August Parish Life Survey. Saint Benedict Parish Johnstown, Pennsylvania

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1 August 2018 Parish Life Survey Saint Benedict Parish Johnstown, Pennsylvania

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3 Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate Georgetown University Washington, DC Parish Life Survey Saint Benedict Parish Johnstown, Pennsylvania August 2018 Jonathon L. Wiggins, Ph.D. Sr. Joan Chisala, CSJB

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5 Table of Contents Executive Summary... 1 Introduction... 6 Interpreting This Report... 6 Section I: Demographic Characteristics of Respondents... 8 Age and Generation... 8 Gender and Marital Status Children in the Household Level of Education Section II: Religious Characteristics of Respondents Relationship to the Parish Years at the Parish Mass Time of Response Frequency of Mass Attendance Participation in Parish Formation Programs Ministry and Activity Participation Section III: Assessment of Parish Life and Needs Evaluation of Aspects of Parish Life Evaluation of Persons and Programs Evaluation of Areas of Weekend Masses Evaluation of Ministry to Groups Attraction to the Parish Priority for Parish Needs Interest in Learning More About Topics Likelihood of Future Behaviors Impediments to Volunteering More for the Parish Impediments to Contributing More Financially to the Parish Attitudes about Religion Attitudes about Parish Life Attitudes about Parish Worship Attitudes about Stewardship Attitudes about Leadership and Communication Appendix I: Response Frequencies to All Questions... 98

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7 Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate Parish Life Survey Saint Benedict Parish Johnstown, Pennsylvania Executive Summary The St. Benedict Parish Life Survey was designed by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. Most of the questions were derived from CARA s database of nationally tested questions, with some questions designed specifically for the parish. The parish distributed the questionnaire to those attending its liturgies over one weekend in June In all, there were 1,018 valid responses. Eleven more respondents age 15 or younger were not considered valid respondents and so were excluded from this analysis. Major findings can be summarized as follows: Demographic Characteristics of Respondents In calendar year 2018, the average age of valid respondents to the in-pew survey at St. Benedict Parish is 62. Half are 65 or older. CARA divides Catholics into four generations, reflective of the age categories used by many other social scientists. The most common generation at St. Benedict Parish is the Vatican II Generation, ages 57 to 74 in Six in ten (59) respondents to the survey are female and four in ten are male. Seventy-one percent say they are currently married or remarried. Some 13 have never married, 7 are divorced or separated, and 9 are widowed. Twelve percent report having at least one child or stepchild under age 18 living with them. Some 33 have attained a high school diploma or less, 24 have attended some college or have an associate s degree, and 43 have a bachelor s or graduate degree. Religious Characteristics of Respondents On average, respondents have attended the parish for 32 years, with half having attended 31 years or more. Some 91 identify the parish as their primary place of worship and 88 say they are registered there. Five percent say they regularly attend the parish but are not registered and another 6 were identified as visitors on the weekend of the survey. 1

8 Assessment of Parish Life Nearly all (95) give St. Benedict Parish overall a positive evaluation ( good and excellent combined). Some 50 rate it as excellent. Fully 94 agree at least somewhat that their parish community is important to them, with 59 strongly agreeing that it is. Some 95 at least somewhat agree that they feel comfortable at the parish, with 69 agreeing strongly that they do. Some 86 at least somewhat agree that participation in this faith community has deepened their faith. Forty-five percent agree strongly that it has. At least half of St. Benedict respondents report being attracted to the parish very much by the quality of the liturgy (56), the sense of belonging they feel (56), and its open and welcoming spirit (50). Efforts to invite parishioners to participate in parish life receive an excellent rating from 47. Some 20 strongly agree that they want to be more involved in parish life. The sense of community within the parish receives a positive rating from 76 of respondents. Some 31 give it an excellent rating. In a related finding, social activities receive an excellent rating from 40 of respondents. Eighty-six percent strongly agree that they feel loved by God. Considerably fewer, between 4 and 7, agree as strongly that they are currently questioning their faith and that they are exploring religions other than Catholicism. Leadership Eighty-two percent give a positive evaluation to leaders being sensitive to the needs and concerns of parishioners. Some 37 give this aspect of parish life an excellent rating. Some 73 strongly agree they would feel comfortable talking with the pastor. This is a considerably higher than the average percentage responding to previous CARA surveys (21). Twelve percent strongly agree that they feel they have a role in decision making at the parish. Four in ten (39) rate efforts to manage parish finances as excellent. Some 71 give an excellent rating to the friendliness of the parish office staff. Eighty-six percent of new parishioners, that is those who started attending the parish in the past two years, rate the office staff s friendliness as excellent. 2

