Catholic mass attendance register

(23 Posts)
Rollercoaster1920 Wed 27-Apr-16 12:32:08

If your church records mass attendance - how do they do it?

Ours have slips of paper at the back of the church that you sign. Recently they have added dates to the slips (presumably to stop people taking slips away for other weeks).

We currently only have registration during school term time (which I disagree with).

Also how does your priest or school 'rate' your attendance? From what I have seen weekly / fortnightly / monthly / occasional are the usual categories. But how are those categories actually defined? Weekly seems to be defined as two thirds attendance in our Church (but this is not clear).

You can probably guess that we missed out on a primary place, but I am after ideas to improve things for the future. So thought I'd see what other churches use.

Thank you.

TheSpottedZebra Wed 27-Apr-16 12:38:29

Not me, but my sister's kids had to go to mass to receive a diary - which they then had to have signed each week by the priest, after mass had finished. They have gradually increased the number of months of the signing period - it's now a year, I think. And there is a % attendance they all know they need.

This was for a ridiculously over subscribed school, so people did do it.

Fink Wed 27-Apr-16 12:41:31

I've tried a few ways for our Confirmation candidates, we don't record attendance for other people.

In a small parish, it worked to have one person at the back of church and you 'sign in' with them, they tick your name off a list.

What I currently do is give each candidate a booklet with some information for Confirmation (about how to choose a patron saint, some Bible references etc.) and a box for every Sunday & HDO during the course. They get the box signed by either a priest or a catechist. If they forget the booklet, they get the parish newsletter signed and show me the next week then I retroactively sign for the week before. I take in all the booklets once a month and record the entries on a database (this means that I still have the records when they inevitably lose or damage their booklet).

Our priest would count attending most weeks as weekly (definitely more than 2/3, I would say around 3/4 as an absolute minimum), fortnightly would mostly be children from separated parents where only one parent brings them to Mass. Monthly & occasional are more or less what they say.

Fink Wed 27-Apr-16 12:43:10

The good thing about the booklet system, btw, which we didn't have with the previous system, is that they're covered wherever they go to Mass in the world. So if they're visiting relatives, on holiday, or just wanted to go to a different parish, they still have the booklet and there's no problem.

Mamabear12 Wed 27-Apr-16 17:51:50

Our priest goes by if they know you. We also volunteer and do monthly readings and crèche for the church.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Wed 27-Apr-16 18:01:15

Same as Mamabear12 wouldn't stand up to close scrutiny. The RC schools aren't massively oversubscribed so I don't think that they worry about it, however being RC also puts you in a higher category at the highly sought after CofE church. We do go roughly weekly (3/4 weeks minimum) but also go to mass when at FIL but that wouldn't be recorded. He was happy to sign for weekly, but then again dh plays and I help with the children so he does know who we are. Massive parish though and could easily attend without being noticed.

Jeezimacasalinga Wed 27-Apr-16 18:48:10

We have weekly sign-in for our over-subscribed RC primary school, but the priest has recently announced that the system is being abused (people signing in for others I think). He has suggested an electronic fingerprint sign-in system, apparently in use already by several other parishes!

overatedperfection Wed 27-Apr-16 19:24:58

An acquaintance of mine just went along for a few weeks before the application deadline, wore bright colours and sat at the front and the priest signed the form. That was a few years ago though so maybe they're having to be more careful now.

The whole system of taking the word of a priest (who is also often on the school governing body) as criteria for school admissions is ripe for a C4-Dispatches style investigation if you ask me.

BertrandRussell Wed 27-Apr-16 19:31:19

Doesn't it make you all feel grubby and disgusting?

Rollercoaster1920 Wed 27-Apr-16 20:15:10

For those signing a register, is it every week, all year?

overatedperfection Wed 27-Apr-16 20:23:14

Rollercoaster it depends on the school - you need to check their admissions criteria. The more popular the school the more stringent the conditions - sometimes needing a few years of attendance, and baptism before 6 months of age to be in with the best chance.

