Crowds of suburban Catholics pop up in historic, but struggling, urban churches
Want to experience the beauty of the Catholic Mass the way your grandparents did? You can, and you can bring all your friends with you at the next Mass mob.
Taking it’s name from the internet phenomenon of “flash mobs” in which crowds, with the aid of social media, seem to spontaneously appear, Mass Mobs are “the latest trend in Rust Belt Catholicism,” according to the New York Times.
Thousands of suburban Catholics show up on designated Sundays to visit historic, urban churches in areas that have dwindled in population. The Mass mobs are a way for people to express their appreciation for these old churches, but they often result in much need donations.
Started last fall in Buffalo, Mass mobs have caught on across the country, but “seem to be doing best in Rust Belt cities where the long-term decline in attendance at Mass — a national phenomenon — has been worsened by deindustrilization and suburbanization,” according to the New York Times.
Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, whose archdiocese has seen six such Mass mobs so far, is “openly welcoming the effort” and has launched a video to celebrate Mass mobs. While the crowds have put over $100,000 in struggling churches’ coffers, Archbishop Vigneron sees them as a great opportunity for evangelization, and hopes those who visit these old churches will invite others to experience the riches of the Catholic Church.