success stories

Posted February 2, 2004

Statistics Reveal Efforts of Parishes
to Provide Adult Faith Formation

From a CARA study
For more information on findings contact: Dr. Mark M Gray & Mary L. Gautier at CARA
Questions raised by the data are those of Fr. Gene Hemrick

Three in four U.S. parishes offer some sort of lectures, presentations, workshops, or classes on Bible or Scripture for adults

95% of parishes that sponsor these offerings report they are "somewhat popular."

45% report they are "very popular."

The most popular offerings are: Bible or Scripture, prayer or spirituality, topics on the Mass and liturgical celebrations. [look at Romano Guardini on our web site to learn of some good topics for discussion on the Mass and the liturgy. He is an outstanding scholar in this area who championed the revival of the liturgy]

Seven in ten parishes offer programs to people interested in the Catholicism. One-quarter offer programs for returning Catholics.

Parishes with small Christian communities typically have the most participants. Programs also are the favorite with young adult groups, menís groups, addiction groups, and womenís groups.

[For topics concerning addictions, use our link to St. Lukeís Institute. It is a valuable web site for cases studies in this area.]

Half of responding parishes note that parishioners lack of time to attend programs. [Here it must be asked if it is a lack of time, or is it that parishioners need to prioritize their use of time. If the latter is true, than a parish might approach them with the question of what might be important to their life at this time.]

Eight in ten parishes use Bibles in these programs. Other resources are books, videos, and inspirational speakers. [Here it might be asked whether dioceses provide a list of inspiring speakers, or whether there is a web site that list them. From where does a parish learn of the most inspiring speakers? One excellent speaker, and word of the impact he or she made can make a parish program grow overnight.]

Interesting, 16% of parishes have offered adult faith formation programs in a language other than English within the last year, most in Spanish. Other languages include Korean, Vietnamese, Polish and Portuguese. [Here again, it must be asked, where does a parish find inspiring speakers who are bi-lingual? Finding such speakers could make the difference between attracting or losing those from cultures other than the American culture.]

Parishes with at least one Spanish language Sunday/Saturday Vigil Mass are more likely than other parishes to "strongly agree" that their adult faith formation initiatives are getting parishioners involved in other aspects of parish life, and that their offerings are sensitive to various racial and ethnic groups.