Catholic Baptisms, Mass Attendance Surge Worldwide for Easter 2024
May 13, 2024

Catholic Baptisms, Mass Attendance Surge Worldwide for Easter 2024

A pair of reports published this Easter indicate that there’s plenty of good news for the Good News of Christ. The gospel is making inroads throughout the world, according to an April 3 report by the UK weekly, The Catholic Herald, and a March 27 report by the online US publication, The Pillar.

Writing for The Catholic Herald, Philip Campbell reports that there are signs of a renewed faith around the world.

“It was reported that one US parish in Auburn, Alabama, saw an astonishing 82 people being received into the Church,” Campbell writes. “Another person in Florida claimed they had 50 baptisms and 30 confirmations at their Easter Vigil this year.”

According to Campbell, these anecdotal accounts of spiritual renewal correspond to a report in France “that 7,135 adults were baptized in French Catholic Churches this Easter—double the number from 20 years ago—with just over a third of them being aged 18-25 years old. For a country that has just enshrined abortion into its constitution, this is definitely a move in the right direction.”

It was this same report that Luke Coppen and Brendan Hodge focused on in their March 27 article for The Pillar. Coppen and Hodge note that based on a March 27 report issued by the French bishops’ conference, “The number of adult baptisms in France has increased by 30%, from 5,463 in 2023 to 7,135 in 2024” while the “number of baptisms of adolescents—young people aged 11 to 17 who are in middle or high school—has also risen sharply, from 2,861 in 2023 to 5,025 in 2024.”

“The figures are the highest since the French bishops’ conference began tabulating the data more than 20 years ago,” Coppen and Hodge write, adding that the Belgian bishops’ conference reported a similar trend.

“The number of adult baptisms has also continued to rise over the border in Belgium,” The Pillar reported, “almost doubling in a decade, from 186 in 2014 to 362 in 2024, the Belgian bishops’ conference announced March 26.”

According to Coppen and Hodge, “France and Belgium are both traditionally Catholic nations that have seen a deep erosion in Catholic practice in recent decades.”

“Around 29% of France’s population of 68 million identify as Catholic, but only 8% of Catholics are regular Massgoers.

“Roughly half of Belgium’s 12 million population identifies as Catholic, with 8.9% of Catholics attending Mass at least once a month.”

Coppen and Hodge quote Bishop Olivier Leborgne, head of the French bishops’ department for catechesis, in the foreword to the French bishops’ report, to provide an explanation for the surge in numbers among French Catholics.

“In almost every diocese in France,” Bishop Leborgne writes, “people are coming to the Church to ask for baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist, sometimes in a movement of bewildering proportions.”

“They have come about through identified paths, having intersected with our pastoral projects and missionary endeavors, but they also arrive as part of a personal process that has taken a completely unexpected path.”

“In a world in search of meaning, Christ and his Gospel are speaking to people who had never heard of him before. Many are witnessing authentic experiences of salvation, the kind that lift you up, straighten you out, restore your confidence, and reopen your future. How can we fail to give thanks?”

In addition to baptisms, attendance at the Triduum and Easter Mass also showed signs of increase. In his report for The Catholic Herald, Campbell writes that “stories of packed parishes filled to the rafters for the entirety of the Triduum were commonplace. Online accounts of ‘standing room only’ and overflowing overflow-areas seemed to be the norm.”

“Some said it was the highest Easter Mass attendance they had seen in 25 years. Westminster Cathedral was so full on Good Friday that it was reported security personnel had to turn people away. These stories spanned everywhere from Ireland to Indonesia.”

Campbell concludes his report with a possible explanation for the uptick in interest in the Christian faith: “What we may be seeing—and which appeared highlighted this Easter—is that people are waking up to the dramatic (if not draconian) changes in the social, cultural, and spiritual landscapes; while seeking to go deeper, being drawn to the good, the true and the beautiful. And we should be ready to embrace them with open arms.”

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Catholic News Agency