9 Worship Masses and liturgies in general receive a positive evaluation from 90 of respondents. Fiftythree percent rate them as excellent. In a related finding, 96 at least somewhat agree that they enjoy attending Mass at the parish, with 75 agreeing strongly they do. Some 65 rate the music as excellent, with 52 rating the hospitality or sense of welcome as highly. The prayerful, reverent atmosphere at Mass receives an excellent rating from 59 of respondents. Among the aspects of weekend Mass evaluated, the length of the Mass (39) was least likely to receive an excellent evaluation. Some 56 rate the weekend Mass schedule as excellent. Forty-seven percent evaluate the Confession/Reconciliation schedule as highly. Some 78 attend Mass at least once a week and another 20 attend almost every week. Mass attendance varies according to generation, with those of the older generations (83) most likely to attend at least once a week and those of the two youngest generations (67 and 68) least likely. Some 9 strongly agree that they can be good Catholics without going to Mass every week. Among those saying the currently attend less than weekly, 20 strongly agree. Slightly more (20) agree strongly that they can be good Catholics without going to Confession/Reconciliation at least once a year. Twenty-four percent give very much priority to the parish providing more small group prayer opportunities. Formation Parish efforts to educate parishioners in the faith receive a positive evaluation from 89 of respondents, with 46 giving these efforts an excellent rating. In a related finding, efforts to foster spiritual growth receive an excellent rating from 42 of respondents. Some 22 agree strongly that they are familiar with the contents of the Bible, with 18 reporting that they are very likely to regularly read the Bible in the next year. More than that, 38, however, express great interest in learning more about Biblical study and interpretation. Sacramental preparation programs for children and youth (55) and children s religious education programs (52) receive an excellent rating from more than half of respondents. Forty-one percent give youth ministry as high a rating. Some 22 indicate that the parish should place very much priority on providing retreat opportunities. In addition, 12 report being very likely to participate in a small faithsharing group in the next year. 3

10 When asked how interested they would be in learning more about five different topics, respondents were particularly likely express very much interest in the topics of how the Scriptures relate to daily life (52), a Catholic perspective on current topics (45), and the history and traditions of the Church (43). Stewardship Eighty-one percent agree at least somewhat that they understand the concept of stewardship, with 44 agreeing strongly that they do. Some 31 agree strongly that stewardship is important to them. Parish efforts to invite participation in ministries receive an excellent evaluation from 44 of respondents. Fifty-seven percent report not being involved with any ministries or activities at the parish, 18 are involved with one, and 25 are involved with two or more. When asked how much different factors prevent them from volunteering more for the parish, respondents are particularly likely to say the following very much prevent them from doing so: their busy schedules or lack of time (45) and already volunteering as much as they would like (26). Members of the second youngest generation are most likely to cite their busy schedules or lack of time (70), with those of the oldest generation most likely to cite already volunteering as much as they would like to (37). Some 15 strongly agree that the parish is always asking for money. When asked how much different factors prevent them from contributing more financially to the parish, respondents are particularly likely to say the following very much prevent them from doing so: already contributing all they can afford (51) and their current financial status or debts (41). Members of the oldest generation are most likely to cite already contributing all they can afford (67), with those of the youngest generation least likely to cite that reason (31). About three in ten strongly agree both that they prefer to give to specific projects rather than to a general fund (31) and that they would help support a fundraising program for the needs of the parish (27). Evangelization and Parish Outreach When asked to evaluate parish ministry to nine groups, respondents are most likely to give an excellent rating to ministry to those sick and homebound (48), followed by senior citizens (40), those grieving (39), and children (37). They are least likely to give the same rating to ministry to those divorced or separated (24) and single parents (25). Some 32 give very much priority to reaching out inactive Catholics. 4

11 Parish Communications Communication with parishioners receives a positive evaluation from 82 of respondents, with 38 rating these efforts as excellent. In related findings, 27 strongly agree that they feel well informed about what goes on in the parish and 67 rate the weekly bulletin as excellent. Fifty-six percent agree that they have visited the parish website in the past year. Forty percent rate the website s usefulness as excellent. Nearly two in three (64) agree that they regularly use and another two in three (67) agree that is an effective way of keeping them informed about parish events. Almost half (46) agree that they regularly use social media (such as Facebook or Twitter) and 44 agree that social media are an effective way of to keep them aware of parish news. Some 39 say the parish should give very much priority to having a parish newsletter. Those of the oldest two generations are especially likely to give a newsletter high priority. 5

