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Office for Communications


November 20, 2014

For more information:
Marlene Mulford: Office:(217) 698-8500
Cell: (217) 622-4996
Email: mmulford@dio.org

Public Presentation of Survey Results Regarding Catholics’ Attitudes about Church

SPRINGFIELD - A public forum on the results of a recent survey of active and inactive Catholics in central Illinois will be presented at 7 p.m., Nov. 24, at Angela Hall, on Sixth Street between Eastman and Keys Avenues on the Benedictine University at Springfield campus.

Understanding the Attitudes and Behaviors of Active and Inactive Catholics will be presented by Benedictine University faculty members Phillip Hardy, Ph.D. and Brian Patterson, Ph.D., the authors of the survey. The panel will include Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. An opportunity for audience members to ask questions will be available.

The survey was prompted by the diocese’s 2011 “October Count” which revealed a 30 percent decline in attendance at weekend Mass since 1996. The census is conducted annually by Catholic dioceses nationwide to access how many Catholics are active or inactive in their local parishes. The 2011 information led Bishop Paprocki to meet with William J. Carroll, Ph.D, president of Benedictine, to develop a strategy to study the results.

Professors Hardy, Patterson and Kelly Kandra, Ph.D. of Benedictine’s Lisle campus conducted two studies of Catholics in the Springfield diocese aimed at those who had lapsed or drifted away from the church and another for those registered and attending a local parish.

Bishop Paprocki said he will incorporate the survey results as an integral part of his diocesan vision, Strategic Planning for Growth in the Church. By substituting “growth” for the word “evangelization,” Bishop Paprocki will focus on the church growing qualitatively by deepening the faith of individuals and the commitment of the community, and quantitatively by increasing the number of active practicing Catholics.

“If you are not growing, then you are stagnant or going backwards,” said Bishop Paprocki.
Interestingly, Bishop Paprocki noted that the 2013 October Count indicated a 1.5 percent increase in Mass attendance marking the first increase since 2000.

pdfRead a copy of Joy and Grievance in an American Diocese: Results from Online Surveys of Active and Inactive Catholics in Central Illinois

The report can also be read on Benedictine University's website at www.ben.edu/catholicsurvey.

Download a campus map of Benedictine University at Springfield

The Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is 129 parishes in 28 counties in central Illinois.