Babies Galore at Saint Patrick's Catholic Church - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Babies Galore at Saint Patrick's Catholic Church, a Parish Now Thriving

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Saint Patrick Catholic Church, once a fading inner-city parish, is experiencing a rebirth.

A photo opp at the church on Sunday brought together all the babies baptized in the last year - a snapshot, representing the parish's new growth.

"We're around 35 (babies baptized) for this year and yes, that's very high," said Monsignor Henry Kriegel, pastor at Saint Patrick's. "It's amazing, this parish has come alive and it's mostly younger families."

The families were invited for a group photo to celebrate the church's welcome yet surprising growth.

"I don't know why we're so lucky, but we are. It's wonderful to see all these babies at mass and to see young couples," Kriegel said.

Nationally, however, church attendance has dropped about 10 percent since the 1950's to 39 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. Finding the answer to why there is a decline of attendance in churches across the nation is a tough one.

"I don't know, maybe a lot goes wrong in the world and in life and people are just losing faith," said Jackie DiLuzio of Millcreek. Jackie and husband, Chris, are one of the young couples at the church.

"I think in a lot of instances, the church walked away from young people. It just made itself irrelevant to them," Kriegel said.

But it's clear that Saint Patrick's parish isn't sharing the trend of decline. Attendance at the church has quadrupled over the past five years, from fewer than 200 families to more than 750.

It's also hard pinpoint what brought on the church's growth.

"The restoration has made this place absolutely gorgeous. It was gorgeous before, and it's just amazing to see the vision they've put into it," said Chris DiLuzio, Jackie's husband.

"I think it has a lot to do with Father Kriegel. He really a passionate priest who touches people and relates to people," Jackie said.

"Every time we come, we feel welcomed by anyone and everyone who is here," said Sara Palm, nodding to her husband Ryan. The Palms are another young couple at the parish whose daughter was recently baptized.   

Regardless of the reason, Saint Patrick church continues to grow, welcoming at least one new member to their parish on Sunday with another baptism.

"And I have three more babies to baptize next Sunday," Kriegel said.

 

 

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