12 Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate Parish Life Survey Saint Benedict Parish Johnstown, Pennsylvania Introduction The St. Benedict Parish Life Survey was designed by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. Most of the questions were derived from CARA s database of nationally tested questions, with some questions designed specifically for the parish. The parish distributed the questionnaire to those attending its liturgies over one weekend in June In all, there were 1,018 valid responses. Eleven more respondents age 15 or younger were not considered valid respondents and so were excluded from this analysis. Following standard assumptions of statistical inference, a sample size of 1,018 provides a margin of error of approximately +3.0 percentage points. 1 Interpreting This Report Most of the questions in this survey use four-point response scales (i.e., not at all, only a little, somewhat, very much ; or poor, fair, good, excellent ). These scales allow respondents to choose between two relatively negative choices (e.g., poor and fair ) and two relatively positive choices (e.g., good and excellent ). In parts of the analysis in this report, these responses are combined to allow for clearer comparisons. However, sometimes examining the most positive response distinguishes important contrasts in level of support. In addition, readers may also wish to compare the difference between the two extreme responses, say poor and excellent, to compare the level of intensity with which opposing opinions are held. These comparisons and others may be drawn by referring to the actual percentage responses given in Appendix I. That appendix shows the percentage responses for each item, calculated out of 100, as well as the percentage of all respondents that did not respond to each question, separately calculated out of 100 for clarity of comparison. In addition to summarizing the responses to most questions for respondents as a whole, the report also compares the responses of those from selected subgroups. The first section of the report describes the characteristics of the respondents as well as the subgroups that are used in the analyses that follow. Throughout the report, the tables and charts that compare differences between 1 Strictly speaking, it is necessary to know the total population (in this case, the total number of adult parishioners) to calculate margin of error. CARA s standard assumption for its in-pew parish surveys is that about half of parishioners are represented. For obvious reasons, those who are represented in a given in-pew survey are disproportionately more frequent Mass attenders. 6

13 and among these various subgroups are presented following the responses for parishioners as a whole in each section. The margin of error for differences between subgroups, such as the differences among those of different generations or those with different levels of involvement, depends on the size of the subgroups being compared. Unless otherwise noted, all subgroup differences described in the graphs of this report are statistically significant: that is, they pass standard tests of statistical inference and can be considered to be real differences. In some instances, differences between or among subgroups that are not statistically significant are also noted. These differences should be treated as merely suggestive of real differences that may exist between the subgroups under consideration. CARA regularly conducts parish surveys through its Parish Life Surveys. Parish Life Surveys are a series of dynamic survey instruments for pastoral planning, including survey data collection, analyses of key stakeholders and demographic groups, and user-friendly reports and products. From the aggregate data collected through the Parish Life Survey services over the past 20 years, CARA has a database of characteristics of parish life gathered from more than 1,000 parishes nationwide. While this database is not a random sample of parishes, and therefore not necessarily representative of all parishes nationwide, it is the most comprehensive source of data of its kind and covers a broad range of topics important to vibrant parish life. In this report, where possible, results from St. Benedict Parish current Parish Life Survey are compared to the aggregate responses from the Parish Life Survey National Database of Parish Life to put the parish results into a larger national context. Additionally, where available, comparisons are made to findings from a 2012 study of Catholics in-pew at 23 parishes across the country. Finally, comparisons are made to findings from CARA s nationally representative surveys of adult self-identified Catholics conducted since For all of these comparisons, only differences of 10 percentage points or more are treated as meaningful. The results of this survey fairly represent the characteristics and attitudes of people ages 16 and older who attend Mass at St. Benedict Parish. It cannot be used to make inferences about populations outside of Mass attendees at the parish; it is not representative of those who do not attend Mass or those who are only involved in parish functions excluding Mass. 7

14 Section I: Demographic Characteristics of Respondents This section of the report includes demographic and other descriptive data for the 1,018 valid respondents to this survey. These data may be helpful in considering who responded to the survey, which populations are represented in the data, and characteristics of those attending Mass on a typical weekend at the parish. Age and Generation Valid respondents at St. Benedict Parish surveyed in 2018 were born between 1920 and The average age of respondents is 62, with half saying they are 65 or older. Although not directly comparable as the national data comes from 2012, this is higher than the median age of 49 among all self-identified Catholics nationally. 2 The most common age range reported is 65 to 74. Age in 2018, Compared to Catholics Nationally St. Benedict Catholics In Pew Nationally* Catholics Nationally** Age Range 18-24*** or older *Source: CARA s 2012 Emerging Models study **Source: CARA s 2012 Media Use study ***For comparison purposes, 16 year olds (three respondents) and 17 year olds (eight respondents) are omitted from this table Overall, St. Benedict respondents report being older than those responding in-pew nationally. Some 16 of St. Benedict respondents are under age 45 compared to 33 of Catholics in pew nationally. They differ significantly from Catholics nationally. Some 16 of St. Benedict respondents are under age 45 compared to 46 of Catholics nationally. 2 Source: Mark M. Gray, and Mary L. Gautier Catholic New Media Use in the United States,

