J. D. Mullane Why Catholic schools are closing?
Catholic schools are hanging on a thread of support by elderly faithful.
In 1961, the archdiocese had more than 250,000 students. Today, it has 68,000 — a 72 percent plummet.
Weekly church attendance in the archdiocese has cratered, from 80 percent in 1960 to about 15 percent today, according to the archdiocese’s October survey.
Just two percent of U.S. Catholics receive the Rite of Reconciliation (confession). And, despite 1.5 million members, baptisms in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have declined 42 percent since 1991.
Poor church attendance has hollowed parishes. It’s an open secret that buildings, grounds and vital ministries are maintained by a fraction of registered members, who are generally older.
One way to rebuild this is to make church more of a network to help people. To find them jobs, to buy from each other’s businesses. A key way to do that is to accurately signal reliability and quality. Know each other’s work and promote those who are doing good work, have a good product, and are loyal. Be an Ark of Skills and a Network in an Ark.
Teach and promote the skills that people need. Try to make math, computers, and other subjects part of what is taught. Incorporate them. Have study groups during the week to use the facilities to teach and pass these on. Be a hub.