Sunday, July 3, 2011

Why Do They Leave?

Why have so many Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago left to join one of the local "megachurchs" like Willow Creek or Harvest?

Willow Creek Community Church has weekly attendance of 24,000.  The weekly offering will blow your mind. Last week:  $358K.  Which was below the budgeted number of $560K.

Are you seeing this in your dioceses as well?  Are Catholics leaving to join large churches?  Do you have ideas as to why?  Please leave a comment if you have insight to share on this.

If you have left your Roman Catholic Parish to become a member of a large Protestant Church would you leave a comment as to why?

I went to see The David Crowder Band tonight at Willow Creek.  As you'll remember from an earlier post, I love to hear and sing Praise and Worship music.  David Crowder rocks and his lyrics tend to have the themes of God's love for us, God's redeeming grace, how glorious Jesus is, and provide the opportunity to Praise Him!

While my kids and I enjoyed the music I was a little disappointed in a few things:
  • It was the same concert (almost exactly) as he played at Greg Laurie's Harvest back at the end of October I think, in the Allstate Arena.  
  • It was only an hour of music.  I was hoping for more as the woman who opened the night said it was a concert tonight and not the usual worship.
  • Instead of playing SMS Shine he played some rock opera (his words) song.  It had good lyrics but was I think to reach the preteen and teenage boys in the audience.  My 12.5 year old son liked it.  My 9 year old daughter and me -- not so much.
  • The "altar call" was really down from what I saw on Billy Graham Crusades and what I remember from attending Vacation Bible School at a Southern Baptist Church about 35 years ago.
  • There was no mention of sin, or healing, or forgiveness - just grace and love.
  • There was advertisement for "Communion Sunday", with option for gluten-free.  I don't mean to be insensitive if this is an issue for someone reading this.  It just struck me as funny.
My daughter was a little surprised this was a church, since it had theater seating, instead of pews, and multiple balcony levels.  It was super clean, and not like any theater I have been in!  I told her it was an arena and not like our church.

In general people were smiling and happy.  No one came up to us or shook our hands or anything.  Someone made a nice comment about my phone, but other than that, not welcoming and friendly like I thought would draw people.  This was not a representative night though.  Maybe it is different when there isn't a concert?

Very happy I'll be going with my children to Divine Liturgy at our church, Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church tomorrow morning.  There won't be a band, but there will be 2 humble priests, both gifted teachers, bringing Jesus to us in the proclamation of the Gospel, the opportunity for Confession, and Holy Communion.  It won't be gluten free, but it will be the Real Presence of Christ our King, and Risen Savior:  Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

Are you wondering why I am asking about Roman Catholics leaving for megachurches while I am attending a Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church?

Keep in mind that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (name in Ukraine) is in full communion with the Roman Pontiff.  I have heard Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI and previous Popes quoted more often in my current church than I heard in any of the Roman Catholic parishes I went to for Mass previously.  The two priests both give excellent homilies, explaining the scriptures, doctrine, providing spiritual advice and challenging us to forgive, love, and live generously.

I am still officially a Roman Catholic by baptism as are our children.  It would be a "rite change" and not a conversion to change to the other rite.  Still discerning if we will make that change. 

I am very much still one foot in Roman Catholic and one foot in Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic.  Part of that is I really feel blessed with some of you I've met since I started blogging!  
I also posted over at Community of Catholic Bloggers on the Immaculate Heart of Mary  The intercession and motherly care of Mary, another reason I can't understand why some leave, unless they have never known the love, care, and manifestations of her interceding for them . . . 

Another reason would be the Communion of Saints, and their writings and prayers they left to help us on our path.  If you want to leave links to your posts saying why you are grateful to be Catholic, please do!


  1. Colleen,
    If these people truly knew Who and what they had in the Eucharist, they would not leave! I know that there are other more complicated reasons, but that is it in a nutshell (Not that I am trying to put Jesus in a nutshell:)
    Also when people realize that Mass is not about us but about Jesus- I think many leave because many people are looking to be entertained. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once replied to those who say they get nothing out of the Mass, that perhaps that was because they did not put anything into it.
    I know our faith is a gift from God and I could lose it as easily as the next person, but I really don't want anything less than my Catholic faith with Jesus in the Eucharist.
    By the way I love David Crowder- sorry his concert was a disappointment.
    God bless.

  2. Completely agree, Karinann! Thanks for reading and commenting.