Protestant South Becoming a New Catholic Stronghold
Dixie Catholics credit the strong Southern sense of community, and dialogue with faithful Protestants, with helping to power the Church’s growth there.
… One telling indicator is vocations to the priesthood. Knoxville expects to have 23 men in graduate seminary next year. Contrast the Archdiocese of Chicago, which has 37 times as many parishioners but only three times as many graduate seminarians next year, at an anticipated enrollment of 70. Boston, which is nearly 30 times the size of Knoxville, will have 60.
“There’s excitement here in Tennessee and I would say in the Southeast in general,” Smith said.
I am a convert to the Church from Texas, not exactly the “South” but certainly not traditional Catholic territory. As superficial as it may sound, my journey – along with dozens of others I know – began with “discovering” EWTN. That led me on a three-year investigation of Catholicism from the horse’s mouth, and here I am.
I truly believe EWTN’s expansion has played a tremendous role in the Church’s growth in the southern / southwestern U.S. Whereas once TBN owned that part of the airwaves, the Church’s truth is now competing. Unfortunately, we don’t see much evangelizing from local parishes, but EWTN filled the truth gap. That leads people to Catholic Answers and other great resources.
I live in deep southern Alabama, and we have a healthy number of seminarians and many, many new Catholics received into the Church each year. There are excellent Catholic parish schools and an outstanding Catholic High School.
Thank you for sharing. This is certainly good news. Living in the North some parishes are doing okay, and others are flailing. But none are bursting at the seams like what appears to be happening in the Southeast.
Which one is modernist?
I am from Bama and am back home visiting for the summer and am planning on going to Cullman and do the pilgrimage, which is the one is should avoid.
Side note, I am also a convert, however I converted in Texas not Alabama. The Church in Texas is growing rapidly, especially in the are I live in. When I went through RCIA in 2011 we had 50 or more converts, and I think only 2 were former Catholics, one was Buddhist.
An interesting observation I have had whenever I go back to Alabama, and I would like peoples opinion on this. People in Bama that are my my age (18-25) seem to becoming less and less religious. They still call themselves “Christian” and the culture and mindset are still Christian, but the people are becoming less an less religious. One of my friends who is a baptist said that he didn’t have to go to church because he has a personal relationship with Christ, so he never goes to church, this is a VERY common mindset among the vast majority of people I know. I think for Catholics, this provides an amazing missionary opportunity, to pick up those who have stopped going to church.
Btw people always talk about CINO’s (Catholics in name only). Well in the south we definitely have PINO’s (Protestants in name only) lol
Catholics — their presence increased nearly 60 percent since 1990 — have eclipsed Evangelicals to become the state’s largest religious group. In a matter of years, three of its dioceses have erupted to comprise more than a million members, each reflecting five-or-sixfold expansions over the last three decades. On a 25 percent growth in general population since 2000, the Dallas-Fort Worth “metroplex” is now home to nearly 2 million of the faithful in what’s just become the nation’s fourth-largest metropolitan area. Along the border, a majority of Brownsville’s 1.1 million Catholics are younger than 25; out East, rural Tyler’s taken to ordaining more priests than New York, and in the capital, Austin’s church of half a million — projected to double within a decade — is perhaps the Stateside church’s most energetic outpost, boasting the nation’s most celebrated Catholic campus ministry, to boot.
On the institutional front, the seminaries are expanding, freshly-built “mega-churches” are teeming, and local RCIA classes routinely set national benchmarks. By and large, the model of church is a decidedly post-Conciliar, 21st century one, blending Africans, Anglos, Asians and Latinos — each mostly migrants of some sort — into cohesive, vibrant communities. In a first, Rome’s designated headquarters for asignificant cross-country project lies not along the Northeast corridor,but in Houston, where the dedication of a new cathedral (above) since the last visit shut Downtown streets as an army priests processed toward it four across. Each named auxiliaries in their early forties, the last decade has seen four homegrown priests succeed each other as the nation’s youngest bishop. And of course, in the ultimate reflection of “the dynamic growth of Catholicism in the southern part of the United States, and especially in” this second-largest of them, for the first time its group crosses the “threshold of the Apostles” led by a figure in scarlet, one told by Benedict on his elevation that “Texas needs a cardinal.”
Oh how sweet! Being fraternity/sorority sweethearts are the best! That’s how I met my hubby. I know exactly where Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills are. My hubby is from that area. We attended Jax State and I hate to tell you, we are Auburn fans.
I’m originally from Dothan, Alabama too lol Nice to see so many Bama folks here. Although i converted here in NW Florida (also known as lower Alabama) and the Diocese Pensacola-Tallahassee has a lot of life and a very vibrant community and it does seem we continue to grow and more and more people convert. The RCIA classes are always busy at my local parish. Like others, I think the growth of EWTN helps, also our Sunday mass is televised locally.
I also think a lot of fellow southerners got disillusioned with the Joel Osteen-types who sell prosperity and lose focus on real Christianity
You might be interested in this link to the “Most and Least Religious US States”. Obviously, the south (& Bible Belt along with Utah) is the most religious and New England & Pacific Northwest are the least.:o