Dominicantes and Communicantes
Fr Pawel Rozpiatkowski
Polish churches are still full – according to the date prepared by the Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church, run by the Pallotine Order and directed by Rev. Prof. Witold Zdaniewicz. The data were gathered last year when the faithful were counted. As compared with the year 2006 we can notice a decrease in participants in Sunday Mass. The next census will show whether this is a single change or a tendency. As the first magazine in Poland ‘Niedziela’ publishes the statistics of ‘dominicantes’ and ‘communicantes’ for the year 2007. The research was financially supported by ‘Niedziela’.
The census of participants in Sunday Mass, conducted in all Polish churches in autumn 2007, shows that 44.2% of the Catholics, who are obliged to attend Sunday Mass, went to churches. The most interesting thing is to compare these data with the ones gathered in previous years. As compared with the year 2006 there was a 1.6 percent decrease, but compared with the year 2004, which had the lowest percentage, it shows a 1 % increase. Four years ago 43.2 % of the faithful attended Sunday Mass. It is alarming to see that the result of the last year’s census broke the two year tendency to increase, which gave hope ‘to catch up with’ the record breaking late 1990s. In the year 2005, we noticed an almost 2% progression (45%), the following year we counted more people in churches again (45.8 %). However, we saw a decrease last year. The job immigration of the Poles might have influenced that. The lowest attendance was noticed in 1993 – 43.1% and in the above-mentioned year 2005. The highest attendance was in 1998 and 2000. In both cases there were 47.5% of the faithful attending Sunday Eucharist. However, in the late 1990s and at the beginning of the new century the Sunday attendance was between 46.6 and 47.5% and was the highest in the last 15 years.
An increasing number of those who receive Communion
During the statistical action in Polish parishes people who receive Communion are also counted. These statistical data are called ‘communicantes’ in the research of the Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church. Last year the result was the best, except the record breaking Jubilee year 2000. In the year 2007, 17.6% of the faithful received Communion. In 2000 the number of ‘comunicantes’ was 19.4%. The lowest number of those who received Communion was in the year 1993 – 13%. Actually, in the last 15 years, the indicator of ‘communicantes’ rather shows an increasing tendency, with only slight fluctuations.
The most religious
The most religious dioceses as far as ‘dominicantes’ are concerned have been constantly the Diocese of Tarnow (72%) and the Diocese of Rzeszow (68.5%) as well as the Archdiocese of Przemysl (64.2%). As compared with the data of 2006 the sequence did not change. The least religious archdioceses were: Lodz (28.6), Szczecin-Kamien – 29,3 % and the Diocese of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg – 30.5 %. In the year 2006 the Archdiocese of Lodz showed 30.9% of ‘dominicantes’, Szczecin-Kamien – 31.1%, and the Diocese of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg – 32.2 %. The number of people receiving Communion in the year 2007 in the Diocese of Tarnow was 25.6 %. Then we had the Diocese of Lomza – 23.1% and the Diocese of Opole – 22.8 %. In turn, the Archdiocese of Szczecin-Kamien and the dioceses: Koszalin-Kolobrzeg and Elblag had the worse results of ‘communicantes’, respectively 12, 12.3 and 12.7%.
Decreases and increases
We have looked at the dioceses with the biggest Polish cities. According to sociologists such centres undergo the processes of laicisation in the quickest way. But we cannot conclude that the numbers are alarming. In the Archdiocese of Warsaw the number of ‘dominicantes’ in 2007 was 33.6 %, i.e. over 6% less than in 2006. This is a big decrease. But this archdiocese had lower indicators in the 1990s. In the year 2006, in the Archdiocese of Wroclaw the number of ‘dominicantes’ was 41.5 %, and last year – 39.8 %. In the Archdiocese of Krakow the numbers were respectively 53.6 and 53.4 %. The most considerate increase in ‘dominicantes’ was noticed in the Diocese of Drohiczyn: in the year 2006 – 49.6 %, and in the year 2007 – 54.9; and in the Diocese of Pelplin – 50.8 and 52.8 %.