Parish roundup: Letters to inmates; divorce decline; 'Mass Mob'

by Peter Feuerherd

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It's an often overlooked corporal work of mercy. A Delaware priest organizes a parish campaign to write letters to inmates at a nearby maximum security prison.

Alpha, a program for parish evangelization founded in Anglican churches, gains a foothold in British Columbia, as Canadian Catholics seek ways to attract parishioners in an increasingly secularized society.

The divorce rate in Duval County, Florida, has declined by 28% over two years. As such stats go, the reasons are surely complex, but Newsweek columnist Lee Habeeb credits the intervention of Catholic parishes and other Christian congregations.

A "Mass Mob" offers support for troubled parishes in Buffalo, New York. The Mass Mob is a social media-inspired effort to get Catholics and others to show up at historic yet financially-distressed churches on particular Sundays. Now the effort is going beyond the city's troubled urban core into more affluent churches, a result, notes one writer, of the Buffalo Diocese's loss of trust due to the sex abuse crisis.

David Heinzmann, reporter for the Chicago Tribune, describes why a massive fund drive is still unable to meet the pressing financial needs of Chicago-area parishes.

What's in a name? A new parish in the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, honors Pope John Paul II. As parishes consolidate and, in some areas, new ones are created, the names of churches take on a more contemporary feel.

Parishes in the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, are celebrated for their participation in programs that tackle poverty issues.

(YouTube/Catholic Sentinel)

Hosffman Ospino of Boston College argues that parishes can't remove themselves from the migration issue. This is true, he says, even where there are relatively few immigrants.

[Peter Feuerherd is NCR news editor. His email address is]

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