Elsewhere online
October 14, 2014

'Mass Mobs' Attract Crowds and Gifts at Aging Urban Churches

An emerging social-media trend is drawing big Sunday crowds—and in some cases sorely needed donations—to struggling or closed Catholic churches primarily in Rust Belt cities, reports The New York Times. Since it began last fall, the "Mass mob" phenomenon has spread quickly and brought hundreds and even thousands of people in from the suburbs to worship and admire the architecture and design at older urban churches with dwindling congregations.

Initially taken by surprise by the trend, church officials have gotten on board, with dioceses granting permission for services at former houses of worship that have closed or been converted to other uses. A side effect of the trend has been increased giving, with six Detroit Mass mobs generating nearly $100,000 for the churches, according to an organizer of the events.