Traditional Parishes Register Dramatic Growth

News: US News
by Stephen Wynne  •  •  November 4, 2019   

Multiple congregations mark double-digit surge since 2018

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DETROIT ( - New reports suggest that the United States is proving fertile ground for traditional Catholic parishes.

In October, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) issued a report showing remarkable growth in its U.S. parishes in the past year.

St. Vitus Catholic Church in San Fernando, Calif. is among the standouts. Serving greater Los Angeles, St. Vitus has seen the number of Sunday Mass attendees double since 2018, from roughly 250 to approximately 500.

"When we were at 200 people, we decided to add the fourth Mass," explained St. Vitus pastor Fr. James Fryar, "and just adding that one Mass, from one week to the next, another 200 people came."

"The growth was amazing," confirmed assistant pastor Fr. Federico Masutti. "The main obstacle right now is a lack of space."

Farther south, in San Diego, St. Anne Catholic Church had grown to more than 800 parishioners by 2018. One year later, more than 1,000 faithful call the parish home.

Echoing Fr. Masutti, St. Anne pastor Fr. John Lyons observed: "At some of our Masses we will have as many as maybe 350 people and so not everyone fits and so people are actually sitting outside the doors looking in through open doors."

Standing room only at San Diego's St. Anne Catholic Church

At Mater Dei Catholic Parish in Dallas — the FSSP's first North American apostolate — Sunday Mass attendance has grown by a quarter in the past year, from roughly 1,250 to 1,550.

Likewise, St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Atlanta has expanded by nearly one-third in the past year, from approximately 460 Sunday parishioners in October 2018 to more than 600 today.

FSSP endeavors in Florida are enjoying similar growth. In Naples, for example, where the FSSP has been operating for less than two years, some 400 people attend Sunday Mass — an increase of more than 20% in the past year.

"A plethora of young families are coming, attracted by the sacred beauty and reverence of the Mass, the traditional catechesis and true parish family life," said pastor Fr. Jonathan Romanoski.

Though Fr. Romanoski and assistant pastor Fr. Joshua Passo do not yet have their own church, they offer Mass at two locations — St. Agnes Catholic Church in Naples and Resurrection of Our Lord in Fort Myers.

"It's more than just the Latin Mass — they're coming for the community life and all of the groups we have — for adults, for kids, for catechesis," Fr. Romanoski added. "They come because we are two priests, we are a small community where everybody can get to know each other and the families can truly bond."

With 13 U.S. apostolates established in less than 30 years, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP) describes the United States as 'fruitful ground for our traditional apostolate.'
It is not only Sun Belt state parishes that are registering robust growth. In 2018, the FSSP launched two new apostolates in the Northeast.
Serving greater Philadelphia, St. Mary Church in Conshohocken has registered more than 400 parishioners in the past year. Farther up the coast, St. Mary's Church in Providence, Rhode Island now counts more than 300 parishioners.
St. Joseph procession, St. Joseph Oratory, Detroit
Likewise, in the past two years, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho has grown by roughly 29% — from 650 to 840 parishioners.

Other tradition-minded orders are reporting significant signs of growth. With 13 U.S. apostolates established in less than 30 years, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP) describes the United States as "fruitful ground for our traditional apostolate."

In recent years, ICKSP has made headlines with massive renewal efforts at churches like at Chicago's Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest and Detroit's St. Joseph Oratory, resurrecting dying inner-city parishes through celebration of the Latin Mass.

Likewise, ten years after Pope Benedict XVI issued his historic decree Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Anglican ordinariates continue to strengthen, in spite of various challenges, both in the U.S. and abroad.

In North America, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter now serves 45 parishes across the U.S. and Canada. In the United Kingdom, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham today serves 35 parishes. The Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, meanwhile, covers 11 communities in Australia, and is expanding throughout the Pacific Rim, with two congregations in Japan, one in the Torres Strait Islands, and with pre-ordinariate communities forming in the Philippines.

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