15 Important differences between groups in parishes are typically found among those who belong to different generations. CARA divides Catholics into four generations, reflective of the age categories used by many other Catholic researchers. The most common generation among St. Benedict respondents is the Vatican II Generation (ages 57 to 74), followed by the Pre-Vatican II Generation (ages 75 and older). Millennial 82 9 Post-Vatican II Generations Number and percentage Pre-Vatican II Vatican II The Pre-Vatican II Generation, ages 75 and over in 2018: The Pre-Vatican II Generation was born in 1942 or earlier. Its members came of age before the Second Vatican Council. Members of the Pre-Vatican II Generation make up 23 of the respondents at St. Benedict Parish. This is similar to the percentage among Catholics in-pew nationally (18) but higher than the percentage among Catholics nationally (10). The Vatican II Generation, ages in 2018: These are the Baby Boomers who were born between 1943 and 1960, a time of great demographic and economic growth. They came of age during the time of the Second Vatican Council and their formative years likely spanned that time of profound changes in the Church. Members of the Vatican II Generation at St. Benedict Parish represent 49 of respondents. This is higher than the percentage among Catholics in-pew nationally (35) and the percentage among Catholics nationally (32). The Post-Vatican II Generation, ages in 2018: Born between 1961 and 1981, this generation, sometimes called Generation X or Baby Busters by demographers, has no lived experience of the pre-vatican II Church. Some 19 of those at St. Benedict Parish are members of this generation. This is less than the percentage among Catholics in-pew nationally (39) and the percentage among Catholics nationally (38). 9

16 The Millennial Generation, ages in 2018: This generation, born in 1982 or later (up to 1996 among adults), has come of age primarily under the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Because some still live with their parents, their religious practice is often closely related to that of their families of origin. Some 9 of respondents at St. Benedict Parish belong to the Millennial Generation. This is similar to the percentage among Catholics in-pew nationally (8) but less than the percentage among Catholics nationally (19). Generation, Compared to Catholics Nationally St. Benedict Catholics In Pew Nationally* Catholics Nationally** Generations Pre-Vatican II (born 1942 or earlier) Vatican II (born 1943 to 1960) Post-Vatican II (born 1961 to 1981) Millennial (born 1982 to 2000) *Source: CARA s 2012 Emerging Models study **Source: CARA s 2012 Media Use study These four generations will be used for comparisons throughout the rest of the report. 10

17 Gender and Marital Status Fifty-nine percent of respondents identify as female and 41 as male. This is similar to Catholics nationally in pew (64) but higher than the percentage of self-identified Catholics nationally identifying as female (51). Gender, Compared to Catholics Nationally Percentage responding St. Benedict Catholics In Pew Nationally* Catholics Nationally** Female Male *Source: CARA s 2012 Emerging Models study **Source: CARA s 2012 Media Use study Sixty-eight percent of respondents are currently married or remarried. Some 15 have never married, 7 are divorced or separated, and 10 are widowed. Married or remarried Marital Status Number and percentage Divorced or separated 63 7 Widowed Never married

18 Comparison to Catholics Nationally Marital status at the parish is compared to the national data in the table below. The percentage married or remarried at St. Benedict Parish (68) is similar to the percentage among Catholics in-pew nationally (70) and only slightly higher than the percentage among Catholics nationally (62). Marital Status, Compared to Catholics Nationally Percentage responding St. Benedict Catholics In Pew Nationally* Catholics Nationally** Marital Status Never married*** Married or remarried Divorced or separated Widowed *Source: CARA s 2012 Emerging Models study **Source: CARA s 2012 Media Use study ***The Media Use study includes those responding living with a partner, who are included in the never married category here Fifteen percent have never married, compared to about one in seven in-pew Catholics nationally (15) and a quarter of adult Catholics nationally (24). Some 7 are divorced or separated, compared to almost one in ten (8 to 9) Catholics in pew and nationally. One in ten St. Benedict respondents (10) overall have been widowed, compared to about one in 20 (5 to 7) of those in pew and nationally. 12

19 Differences by Generation Marital status differs by generation. Members of the Millennial Generation are particularly likely to have never married (53); those of the Vatican II Generation and Post-Vatican II Generation are most likely to be married (81 and 76, respectively); and those of the Pre-Vatican II Generation are most likely to be widowed (53). Marital Status, by Generation Percentage responding Pre-Vatican II Vatican II Post-Vatican II Millennial Single, never married Married or remarried Divorced or separated Widowed Children in the Household Respondents report having from zero to six of their children or stepchildren ages 17 and younger living with them. Some 125 respondents (12) have at least one child (including stepchildren) those ages living with them. Respondents report 142 children or stepchildren ages 12 and younger living with them and 96 children or stepchildren ages 13 to 17 living with them. 3 Children or Stepchildren Living in Household Percentage responding No children 88 One child 5 Two children 5 Three or more children 2 Ages 12 or younger 8 Ages 13 to This sum does not take into account those households where both parents or stepparents responded to the question and so double-counts some children. 13

20 Level of Education A third (33) have a high school diploma or less. Another 24 have attended some college or have an associate s degree. Some 43 report having a bachelor s or graduate degree. Graduate degree Bachelor's degree Associate's degree Level of Education Number and percentage Some high school or less 20 2 In college/some college High school diploma

