.- Despite a widespread priestly sexual abuse scandal which has shaken the Catholic Church in the U.S. over recent years, Mass attendance is actually on the rise in a number of dioceses. In the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut for example, attendance at 87 parishes is up by 14 percent this year, reported WTNH TV.
Diocesan officials say they can't pinpoint why exactly attendance is up other than the fact that priests in the diocese have been working hard to reach out to their church communities with different programs and activities to nurture the faith.
Msgr. William Shultz told WTNH TV that the diocese had to rebuild the faith of the community after the 2001 sexual abuse scandal. He said it involved much dialogue and reconciliation.
"I hope they realize we all need faith and Christ in our lives, especially when you look around the world and see what's happening," the monsignor told the television station.
The nearby Archdiocese of Hartford says it has also seen an increase in attendance.