Friday, February 19, 2010

68 Million Strong... and Growing

With this weekend seeing the traditional Rites of Election -- the annual welcome of Easter's catechumens and candidates into the local churches -- it's worth noting the fresh news that the new intake will be joining what's already the US' largest religious grouping... and a growing bunch, to boot:
An annual tally of church membership in the U.S. found gains by the Roman Catholic Church, the Mormon church and the Assemblies of God last year, while mainline denominations continued their decades-long decline.

The data was published in the latest Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, released this month by the National Council of Churches, based in New York.

Membership in the Catholic Church rose nearly 1.5 percent to more than 68 million, the largest denomination by far in the country. The church rebounded from a slight drop last year.
While the Rite is traditionally held in the cathedral church -- or, in some vast dioceses, celebrated at several locations -- such is this year's RCIA crop in the booming archdiocese of Atlanta that the 2010 welcome's taking place in the city's civic center.

Now within striking distance of a million members -- triple its 1990 size -- the Hotlanta church customarily has one of the country's largest convert classes.

PHOTO: Diocese of Shreveport