21 Comparison to Catholics Nationally Compared to parishes CARA has surveyed in the past, St. Benedict respondents are relatively more likely to have a high school diploma or less (19 compared to 33) and are less likely to have a bachelor s degree or more (53 compared to 43). Level of Education, Compared to Catholics Nationally Percentage responding Catholics Level of Education St. Benedict In Pew Nationally* Some high school or less 2 5 High school diploma Some college Associate s degree 9 9 Bachelor s degree Graduate degree Catholics Nationally** }47 }26 }27 *Source: CARA s 2012 Emerging Models study **Source: CARA s 2012 Media Use study Differences by Generation Level of education differs some by generation. Members of the oldest generation are particularly likely to have a high school diploma or less (55), with those of the Post-Vatican II Generation most likely to have a bachelor s or graduate degree (66). Millennials, it should be mentioned, are most likely to still be in college. Level of Education, by Generation Percentage responding Level of Education Pre-Vatican II Vatican II Post-Vatican II Millennial Some high school or less High school diploma In college/some college Associate s degree Bachelor s degree Graduate degree

22 Section II: Religious Characteristics of Respondents This part of the report describes several characteristics of the 1,018 valid respondents to the survey that relate to their religious attributes and parish-related behaviors. Relationship to the Parish Of all respondents, 91 report that St. Benedict Parish is their primary place of worship and 88 say they are registered there. In the figure below, those two measures are examined in relationship to one another. Nearly nine in ten (86) say both that the parish is their primary place of worship and that they are registered there. Fewer, 5 say the parish is their primary place of worship but that they are not registered there. 4 Six percent are visitors to the parish. Primary place of worship and a registered parishioner Relationship to Parish Number and percentage Primary place of worship but not registered 51 5 Not primary place of worship but registered 28 3 Visitor Those who identify the parish as their primary place of worship but are not registered there tend to be those who attend Mass less than weekly and belong to the two youngest generations. 16

23 Compared to Catholics in pew nationally (13), St. Benedict respondents are less likely to indicate that the parish is their primary place of worship but that they are not registered there (5). Relationship to the Parish, Compared to Catholics Nationally St. Benedict Catholics In Pew Nationally* Primary place of worship and a registered parishioner Primary place of worship but not registered 5 13 Not primary place of worship but registered 3 2 Visitor to the parish 6 7 *Source: CARA s 2012 Emerging Models study 17

24 Years at the Parish Mass attenders were asked to write in the number of years they have attended the parish. On average, respondents have attended the parish for 32 years. The median is 31 years, meaning that half of respondents have attended for 31 years or less. Years at Parish* Percentage responding 1 year or less years years years years years years years years years or more 34 Average 32 Median 31 Minimum 1 Maximum 94 * Those who do not regularly attend the parish were asked to leave the question blank. Those who have attended for less than a year were instructed to write 1. Concerning relatively recent arrivals to the parish, 21 of those who have attended the parish for five years or less are of the Post-Vatican II Generation and 18 are of the Millennial Generation. In contrast, 5 of those attending the parish for five years or less are of the oldest generation and 8 are of the Vatican II Generation. 18

25 Mass Time of Response The parish collected the surveys by Mass time of response and sent them to CARA bundled in that way. Respondents were particularly likely to have responded at the 5 p.m. Saturday Mass (26), followed by the 9:30 a.m. Sunday (25) and 11:30 a.m. Sunday (23) Masses. 5 Mass Time of Response Number and percentage 9:30 am Sunday :30 am Sunday :30 am Sunday pm Saturday pm Saturday Where relevant throughout the rest of the report, comparisons are made among those who responded at the various Masses. 5 The oldest two generations are most likely to attend the 5 p.m. Saturday Mass (28 to 35 of those of these two generations), with those of the youngest generation most likely to attend the 11:30 a.m. Sunday Mass (38 of those of that generation). 19

26 Frequency of Mass Attendance Some 77 of respondents report attending Mass at least once a week. An additional 20 attend almost every week and 3 attend once or twice a month. Less than 1 percent attend less frequently than that. Almost every Once or twice a week month Frequency of Mass Attendance Number and percentage responding A few times a year 2 <1 Never or rarely 1 <1 More than once a week Every week

27 Comparison to Catholics Nationally Compared to in-pew Catholics nationally (71), St. Benedict respondents are slightly more likely to attend Mass at least once a week (77). St. Benedict respondents (77) are considerably more likely to attend Mass at least once a week than are self-identified Catholic adults nationally (23). About how frequently do you currently attend Mass? Percentage responding St. Benedict Catholics In Pew Nationally* Catholics Nationally** Never or rarely <1 <1 32 A few times a year < Once/twice a month Almost every week Every week More than once a week *Source: CARA s 2012 Emerging Models study **Source: CARA s 2012 Media Use study Differences by Generation Members of the Pre-Vatican II Generation (83) are most likely to attend Mass at least once a week, followed by those of the Vatican II Generation (80), Millennial Generation (68) and Post-Vatican II Generation (67). Those of the Post-Vatican II Generation (27), on the other hand, are most likely to attend Mass almost every week, followed by those of the Millennial Generation (19), Vatican II Generation (18), and Pre-Vatican II Generation (17). 21

