone interviews, in which people were asked to identify their religious affiliation. The results are interesting for us Catholics, to say the least. While the total number of Roman Catholics within the United States has remained basically the same since 1990 – about one quarter of the population – the number of people in New England who identify themselves as Roman Catholic has dropped considerably. The study, found that the six-state region is now 36 percent Catholic, down from 50 percent in 1990. According to an article in the Boston Globe, “In Massachusetts, the decline is particularly striking – in 1990, Catholics made up a majority of the state, with 54 percent of the residents, but in 2008, the Catholic population was 39 percent. At the same time, the percentage of the state’s residents who say they have no religious affiliation rose sharply, from 8 percent to 22 percent.” As such, the vast majority of new Catholics are located in the southern and southwestern parts of the United States and are mainly new immigrants from Central and South America. We are seeing then a major shift in the Catholic population from the northeast – north central states and cities of Boston, New York, and Chicago consisting of Catholics of European descent – Irish, Italian, Polish, etc. – to a Church whose population centers are now in Texas, Florida, and California, markedly Hispanic in language and culture. The study did not ask people why they ceased identifying themselves as Catholics or why they had dropped any religious affiliation whatsoever. It simply collected data. Of course, that leaves a bit of an information vacuum for those of us who are still Catholic to consider. So, allow me to offer a few thoughts on the matter, not just in terms of the “why?” but also the “how?” – How do we respond to this in a positive way? How do we pick-up the challenge that this offers us. Read More>>>>

Evangelization Sunday

Last Sunday was dubbed 'Evangelization Sunday' in the archdiocese of Boston.  I don't know if this is a national celebration, but I was taken by their commitment and resolve to do something about declining mass attendance.  This is a very well done video and I would love to see the Chuch use more of the media to present its face.

2011 Catholics Come Home, Boston - ENGLISH from bostoncatholic on Vimeo.

Tom Bello, National Minister Prayer Request

Sunday, January 9, 2011
Beloved National Family,

As we gather in churches, families and fraternities this holy last Sunday of the Christmas Season, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Arizona, for the souls of those who have been slain including Federal Judge John Roll, who had just been to daily Mass; nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green, born on September 11, 2001 and who had recently made her first Holy Communion; Gabe Zimmerman and three others; let us pray for U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and perhaps 17 others wounded, as well as all of us who are traumatized and depressed by this horrible act.

The sheriff of Pima County Arizona has been quoted in today's newspaper saying, "The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous, and unfortunately Arizona has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry." Having recently participated in our National Chapter in Arizona with Sue Simeone and all the good people of her Region, including our NAFRA Peace Award winner Brother David Buer, OFM, I cannot believe the sheriff's words to be true, but let us all pray in solidarity with the good people of Arizona that Arizona and all of us in our beloved United States will be people of love and people of peace.

We can never give in to the forces of evil; rather, evil must be overcome by good through the grace of God, the sacrifice of God's Son and the working of the Holy Spirit. Let us never cease our prayers, never lose faith, never surrender hope, never run away from God's command to love. Let us all continue as good Franciscans to be instruments of God's Peace.

With love and peace,

Tom Bello, SFO - National Minister
Secular Franciscan Order The United States of America

US Bishops Invite Novena for Haiti

One Year Post-Earthquake Beginning January 12

The USCCB is inviting Catholics to start a nine-day novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe on the anniversary date, next Wednesday.(
"We invite you and your group to pray and walk for nine days with other Catholics across the country using the Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas. Start praying it on the evening of the anniversary, January 12..."

Novena prayers and further resources available here:(USCCB - Haiti Earthquake)