Summer 1965

Page 60

Gerard P. Weber

A Changing Parish

A •ocwlogical •truly of religi<>u. practice in. a pari•h and iu relevance to pa3toral methods.

What happens when a parish changes? Some phenomena are easily discernible. School enrollment usually stays high, but from one-third to one-half of the students are non-Catholic. Church attendance dwindles, but converts increase. Collections decrease, even though the per capita contribution increases. The entire socio-economic basis of the parish changes, and this change has serious effects upon the work of the parish. .· In 1961 a rather thorough census of St. Carthage parish was taken by seminarians, students from Loyola University, and members of the C.F.M. Dr. Frank Cizon of Loyola Uni· versity's department of sociology directed the census, tabulated and analyzed the results. The purpose of the census was to learn the religious practices of the new members of the parish and to seek other information which we hoped would throw light on how to interest converts and to keep them active in the Church. Nineteen hundred and sixty was the year of a federal census and the bulk of the parish was in census tract 899 and 900. This fortunate circumstance made it possible to make com· 171