28 Participation in Parish Formation Programs Respondents report the following family participation in parish formation programs: 12 of respondents have attended adult religious education programs in the past five years at the parish. 25 have children who have attended religious education classes in the past five years. Ministry and Activity Participation Forty-three percent report being involved with at least one ministry or activity at the parish in the past year. Some 57 are not involved with any. One Number of Ministries or Activities Involved with at the Parish Number and percentage Two to four Five or more 27 3 None In the remainder of this report comparison is made between two groups of respondents according to their involvement in parish activities: Those not involved in any parish ministries or activities (527 respondents or 57) Those involved in one or more parish ministries or activities (401 respondents or 43) 22

29 Comparison to Parishes Nationally St. Benedict respondents are slightly less likely to report being involved with at least one ministry or activity at the parish as those parishes CARA has worked with in the past (43 compared to 50). Number of Ministries or Activities Involved With Percentage responding St. Benedict Parishes Nationally* None One Two Three or more 3 3 *Source: Cumulative average from parishes conducting CARA Parish Life Surveys Some 25 of St. Benedict respondents are involved in two or more ministries or activities, identical to the 25 of those at parishes nationally. Fifty-seven percent are not involved with any parish ministries or activities, compared to half of those at parishes nationally. Regular Giving to the Parish s Weekly Collection Fully 89 report that they regularly give to the parish s weekly collection. Those 11 who do not regularly give tend to be from the youngest generation, with 67 of that generation saying they give regularly compared to 90 to 92 of those of the other generations. 23

30 Section III: Assessment of Parish Life and Needs Overall, the results of the St. Benedict Parish Life Survey are very positive. Fifteen particular areas were addressed in the survey instrument. These areas are featured in this section of the report, though readers are advised to consult the response frequencies in Appendix I of this document for response rates and other pertinent information about these data. The areas of parish life addressed are: Evaluation of Aspects of Parish Life Evaluation of Persons and Programs Evaluation of Areas of Weekend Masses Evaluation of Parish Ministry to Groups Evaluation of Parish Outreach Attraction to the Parish Priority for Parish Needs Interest in Learning More about Topics Likelihood of Future Behaviors Impediments to Volunteering More for the Parish Impediments to Contributing More Financially to the Parish Attitudes about Religion Attitudes about Parish Life Attitudes about Stewardship Attitudes about Leadership and Communication 24

31 Evaluation of Aspects of Parish Life This section presents the survey s most general evaluation of parish life. Besides an evaluation of the parish overall, the other items are very general measures of CARA s seven elements of parish life: community, worship, leadership, faith formation, stewardship, social justice, and evangelization. Some 95 of respondents give a positive rating ( good and excellent combined) to St. Benedict Parish overall. Please evaluate these aspects of parish life Percentage responding Good or Excellent St. Benedict Catholics In Pew Nationally* St. Benedict Parish overall Masses and liturgies in general Efforts to educate parishioners in the faith Invitation to participate in parish life Invitation to participate in parish ministries Management of parish finances Efforts to foster spiritual growth Communication with parishioners Leaders being sensitive to the needs and concerns of the parishioners 82 Sense of community within the parish *Source: CARA s 2012 Emerging Models study With one exception, between 82 and 90 evaluate each of the other aspects of parish life listed in the table above as good or excellent. Comparison to Parishes Nationally 6 Respondents at St. Benedict Parish are 11 percentage points less likely than those at parishes nationally to give a good or excellent evaluation to the sense of community within the parish (76 compared to 87). 6 As discussed in the Introduction, only differences of 10 percentage points or more are treated as meaningful. 25

32 Excellent Evaluations Half of respondents (50) give an excellent rating to St. Benedict Parish overall. Please evaluate these aspects of parish life Percentage responding Excellent St. Benedict Catholics In Pew Nationally* Masses and liturgies in general St. Benedict Parish overall Invitation to participate in parish life Efforts to educate parishioners in the faith Invitation to participate in parish ministries Efforts to foster spiritual growth Management of parish finances Communication with parishioners Leaders being sensitive to the needs and concerns of the parishioners 37 Sense of community within the parish *Source: CARA s 2012 Emerging Models study About half of those responding to the survey give an excellent evaluation to the Masses and liturgies in general (53), efforts to invite participation in parish life (47), and efforts to educate parishioners in the faith (46). Roughly four in ten say the following aspects of parish life are excellent : efforts to invite participation in parish ministries (44), efforts to foster spiritual growth (42), the management of parish finances (39), communication with parishioners (37), and leaders being sensitive to the needs and concerns of the parishioners (37). Some 31 rate the sense of community within the parish as excellent. Comparison to Parishes Nationally Respondents at St. Benedict Parish are 18 percentage points more likely than those at parishes nationally to give an excellent evaluation to efforts to invite participation in parish life (47 compared to 29). 26

