Taking Attendance at Mass

So, our parish Priest has a new rule: Attendance. Many of us now use auto-deduction for donations, so they cannot “keep track” of who is going to Mass. First we were told to bring the empty envelopes in and drop them in the basket anyway so we can be “counted.” I never did that because I went to auto-deduction to stop having to deal with those little envelopes.

Now we have to rip out a square from our bulletin during the Mass and fill it out saying that we are there and drop it in the basket.

If we are at a different parish on travel, we must take those slips and bring them, fill them out, and there is a note for the OTHER parish Priest to mail the slip back to our parish to be counted for Mass.

This is for any family who has students in EITHER the Catholic school or those who are in the CCD classes instead.

I was told they “don’t want children getting the sacraments (First Communion, mostly) without regularly attending Mass.” My kids just turned 4 and 6. We’re not getting any sacraments yet, so we will have to fill these forms out for several **years **before this takes effect.

Also, I’ve been told that parents of students in the Catholic school are getting letters that they are going to be charged “non parishioner” rates if they do not comply.

On a side note, our pews are not empty. We have a LARGE church and there is standing room only at all of the Masses I attend (though I don’t know how many students are missing).

I will not say what I truly feel about this policy, because I wouldn’t say anything nice about it. Even our CCD teacher has refused to do it. But that is not really why I posted. **What I do wonder is if *other *parishes are doing this. None of my former parishes ever did this, so I was curious. **

PS - For All Saints Day and that next day (Sunday), I was out of town as we had a wedding to attend. It was a full Mass on All Saints Day (the local Priest said it counted) and we attended the next morning (Sunday). I grabbed the bulletin for that church and have the wedding Mass handout (giving the order of the ceremony). I have not heard if it “counts” yet…

We don’t have anything like that at our parish and I have been to numerous parishes in this area and none of them had anything like that either.

I’ve heard of that in only one other parish…where a good friend of mine is a member. According to her this “requirement” is routinely ignored.

The original post is why I dislike electronic giving. Next thing you know there will be credit card readers and PIN pads on the back of pews.

-Tim-

That’s…bizarre. :ehh:

How does one account for the distinction among attending Mass at one’s territorial parish, one’s parish of registry (which may not be the same), or attending Mass at a different parish due to travel, etc? I’m not sure how.

Were you given a reason for this attendance count, and how the numbers will be used? Do you get demerits :wink: ?

In ArchDC, there was a yearly census where, for a couple of weeks in a row, the ushers / volunteers would actually count the number of folks in the pews, get an average, and submit the number. Of course, that was just a head count, and not collecting any demographic info.

I personally find this disgusting. I drop cash in the basket week after week because “don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”, right??

I hope that this ends soon. I’d immediately switch parishes, and let them know why. It’s not their job to be judging you for something like that. Your word should be enough for any sacraments.

I totally understand the beef here. I really do.

But let’s turn this around.

What is really WRONG with it?

I suspect there are abuses occurring with attendance and let us not forget that we have an obligation to attend. Why isn’t a joy to fill that thing out and send it in?

I guess my point is we {me, too} have a tendency to respond negatively to anything that harnesses us to our own commitments. We immediately bristle at “anyone telling us what to do” or “looking over our shoulder” or whatever other descriptive someone might want to toss in here.

Another way to look at it is by filling it out you are helping in the correct management of the parish and following the guidance of the local authority who is the Priest.

There is a reason why collections are taken up at the Offertory. Let’s not lose sight of this fact.

Can you imagine going to a different parish, and asking the priest, “Father, could you validate my bulletin for me?”

It is admittedly kind of weird.

I suspect there is more to the story.

I don’t think this occurred in a vacuum.

Ensuring that those who participate in sacramental programs actually attend mass seems to be one of those constant problems in parish life. While I can understand where the pastor here is coming from I tend to prefer encouragement over enforcement myself - as a priest I know likes to say: you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!

On a slight tangent - there are a number of advantages to electronic donations, particularly the fact that it reduces the amount of cash a parish handles (and has to count) which has obviously security benefits.It also makes for better record keeping which in turn makes calculating yearly totals easier. Finally, regular electronic payments also makes financial planning easier for the parish since they know that the same amount will come in each week regardless of whether the donee themselves actually attends. That said, I appreciate that some people feel uneasy about sharing too much personal data and so prefer the anonymity that cash provides. Regrettably, data protection policies don’t tend to feature on most parishes’ radar!

This is what I’m thinking in my head.

Priest: In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit :signofcross:

Congregation: Amen :amen:

Priest: Anderson family? Rodriguez? O’Brien family? Wozniak family? Smith family?
wow everybody is here this Sunday. Now let us acknowledge our sinfulness.

I know of only one other that does this: the Iglesia ni Cristo. They have timekeeping clocks much like those used by companies used to track the ins and outs of their employees.

I’m not sure we want a Catholic church doing this. Catholics are free to attend Mass at any Catholic church they want, even if from that of another rite or church. No one should be forced to have to explain their whereabouts to the priest or anyone.

Not something I’d worry about unless I was in fact one of the ones missing Mass!

Sounds redundant to me.

God takes attendance… why does the parish also need to?

Sounds like the pastors are fed up with people believing that having their children enrolled in Catholic school counts for their Mass attendance.
This is a huge problem among the families that attend private Catholic schools( not parish schools, necessarily) When I taught at the Catholic school, I would routinely ask the kids what they thought about the Sunday Mass readings. Fewer than 2 kids in a class of 25 ever knew. Most readily admitted they didn’t ever go to Mass. The parents felt that since we had weekly Mass, they were done, and Sunday was not necessary. Likewise, now that I’m the DRE across the road at the parish, many drop their kids off at Faith Formation and come back in an hour, and drive away. Many Sunday school kids don’t go to Mass either.
As long as parents see religious ed as a ticket to a Sacrament (First Communion, Confirmation, etc.) there will always be people who will dance around their obligation.
I’ve heard more than one priest upset about this practice.
Not saying it’s right, but I’m sure that’s what’s going on here. It’s sad. The families profess to bring their children up in the faith at Baptism…but then there’s always something “better” that they have to do. :shrug:
There is a church near to me that takes attendance of the children. They have a Sister posted at the back pew.
What needs to change is the parents perception of what being a Catholic really means.
Does it mean the bare minimum? Does it mean finding a way to skirt the Sacramental prep requirements? Or does it involves living your faith in community and modeling the correct behavior for your children.
Pray for your Parish leadership. It’s frustrating.

At the church here we do not have this.
However the ushers do keep track of the number of people at Sunday Mass.

The priest does have a right to check whether kids in sacrament classes are attending mass. The kids should have a file card to hand to the priest who can initial them at some time during the week and return them to the file. He will then be up to date on who is attending and who is not. If you don’t have kids in classes then he is certainly being very controlling. On the other hand if someone asks if you could be a godparent, then he would know how devout you are. I have heard this only once before. A priest who had many non Catholics in the school made them attend mass with their families. He collected the kids’ envelopes separately so he could check on them.
BTW- people who give by credit card or auto-deduction, usually give more than those who give cash. People don’t always have the correct amount in cash to put into the plate so credit cards and bank transfers are most convenience and efficient.

Our parish uses a service that specializes in this. The parish doesn’t have ANY person’s personal acct data. They actually see more personal info via written checks.

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