Despite reports that Pope Francis is bringing Catholics back to Mass, he hasn’t had the same effect in Cookstown, according to the parish priest.
A recent survey carried out by The Irish Catholic across
the Island of Ireland, found that 23 of the 26 diocese that responded
said they had seen substantial increases in their congregations,
compared to the same time last year.
But it appears, that even
though New Year’s Day Mass — which isn’t a holy day — packed out Church
of the Most Holy Trinity, Parish Priest Father Tremer said that in
Cookstown, overall attendance has remained pretty steady.
the MAIL: “There is very good attendance here in Cookstown — for example
on New Year’s Day we had Mass at 12 o’clock and we had a full church.
“You’re talking up on 500 people and it’s not a holy day of obligation.
“We don’t oblige people to come to Mass on New Year’s Day, so it is very encouraging.”
as to whether the ‘Pope Francis Effect’ had taken hold in the parish,
bringing people back to Mass in their droves as has been reported in
many other areas — he was not sure.
“Can I put that down to Pope Francis? I can’t honestly say,” Fr Tremer explained.
he did admit that he wasn’t sure about what was happening in
neighbouring parishes, and whether the Pope had effected the numbers of
those returning to Mass elsewhere.
“I can only speak for here now, and certainly our numbers are holding, it’s very good,” he said.
“We haven’t had a loss of congregation big enough to say it was attributed it to anything other than timing.
“I have to say it has been very encouraging here in Cookstown all along.”
Meanwhile in Belfast, Fr Hugh Kennedy from St Peter’s Cathedral, said the second Mass they put on Christmas Eve was packed out.
“The profile of Pope Francis has actively helped to create a spirit of optimism for people,” he said.
priests from parishes as far flung as Kildare, Limerick and Killarney
have reported “packed out masses” — all put down to the “Francis