33 Those at St. Benedict Parish are 15 percentage points less likely than those at parishes nationally to give an excellent evaluation to the sense of community within the parish (31 compared to 46). Differences by Frequency of Mass Attendance Those who attend Mass at least once a week do not differ significantly from those who attend less than weekly in the evaluations they give to Masses and liturgies in general. Differences by Generation Members of the Post- Vatican II and Pre-Vatican II Generations are especially likely to evaluate the parish overall as excellent. Members of the oldest generation alone, on the other hand, are most likely to say the Masses and liturgies in general and the parish s invitation to participate in ministries are excellent Excellent Evaluations of Elements of Parish Life, by Generation St Benedict Parish overall Masses and liturgies in general Invitation to participate in parish ministries Pre-Vatican II Vatican II Post-Vatican II Millennial 27

34 Differences by Level of Involvement Those not involved with any ministries or activities at the parish are more likely than those involved with at least one to give an excellent rating to the parish overall, its efforts to foster spiritual growth, and its communication with parishioners Excellent Evaluations of Elements of Parish Life, by Involvement St. Benedict Parish overall Efforts to foster spiritual growth Communication with parishioners Not involved with any ministries or activities Involved with one or more Differences by Mass of Response Evaluations of Masses and liturgies in general at the parish did not differ significantly among those responding at the various Masses. Differences by Past Participation in Formation Programs Those whose children have attended religious education classes at the parish in the past five years do not differ significantly from others in how they evaluate efforts to educate parishioners in the faith. Similarly, respondents who have attended adult religious education classes at the parish in the past five years do not differ significantly from others in how they evaluate efforts to educate parishioners in the faith. 28

35 Evaluation of Persons and Programs Formation programs receive a positive evaluation from at least eight in ten: children s religious education programs (91), sacramental preparation programs for children and youth (90), and youth ministry (80). Please evaluate the following persons and programs Percentage responding Good or Excellent St. Benedict Parishes Nationally* Friendliness of the parish office staff Weekly bulletin 96 Children s religious education programs Sacramental preparation programs for children and youth 90 Usefulness of parish website 87 Social activities Youth ministry Accessibility of parish pastoral council members 76 *Source: Cumulative average from parishes conducting CARA Parish Life Surveys Nearly all (97) give a good or excellent evaluation to the friendliness of the parish office staff. Some 96 give a positive evaluation to the weekly bulletin, with 87 rating the usefulness of the parish website positively. Social activities receive a positive evaluation from 86 of respondents. Seventy-six percent rate the accessibility of parish pastoral council members as good or excellent. Comparison to Parishes Nationally Respondents at St. Benedict Parish are 14 percentage points more likely than those at parishes nationally to give a good or excellent evaluation to the parish s social activities (86 compared to 72). 7 This program and other formation programs have non-response rates between 41 and 55 percent due to limited family participation in those programs. For the non-response rates to all questions, see Appendix I. 29

36 Excellent Evaluations More than four in ten give an excellent evaluation to these formation programs: sacramental preparation programs for children and youth (55), children s religious education programs (52), and youth ministry (41). Please evaluate the following persons and programs Percentage responding Excellent St. Benedict Parishes Nationally* Friendliness of the parish office staff Weekly bulletin 67 Sacramental preparation programs for children and youth 55 Children s religious education programs Youth ministry Usefulness of parish website 40 Social activities Accessibility of parish pastoral council members 33 *Source: Cumulative average from parishes conducting CARA Parish Life Surveys Seventy-one percent rate the friendliness of the parish office staff as excellent. Some 67 give an excellent evaluation to the weekly bulletin, with 40 rating the usefulness of the parish website as highly. Social activities receive a positive evaluation from 37 of respondents. A third (33) rate the accessibility of parish pastoral council members as good or excellent. Comparison to Parishes Nationally Respondents at St. Benedict Parish are 10 to 20 percentage points more likely than those at parishes nationally to give an excellent evaluation to the following persons or programs: Friendliness of the parish office staff (71 compared to 51) Children s religious education programs (52 compared to 39) Youth ministry (41 compared to 31) Social activities (37 compared to 27) 30

37 Differences by Generation Members of the oldest generation are especially likely to rate the persons and programs presented in the figures below as excellent. It is worth noting in the second figure below, which summarizes evaluations of parish programs to children and youth, that those in this age cohort (ages 75 and older) are among the least likely to have children or stepchildren under age 18 living with them at present. 100 Excellent Evaluations of Persons or Programs, by Generation Friendliness of the parish office staff Weekly bulletin Pre-Vatican II Vatican II Post-Vatican II Millennial Excellent Evaluations of Programs, by Generation Sacramental preparation programs for children and youth Children's religious education programs Youth ministry Pre-Vatican II Vatican II Post-Vatican II Millennial 31

