Sunday, July 25, 2010

Is Spanish Mass More Exciting? Perceptions from Inside the Community

Ran into interesting statistics today from the Pew Forum on how Hispanics see the typical Catholic Mass in the US. In a 2007 report, 61% of those who have left the church for evangelical denominations say that they do not find the Mass exciting enough, although only 36%  of that group say that was the primary reason for leaving the Church.  In another survey of the general population of Hispanics from 2006, 56% of all Hispanics, including Catholics and non-Catholics alike say the Mass IS exciting. In that same poll, 31% said it is not exciting.  While these statistics are not totally conclusive, it shows that somewhere around a third of Hispanics perceive Mass in the US as somewhat less than exciting - and apparently, among those who leave, twice as many have that perception.

This is interesting, because frankly, my limited experience of Spanish Masses is that it is normally more exciting than the typical English Mass.  There is frequent hand-clapping during the songs and a sense of hearty and total participation at my parish.  While I sometimes see that level of participation at English Mass, it is definitely more sedate!  What I would really like to see is a poll of those who attend English Mass for comparison. (Anybody know of any such statistics?)

It also explains, if there is a sense of dissatisfaction by that many Hispanics with the Mass, why some parishes also have some kind of Spanish charismatic para-liturgical prayer event. Our Tuesday-Night Prayer Group, featuring inspirational speakers and music, apparently speaks to that gap for some Hispanics. it draws Hispanics from all around the area, beyond our parish.  A few parishes in other areas of our diocese also have such gatherings.

Since there are few parallel substitutions in the English-speaking community, one has to wonder where those who perceive English Mass as not exciting, but keep coming to Mass anyhow, do in order to feel fed.

No comments:

Post a Comment