Every week while I read the bulletins from Saint John Kanty/Saint Adalbert Basilica, Corpus Christi and Saint Stanislaus churches, one glaring set of numbers sticks out. The number of people attending weekly Sunday Mass at each is very low. The numbers average around 150 on any given Sunday per church.
How can these churches survive long-term when you take into account the money needed to run and maintain these old large church campuses? The answer is they probably can’t survive. All of them struggle. All of them are pinching pennies.
Unless there is a dramatic turn in the number of people attending and supporting these churches, the future sustainability of them is really in doubt. The Buffalo Diocese has received a lot of grief over the years for closing churches throughout the city, but the numbers speak volumes in why hard decisions are made to close churches. If you couple that with the priest shortage the diocese faces, the future is grim.
Saint John Kanty/Saint Adalbert Basilica, Corpus Christi and Saint Stanislaus all have a core of dedicated people who work tirelessly to keep these churches alive. But when the number of funerals far out weigh marriages or baptisms at these churches, the writing is on the wall.
Can the tide turn? From every indication, no. This should worry all of us who love our Polish culture and love these historic churches. Without a greater level of support in the pews, these Polish heritage churches may not make it in the long run.