Mass Mob, Flash Charity


You may have heard of the culture craze called “flash mobs,” in which young people organize a meeting at a local mall or department store and “spontaneously” begin a carefully choreographed dance to a pre-selected song. The Internet is rife with such examples, many of them quite entertaining.

But in the Diocese of Buffalo, there is a slight variation on the “flash mob.” They are calling it the “Mass Mob.” Organized by a Catholic layman using Twitter and Facebook, hundreds of Catholics have begun to choose some of the more historic and beautiful churches that were once packed but have now become sparse in attendance. After taking a vote on which church they will visit, they descend upon the unsuspecting place and join the parishioners for Sunday Mass.

Those who have recently taken part in the “Mass Mob” have been effusive in their appreciation for the fine art and architecture, as well as the opportunity to experience these churches now once again filled to capacity (recently they filled every pew in the church and those arriving late had to stand in the back). Pastors in these churches—often located in economically challenged areas of the city—have been equally effusive in their appreciation for the boost in budget collections!

Interest in the “Mass Mob” is slowly gaining and possibly spreading to other dioceses, as well. The hope, of course, is that this well-organized and well-intentioned movement will translate well into a lived Eucharistic experience, one that naturally spills over into “flash charity” in the places where Christ most desires to be present.