On any given Sunday, 400 to 500 people come to an English-language mass at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Crown Heights.
But last Sunday, Father Frank Black welcomed some 200 additional outsiders who trickled in from other parts of the city and out of state – New York City’s first Mass Mob.
Borrowing from a flash mob handbook, Catholics are gathering on a Sunday at a church of their choice, to help rejuvenate it and themselves. The Mass Mob movement began last year in Buffalo and has spread to other parts of the country — from Philadelphia to New Orleans.
Michael Cadigan, 25, heard about it on the radio while driving one night and decided to bring it to New York City as a way to rejuvenate the Sunday morning worship.
“This is a new, fresh creative movement,” said Cadigan, a marketing intern in the city. “And this is what the Catholic Church needs.”
Cadigan created the NYC Mass Mob website, and he spread the word through social media and by hand delivering dozens of letters to parishes across the city. More than a thousand people voted on the website and selected St. Matthew as the first church to host a Mass Mob.
Cadigan thinks that will help accomplish his main goal: to inspire Catholics who have stopped going to Mass to return to the Church’s fold. He also wants to give “mass mobsters” a chance to see how people from different backgrounds worship.
Eileen Ciorciari and her husband David, both retired New York Police Department officers, came to be a part of the Mass Mob and said they loved the experience.
“People want cool,” said Eileen Ciorciari. “This was cool. This was really cool today.”
To hear what the atmosphere was like when the Mass Mob visited St. Matthew Church, click on the audio above.