38 Members of the youngest generation are especially likely to evaluate the accessibility of parish pastoral council members as excellent. Those of the Vatican II Generation, on the other hand, are least likely to give as high a rating to social activities at the parish Excellent Evaluations of Persons or Programs, by Generation Accessibility of parish pastoral council members Social activities Pre-Vatican II Vatican II Post-Vatican II Millennial Differences by Level of Involvement Those not involved with any ministries or activities at the parish are more likely than others to give an excellent rating to the persons and programs presented in the figure below Excellent Evaluations of Persons or Programs, by Involvement Weekly bulletin Social activities Youth ministry Accessibility of parish pastoral council members Not involved with any ministries or activities Involved with one or more 32

39 Differences by Past Participation in Formation Programs Those whose children have attended religious education classes at the parish in the past five years are slightly less likely than others to give a good or excellent rating to the formation programs aimed at children and youth shown in the figure below. Good or "Excellent Evaluations of Programs, by Child s Past Participation Children's religious education programs Youth ministry Child has attended religious education classes in last 5 years Sacramental preparation programs for children and youth Other respondents Differences by Years at the Parish Newer parishioners, that is those who have attended the parish for two years or less, are more likely than others to rate the friendliness of the parish office staff as excellent. 100 "Excellent" Evaluations of Friendliness of the Parish Office Staff, by Years at the Parish Has attended parish 2 years or less Other respondents 33

40 Evaluation of Areas of Weekend Masses With one exception (the length of Mass), between 89 and 93 of all respondents say each of the areas of weekend Masses overall shown in the table below are good or excellent. Please evaluate these areas of weekend Masses overall for the Mass you most regularly attend Percentage responding Good or Excellent St. Benedict Catholics In Pew Nationally* Prayerful, reverent atmosphere at Mass Confession/Reconciliation schedule 92 Weekend Mass schedule Music Hospitality or sense of welcome Length of Mass 80 *Source: CARA s 2012 Emerging Models study Comparison to Parishes Nationally Respondents at St. Benedict Parish do not differ significantly from those at parishes nationally in their positive evaluations of areas of weekend Masses at the parish. 34

41 Excellent Evaluations The music at weekend Masses receives an excellent evaluation from nearly two in three respondents (65). Slightly less than six in ten give as high an evaluation to the prayerful and reverent atmosphere at Mass (59) and the weekend Mass schedule (56). Please evaluate these areas of weekend Masses overall for the Mass you most regularly attend Percentage responding Excellent St. Benedict Catholics In Pew Nationally* Music Prayerful, reverent atmosphere at Mass Weekend Mass schedule Hospitality or sense of welcome Confession/Reconciliation schedule 47 Length of Mass 39 *Source: CARA s 2012 Emerging Models study About half rate the hospitality or sense of welcome (52) and the Confession/ Reconciliation schedule (47) as excellent. Some 39 evaluate the length of Mass as highly. Comparison to Parishes Nationally Respondents at St. Benedict Parish are 17 percentage points more likely than those at parishes nationally to give an excellent evaluation to the following areas of worship: Music (65 compared to 48) Prayerful, reverent atmosphere at Mass (59 compared to 42) 35

42 Differences by Generation Members of the Vatican II Generation are least likely to rate the hospitality or sense of welcome and the length of Mass as excellent. The youngest generation is most likely to give an excellent evaluation to the weekend Mass schedule, with the oldest generation most likely to rate the Confession/Reconciliation schedule as highly. 100 Excellent Evaluations of Areas of Weekend Masses, by Generation Hospitality or sense of welcome Length of Mass Pre-Vatican II Vatican II Post-Vatican II Millennial Excellent Evaluations of Areas of Weekend Masses, by Generation Weekend Mass schedule Confession/Reconciliation schedule Pre-Vatican II Vatican II Post-Vatican II Millennial 36

43 Differences by Level of Involvement Those not involved with any ministries or activities at the parish are more likely than others to give an excellent rating to the hospitality or sense of welcome at weekend Masses. 100 "Excellent" Evaluations of Hospitality or Sense of Welcome, by Involvement Not involved with any ministries or activities Involved with one or more Differences by Relationship to the Parish Visitors at the parish, that is those say the parish is not their primary place of worship, do not differ significantly from others in how they evaluate the hospitality or sense of welcome at weekend liturgies. The same pattern appears for those who have attended the parish for two years or less, that is those relatively new to the parish. They also do not differ from other respondents in how they evaluate the hospitality or sense of welcome at weekend Masses. 37

44 Differences by Mass of Response As is shown in the two figures below, those who responded at the 9:30 a.m. Sunday Mass are especially likely to give the music and hospitality or sense of welcome an excellent rating. Those responding at the 7:30 a.m. Mass, on the other hand, are least likely to give an excellent rating to the music or length of Mass. 100 Excellent Evaluations of Areas of Weekend Masses, by Mass Time Music Hospitality or sense of welcome 5 pm Saturday 7 pm Saturday 7:30 am Sunday 9:30 am Sunday 11:30 am Sunday 100 "Excellent" Evaluations of Length of Mass, by Mass Time pm Saturday 7 pm Saturday 7:30 am Sunday 9:30 am Sunday 11:30 am Sunday 38

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