One of the things I dread as a parish priest is to make the annual attendance report. I purposely don’t look at the weekly attendance report because it’s always less than I think it should be. There’s nothing worse than looking out at the congregation and wailing inwardly, “Where is everyone?”
Having once been in a parish that was on a steady decline, I know that focusing on the numbers can be depressing. Somehow I think that by staring at the numbers on a sheet of paper I can get them to increase. No such luck!
However, this year I had a wonderful surprise when I put the figures into the Excel spreadsheet and saw the results. We are up in attendance from 80.4 a Sunday to 82.1 a Sunday!
Now that may not seem like very much, but let me point out that it’s a two percent increase, and it’s far better than being flat or declining. Numbers don’t lie, and what the numbers are reflecting is that there are some good things going on at St. Antony’s.
As a feeling-type person, I can sense that good things are happening, but it takes hard data to confirm that. With our attendance figures complete for the year, I can finally say for sure, “Yes, we’re doing well.”