Mass attendance rising across Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese
Attendance levels at Mass across the Archdiocese had remained largely unchanged in 2016, according to a report prepared by the National Centre for Pastoral Research.
Based on figures collected in 2016, average weekly mass attendance consisted of 10.42% of the Catholic population, compared with 10.64% five years earlier.
That slight decrease is less than the decrease in attendance recorded nationally.
But even that small decrease has been arrested and attendance has actually increased substantially, according to Vicar General of the Archdiocese, Father Tony Percy.
“What is of interest, too, is the latest Mass attendance statistics in the Archdiocese, compiled from the Mass Count in May 2018, which has showed a 10% increase in Mass numbers in our parishes from 2017,” he said.
“As to why the decline in Mass numbers has been arrested this year is somewhat of a mystery.
“In addition, Archdiocese fundraising has reported increased collections for the voluntary appeals in aid of retired priests and the education of priests. Let’s hope these statistics represent a new pattern in ecclesial life.”
Fr Tony explained that the Ad Limina report is prepared every five years to indicate trends and progress.
“Around about every five years the Australian Bishops visit Rome for an ad limina visit– a phrase which means “to the threshold” of the apostles Peter and Paul. They go with a Quinqennial Report under their arms,” he said.
“It is a report that details what has happened in the last five years since their last visit. It is a useful document, highlighting interesting trends in ecclesial life, but also re-stating and reminding us of the many good things that the baptised are actively involved in.
“The National Centre for Pastoral Research is a helpful organisation that helps the Bishops prepare their Quinqennial Report.“
Attendance figures for the report were based upon the averages of four-weekly totals recorded in 2011 and 2016 respectively.
Total number of Catholics in the Archdiocese was based in the national census in which 155,084 of the region’s total population of 655,897 recorded themselves as Catholic. In 2011 162,842 of the region’s 604,102 were recorded as Catholic.
In other figures, the number of Catholics attending Mass aged 70 or over has risen from 24.2% to 40%, and the overall number of attendees aged 50 or over is up from 63.9% to 75.4%. Females attending mass in the Archdiocese outnumber men by a ratio of two to one.
In a measure of Catholic migrants by birthplace located in the Archdiocese, the largest group represented were from the Philippines (as with the national figures), followed by United Kingdom, Italy, Croatia and India.