You’re the new pastor over a church that offers a Mass that attracts hundreds of Millennial and Gen Z Catholics. That Mass has inspired lay apostolates for your parish, including one for men to serve at the altar. What do you do? Thank God for this gift that you inherited from your predecessor and do everything you can to see to its continued success? Consider doubling down and expanding it?
If you’re the pastor at Cincinnati’s Dominican parish, you cancel it.
Like many dioceses in the U.S., the Archdiocese of Cincinnati suffered through a decades-long silly season. Masses were celebrated sloppily. Religious instruction was vacuous, sacramental life moribund. According to one demographer, the archdiocese lost close to 100,000 Catholics (out of 550,000) during the first decade of the new millennium. That’s roughly the size of the entire neighboring diocese of Covington, Kentucky.