“‘Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.’
Simon said in reply,
‘Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.’
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
‘Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.’
...Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.’
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.”
We can feel it. Family members have left the church. Friends who had been very active rarely come to mass or volunteer at the parish any more. Children or grandchildren have no time or interest in traditional faith or practice. Many studies from a variety of organizations such as Gallup, Pew, the Barna Group, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), Notre Dame, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), and Dynamic Catholic confirm it. More people are leaving the church: some become Protestant, but a growing number simply disaffiliate from religion all together. This is especially true for younger generations where 39% or more claim no religious affiliation. Among those who remain affiliated, fewer are going to mass weekly or monthly by nearly a percentage point per year. Engagement is down and less than 7% of Catholics account for 80% of volunteer time and financial contributions. Taken as a whole, few fish are in our nets and more and more are jumping out of the boat.