Re: New Issue: Declining Enrollment in Rel. Ed programming reversed!
- --- In email@example.com, Dan1schwie@... wrote:
>percentage of our Catholic folks participating regularly in worship.
> About declining enrollment. Across the US we see declining
These same folks often choose not to have their children participate
regularly in faith formation programs - for lots of different
reasons. My experience is that this is more evident in large metro
areas than small towns and rural areas. However, an institution with
strong leadership will find find ways to turn that around. For the
last 35 years we as a church have not had the leadership (that us)
to turn that around. Regular Mass attendance in 1960 was at about
75% and CCD/Catholic Schools had close to 80% participation at that
time. In 1995 those numbers had dropped to below 50%. And the
decline continues. Many suggest only 40% attend mass regularly or
maybe lower in our large metro areas. Some of these figures are 1995
studies from the Life Cycle Institute of Catholic Uni. and the book
Catholicism USA from CARA. If we continue to blame others - other
the times are changed, people don't care, its the technology age,
etc) for this decline rather than our own leadership, then the
decline will continue. If we continue to do what we have been doing
for the past 40 years, waiting for our "customers" to come to
our "great products", then we will continue to decline. We have
great customers and great products but too few of the customers are
come to the products! Changes come when we acknowledge our problem
and start making changes in services and products. Or maybe common
business sense won't work for the Church where we can leave it to
the Spirit and Prayer!
>there. He is very much on target. We need to know our parish - and
> Dan Mulhall suggested a survey of the parish to see who is out
not just those families who come to enroll in our the parish. Do we
know the many who live in our midst but are not enrolled but see
themselves as Catholics?
>in your programs, is to ask the public elementary schools in your
> A way to do this, if you are looking for children who should be
parish for their enrollment figures and work from these numbers. If
your public schools have declining enrollment, then you know
families with children are in decline and your parish will see that
also. If that is not the case then you had better find your
faithless flock because they are there.
>zoned to their elementary school. There are transfers but generally
> How to use the school demographics? In Houston, students are
the numbers are stable. The transfers balance. You will need some
help finding what the religious make up of the public school
students are (schools keep ethnic, economic, learning figures but
not religious). Usually there are statistics on the population make
up of your county/city/town. Here in Houston, we know that 70% of
the Hispanic children are Catholic, 20% of the non-Hispanic white
are Catholic, and then the African American and Asian (these hold
about 10% of our Catholics) make up the remainder. With these
statistics, I find the base numbers of Catholic children who we
should be serving (not necessarily who should be coming to us) but
who we should be going out to serve who "live in" our parish but are
more than likely not registered with us or any other parish.
>living in our parish with catechesis when I arrived. They simply
> In my current parish we were serving 10% of the Catholic children
were not coming to the parish for formation - was it the parents,
the program, the kids interest, time factor? Part of it was a lack
of contact with the families where they were. We had an expectation
of their coming to us. When we switched catechesis to that of going
out to them, we tripled enrollment in two years. We now offer
catechesis at eight different times - three times at the church
campus and six times after school on the public school campus. Since
99% percent of the parish children are in the public schools, it
made sense to serve them where the parents already had gathered
them. Nationally only about 12% of the Catholic students are in
Catholic Schools. The state forces parents to register the children
in school. Why not take that help and serve them where they are?
Parents want the best for their children. If we provide this, then
the parents will respond.
>haven't reached. Next year means adding programs at two more
> Now the challenge is to build the outreach to the other 70% we
secondary schools. We especially need to find our confirmation age
students. In our diocese, we have 35,000 first communions each year
but only about 6,000 confirmations. Where have all the youth gone?
They're at the public schools. Where are all our confirmation
preparation programs? At the parish. The two don't come in contact
much. Sunday mass is empty of teens as well as many other folks.
Remember Jesus went to the highways and byways. He didn't set at
home with his mother in Nazareth. She even got in the act and seems
to have traveled with him!
>Club versus Milford decision of the Supreme Court in 2001. Here in
> Public school catechesis is constitutional. See the Good News
Houston, we have 250 YMCA programs on the campus of the public
schools but less than 10 catechesis clubs on public school campuses.
If the YMCA has a message to give kids that is Christian centered at
public schools then we have an even a more important message that is
Catholic centered for the public school campus. If we have the
courage to witness outwards with it rather than wait at
our "comfort" Church centers.
>mean harder work for you.
> Have a good time going out.... It will work for them but it will
> -----Original Message-----
> From: tomrinkoski@...
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sent: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 1:48 PM
> Subject: [dre-talk] New Issue: Declining Enrollment in Rel. Ed
>our regular elementary religious ed programming and am wondering if
> Wednesday 25 April 2007
> Greetings and Salutations!
> I am witnessing a declining enrollment over the past 4 years in
it is a shared stat or just peculiar to our parish. This shows up
both in overall enrollment numbers as well as very poor attendance
patterns. The decline in overall enrollment number is not a huge
drop, but it is slow and steady. I have all sort of theories, but no
> Is this a shared phenomenon?
> in the smiles and stories of Jesus,
> Tom Rinkoski, Director
> Family Faith Formation & Youth Ministry
> St. Augustine Parish & Student Center
> Gainesville, FL
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