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Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century

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About the Author

Charles Zech is a professor of economics in the Villanova University School of Business and the Director of Villanova's Center for Church Management. He is the author or co-author of over 50 articles and 12 books on the topic of church management. Mary L. Gautier is a sociologist and senior research associate at CARA. She specializes in Catholic demographic trends in the United States. She edits The CARA Report, and is the co-author of eight books on Catholicism. Mark M. Gray is the director of CARA Catholic Polls and a senior research associate at CARA. A political scientist, he specializes at CARA in attitudinal and polling research. He teaches in Georgetown University's Catholic Studies and Liberal Studies programs. Jonathon Wiggins is a CARA researcher whose primary focus is helping parishes to plan for the future through Parish Life Surveys. He teaches part-time at Georgetown University, where he once served as a chaplain-in-residence. Thomas P. Gaunt, S.J. is the executive director at CARA. Prior to CARA, he served in Jesuit governance on the national and province level for sixteen years, and earlier on was a pastor and director of planning in the Dioces of Charlotte for ten years.


Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century informs and illuminates on every page. Demographics, finances, clerical and lay leadership, administrative strategies and more: So much is addressed here. It is an essential sociological snapshot for anyone wanting to think clearly about U.S. parishes in all their complexity and amid the various trends and challenges that affect them today. * Jerome P. Baggett, Author of Sense of the Faithful: How American Catholics Live Their Faith * Though ecclesial and apostolic movements have rightly gained growing recognition among Catholic leaders in recent decades, in the United States the parish remains the basic organizational unit of the Church. Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century is the most comprehensive demographic and statistical snapshot of the changing realities within these faith communities. It is an essential resource for anyone interested in the present and future of parish life. s Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century is an essential resource both for scholars of American Catholicism and for those involved in parish and diocesan planning. The authors have produced a timely and important study that reveals the close relationship between demographic shifts among American Catholics over the last three decades and the changes and challenges faced in their parishes. Rich in statistical detail, the book's analyses paint a fine-grained portrait of a living Church seeking to respond pastorally to the increasing diversity of its flock. * Mary Ellen Konieczny, Associate Professor of Sociology and Henkels Family Collegiate Chair, University of Notre Dame * Parish life is a topic of fundamental importance to the Catholic Church in the United States and its 70 million-plus members. Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century: The Challenges of Mobility, Diversity, and Reconfiguration provides a treasure-trove of data about every key aspect of life in these institutions. Of particular value to those who lead parishes, the book may well transform their approaches to ministry. At the same time vocation directors, too, will find vital information that leads them to new considerations in the way they work. * Horizon * The book provides an excellent background for scholars of religion, pastoral experts, and theologians to bring the best of our methodological tools to weigh on the information available. We ought to be grateful for the groundwork done in this book. * Hoffmann Ospino, Reading Religion * Much needed, intellectually rich, and clearly written... This ambitious project is a highly commendable work that is a vital resource for understanding American Catholic life and, specifically, how parishes operate and function in the context of the twenty-first century. The book illuminates how religious structures like American parishes are currently adapting to serve the needs of their parishioners in this changing context. * Aprilfaye Manalang, Sociology of Religion *

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