Mass attendance is puzzlingly low for catholic college

By Marissa Roberto
September 30, 2015

With a chapel located conveniently on campus, mass is still low in attendance. Photo by Keith Brown

Worrying about getting a seat in Cabrini’s chapel on Sunday nights is not necessary – there are many seats available to choose from.

With around 20 people in attendance for the 7 p.m. mass, the chapel is almost empty.

No one would think that this church was located on a Catholic-affiliated college due to the amount of people who showed up for evening mass on a Sunday.

Even for daily mass, student and Cabrini faculty atten- dance is low.

“It’s the time of individual’s lives when those [religious] beliefs are being owned for the first time for many on their own,” Father Carl Janicki, director of campus ministry, said. “It’s a developmental stage in faith and so one of the things that we see, really across the country, is that the spectrum of people’s ability to understand what they believe has sort of been coming down on a regular basis.”

By labeling Cabrini as a religious school, some think a good amount of people attend mass like other religious- affiliated colleges and universities.

“While Catholicism is a big part of the culture here at Cabrini, it isn’t forced on people who choose not to believe,” Jack Dunleavy, sophomore English and second- ary education major, said. “There are many options for expression here because we are so accepting of all back- grounds.”

Campus ministry and the college decided not to have religious programs or religious symbols represented in any of the dorm and apartment buildings on campus.

Janicki thought this was a good idea. He went on to talk about how students need their own space on campus that they can call theirs. This is their space to do what they want and feel comfortable in doing it.

Sarah Smith, sophomore political science and history major, attends church almost every Sunday night. She participates in campus ministry events and is a part of Catholic Relief Services, which meets in the Wolfington Center weekly.

Smith believes college students realize the freedom they have very early on in their educational careers.

Students are on their own and away from their families at school, they have the freedom to choose their day-to-day activities without someone telling them what to do and how to live their lives.

“They do not have to go to mass, so they chose not to,” Smith said.

Sarah Davis, junior English and mid-level education major, goes to mass quite frequently with her roommates. Davis is heavily involved in working on projects with the missioners that are on campus located in the Wolfington Center.

“A lot of people have this mindset of church being something you do with your parents or go home to do. Going and participating in mass is not something a lot of students really associate with college life,” Davis said.

Davis believes that spreading the word about when mass takes place and that it is welcoming to all students and faculty is really crucial.

Even at the beginning of mass, Father Carl asks the people present to introduce themselves to the people around them to strengthen the sense of community in the church.

“As well, there is a wonderful growing attendance of students at daily mass,” Father Carl said. “But none of those things are really measures of where people are in their ability to practice faith.”


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Marissa Roberto

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