Philadelphia Archdiocese Plans First “Mass Mob” Location

Catholic officials' latest attempt to boost church attendance.

Church attendance has been dwindling for decades. The Catholic Church hasn’t been able to reverse the trend, but that hasn’t stopped it from trying. My idea would be “have more Ash Wednesdays somehow, even on Sundays” — church lines are out the door that day! Plus, Catholics would get to wear a cross of ashes on their foreheads more often.

But until the Church figures out a way to start Lent more often, they’re stuck with more conventional means that don’t change years of doctrine and tradition. And, so, the Archdiocese has announced its first “mass mob,” where Catholics from around the region all celebrate mass at the same location.

The service will be held during Lent, March 23 — about a month before Easter — at Saint Francis Xavier, The Oratory at 24th and Green Streets in the city’s Spring Garden section near the Art Museum of Philadelphia.

The “mass mob” idea started in Buffalo, where 46-year-old Christopher Byrd occasionally has people vote on which historic church Catholics should celebrate mass at. A service at one church drew 300, instead of the usual 50.

The Philadelphia Archdiocese says future “mass mobs” will similarly be voted on by local Catholics (and possibly Internet trolls?). “It gives the church a little one-day boost, attendance-wise and in the collection basket,” Byrd told the Buffalo News.