At least they're no longer allowed to give credit for "extras" like flower arranging and cleaning the church, according to this.

Mamabear12 Wed 27-Apr-16 20:42:06

They are not supposed to give credit for extras, but they do. i was even told, they are not supposed to, but it helps to do extras...by a member of the church. I don't see what is wrong with this though. Of course if someone goes to mass and wants to contribute to the parish, it should be counted as extra, bc they are doing extra. Where it is wrong is when someone who is not religious and only doing it for the school. I went to catholic school fro age 5 until 18 and going to church, volunteering and really like my parish and my priest. But I have heard of some cases, where they are not even Catholic and take advantage!

Queenie73 Wed 27-Apr-16 20:49:35

I've never heard of this, but there are no specifically Catholic schools in my area (the ethos of the local school is very much RC, but not officially IYSWIM). There is also only one school and your choices are go there or educate your kids yourself!
My priest would know who was at Mass and who wasn't without a sign-in sheet but as I said it isn't an issue here. Thankfully, since my attendance isn't always what is should be!

overatedperfection Wed 27-Apr-16 20:53:57

They are not supposed to give credit for extras, but they do. i was even told, they are not supposed to, but it helps to do extras

That's exactly the sort of thing I mean when I say the system is ripe for investigation.

FarAwayHills Wed 27-Apr-16 21:03:29

The priest in our church just seems to know those who go to mass regularly and who attends occasionally. Those who show up out of the blue for a for a few months or weeks before school forms need signing easy to spot.

Rollercoaster1920 Wed 27-Apr-16 21:10:08

In reply to over rated perfection: the school criteria is 'weekly attendance'. The school does not clarify how that is measured though. As far as I can tell it is the church that defines how regular you are. Our church (the main one for the school) does not currently make public the 'cut off', or that the register is only taken in term time. This is what I think needs improving.

ShelaghTurner Wed 27-Apr-16 21:20:19

Just been through this for the second time. We have to sign in every week for the preceding 16 months. Christmas/Easter don't count. The categories are 3-4 times per month, twice a month and once a month. School is oversubscribed so only people going every week (with allowances for holidays etc) ever get in.

overatedperfection Wed 27-Apr-16 21:20:27

The priest in our church just seems to know those who go to mass regularly and who attends occasionally. Those who show up out of the blue for a for a few months or weeks before school forms need signing easy to spot

Whether they're easy to "spot" or not is immaterial if they're bare-faced enough to launch an appeal on the grounds that the priest doesn't keep records and therefore cannot prove that they weren't at church regularly. I've seen postings here on Mumsnet suggesting that appeals have been won on those grounds.

The school does not clarify how that is measured though

You're right, they should Rollercoaster. Criteria have to be completely clear. You have until May 15th to report the criteria for 2017 entry to the adjudicator. You can ask the adjudicator to keep your identity from the school if that's what you prefer.

HelenaJustina Wed 27-Apr-16 21:31:20

This blows my little mind! I'm RC, attended RC schools as do my RC DC and I/my parents never had to do any of this...

I'm shock at finger print scanners!

Our priest monitors attendance subtly by not issuing baptism certificates until you need it for school application, and if you haven't been around in the intervening 4 years I think he might gently nudge in the direction of more regular attendance (as promised in the actual Baptism ceremony)

Rollercoaster1920 Wed 27-Apr-16 21:46:48

Although we could go to the adjudicator that is not my aim. I was planning on being constructive to our church to ensure things are clearer in future.

Scarydinosaurs Wed 27-Apr-16 21:56:48

Our's is based upon 'does the priest know you' but the c of e church requires a register to be signed.

I'm surprised they don't take any records- it is a really busy church and I imagine it is really hard to track.

JewryMember Thu 28-Apr-16 05:14:44

Ugh. How appalling this all is. Where is, you know, God in all of this nonsense?

Arkwright Thu 28-Apr-16 06:41:36

Our church doesn't record attendance. Our primary school doesn't require attendance at mass only that your child has been baptised. A local church where the school requires church attendance has cards which the church stamps with the date each week.

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